Tuesday, April 07, 2015

BLTKM - what else am I thinking of writing about?

I didn't get much feedback on the things I wrote in January, which is fine.

Here is what else I would think about writing about, in case you are looking for another list of #edtech things to try.

Or encourage me to write, and I will.

Or tell me I'm writing too much or too little, or I need to be more theoretical or more concrete, and I will try.

Find the full list at:

which probably looks a lot like:


1    IFTTT
15    alt-printscreen

2    Hootsuite
16    indentity claiming / baby email

3    Space Team / Ingress
17    space bar pause    F5 to reload (or start a PowerPoint)

4    Reddit
19    use good email subject lines so they know what email is about

5    Spotify / Tune In Radio

6    Diigo / delicious

7    Waze

8    coach.me (lift) / idone this

9    duolingo / busuu

10    circa / feedly / flipboard

11    podcasts

12    yik yak

13    photos to the cloud

14    PSR problem steps recorder

More ideas

advanced: Klout

Thursday, January 29, 2015

BLTKM 4 - Reddit (and bonus: good email subject lines)

What is Reddit?

I don't really think I can explain it any more quickly or well as CGP Grey does at:


But since you are reading this, I'm guessing you didn't want to click on the video link and watch the video.

Reddit is almost like the old "town square" or "forum" of old where people come together and talk about whatever they want to talk about. Some people are over there telling stories about the fish that got away, and other people over there are talking about whether the mayor is doing a good job or not.

But with the Internet, there ARE people out there with interests similar to yours. There are discussions (sub reddits) going on about every sports team, every profession, every country in the world, all major cities, fans of "My Little Pony", and even some things that would NOT have been discussed in public.

Reddit has LOTS of people's interests from around the world. Lots of people are interested in human bodies, especially unclothed human bodies, particularly unclothed human bodies interacting with each other. There is also that on Reddit, which brings me to another important point.

NSFW means NOT SAFE FOR WORK. You are going to see things that you would not want your boss to walk in on. NSFL means not safe for lunch, and might make you throw up. If Reddit warns you "are you over 18 and comfortable seeing adult material?", you might want to be in a very private place, using an incognito window, or just say "NO".

Why am I telling you about Reddit? Because there are many, many very interesting conversations, and what is most amazing is that the messages can be voted on, for being more interesting, so the most interesting stuff rises to the top. The messages can also be commented on, and the comments can be voted on, so more or less, the best things rise to the top.

So, if you know that there is a subreddit with Life Pro Tips, giving you suggestions on how to live your daily life better, you can go to http://www.reddit.com/r/lifeprotips and see the messages. But even better, you can hit "top" and see the best tips of the week, month, year, or all time.

So using the "top" feature you can get the most adorable animal pictures from http://www.reddit.com/r/aww or the best photographs of nature at http://www.reddit.com/r/Earthporn, etc.

Basic tip bonus:
Use good email subject lines to improve your communication.

Try to get your key point in the subject. "Hey" or "Read this" are not nearly as good as "Hey - do you want to get together this weekend" or "Read this piece about the current political situation in Argentina".

If you use good subject lines, people will get the majority of the message in subject line, and be able to respond to you more efficiently. "Call me" is never as good as "Call me about the Ferguson Account - they may be cancelling".

Monday, January 26, 2015

BLTKM 3: Advanced topic Games - Ingress & Space Team / basics: space bar pause & F5 reload (or start PowerPoint)

Advanced topic: Space Team / Ingress

 There are more and more interesting games available. Here are two that you might want to try. They are both smartphone apps, and last I checked they were free.

The first one requires you to have another person with the game installed, and you will want to be connected to the same Wifi, and be able to talk to each other.  It's called SpaceTeam - http://www.sleepingbeastgames.com/spaceteam/.

You and a friend have the game installed, join the same Wifi network, and you will together attempt to fly a spaceship that is falling apart. You will have a control panel, and your friend will have a control panel. You will receive instructions like "advance the spark to 2" or "clear the Jeffries Tube". You look on your control panel and sometimes you will have a dial that says "spark advance" and you will just do it.

But, you and your friend do not have the same control panel, sometimes you will have to calmly tell your colleague that THEY need to clear the Jeffries Tube. But they are getting orders, too, and the ship is falling apart, so it quickly leads to shouting. Up to four can play.

Why do I tell you about this game? Because it feels to me like it might be useful team-building for any high-stress technical field. Operating room nurses. Firefighters. Soldiers. Other people who need to say "give me the gizmo and make it quick" but need to learn how to do that. And if you can't read the orders right, and pronounce them well, then, in the game, hilarity ensues. Maybe practice with the game will help you work together in the real high-stress situation.

The second game is a location-aware game. To play this game, you will need to move around your city to visit "portals" to get items that will help you capture and keep portals. The game is called Ingress https://www.ingress.com/ 

You will decide which team to join, the Enlightened or the Resistance, and then you will go visit churches, libraries, historical markers and other public places around you to gather eXotic Matter from around you. The game is built on top of Google Maps, and there are people around the world playing this game.

Why do I tell you about this one? The possibilties of the smart phone, and knowing where you are, can provide some interesting location-related information to your customers. What if the future mall directory can take you to the store that you want to go to, and show you the best way to get there. Even better, what if you say you want a white long-sleeve t-shirt at the mall, and it gives you all the store choices and you tell it which one to go to, and you can see whether your friends have bought things from those stores, and how they reviewed their purchases. Or navigating around the classroom/campus, and getting tips and pointers for the place you are now. 

Basic: space bar pause    F5 to reload (or start a PowerPoint)

For people who don't want to deal with smartphone apps, I have a couple of tips.

Whenever you are listening to music, or playing a video, 90% of the time, you can hit the space bar to pause it. And then space bar again to re-start. 

And if a webpage is taking forever to load, you can hit F5 to reload the page. F5 also starts a Powerpoint presentation in full-screen mode. Less fumbling with the mouse to click on the right icon.