Monday, February 26, 2007

We Live in Exponential Times

The rate of change in our world in exponential. Through Tony Karrer's blog, - a link to the video below:

Great music and a truly important message!

The Growing Impact of Web 2.0

Alja Sulčič describes the impact of web 2.0 on her daily activities, and suggests some questions arising from the changes the read/write web is bringing.

I'm really amazed at what big part Web 2.0 plays in my life (and I in its life). In just a few years it has entered our lives from different doors and it's growing stronger and more powerful days by day. And for this reason I agree with what Michael Wesch pointed out in his video - we really need to rethink a lot of things. Among these things I think that rethinking ourselves is one of the key points. We are being linked in previously unthinkable ways and our lives are being changed. What kind of changes is that bringing us? Are the changes improving our lives or crippling the social aspect of our analogue real lives as some fear?

The answers to these questions are many - and there should be. For me the most important changes are the feeling of connectedness, the feeling of responsibility, the need to share and the trust systems that the users of Web 2.0 are building among each other (just take for example Wikipedia). These are the changes I find most valuable and that I hope I (and others) will be able to keep and use not just for a better and more useful Web 2.0, but also to build a better future - together, by connecting are ideas and constructing new worlds.

If you want to understand more about how web 2.0 is affecting people, both young and old, I recommend the whole post - - and the comments.

Image - "Open Clip Art Library/Clip Art." Open Clip Art Library. 24 Feb. 2007 .

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

eLearning Explained

If you aren't sure what eLearning is currently, and want to have a richer understanding, I recommend Tony Karrer's post on it - What is eLearning 2.0? -

We are in the midst of the biggest change in communications since the printing press, and it is affecting both the methods of teaching/learning, and the content. We need to learn what we can, and use it when we can.

Monday, February 19, 2007

After the Crash: A Final Accounting

Well, my computer is as back to normal as I can get it. Some stuff was recovered, some was replaced, and some was lost forever.

What was Recovered
Many of my Word files were recovered, Not all; I keep discovering that something I know I had is missing. But, thanks to the service people at Canadian Computer on Speers in Oakville, I have much to be grateful for.
  • most of my applications were recovered, so I have the work set-up I'm used to.
  • many of my Word files were recovered but not the files from the course that I worked hardest on. I might be able to salvage some information from the histories of pages in the course wiki, but ...
  • my old poetry is gone and I only have some of it in hard copy.
  • and there's more that I will discover missing in the future, I suppose.

Some Replacements
  • I've downloaded QuickImage again, so I can easily turn my screenshots into jpegs for uploading to Flickr
  • I've downloaded Audacity and Lame so I can make MP3s
  • I'm going to get my podcasts set up in iTunes again

Lost Forever
  • my pictures. Some were in Flickr, but I use that mainly to provide images for my blogs. Many of my personal pictures are gone.
  • As I mentioned earlier, much of my older poetry is gone, and much of my carefully collected and built course materials are gone.
  • My Address Book and all my email files are gone

Lessons Learned
  • Backup, backup, backup!!!
  • At least for now, I'm forwarding all my email addresses to my gmail account, so I can store my addresses and the messages I save online.
  • Using online services, like for bookmarking and Bloglines for collecting blog urls, is not just social, it's a safety move. What I had online, I still have.

What I've Added
  • I now have a 120 GB hard drive, bigger than the one that crashed.
  • I now have a 640 MB RAM, much bigger than I used to have.

So I've learned a lot, more about the mechanics of computers, more about the wise use of my computer (did I mention you should backup your files?) and that my computer is my external brain, but that I can rebuild and repair it when accidents happen.

A Dark Note
I was going to add a photo of my computer that I had stored in Flickr, but Flickr appears to be closed down for now. Even online is not a complete safety net. Backup!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

After the Crash!

Well the people who worked on my crashed Mac iBook G4 returned it to me with most of my programs on it, but with small things missing, like the Spell Checker in Word. Not really such a small thing, as I type quickly and need the backup. There were, however, no documents pictures or other data!

When I went into Finder and found everything empty, I couldn't believe it! I felt shaky. I started to enumerate all that I no longer had - pictures, and poetry, and saved pdf downloads, and all my documents from teaching materials to business records. I was not happy.

I called the people who had replaced my fried drive and I think I sounded quite pathetic as I begged them to see if there wasn't at least some data. They asked if I had back-ups; I confessed to being stupid. They said they'd try again, but it would take a long time. The other option was to send the fried drive to a lab and pay a couple of thousand dollars. I said I'd wait to see what they could do, and not to send it to the lab ('cause no way was I paying $2000.00, even if I had been really, really stupid.)

I ignored documents and data for a couple of days, just doing web work, and re-configuring what I needed to do that. Then, when I was looking for something else, I discovered a cache of backups from 2004. (I'm really bad with organizing material objects - I'm much better at organizing files, - and I will get in the habit of backing them up!)

So I took my 2004 CDs, which I hadn't made, but a technician had made them at the school where I worked when my assignment changed and I'd had to move from an IBM laptop to a Mac. (I wouldn't want you to think I used to be smart; someone else had done it for me.)

By that time, I was grateful to have anything. I dragged the files that were still useful over onto my new hard drive and began to put my external brain together again. And began to face the idea of re-creating work I had already done and lost. (Stupid! Stupid! Stooped!)

Today, I rewrote a consulting report on a website, and I think I actually improved it because I changed the structure and made it problem - suggested solution, problem - suggested solution rather than the more traditional business structure with all the recommendations at the end. This structure will be easier, I think, for the website owner to understand & implement.

Then - a reward for the virtues of acceptance and rewriting - the people with my fried drive called and said they got some of the document files off it. Tomorrow, I find out what has been returned to me. And I promise, promise, promise to back-up daily!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Getting Help with New Media Tools!

Through Stephen Downes and Mark Federman,
new media tools have always been difficult to learn without help!
Link here for an amusing illustration from YouTube

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

eLearning Technology: K-12 Blogging, Wiki and Social Bookmarking Resources

eLearning Technology: K-12 Blogging, Wiki and Social Bookmarking Resources
I suggest Wikispaces - - which is free for K - 12, and can be made private so only (class) members can see it. It also has a (WYSIWYG) visual editor that is similar to a 'lite' word-processing application, and therefore very easy.

I also recommend Elgg Spaces - - &/or - - because blogging and friending and Community Blogs and lots of other wonderful social things are free there, plus it's an academic environment where each person can set their own privacy (or not) level. As well, I believe people (teachers) can set up free (private) group blogs in Blogger.

I recommend she explore my blog WebToolsforLearners - - where I post about useful, free tools for teachers and students.

Friday, February 02, 2007

When My Computer Crashed ...

When my computer crashed, I borrowed one. Those of my fellow web-addicts will still be cringing and crying out, "It's not the same!" And that's true. My own computer has all my files, plus an extensive collection of bookmarks on my Personal Toolbar, not to mention the mail application I'm used to.

So what am I doing writing a Blogger post? I'm writing to describe the backups I have, and the ones I will create when I get my computer back next week.

I write this blog for two kinds of readers, who may, in fact overlap. I write it for people learning how to use the web as part of their own personal learning, whether informal or education or job related. Second, I write this for teachers and students who want to use aspects of the web in their classrooms or for homework uses. (You can see the overlap!) So now the good news about what I am still able to (easily) do even on a borrowed computer.
  • I can write this post. I searched for my blog title using Google and found it at the top of the list. I knew my user name and password, so I could log in and write. The same is true for my other blogs. They are easy to find, and all I need is Google and my registration info. Which brings me to some bad news about where I store my registrations, which I'll get to later.
Breaking News
The phone just rang and I heard bad news from the computer repair guys. My hard drive is toast. Perhaps some of the data can be recovered, but I'll need a new drive or a new machine. ARGHH!!!!!!!

I love my Mac iBook. It was the first laptop I owned, and the fifth computer, and second platform, I wrote my thesis on. It was loaded with all kinds of nice programs, and I used many of them. It was beautiful in appearance and operation! I don't want to believe it's dead, but the repair guys have been helpful and money-saving before, so I trust them. Arghh;-(

Back to the good news and I'll get to the other bad news later.
  • I've put a lot of my work on the web. So most of my (important) pictures are on Flickr, and a few of my word files are on Box (but not enough - I've been negligent about back-up. That's the real bad news! I've been careless about backup and may have lost everything I haven't backed up, and that's a lot!) Sorry - back to the good news.
  • All my blogs are safely up on the web.
  • My wikis are safe on the web.
  • My big bookmark collection, in, is safe on the web.
  • My RSS collection is safe on the web, in Bloglines, - though I've been reading a lot of good things about Google Reader and thinking of transferring.
  • I can get to my two conventional email accounts by using webmail, which I find visually unattractive and operationally limited and slow, but hey! I can get my mail, and my Gmail, already on the web, is safely there.
  • And my most recent good move, which I thought I'd wasted time on and now find a lifesaver - I set up my own Google Account with my own personalized Google Homepage and filled it with widgets and links.
So my overall good news, is anything up on the web is safe and accessible.

My bad news is I have to get a new hard drive or laptop and I may have lost extensive data because I didn't back up.

My (unsolicited) advice: Backup, backup and backup! And put as much as you can up on the web for easy retrieval.