Wednesday, December 31, 2003

blogs' impact on "emerging social consensus"

"Rare indeed is the legal victory that is not a careful byproduct of an emerging social consensus." Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in her recent book

school for success - maya angelou public charter school

the maya angelou public charter school, in washington dc, was recently profiled on "the news hour." learn more the school at it's web site. kudos to all at this school who are transforming lives and communities.

nice jewelry

a colleague of mine here in the washington dc area makes way cool jewelry.

Monday, December 22, 2003

leaders are by definition restless

Leaders, by definition, are restless. They are constantly envisioning a better organization, a better society, and a better world.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

books i'd be reading if i had the time

Weinstein, Arnold. A scream goes through the house : what literature teaches us about life. New York : Random House, c2003.

Why not? : how to use everyday ingenuity to solve problems big and small /
Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School, c2003.

Zaid, Gabriel. So many books : reading and publishing in an age of abundance ; translated by Natasha Wimmer. Paul Dry Books ed., 2003

Heffner, Richard D. A conversational history of modern America / Richard D. Heffner ; edited by Marc Jaffe. New York, N.Y. : Carroll & Graf, c2003

If you read any of these, thanks for sending me an email telling me what you think of the book(s). If your comments are revealing, I'll post them to this blog.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

the belief

the belief that individuals can create great things by joining forces in imaginative ways

We never know how high we are

"We never know how high we are until we are called to rise, and if we are true to plan, our statures will touch the skies." -Emily Dickinson

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Are haikus too long, too short, or just right?

i've always loved the haiku form, but i'm beginning to feel the form is too long. some haikus ramble on and on and on beyond two lines.

to be truly concise, a poem ought to have a single line. 4 words in the line is do-able, but lazy. 3 words are better. 2 words are best -- although it's admittedly tough to write two words poems.

challenges elicit

Blessed be the meta-data

Blessed be the meta-data.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Sunday, December 14, 2003

I wish to avail myself of all that is already known

"I wish to avail myself of all that is already known and then if possible add my mite to help." Wilbur Wright in a letter to the Smithsonian, 1899.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Staples Store - "You'll Need Some Integrity With That"

I stopped by a Staples store this morning to buy an HP PSC 1210 printer for a client and ran into a sleazy practice I felt uncomfortable with. When I was at the cash register, the salesperson told me, "You'll need a cable and ink for this." My response, "Thank you, but actually I don't. I already have a USB cable and the printer comes with ink."

Undeterred, the salesperson tried to sell me a USB 2 cable for a printer that has USB capabilities only. "Did you know our gold printer cable is faster than our other cables?" My friendly response, delivered very politely with a smile, "Thank you, but the speed of the printer output of this printer does not increase due to the speed capabilities of the cable." Salesperson's response: Blank stare.

Pregnant pause. I think things over and decide this situation does merit a friendly and very polite scold. "You know, a person who is not technically trained might be led into thinking that the faster printer cable you tried to sell me would lead to faster printer output on this printer, and this is just not true."

Blank stare. "I happen to work in the field of technology and thus I am able to understand that I don't need the faster printer cable you were trying to sell me."

I also didn't need the ink the salesperson was trying to sell me. The implication was that this printer doesn't come with ink, when it does.

Staples is one of my favorite stores and remains so, despite this incident. I'm posting this story to Slashdot to get input from others on whether the above-mentioned sales techniques was as sleazy as it appeared to me. And if so, is this something we geeks can continue to tolerate?

If a Staples saleperson tries to sell you something you very clearly don't need -- and represents that you do neeed it, an appropriate response to: "You'll need a cable with that," is "No thanks, you'll need some integrity with that."

looking in your rear view mirror

"take a look at the rear view mirror in your life. the road up ahead is soon going to be appearing in your rear view mirror, and you're the only person who can determine what the scenery in the rear view mirror will look like."

bringing language minorities to the table

"The leading desktop interfaces for the open-source Linux operating system—KDE and GNOME—are, between them, available in more than twice as many languages as Windows. KDE has already been localised for 42 languages, with a further 46 in the pipeline. Similarly, Mozilla, an open-source web browser, now speaks 65 languages, with 34 more to follow. OpenOffice, the leading open-source office suite, is available in 31 languages, including Slovenian, Basque and Galician, and Indian languages such as Gujarati, Devanagari, Kannada and Malayalam. And another 44 languages including Icelandic, Lao, Latvian, Welsh and Yiddish are on the way."

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Email from one of my adult students

One of my adult education students, an immigrant, sent me this very touching email after I helped her set up a free email account on Yahoo. If you read it closely you can discern what she is saying. (i.e. tinkew = thank you)

She achieved success in sending email on this day. Folks need to always be ready to measure success in lots of different ways. Here is the email she sent me. (Her name is left off the end of her email to protect her privacy.)

tamekwetocekingmeemii and to tecwim competer tospekt tinkwe im not 
reaet my wont to spaknaw nad to erat palac hlpe tm,,to my  

life immitating "the simpsons"

"Personnel being laid off should not be assigned to work that is
associated with a special safety system."

- from a report by a line manager at the Pickering A nuclear power
plant in Ontario. The report describes how, 14 minutes into a
risky repair job, the staff performing the work were laid off. The
workers began leaving the site and had to be asked back to tighten
a plug they had loosened in the plant's radioactive-containment
system. (Reported in the December 10, 2003 Globe and Mail.)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Seek goodness everywhere

"Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed." William Saroyan

Saturday, December 06, 2003

what to tell a friend who doesn't wear a bicycle helmet

when i got home today, i found out that since 1932 44 thousand bicyclists have died in fatal accidents in the united states. that's such a nice round figure, it would be awkward if the figure were 44,001.

bicycle helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in preventing brain injuries during bicycle accidents. bicycle accidents happen for a host of different reasons, including dogs that run after and dart in front of bicyclists.

i know you'd much prefer brain injury to the slight discomfort of wearing a helmet. each of us need to choose our priorities, though. when you're done preferring brain injuries, thanks for putting on a helmet.

don't do it for yourself. do it for your students. you'd be cheating them if you didn't.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Words to Live By

Know what you do well,

Let those in need know you can

do it with them.

Then -- do it well.

(Heard from Marcia Harrington, via Sharon Morgenthaler, DC LEARNs)

Friday, November 21, 2003

Simple principles of decency dictate

"The plaintiffs volunteer in our schools, worship beside us in our
religious houses, and have children who play with our children, to
mention just a few ordinary daily contacts. We share a common
humanity and participate together in the social contract that is the
foundation of our Commonwealth. Simple principles of decency dictate
that we extend to the plaintiffs, and to their new status, full
acceptance, tolerance and respect. We should do it because it is the
right thing to do."

- Justice John M. Greaney, in a concurring opinion in the Supreme
Judicial Court of Massachusetts's decision on same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Agent Sokoban, logic puzzles for Windows

Agent Sokoban are some of the prettiest, most fun logic puzzles for Windows. I'm also a fan of SokoMind and Sokoban logic puzzles.

Can you see the invisible?

"Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.

Fiber optic Internet comes to Cleveland

This ought to boost the city in interesting new ways. Cleveland rocks.

"OneCleveland recently gained rights to nearly 400 miles of fiber optic cable that extends from Garfield Heights to Westlake and from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Lake Erie. About 200 miles of fiber was donated to Case Western Reserve University, which in turn gave it to OneCleveland, by City Signal Communications, a company in Malvern, Pa., that owns five fiber rings in Greater Cleveland. OneCleveland bought from City Signal the rights to the remaining fiber for an undisclosed amount."

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Some thoughts about online public library reference services

The closest any human being can come to being omniscient is to earn a living as a reference librarian. Reference services are taking on new form and value with online public reference services.

Grand Rapids Community Media Center

I'm fond of the Grand Rapids Commmunity Media Center, located in a public library, serving the community in fresh and invigorating ways.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

what i'm reading now

What I'm reading now: "No More Throw-Away People," by Edgar Cahn, founder of the Time Dollar Institute.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Microsoft Producer 2003

Microsoft Producer 2003 is a very, very interesting and useful free software program that works with PowerPoint 2002 and PowerPoint 2003 on Windows XP computer. I plan on using this software a lot for multimedia storytelling.

Friday, October 17, 2003

positive feedback from students

one of the new adult students in my english conversation and language class remarked to me after class late night, "this class is for me a dream come true. i've been looking all over the city for something like this." my response - "if you found the class useful, it might be because you were so eager to learn. it was you, not me, taking those 3 page of notes."

it's moving hearing that kind of feedback. i need to figure out ways of getting such learning/teaching onto video and other media to reach learners not able to make it to class.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

He threw all my toys out the window

Let me tell you about my brother Ian, who reads my blog. As kids we shared a room and he used to regularly throw all my toys out the window of our second floor room. Wait a second. That was me who used to regularly throw all of his toys out the window.

He's a great guy and I'm lucky to have him as a brother. Just don't let him get close to any of your toys if there is a nearby open window.

Colleague's blog

An educator colleague of mine set up a blog this morning.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

grateful students

the adult education students i teach in my job often bring me food they made as a way of saying thanks. it's very touching.

Flashpoint software looks good

i've been on the lookout for software that creates multimedia storytelling flash files and that is affordable and easy to use. flashpoint from sausage software (for windows) looks like it does the trick.

the publisher describes it in this way: "Flashpoint is a low cost yet versatile tool to create eye-catching presentations with streaming audio for playback over the web or directly from your PC, laptop or handheld. The output format is standard HTML and Flash."

this software lets you scan in images or drag and drop them in. you can import mp3 audio files. you can add links to any object or picture. you can add gradients to your presentations. the download includes a program named "flashpoint audio" that converts wav files to mp3 audio files.

flashpoint reminds me of hyperstudio in its ease of use. here's a sample flashpoint file i made in just a few minutes. the navigation arrows were added by flashpoint without my evening having to ask for them.

i intentionally created mp3 audio files with a very high sound quality, as most of the web multimedia i make is intended for viewing/hearing with broadband. when i have enough free time, i make the same multimedia geared for dial-up users.

"Just Be Who You Are" documentary screenings

If you live in the DC-area, check out the screenings of the documentary Just Be Who You Are, co-produced by a friend of mine, Harry Hanbury. The screenings are free, but a donation to the Sexual Minority Assistance League can be made. Thanks for helping spread the word.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Social Edge

Social Edge is a lively and provocative online community for the social sector. It's a place for an empowered community of socially minded individuals committed to changing the world to convene.

those who are victorious

"Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisvely. They are like a great river that maintains its course but adjusts its flow...they have form but are formless. They are skilled in both planning and adapting and need not fear the result of a thousand battles; for they win in advance, defeating those who have already lost."

-Sun Tzu Chinese Warrior, Philosopher 100 B.C.

new article - "injecting playfulness into computer trainings"

over the weekend i wrote a new article, "injecting playfulness into computer trainings. this article may be freely distributed and reprinted for nonprofit purposes.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Netomat looks interesting

When I get a little free time, I'm going to enjoy exploring Netomat, a new web multimedia publishing tool.

Skype Internet phone software installed

I've got Skype Internet phone software installed on my Dell laptop at work. I also installed MP3-Recorder, which ought to let me record high quality audio from Internet phone conversations. As I understand, this combination of software programs could let anyone interview anyone else and produce a high quality wav (uncompressed) audio file. You could then take that audio file and merge it with a jpeg photo to create an audio annonated jpeg along the lines of this interview with David Welsh back in 1997. 1997? My how the years go by. If you'd like to merge jpeg photos (or any graphics) with an audio file, QuickTime Pro ($30 for Macintosh or Windows), is one of the best tools for doing so. (Note - QuickTime Pro is just a password enhanced version of standard QuickTime.)

You can find out the steps you need to make an audio annotated jpeg in a QuickTime I made over here. Steve Ronan, if you have a moment, let's try out Skype sometime.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Bare fact

Students living in financially stressed families are exposed to fewer educational opportunities in their homes and have less access to educational technology at home, resulting in lower academic performance at school. This impacts everything in their current and future life.

Recipe for success

"Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing somthing that you aren't."
Malcolm X

Subscribing to this blog

If you'd like to subscribe to this blog, the subscription address is

My favorite syndication
aggregator software (for reading blogs) is AmphetaDesk available free for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. If you choose to use AmphetaDesk, thanks for sending the talented creator a small donation. Kevin Hemenway is so talented he likely has other very interesting software up his sleeve that will also astound folks and change the world.

Colleague - Jacqueline DeCarlo

Jacqueline DeCarlo is a colleague in Washington DC who refuses to stop working until there is more dignity in this world. She teaches me and others things we need to know. When she sets up a blog, I'll be the first to subscribe to it.

If good things are just around the corner

"If good things are just around the corner, turn many corners."

Friday, October 10, 2003

News from my new job

Work is progressing well as a "literacy leader/lifelong learning coach," one of 20 people helping to implement Mayor Anthony Williams' new literacy initiative for adult learners in the District of Columbia.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Community Technology Leaders

The results of the first annual Community Technology Leaders have been posted. Kudos to all the pioneering winners of this award.

Youth civic participation web site

Since 2001, CIRCLE has conducted, collected, and funded research on the civic and political participation of young Americans. CIRCLE is based in the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs and is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Monday, September 22, 2003 ::

Some colleagues of mine over at foundation are doing some wonderful work with ::

Thursday, August 28, 2003

National Community Technology Leader Awards Announced

Do you know of someone who ought to be nominated for these awards? Kudos to the person(s) who invented these awards. Some good will come of this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Teaching Music at Community Technology Centers

Here's a message I recently posted to the YouthLearn email list about teaching music at community technology centers.

The YouthLearn online community brings together youth-development professionals, teachers, educators, and other caring adults to share information on after-school and in-school learning programs enhanced with technology. 
Interested persons can subscribe to vibrant, active YouthLearn email list.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

"The system moves no further than it is pushed." Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. (Quoted in an article by Cynthia Nevels in About...Time magazine.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Are you interested in getting a master's degree in creativity? Then the State University of New York, Buffalo is the place to go. I get a warm feeling whenever I think of Buffalo, New York, even though it's the city that invented air-conditioning. Best as I can recall, the Creative Education Foundation used to be located in Buffalo, too. This organization publishes excellent books, such as Source Book for Creative Problem Solving and Growing up Creative.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Although newspapers and magazines often link low-literacy to employability issues, low-literacy can also have a direct effect on mental well being. Studies have shown that low-literate individuals have a much higher incidence of Alzheimers and dementia.

A long, long time ago (back in 2000 and 2001) several newspaper and magazine articles were published covering some of the community work I've been doing. I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

For those who might be interested, you can subscribe to this blog at YahooGroups. YahooGroups allows you to subscribe in digest form, if you prefer.

Whenever new material is posted to this blog, you'll receive an email with the full contents of the blog posting.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Community Technology Review is one of the leading publications covering efforts to bridge the digital divide. The latest issue of this publication can be found on the web here. The current issue includes a short profile piece about my involvement in technology access issues.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Next week I'll be attending the 12th annual conference of Community Technology Centers' Network, in Washington DC. I support the good work that this organization does.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

What in the world was the FCC thinking in their new rules issued yesterday? For the
same effort they should have commanded all watchmaker to turn back the clocks.
I am in favor of social networking software such as Trepia, when used wisely.
Our society is far too disconnected. Trepia, blogs, GeoUrl and personal web pages can create needed new connections.
A friend of mine from high school, Doulgas Rushkoff, has produced an interesting Frontline documentary
The Merchants of Cool. You can watch the entire
documentary online at PBS's web site. (What? No QuickTime version? Mon dieu!) Doug has written
a couple of books on cyberculture worth checking out.

Friday, May 23, 2003

OpenOffice's Impress program is the most feature rich, free multimedia storytelling tool ever released. I can't wait to see what
people create with it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Here's an entry from Einstein's blog. "School was so boring today. My mind was racing at the speed of light and the teacher was progressing at a snail's pace. There have got to be better ways to teach and learn."
Blogging extends the concept of personal journalism in new ways. Another neat personal journalism tool is the Tele-Recorder 350 phone tape recorder ($50 from Ahern) which lets anyone with a telephone record a phone conversation to tape. It's possible to digitize such conversations and distribute them as audio over the web.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Saturday, May 10, 2003

My imagination asked me to set up this blog. I complied since my imagination treats me well
and hardly ever asks me to do things for it. I'm really hoping it will return the favor.