Monday, October 29, 2007

Hanging with the Digital Imigrants, Talking about the Natives...

I'm sitting here sipping my coffee and eating a cheap danish, waiting for the keynote speaker. Laptops on the table are the rule rather than the exception. The woman to my right is video chatting with her 7 and 10 year-olds on her Mac book, while the woman to my left is checking email on her Blackberry. Bear in mind, these are the digital immigrants. We're all teachers and administrators in our 30's through 50's. If this is the norm for us, imagine what our students did before or during breakfast, this morning!

native.jpg

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Noble Experiment Part III (Screen Resolution Success)

...and there was much rejoicing.

After weeks of frustration, the first solution I had tried (typing "sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel" in the terminal) finally panned out.  I turned out that after installing the intel driver I had to manually edit my xorg.conf file, replacing the defaut "vesa" driver with the word "intel".  Below you can click on the thumbs to see my original 1024 x 768 layout and my new 1440 x 900 goodness.  Check out all of that desktop real estate I gained back!  Wide open spaces are wonderful, particularly when you're running a seperate OS on a virtual box! 

1024×768.png   1440×900.png

Tune in next time for "The Noble Experiment, Part IV: The Perfect Desktop"



Friday, October 5, 2007

The Noble Experiment: Part II (implementation 1)

Okay, so I've been a little distracted lately, what with changing diapers and feeding and just plain enjoying the company of my 1-month-old son.  My distraction, however abruptly ended when, in one week, my Windoze Vista single-handedly:

  • Destroyed my Flash Drive (not kidding... my Lexxar USB drive doesn't even open anymore.  It's just dead).

  • Deleted files I was backing up to a CD on the CD and the HD because it "lost the connection"

  • Wouln't record sound in Macromedia Captivate (perhaps the only program for which I keep windoze around).


Monday, September 10, 2007

Adobe Photoshop and Distorting Reality

I'm teaching Adobe Photoshop Elements to my eighth grade students for the first three cycles of Technology class this year, and I've been spending a lot of time examining the authentic career applications of such a product. Elements is essentially Photoshop without the Web Design and Graphic Design tools, which limits its practical application to photo enhancement and manipulation.

Incidentally, I do have some moral qualms about the primary application of Photoshop in the world of publishing for photo enhancement and manipulation. This situation is nicely summed up by the "Evolution" film, available at Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" web site.

 

Obviously, this is a reality that I will be sharing with my students, but it begs the following questions:

  • Do we, as educators, have a moral responsibility to equip students with the knowledge of the consequences of the technology we're training them to use?

  • How is it that we are encouraged to teach applications that ultimately harm a multitude of individuals, but are forbidden to use collaborative web based tools on the premise that we may encounter something offensive?

  • By sanctioning such commercial products and their related careers and media whilst banning community based tools, known for breaking down such barriers as media vs. public, are we not perpetuating such harmful distortions for future generations?

The Noble Experiment part 1 (the plan)

As Roger the Shrubber once said, "There is a pestilence upon this land." That pestilence is Microsoft Windows, particularly Windows Vista, which came pre-loaded on my new Acer Aspire T-690. I've been fighting buying a new computer for about 6 years now, scraping by on used and surplus units. I kept Windows light by running Win2k Professional with no bells and whistles, allowing me to run Macromedia Studio 8 on Pentium III computers. Slowly, I've been eliminating Windows from my home computers in favor of Ubuntu & Xubuntu Linux. I've had to keep one Windows computer to do web design, as Studio is very limited in Ubuntu under Crossover Office. Three weeks ago, the day of judgement came when my only remaining Windows computer, a Dell Inspiron 4100, died, losing a lot of web design client data, I might add. This is one of those bad deaths that you can't recover from no matter what you do. There were missing drivers and damaged registry files. The bottom line, it's still a paperweight until I can get the data off of the physical drive by another means.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hudson Taylor Walters

I didn't expect him to be purple when they took him out, a metallic purple-grey color.  He, of course began to turn a nice fleshy color as they cleaned him up.  I cut the cord!  I never thought I'd be able to.  I am definitely the squeamish type.  I was fine though, and blood and goo from the cord shot all over my scrubs.  I'm sitting here in our maternity room waiting for Lanette to come back from recovery.   I can't believe how big my son is!  Hudson came out at 8 pounds, 15.9 ounces.  In the real, non-doctor, world we like to call that 9 pounds. 

My life is going to be very different from here on out.  As I watched them clean and care for my son in the nursery, I winced when he cried and worried throughout the whole process.  It's amazing how much love and care you can have for this little person you haven't even gotten to know yet. 

What a blessed day.

Clint (a new Dad!) Walters

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Endorsements

















EndorsementsTypically, I don't endorse anything, but the following applications are great GNU applications that are 100% free!  These alternatives to more expensive apps, Operating systems, and suites such as MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, and Windows have been developed by a comunity of users and are constantly improving.Feel free to suggest additions...


Graphics / Animation:

Operating System

Note: Ubuntu is built on Debian Linux and is therefore impervious to viruses and spyware.
Office and Printing

Web Development

  • Nvu (Adobe Dreamweaver is $399)

  • Quanta (MS Frontpage / Expression Web $270)