Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thing 33: Travel 2.0

The timing of this thing is perfect as we finalize our trip to the Southwest this summer.
I started by looking at the Notes from the Road blog, Eric Gauger's images and travels around the country. The image to the right is one he took in Arizona. Next I used the Virtual Tourist site to look up hotels in Glenwood Springs, Colorado as we start making our way back. Finally, I checked out Hotspotr, to find out locations for wireless access on our trip. I'm going to have a hard time around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and in the Black Hills! Guess I'll be off the grid!

Thing 32: Google Maps and Mashups

For this thing I created a map in Google Maps for our trip to the Washington, DC. I have explored this a bit in the past, and have also implemented a Google Earth project in a similar fashion for the French Immersion students at Valley View.

View Washington, DC Trip in a larger map

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thing 31: More Twitter

I have been using Twitter pretty heavily now for the past year, texting sms messages to 40404 from my phone, using Tweetdeck from my desktop, or gadgets from my Netvibes page to post.
For this thing, I chose to use two free services, and SpinVox. Ping is a site that allows you to post to all of the popular social networks from one location. Rather than logging in to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc individually, you can do so once on Ping, and post to all. There is a similar feature with Tweetdeck, which allows you to post either to Twitter, Facebook or both.
By adding the SpinVox feature, I will be able to call 1-202-684-7653 from my phone, and speak my message. Spinvox converts the voice message to text and will post it to Twitter. It also will add the voice comment if you want it to! This will come in handy while I'm driving across the country in the next couple of weeks on vacation!
I'll have to speak more clearly though, as I really said, "I'm testing out Ping and SpinVox from my Phone!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thing 30: More Ways to Use RSS and Delicious

In the last few months, I've really gotten away from using RSS, and have been teathered to my Twitter PLN! I like using Netvibes for RSS as opposed to Google Reader or Bloglines because of the ability to have a public side to the feeds. So for this thing, I looked for something new that I hadn't looked at before and focussed on Spreed! Spreed is a aggregator site that takes specific feeds from different categories and allows you to read the articles at a certain speed!
The tool allows you to view the text starting at 240 wpm and increase it up to 1500 wpm! Apparently as you get used to the dark background and light text, you can increase your speed.
I topped out at around 450 wpm.
Not sure I would use this.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thing 29: Google Tools

In this thing, I explored some of the Google Tools I hadn't used yet.
I started by taking a look at the SearchWiki feature in Google.

Since I have been using Diigo for bookmarking, I wasn't sure if I would ever use some of these features, like favoriting. If I like a site, I'm not going to search for it each time, I'll just bookmark it and go there. For those that want to always exist in Google, perhaps that would be a good option...I tend to agree with Michael Arrington's assessment, that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. At the same time, if a company stagnates, they will lose out to the latest and greatest...

One option I have liked recently is the addition of "More Options" on Google searches. This allows you to see related searches, videos, forums, trends, and something new, "The Wonder Wheel!"

I searched for Barack Obama to see what the Wonder Wheel would give me...Here is the result:

I think it's interesting that John Edwards showed up along with Hillary Clinton. The fact that the word "president" didn't show up but "muslim" did is telling, though perhaps it's due to the speech he gave on Friday, and not certain people's perception of his religious affiliation!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thing 28: Customized Home Pages

I have been using both iGoogle and Netvibes for awhile.
I agree totally with Web Worker's Head to Head assessment: Netvibes wins by a mile!
Here are my reasons:
  • The public and private side (My 23 Things portals are on the public side)
  • The easy ability to add feeds and customize the pages.
Now they have many layout formats too.

Thing 27: Twitter

I started using Twitter in November, 2007. For the longest time I just didn't get it. Then I started following experts in Educational Technology, and learning with and from them. After about 5 months, I "got it!"
Now I use Tweetdeck and stay connected to my Personal Learning Network and teach others how to do the same!
For this thing, I added a background to my page, and thougth I'd add this slideshow:

Thing 26: Join the 23 Things Ning

I had actually joined the 23 Things Ning back in thing 20, so this time, I added the badge and updated my profile page, then commented on a few others, and added a reply to the More Things...How far along are you? Thread.

I like Ning a lot, and am a member of about 6 different groups. Unfortunately, Ning is blocked ino our district, so it isn't convenient to access.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thing 25: Blogger's Tool-Kit

When I first read over Thing 25: The Blogger's Tool-Kit, I was a bit overwhelmed. There looked like too much to do! Then I decided to break it down, and it wasn't so bad (For the most part)...

In the '>20 Usability Tips for Bloggers article, I was a bit troubled by number 12. For those of you with a Diigo account, you will be able to view my comment!
After reading the article, I decided to plug away at the task of trying 4 of the gadgets listed.
  1. First I added Odiogo, a tool that allows users to listen to the post. I thought this would be a great way to add Universal Access to blogs, though most people with vision problems would be using another tool.
  2. Under Comment Tools, I chose to add Disqus. Disqus allows you to make commenting on your blog easier and more interactive, I'll have to see if anyone comments on this to gather it's value.
  3. Since I had used ClusterMaps and Google Analytics before, I decided to try gVisit. By first pasting some script into my page, and then clicking on this link, I can track viewers to my page to see where they are from. Again, with time, I'll see how successful this is.
  4. For the Photos and Photo Tools feature, I chose to try FlickrCC, a site that allows you to search for Creative Commons Licensed photos. I found the one below, taken by Doug Wallick. Within FlickrCC was the option to edit the photo in Picnik, a free Web 2.0 editiing tool. So I modified it a bit based on the license that said it could be modified.
Overall, I spent over an hour and a half completing this thing...Too much time I think. I wish it had been broken down into smaller things. Luckily for me, the next two things are almost done!

Thing 24: Refresh Your Blog

For this activity, I changed my blog theme, and then worked on developing an avatar.
After trying the Yahoo Avatar creator, I decided to try the South Park version. I also played around with the Simpson's version. I'll let you decide which version looks best:

After doing that, I played around with the look of the site. I copied a template from and followed their directions. Not sure I like the look....

Since finishing 23 Things on a Stick last summer, I have worked on my EdinaTech blog, and have commented a lot on other people's blogs. I have also cultivated my Personal Learning Network on Twitter, and as of today have 1583 updates, follow 251 people and have 323 followers! On to the next thing...