Saturday, January 28, 2006

Where Were You When...?

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God.
-- President Ronald Reagan after the Challenger disaster

Many times during my life I've heard people say they can remember exactly where they were when JFK was assassinated. I can't relate to that experience since I was only 6 months old. I can vaguely remember when his brother RFK was killed, but I don't have any recollection of MLK's death, either. I don't actually recall when we landed on the moon nor do I really remember Apollo 13 having difficulty and having to return to earth. However, I was in my last semester as an undergraduate when the Challenger disaster happened. I had left the music building and went to my apartment for some reason. My roommate was there watching TV. She stated that the Challenger had just blown up. I stared at the TV in shock and sat down for a while to watch. It was an unbelievable sight to see.

I can remember that day in February 2003 when the Columbia was re-entering the atmosphere. I was watching a news channel of some sort that morning, and I can remember the weatherman stating that the shuttle was scheduled to land in about 15 minutes in Florida. I began channel surfing and as I came back around the same channel a few minutes later there was a ticker scroll at the bottom of the screen stating that all contact with the shuttle had been lost. I watched this for several minutes as I became aware that the shuttle was gone. Burned up. At first, there was speculation of terrorist activity that was later dismissed. As the days wore on, I watched information on TV about the Israeli pilot. It seems that he flew on the mission to bomb a nuclear facility in either Iran or Iraq some years earlier. He was late in returning from this mission and it was speculated that something had happened to him, but he did eventually return safely.

I salute all of those who have given their lives in the pursuit of making this a better place to live and work. Some folks may think that we spend too much money on space ventures and the like. I frankly haven't come to a conclusion one way or the other on that, but these are people just like the rest of us. People who have families, hobbies and interests, homes, kids, etc. Kids who now are missing a parent because of disaster. People like you and me.

Challenger Crew

Photo from NASA

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My new toy

I'm a gadget person. I love to play with them. I have an assortment of hardware ranging from external hard drives, a wireless router, switches, print servers, printers, a PDA, cameras, etc. My Dell Axim recently began giving me trouble with synchronization so I decided to find another PDA. I didn't really need anything powerful and expensive, so I opted for the HP iPAQ rx1955. I enjoy using it. The wireless functionality has been flawless! It runs the new Windows Mobile 5.0. I can set up my POP3 accounts much easier than I could with Windows Mobile 2002.

Click on the graphic to view the specifications.

USB Flash Drives

I'm sure quite a few of you folks own your own USB flash drive. Believe it or not, I have seven of them!! I find them quite useful. However, many of you may not know that there are portable applications that can be found on the web just for flash drives. There are portable versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, antivirus scanners, Open Office, etc. Just do a Google search for "portable applications USB" and you'll see what I mean! You can even load Spybot on a flash drive and clean your own hard drive of spyware from your flash drive! There is also a fully functioning distribution of the Linux operating system that can be run from a flash drive.

I've even read a few articles from the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where we'll soon be able to purchase wireless USB hubs for our printers, etc. I look forward to a life with fewer wires!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


This has been some week, and it's only day 2 of 4!! I've networked 3 printers to about 60 computers, and now I've got to work on a library program issue. Tomorrow is going to come early!!!

Kathy's blog has a new address. Make sure you check it out!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

What a week!

Wow this week has been something else!! Work, work, work, work, work!! I've been so busy during the day and evenings I haven't had time to post too much. I am so tired. I will be glad when this weekend arrives. It'll be 3 days!!! Yay!!!

I will try to post more next week. I've had several deadlines and problems to deal with this week. I need a little R & R.


Monday, January 09, 2006

TTTC--Too Tired To Care


I am too tired to update anything tonight so I thought I'd just enter something simple--no reviews, no articles, no nothing by just typing. This is really more of what a blog is supposed to be, isn't it? I mean, if we are to use blogging in the classroom shouldn't it be like a journal of thoughts and sometimes ramblings? I'm not very good at just jotting down personal thoughts, so mine may be more like ramblings. The typos are going great tonight. I can type pretty well, but I'm so tired I can't concentrate very well and I think I'm backspacing over more mistakes and correcting them that I am actually attempting to make sense.

Had some good laughs today. Ya know, laughter is just what we need sometimes. Some of my colleagues really make me laugh, and when I laugh in the office everyone knows it. Sometimes I embarrass myself when somebody comes to see what I'm laughing at because I can laugh so loudly. Oh well, if it makes others smile in the process what's a little boisterous noise going to hurt?

Do you blog in your classroom? If so, how do your students use it? I'd love to hear comments on this subject. What are your districts policies on students using the Internet in this manner? I feel that ours will need to be expanded a little bit because of this. We can already use student work, but with parental permission only.

Thoughts? Go ahead. I've got sandpaper in my eyes from the sandman, and I'm outta here...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Google Doodles

I don't remember really ever reading about the Google logos actually called "doodles" but it seems they are! I found a link today to some Google Doodles of the past.

You can see them at Oodles of Doodles.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Need a new computer?

Many times I am asked about new computers. People want to know what kind to get, what should they get on it, how much memory should it have (that one is almost ALWAYS confused with hard drive space), etc. I usually get the comment "I don't want to get one and do a lot with it, just some e-mail, word processing, a little Internet surfing, but I don't want to play games." I've included just a basic table of what to look for as of today. The brand doesn't make a lot of difference. Most of the support is the same now. Besides, everything is antiquated almost the next day after you've plugged it in! My advice would be to get as much as you can afford.

CPUAt least 2.8 - 3.0 GHz (no Mhz here)
RAM memory512 MB - 1 GB
Storage (Hard drive)80 GB - 160 GB
Operating SystemWindows XP Home (Pro for work)
MiscellaneousWireless Networking if more than one computer

I included wireless networking because sometimes you can resurrect an older machine to help in the storage of files. I have Dell XPS R-450 machine that I bought in 1998. I put a 1 GHz processor in it in 2001. Now it's my experimental machine. It's where my Moodle test is, and I'm considering making it a test machine for some Linux OSes where I can learn how to use those. I connect it to my network wirelessly because I have enough cabling around here!!


This is kinda neat. This is a website where you can record and share online audio. This could be a great classroom tool. Teachers could record audio of students telling about something they've learned, read a poem when studying a poet, etc. Check it out.


Online Word Processor

I was reading an article about the CES in Vegas today and saw the comments about OpenOffice being too big to be really portable. One hundred and forty-four megabytes is a lot of space for a program on a flash drive, but still, I like OpenOffice. It's free, so why complain too much?

However, as I read further I saw a link to an online word processor called Writely. I haven't read the whole site yet, but it looks interesting even though it is in beta. Check it out.

Writely--The Web Word Processor

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Google PC??

Is Google talking about offering a PC? Read this blog entry.

I hadn't thought of this...

When the hurricanes hit the gulf coast recently one thing we all were aware of was how people had to relocate to other school systems. For some reason it had not occurred to me the condition that those gulf coast school system SISs were in (Student Information System---in the educational IT world that can be a "dirty word." I'm only joking.) I can't imagine the effect there would be on losing data like that. I found a blog today that commented on this very topic. This was posted a few months ago, but I am glad to know that the state systems were able to help out these local systems in disaster recovery of data. Wow!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Some Yahoo News...

There's a new blog over at PC World. It's called Digital World, and it's written about consumer electronics. Read the Yahoo article here.

Motorola announced a new radio service.

Microsoft needs patching. Again. Yahoo news article here.

Read all about the "double dip." ???? Dual-core processors!!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Tips and Tricks

Did you know that you could hold the Ctrl key down and click on an icon and drag it to another location to make a copy? I didn't. Read here for more tips especially for PowerPoint.

PC Mag also has some tips and tricks for Office and Windows. For example, if you want to zoom in or out on a Word document you can hold down the Ctrl key and use the scroll button on your mouse to control the zoom in or out. That's cool!

I discovered several years ago. I have found quite a few answers to computer problems there. You might want to take a look at it. This link will take you to the troubleshooting section.

This site has a page that will detect most parasites on your computer. You know...the ones that come in pop-up ads. I go to this page periodically to make sure all is well.

Be careful of different paper weights in your printer. This can be one of the major causes of paper jams. Make sure you use the same paper weight to print your pages. Don't mix the paper. Make sure it's flat and not crinkled or curled. has some good reasons for upgrading to Windows XP SP 2. If you haven't done this yet, surf on over to their page and read up on why you should upgrade. The wireless networking options sold me on it last spring. Why have YOU waited so long?

If you want to get really technical, check out Daniel Petri's web site for some really in depth info of various windows topics. I've learned a lot of things by reading Daniel's site.

Need a .dll file? Go to to get the one you need. Don't worry. The site explains how to install a .dll file.

And, for all of you classroom teachers, here's a web site with tutorials for various application programs as well as articles, handouts, and tips. You can view this site to get ideas for computer centers in your classroom.

Thanks, Dave, for making me feel better.

Visited Stephen's blog today, as I do daily, and saw his link and article to Dave Warlick's 2 cents blog. I really like this paragraph. Makes me feel less "mathematically challenged." (And if you know me, you know that I am!)

Full literacy goes way beyond being able to perform mathematical operations with a dozen numbers on a piece of paper. It means being able to employ information that can come as thousands of numbers, regardless of what they look like. They may be numbers. They may also be the bits and bytes of text, images, sound, animation, or video. We must know how to process all of this information to add value.

Read the full post here.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Watch Your E-mail

The Sober worm variant is expected to reappear on Thursday, January 5, 2006. This particular worm is political in nature coinciding with the 87th anniversary of the founding of the Nazi party. Always beware of what you open in email. Worms are particular pests because they are so easily spread through networks. They can sit silently on a computer and send out spam without the user's knowledge.

Make sure your antivirus software is always up to date.

You can read the story by Michael Kahn at Reuters at Yahoo News.