Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some help from above? ...

In a previous post, Doug Sadler discussed a few options for storage of your important files in the cloud. Whichever service you may be already using, or would like to start using, it may be worth your time to investigate some of the other features that these sites offer beyond just storage for your files.

I would like to share a couple of great appliactions of using the CLOUD.

First, the CLOUD definitely helped me out yesterday.

I am a dedicated user of DROPBOX and I had a presentation that was synced with a couple of computers. I tried to drag the contents of my DROPBOX folder to a different location and somehow this caused everything to be deleted. Needless to say, I was a bit stressed.
(*note to users - leave well enough alone and keep your DROPBOX folder where it is!)

I asked a colleague if he had any suggestions... his comment was, "You pretty much have to try really hard to delete anything permanently". How true!
I logged into DROPBOX and chose "SHOW DELETED ITEMS".

All I needed to was to undelete the items and I was back in business.


Another great use of DROPBOX is the ability to SHARE files. All of these sites allow users to share any of their files with any person they wish. Thanks to Ian Cullion of Catholic Central for this one.

As an example, please access an excellent educational resource, e-Learning (great sites), that we have developed for teachers. It is a collection of links to websites, with descriptions, packaged nicely with active links for all of the sites (all 8.5 by 11 pages ready to be printed and posted in your classroom).


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A live HISTORY lesson

A Twitter account is reporting the events of world war two as it happened, minute by minute, for the next six years. As of today, 24-year-old Alwyn Collinson has over 120 000 followers. Learn more at

Monday, November 7, 2011

How Secure Are You?

Ask yourself:
  • How easy would it be for someone to guess my password?
  • How many sites to I frequent? Do I use the same password for each site?
  • How important is the information that I have online?
  • What would I do if I lost it all?
There are a whole load of questions that you can add to this list about online security. Often many of us don't really think about this until after the fact. That is, after we may have been compromised. Recently in an article in The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows recounted how his wife's Gmail account was hacked and the ensuing fall out that came of it (including deletion of 6 years and over 4 Gb of emails - they were eventually recovered but only, it seems, due to the author's connections with some big players at Google and the relatively new Undeletion Project). You can read the lengthy and detailed account here.

In the end, however, we are left with three suggestions about network security:
  1. Use Gmail's new 2-step verification - As stated, this is a Gmail only suggestion. You can set this up while in Gmail by clicking on Account Settings and under Security clicking on Using 2-Step Verification. Part of the process will be a 6 digit code that Google will send you that you will need to login if you are on a computer other than your own (on your own computer you will only have to use it once every 30 days).
  2. Use strong passwords - using words isn't necessarily good but if you don't, your password may be hard to remember. One workaround is to use more than one word or better yet, a phrase that would be familiar to you (including spaces - since to a hackers computer a space is no different than a letter and thus the password looks like a long string of characters). If you can it may also be good to use a string of non English or gibberish words that only you would know.
  3. Don't reuse passwords - if you have several accounts, don't use the same password for each. This doesn't mean you need to remember 100s of passwords. However, for sites that need to really be secure (online banking, email etc) you will probably want to do this for them. Then for sites that you would rather not be compromised (AirMiles, Chapters etc) create two or three strong passwords that you use for all of them. Then for sites you may not care about that require passwords you may want to create one or two passwords to use for all of them.
Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Easter Eggs for Christmas

An Easter Egg in the computer world is a hidden feature found in software. Here are a few examples that are brought to you by the Google (Youtube is owned by Google now too)
1. Do a Google search for "let it snow" (no quotations) and it begins to snow. Don't forget to click on Defrost!
2. This one was recently circulating in the interwebs. Do a Google search "do a barrel roll" (no quotations). Try not to get nauseous.
3. A simpler version of #2 is to search for "tilt" (no quotations).

4. And just so I don't waste too much more of your free time, in Youtube when you are watching a video, while in Play or Pause mode, simultaneously hit the left and up arrow keys and play the classic game of centipede using the arrow keys.
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Note, however, that these particular features do not seem to work within our board's Internet. So they won't work at school but they should be fine at home. Happy Easter Egg hunting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Great Resource from OSAPAC

Click on the video above narrated by Dianne Krause which introduces Comic Life and thoroughly describes all of its features.

Comic Life is OSAPAC (Ontario Softwared Acquisition Program Advisory Committee) licensed software and as such is free for all Ontario teachers to use in the classroom and at home. This tech resource allows students of all ages (Grades 2-12) to create extremely creative comics. If you are interested in a tool to hook reluctant readers, this may very well be the one. The finished product can be and often is very impressive. Go to and you will find software details, curriculum connections, and resources for Comic Life and so much more.