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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

new media = new colony??

Chris Brogan riffs on his new title as "communty developer" and then spins a convincing tale. Excepts from the tale:

I take my role as community developer seriously. I view every outreach to videobloggers as important to the company as meeting the heads of AOL or Sony or Nokia. I see someone at PodCamp as a citizen of this new world with as much value as someone sees David Letterman. Maybe even MORE valuable. DEFINITELY more valuable.


A political/religious revolution isn’t exactly the same as an information revolution. This might have lots more in common with revolutions of economy and technology. Rivers and canals were less interesting once trains came along. Trains got boring once roads were built. Highways killed roads. The internet killed other things. Will video kill the TV star?


So, David Kowarsky said, “It’s like we’re populating a new planet.” If you think of this like that, if you consider the fact that you are a colonist building a new society, does it change your perspective on what you’re doing today with the medium? Should it?

Click over and read the full tale, and join the conversation.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Online Bill Pay

I got the monthly statement from Milford Regional Medical Center for what the insurance does not cover for my knee treatments. Clearly marked on the statement in the phrase "use our web site to pay your bill" with the web site url provided.

Since they have done so well in the out patient pre-registration and the prior visits (x-rays and MRI), I figure this is going to be a good option.

But the online bill pay is (Not) there. Search doesn't find it.

You can donate to the hospital foundation, or buy a brick on the walkway (on sale during 2005) but to pay your bill, sorry use the old fashioned methods. Now, where is that stamp?

Updated: I went back to give it another try. Well now, look what I did find on the main screen. But it is not part of either menu!

I get to use that stamp for something else tonight.

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Sykpe Credit Expires

Despite a published process proclaiming to provide 30 day, 7, day, and 3 day warnings of credit about to expire, it turns out that the little amount that I had did indeed expire with only the 30 day warning.
Way to go Skype!
That makes it less likely for me to consider buying something with you in the future.
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

TED Registration Shock

I had heard a lot about TED and what I good conference it is. I decided while cruising today to visit their web site to see when it was scheduled and what it would cost.

The past few TEDs have each had a broad content theme:"The Pursuit of Happiness", "Inspired by Nature", "The Future We Will Create."

TED2007 will be different. Instead of a subject-matter theme, we are simply going to put on stage FIFTY REMARKABLE PEOPLE... ...and let them share whatever it is they are passionate about.

This, of course, is what TED has always been about. Bring together extraordinary people from every area of thought, work and culture, and lo and behold, astonishing connections are made, excitement and inspiration follow.

It works this way because all knowledge is connected. Hearing experts in your field may deliver incremental improvements to what you do... But if you want the big breakthrough, the giant Aha... then you have to emerge from your trench, climb to higher ground and see the big picture.

Sounds great!

Then I got a shock when I saw the price at $4400, advertised as "the same as last year"! I have seen most conferences in the 1200 to 2000 range, I guess that is why I never got close to going to TED before.

Especially after going to PodCamp Boston which as an unconference was (1) FREE and (2) one of the better ones I have ever been to.

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Quotes & Links

From David Warlick writing at 2 Cents Worth
I talk often about contemporary literacy, where reading expands into the ability to find the truth in the information you encounter, and math expands into the ability to employ information to accomplish goals, and writing expands into skills for expressing ideas compellingly, and all of the ethical issues that accompany an information driven world. Increasingly, I see these new notions of literacy as learning literacies, the skills necessary to learn what you need to know in order to do what you need to do. This is what I would look for more than teachers who know how to integrate technology — I want teachers who are learning literate. THEN the technology takes care of itself.
Read his full posting here.

These techniques work for teams with all kinds of distribution profile from fully co-located to fully distributed and can be delivered by a virtual coach almost as well as a physically present coach.

Click on through to see the listing (and some detailed explanations) of the 15 techniques.
From Scott Adams writing at The Dilbert Blog:

Before I got married I did many things correctly. I attribute my excellent performance to the fact that I have astonishingly low standards for just about everything that doesn’t directly affect my health. My plan for happiness was to set the bar low and clear it by a mile. It was a formula that worked so well that I considered turning it into a self-help book. I would have called it The Power of Low Standards. The entire book would have been three pages long and hand-written on paper that would make a beaver hurl.

Now I’m married, and that means I have to explain myself a lot. I can no longer leave a hot iron on my shirt just to see how long it takes to burn it, then draw more comics and buy another shirt. Suddenly that sort of thing is wrong.

I went into the marriage fully understanding that the big decisions would be jointly made, and I’m okay with that because it makes perfect sense. Two heads are better than one. The part that caught me by surprise is how often I have to second-guess myself on the little decisions. And life, it turns out, is mostly little decisions.

Read Scott's full posting here.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful giving ways

This Thanksgiving, as we gather round the family table and give thanks for what we have, let us also remember those who around the world could also use our help.

Beth at Cambodia4Kids is raising money to Help Sponsor Leng Sopharath's Education

Alive in Baghdad is raising money to help tell the story from the Iraqi point of view.

The American Red Cross is always looking for funds to help the recent disaster victims and to help prepare for the next one.

There are many ways to contribute to any number of worthy causes.

On this Thanksgiving Day, please consider a contribution.

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This was also posted at Steve's 2 Cents.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Uncle Mark's Gift Guide

Mark Hurst's updated version of the Uncle Mark Gift Guide and Almanac is ready.

I know Mark from the Good Experience newsletter he publishes weekly, the Good Experience Live Conference he is a key driver to make happen, and his blog.

If you are looking for ideas or need to make a decision on which of several options to choose, the Guide should help.

Get it. Use it. Spread the word.

It's free.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Marketing games

Greg tells a long and sad story (with a happy ending) about a recent Xbox purchase after trying to get one of the Sony PS3 units that is in short supply.
This is how not to do good business.
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Games as learning tools

To my posting on exploring wikis, Sandra commented that she was using a wiki and invited me to visit. I needed to follow her connection through MyBlogLog but I could not do that within my work environment. I did try technorati and other search options without success and then patiently waited until I got home to go to MyBlogLog.
Once there, getting the links to her blog and wiki were easy. I like what she writes here:
As adults, we want to learn stuff that is directly relevant, practical, and useful to resolving the real challenges we face in our work. We learn best by doing what matters to us personally. We want to build on what we already know, transfer our prior experience to a new situation, share what we know, find out what like-minded others know, and form connections. We want rapid feedback. We want to learn what we need to know right now, just in time to complete the task in front of us. We might need to know a little or a lot; either way, we want to decide what we learn, when, and how we learn it.
Does this ring a bell with you?
Does this stir your passion for learning?
Jump on over to check out the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network and see what "like-minded others" are attempting.
And if you have something that you have learned since October (or at least recently), please share it. Instructions on how to join our Thankful for learning Forum are here!
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Friday, November 17, 2006

Special Offer

Steve - We interupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this special offer.

Gerry - Yes, a very special offer. (looking out window) So special the dozens of volunteers queued up outside to come in and help with the phones are now turning away and running fast.

Steve - Maybe you should too? (with a quizical look)

Gerry - (with a don't be silly look) This offer is unique. A CD full of songs, 19 to be exact.

Steve - 19 of them? I thought 19 was an impossible number?

Gerry - That's only in cribbage, silly. These are classic songs from your school days!

Steve - (in an inspirational voice) The Harvard Fight Song. The Yale Fight song.

Gerry - (building a crescendo) and that goldie oldies classic "The JJ Learning Anthem"

The JJ Learning Anthem

Rewritten by Steve Sherlock (with sincere apologies to Neil Diamond)

I thought learning happened only in kindergarten
Meant for someone else but not for me
Learning was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Failure haunted all my dreams

Then I saw the blog
Now I'm a JJ Learner
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I’m JJ Learning
I'm a believer
I’ll be learning for the rest of my life

I know learning is a sharing thing
Seems the more I give, the more I get
That's the purpose of learning
All you get is gain
When I needed sunshine, I got trained

Then I saw the blog
Now I'm a JJ Learner
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I'm JJ Learning
I'm a believer
I’ll be learning the rest of my life

2006 Foolish Music, Inc. (MADCAP Records)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Student drop off

Wouldn't it be better to bring the students closer to the school?

Especially on a wet day...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Widgets, surprise it's me!

Beth's Blog has been examining widgets recently. One of which (MyBlogLog) I signed up for. I stopped by today to see what she was up to and read her post on the creepiness of some of the community in her MyBlogLog. I did not realize the level of tracking that it did. Shame on me for that.

Continued on my way and when I scrolled down the page at Emily Chang's eHub, I was surprised to see my profile picture there. How did she do that? I have not been here in a while? I scrolled down further and low and behold the widget is from MyBlogLog. I just happened to be on top as the most recent visitor.

Freaky but cool.

More food for thought.

PS - She customized the display format, it was not the same as the widget on Beth's Blog.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rev's - we still lov ya

At the half, the score was 0-0.
At full time, the score was 0-0.
At the end of the first OT, the score was 0-0.
Then the Rev's scored Khano Smith to Taylot Twellman to make it 1-0.
The Dynamo's came back on the ensuing re-start to score on a Brian Ching header to tie it, 1-1.
At the end of the second OT, it was 1-1.
Time for penalty kicks.
The tension mounted, the pressure built, the excitement ebbed, and flowed, and in the end the Dynamos stood on top 4-3.
Oh, well, there is next year.
You did well, New England Revolution. We still love you!
But you should have won!
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Deaf injustice

From the Boston Globe Magazine today comes this cautionary profile:
Born deaf, Worcester native and former Northeastern professor Jane Fernandes fought her whole life to fit into the hearing world. But after winning appointment as president at all-deaf Gallaudet University, she was rejected by her own community.
Just yesterday, I found the quote from John Maeda, professor at MIT who wrote:

The student made a point about differentiating racism as experienced by immigrant cultures versus indigenous people or victims of slavery. My eyebrows went up when I heard this. "I never thought of this difference." And my eyes suddenly got big. Not that I believe by any means in the validity of a "my racism experience is bigger (worse) than yours" kind of world. I guess until that point I thought of all racism as equally bad. My opinion hasn't changed. But now I can see how people might rightfully feel more pain. I wish there were less.

I guess you can add the deaf community to this list John.

What was that line from the American Revolutionary period?
United we stand, divided we fall
Actually according to wikipedia, it goes back further than that, all the way to Aesop!
Either way, it makes the point that we are more alike than different and we need to be together against injustice.
All for one, one for all!
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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Franklin Walk

The weather was wonderful for Dolores and I to take our walk this morning.

She got ahead of a little as I stopped to take the picture of this tree (species unknown at this time).

The tree still retains most of its leaves (as opposed to the others in the neighborhood).

The leaves are showing a glorious rainbow of autumn color.

Have you taken a walk in your neighborhood? What seasonal colors do you find?

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Friday, November 10, 2006

passionate to know

I want to remind you that in my own experience, all of the “learning” I did in all of the college classrooms I've spent time in does not come close to the learning that I've done on my own for the simple reason that now I am learning with people who are just as (if not more) passionate to “know” as I am. And that is what I want for you, to connect to people and environments where your passions connect, and the expectation is that you learn together, not learn on your own. Where you are free to create your own curriculum, find your own teachers, and create your own assessments as they are relevant. Where you make decisions (and your teachers guide you in those decisions) as to what is relevant to know and what isn't instead of someone deciding that for you.
Halleluiah!!  Bold for my emphasis
Read the full posting here titled "Dear Kids, you don't have to go to college"
Recalls the posting of last year by Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users.
Do you have that passion?
Isn't it wonderful?
Coincident 1, I just finished Will's book "Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for the classroom" published earlier this year by Corwin Press. It was a good and relatively quick read. I was able to complete it riding the commuter rail to Boston on a few round trips this week.
Coincident 2, had we stayed in Flemington, NJ instead of moving here to MA a few years ago, my daughters would have attended Hunterdon Central High School where Will teaches. It is a good school.
I have more good quotes from Will's book and will be putting a review together over the next several days. Stay tuned for more good info on new media and how it can help learning.
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fred Water??

Mark Sanborn has been talking about the Fred Factor for several years now.
Scott Ginsburg has been wearing his name tag also for several years. He did get it tattoed to his chest.
Now, I see Fred Water is touting itself as
"Some people call me Fred. I think it has to do with the tattoo on my chest."
Is this a mashup/knockoff or real?
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Celebrate II

A news alert just popped up that the Democrats took the Virginia Senate race.
According to the official tally from the Virginia State Board of Elections, with 99.9 percent of the vote counted, Webb had a lead of about 6,700 votes out of about 2.3 million votes cast.
The election has given us a Democratic Congress for the first time since 1994. Bush and company will now need to work a little harder.
Democrats, now you need to really get your act together!
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The vote has given us a new governor for Massachusetts. Congratulations Deval! I believe you'll do well here. You won me with your "just words" speech.
You will do better than our current title holder who came, did his time while his eyes and interests were always elsewhere and will leave the place a mess.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The ultimate question

A good question and conversation is happening over at 800CEOREAD Blog.

Given Andrew's good question we decided to go to the source: Mr. Fred Reichheld himself. This is from an email Fred wrote me today in response to the post I sent him:

I agree that it is useful to gather the number of referrals a person claims to have made--but that is looking in the past, while growth is about the present/future. Someone who made six referrals over the past year but recently had a lousy experience (or found a better supplier) is not a promoter. I think the top priority should be to focus learning on the current (or immediate past like last week) and the near future--thus, the ultimate question works best as it is formulated in my book.

Read the full posting and then join the discussion on whether
1) "Would you recommend us to a friend?"
2) "HAVE you recommended us to a friend?"
should be the ultimate question for customer survey
BTW - my vote is for #1
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Quotes & Links

You also taught me that it is impossible to invent new and economical sources of alternative energy because no one has done it yet. I had never looked at it that way.

And then there’s the contention that a Hummer uses less energy than a Prius if you factor in the useful life of the vehicle and the cost of production. That’s the sort of claim that I’m not qualified to judge. Neither are you. But while this sort of thing leaves me dazed and confused, you’re driving your Hummer to the polling place to vote against windmills. I envy you.

Read the full posting here.


From  Pamela Slim  writing at Escape from Cubicle Nation:

One of the first things you learn as a new entrepreneur is that you cannot possibly do everything yourself.  There are too many details involved in running a business to rely on any one individual.  Many people are used to going to a lawyer or accountant for business advice, but have you ever thought about going into partnership with someone else to grow your business?

There are a few different kinds of partnerships you can consider:   legal business partners where you share ownership and responsibility for your company, independent project partners (also called subcontractors) who you can bring on to help with a particular project, or joint venture partners, who you can work with to develop and promote a joint product or program. 

Read the full posting here.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Where have all the magnets gone?

We do have quite a collection of magnets. I'll do a picture later when they have been returned to their post of prominence in remembrance of where we have been. In the meantime, the refrigerator stands naked because it just arrived, brand new.

You may recall a problem that we had a service call on our refrigerator a couple of weeks ago. They replaced the defrost control and defrost temperature gauge but that was not the problem. They returned a week later (more due to our scheduling requirements than theirs) to ultimately diagnose the compressor. As the unit was over 15 years old, it was time to get a new one.

We chose a Sears Kenmore model and it was delivered today.

Allison, Carolyn, wait until you see this in person!

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The other shoe

Two situations came together today. One in David Rothacker's posting. The other partially captured in my comment on his posting about what occurred at the food store today.

Coincidently, I had a related situation today. I was out doing the weekly grocery shopping. One of the aisles was blocked by a man in a wheelchair looking up at the top shelves and another carriage where the person was turned and doing their thing further down the aisle. I stand over six foot tall so offered to help him reach, in the wheelchair clearly did not have a chance. He wanted the store brand bran cereal so I reached for it. As I did so, he asked how much it was. It was $3.19. Oh, sorry he said, put it back. I need something for $2.00. Trying not to react, I put it back and then scanned the shelves to see other bran cereal options, they were limited and not less than $2.00. He thanked me for taking the time and said he would make another choice. I went on my way but the moment has stuck with me. One, for all the items on the shelf out of his reach. Two, for the tightness of his budget.

To further elaborate:

To walk in another's shoe, what an eye opening experience it would be. As tall as I stand I am a walking step ladder. I help quite a few folks with my reach, especially at the store. I don't hesitate to reach for something they are having trouble with. I take for granted the reach I have but it is so important. How can we adjust to a world with a smaller reach?

On the budget, we are fortunate to have progressed the way we have. Dolores and I did watch our budget closely in our early years. With our two daughters in college now, the idea of a budget is coming back more in focus. We were never extravagant but now we will return to being more mindful of what we spend. It won't be hard. In my youthful days, I lived from my paper route collection profit from one week to the next. Always putting some aside to pay for school and then what was left could be the "spending money" for candy, or a paperback book, or saving for the next album (or 45). (Yes, those were the days.)

Every once in awhile, it is good to stop and think. What is like to walk (really live) in another's shoe?
What would you change if you did? if you could?
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