Dark again


Today marks the fifth day of withdrawl of services from OSSTF members. The following districts are affected.

• Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
• District School Board Ontario North East
• Moose Factory Island District Area School Board
• James Bay Lowlands Secondary School Board
• Rainbow District School Board
• Bluewater District School Board
• Upper Grand District School Board
• Wellington Catholic District School Board
• Durham District School Board
• Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
• Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board
• Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
• Upper Canada District School Board
• Conseil scolaire de district catholique des Grandes Rivières
• Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien
• Provincial Schools Authority

Plus a number of French Language schools as indicated here.

I will show my support by leaving this blog dark for today.

My Week Ending 2020-01-12


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’ve always been a fan of alternatives to Microsoft’s Powerpoint. One reason is that I’m too cheap to buy it and I’ve seen so many bad presentations from people who can afford it or have someone else buy it for them. Some of the alternatives just seem more interesting and engaging.
  • Ottawa isn’t a place that we visit all that often but do get there every now and again. So, it always seems like it’s changed already.
  • Probably a good read for everyone, not only those who have elected to pay the big bucks for AirPods. Earwax is gross everywhere.
  • When you fly in an airplane, you just assume that all of the maintenance has been done. You don’t walk around and inspect. Actually, you’re not even given that opportunity. It must be sickening to look out the window and see a wheel come off though.
  • Sony is getting into the electric car business. I’m still at a loss to identify places around here to charge one though.
  • Sadly, stories about people actually constructing something with technology in the classroom rather than some of the more passive approaches are few and far between. Portfolios are a good construction activity.
  • The concept sounds kind of sugarish and gross to me but I will try Timbits cereal when they appear in the grocery store.
  • For someone like me who is impressed with sandbars, these are absolutely gorgeous.
  • I’m in the camp of believing that we’re not alone in the universe – just our part of it. Could this be the sign that there are others out there?
  • What if the fix for Y2K was just a patch and pushed solutions off to a future generation and that generation is us?
  • This is a good article for computer science teachers to read about even though it uses the term “coding”. I know that most prefer “programming” but the premise here is that it should be taught differently.
  • If it was Google or Microsoft that was scanning your images, it would be spying but if it’s Apple, it’s OK. Forgetting that, child abuse needs to be stopped everywhere.
  • Much has been written and said about Harry and Meghan moving to Canada. I’m happy to see them doing what works for them and not some centuries old concept.
  • If this truly is our native language, then I’m totally illiterate.
  • I’m in love with any article that indicates that coffee is good for you.
  • There hasn’t been much, if anything, good written about the Boeing 737 Max airliner. This isn’t good.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


#FollowFriday – January 10, 2020

https://wke.lt/w/s/EBMJ2_


voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show – https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs-cars-strangers-konmaring-oneword-bulletin-boards/

Special appearance from Diana Maliszewski

Intro song

Blog posts this week came from:

  • @MzMollyTL
  • @jcasatodd
  • @DebbieDonsky
  • @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • @DrDWestonPhD
  • @banana29
  • @leftyeva

Technology Troubleshooting

This is troubleshooting advice that’s good for everyone.

Although, who writes cheques anymore these days. But, I’ll bet that you do sign contracts.

The advice is to make sure that you write the year out in full – 2020 lest you just get used to the short January 12, 20. It doesn’t take a professional counterfeiter to change that to January 12, 2010.

Another good piece of advice is to put a bit of flourish or extra to your writing. Even something as simple of ensuring that you finish the date or your signature off with a period that’s really noticeably ensures that it’s your writing.

I draw the line at drawing a heart though.


Video of the Week

We’ve lost another amazing musician.


Photo of the Week

The rising water is going to float the sandbox pretty soon! Until then, the waterslide is an option.

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 …


… digital snowflakes?

Sometimes, geeks do things just because we can.

It was probably 10 years or so ago when I last did this. There was this big deal to have snowflakes come down from the top of the screen on your website. Typically, this happened in December to celebrate winter, Christmas and just outright geekery.

We weren’t using the same web tools that we have today. Web pages were created from scratch using a text editor or later a tool like Dreamweaver or Netscape’s Composer. We weren’t afraid of hard coding everything that appeared when you visited our website. Actually, we had no other option.

Someone, somewhere had written code to make it snow on their screen. So, we were off to “reveal source” and borrow the code for our own webpages. Since we had the actual code, it was easy to tweak for a different purpose or different effects.

I remember a particular challenge that I never solved. While the snow as falling on the screen, if you happened to click on a snowflake while aiming for a link, the link wouldn’t work. It was layered behind the snow. One of the things that we had a bit of fun with was making the web page unusable by coding a “blizzard”. Why? Just because we could.

I never could figure out how to ignore the snowflake layer and make the link work regardless. I didn’t spend huge amounts of time trying to figure it out but, quite honestly, I did devote some time to it.

For a Sunday morning, your wintery thoughts as we recover from a tremendous rainstorm. (at least it isn’t snow …)

  • do you recall the days of visiting snowy websites?
  • did you ever code snowflakes on a webpage?
  • have you run into a website in your recent travels that is snowing?
  • would you consider the concept cool or annoying?
  • what other features have you seen that you would consider annoying and should be stopped?

As always, I’d be interested in your thoughts. Please share them in the comments below.

All of the posts from this regular Sunday series are available here. You’ll also find a link to a padlet where you can add a suggestion or two for a future post.

This post originally appeared at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

Dark again


Today marks the fourth day of withdrawl of services from OSSTF members. The following districts are affected.

  • Algoma District School Board
  • Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board
  • Greater Essex County District School Board
  • Avon Maitland District School Board
  • Peel District School Board
  • District School Board of Niagara
  • Limestone District School Board
  • Renfrew County District School Board
  • Superior-Greenstone District School Board

Plus a number of French Language schools as indicated here.

I will show my support by leaving this blog dark for today.

My Week Ending 2020-01-05


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.

  • Just in time for the cold and flu season, some of the myths get proved wrong. Have you got your flu shot yet?
  • Forget the history of the last decade and return to Y2K. This is all about how Canada got ready for the big problems that actually didn’t arise.
  • It’s the best solution for those who are still running Windows 7 and know that support is coming to an end. And, instead of paying and upgrading to Windows 10, why not Linux?
  • It’s the season for click-bait stories and I went for this one about someone’s favourite things on the Internet.
  • Teachers are amazing human beings. Here’s a look back at inspirational moments from teachers.
  • One of the most shared “worst of” stories of the year. I wonder how many people actually read the list or just passed it on. Lots to agree with; lots to disagree with but it’s just another opinion piece after all.
  • This will probably make next decade’s worst of stories but I believe that IoT will have a big impact. Use it wisely.
  • Stuff stolen in Canada. Sad. But, hang in there to the end of the article and it will restore your faith in Canadians.
  • I read these bad passwords articles all the time. I wonder why it’s limited to 2019. I can honestly say that none of my passwords have appeared in the articles that I’ve read….yet!
  • Resistance is futile. What else can I say? Just when you think you’re ahead of the game, big tech overtakes.
  • This is a sobering story about all the internet use that we all are guilty of. What’s the impact on the environment?
  • Here we go again with another strategic walkout from OSSTF. This time, it’s local.
  • We’ve actually become big fans of McDonald’s coffee. I refuse to pay Starbuck’s prices and to stand in line at Tim Horton‘s behind someone who wants a bagel lightly toasted, a bit of margarine, some cream cheese, and … I remember when it was a very convenient place to get a great cuppa.
  • Exhibit A for a reminder that silly things you say in the past will come back to haunt you. Big time.
  • This is a must read article for students who doubt that Google or some other search engine will find them. This is how.
  • Enhancements for smartphones are mind-blowing. But they still don’t answer the question – you need to pay over $1000 for one.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.


#FollowFriday – January 3, 2020

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


voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show – https://voiced.ca/podcast_episode_post/december-31-looking-back-twioe-in-2019/

Intro song

Blog posts this week came from:


Technology Troubleshooting

My old iPod Nano went through the new washing machine. It still works but the battery is kaputskies. It doesn’t make for a companion for a dog walking.

So, for Christmas, my lovely wife bought me a new iPod Touch. Great! I plugged it into my MacBook Pro and was delighted that it offered to copy a backup over. Great again! I let it do its thing and returned to check it out.

Sadly, and even though I think I backup regularly, it restored a really old version. Now, if it was just the music, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

But, somehow it backed up with an email address that I no longer have access to. On the Apple Store, I’ve changed to the one that I use but that wasn’t good enough for this iPod.

With the integration with iCloud, it would ask me every 3 seconds it seems to log into that account. I CAN’T APPLE. Just let me do a restore or go back to factory settings. No go as far as I can see because it expects me to log out of the account that I can’t log in to.

My solution? Just turn the wifi off. It plays music very nicely.


Video of the Week

More click bait for Doug.


Photo of the Week

My wife and I went to Bright Lights Windsor and one of the tunnels made a nice backdrop for a selfie/wifey.

I need to learn how to handle a short person in such a shot.

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 …


… Keith Jackson?

This one is just for me. And, maybe for you or for a broadcaster of your favourite genre.

New Year’s Day is special around here. At 11:00, everything stops and we watch the Rose Bowl parade. Pro tip – watch it on KTLA since there are no commercials.

The design of the floats and the implementation with all the natural content is simply amazing. I’ve also joked that the Simon Norton museum has to be the best example of product placement ever. As the floats turn onto Colorado Boulevard, every camera shot has the museum in the background. A fun activity is to head to Google Maps and so a Streetview of the actual parade route. On January 1, it was marked nicely.

Later in the afternoon, there is of course, the Rose Bowl football game. The size and layout of the stadium never fails to impress. For years, the announcer of the game was Keith Jackson. With the Rose Bowl and all of the other college games he called, there was always something special. Jackson had a certain presence on the show and you knew that it was a special game when he got the assignment.

He could turn the most boring of plays and of games into exciting ones just by his voice. And, as much as I enjoy watching football, I will admit that it can drag by at times.

If you ever heard “Whoa Nellie”, you can never unhear it.

These days, I’d be hard pressed to give the name of an announcer that is associated with US College football. There doesn’t appear to be anyone who has the uniqueness and mannerisms of Keith Jackson. You probably can’t blame the current group of announcers; it may well be a tactical decision by the networks to have a cookie-cutter type of approach. It seems that anyone who wants to exude personality and move to the cutting edge is on the pre-game show. Maybe that way it can be recorded rather than taking chance on something coming out live?

Thankfully, we have YouTube to make sure that we never forget that wonderful call. Sadly, Keith Jackson is no longer with us.

For a Sunday, how about some thoughts about Jackson and/or the Rose Bowl?

  • can you name an announcer or show host that is synonymous with its content?
  • like any good announcer, Keith Jackson broadcast other sports. Can you name some of?
  • are you a fan of the Rose Bowl parade?
  • in what city can you find the Rose Bowl?
  • other than the Big 10 / PAC 12 matchup, what else is the Rose Bowl known for/as?
  • what’s the nickname for the Rose Bowl game? If you’ve ever watched the game, you’ve heard it many times

I know this topic may be a little niche for some but if you’ve got a thought or two, please share in the comments.

“Whatever happened to …” is a regular Sunday post around here. You can check all the previous posts here. I’m always open to ideas for a future post. Just let me know.

This post appears at:

https://dougpete.wordpress.com

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

In praise of a career


This week, longtime friend Alfred Thompson released this blog post.

A Brief Career Memoir

Alfred is planning to hang up his teaching mouse this year and I was prompted to reflect back on his career – at least the parts that connected with me. It was an interesting read and caused me to think of the number of times that our paths have crossed. He was even good enough to take the time to be interviewed for this blog. While it seemed like yesterday, I guess it’s coming up on seven years now.

Alfred, in his post, identifies four distinct career choices. I’m guessing that we met during his evangelist years. I have some “Alfred” memories that I’d like to share from my years of knowing this gentleman.

A memorable presentation – this goes back a few years when one of the hottest thing in Computer Science education was developing applications for the various platforms. At a CSTA Conference, we decided to put together a fast paced presentation and had an iOS, Android, and Windows mobile section and they each showed how to develop an app in 15 minutes. The app was a “tip calculator” and of course, Alfred was the Windows developer. As proctor, I got to introduce and also be close enough to snap this picture. And, this may be one of the pictures where he’s not wearing his signature hat.

Exchanging stuff – it’s customary at international hockey games to exchange gifts and Alfred and I have done this for a while. From him, I got a collection of the resources that he distributed in K-12 Computer Science. But, the neatest thing happened when micro:bits came on the scene. He had advertised that he was using them in his class. When I asked him what he was doing with them, he asked “do you want one?”. It arrived a couple of days later and is still the one I play around with when I’m coding. At one time, Alfred mentioned that he was a fan of ketchup potato chips from his visits to Canada. As such, if I know our paths will cross, I’ll throw some in my luggage for him. I’ve learned that a bag doesn’t travel well so switched to Pringles. Sadly, they don’t x-ray well at the airport and I’ve had some interesting conversations with security agents. But they do eventually get through and into his hands.

Curriculum discussions – Getting Computer Science teachers together inevitably leads to a discussion about what to teach. Unlike other subject areas, Computer Science is a moving target. I’m happy to talk about the Ontario Computer Studies Curriculum and he’s equally as happy to talk about the Advanced Placement courses that he teaches. Both of us like to use interesting problems for computer solution in the classroom. That’s not as easy as it sounds so it’s great when people share these sort of concepts.

Partners in Learning – Alfred introduced me to this Microsoft program. It’s an evolving resource on the Microsoft website and certainly worth visiting annually during the event. A few years ago, Alfred invited me to the PIL event in Washington. I was given a “Media” pass and the only hook was that I had to write a blog post or two. As you can imagine, that was right up my alley. The cool thing was that, since he’s so well connected, I got introduced to so many different people. And, I got to the sit in the front row for keynotes.

Fodder for writing – The Partners in Learning event isn’t the only place that our paths have crossed. I didn’t realize how often but just did a search for “Alfred Thompson” in this blog. Wow, 29 pages of results! What’s strange about Computer Science teachers and their use of technology, there aren’t that many consistent bloggers. But, Alfred is one and constantly inspires. He also appears to be a fan of my “Whatever happened to …” series and has given some ideas for posts. And, there’s payback – I’m referenced on his blog too.

Technology and social media – There’s no doubt that if Alfred had a paper cut, it would bleed blue. He makes no bones about it and it only makes sense with the connections that he’s made over the years. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he took that course using Ubuntu… A favourite moment was watching him demonstrate how to log into a computer with facial recognition. It eventually worked but maybe the sweat from all the pressure kind of delayed the process.

That hat

Enough said

Family – if you follow Alfred on social media, it doesn’t take long before the conversation turns to his family. He talks with great pride about this father, wife, son, and now grandson. Spending more time with family will be the next big thing for him. I just hope that he keeps blogging!

It was interesting to see him pare a career with so many twists and turns into a single post. In some ways, some of the experiences that he shares mirror what I went through so I found it so engaging. I wish him all the best for the future.