My Week Ending 2019-09-15


Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


Readings 

You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • I never owned a Sony Walkman so the emotional tie isn’t there for me but just imagining it is fun.
  • Up until this article, I just used Evernote through the web. I’m getting used to everything being online. When the connection goes down, so do I.
  • I agree totally with this. There was a time when you could just drop in and play with this or that. Now, things have completely changed.
  • Why don’t we have cool libraries around here? It would be interesting to see if the physical building does more to attract people than a square block. Calgary seems to be working out well.
  • Teachers who actually taught online have come forth with their thoughts on eLearning; now the students weigh in. It isn’t positive.
  • The bug in Chrome OS had a number of people worried about their devices. I wonder how many were like me and checked to see when their device actually will stop being supported.
  • Vivaldi is now available for Android. Another browser for me to check out.
  • Articles like this are quite disturbing. People don’t tend to be vocal about things until it hits home. I wonder if this is home enough to make it a bargaining issue of importance.
  • I suspect many STEM teachers, whatever that is, would find this offensive but it’s a reminder that students are more than the flavour of the day.
  • I don’t know how I feel about this. There are times that I’m glad it happens and times I’m not glad. Computer-wise, though, you have to be all-in in one setting.
  • Vaping has been big in the news for some time now. This is a Q&A that I think that parents and students should study.
  • I’ve seen plenty of things that I’m surprised that Twitter allows including messages from you know who. Would they ever suspend that account like they did this one?
  • Of course, it would fail. Ask any pre-school teacher; young kids are a real puzzle at times.
  • I think that this is a terrific idea. Even better wouldn’t it be cool to go back to previous Olympics and overlay performances from then?

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


#FollowFriday – September 12, 2019

https://wke.lt/w/s/bB8qO8


voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show:

Intro song:

Blog posts this week came from:

  • @sheilaspeaking
  • @mme_aston
  • @jprofNB
  • @ArcherJoe
  • @DebbieDonsky

Technology Troubleshooting

I’ve been using the “new Twitter” for a while and actually really liking it. The kinks in the pre-release seem to be resolved.

Except for one.

Sometimes when I click on a link that should takes me to a Twitter message or if I just type in a Twitter command (like twitter.com/dougpete), I get a message indicating a problem…

So, I do what any rational person would do. I try it again. Only this time, I press the ENTER key a little harder. And, I get the same result.

It’s frustrating because it’s intermittent. After a lot of noodle scratching, I’ve got a solution. Just position the cursor in advance of twitter.com and enter www. so it becomes http://www.twitter.com. It seems to me that that should be automatic and some times it is. Sometimes, it doesn’t work.

I trust they’re working on it and there will be a fix coming. Nobody likes an imperfect URL.


Video of the Week

We’ve lost another great.


Photo of the Week

I caught this guy having breakfast while I was out in the yard. Bugs Benedict?

Thanks for reading. Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting.

dp

This blog post was originally posted at:


https://dougpete.wordpress.com/

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

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Whatever happened to …


… TV dinner tables?

David Garlick was a week ahead of me on this one with his Twitter response to last week’s post.

Maybe that’s why he was a principal and I wasn’t.

Yes, there was the concept of the folding TV dinner table. There’s a bunch still for sale –

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tv+dinner+table&t=opera&ia=shopping

They’ve gone up in price! And appear to be more solid than the ones in my memory.

Currently, we don’t own a set but I do remember, as a child, of having a set that we kept behind the door going down to the basement. My wife’s parents had a set and used them as end tables down in their rec room. I stole the idea when furnishing an apartment at university. It was affordable, to be sure, from the second hand store. $5 a set, if I recall correctly.

They weren’t very solid. They appeared to be made of tin and had a flowered pattern on them and fluted edges. They folded up neatly for storage and the concept was to put your dinner/supper on them so that you could watch television while eating. (TV dinners optional). Unlike a regular table, they weren’t a permanent addition to a room – just for those special times that you ate supper while watching television.

Or so the story goes…

In both our families like David’s, the television was turned off at meal times and we ate as a family around the kitchen table. In our case, the dining table was used for special dining occasions when we had company but mostly as a collection point for stuff at other times.

So, why did we have TV tables? For those fancy meals with company, they served as holders for the food as we loaded up buffet style. We also used them to play games like checkers, Monopoly, on them. But that was about it.

These days, I can’t remember seeing them out for sale in stores so I don’t know if they’re not there or they’re such a seldom-purchased article that they’re largely hidden. We do see them when we’re out antiquing and it does bring back childhood memories!

For a Sunday morning, your thoughts?

  • Do you currently own a set of TV dinner tables?
  • Did you have them in your youth?
  • Were you allowed to eat and watch television at the same time?
  • While the cheap tinny ones probably wouldn’t work, could you see a use for these type of table in your classroom?
  • Given their price point and the portability, there has to be all kinds of functionality for these that I’m not aware of. Do you have a unique use for these things?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This post appeared on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Ready to fold?


So, I ran across this video this morning…

All of this in front of Apple’s Special Event today.

I’ve seen plenty of offerings in the news from other vendors about foldable phones – Samsung, LG, Motorola, … Don’t rely on me – read this.

I wondered if the whole world had changed again while I was sleeping so I hopped over to the Bell and then the BestBuy website to see if they were indeed selling foldable phone. They sure have a lot of different phones; I sorted from highest price to lowest figuring that anything foldable would be at the higher end. I didn’t see anything foldable but I did get a bit of sticker shock seeing the highest end phones coming in at $1 500. Wow, it’s been a while since I bought a new phone.

I guess that I’d always thought that a foldable phone was shown to us as a kind of proof of concept. It’s not something that you can buy today, kind consumer, but it’s your future.

I’m still a bit confused as to what the device actually is. Super-phone, phone-tablet-wannbe, a tablet that folds, …

From GSMarena, the dimensions are:

  • Unfolded: 160.9 x 117.9 x 6.9 mm
  • Folded: 160.9 x 62.9 x 15.5 mm

This link includes a nice picture of the foldable versus conventional Samsung phone.

I’m trying to visualize myself holding it on the subway and it visualizes a bit awkward to me. I could see myself holding it in my lap or on a table. At the suggested price of $1 980 US, I’d be holding it very tightly. I’m aware of my limitations with portable technology and invest in an Otterbox to keep thing safe.

I’m trying to figure how a price and functionality like that would make me want to use one of these things. After all, I do have a smartphone, a tablet, and a computer. Is this device designed for a consumer like me? (Assuming that I could come up with that kind of money) Is the device designed for business so that a salesperson could show a Powerpoint presentation to a customer on it?

If it’s a thing and smart people have thought through the intended audience, I’m sure that we’ll find out in the keynote later today. That is, if it exists. One thing that Apple does do well is put a “you want need this spin” on their products.

Will this be one of them?

More importantly, do you have a burning desire for a foldable phone for purposes that elude me? It also eludes my spell checker as foldable keeps getting flagged as a spelling mistake. Maybe our language is about to change too…

My Week Ending 2019-09-08


Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


Readings 

You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • The nice thing about Linux is that you have choice unlike Windows and Mac OS. Here’s a nice summary.
  • There are two very distinct sides to this situation about not using smartphones in the classroom. Ontario’s law kicks in November 4. When will newspapers stop the expression cellphone and call these what they actually are?
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about the growth and development of Microsoft presented in a timeline.
  • Many of us relied on OSAP to help fund university. What happens when it gets cut?
  • If you couldn’t make it to ECOOcamp Peterborough, you’re in luck. Many of the resources are now available on TeachOntario.
  • A blog post from an Ontario Educator who in now retired and doesn’t share the first day jitters that so many others did.
  • I agree that the Chromebook needs a little more respect and could be the solution for so many students.
  • Just when I start to think that Flash is finally done, I run into a website that continues to use it. Edge and Chrome are going to stop support.
  • I have always been a fan of optical illusions. This kept me busy for quite a while!
  • This path would be way too long for my daily working partner and me but it’s interesting what can be done with Google Maps.
  • I wasn’t totally prepared for living on my own at university. I agree with a lot of this.
  • Java programmers give us inspiration for various tools.
  • The Brave browser apparently shows what we fear about data gathering and tracking.
  • Yeah, but would having one on board decrease your mileage? Is mileage even a thing with electrical cars?

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


#FollowFriday – September 5, 2019

https://wke.lt/w/s/rO7akb


voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show:

https://soundcloud.com/voiced-radio/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs-september-4

Intro song:

Blog posts this week came from:

  • @Self_Reg (@avivaloca)
  • @tk1ng
  • @HTheijsmeijer
  • @albertfong
  • @pbeens

Technology Troubleshooting

I’ve been doing the #FollowFriday thing for a long time now. It’s a chance to highlight the great collection of Ontario Educators who use Twitter to make connections and share ideas.

In the beginning, quite frankly, it was easy. With the access to the Twitter API, I had written a script to do the heavy lifting for me. But, over the years, access has become more difficult.

These days, my posts are done manually. I actually enjoy doing it because it slows me down and gives me a chance to review the sharing that it done. Such good stuff.

And, for the most part, Twitter is a partner. When you start a name with a @ and start typing, Twitter makes suggestions to names and a press of ENTER autocompletes. Except, every now and again, Twitter stops suggesting names and I’m on my own to type in the complete name. Needless to say, getting the spelling right is crucial.

After my marathon, I’ll go back and check and I’m always impressed that between Twitter and me, we get it right. This past week though, as I checked, there were actually a couple of spelling mistakes. They stand out in a list because they’re the only ones that haven’t been converted to links.

I need to do better.


Video of the Week

Jackie Wilson’s song gets covered by The Boss.


Photo of the Week

This past week, I’ve run into a number of Eastern Fox Snakes. I guess they’re out there catching a few of the remaining summer rays.

This little guy was at our front doorstep! I don’t know if he was lost or just wanted in. He got a guided trip elsewhere!

Thanks for reading. Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting.

dp

This blog post was originally posted at:
https://dougpete.wordpress.com/

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

Whatever happened to …


… TV Dinners?

It was one of those memes on Facebook and Ramona Meharg suggested that this would be a good topic for a Sunday morning post.

TV Dinner Tonight
Thanks, Thomas Hawk – “https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/31841531405

Now, it’s not like they’ve gone away. There are still products available in the local grocery story but, to be honest, I think the last time I had one was when I was in high school.

They were a special treat for us, growing up. Mom would buy them if we were going to be alone and needed a meal. You just put them in the oven and reheat and away you go. I have memories of soggy vegetables, really smooth whipped potatoes and dessert in the form of peach cobbler. (Which we always ate first…)

At the time, these were the only heat ’em up option that made it to our table. Now, there are all kind of quick meals and the microwave oven seems to have made so much difference. My wife is a label reader and the salt content is always one of the first things that she checks. The concept has opened a whole new industry in the M&M shops that are so popular. While the one we had in town has closed, the local Rexall store now carries their products.

My wife had her own spin on these when our fathers were living alone. She would package up our leftovers in little trays, freeze them, and deliver “grandpa dinners” for them to toss in the oven or microwave.

We’ve certainly come so far from the original TV dinner.

For a Sunday morning, your thoughts…

  • Did you enjoy TV dinners as a child? Do you still today?
  • Just what the heck is Salisbury steak?
  • Why does the chicken dinner always have 1 wing, 1 leg, and 1 thigh? And they’re always exactly the same size? What happened to the white meat in the breast?
  • Thinking about this has brought back a couple of company names – Swanson and Banquet – can you name another TV dinner maker?
  • Just what qualifies as a “TV dinner”? In a recent tour of the frozen food aisle at Sobeys, I can find frozen Chinese dinners, frozen pizza, perogies, pot pies … Are they in the same category as the original TV dinner?
  • When you look at the box and design, it seems to have been modelled around Canada’s food guide. Are they as nutritious as they look?
  • Why are the various foods not allowed to touch each other? It’s not like you cook them separately in a TV dinner (although you do in real life if you’re cooking from scratch)
  • I remember that the foil plate was always repurposed for things like paint trays after the dinner. Did you use them for anything else?
  • Did you know that there’s a National TV Dinner day? It’s on September 10. How will you celebrate?

I’d love to read your thoughts about convenience suppers. How about leaving a thought or two in the comments? Ramona, you’re on the hook for this one.

This post is part of a series on:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

That first day


Going back to school was always a big deal for me as a kid. It was important to us; our mom made it such a big deal. It was cool to hook up with our friends in a different setting other than a swimming pool, baseball diamond, or on a bike. It was also a chance to see girls again. They typically didn’t figure into our summer plans.

University was similarly exciting. At both Waterloo and Toronto there was the excitement of first finding the right building and then the right room inside that building. To top it off, there were new friends to make.

I thought that it was all like that in education. It was only when I became a teacher that I realized that there was a difference when you’re on the other side of things.

My first day of teaching was exciting too. I’d been in to organize my classroom, set up computers and accounts for students, read and memorized the teacher manual from front to back, laid out my seating plans, had all the textbooks sorted by their number, and was ready for the big day. I wore my best shirt and tie, suit jacket, and shoes and was good to go. Oh, and I found socks. I hate wearing socks. I had even gone through my class lists test speaking the names so that I was prepared. I’m sure my wife was relieved to see me off.

Then it came. It wasn’t to be a regular school day. There was a staff meeting before and after school and we would run on a shortened period day so that we could see all of our classes. District 34 had had a new teacher day in advance and I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were two other brand new teachers at my school.

The day started.

The staff meeting was interesting. We had a staff of close to 70 but there were no introductions. We just got to it. There was a “Welcome Back” from the principal and then the vice-principal took us through the teacher manual. It was probably designed for the three of us because everyone else in the room was bored and clock watching.

We were reminded that the supervision schedule and study hall kicked in today. (Thankfully, I wasn’t on duty) Importantly, we were told to bring our textbook signups to the library at the end of the day and that there would be no students added or dropped from classes this year. New this year, there would be no interruptions on the PA system during class. They’d save them all to the end of the period. Off we went…

… to our department work area where we had another meeting. There, I got introduced to the rest of the Business Department and we went through the textbook routine again. Apparently, this is a big thing. I vowed to make it right. I also found out that I had “Junior Lunch” today. In all my planning, I hadn’t been considerate to myself.

Next up – homeroom. In retrospect, it would have made sense to give me a Grade 9 class. But, I had Grade 12s and they knew the ropes. I was just trying to figure out which end of the rope was which. Our school didn’t have bells or buzzers to signal the beginning and end of classes so they knew enough to be there at the right time. At least we all stood up for “Oh Canada”.

The rest of the day was spent with mini-classes.

I was prepared. We were going to do attendance, introduce ourselves, hand out textbooks, enjoy some computer jokes, write our first program together and there was a fun history of computing homework assignment to do.

Some of my learnings from there …

  • despite LaSalle being such a big community with a French heritage, the students didn’t like a French pronunciation of their name. Read it as it sounds, sir
  • students hate sitting in alphabetical order. So much for the piece of advice we got at the faculty
  • students were indeed added “on the fly” throughout the day despite the rules that we heard at the staff meeting
  • forget the no messages on the PA system bit. Whenever anyone, including the secretaries, wanted something, they would just “Pardon the interruption but …”
  • there a million different ways to screw up handing out textbooks – “Sir, I’m dropping this course so I don’t want one, I’m not signing that I received this book in good shape – it’s not, how do I know what number this book is?, why do I have to print and then write my name?, I like this one better than that one”
  • I’m not introducing myself – everyone knows me – so glad I hadn’t planned on a ice breaker that required some effort
  • on a shortened day, it’s a run to get to the other end of the school and the staff lunchroom, never mind eating and getting back
  • I have to go to the bathroom – coffee isn’t always a good thing
  • I wasn’t the only one who wanted to go to the bathroom – this will be known as the school with the bad bladders
  • we never got to the jokes and other things like writing our first program were just me dreaming
  • don’t lean against the blackboard with chalk written on it
  • even though the school is air conditioned, it gets hot when you try to look professorial in your suit jacket
  • if you’re sharing a classroom with someone else, they fully expect to get started on time
  • chairs instead of desks seem like a good idea – you know collaboration, groups, etc. But they should be on my terms no some ad hoc whim to talk to a friend
  • timing is everything and I have a lot, a big lot to learn
  • I’m going to have to grow into this class management thing. I had a new appreciation for Whack-a-Mole

It was a really, really long day. By the end of the day, I was convinced this was going to be a lot harder job than I thought. But, I got paid! In my mailbox, there was the advance payment that I’m told covered bills accumulated over the summer.

Then, we’re off to the end of the day meeting. I found out that I had done the textbook signup wrong. It was supposed to be in numeric order and not alphabetic. Plus, I was supposed to bring down the left over books for storage. There was a big debate about whether tomorrow would be Day 1 or Day 2. We had another review of the handbook before being dismissed.

I noticed that there were fewer people at the end of the day meeting. I found out that, if you coached, you could now have practices since the school year had started.

So much for the exciting start to a year and a career. I learned a lot from that experience. The most important thing – Day 1 is all about administration. The real teaching excitement starts on Day 2.

For those of you getting back at it today, I wish you all the best.

My Week Ending 2019-09-01


Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


Readings 

You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • As the new school year looms, so does the discussion about mindsets. This time, it’s about new teachers.
  • For the fan boys and girls, here’s how to clean your Apple credit card because goodness knows you don’t want to buy your next over-priced computer with a dirty one.
  • I always appreciate these posts that include “hidden” features for a product. There’s not hidden necessarily; I just haven’t found them.
  • I never used a behaviour chart. I never felt the need. I doubt that it would do anything more than serve as a challenge for secondary school students.
  • I think that there’s a big sense that the “new” sex education curriculum isn’t terribly different from the original.
  • Is nothing sacred from tampering from the bad guys? In this case, how do you keep them out of your calendar?
  • This should be your back-to-school feel good story if you are in search of one.
  • Libraries are fighting to prove their value to all segments of society. In Philadelphia, they’re reaching out to bakers.
  • If you’re looking for alternatives for the Google Chrome browser, here are seven. As for me, at this moment, I’m using Brave.
  • This might actually have been a topic for “Whatever happened to…” but now they’re coming back.
  • In this whole area of privacy concerns, I’ve often wondered why some bad person hasn’t made the recordings available for download. Maybe we’re just not as interesting as we think we are.
  • Interesting opinion articles about Doug Ford’s classroom. Part 1 Part 2
  • I wonder how big an impact that a change in CEO will make for the Mozilla Foundation.
  • In this collection of 42, there has to be a tool or two that you didn’t know existed.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


#FollowFriday – August 27, 2019

https://wke.lt/w/s/3XD4c9


voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show – https://soundcloud.com/voiced-radio/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs-august-27 with special guest host Beth Lyons.

Intro song:

Blog posts this week came from:


Technology Troubleshooting

I’m writing this on Saturday and it’s the end of the month. Around here, I have a routine for the last of the month. I still have one of those accounts where there is a limited amount of data.

So, there are a few gigs left so I’m going around and updating all my computers and also I got around to doing something that I’ve meant to do for a while.

I updated my Garmin portable GPS unit. Maybe it’s from a time gone by but I get free maps for life so why not take advantage? Sadly, the GPS in my new car doesn’t get updated that way. I have to pay money to update the maps. So, for a lot of time, the little tracker on the unit is in the middle of a field.

Maybe I should get a holder and just use the maps on my phone.


Video of the Week

My earworm for the week…


Photo of the Week

Somebody dragging this out of the Detroit River and left it and its hangers on on the path at the King’s Navy Yard. Interesting look and discover moment.

Thanks for reading. Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting.

dp

This blog post was originally posted at:
https://dougpete.wordpress.com/

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.