Category Archives: Web

What’s a Whuffie?

I checked out my Twitter feed this morning and David Warlick was live blogging from TechForum in Austin.

“Social and intellectual capital are the new economic values of the world economy.”

discussed by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

The quote reminded me of this:
In Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003) by Cory Doctorow

The usual economic incentives have disappeared from the book’s world. Whuffie has replaced money, providing a motivation for people to do useful and creative things. A person’s Whuffie is a general measurement of his or her overall reputation, and Whuffie is lost and gained according to a person’s favorable or unfavorable actions. The question is, who determines which actions are favorable or unfavorable? In Down and Out, the answer is public opinion. Rudely pushing past someone on the sidewalk will definitely lose you points from them (and possibly bystanders who saw you), while composing a much-loved symphony will earn you Whuffie from everyone who enjoyed it.

As often happens in science fiction, there will be bits and pieces that make the story believable because they will mirror parts of life that are close to present reality. Mr. Doctorow didn’t have the economic incentives part right, but social and intellectual capital sure sounds like Whuffie to me.Another thing mentioned in Mr. Warlick‘s post was that people don’t subscribe to magazines, they subscribe to people.

We all have “our people”; those we listen to, go to, read, learn from, trust, and respect. Where are yours? Are they at your workplace? In your feed reader?

Links To Visit

This is the coolest online image application I have seen.  It is called Sumo Paint and has a ton of features!  There are layers, gradients, shapes, brushes, and blend modes.  I played with it for about three minutes and made a little picture (nothing fancy, I know)


If you are in a more serious mood and if you Twitter you might consider in taking part tonight in fact checking during the vice-presidential debate.  NPR is asking that you watch and whenever you hear something that you think contradicts what you have already heard, see if you can find a transcript or video that backs it up and the same thing when a statistic is quoted – try to find the original source.  Twitter your finding with the tag #factcheck in your tweet.
Amazing – NPR will have people all over the country doing their preliminary research for them.  To me this is the interactive internet at it’s best.   What a way to get people involved.  I wish I had seen this sooner.  It would have been fun to have a twitter/debate party!  There is still time – if you have wireless and some friends with laptops get together and participate!

Google Docs Has Templates

If you are following Google you know that several days ago a new link appeared on the top right side of the page for New Features.  Google Docs has added templates.  There are over a hundred for each application and address multiple needs.

I threw together some screenshots on a newsletter template and saved it as a PDF file for you to see, but I say just go there and play around.  You can save a template under a new name and customize it with your company logo.  You have multiple choices for how to save your new document.  At this point you have to click on the new features link to get to the templates but I am confident that the Google folks will incorporate the templates into the document tools menus soon.

Addendum – I spoke too soon (or too late LOL) If you sign in to Google Docs and click new you can now choose document, spreadsheet, presentation, folder, or FROM TEMPLATE!! Yay Google!

Getting Things Done and Organized With Google Spreadsheets and Forms

Example of a Google Docs spreadsheet PDA

  • Create a new spreadsheet
  • Create headers across the top – you can format the text and background color if you like.
  • I used Subject, Date, Notes, Details
  • At the bottom of the screen you will see a tab for the sheet you are working on..  If you click it you have several editing choices, including delete, duplicate, rename, and move right or left.  For now you might want to rename it work.
  • Now click again and duplicate it (I did this twice) You now have three sheets with the same headers and you can now click on and rename the other two sheets.  I have named my sheets Work, Home, Ideas.
  • Now here is where it gets fun
  • You could just enter information directly into the spreadsheet but with Google Docs you can create a form that will make it easier to quickly enter data and have it automatically update in the spreadsheet.
  • We will create a separate form for each sheet and show you how you can use those links to populate your spreadsheet PDA
  • Click on the tab for one of the sheets so you will have that sheet open.
  • You should see a row of light blue tabs across the top of the document – click the tab for Form
  • Click create a form
  • A new page will open with your form already created according to the column headers you used in your spreadsheet.
  • As you move your mouse cursor over each field in your form you will see that you can edit that individual field, you can move it, you can even add or delete questions.  Just remember that what you do on the form will be reflected on the spreadsheet.  If you delete a field it will no longer exist on the spreadsheet either.  A good rule of thumb is that the form is “the boss” of the spreadsheet.
  • Now choose “next choose recipients”  You can put in your own email address and if you look on the right you will see a note saying that if you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out online and there will be a link.  This is the link you want to save as a shortcut on your desktop.  You can change the name of the link to make it easier to find.  On a PC you will right click on the shortcut and choose rename.  If you use something like @Home the @ sign will cause it to be near the top if you arrange you icons in alphabetical order.  On a Mac you will control-click the shortcut and choose info. There will be a field where you can change the name.

This would work for a student organizer – just change the column headings to something like assignment, due date, teacher/professor, class period, notes/resources. 

A couple of modifications and you can share and collaborate so now you have an online project management system.

You can also click publish – this gives you an embeddable link and an RSS feed so you can subscribe to your own list.
Choose more publishing options and click in the drop down box and choose HTML to embed in a webpage.  You can also choose which sheets and even which cells to show.  The will generate some HTML that you can paste into your blog.  Pay attention to the sizes shown in the HTML.  If you paste it and find it is bigger than the space provided in the webpage you can usually adjust those numbers to make it fit.

I hope this is useful to you!

I have only included a form that adds information to one sheet.

Addendum: I cannot get the embedded form to work.  I can use the form I created from my desktop or via my email so for the time being look at the above images as screenshots and don’t be afraid to follow the steps to create one to play with yourself.

Sifting Your RSS Feeds

I am subscribed to so many more rss feeds that I have time to read and often I will subscribe to a blog written by someone with multiple interests because they occasionally write about something I am interested in.  This means that I will see a lot of article titles that are not what I want to read.  I discovered a new tool today that will help me shrink some of that reader “bloat”

It is called Feedsifter and can be found here

You just put in the URL of the site and then type in the keywords you are interested in and Feedsifter creates a second feed that you can subscribe to.  Now you have a feed tailored to your interest!

If you have a google account the easiest thing in the world is to sign in.  Go to igoogle and click add stuff .  Looking down on the left sidebar you will find a choice for entering a url – paste the feed URL that feedsifter created there and you will now have this feed show up directly on your igoogle homepage.

I have often used to create a feed of bookmarks on a specific subject.  Today I created one for googledocs and using Feedsifter I had it make a new feed that would show me only googledoc bookmarks that contain spreadsheet and/or form.  Now I have an area that helps me keep up with new blog posts on Google spreadsheets. This won’t be a perfect solution but it helps me narrow down some of what shows up in my reader now.

This tip came from The Simple Dollar – thanks for a great hint!

Google Docs Spreadsheet With Embedded Map

Let’s make a quick guide for someone planning to visit Paris. There is more that could be included but this will be enough to get you started! The instructions came from the Google Docs Blog which is a wonderful resource!

First, determine the sites you will use and open a Google docs spreadsheet

In the first column put the addresses

In the second column put the names and a short description (you can include a link)

Click and drag to highlight both columns

Click Insert on the toolbar and choose gadget

Select Google Maps

You can add a title but you now have a list of sites with their addresses and links and a map to boot! Cool and simple.

Save it, click publish and check the box – republish changes and you can continue to add to it and you can email a link to it to your friends and family!

Here is a link to mine:

Here is a screenshot:


Comp Day May 2008

Here is my handout. Some of it is covered in other places in this blog. It was created on a Mac using Pages. I am trying to get more comfortable using the iWork software and I think that while it is not as much of a workhorse as Word it was fun and easy to export as a PDF.

Create a folder

PowerPoint Backgrounds and creating content in Word

Adding Sound to PowerPoint and making the music play across multiple slides

Creating Screenshots

Creating a group in Outlook Express

Locking your computer

Word Tips


End of year grade export


A Few Online Things To Play With

A couple of things I played with tonight – Google maps has added Wikipedia and evidently had already added photos. The photos are hosted by Panoramio and you can get to them or Wikipedia articles when in Google maps by clicking more and checking the appropriate box. I spent some time moving around just looking at pictures around the country and clicking to read Wikipedia articles – Google is opening up it’s geo search application and allowing other websites to use geographically linked information.

Another “toy” I played with tonight is Powerset which is a start-up that is trying to come up with a better way to search.  You type in your criteria using “natural language” and so far it is only searching Wikipedia but I typed in several searches in the form of questions and it seemed to respond in a pretty accurate range for what I was searching for.

Daniel Pink, Career Advice, and Manga

Daniel Pink has a new book out and I am planning on reading it but until I can get an actual copy in my hand here are goodies to share.  Garr Reynolds has created a presentation with an overview and a few of his own ideas.  It is definitely worth the watch. The book is The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You Will Ever Need.   

An article in Business Week says this:


In Japan, no subject is too serious or too pedestrian for manga. Comic books about financial management are popular. The True Life of Carlos Ghosn, a series about the head of Nissan Motor (NSANY), sold well. And a two-volume manga account of the country’s economic development has become a classic.

As for those who are still dubious about the, uh, value proposition of a business comic book, Pink offers this pitch for manga: It provides maximum efficiency of expression.


You can watch Garr Reynolds presentation here and also download a pdf if you prefer a paper copy. 

I have not been a big fan of manga but as I read more online and the pile of books next to my bedside table grows taller than the table, it may be worth a second look.  My experience thus far has been the kind that high school students want to read and is often not appropriate for school.  I am interested to know if anyone knows of more manga style books that are reference or informational.  If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear about them.

Girls Just Want To Have fun!

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting here with my latte (which just happens to have a tiny but of Bailey’s added) and I am unwinding from a busy and stressful week. I am watching Bones as I write this and I have been surfing my favorite “just for fun” site and decided to share it here.
Girls this post is about a website just for you! Whether you like to shop, connect, organize, or travel there is something for you here.  If you are into food, fitness, home, or maybe have a future mini-girl geek you want to check this out!

There is all this and more at what is actually a group of websites that are divided into specific interests.  I always start out at GeekSugar

You can look at the side bar on the left and as you hover over each category you will see popsugar, yumsugar, lilsugar and more.  These are sites for after work or Saturday morning with a latte and just relaxing.  There are love it or leave it polls, recipes for cocktails, latest buzz on celebrities and plenty of goodies to get your girl on.

So don’t get in trouble with your boss – just take a little “me time” tonight when the re-runs have you bored to tears and you need a little “geek is chic”  pick-me-up!  Have a great weekend

PowerPoint Tip – Create Your Content In Word

You can type the content for your PowerPoint presentation in Microsoft Word. If you highlight a section and choose Heading 1 in the formatting toolbar, that section of text can become a slide title. If you highlight another section and choose Heading 2 in the formatting toolbar, that text will become a bullet point. Header 3 will give you a bullet one level in. Normal text will not show up at all.


When you are finished typing your information, save your text in case you wish to edit or re-use later. Go to File/Send to (click the chevron arrows if necessary to see all the choices) and choose Microsoft PowerPoint.


You now have a basic presentation with all your text already in place. You can now add backgrounds, animations, slide transitions and whatever else you want to dress it up.


This technique makes it easy to see the flow of your presentation and to see where you might want to add notes if you are creating notes pages for yourself. You could type notes into Word as you work on your original text – just leave the notes as normal text. They won’t show on the presentation when you “send” it but once your Slide titles and bullets have been created in PowerPoint you can switch view to notes page and you can easily paste your notes onto the bottom section and you will have a complete presentation package complete with notes for you to use as you present.
If you’ve ever watched students work on a presentation you know that they tend to want to spend the bulk of their time working on the bling. By creating content in Word and then sending it to PowerPoint you know they are starting with the “cake” and then working on the “frosting”.

If you are ever asked to create a PowerPoint for someone else, you can tell them you would be glad to help and if they will type their information in Word and send it to you you will have it done very quickly for them.

JotSpot Has Been Relaunched As Google Sites

I will go play this evening and post about it tomorrow!


We’re contacting everyone who’s expressed interest in learning of
JotSpot registration re-openings on the JotSpot website. And
today, we’re excited to announce that JotSpot is working on Google
infrastructure and has been re-launched as Google Sites.

Google Sites is the latest offering from Google Apps, a suite of
products designed to improve communication and collaboration
amongst employees, students, and groups. Google Sites makes
creating a team web site as easy as editing a document. You can
quickly gather a variety of information in one place — including
videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and gadgets — and
easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their
entire organization, or the world.

To get started with Google Sites, you’ll first need to sign up for
the Google Apps edition that’s right for you (if you’re not
already a Google Apps user). Start the sign-up process at:


The Google Apps Team
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Below is an example of a classroom page created in Google sites. You can customize, use their templates, upload up to 10 mb files with 10 gb of storage. Since Google sites is integrated with other google products you can embed slideshows, video, spreadsheets and calendars into you page. One more piece of the Google World Dominance plan!

Ten Things You May Not Know About PowerPoint

  1. You can put single words in separate text boxes and animate them
  2. You can insert an autoshape and then have your text wrap within the shape
  3. You can decide if the animation should start after the preceding action or wait for you to click a mouse or presenter, or set the timing
  4. You can have more than one object animated on a slide
  5. You can add shapes and pictures and move them on top of or under other items like a stack of pictures and words by arranging/send to back or bring to front
  6. After you choose an animation you can click the effect tab and make the text change color, play a sound, appear a word or a letter at a time
  7. the effects tab will also let you group to second level paragraphs to give you more control of how bulleted lists appear (called a build)
  8. have a chart appear on the slide, one element at a time
  9. add buttons or pictures that let you navigate around your slideshow. You decide what gets clicked and where it sends you
  10. Draw comic book type illustrations using the lines in the autoshapes menu and fill shapes with gradients to give the illusion of shading

Computer Applications UIL

I started coaching for the first time this year and this is only the second meet we have competed in. I have two students and one went with me to the last meet. While she didn’t place this time she made a huge improvement from the last time. My other student got her first introduction to the real thing today and I expect she will improve as well.

It has been a learning experience for me as well. This year coaches are required to grade after the meet and I think this is a very good thing. I have learned more during the grading about how to help my students do better than any other time. Both my kids are seniors so I will start over next year, but with more knowledge and confidence. Every meet we attend I learn more and we get a copy of that test to take with us so we will build up a bank of practice material.

I am trying to work through all the tests I have that are from last year. If I can do it, I can explain it. If you are not familiar with this event, the student is given a test that may consist of a Word document, and Access database, and an Excel spreadsheet. You may have to embed a spreadsheet in a memo, or import data into a document to complete a mail merge. There will more than likely be functions involved too.

Computer Applications seems to traditionally be an early event and I was up at 5:30 this morning but we were home by noon so I am now getting ready to turn in.

It’s nice to see progress even if it isn’t a win. At least we are headed in the right direction!

PowerPoint Can Be Artistic? Poetic? Pretty???

Frame 1

Take a look at this site – a teacher wants her class to do a project like this – can we put together some instructions?

Sidebar – whoa this is cool! I am loving this.

Frame 2

A little playing, a little tweaking, some typing and some screenshots and yes we can do this! This is fun and creative and the students will take it and run!

Frame 3

Some explaining – this is how, this is where, be creative – think! not just about the bells and whistles; the bells and whistles have to enhance the symbolism in the text.
Think about the poem, put some words in separate text boxes. Animate them, use color, movement, sound and pictures to SHOW the poem!

Frame 4

Next day student asking will I be there that afternoon – this is confusing. Sure, we talk about the poem (she was stuck – how to animate a poem about sleep)

Frame 5

Student using all the elements – beautiful! Walking around helping, add a few seconds, try this and that. Go sit down – get out of the way. They are the artists!

If you are creating – you are learning. I’m learning, they are teaching me!
They are making a new piece of art!

There will be some tutorials coming up!

TCEA 2008 Let’s Go on a Writing Safari! Paula Alsup and Missi Downs

I didn’t get to attend this presentation – it was one of those time-slots when I needed a few clones to attend several sessions at the same time. Through the magic of technology I can still hear and “see” the presentation! After “attending” online I am very excited about the real event!

If you will go to Mrs. Alsup’s web presence there is a link on the sidebar to 2008 TCEA Presentation which will let you download the entire PowerPoint. You can view the PowerPoint and listen to the presentation at the same time -there is also a Podcast online – just click this link and put on your headphones – the Podcast lasts about 40 minutes. Writing Safari Podcast

Three Words

This post has two purposes. I am trying out a plugin that lets me finally embed youtube videos here. I also want to share this video as a great idea for a class project. It could be themed according to any subject and filmed in pieces at different times and then put together later.

Three Words

If you do a YouTube search on Three Words you will find many versions and each as some very creative and powerful segments.

thanks to Mark Ghosh for the embedify plugin that allowed me to finally embed the video!!