A Flotilla on the French Broad River

French Broad through Biltmore

Saturday the Greenville Canoe and Kayak Meetup held their fall paddle on the French Broad River through the Biltmore Estate near Asheville. The group does this trip twice a year, and the spring and fall excursions are their most popular. Nearly 80 people registered for last spring, and about 65 had registered for this trip.

I was a bit skeptical about going on this trip. I had paddled this section with Paul W some years ago, and wasn’t impressed. The river was nice enough, but the section through Biltmore was less than idyllic. There was a horse show on the Estate, and there were loudspeaker announcements all along the river.

I was also concerned about the number of paddlers. I had seen Jeanie Boyette’s photos from last spring, and it didn’t seem too bad. However, there were tales of the group being summarily booted from the Biltmore grounds when they tried to stop for lunch.

Despite the misgivings, I decided to go. I had missed several organized trips lately, and didn’t want to miss this one. It looked like the weather was going to be perfect, so I knew I needed to be on the water. Continue reading “A Flotilla on the French Broad River”

Distance Learning in Spart Five

Spartanburg Five Moodle.png by RndConnections on Aviary

I’ve been working on a project at work for several weeks now. The idea actually arose last spring, and I had hoped to have this complete over the summer. What I wanted to do was create a one-stop shop for online learning for our district. This would incorporate Moodle for course management, a way to host online meetings, and a place to store digital media such as video and audio files. I wanted all of this in a nice attractive, easy-to-use interface. Today all of that finally came together, and I brought my online learning community to life.

I had put together a Moodle server several years ago, and we used it for some online courses. Unfortunately, the server that I had it on crashed, and we were left without. The first step was to get this back up and running. I started with a server and set it up with Ubuntu Linux and did a subversion installation of Moodle. However, I really wanted two installations of the system – one for students and one for teachers. Since I’m not really a Linux geek, I couldn’t figure out how to do that through a subversion process. I also planned to use Ostube for video hosting, but it proved to be a challenge to install, too. That killed the summer, and I wasn’t able to get the system online by the start of the school year. Continue reading “Distance Learning in Spart Five”

Fifty Years of Singing

Greenville Chorale

This weekend the Greenville Chorale celebrates the opening of its Fiftieth Anniversary Season with a concert this Saturday at the Peace Center. On the repertoire is the first piece that the Chorale did in its very first season – The Brahms German Requiem. Also up are two pieces commissioned for the event by local composers Robert Powell and Dan Forrest.

The Chorale got its start in 1961 as the Rotary Civic Chorale under the direction of William Jarvis. From 1968-1987 the organization was known as the Greenville Civic Chorale. In 1987 it became known as simply The Greenville Chorale. The Chorale started with forty-five singers, and now features about 160 singers.

It’s also a celebration for our director, Bing Vick. This is his 30th season as the Chorale’s director. Continue reading “Fifty Years of Singing”

Paddling to Newry

Newry Mill Parting Shot

Several weeks ago the Greenville Canoe and Kayak Meetup group had a paddling trip on Lake Hartwell up to the community of Newry in Oconee County. I had planned to go, but came down with a ferocious head cold and had to miss the trip. I had been looking forward to it, and was quite disappointed that I couldn’t make the trip.

So, this past Sunday I was able to rectify the problem, and do that paddling trip with my brother, Houston. The delay was probably for the best. Based on the photos I saw, I think we saw and experienced much more than the group that went on the earlier paddling trip. At least, it turned into an interesting day that was a combination of paddling and exploring an old mill. Continue reading “Paddling to Newry”

Shiloh Methodist

Shiloh Methodist Old B&W

Several weeks ago I wrote about the prevalence of Biblical place names in South Carolina. One of the place names that keep popping up was “Shiloh.” It’s probably best known as a Civil War battleground in Tennessee. One of my favorite photographic subjects is the old Shiloh School in Anderson County, seen below:

Old Shiloh School ReDynamix HDR

Today, I had a chance to visit Shiloh Methodist Church just outside of Inman, South Carolina. Built sometime in the mid-1700’s (the date varies, according to which source your read), the church fell out of use in the early 1900’s. The white frame building remains, along with its historic cemetery.

Continue reading “Shiloh Methodist”

A Few Google Flaws

The past several posts I’ve been singing the praises of Google. However, all is not perfect in Google Land. There have been the occasional really bad ideas – Google Wave, for example – and the abandonment of some really good ideas, such as Google Notebook. In this post I’m going to stay away from the more published flaws that Google has had to endure. Instead, I’ll cover just a few things that I’ve found to be a bother.

I’ve already mentioned that until only recently, group accounts could not be used for Google Maps, Picasa, or other many other Google products.  That really limited the effectiveness of those accounts.  Fortunately, that has been corrected.  However, there are still a few things that are not quite right. Continue reading “A Few Google Flaws”

Geopackrat Reborn

This is another in the ongoing series of Google experiments I’ve been doing over the past several weeks… If I were starting out on this RandomConnections venture now instead of several years ago, I might be doing things very differently. Given the number of resources available on Google, I’m not sure I would have bothered … Continue reading Geopackrat Reborn

Audioboo and SoundCloud – New Audio Hosting Options


A couple of years ago I lamented about the lack of good resources for sharing audio clips. What I was after was sort of a YouTube for audio. Video sharing sites were becoming relatively common, but audio was another matter. At that time I created a wish list for online audio sharing.  I had suggested some possibilities for audio sharing, but none came close to my wish list.  In fact, most of the hosting sites I mentioned are long gone.

Now there are a couple of new options to fill the bill.  SoundCloud (http://www.soundcloud.com) and Audioboo (http://audioboo.fm) both offer audio file hosting. While very similar, they each have slightly different approaches to how music is shared on their sites. Continue reading “Audioboo and SoundCloud – New Audio Hosting Options”