Thursday, July 31, 2008

Web2.0 Wordle



As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am going back and reviewing the 23 things, hoping to crystallize my summer's learning, beginning with the difference between web1.0 and 2.0.

In yesterday's comments (Misty2.0), I gave a general overview, but this morning I went back and looked at specific comments made in connection with each of the "things," highlighted key words or ideas associated with each application and the web2.0 movement overall (see specific quotes and highlighting below), and then from those key words, I created a wordle.

(Haven't seen wordle yet? Give it a google, and it will pop right up. Hours of great fun to be had there, so make sure you have some time to spend...)

Anyway, I like the effect created: the words really capture the essence of 2.0 technologies. What would a wordle for 1.0 look like? It would probably be limited to a few words like "log-on, " "read," "link" and "log-out." Simple, one-sided and limited in comparison to 2.0, huh?

I think I've got it now? Do you? Could you really explain to a colleague, better yet a parent or older friend or relative what the difference is? Even more important, could you hold your own in a conversation among the technologically literate? Let's try it today and see if it works!

_______________________________________________________
Quotes that formed the creation of the wordle...Keywords in orange!
"Flickr is a photo-sharing website where anyone can upload and tag photos, browse others’ photos, and add comments and annotations. Users can create photo sets and collections to manage content, and participate in topical groups to cultivate a sense of community. Launched in February 2004, Flickr embodies what has come to be known as Web 2.0 technology. The site provides the tools, but the value derives from the contributions of the user community—photos, comments, ratings, and organization—and the connections that the site facilitates between individuals. Flickr also provides a range of privacy settings, giving users considerable control over how their photos can be used."
http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7034.pdf

In technology, a mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool;The architecture of Mashup web applications is always composed of three parts:- The content provider: it is the source of the data. Data is made available using an API and different Web-protocols such as RSS, REST, and Web Service- The Mashup site: is the web application which provides the new service using different data sources that are not owned by it.- The client web browser: is the user interface of the Mashup. In a web-application, the content can be mashed by the client web browsers using client side web language for example JavaScript.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mashup_(web_application_hybrid)

Web Mashup = API [1] + API [2] + API [N]
A web mashup is a website or web application that uses content from more than one source to create a completely new service.
Content used in mashups is typically sourced from a third party via a public interface or so called API. http://www.webmashup.com/

Flickr has an open Application Programming Interface (API for short). This means that anyone can write their own program to present public Flickr data (like photos, video, tags, profiles or groups) in new and different ways. There's a long list of API methods available to you to work with, and we love it when this happens, so... go forth and play! http://www.flickr.com/services/

Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one pole is a vision of total control — a world in which every last use of a work is regulated and in which “all rights reserved” (and then some) is the norm. At the other end is a vision of anarchy — a world in which creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to exploitation. Balance, compromise, and moderation — once the driving forces of a copyright system that valued innovation and protection equally — have become endangered species.
Creative Commons is working to revive them. We use private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, our ends are cooperative and community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian. We work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them — to declare “some rights reserved.” http://creativecommons.org/about/

Although we generally equate Google with web searching, that's not what this "thing" is about. Google also has a variety of free web tools that can be particularly useful in education.Calendar - lets you organize your schedule and share it with family and friends.iGoogle - gives you a customizable home page where you can add links, news feeds, gadgets, etc. (Be sure and look at the gadgets - these are really fun!).Google Notebook - lets you clip and collect information into an online notebook as you do research on the Web. It can be shared with others.
http://library2play.blogspot.com/2007/11/thing-7-cool-google-tools.htmlGoogle

In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionizing the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information. As leaders in the acquisition of information, it is one Web 2.0 tool that you MUST know how to use and use regularly.

What is LibraryThing?
LibraryThing is a site for book lovers.
LibraryThing helps you create a library-quality catalog of your books. You can do all of them or just what you're reading now.
And because everyone catalogs online, they also catalog together. LibraryThing connects people based on the books they share.

The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs according to the article about blogging from Wikipedia. A blog is a vehicle for a group of people with common interests to communicate, share, and learn in spite of barriers of time and distance.http://library2play.blogspot.com/2007/11/thing-12-roll-your-own-search-tool.html

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My sister's podcast

http://www.switchpod.com/users/nmcmath/summerditties.wav

Misty2.0

Have I told you all about my nephew Jimmy? (Good Lord, you may be thinking, How many nephews does this woman have? Five, to be precise, and five nieces, too!) Twenty-three and blessed with a college degree, a good job with an oil-field support company, the love and support of his family, a cute little house, and a loyal dog, Jim lives a pretty sweet life.

Add to the aforementioned qualities his classical good looks, and you have what matchmakers and mothers of single women refer to as " a good catch."

Although girls have always flocked around Jimmy, I particularly like his current girlfriend Misty. A dark-haired, dark-eyed nursing student putting herself through school while working at a fast food restaurant, she should not be mistaken with the other Misty, the one he dated a few years back... In fact, to lessen the chances of confusion, the family affectionately refers to the two girls as Misty1.0 and Misty2.0.

When I first heard the moniker, I understood 2.0 to represent an newer (and hopefully improved) version of the original, but my knowledge was limited to Jimmy's dating life - I had no real comprehension of what these terms meant in the world of technology. That is, until I started to learn2play.

Looking back, there was no "thing" that required us to define web2.0 and explain its fundamental difference from web1.0, but it seems like it would have been a good idea, in fact a good place to start, an organizing concept of sorts. It could have been one of the 23 things: explore the basic differences between web1.0 and 2.0. Surely Wikipedia has some quick entry on the topic?

(I'm going to be embarrassed if there was and I just missed it, but honestly I don't think there was... I'll go back and double-check just to be sure. Well, you know what? Even if there was and I didn't give it full attention, I am now, so there! I stick to my principle that learning occurs when it is needed! Anyway, I digress...)

So, just for my own purposes, and yours too if you care to play along, I'm going to begin reviewing what I've learned beginning with the difference between 1.0 and 2.0. From computer guru Tim O'Reilly as cited in howstuffworks.com:

"Here's a collection of strategies O'Reilly considers to be part of the Web 1.0 philosophy:
Web 1.0 sites are static. They contain information that might be useful, but there's no reason for a visitor to return to the site later. An example might be a personal Web page that gives information about the site's owner, but never changes. A Web 2.0 version might be a blog or MySpace account that owners can frequently update.

Web 1.0 sites aren't interactive. Visitors can only visit these sites; they can't impact or contribute to the sites. Most organizations have profile pages that visitors can look at but not impact or alter, whereas a wiki allows anyone to visit and make changes.

Web 1.0 applications are proprietary. Under the Web 1.0 philosophy, companies develop software applications that users can download, but they can't see how the application works or change it. A Web 2.0 application is an open source program, which means the source code for the program is freely available. Users can see how the application works and make modifications or even build new applications based on earlier programs. For example, Netscape Navigator was a proprietary Web browser of the Web 1.0 era. Firefox follows the Web 2.0 philosophy and provides developers with all the tools they need to create new Firefox applications. "

So, to recap web1.0 is static, non-interactive, and proprietary. That suggests that in contrast web2.0 is constantly changing, interactive, and shared. How true is that definition? For the next couple of days I'm going to go back and look at the 23 assignments, testing them against that precept. This might seem a bit redundant or after the fact for those among you who are quicker than I, but I know that others of us need it so have patience, please.

As for the two Misty's, some review might be prudent, as well. Is Misty2.0 flexible, interactive, and sharing? Is she an improvement over the limitations of Misty1.0? Well, she came to all of our family celebrations this weekend, and she tolerated stories, late nights, and dancing to the sweet strains of "Brick House" and "Play That Funky Music White Boy." Those qualities along give her an advantage in my book. Let's keep her!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thing #23 - Skip the Face Lift





Women, I think, are especially sensitive to issues of aging. And how can they not? Society seems to equate beauty with youth; hence young is beautiful and old is not.


Need proof? Just look at any magazine! The predominance of ads for "cosmeceuticals" like Botox, Strivectin, and Restalane (sp?) and "non-invasive restorative procedures" like light-line peels and dermabrasion reinforce the notion that the youth is synonymous with worth. And, I have to admit that at the age of 41, I am susceptible to this line of thinking: I don't want to look old, and far worse, I don't want to feel old!


So, does this have anything to do with web2.0, or has Laura plucked one too many gray hairs? Believe it or not, this argument relates directly to the learn2play initiative! How, you might ask? Well, this summer I've discovered that the key to perpetual youth comes not from a potent serum or in-office procedure, but from two other sources: one, the desire to learn, and two, staying current with the times.


Just to give you all a little background, I'd always considered myself fairly computer literate; however, my knowledge was born of a need to complete some assignment rather than any desire to stay current with technology. Like so many other "digital immigrants" (otherwise categorized as anyone over the age of 35), I felt overwhelmed by the ever-changing landscape of cyberspace and like I could never catch up.

Ultimately, I decided that I wasn't even going to try - I would do what I had to for work purposes, but as far as blogging and networking and chatting went, that was a fad better left for the "kids". Now does that sound like an old person, or what? You remember hearing your own parents say something like that and thinking that they were soooooo old? What I didn't realize was that in consciously deciding against an opportunity to grow and learn, in choosing to let something pass me by, I had indeed begun to age. And old I grew, far beyond my years.

That is, until I learned to play. For the details of my learning you can look back at my earlier posts. To say that I've worked hard and learned a lot would be a great understatement. And there is still the slightly galling knowledge that this stuff is so natural to others: even last night, as I tried to explain to my 18-year-old nephew Sam the great accomplishments of my summer, he just said "Oh, really?" as if mentally texting to his friends, "OMG: It's nt rokt scinc!" Well, it isn't to him and all of those others seemingly born with a cellphone in one hand and a keyboard in the other. But for others of us, the huddled masses of cyberspace, the journey has been amazing.

However, the joy of Learn2play was not limited to the concrete lessons gained therein. A larger and completely unexpected source of joy grew out of the relationships formed along the way. Instead of a cold and impersonal experience with a mute computer screen, I found the warmth and camaraderie of other educators, who like myself ,were just venturing into the darker reaches of cyberspace: SJThinker, Infomaniac, Daydreamsintechnicolor, and Readerbuzz are just a few of the friends made along the way.

And of course, there is my dear sister Frogntoad. (For those of you who don't know, she really is my sister. Not a "sista" but my biological sister.) Though we live hundreds of miles and hours apart, we have worked through these "things" together, sharing our discoveries and disappointments alike. I love her all the more for undertaking this with me. But, come to think of it, she has always been willing to hold my hand along the way...

With the companionship of my Learn2play friends and my family, and with the satisfaction of each "thing" completed, I found renewed confidence and enthusiasm for myself as a student of technology, and more importantly as a student of the world.

So, would I do this again? You bet! Even if the same exact class were offered next summer, I'd take it again. Anything to keep learning. Anything to stay current. Anything to avoid growing old, old, old.

So, to sum it all up in one sentence, I'd say this: skip the face lift and try Learn2play instead.


ps - Some of you may have noticed that the original image associated with this post has been deleted. Rather than spend time in the circle of hell reserved for those who run fast and loose with copyright laws, I thought I'd go back and amend some of my posts. Hope the new photo from Flickr's Creative Commons satisfies as much as the first did...

ldk

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thing #22 - What is in a name?








As you all probably could have predicted, I wasn't much of a math student throughout my early years. That side of my brain didn't really kick in until later in life... No, I was born a right-brainer: words, language, reading, writing, and expression were more to my liking.

Math, not so much. I can't explain what it was that eluded my comprehension, but I always felt lost. As early as 3rd grade and long division I remember having difficulty with math. I don't know why - My mother and father - they were math people. They got it. I can remember my mother looking at a division problem and saying, "Oh, 499 divided by 19? That's easy! Just round 499 up to 500 and 19 up to 20, and you know that the answer is one more than 25." I thought she was speaking another language. I could only solve the problem one way, and poorly at that.


So, my career as a mathematics student was spent trying to achieve invisibility, praying that I wouldn't be called on and thereby expose my ignorance. I never, never, asked a question. Never. I feared that one question would reveal the depth of my ineptitude, that my teachers would look at me and think (or far worse, proclaim aloud to the whole math lovin' world) "That child is as dumb as a stump! We need to send her back to elementary school and start all over again!" And as teachers, haven't we all felt this way? We know, despite platitudes that suggest otherwise, there really are some dumb questions. Well, I wasn't going to be the one to ask the dumb questions then, and I hesitate to do so now.


Oh, so you are realizing I have a potentially stupid question? I'll bet a number of you all do, as well. I find myself thinking that some of these "things" are awfully similar. Blogs, wikis and nings? Aren't they all pretty much the same?


I have to stop and apologize to our kickball captains right now. Can't you hear them? "Good Grief! Didn't she read the information? Didn't she follow the links? Send her back to Thing#1 and make her start all over again!"


Hoping to avoid the scenario described above, I read everything on the learn2play pages about the three networks. And here's what I found... the answer to my own question! Yes, Virginia, they are very similar! All are social networking sites, and all hope to capitalize on the idea of exponential growth. Anyone can create a blog, wiki, or ning, invite a few friends to join, and watch it grow as users continue to spread the word. Once the group gets large enough and loses some of its focus, sub-groups, splinter groups, sects, and special interest groups can split off and form their own social networks. (This ,by the way, is exactly what the creators hope for... More users equal more money!)


For example, what once started as a group of ten friends in the Houston/Galveston area interested in baking could easily grow into a group of 1000 people from all over the country sharing recipes, tips, etc. And little subgroups could form and break off- a cupcake coalition, a pat-in-the-pan party, another for fondant aficionados, a sarcher torte sect, cobbler, slump, and grunt groups - just imagine all of the possibilities.


Ok, so wikis, blogs, and nings are social networks, but what differentiates each? Well, at this point I can only speak to nings, but here is what I figured out. (Oh, I have attached my sources below...)
Nings (Chinese for peace, apparently...) seem to have three advantages the other social networking options don't: one, the groups of users are more focused around a central subject - let's say the work of the new poet laureate Kay Ryan. Users might share her poetry, offer analysis and insights, report on sightings and book signings, etc. There would be no reason for a fly-fishing expert or professional card stacker to intrude and leave some random remark or post an off-color limerick.


Another reported advantage is that the conversations are reportedly easier to follow than the strings on wikis and blogs. You know how you often have to work backwards through blog entries to find the original topic? Apparently nings resolve this dilemma by posting the original topic first and subsequent discussions follow chronologically.


A third feature that might be of some interest is discretion. Nings seem to offer a little more privacy than other sites - an advantage over purely social sites like myspace and facebook. As a teacher, this offers a definite advantage: there is something creepy about too much familiarity with your students. I remember as a twenty-year-old student teacher, a young man asked me "If I see you at a club, will you dance with me?" And thus began my career as a hermit... Seriously, there are some parts of a teacher's life that should remain private, don't you think? (Like her midriff, and hence my argument against low-rise jeans!)


And students need their privacy, too. Of course, we know that the high degree of disclosure encouraged by myspace and facebook users offer little protection, but that is another argument altogether... Anyway,with nings we don't have to worry about bumping into each other in cyberspace. (Unless, say, we share a passion for rapper Fiddy Cents.)
Nings are more exclusive than other social networks, even to the extent of invitation only sites. So, if you wanted a place to organize your upcoming family vacation, and you didn't want the whole world to have access to the details, a invitation-only ning would be perfect for you!

Focus, ease in following discussions, and privacy - these are just a few of the qualities that separate nings from the other networks out there. There are probably a myriad of other features and subtleties that I missed, but I am satisfied with my answer for now. Calculus might scare me, but nings don't!





Sources:




Monday, July 14, 2008

Thing 21 - How much is enough?

Wisdom can come from some unlikely sources, can't it?

As proof, I offer the words of country singer Jerry Jeff Walker, comedian - and I use that term lightly- Larry the Cable Guy, and the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu. (I wonder if those names have ever before been connected? Are country-western aficionados, self-proclaimed rednecks and scholars alike wincing at the very thought of it?) Let me explain...

Looking around the playground, there have been plenty of bloggers content to experiment with the web2.0 technologies, write up a little blurb, and move on. Short and simple, maybe too much so, but they get the job done.

You know by now that I am not one of those people,. Instead of viewing these 23 Things as assignments to be checked off a list, I feel compelled to create something meaningful. I awaken in the wee hours of the morning, log on, and begin work. And generally I am rewarded for my efforts. I either manage to complete the assignment in a way that is pleasing or I write a response with which I am pleased.

Not this time, my friends. Thing 21 has been the source of four days' frustration, and I am ready to call it quits. Why? Well, I had used photostory before with great results, making a movie for my nephew's graduation(See insert below. You might want a hankie, even if you don't know him...), another for back-to-school night, and a third over The Canterbury Tales for use with my seniors. Since I felt fairly adept with that application, I thought I'd try something new. Wrong move.

I signed up with Audacity and began making podcasts, playing around with readings from Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings and James Whitcomb Riley's "Little Orphan Annie." The skill set required is fairly elementary, but to get quality results some non-standard equipment is needed, namely a microphone. And a quiet house. And the ability to make peace with the sound of your own voice.

After roughly 15 - 20 readings of Welty's work and an equal number of Riley's, I never could get past the sound of my own voice. In short, the timbre and pitch was vaguely reminiscent of an old boozer still awaiting her first snort of the day. The link to one of my many attempts is included below; however, I would not encourage anyone to actually listen to it. (Unless you want a good laugh. My sister, by the way, is a fellow blogger, and I imagine she will get quite a giggle from it.)

So this is where Jerry Jeff Walker comes in: In his words, "The only way to know how much is enough, is to do too much, and then back up." And that is exactly what I did. I backed up and took a more expedient stance: Was I trying to do too much? Surely four days' work was enough, right? It would be ok to just do something and call it a day, right? Sometimes, in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, you just have to "Git-R-Dun."

I know how to use several of these applications, how to embed them in my blog and/or create hyperlinks to them, etc. That is enough for now; I have done all I can and I am content with my limited knowledge. For as the great Lao-Tzu said, "He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough."


Sam's Graduation Video

video

Laura's Podcast: Listen at your own risk...

http://www.switchpod.com/users/laurann/feed.xml

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thing #20 - I figured it out!

This blogging stuff is starting to go to my head! I fancy myself having an audience of readers who has noticed that I haven't posted anything of great value all week long. Figuring that some of us might need a break from the increasingly technical demands of the 23 Things, especially the source code problem with youtube that so many are experiencing, I thought a little fun was in order and suggested the Vocabulary Game.

This bought me a little time, to be quite honest. Yous see, I spent the week at an AP conference at Rice, and if you've ever attended any week-long conference, you will recognize the seemingly contradictory symptoms of "Conference Syndrome" - a brain enfeebled by information overload coupled with a body suffering from the innervating effects of sitting for eight hours. Remember the movie "Parenthood" with Steve Martin? In it, his young son would run around the house with a metal bucket on his head, blindly careening off of walls and other obstacles that got in his way. Yet, he had all this pent of energy that had to be spent! That is exactly how I felt each afternoon: thoughtlessly energized.

However, now that a couple of days have passed, all of of that information has started to sink in. Even better, I can better appreciate the value of our newly-learned web2.0 applications. For instance, I am going to create a roll for all of the websites I learned about in my conference. That way I only have to remember where I heard the information, not the specific addresses, etc. I will post it for you all to see when I am done...

In specific response to this thing, I have included a few video clips. One of our great debates this week was about the merits of the different Hamlet productions. So, I played around on youtube to see what they offered. Sure, the expected clips are there, starring Mel, Lawrence, and Ethan, but here are a few I didn't expect to find from The Muppets, Animaniacs, and Cat Head Theater. Enjoy!







Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vocabulary Game


Hey there, fellow Learn2Players! I have an idea: let's play a word game! Respond to this post with a new word that you have learned through Learn2play.


The word can be technological jargon (sorry Ann, I know you hate jargon) like "blogosphere", or "wiki" or "lurking." Seriously, you need a whole new lexicon to participate in this initiative, don't you? So??? What words have you learned?


Looking for a more creative outlet? How about coming up with your own original term -- one that you've made up to suit a particular situation? For example, I coined the term "Johnny Appleseeding" to describe my daily visits to other blogs, encouraging chatter among others. Here's another: "hit and blogging" - I like it to describe my sister's random visits to other bloggers. She just pops in, says hello, and then moves along. (FrognToad is her blog, by the way).I think she's hoping to become a web celebrity. Hey, there's another budding term - a weblebrity!


Come on you guys, let's have some fun! I've read your blogs, and I know how clever you are, so let's see what you can do!


Monday, July 7, 2008

Thing # 19 - The Link not Taken

Well, I couldn't really get a bead on my post for Thing #19; in fact, I completed the thing before I went away for the 4th, but a meaningful response eluded me. What is there to say? It is a great list? It is. There are a lot of cool sites? There are. In fact, I was astounded by the variety of sites listed in each category.

Each category, you ask? The assignment said to pick one proven winner and explore it. Easier said than done, my friends. Let's walk through a category like.... hmnnn... food. Let's see... oh, the highest rated site contains videos - not a video person (at least yet) ; the second is a restaurant rating site - interesting, but we tend to revisit our favorite places rather than venture out; the third is another video site - still don't like those and the graphics are slow to load; but wait, here is an interesting site listed as the honorable mention: Recipe Key. Cool! It has an ingredient match where you can specify ingredients you already have on hand, and the search engine will find recipes that match, or nearly match, those particular items.

Let's see, I have peanut butter, brown sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs, I want to bake something - a dessert...wowee! Do you know I have almost all of the ingredients to make 896 different recipes? Where shall I start? But wait, I have oatmeal too, and salt, and refined sugar, and...

You can see the problem: too many cool sites, too little time. It puts me in mind of a line from Robert Frost's "The Road not Taken": "Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back." What if I looked at one site and not the other and missed something wonderful? So, I keep clicking around, and around, and around.

And you know what happens right? The same has happened to you all - I've read about it in your own posts! One hour turns into two, two into two-and-a-half, and I'm still sitting here, clicking around because I might miss something!

So, in the spirit of another really cool site , Seventeen Syllables, one that I found in a link from an award-winning site, One Sentence, I'll close with a haiku:


Learn2Play:

Alone at my desk:
Click, link, next, back, click, next, home.
Seconds become hours!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back to Thing #12


Well, I took the day off today - kind of...


Instead of completing Thing #19, I just spent the morning looking for responses to comments I left on other blogs. (Wow, that sentence is seriously flawed, but it is late and I must get ready for bed soon!) From this, I learned the value of two things: 1) having responses to your comments e-mailed to you (managed through the settings post of your dashboard) and 2) setting up a blog list. You will see mine at the right side of the page. I included those bloggers with whom I have chatted over the last couple of weeks. Now, when I want to see what they are up to, I can just click on their updated posts rather than going back to the learn2play page and trying to remember whose blog I visited! (Again, this is created through the settings tab on your dashboard - add element - blog list.) Somehow I didn't appreciate these features when completing Thing 12, but like the Google notebook that I wrote about earlier, it is only when the information is needed and valuable that learning actually occurs.


Also, in the spirit of creating community, I visited some quieter blogs and encouraged people to get out there and chat! I get the feeling that many of us are still writing for an audience of one...


Well, I'm off to Oklahoma for the 4th and am looking forward to replacing the electronic glare of the computer screen with the warmth of the sun; the clickety-clack of the keyboard with the popping of fireworks ; posted comments with live conversation. I wish you all the same blessings!


Happy Independence Day!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thing 18 - Just how productive are these tools?

I have to give you a bit of personal information as the foundation for my response to Thing 18 - Online Productivity Tools. You see, I spent several (read two-and-a-half to three) hours on Sunday afternoon making invitations to a wedding day luncheon for my niece. Wow, you are probably thinking, that seems like an inordinate amount of time for a relatively simple process! No kidding! So, what was the problem? The word processing program installed on our new home computer - Microsoft Office 2007. What a mess!

How can it be that despite all of the hours spent creating my blog, playing around with different technology applications, etc., a simple word processing program derails me? Please! It was so bad that my husband, who approaches technology on a "need to know" basis, offered to help!

I ended up pulling out my old laptop, creating my document there, saving it to my travel drive, and then pulling it up and printing it from our new computer. I won't even trouble you with the sad story of printing the envelopes...

Anyhow, I tell you all of that so you will be able to appreciate the great relief I felt when I read Office Tools' advice: "Remember ..., you can save it (your document) in several different formats, including MS Word '98, 2000, and 2003." Could this be a way to circumvent future woes? I eagerly opened the link only to receive this message: "Your browser cannot display the site correctly - please ask your vendor for an update." Oh, the irony of it all...

Well, fortunately I had already registered on Google, so I just opened their tools instead. And, as we have all come to expect, things proceeded according to Hoyle. Lovely, lovely, lovely Google!
Since I am pretty adept (or so I thought) with word processing, I decided to play around with their publishing software and made a brief power-point instead. I'm not sure it is any easier than other applications I have used, but the idea that it can be saved online and accessed from any place - even offline, apparently, though I haven't tried it yet - is pretty amazing.

I think of my students who are always bemoaning their techno-glitches as an excuse for not having their homework. Wouldn't it be cool if they all had Google accounts and saved their documents online? That way, we could just pop over to my desk, log on, and print out their
assignments? No fuss, no muss! (Unless, of course, they haven't done the assignment and are just using technology as a scapegoat. No, surely not...)

I think of my own difficulties with those silly invitations and how I could have saved hours of frustration... Well, I guess that's why they call it learning!

By the way, I am going to try to include the work-in-progress-power-point below... I think it is kind of amusing... Hope you guys enjoy it!

(Hmmm - does anyone know how to do this? VWB are you out there?)