Keeping track of things

I know that I’m not the only one that’s afraid of losing things! So often, I’ll be reading a story and want to do something with it or about it later. Just not right now.

Depending upon the urgency, I’ll just leave the tab the resource is open in in my browser so that it’s there. When I get on a roll, that can add up to a bunch of open tabs. It’s particularly noticeable on my Chromebook with its lesser power. There might be light at the end of the tunnel though with an upcoming version of the Chrome browser.

Google is finally bringing one of Chrome’s best mobile features to the desktop

That’s still in the future though.

At present, I have a couple of solutions that have worked really well for me.

The first, I like to think of as things that requiring short term action, is through an extension called OneTab.

For the short term, I’ll send all of my open tabs to OneTab which nicely cleans up the messiness. I don’t send pinned tabs because they’re pinned for a reason. When it’s time to return to the tab, they’re all located in the OneTab page. Just pick the one I want and, voila, it’s back.

For the longer term, I take a different tact. A while back, Peter Beens had introduced me to which worked nicely. Essentially, it bookmarked everything that I sent to Twitter. Sadly, it went away.

Twitter has added a bookmarking service which is kind of handy. It’s more functional than a “like” but still wasn’t quite there. I poked around IFTTT and found a script that was perfect and involves sending links to my Diigo account.

Readers of this blog know that I go one step beyond that and have Diigo write me a blog post daily that summarizes the links. I can then easily go back and pick off a story that I want to use. It also helps for the Sunday afternoon weekly summary post.

So, I’ve got a routine that works for me. It doesn’t matter what computer or what browser I use, it all ends up in the same spot.

And yet, the experimenter in me wonders about this implementation that’s in Chrome’s future. Will it offer a better approach?

Who knows? I’ll undoubtedly give it a shot when it’s available.

In the meantime, what technique(s) do you use? Can you offer me a better suggestion? I’d love to read about it.

My Week Ending 2020-07-26

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


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

  • If you’re afraid of snakes, you might want to steer clear of London, Ontario.
  • This is not good news if you’re ready to open schools and you’ve bought into the concept that students won’t be spreading the virus.
  • We all love the Royals and royal weddings. Certainly, they’re different these days but you have to have pictures.
  • I’m surprised that Google Chrome didn’t already block you from filling in insecure forms. It seems like a simple thing to implement.
  • Forget being misunderstood because of an accent. Sometimes, there are words that you can’t pronounce at all.
  • I hadn’t thought about this but, out of courtesy, I think that we all should adopt this protocol.
  • I think this is a natural reaction of any truck driver ordered to drive into the United States. Safety should be the primary concern for everyone.
  • I installed my first version of Linux (Ubuntu) after an ISTE conference in San Diego. I think the year was 2004 2005. It was easy then, it’s easy now. I held my breath when I chose to dual boot but there wasn’t a hitch. Linux has been installed here ever since.
  • Here’s a collection of coding projects for kids that I think will be guaranteed to inspire.
  • Normally, a bomb found at or near an airport would be a big deal. But, the finds near Pearson just generated a news story.
  • I couldn’t visualize this either so had to look at the picture in the article and I can see why it went viral.
  • I’m guessing that we’re all a little paranoid these days but that doesn’t give you an excuse for dropping your guard against phishers.
  • Who could forget the back to school “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” adverts? Things are different this year.
  • This is a very long and interesting article that will leave you interesting and giving your pet a once over.
  • Some of my best friends are librarians. Here’s an article about eight of them and why they chose that as a career choice.
  • I’m afraid to pay the big bucks for wireless earbuds because I just know that I’ll lose them. Here are some affordable options.
  • Doug Ford is OK for teaching outside. I suppose that might work for some. Let’s hope for a dry September.
  • Mine finds his way home because he’s never left off his leash. This article offers a solution in case he ever does.
  • This is a sentiment that all teachers have. Just what the hell is the plan? Supposedly, Ontario finds out this upcoming week. Or maybe the week after that.

Blog Posts on
doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog are linked below. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.

#FollowFriday – July 24, 2020

voicEd Radio

This week on voicEd Radio with guest Noa Daniel, Stephen Hurley and I chatted about experts, PLNs, learning, looking forward, and mathematics.

Listen here: Stephen hadn’t posted the link to the show as of this writing.

Intro Song:

All of the podcasts are archived here.

Blog posts this week came from:

  • Noa Daniel – @noasbobs
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL
  • Stepan Pruchnicky – @stepanpruch
  • Beth Lyons – @MrsLyonsLibrary
  • Kyle Pearce – @mathletepearce
  • Jon Orr – @MrOrr_geek

Technology Troubleshooting

This week, I learned that my new microphone has two settings for getting its sound.

Apparently, I had it on the wrong one when I recorded This Week in Ontario Edublogs!

The power had gone out here due to the storms and I’m guessing that the default setting isn’t the one I want.

Lesson learned and I’ll be checking in the future.

Video of the Week

In preparation for This Week in Ontario Edublogs, I had to find a link to Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke in honour of guest host Noa Daniel.

Then, I wondered what people ranked his best ever song. According to Ranker, this is it. Not a bad choice at all.

Photo of the Week

Just lying under a tree looking up. I was so impressed with the quality from my little phone.

Thanks for reading.

Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting for you. Time willing, this summary appears every Sunday afternoon.

Be safe.


This blog post was originally posted at:

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

Whatever happened to …

… liquor orders?

Thanks, Ramona Meharg for this inspiration from Facebook this morning.

There was a time in Ontario when you had to buy alcohol sight unseen!

I remember this so well. The LCBO store and the Brewer’s Retail were across the road from each other in our town.

The Brewer’s Retail did have bottles of beer on the shelves so that you could see what they looked like. You still had to approach a seller to place your order on one side of the room and your case came rolling out the other side.

At the LCBO, there were stations with the products listed like above. You’d fill out a card and hand it to the seller who would do in the back to get it for you. The back was always this mysterious place that you might catch a glimpse of through the windows in the door. Then, your order would be brought out, placed discretely in a brown paper bag and out you went.

Boy, things have sure changed.

We have so many options now; going to the LCBO to pick up your order. It’s expanded now to include coolers and even beer. Sometimes, product is even on sale! I never remember anything being on sale back in the day. And, since you weren’t seeing the product before ordering, impulse buying by looking at a fancy label was out of the question.

For a Sunday, your thoughts?

  • do you remember purchasing alcohol this way?
  • these days, you have options. Especially in Essex, Niagara, and Hastings-Prince Edward counties, there are so many local wineries. You can take a drive and pick up a bottle of wine right where it’s bottled. In Essex County, in any other year, we’d have “Explore the Shore” which takes you by so many
  • Ontario has flirted with various drinking ages. How many can you remember?
  • is there a product from the “good old days” of the LCBO that you can’t buy today?
  • some products are even available now in grocery stores with the promise that local variety store might some day join in. How do you feel about that? Were we that prudish in the past?
  • do we have more selection these days or did we just not realize it by not being able to browse the aisles?

I’d sure like to read your thoughts about this! And, thanks, Ramona for throwing that image out into my stream.

This post originates from:

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

Learning about teaching

I won’t be returning to a classroom this fall. It’s probably a good thing because this summer I learned that I had been teaching incorrectly all my career.

I used to open the computer room and my classroom when I got to work (early, generally shortly after 6 so that students could drop in for a workspace or access to computers. Since we had a policy of having no unsupervised spaces, it was a chance to sit and chat/help students with homework.

In my homeroom, often students would come in and ask for a little help with their homework and the challenges they had the night before. That involved being close enough to share the notes. (happy to say that they passed despite my help)

There were times when I coached football that players would come in and play Xs and Os on the chalkboard. I would draw a play and they’d show me how they’d defend it.

As a computer science teacher, there was so much independent work and development as part of the coursework so making the rounds of the classroom and being called in for assistance was teaching as I knew it.

Before homeroom, we were expected to be in the halls to keep students moving instead of congregating around lockers. The same logic applied for between classes and during lunch breaks / after school. My homeroom of 30 had their lockers outside the room; an adjacent homeroom had 30 of them across the hall. That could be a potential of 60 people plus two teachers in a very confined space.

We had supervisions assigned – study hall, hallways during lunch periods, cafeteria supervision, and more. These all required interactions (happy or otherwise) with these young adults.

Coaching football meant locker rooms, team meetings in a classroom to run over plays, half the games being bused to another school, huddles, high fives, two or three water coolers, etc.

Assignments, quizzes, and tests being handed in with the expectation that they would be marked and returned the next day.

Planning sessions with other teachers in the work areas, sharing of materials and ideas, etc.

Classroom activities where students were up and about moving to different locations or working with shared materials. It was fun and sometimes necessary to be in the middle to help out and make it a success.

Oh, and then assemblies and sporting events where we’d open the double gymnasium doors and pack the student population in there. Of course, that also involved directing traffic in the hallways and then having students pick up and stack chairs at the end.

And anyone who has ever been in a classroom as a teacher or a student know that there are more teacher/student interactions.

According to the logic from the Minister of Education, I was doing it all wrong.

From the June 29 edition of the Ottawa Citizen:

Will teachers and students have to wear masks?

For the most part, no. If a teacher is in front of a class, and maintaining two metres of distance, personal protective equipment is not needed, says the ministry.

Teachers can wear a cloth mask if they so chose.

On numerous occasions, the Premier has indicated that he would spare no expense for the safety of students as schools re-open. I presume that he also meant teachers.

But, if I was to follow the Minister’s direction, I would go to my classroom when I get to school – early to avoid students and teachers – and then spend the day at the front of the room and maintain a two metre distance from everyone. In my classroom, that would preclude any walking around due to the placement of the tables. The students could enter and exit from the door and I would stay away from them. Once they’re all seated and facing the front, I could start with writing on the chalkboard. The data projector would be out since it has to be in the middle of the room in order to project large enough.

In my room, there just isn’t enough room to implement the “cabinet shuffle” that we see modeled daily at 1pm. We’ve all become familiar with the drill. A person with a question or point to be made would move to the vertex of a triangle, avoiding the others, to be recognized. Positions are exchanged depending upon who needed to talk.

A washroom to wash hands would be a challenge. On my side of the hall is the women’s washroom; the men’s was around the other side. There was a men’s washroom in the work area but that would mean walking through and possibly come very close to other educators.

There’s also this health thing about groups of people in buildings. Since Windsor and Essex County are still in Stage 2, the rules are pretty strict about that.

So, yeah, I can completely understand it when I hear of teachers afraid of the consequences of returning to school as if nothing has changed.

Feel free to share your comments about your teaching life and things that you do that would be impossible if you kept a distance of two metres from students at the front of the class.

Learning about people

and myself in the process.

I’ve always been a people watcher. Like ants in an anthill, we all move about doing whatever it is that we’re supposed to be doing. Sometimes it’s in a random fashion; other times it’s very organized. These days, random is bad; organized is good. Let me tell you about yesterday.

One of my wife and my “together” things is grocery shopping. That’s been cut back quite a bit these days as the local grocery store encourages only one person per family while shopping. Since I have a sincere need to impulse buy, more often than not, I’m the one left out. It’s easier on the finances

Yesterday, we needed a couple of things but there was a loaf of banana bread going in the oven. Questioning my ability to take it out when the beeper went, I elected to go shopping instead.

So, I took the ever-present post-it note and off my mask and I went. The post-it note items weren’t in “shopping order” but I should be able to figure it out. Fortunately, there wasn’t a need to line up and I went right in. A shot of hand sanitizer and I was off. Even though I was only to pick up two or three things, I knew my shortcomings and so grabbed a cart.

Like most stores these days, there are arrows on the floors to direct you through the maze that’s a supermarket. Actually, the aisles are kind of easy since they just go east and west; it’s the fruits, vegetables, and breads section that is on 45 degree angles. Here, following the arrows is more difficult.

Within seconds, I realized that there are two kinds of people. Those that follow arrows and those that don’t. I realize that I’m in the former category. After all, I’m a product of the educational system and we know all about rules. Especially these days. A few of the others not so much. There was a moment when I realized why people get angry in public places. This lady had gone against the arrows and was checking out the watermelons. That was on my list. So, I could stand there and wait; I could cause an altercation; or I could opt for something else. The apples looked nice.

I’ve been through that store a million times and should have the location of everything memorized. But, the wine section seemed to have tripled or more in size and so some things had been moved. I lingered at the wine section for a while admiring all the labels and then pulled the trigger. Who doesn’t like a good bottle of Australian Shiraz?

I had to pick up eggs. I knew exactly where to find them because they’re in the refrigerated case at the back. I also knew that if I brought home eggs with any pre-cracked I’d be in trouble so I’d better check them before picking them up. As it turns out, there was a short line of others who were following the same directions. I couldn’t substitute eggs so I had no choice but to stay in line. You see, if I followed the arrows away from the eggs, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d be able to loop around and get back here again.

Next up, shaving gel. I’ve bought it a million times and knew exactly where it was. Confidently, I strode up the aisle and turned to where I thought it should be. Shampoo! They’d moved the shaving stuff backwards and I had walked right by it. Now, I could turn right and walk back to get it but that’s going against the arrows. There were people watching. Then, wisdom from my Driver’s Ed teacher clicked in. Four lefts equals one right. I did the loop and that took me down the dog food aisle. Oh, Jaimie would like these treats so I grabbed a bag so that it looked like I was going there on purpose. A couple more lefts and I was in front of the shaving gel and got some.

By now, I had weaved my way up and down aisles and I was at the far side of the store. I was at the frozen dinner aisle and nothing there was on my list. I was at the end. So, apparently were the arrows. There was no indication on the floor about how to get back. I looked to the left and there were no arrows. Off I went!

This section could best be described as the craft beer and waffles centre of the store. With no arrows though, I felt a sense of freedom and relaxed just a bit. I better buy something because, well, just because. I got some Walkerville craft beer. David Garlick would be proud of me supporting his old hood.

Now, the final challenge – how to get to the cashouts. All the arrows were going against me. I paused for a minute, I’m sure I looked like a dummy pretending I was interested in a box of waffles, until people had passed. Swiftly, I walked again the arrows and got to the checkouts. There was a young lady there directing us to balance off the lines and to sterilize things between customers. I did now have more than eight items and I needed a register that would check out alcohol. No problem.

A squirt of exit sanitizer and I was out of there.

My learnings:

  • not everyone follows the rules
  • following the rules and the arrows can be stressful
  • I understand why people are concerned about the amount of alcohol consumption these days
  • I fully appreciate why people phone in their orders and get curb pickup
  • My wife is a saint for navigating all this so much better than me