Yesterday I completed one more trip around old Sol. Yep, it was my birthday. My gift this year was an Amazon Echo Dot, one of the new home A. I. units. I’d actually been playing with the system for a couple of weeks. I thought I’d take some time to share my thoughts on this, and its competitor (sort of), Siri. Continue reading “Robot Uprising – Siri vs Alexa”
This week Google was making news with the release of a new app. PhotoScan is designed to capture old photos from photo albums, with algorithms to enhance the photo and minimize glare. I have tons of old photo albums from Laura’s family and from my own family, and I’ve been trying to find the most efficient way to digitize these images with the best possible quality. I figured I needed to give PhotoScan a shot.
Here are my first impressions… Continue reading “Working with Google PhotoScan”
It was 1982. Dr. Robert Moog (rhymes with “vogue”) was visiting the campus, giving master classes in the afternoon and presenting a lecture on music synthesis in the evening. I was a senior music major at Furman University, and a DJ with WPLS, our campus radio station. Somehow I landed (mostly by begging) the assignment of interviewing Dr. Moog for the radio.
Dr. Moog was gracious, and turned my bumbling, star-struck questions into a wonderful interview. He made me sound good. It’s now years later, and I wish I had a copy of that recording. Alas, with the ephemeral nature of magnetic tape, it’s probably long gone.
I’ve always held an appreciation for Dr. Moog, Ray Kurzweil, and other early pioneers of electronic music. Some years back I was amazed to learn that Dr. Moog had moved to Asheville, NC, and further still, had re-established his company, Moog Music, in the area. I knew that I would have to pay a visit. It was always on my list of “that’s something I’ve gotta do someday.” I finally made the pilgrimage yesterday with my friend, Ken Cothran. Continue reading “A Pilgrimage to Asheville for a Moog Music Tour”
I’m just getting around to writing about this, and I’m probably late to the party as far as this product is concerned, but I’ve discovered a very simple, very effect way to create timelines for websites.
Back in the 1990s Tom Snyder Productions made some of the coolest EdTech software around. One of my favorites was Timeliner. Users could input dates and events, then print out long timelines on fan-fold printer paper with a dot-matrix printer. Along with Print Shop, it was one of my go-to tools for classroom printing.
Timeliner is still around, and has been updated to take advantage of modern technology. I haven’t played with it in ages, so I don’t know what the new version has, and, quite frankly, I no longer need to. I’ve found a much, much better (and free!) product in Northwestern University’s Knight Lab’s Timeline JS. Continue reading “Super Simple Timelines”
It seems timely that the lowly Commodore C64 was introduced 30 years ago this week. The C64 was my introduction to music technology, and my gateway to the larger world of instructional technology. I used the C64 with a MIDI interface and some very basic sequencing software to control a Casio CZ101 keyboard, a Korg … Continue reading iMake Music
This time of year I get lots of questions that go like this: “What’s the best [insert current popular tech device type here] to get for my [insert spouse, sibling, offspring, parent, or pet name here].” I know the reputation I have as a gadget guy, and more often than not I feel like a … Continue reading In Praise of Old Tech
I’m a latecomer to the Apple world, but seem to have bought into it wholeheartedly with an iMac, iPad, and three different iPods (although I have an Android phone.) The world has lost a visionary. Continue reading RIP Steve Jobs
Our district purchased several iPads for special ed and for our ESOL teachers. I’ve had one for a week to put it through its paces and see how it might work, and how we might design some staff development. I can see the educational benefits of iPads in the classrooms, and I’ve seen some excellent results form kids working with them. However, from a personal standpoint I’m still conflicted as to whether I really like it, and how useful it might be compared to other options. Since I already have a netbook, Kindle, and iPod Touch, the device just seems redundant. Personally, I probably wouldn’t buy one, but if I didn’t already have these things, would it be a good choice? My very first thought was that it was just an overgrown Touch.
Coming from a laptop/netbook experience, my first impression was that the shortcomings of the iPad are numerous…
- No USB connections
- No easy way to transfer files
- No real GPS functionality for maps
- NO FLASH!!
…and lots of other pesky problems that prevent it from doing what I think it should be able to do. The lack of Flash is especially bothersome, because it prevents me from using slide shows on Flickr, and even using the admin screens of this blog effectively. Aviary.com won’t work at all on it, and Google Docs is a real bother. Continue reading “iPad – First Impressions”
As I was doing the research for my post on South Carolina’s Tricentennial, one point was driven home – you just can’t find everything you need on the Internet. That’s a lesson our students often forget. Sometimes you just have to crack open a book or make a trip to the local library in order to get the information you need.
I have, however, found a couple of tricks to make library research much easier, especially if you’re working with reference materials and other items that have limited circulation, or that can’t be removed from the library. I’ve found these techniques especially helpful in places like the South Carolina Room of the Greenville County Library, where the items are often one of a kind, and need to be protected.
I always have an old-fashioned pencil and paper for taking notes, but my research tool of choice lately has been my trusty Nikon S70 point and shoot camera. Today’s cameras have such high resolution and memory is so cheap that it’s just as easy to snap a picture of a page in a book to review later. You can zoom into the photo to read the text clearly, and it saves a ton of money on photocopying. You can also snap photos of images and illustrations, as well as bibliographical information for proper citation later. Continue reading “Research Tips with a Camera”
In the previous parts of this series I looked at ways of creating anaglyphs with Photoshop, both from old stereoscopic images and from a set of two images shot with a hand held camera. But what if you’ve already got a photograph and want to “fake” a 3D image? Well, I think I’ve worked out a method of doing that, too.
So far I haven’t found any tutorials online for creating fake anaglyphs in Photoshop. I did find Jim Long, who has done an excellent job of converting 2D images into 3D cyan-red anaglyphs. Jim as quite the gallery not just photographs, but also of classical art rendered both as stereoscopic images and as anaglyphs. Here’s his version of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa:
I don’t know what process Jim is using, but he manages to maintain color on the images very well. He also has a link to a supplier of 3D glasses with one of the most extensive inventories I’ve seen. Continue reading “Fun with Anaglyphs – Part 4”