Showing posts from December, 2009

Updated - Must Have Mac Apps

I updated my list of Must Have Mac Apps...what am I missing?

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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

Search for a Mac 7zip Archiver (Updated 2012)

Update 2012:Get Keka for Mac. Awesome! 

Looking for a 7zip compatible archiver/unarchiver for Macintosh? I was earlier tonight...I right-clicked on a folder titled 21stCentury, a presentation I'd given earlier this Fall including videos, images, and Keynote slideshow files, and PDF versions. Unfortunately, the right-click ZIP compression available on via right-click (Ctrl-click) on a Mac kept hanging in the last 5 seconds of the compression, as shown below:

So, I decided to try my old standby, GUI Tar. and decided to use the 7zip format that I've standardized on for long-term archives. For whatever the reason, GUI TAR didn't work either, also freezing. This was the first time I'd tried to use it on a Mac using Snow Leopard, so I'll be dropping it from my list of favorite Mac apps...even the latest version doesn't work. Sigh.

Since I've standardized on 7zip format, I had to find a program that would work well on Mac. Sure enough, there's been some innova…

DiigoNotes - Court Upholds State-Sponsored “Kidnapping” of Homeschooled Boy

A pretty amazing story about Swedish government social workers targeting a family and taking away a child due to what looks like trumped up charges, but who can really know unless they're involved in the case? Although I work in public schools, I do agree that parents have a right to home-school their children. In fact, if we're not careful, we may see parents completely bypassing public schools because they have access to better technologies and resources than K-12 education facilities.

As someone with Swedish ancestors (my father's family immigrated to the United States from Sweden), I'm disappointed that Swedish courts would deprive a child of his parents because they disagreed with the "poor" decisions those parents may have made in regards to the child's education.

What do you think?HSLDA | Court Upholds State-Sponsored “Kidnapping” of Homeschooled Boytags: no_tagCourt Upholds State-Sponsored “Kidnapping” of Homeschooled Boy Swedish family of Annie and …

Follow Me on Twitter - @mguhlin

Generated using TweetStats

Although I don't use Twitter all that much, I realized that as I was cruising the front page of my blog to read comments you folks have left, I found it lacked a "Follow Me" on Twitter feed. This is one I'd made a long time ago...but it's kinda boring:

I started seeking out some ways to add that badge to my blog and here are some of the roads taken:

Go2Web2.0 Twitter Badge

181 Free Twitter Badges
Some of my favorites from this list:

Mashable.Com's List of 20 Twitter Badges

A nice collection of Twitter Logos

I finally settled on this one:

More tweet stats:

and this next one is just doggone funny (if not sad):

and for fun, I'm going to throw this image in again:

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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

Citing Flickr Images New Tool - @Sprixi

When using images from Flickr under Creative Commons, I have relied on one online search engine Peter Shanks. It works great, allows me to add attribution to images found. It also allows for easy image editing!

A caught my attention and is pretty easy to use....

For example, I did a quick search on the word "dragon" and came up with this:

I chose a dragon image available and then was asked to rate it, a feature not available on Flickrcc (which sometimes turns up yucky images that are objectionable to K-12):

and then....

The final product looks like this with the appropriate image citation:

Not bad! I may be trying this out in K-12 learning environments where words like "flickr" are blocked out of hand.

Note: For fun, I'm putting the Twitter address for @sprixi to see if it makes it through from Blog post to Twitter via Friendfeed.


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Make Free Backups of Blu-Ray (Time-Sensitive: Expires 01/11/2010)

Image Source:

Thanks to post about WinDecrypter, a program that's available until January 11, 2010 at no cost that allows you to backup Blu-Ray disks to your hard drive (on Windows obviously):

WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is specially designed to backup Blu-ray movies to your hard drive. With user-friendly interface, this Blu-ray decrypter enables you to easily decrypt and copy Blu-ray movies with Blu-ray DVD drive to your computer by removing all protections from BD video, including encryption (AACS), BD+ copy protection, etc. It is fully compatible with all BD media.
To get the full version for free, please download the program and register with the following Information. Don't forget to share it with your friends!

Requirement:When installing and using WinX Blu-ray Decrypter program, please log in PC as the "Administrator" ID; or "Run as administrator", while using other IDs.
Reg Name: Blu-Raygiveaway
Reg Code: WinXBD…

Convert Ext3 to Ext4

Although some have complained that Ext4 isn't exactly perfect, I took the plunge on an external drive yesterday and followed these instructions to convert Ext3 formatted drive to Ext4. It worked, as far as I can tell, flawlessly.

To change an ext2 filesystem (should you still have one) to ext3 (enabling the journal feature), use the command:# tune2fs -j /dev/DEVTo enable the ext4 features on an existing ext3 filesystem, use the command:# tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/DEVWARNING: Once you run this command, the filesystem will no longer be mountable using the ext3 filesystem!After running this command (specifically, after setting the uninit_bg parameter), you MUST run fsck to fix up some on-disk structures that tune2fs has modified:# e2fsck -fDC0 /dev/DEVTo create your own ext4 from scratch...
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/DEV

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

Internet Explorer on GNU/Linux

Wanting to run Internet Explorer on a GNU/Linux distribution like UbuntuLinux? Here's one solution shared via the San Antonio Linux Users Group list:

I have a simple solution that let's me easily run IE6 or IE7 on Linux. Install "playonlinux" ( and use it to easily install the IE6/7 tool.
You don't have to own a Windows license to use PlayOnLinux. PlayOnLinux is based on Wine, and so profits from all its possibilities yet it keeps the user away from its complexity while exploiting some of its advanced functions. PlayOnLinux is a free software. PlayOnLinux uses Bash and Python
Internet Explorer 7 running via PlayonLinux on ubuntu:

Some information from the web site:
PlayOnLinux is a piece of sofware which allows you to easily install and use numerous games and softwares designed to run with Microsoft®'s Windows®.
Few games are compatible with GNU/Linux at the moment and it certainly is a factor preventing the migration to this system.…

Kindle Cracked - It's about choice

Image Source:

A primary objection to Amazon Kindle and other similar ebook technologies is that the documents you get from them--Adobe PDFs--are locked down tight. You can't copy-n-paste them, or do much of anything with them except read them on the screen. While this seems like great stuff to businesses who want to use "digital rights management" (DRM) to control access, it's a pain in the rear to customers...which is why I vowed to never buy a Kindle. Far better to get a netbook and read what I want to read that's out "in the open."

Of course, Kindle popularity isn't hampered...the masses of consumers appear to not give a darn about open content:

On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books," reads an AMZN) press release over the weekend.

Since every DRM technology eventually gets cracked, I was thrill…

Guides to GNU/Linux

Ken Task shared this list of GNU/Linux related resources and it's definitely worth highlighting here! source of the links below--is a portal site to all things GNU/Linux. For example, in the Software section under Project Management, you can find a page or two of free software that purports to help out with project management. The problem with a site like this is that there's almost TOO do you know what's great, and what isn't?

Linux Equivalents:
CMS (content management systems)
20 of the Best Free books on Linux
Linux Distribution explained…

Moodle Good Practice WIki

Thanks to Joseph Thibault for a link to the Moodle Good Practice wiki via Moodlerific, which has an intriguing introduction:
I’ve been trying to assemble a list of good practice Moodle sites without much success. Several people have offered examples of well designed Moodle sites with a list of courses that are not publicly accessible without an enrolment key. So I can’t actually get inside the courses themselves. And that of course is one of the beefs of the anti-CMS/LMS lobby. That CMSs and LMSs of any kind, even open source alternatives like Moodle, largely operate behind closed doors. Having to go to and log in to see examples in there is a hassle. (Compare with this fully open course)
You can certainly add more courses. Acknowledging Michael Coghlan's point about having to login being a hassle, I do wish the next version of Moodle--or maybe a plug-in or add-on--would make Moodle more easily accessible and wouldn't require the login page, even login as guest.


Reflecting on Moodle as LMS or SNS

Image Source:

What a great conversation that was had over at George Siemens blog (linked below)...I could say I missed it originally (not true) but that wouldn't be accurate. The truth was, I skimmed it, promised myself I'd come back to it, and never did. Since I had time earlier today, I went through highlighting some of the points that jumped out at me as relevant.

Image Source:Moodle is an Airport, not a total solution and
Moodle 2.0 Tools or Web 2.0 Alternatives

What do I think? Well, it's a tough one. Like the image above suggests, Moodle just doesn't measure up to dedicated solutions (e.g. blog, wiki). Yet, it does provide the opportunity to introduce people in K-12 learning environments to those tools in a "safe" environment. This is essential.

In K-12 education, there's a clear need to focus on content-centric course management systems. Even though tools like Moodle are used as content-centric…

DiigoNotes - Moodle and Course Management Systems

Source: Community Hub Project

There's nothing like discovering a new blog and realizing it's talking about all the neat stuff you're interested in! There tons of goodness in the following blog entry titles, and excerpts and I've probably done an evil thing by highlighting with Diigo and sharing it here, but, hey, it's great stuff!

Some of my favorites include the Document lockers video below, Susan Nash's "Revisiting Moodle, and the many other items that appear here, including one's I've missed like the Moodle Hub diagram. Be sure to click through to the original entry to see all the other Moodle stuff!

Course Management Systems (CMS) / Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Moodle Wikis - as document lockers -- from Moodle Girl's Blog
I came across this excellent jing video which explains how to use a Moodle Wiki activity as a means of students uploading documents/file repository. It is well worth watching! Yes there are many ways you…

DiigoNotes - Open Source

elearnspace. everything elearning.tags: no_tagThe transition from open to proprietary software and the subsequent evisceration of university programming departments angered Stallman. The very culture of innovation driving his work was disappearing. "'I was faced with a choice. One: join the proprietary software world, sign the nondisclosure agreements and promise not to help my fellow hackers. Two: leave the computer field altogether. Or three, look for a way that a programmer could do something for the good. I asked myself, was there a program or programs I could write, so as to make a community possible again?'" (6) Stallman created the Free Software Foundation. The term free has two definitions - free as in monetary, or free as in free of speech. Stallman uses the second definition: "Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run,…

Convert YouTube Video to MP3 Audio (Updated)

Someone recently asked me, "You know how singers publish their songs as music videos on YouTube?" 

<"How do you get the music without the video? Make it into an MP3 sound file?" The easiest approach is to download the FLV video version of the music video and then strip out the audio and save it to MP3. Of course, there are approaches that allow you to go straight from YouTube video on the Web to an MP3 file you can save on your computer...we'll start with those approaches first:

How To Go Straight From YouTube Music Video to MP3 Use Media-Converter, a web-based service that not allows you to convert video to audio, but you can actually browse YouTube and add items to the list to be converted. Pretty awesome!YouTube to MP3 Converter. From their web site: ...the only thing you need is a YouTube URL. We will start to convert the audiotrack of your videofile to mp3 as soon as you have submitted it and you will be able to download it. Converting from FLV to MP3 or O…


My 10 year old son absolutely enjoyed ScribbleNauts, which we received as a free copy for review along with the rooster hat...He enjoyed it, mind you, not enough to stop playing Star Wars, but enough to spend serious time on it...and serious time for someone who can finish a Nintendo DS Star Wars game in a day and a half--from start to finish--is several hours.

The game works on a simple premise--write it on your DS and the item magically appears on the screen. Big vocabulary? All the better! If you're not familiar with ScribbleNauts, check out this overview:
The game centers around Maxwell and his quest to obtain Starites. However, to claim them he needs to overcome certain puzzles and these can be solved by summoning items. For example, if a Starite is out of reach, Maxwell can write ladder on his notebook and it will appear, so he can climb it. This is only a very simple example though, as there could be many other ways to obtain the same Starite.
There are approximately 220 lev…

Paint a Mural


Are you an edublogger/reformer? Which one of these labels--listed in no particular order--best fits you?
Martyr - You're willing to abandon everything you learned about working, surviving, thriving in your K-12 education culture and be a radical advocate for a new way of doing education involving the support of 21st Century Learning Skills (whatever you believe that to be), knocking traditional learning styles because they don't have the research. When your boss asks you to enforce high stakes testing administrations, you rebel citing sad stories about how it's not going to prepare students for the future. Getting burned at the stake is just fine, even though it means your family may have to struggle along in a tough economy without your income.Firecracker - Although you are willing to advocate for change in private, maintaining the status quo is all-important because you don&#…

Easy Software Installs on Win Computers


Wow, wish I'd know about, an easy way to install software. You just check off what free software you want to install on your computer, and Ninite makes an installer for you. A little about it:

Ninite installs apps with default settings and says "no" to browser toolbars and other junk.
Ninite checks your PC's language and 64-bit support to install the latest, best version of each app. Ninite runs on Windows XP/Vista/7 and works in the background 100% hands-free. All Ninite does is install the apps you choose. Not even Ninite is installed.
Give it a shot if you're setting up a new computer!

via The Mobile Classroom Video Podcast (main page)

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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

Re-Discovering Miro

This evening, I've been re-discovering Miro, an easy to use portal to a variety of rich media content. Not being an iTunes fanatic--in fact, it's too doggone confusing and I hate wading through for pay content to find the valuable free stuff--I've tried out different solutions, like Songbird. As nice as Songbird is, it didn't quite do it for me, although it's definitely a great player for your media library.

Thanks to a tweet by Joyce Valenza, I found myself reviewing the list of 10 greatest open source apps in 2009. While I found the list to reflect great apps, not all of them would have made MY list of open source apps. However, Miro was one I hadn't looked at in a long time, and I was delighted to discover it's easy to find access to NPR podcasts--like Fiona Ritchie's Thistlepod and Terry Gross' Fresh Air--not to mention a wealth of GNU/Linux podcasts and more content than anyone could listen to in a lifetime...all within easy click and download …