Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Need to send a large file? Senduit.com can help.

There are many times when it is necessary to send large files online. Whether the file in question is a movie file, a zip file, a program, or something else, it is often inconvenient to send it via email. Some email services put limits on attachment sizes as well as the amount of storage space you are given.

Enter Senduit.com. The site allows you to upload any file under 100 MB to their server. The process is simple:

  1. Browse for the file on your machine.
  2. Choose how long you would like it to be available. You can choose anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 week. (No, they won't host your huge file forever for free, you mooch).
  3. Upload your file.
  4. Share the new web address given to you by Senduit.
It's really that easy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

And the award for creepiest innovation goes to...

Can you say Big Brother? I know this has little to nothing to do with education, but I figured it would be interesting to any thinking person. And the potential for this to affect schools, children, and indeed everyone is vast.

The device you see pictured to the right is in fact a GPS implant. This is not a prop from Mission:Impossible or the Hitman movie. This is a real device that can be implanted under someone's skin to track their movements 24-7-365.

The GPS Tracker is so small it can be easily implanted under the skin quickly and easily with our included pain free kit with light implant gun. For short term use the rice sized tracker can be swallowed like a pill and will stay in your system for up to 72 hours. Implant or swallow this tiny tracker and you or the trackee can be located anyplace on the planet.
(Accurate to 5 feet even in buildings)

View Live satellite video showing your exact location and situation over our secure network.

Tracking Service:

  • 24/7/365 Hour monitoring
  • View Maps, Photos and Video on you Phone or Computer
  • Cost Per Month: $166.95

Emergency Recovery Service:

  • Military Trained Hostage rescue Team ready to dispatch
  • Cost per recovery will vary biased on the time and staff required.

Includes:

  • 1 Bio-Track micro tracker
  • 1 Injector Gun (light) - Heavy Duty Gun requires license

After reading an article this morning about tracking suspects using the signal from cellphones, I talked to my students about the implications of being tracked by their cell phones. Most of them were disturbed by this possibility. I can't wait to update them tomorrow on this little item. Imagine the implications of a GPS device such as this that can possibly be implanted into the human body without the knowledge of the subject! Scary.

Ditch your old Voicemail for free Youmail!

If you have a cellphone (if you don't, you probably aren't reading this blog either, are you?) and you are still using the Voicemail provided by your carrier, stop. Immediately. I just started using a service called Youmail that works seamlessly with my carrier (Verizon) and brings much more power and convenience to my Voicemail. Best of all, it is completely free!

Signing up for Youmail is simple. You register with the site, then enter your phone number. They will send you a text message to verify you actually own that phone. You use the pin from the text message to begin the setup. They walk you through forwarding your voice messages to the Youmail server rather than your carrier. For me, the process took less than 5 minutes. From there the features are very exciting and easy to use:

  1. Check and listen to your voicemail from your email.
    For me, the best feature and reason enough to sign up. Someone called me today at 3:00 when I was sitting in a faculty meeting. When I got back to my computer I had an email telling who the message was from and giving me a link to hear it online. You can also set up Youmail to send MP3 or Wav attachments.
  2. Share your Voicemail.
    Once someone leaves you a voicemail, you have some options. If the voicemail is important, funny, annoying, or otherwise noteworthy, you can forward it to anyone else with an email address.
    You can also embed the message in a Flashplayer on any blog or website (this might make your friends think twice before leaving you any more voicemails).
  3. Custom Greetings:
    Do you sometimes feel that your voicemail greeting is too friendly for colleagues or too formal for friends and family? Youmail has this problem solved too. You can set up more than one greeting and forward callers depending on which category they fall into.
  4. Ditch Caller:
    Another great feature is the ability to define numbers that you do not wish to grant voicemail access to. When these people call, they are given a custom message and promptly hung up on. Great for annoying telemarketers and anyone else you don't need leaving a 4 minute message for you to suffer through.

I've been using the service for a few days and I am very impressed. I wish I could replace my landline and school voicemail with Youmail (hopefully they will add this later). It is great to be able to manage email and voicemail all from one computer screen.

**Prediction: this seems like the kind of company Google might snatch up. You heard it here first.**

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Virtual Teachers?

Massey University in New Zealand has developed a Virtual Tutor named Eve, which they claim can adjust its teaching style based on the body language and facial expressions of the learner. The system is designed to be able to react accordingly if a student is upset, angry, or frustrated.

The goal of this system is to replicate the effectiveness of one-to-one teaching methods without actually requiring one human teacher per student.

I understand the theory behind this software, but I have difficulty believing that students will react the same way to getting positive feedback from a virtual avatar that they do when they receive a compliment from a living, breathing person.

I think this type of technology might be more useful for teaching older students and adults who are looking for a more personalized learning experience and might not require the emotional reassurance that only a human can provide.

Although this is definitely an interesting development, I am not too worried yet about being phased out by a virtual substitute.

video

Feedburner Test....

I am testing the FeedBurner email delivery method.
We seem to be having some technical issues with it. Or maybe just a very persistent spam filter. Either way, it is slightly annoying.

Please disregard this post.

A Totally Free Cell Phone Ringtone Generator...

Create your own ringtones and graphics, for free, at Mobile17. Check it out! Click-here.This might not qualify as true "educational technology" but it my goal with this blog is to save teachers time and money. And ringtones are definitely something I know a lot of people have spent a lot of money on. Even if you are only spending a dollar per ringtone, that is money you could be putting toward other things (like coffee).

Mobile17 is a truly free and easy ringtone site. I have been using the site for about 3 months now. I have probably created about 2 dozen ringtones. And I have never received a single email from the company. That's right: no spam, no daily newsletters, nothing. Ever.

It is very easy. You create an account and choose the model of your phone. Don't worry if you don't know the model, you can choose from a picture list based on your service provider. Then you upload the music fie you want to use (.MP3, .M4A, .OGG, or .WMA)
and it will be sent to your phone. It may take a few hours to get to you, depending on your place in line, but who cares, it's free!

If you are really in a rush, you can pay for an "Express Mail" to have your tones delivered immediately. This it totally optional.

The service can also send pictures to use as your wallpaper. I've sent myself a few jpg's.

If you want to liven up your cell phone and it's ringers, check it out!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Next up: Sketchup...

My next big classroom experiment will be to attempt to unleash Google's free 3d design software Sketchup on my 7th grade classes. We will be using Sketchup to design Roman style buildings to create a "Virtual Rome" in Google Earth.

The first few times I attempted to use Sketchup, I was slightly frustrated and was unable to create much beyond a 3 dimensional cube. After a few days time to cool off and read the first chapter of Sketchup for Dummies, I gave it another shot. The second try was much more productive (see this post). I am hoping that I can use my own experiences thus far to help my students dive into using the software and skipping the frustration step.

More on that as it develops.