Showing posts from March, 2009

Removing the Conficker Worm

Running on UbuntuLinux and Mac, I don't expect to encounter the Conficker worm anytime soon. Here's a straightforward explanation of what it does:
...disables systems such as the Windows Automatic Update, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender and Windows Error Reporting. . .also gathers personal information and installs malware into the infected computer. [and]... attaches to several windows processes including svchost.exe, explorer.exe and services.exe....Other symptoms include modifications to DNS and TCP/IP configuration. Conficker will also open lots of un-authorized ports in your Firewall, so a good way to check is to have a gander at your ‘Wall and see if there are ports open that shouldn’t be.
Source: CanTalkTechHowever, I thought I'd take a look just in case because of this note:

Because computers can appear to function normally when infected, Microsoft advises you to run this tool even if your computer seems to be fine. You should also use up-to-date antivirus so…

Moodle in the Classroom (Updated)

I've included my notes on this Classroom 2.0 LIVE session with Tomaz Lasic on Moodle in the Classroom below...

Some of the quick polls Kim Caise took at the beginning of the Classroom 2.0 LIVE show on Moodle in the Classroom with Tomaz Lasic, up at 1:00 AM in Australia! He did a great walkthrough of Moodle for education. Thank you, Tomaz!!

Why Moodle? - Lorna Constantini

Notes from Presentation and Chat
"I'm just a teacher" (love Tomaz' Aww, shucks! type introduction)Easy to embedjpatten: you can create entire web sites...if OneNote exports a file in an HTML format, save the folder, compress it load it up into your Moodle, uncompress it, and create a new link to the "index.html" file... great way for students to publish sites in a controlled environment...we have teachers do that with the pwd protected gradebook programs too Moodle 1.9 for Teaching 7-14 Year Olds by Mary CoochRickSwengel: If your Moodle server has file-size limitations and you create your o…

Stimulus Money for Texas Districts

The following update was shared with me via originated at one of the Education Service Centers:
The Regular NCLBTitle IID is on schedule and will be released as usual. The eGrant process will be up and open for districts on April 15 for those funds. Your federal programs directors will hear all we know at their meeting here on April 15 also. The amounts will be similar to this year's.
The Stimulus Title IID will be "greyed out" on the April 15 application for now because TEA doesn't have the funds yet and they can't open it up until they have their NOGA from USDE.

The application will be updated to include those funds sometime this summer of Fall. You will be able to go back into the eGrant application system and select it at that time.

The amounts will be somewhere around 2.38% times the Regular Title IID amounts, based on my calculations.

It will be governed by the same rules as regular Title IID but with more accountability, transparency, reporting, separ…

Web 2.0 Process

In an earlier post, I shared the process I perceive many Web 2.0 services are going to follow, if they have not already. Here is that simple to observe process:
Put your data in the cloud computing app (e.g. Gcast)
The vendor that runs the app decides they need money to support it (e.g. support costs no longer allow them to offer a $99 annual fee for free).
They start placing advertisements but then realize that just isn't working well enough.They find a way to commercialize/monetize what they have and put a ring in your nose.Today, I see that Gcast has begun to follow the same process of charging for the service they provide...which means I'll be abandoning it since I have no intention of getting my district to pay for it:
As you know, we have been offering the ability to podcast by phone for several years. Up until now, this service has remained free for you to use without limitations. We have been incurring significant costs to keep this service free and we now must take steps…

Moodle Questionnaire

Questionnaire is one of my favorite modules for Moodle, and I use it for all sorts of surveys and information gathering that I'd normally have had to use SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, or one of those other tools (including GoogleApps).

Here's one use though that caught my eye:

I saw a really cool way to use the Questionnaire activity in Moodle the other day. The school had scheduled a dance, so they got together a list of popular songs and had the students vote on which songs they wanted the DJ to play. This is a school where Moodle is relatively new. A hundred students went in and voted on the songs they wanted to hear.

Some would say "big deal." And some would be correct - it is a big deal. Students got to go in, use technology, and have a say in their dance. And it makes Moodle something COOL. Students can see how Moodle can be used to give them a voice. So right away you've got positive attitudes about Moodle instead of negative attitudes. And as my Mom always used t…

Moodle Tip - Where to Find Free Courses

Where do can someone go to find/share Moodle courses? Here is a short list to consider:
SOS-SIG's Collaborative Moodle - K-12 Open Source Ning - Learning ISD -
Moodle Commons -

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Blogger To Be Unavailable

Blogger will be unavailable Thursday (3/26) at 4:00PM PDT for about 10 minutes for maintenance.On my Blogger dashboard, I see a notice that there is a scheduled outage for 4:00 PM Thursday (03/26). So, be aware of that if you try to access Around the Corner and can't get to it. Instead, you might want to visit one of my other resources sites, including:
ShareMore! Wiki - This is where I keep backup copies of my published articles (although I'm about 5 articles behind since my last writing binge).Education World - You can read my published articles on Education World magazine online here.Old Around the Corner Blog Entries (not on Blogger, obviously) - These represent several years of blogging and are available online.
Even though Blogger will be inaccessible for about 10 minutes or so today, you'll still be able to find lots of stuff to read.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are …

Drawing in Google Docs

I flunked art in Kindergarten, but hopefully, I won't need to be an expert to use art stuff in GoogleDocs! From their announcement:
It's easy to create drawings using lines, free hand scribbles, text labels and a large choice of shapes that you can move, resize, rotate and adjust. Group, order, align and distribute and other features are available when you select objects you've drawn. You can also customize a range of shape properties, from line widths to fill color, and from arrowheads to font size, and much more. If you change your mind, there is undo and redo. You can collaborate with a friend or colleague on a drawing, or work alone, just as you can in Google Docs today.
Source: Drawing in GoogleDocs
What a thrill!

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Revisiting Domesticating Education

I wrote this in response to Al Upton's situation, and when I read it again, I realized I didn't have a copy on my new blog (the one you're reading now). So, to make it a bit more general, I made some minor edits to my original:
As a school district administrator myself, but also, as a citizen of the United States, I have to confess that I’m a bit grateful your children are denied the opportunity to engage in global collaobrations and learning. Here’s why:In the United States, blogs are distractions to the real job of educators to improve student achievement on accountability measures. Blogs, as tools for online publishing, engage students with access to an authentic audience–that sometimes, let’s be honest, can be TOO authentic if you get what I mean–and may result in divergent learning that is, to be frank, unsuitable to preparing children for yesterday’s workforce. We want children who are literate, but lack that attitude that would hurt their careers and survival in our …

Pass It On - TexTAN Action Alert!

Action Alert from....

In January, the Texas House and Senate filed different versions of their starting points for the General Appropriation Acts. A provision in Rider 90 was added by both the House and Senate that would make the Technology Allotment and textbook funding contingent upon distribution from the Permanent School Fund. At the current time, no distribution is expected from the Permanent School Fund to the Available School Fund. This means that the Technology Allotment is in danger of NOT being funded.
The Texas House Appropriations Committee is currently meeting and will continue through the weekend if necessary to complete their review of appropriation requests and set their funding priorities. It is important that this committee knows how vital the technology allotment is in preparing Texas children to compete in a global economy. We need you to call the members of the House Appropriations Committee and let them know they must fully fund the technology allotment. You m…

TxDLA Conference Coming Soon!

A reminder received via email....

DearDistance Learning Professional, Time is running out...If you haven't yet registered for the conference, but are interested inattending, please register as soon as possible. Onsite registration will be available, but the cost goes upby $50.
Deadline for the special $85.00 TxDLA room rate at the Omni Hotels is TODAY, March 25 ... so if you have not made your hotel reservation, please do so today! Visit more information. Also, if you have a sleeping room at the Omni that you will not be using ... please be sure to cancel your extra reservations.Conference Planner and Downloadable Program
The 2009 TxDLA online conference planner is now available as well as a PDF file of the onsite conference program! This plannercan be used to schedule your sessions, vendor showcases, exhibit hall,and personal appointments for the confe…

MySQL/PHP/Apache on a Mac

Would a dual core Mini, with 4Gigs Ram and a 320Gig Harddrive work nicely, sufficiently, or not at all? If it will work, could you recap the process....and would Joomla also work on it??This is a question I received earlier....

A search on the web revealed this comment:

with the newer Intel Mac minis, you are able to run up to 3GB of RAM. With this extra capacity, Leopard Server runs great on the Mac minis. You can use any of the services like mail, web, dns, and file sharing.

And, another comment argues this:

os x server is overkill. i run two xservers and powermac g4 server in my lab. os x server is good for open directory and other stuff to run my 40 stations, but overkill for the Web. osx has all server functionality built in, it is *nix after all. and what it doesn't have you can d/l. os x sever would be a HUGE waste for a personal or even small business Web server.

It looks like you have 3 choices:


Joomla - User Permissions on Folders

One of the other interesting problems I encountered today was user permissions on a Joomla folder in IIS.

The Joomla installation folders lacked adequate InternetUser permissions. Our other existing installations of Joomla--the ones that work--have this InternetUser, so I'm pretty confident that this is the issue. Is anyone else running Joomla on IIS and wouldn't mind sharing their user permissions?

These online resources speak to the fact that Joomla permissions have been configured correctly...but I'd love to have your feedback.
Once the "Everyone" account is removed, Windows IIS is now left with the " IUSR_* " account having top-level rights to the Web-Server directories, a pemrisisons check now should yield different results. Only the IUSR_* account has full permissions and other users shuld acquire eihter "Read Only" or no rights. Read only rights are determined by which other users have been assigned what rights to the IIS directories manua…

Joomla Tip - Installing in a Subdirectory

Our district has been working on redesigning and updating Joomla to the latest version for our main site. One of the problems we ran into was that we wanted to install the Joomla site to a subdirectory off of we wouldn't have joomla directories and files scattered at the root--but still have the site show up when you go to

For awhile, I thought I had to specify an absolute path of some sort in the configuration.php file or in the index.php file. But I couldn't find anything--aside from helpful info on how to find your absolute path out using a php script--that would allow you to do that in Joomla.

Then, I remembered that in setting up Wordpress in a subdirectory ( is a WP install with wordpress in a subdirectory at there were some instructions...I'm grateful to the Wordpress folks for documenting this!

To get it to work for Joomla, I simply adapted the PHP from the WP index.p…

Moodle - The Cool Tool that Won't Slip Away

A few folks have been pushing back on the use of Moodle in schools. However, I found this commentary at Digigogy about the disappearance of Web 2.0 tools due to the Depression (yeah, it's a depression whatever the econo-daemons say) a deviation....

As a staff developer, I'm using a lot of these "Web 2.0" tools with teachers to help them enhance their practice and to help motivate and engage their students. But what happens when those tools disappear?

Nothing should happen.

Without sounding callous or flippant, the disappearance of these tools and the subsequent ripple effects underscores the fact that learning is never about any particular tool--it's been, and always has been, about the content and skills that teachers are teaching. While its a sad thing that these cool tools are slipping away, good teaching can still continue to happen without them. Something else will come along to take the place of these tools.
Source: DigiGogy
Uh, well, if teaching/learning and te…

Burned Cup


I've loved Kahlil Gibran since I was a teen and I'm delighted I can find it online anytime I please (although my copy of The Prophet has been on my shelf for over 20 years):

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

I love that stays with me. Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not being carved out right now! However, it's powerful truths that bring comfort.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Just Say NO to

I recently received this email. My answer is simple: NO WAY.
It's Anthony from We've had a crazy month or so, being the first education site to ever make the TIME MAGAZINE Top 25 Blogs List for 2009. We also are now in first place over at Bloggers Choice Awards, and we are in the #1 position for Education blogs at

I'm actually not writing to brag about our recent success -- I was writing to see if you'd be interested in sharing in our new found glow. Our traffic has been crazy and we have some national syndication deals going on right now. We are hoping we can help you get some exposure, and you can help us roll out a new free service.

We just developed a new widget, that streams the headlines in real time from our site -- no ads, pop-ups or spam, just headlines. It's free to use, and right now, we are giving the first 10 education sites who features our widget on their main page 1 month of PREMIUM ads on the FOR FREE.

A Special Invite Just for You

JOIN US! 2009 Education Technology Site Visit
March 21, 2009
Greetings Colleagues,
I would like to extend a personal invitation to you and other technology leaders in your organization to join us for a very special showcase of school district technology best practices. Many of these best practices have been developed over the years as our school district and leaders have been active members of NSBA TLN, ISTE, and CoSN and grown in knowledge and depth as we learned from their programs, projects, initiatives, and other key leaders.
Each year the National School Board Association (NSBA) selects three districts to showcase technology leadership. To be selected, a school district must have demonstrated leadership in educational technology and an implementation of proven best practices. The Calcasieu Parish Public School system in Lake Charles, Louisiana is honored to host one of these site visits on April 26 – 28, 2009.
The National School Board Association has developed a prog…

Cost of Testing vs Technology

A month or two ago, a colleague in Texas shared the following information with the TEC-SIG list:
TEA has recommended that we do online testing in conjunction with the replacement of our TAKS tests to EOC testing that would take place in several years. TEA believes that we can do this online testing at a start up cost of $197 million and an ongoing cost of $81 million. The report also provides conveniently that our current Technology Allotment fund provides school districts about $135,000,000 per year (4,500,000 students @$ 30 per student).However, a news report shares exactly how much testing costs now:
The Texas Education Agency outsources the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills to NCS Pearson Inc., which helps develop the tests. In 2000, the agency signed Pearson to a five-year contract worth $47.45 million — about $9.5 million a year to administer tests to the state’s students.

When that contract expired, TEA and Pearson inked a new five-year deal. This time, though, it was worth…

Solving Budget Problems

Ric Murry recently shared a snapshot of the kinds of conversations happening around solving budget problems. What he didn't realize is that he missed the conversation happening behind the scenes...and I've tried to capture it below (right click to view at full size):

Right click to view at full size.

Here's how Ric continued that conversation....

In the meantime, these stats from SolidOffice's Benjamin Horst say something all by themselves...why aren't K-12 education leaders listening?
“From the official announcement on Monday 13th October at 09:00 UTC, to midnight on Sunday 20th October, 3.0 recorded an astonishing three million downloads via the Bouncer. That’s:
221,230 GNU/Linux users
320,622 Mac OS X users, and
2,449,863 Microsoft Windows users.From Birmingham to Brussels, local and regional governments are switching to OpenOffice in a bid to confront the hegemony of Microsoft. “The idea of using open source software not originated by an American multin…

Bypass Content Filtering with Toonel

Fascinating approach to bypass content filtering:
1. Download and install Java Runtime from here.2. Download Toonel from here. it comes with .jar extension which will only execute when already installed java runtime.3. This part is where you start tunneling, just open the Toonel.jar file Thats it! seriously its done :p4. Now open your browser under connection settings and put in “″ (without quotes) as proxy address and “8080″ (without quotes) as port.This method works for Windows, Mac and Linux.I'll have to try it and see if it works...will report back.

Update: It a flash drive and using java runtime environment. Wow.

Some potential ways to deal with this that a colleague suggested...
One way you should be able to stop the toonel bypass in windows machines, would be to disable the connections tab of the internet options. This would not allow the user to change the proxy ip or port number. The connections tab can be hidden through group policies. You would also wa…