Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I created a lovely photostory on Arabians, but after three attempts, it failed to upload. I have it in my videos and on my desktop!

Audio manipulation

Success and no success

I learned how to use the laptop microphone and to control the sound. I learned to use Audacity and to record. I attempted to enter Incompetech to download some music, but had no success. I located itunes and looked at it. I will look at it some more. I have not posted to the audio sandbox wiki because I cannot succeed in producing anything to upload.

As with thing #10 this will probably be continued.

Image manipulation

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Thing # 19, or inquiring minds want to know ...

For this thing, I chose Yahoo Answers. I think it is special for several reasons. It is a wide open forum for anything. It can satisfy people's curiosity on just about any subject. And, anonymity can always help. We always state that there is no stupid question. Unfortunately, there are stupid questions. We are all too polite to say so, groaning silently. Forums such as Yahoo Answers or Ask Jeeves and others allow people to ask questions without fear of embarrassment. People can ask the stupid questions privately, and then form a basis for asking more informed questions that increase their knowledge base for any number of subjects.

I can see this tool being useful to my population, whose English speaking and writing skills leave a lot to be desired. Students can use this tool at their own pace, not feeling pressured to peform quickly and well. They can use it in private, not leaving them open to feeling embarrassed. Hispanic children can be timid and not likely to speak up. I can see Yahoo Answers giving them a lot of satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment in pursuing learning on their own, and making their own choices and building confidence in their ability to go out and get some knowledge.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thing #21, or how to overcome technical difficulties

This did not begin well. After spending several hours and two unsuccessful attempts to download Photostory with my dial-up connection (even with Windows XP), I had to abandon that and go through a back door somehow. At home, we owned a copy of Microsoft Plus, which included an older version of photostory which worked better on my ten-year-old Dell. For the photostory, I chose pictures of pets and farm animals and a couple of surprises. Photostory is great: quick, friendly and easy to use. Hope everyone can hear the music.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thing # 18

Open Office: years ago while employed in special libraries in the business sector, I learned IBM displaywriter, one of the first word processing programs. There was a fair amount of complication and a lot of button and function pushing. Then I was introduced to Professionalwrite, which was designed for busy professionals who did not want to learn to use the cumbersome displaywriter. What a difference. You could literally be up and running with Professionalwrite within five minutes. Not so with displaywriter.

Open Office seems to be running along these concepts. There are a lot of plusses: it claims itself to be compatible with other programs. It is easy to learn (always a HUGE bonus), it comes in many languages (I am not sure how Microsoft Office measures up in this respect.)

Plus, it is free. While it may always be true that we get what we pay for, who would not be tempted to ditch Microsoft Office and go with something free?

I liked their sales pitch: digital inclusion - making software of the highest quality available to all, regardless of income. My clientele certainly can’t afford Microsoft Office Suite.

Google Docs: as always, I am prepared to be impressed by anything sponsored by Google. The overall appearance is clean, straightforward and uncluttered. I always appreciate that. Looking at the upload function for a new document, it looks pretty easy and seamless, including the ability to upload PDF files. Within the same word processing window, you can research in Google. I always must minimize a Word document if I need to go out and find something while in the middle of composing.

“Google Docs Offline will give you access to your documents when there is no internet connection.”


Also, nice templates are available.

I’m impressed, as I knew I would be.

Could these two choices completely replace Microsoft Office? Probably. Will they? Probably not. Microsoft Office has far too strong a stranglehold on the market. Who could conceive of being without them? I see these choices as exactly that: choices that can be used in addition to and alongside of Microsoft Office, and by those who don’t have the couple of hundred dollars it takes these days to buy it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thing # 17

I don't think I got as much as I should have out of Rollyo. It took me a while to get a vague understanding of what I was doing. I went into Rollyo, registered, and created several search rolls because I did not realize that the first one I created had actually worked. Basing it on my interest in real estate and the hope of someday owing a vacation home or investment properties, my search roll involved websites on south and east texas real estate sites that specialize in rural property. My search rolls are registered in Rollyo.