August 31, 2008

As hurricane Gustav approaches the Louisiana coastline, including New Orleans, some folks are sharing the view from their location via, a website that allows anyone to stream live video from their computer for free. At any given time, there are hundreds of live streams and thousands of archived events available. Just search for a term such as Gustav or Hurricane. Here's a live view from Slidell, Louisiana (at least, until these people lose their power or internet service).

Streaming live video by Ustream

Sites like Ustream, blipTV, Mogulus, Kyte, and provide a remarkable opportunity for anyone to broadcast live events with little more than their computer and webcam (which is becoming a ubiquitous integrated option with laptops). This new platform empowers individuals and organizations to broadcast their message to a global audience--for free. For example, I saw dozens of churches broadcasting their Sunday morning services live on Ustream this morning. The Obama campaign has been simulcasting live campaign events on Ustream for months, and I've seen people like Bernie Dodge share conference presentations in real time along with an integrated chat that creates a powerful backchannel to engage people both locally and at a distance. Now, even makes it possible to stream such live video from many cell phones!

This is a truly an amazing new platform which has emerged over the past couple of years--one that many will embrace and some will find quite threatening or intimidating. Personally, I can't wait to see who starts using it next and how it transforms the way we communicate with each other.

August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Tina Fey Factor

On the day they introduced their VP candidate, the McCain campaign apparently decided to change the presentation of Sarah Palin on its website. I wonder what prompted the change--was it perhaps the humorous comparisons of her to Tina Fey (here's another one, yet another one, oh, and one more) that began circulating the same day?

August 24, 2008

My Fav Free Windows Apps

Here are some of my favorite free applications for Windows XP and Vista. Happy to receive your suggestions as well. FYI, click here to view my fav free Mac apps.

Firefox web browser

Safari browser (really is fast and attractive interface)

Thunderbird email client

iTunes (of course, especially for podcasts, free single of the week, and iTunes U)

Free RSS Reader

Free alternative to MS Office

Skype instant messaging and video conferencing

Second Life virtual world

Picnik (no software to download here, just a great web service for easy and capable image editing)

Free anti-virus security software

Free theft recovery

Free (& less annoying) alternative to Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files

Cute PDF (free app to print almost any document to a PDF file)

Real Alternative - Free (& less annoying) alternative to Real Player

Free alternative to Zip compression and uncompression

Core FTP Lite (free FTP and Secure-FTP or SFTP client)

Kompozer (free HTML editor with capable CSS editor built-in)

MPEG Streamclip (video converter, can download YouTube videos too)

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and very functional Photoshop alternative

August 20, 2008

Laptops for all 6-12 students in Central City

Students in grades 6-12 preparing for a new school year in Central City, IA, each received a new Apple MacBook laptop yesterday--theirs to use and care for both at school and at home. The Central City School District launched one of Iowa's latest examples of a 1:1 initiative (i.e., 1 computer per student ratio). In fact, Central City becomes the first Iowa district to provide laptops to all students in grades 6-12 (other Iowa schools have adopted laptops in one or more grades of middle school or high school, but none have yet involved as many as seven grade levels).

As reported by local media back in March, the project is funded with Linn County SILO funds and also includes the purchase of mobile wireless labs (carts with 20 laptops each) for each Elementary grade (K-5).

August 11, 2008

Britney and McCain in 2008

1,793,112 views so far... pretty funny stuff.

August 8, 2008

Google Teacher Academy coming to Chicago

K-12 teachers--Here's your chance to become a Google Certified Teacher! The next Google Teacher Academy, a free one-day professional development opportunity from Google, is coming to Chicago on September 24, 2008. Hurry--applications are due by August 24, and your application must include an original 1-minute video. Click here for details

August 4, 2008

Wikis for internal collaboration

The New York Times today has a brief interesting article about Diplopedia, the internal wiki developed and used by the US State Department. If the State Dept can successfully use a wiki to encourage modern collaboration among its employees, why don't more schools and universities embrace wikis as a tool to promote change, map curriculum, encourage professional development, model 21st century skills, strengthen missions and strategic plans, and, perhaps best of all, reduce the number of face-to-face meetings we all attend? 

Wikispaces makes it easy to add internal wikis to an organization using their Private Label service. 

Font Conference - Hilarious!

This is a really funny video for you font connoisseurs--or, actually, anyone who's ever used a word processor. If the video is clipped-off below, then use this link to view it.

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