Showing posts from July, 2009

Download a la Mode Series - Productivity

This is part of a multi-part series on Download a la Mode tools, reformatted for a workshop....Productivity In this section of Download a la Mode, the following questions are addressed:
How do I share presentations with others via the Web?At work, I have the latest MS Office. At home, I don't have anything compatible. What do I do?How do I create web pages using free software?How do I shorten long web addresses for sharing via email and in print documents or presentations?How can I draw things, or edit pictures/images, on my computer?What are some of the free screencasting tools available?How can I create narrated presentations?Where can I located hard to find multimedia codecs needed to play videos off the Web?How do I combine PDF files?

The Apple/AT&T Collective is futile


Ever wonder if K-12 schools, modern businesses are listening to the voices of those they serve? Well, I do as well. Seth Godin made a powerful point in his entry, "All I do is work here." When cogs in the machine of an organization leverage their use of that organization to their benefit, but neglect to take responsibility for what it does wrong, by disassociating themselves from it with the words, "All I do is work here," they play a hypocritical role.

In schools today, as well as businesses, we like to think our focus is on facilitating learning. But in a world of integrated learning systems where drill-n-practice, tutorial software dominates, where rush around like headless chickens trying to meet AYP or whatever the latest craze is that pushes us warp-speed without sounds like educators are more interested in "delivering" education to students.

The Boundless Fantasies of Childhood

For many years--before I went into administration--I considered myself a good follower. My role as a follower involved doing my best job, allowing the "boss" to take the lead and backing his/her play. It was my expectation that in return for quality work, enthusiastic achievement on behalf of the organization, my supervisor and the organization we worked for would take care of me.

And, for the most part, that arrangement worked, even if I was a bit blind to the reality.

That reality came crashing down on me in my time as a Campus Instructional Specialist on a campus. As one of the first, if not THE first, "campus technology coordinator" and instructional specialist, I dealt with many mundane topics...writing campus improvement plans in collaboration with grade level teachers, providing model teaches as appropriate, mentoring classroom teachers, integrating technology into the content area TEKS…

Bootable Leopard OS X Flash Drive

As I shared before, I needed a bootable Mac OS X Leopard USB Flash drive. Booting up from a DVD takes too long, but an 8gig flash drive works just fine (a 16gig or bigger is nice, too...I'm contemplating a 32gig drive).

Since I had to go through the process for a colleague, I thought I'd document the process, so....the hard part is booting off a DVD and installing the system to your 8gig (or greater) flash drive. It takes a long time. Once that is done, use CarbonCopyCloner (it's free) to make an image of the USB flash drive that you can use as a source. Then, you can start cranking out bootable OS X Leopard drives (provided you're licensed to do that) as needed fHere's the process with screenshots.

In the images below, "catboot" is the original image of the OS X Leopard bootable flash drive. "LeopardBoot" is the new 8gig drive I'm using CCC to copy to.

Step 1: Formatting the 8gig drive

Step 2: Setting up incremental backup/cloning from the imag…

Premier Mac RSS Reader--NetNewsWire--Works with Google Reader

What thrilling news to find out that NetNewsWire, the best RSS Reader for Macs, now works with Google Reader! Here's an excerpt from the press release...there are some action items, so be sure to read the action part further down!
You spoke and we listened: in response to customer demand, NewsGator's best-of-breed consumer RSS applications now work with Google Reader.Google Reader will become the online companion to and the synchronization platform for our award-winning RSS reader applications – FeedDemon and NetNewsWire.In conjunction with this announcement, NewsGator is making changes to several of its consumer RSS Readers. NewsGator will continue to support all its individual end-user applications for enterprise customers. However, NewsGator will continue to develop and support only a sub-set of these applications for free consumer use. FeedDemon and NetNewsWire have new versions for consumers that we encourage you to download as soon as possible. NewsGator’s other individua…

Download a la Mode Series - File Management

This is part of a multi-part series on Download a la Mode tools, reformatted for a workshop....In this section of Download a la Mode, the following questions are addressed:
How can you keep your hard drive running smooth without problems?How can I easily backup my data off my Windows hard drive?How do I uninstall a program on my computer so that ALL the preferences and settings are gone?How do you compress files for transfer?How can I easily create/combine PDF files for free without Adobe Acrobat Professional ($100+)?How can I turn turn a USB Flash drive into a diagnostic, repair, and maintenance tool?What new utilities are out for Windows and Mac to help me organize the mess of files I have on my computer?How can I quickly install my favorite software programs on my Windows computer?


Translated Into Other Languages

Earlier this year, I found out some of my work has been translated into another language for publication in Spain! What a thrill! Thanks to Natalia Martinez Diaz, a few of my articles now appear for publication in Spanish online at:
Soluciones tecnológicas para la educación
8 consejos para facilitar el éxito de los cursos e-learning first link above shows you some others who have been translated, including Julien "MoodleMan" Ridden and Angela Maiers. The articles in Spanish include links to their English counterparts, so feel free to click on the Spanish ones and then read the English version.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views …

PHPMyAdmin - Importing CSV from Excel

This afternoon, I had to import a comma-delimited file (CSV) exported from MS Excel into a MySQL database table. I was trying to create an external database that could be accessed by Moodle. Creating the database, the table wasn't a problem; importing the data mashed together via concactenation formulas in MS Excel was.
Since students in my district don't have Active Directory accounts, like educators do, this new database that Moodle would check would allow students to login with their student ID number and a password. I detail the idea in this MoodleTip but since it's been so long, and I wasn't using PHPMyAdmin at the time, I set out to revisit the concept.
I was stumped until I ran across this tutorial and then, followed the path...but it didn't work for me. So, note that the screenshot is different from the tutorial.Here are the steps I took:

1) Export the spreadsheet from Excel to a CSV file

2) Click on the database and then, click on the table you want to import …

Moodle Database of Databases

Fascinating link shared in the Moodle forums about a database of databases. In Moodle, you can create databases for use within your Moodle. Some folks have decided to share their creations and you can get them for your own use at this link.
Here's the explanation from Stuart Mealor:
I spent a bit of time looking around for a collection of Database Presets. It took me ages to find the Database of Databases in the exchange area...Here is the link in case others are having problems finding it: trove of Moodle databases there....

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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

MyNotes - Classrooms Go High-Tech to Engage Students - US News and World Report

Congrats to Dr. Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant) for being quoted in the article below. It's fascinating to read this perspective, especially when you consider another one that's been floating around on Twitter at, which is ironic. In that article, a Philosophy professor's letter's the relevant part:
I have read and heard arguments that say that, instead of banning phones in classrooms, we should put them to use to engage students and further their learning. I am a philosophy teacher, and I see no practical application for this approach in my classroom, nor do I have any inclination to pursue it. My students read texts, discuss them, and consider philosophical problems; I do everything I can to make our activities stimulating, and I make use of technological aids when appropriate, but can't see how introducing more bells and whistles will bring anything more this process. I can't consider their phones anything but a di…

Gaming: Urban Terror

A new game I'm taken with...Urban Terror. Great graphics, works on Linux, Mac and Windows.

Urban Terror™ is a free multiplayer first person shooter, that (thanks to ioquake3)does not require Quake III Arena.It is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh. The current version is 4.1. Urban Terror can be described as a Hollywood tactical shooter; somewhat realism based, but the motto is "fun over realism". This results in a very unique, enjoyable and addictive game.
Source: Urban TerrorUnique features of the game:
Ledge-grabbing. This feature allows a player to jump and grab a ledge in order to pull themselves up. Since then we have added wall jumping and power slding to give the gamer more of an edge.Stamina. in-game medics allow a gamer to be healed up, prevent lose of health and increasing their stamina.Level variety. There have been many levels created and supported by Urban Terror over the years, including a Capture the Flag and Bomb/Defuse mode that go along with Team…

Getting Ready for Download a la Mode Workshop

Although I have grand plans for my Download a la Mode workshop coming up in August, one of the options I can present now is that it would be great to give people a flash drive with a bootable UbuntuLinux that includes anti-virus and anti-spyware tools on it. This would allow users to boot from the Flash drive, then "clean" their computers off.To that end, I've researched some of the antivirus programs that will run on UbuntuLinux, such as Avast AntiVirus (home/personal use, not commercial) and/or ClamAV (FOSS). Unfortunately, I'm having a bit of trouble getting the Windows based anti-spyware tools to work--like Malware Bytes--but SuperAntiSpyware and Spybot Search and Destroy did install and worked fine. That should be enough to get started.
Perhaps, it would be more helpful to create a bootable Windows flash drive and install programs on there that can access the target hard drive. Considering these two approaches:UBCD for WindowsCreating a boot USB Flash Drive for W…

MyNotes - Oh no! Microsoft | The TWAIN blog

Don't bother going to Windows 7...just install UbuntuLinux 9.04!

Oh no! Microsoft | The TWAIN blog
I just read the news that if you are planning to install Microsoft 7 on an XP computer, you have to migrate all your files off because it is a complete reinstall. In other words, EVERY computer you install it on will lose the files and folders (organization) you had on the computer.
However, if you are running Vista the files will stay intact. It is an upgrade.

16gig Flash Drive

A short time ago, I pointed out a reduced price offer on 16-gig lanyard USB flash drive. While a colleague pointed out I could easily buy a 150gig hard drive for $45-$50 more than I paid for the lanyard drive ($41), I didn't want to lug around a big drive (that's the laptop's role right now).My 16-gig drive arrived last week and I had a lot of fun reformatting it, partitioning it (using UbuntuLinux's Partition Editor) into two pieces...about 4.8gigs for UbuntuLinux (9.04) and the rest for data.When I used Unetbootin to install Ubuntu, I forgot that all I was doing was setting it up to mimic a CD boot. That's not what I wanted. I wanted to be able to store my information, customize the desktop, install software, etc. To accomplish that, I had to take these steps:Use a PC and boot off a flash drive (CD would work, too) with Ubuntu 9.04. The hard drive of the PC was not affected or touched at all.
After booting, plug-in my 16gig flash drive, unmount it and then partiti…

Portable Collaboration Networks on the Flash

Catching up on my million articles in the RSS reader--all from Stephen Downes, sigh--I was struck by the juxtaposition of Helen Barrett's highlighting of electronic portfolios image (created by Sonia Guilana) below:...and the idea of EduApps. EduApps is described on the web site as:EduApps is an initiative developed by the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland North & East and expands on the already very successful AccessApps. EduApps extends the AccessApps philosophy of free portable software in your pocket to include bundles of applications specifically designed for teachers 'TeachApps' and learners 'LearnApps'. Currently we host over 90 open source and freeware software applications which can be entirely used from a USB stick on a Windows computer.I find the juxtaposition curious because as we move towards the Read/Write Web (a.k.a. Web 2.0), the power of folks to build their own personal learning networks using free tools "out there," something my…

Converting Video Formats

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Although there are a wealth of tools to convert video, few that work with large file sizes are available at no charge. As such, in addition to Format Factory (available for Windows), I was delighted to add these two items:...VideoSpiritLite and saw that it could convert from and to any of these formats, VCD / SVCD / DVD / MPEG / AVI / DivX/ASF / WMV/DAT / SWF / FLV / 3GP / RM / MP4 / MOV, I was pretty happy and I hadn’t even downloaded the application yet. While I started downloading the LITE version that is free from here I read through its features and it does some really neat stuff, other than converting, like extracting audio or still pictures from video. They do have a PRO version that costs money the only difference between the two products is the ability to edit the videos...You will see an info box when the application starts, prompting you to check that you have each of these three codec packs installed. They are…