Sunday, April 29, 2007

Would you agree or disagree?

The issue is "badges." What is your opinion?

For a quick, free and easy method of soliciting opinions on a web page or blog, check out Create an account with nominal info, and you have one mighty tool! But wait, there's more! For each poll you create there is an associated RSS feed. The feed contains an hourly update of your poll results. Drop the RSS into your browser toolbar (this works in both Firefox and Safari) and watch the numbers come in.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Viewing websites without a live connection?

What's the best method for displaying webpages in a presentation, when you don't have Internet access?

This question was posted on a recent listserv. There were several suggestions offered, including taking screen shots, or saving the website as an archive. Some of these may be helpful to you as well.

A simple method for showing web pages offline, is to print the website to "PDF" and use Adobe Reader's "full screen mode" or Preview's "slide show" to present the various pages captured.

I was quite fond of the feature in Internet Explorer for the Mac that allowed users to save a website as an archive for later viewing, or to create a snapshot of the page using the "Scrapbook" feature (is this feature still available in the Windows version ?). In my current version of Safari (2.0.4) you can save as a web archive from the "File" menu:

However, you don't have options to be able to archive more than the current view. (In Explorer you could specify how many levels of "followed links" should be included). If you save it as a web archive, all the graphics are saved and links continue to work as long as the destination webpages are available. Web archives are especially useful for pages that might not be on the web for long, such as receipts.

In Firefox, (version 2.0) users can save as "Web Page, Complete" which save the whole web page along with pictures. This choice allows you to view it as originally shown, but it may not keep the HTML link structure of the original page. Firefox creates a new directory where the page is saved to save pictures and other files necessary to show the whole web page.

iCab, an alternative web browser for Mac, also allows users to archive web sites as many levels deep as they would like.

And, one feature I love in Apple's Keynote program (part of iWork 06), is the ability to insert a "web view" of any website in your presentation.

The nifty part of this is that you can opt to have the view "update automatically" whenever you revisit the presentation (so much better than a screen shot that has to be taken over and over as the website changes), and if you have a live connection, the image can act as a link to the site as well.

If you know you won't have a live connection, be sure to remember to turn it off while your connection is still live, or you will see a blank page during your presentation. The caveat to this is you are unable to scroll down the actual web page, so you are limited to what is viewable when you visit the site -- however, you can "position" the view further down the page.

Finally, there are software applications designed to capture websites such as WebWhacker for the PC, and a $12 shareware application that looks interesting for Mac users called DeepVacuum, available on the Apple downloads page: The description states, "Allows users to download: complete single pages, entire sites, ftp catalogs, link lists from a text file, pictures, music, clips, and more."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Free "411" Information!

Have you seen this from Google?

Google Voice Local Search is Google’s experimental service to make local-business search accessible over the phone.

To try this service, just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone.

Using this service, you can:

  • search for a local business by name or category.
    You can say "Giovanni's Pizzeria" or just "pizza".
  • get connected to the business, free of charge.
  • get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone.
    Just say "text message".

And it's free. Google doesn’t charge you a thing for the call or for connecting you to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, based on your telephone service provider.

Note: Google Voice Local Search is still in its experimental stage. It may not be available at all times and may not work for all users. They're fine-tuning the service to get better at recognizing requests. It’s currently only available in English, in the US, for US business listings.

Monday, April 09, 2007

How About a Fresh Six-Pack!?

Once upon a time, not very long ago, I published a Tuesday Six-Pack -- a weekly "pick of six" websites or tips for integrating technology into education (which has now evolved into this blog). After school last Wednesday, about a half dozen educators joined me in viewing the "Staggeringly Great Things Mixing Media and Google Earth" webinar from the good folks at Discovery Education, and presented by Hall Davidson.

Here are some new links that may be helpful if you are looking for ways to integrate Google Earth into your teaching.

Allows you to place Flickr photos into your Google Earth placemarks

From Apple Distinguished Educator Jerome Burg, this website "recreates the journeys" of characters in literary works such as MacBeth, Candide, The Grapes and Wrath, and more. Click the "Downloads" link at the top of the website to download the Google Earth files.

Public domain videos, sound clips, photos and more for your Google Earth placemark files.

Locate sounds around the Earth, and create "placemark" scavenger hunts.

A resource for learning to use Google Earth

Hall Davidson's blog -- the webinar PowerPoint presentation and resources can be found here.

This 9 minute movie from "The Infinite Thinking Machine" website, named "Calling Planet Earth" is a great follow up to the webinar!
In this video you will learn from students, teachers, and the folks from Google. The video can be downloaded in quicktime for later viewing, and there are valuable links on this page for items mentioned in the video.

Discovery Education has three more webinars planned for this month:
April 11: "unitedstreaming 24/7"
– Lance Rougeux

April 18: "Widgetizing the Builders"
– Steve Dembo

April 25: "Do You Have the Audacity to Podcast?"
– Jannita Demian

You can register for these and participate on your own at: