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I hope every educator will find something of interest on this blog. We all come to technology from our own personal background, and it is my aim to honor the wide variety of experience brought by all educators.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The best URL shortener!

hnyctt.me is the best URL shortener I have found.  It's easy to use and it allows you to create a personal account, so you can track the number of clicks on your shortened URL.  There is even a "bookmarklet" you can drag to your favorites bar or bookmark bar so you can just create a shortened URL any time!

"What's a URL shortener, anyway?"  you ask.   Here's my story:  When I am giving workshops or just sharing with friends, I often had looooooong urls with a multitude of un-spellable characters to transmit.  With students of any age, this is a nightmare.  Thank goodness, we can post the URL in a wiki or other website so that our learners can just click on it, but that only goes so far.

Kevin is a FUN and inspiring presenter!
When you create a shortened URL, you can customize it, so that it makes sense to your learners.  If you customize it with something about your topic, it's easy to remember, increasing the chance that your students or other learners will go back to it with ease.

Give hnyctt.me a try!  I think you'll like it!  By the way, it was developed by Kevin Honeycutt.  If you don't know him yet, you should!  Here is his website, and that's a topic for another day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

1Password


I am finding solutions to problems today!  Believe me, these are problems that needed solving.  I am optimistic that with these problems taken care of, I will have lots more time in my days.  And goodness knows, teachers need more minutes in their days!

On a good day, when I'm feeling organized and not TOO rushed, I use my Diigo account to save login information.  I just make the bookmark private and type the information into the description area.  This works pretty well for some things, but I don't trust it to be secure enough to put my online banking information in, for instance.  But, as I've indicated, this is not the case every day!

I spent several hours last night trying to retrieve passwords and usernames from two sites.  In my line of work, I scout around for websites which might be useful for educators, play with them, and decide whether or not to recommend them.  Sometimes I like a site, but I don't use it often.  When I return to the site, sometimes months later, I don't have my login information.

I try not to make a habit of just creating a new login- I don't want the company to get a big head, after all, thinking they have more users than they do! 

I posted on my Plurk account (Yes, this is my most useful PLN!  ...more about that in another post...) and one of my Plurk buddies suggested that the $30 subscription fee to "1Password" was the best $30 she ever spent.  (Thanks, TammyW!) So, I've been looking into it today.  $30 is the fee for one platform.  Since I am "bi-platformational," I got a subscription to both, and at a discount when I clicked on the "Education" link.

Here are some things you may want to know about it:

(from their site:)
1Password is a full-featured password and identity manager. Thanks to powerful desktop client programs for Mac OS X and Windows and mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, 1Password gives you a more secure and convenient online experience, no matter where you are.

Here are some of the features that make 1Password an indispensable tool for managing all your passwords, online IDs, and personal information and for streamlining many aspects of computer use:
  • Automatically Save and Fill Web Site Logins
  • True Integration With Web Browsers
  • Support for Popular Web Browsers
  • Strong Password Generator
  • Rock-Solid Security
  • Securely Organize Your Life With Wallet Items
  • Secure Notes
  • Stay Organized
  • Get Access to Your Data Anywhere
  • Automatically Keep Your Data in Sync on PCs, Macs, and iOS devices
Sound good?  I thought so, too.  I am spending the weekend setting this up on all of my computers.  You can even store your password file on Dropbox (I haven't tried SugarSync yet) and use it on all computers where you have your Dropbox account!

Sugar Sync

Click here to try SugarSync at my invitation!
I just found SugarSync!  I believe it's going to solve one of my most vexing problems.  First, let me say that I am fortunate to have more than one computer.  In fact, I regularly use a desktop at work, a Windows laptop AND a Mac laptop at work, a Windows netbook for personal use and a whopping desktop at home.  Add to that my iPod Touch, my iPad, and my Android phone, and you may realize that this application comes in handy.

SugarSync allows you to designate files and folders you want to access on multiple computers.  This is exciting for me, since I would be rich if I got a dollar for every time I needed a file that was located on a computer I didn't have access to.  I travel in a wide geographic area for work, so I am often away from the computer I was using when I made a file or edited it.

I'm looking forward to having my files and finding them, too! 

By the way, if you invite others to use Sugar Sync and they do, you get bonus storage space!  And they get the same bonus you do!  Great news for everyone involved!

Many thanks to one of my Plurk Buddies (Thanks, mguhlin!) for sharing this great site!

A Library for Everyone!

Check it out!
I like the idea of libraries, but I never liked spending time in them.  I always felt that it was some sort of failing in me; an aberration!  I suspect the same is true for other folks, judging by the look of the local Barnes & Noble.  People like to get a snack and a cup of something warm (or cold) and sit down to browse books.  But the local library is not nearly as crowded.

I know there are many for whom an ideal idle hour is spend among the musty stacks of a library, but perhaps they can get some satisfaction here as well.

Open Library is a source for books and ebooks.  It's free to sign up.  It's a project of the Internet Archive , a non-profit which aims to create a webpage for every book ever published!  Some can be "borrowed" and others must be read on a device.

Check it out!  The title of this post is a link to Open Library!

Many (over a million) books are made available to people who have difficulties reading a print book.  Braille and audio editions are available to those who qualify in a format called "Daisy."  A special device is needed for these books.  You can learn all about that feature HERE. and by clicking on the "Daisy" link within the Open Library site.  Some books are available in "open" daisy (uprotected) and can be used by anyone on a number of devices.