Archive for the 'curiosity' Category

Me and Evernote

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Long ago I promised myself I’d blog about <a href=””>Evernote</a> when I made more than 1000 notes. I broke that record on Friday November 9, 2012 so here’s a quick summary of what Evernote is and what I use it for.

Evernote is intended to help people remember everything. While I haven’t achieved that, I’m a lot closer.

Evernote is a desktop, phone/tablet, browser plugins and a web application that allows you to capture information from anywhere. The application also indexes all entries so that the content can be quickly searched, including any text in pictures – for example: whiteboards.

All these collected notes are synced to client/applications on almost any device that connects to the internet – as a lowest common denominator, there is

Evernote has a provision for tagging notes, but more importantly it lets you start new notebooks and sub-notebooks. I use this to collect notes about the kids, projects at work, my favourite beers and wines, and other notebooks – including some I’ve shared with others.

There’s lots of information on Evernote’s site, so instead I’ll share what I use to for:

At home and around the town:

  • Lists of things to pack, buy, collect and almost anything else.
  • Pictures of the various medicines and other records my kids have taken – both kids have their own notebook.
  • Planing and document projects around the house – including the summer’s minor fence project and last summer’s major patio project and year before that’s nursery project. The notes are important, but the pictures are handy to travel back and forth from Home Deport with.
  • Records and information about the cars and appliances.
  • I transferred my wife’s recipes etc. from an old laptop to all her new devices – I also have access to the this shared notebook and…. don’t use them.

Brock University Important Dates iCal Feed

Monday, July 30th, 2012

I tried to share this on, but can’t make an account (the password field is not blank!) so I’ll share it here.

I created a Brock University important dates feed from the registrar’s list of important dates . The dates are added to a Google Doc Spreadsheet then run through our Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (formerly CTLET) CSV to iCal converter at

The outcome is this feed of Brock University’s important dates — I promise to update it

2011 at

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Here’s a word cloud for 2011 at – mostly my blog (biased towards the end of the year):

Here’s my Twitter feed for 2011:

I think the insight there is that I use twitter to get a hold of Giulia a lot.

As my ThinkUp installation at gains way more data than my previous archives had I think 2012 will bring with it some real insight.

What does Pearson/Google’s OpenClass Look Like?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Pearson and Google launched their open class platform this week. Its a Learning Management System (LMS) tied to Google Apps domins. Two subjects often covered by this blog.

My short take is that the service looks useful for recreating an isolated web space that respects the need for private on-line areas student privacy and publisher copyright suggest. It’s not as open as I had hoped, but it is more real-world collaborative than any other LMS I’ve used.

My quick assessment, with updates from Tuesday October 18, 2011 4:51 PM:

  • Private – both in web isolation and in student records
  • Private but easy to add others
  • Free to add to an Google Apps domain – good option to those already using Google Apps versus other LMSs
  • Has document collaboration powered by Google Docs
  • Easy to use
  • Simple link to publisher content
  • UI is polished, including maximize option for all content


  • Standard Cloud control concerns
  • Unless your institution is paying for a commercial LMS licence the migration costs will likely outweigh any transition costs
  • Configuration of items is often done through a Moodle style view/modify (edit) metaphor – can’t say I’m a fan – but so many instructors want a “student view”
  • Crude controls of public (rest of the web) versus private, biased to private
  • It’s infrastructure, not an innovation
  • The menu structure and/or list of tools appears to be extensively cached – is this the return of the turn of the millennium Perl based tools and I need to “publish” something somewhere? – kidding
  • There’s no logout button?

Also, you can add other participants via their E-Mail address, but no E-Mails are sent and there otherwise seems to be no way for them to access the OpenClass without being part of the Google Apps domina?

How many unique words are in AWOLNATION’s “Sail!”?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Many have heard me complain that I’m not a fan of AWOLNATION’s hit song “Sail!”.

One thing I often cite is how few unique words are in the song. I finally ran the numbers:

AWOLNATION’s four minute and twenty seconds song “Sail” has 85 words, but, only 36 of those words are unique!

Here’s how those 36 words break down:

sail! 12
my 7
it 6
on 5
blame 5
add 4
baby 4
maybe 4
lalalalala 4
i 3
i’m 2
is 2
should 2
this 2
how 2
myself 1
help 1
kill 1
different 1
listening 1
not 1
breed 1
for 1
a 1
an 1
in 1
made 1
love 1
show 1
mind 1
because 1
pride 1
sick 1
cries 1
angel 1
cry 1

Here’s the PHP script I used to do the analysis