Archive for November, 2010

  “I have PSD” →  November 19

“I have PSD” is a short film by Hyperakt and friends. Commissioned by Adobe, it’s an upbeat and charming little ad that makes me feel like firing up Photoshop and tinkering around and actually creating something with that otherwise horrifically bloated suite. →  November 18

If you read Daring Fireball, you must have come across Gruber’s links to Taiwanese video-makers Next Media Animation’s excellent 3D animated news summaries on iPhone 4 Antennagate, the Tea Party and today’s one on the TSA’s enhanced security measures.

The last one tipped me off to their new site, which is full. of. win. I think I can rely on the NMA video feed and the Daily Show for my updates on world news from now on. My new favourite is the US-Sino Currency Rap Battle one, which has a succinct wrap-up of China-US currency tensions presented by rapping Obama, gangsta Hu, and their respective dancing posses of Uncle Sam and giant pandas.

I laughed and I laughed, and then I felt terrible, and then I laughed some more.

Terrible/terribly funny

Speirs – the fellow behind the iPad project school – is a smart man, and I wouldn’t bet against his long-term predictions on educational technology:

  • Pupils and teachers will never wish they had fewer computers.
  • Pupils and teachers will never wish their devices had shorter battery life than the iPad.
  • Pupils and teachers will never wish that they had to queue up to get access to computers.
  • Pupils and teachers will never wish that their internet access was slower.
  • Pupils and teachers will never want a device that’s harder to use than the iPad.
  • Teachers will never want to have to go to a special classroom to use The Computers.
  • Nobody will want a device that’s more expensive and less capable than the iPad.
  • Nobody will want to carry around a device that’s significantly heavier than the iPad all day.
  • Pupils will not want to use a special “education device” when the market is going elsewhere.
  • Schools will not want to deploy a device that requires more tech support than an iPad.

Or, as he puts so succinctly:

Fixating on specific technologies, such as interactive whiteboards, has cost schools dearly and has largely failed to meaningfully transform classroom practice.

At the last major educational technology conference here (ICTLT), all I saw among vendor offerings were interactive whiteboards and learning management systems. This was more than a little disappointing, given how rapidly personal mobile technology had evolved over the last couple of years — how could nobody have leveraged on its potential in the educational technology space?! Nevertheless, I’m hopeful and very curious to see how — or, well, if — the vendor offerings evolve at the next conference.

Pasting plain text

November 4, 2010  |  Tags:   |  

When I copy and paste text from one document to another, I almost always want it to match the style of the document I’m pasting into. This means the pasted text will match the destination’s font, size and colour, and will also be stripped of unnecessary formatting (indentation, links) from the source.

On the Mac, this is usually easy enough – in most programs, instead of typing cmd-V to paste, just use cmd-opt-shift-V. To ensure this works everywhere, I usually use a TextExpander shortcut (I use \) to paste my clipboard contents as plain text.

On Windows, I use the “Paste Special” command, usually under the “Edit” menu item. So on the keyboard, that’s Alt-E, S, V, and then usually U for “unformatted text”. Not easy, but I got used to it. However, we recently got upgraded to Outlook 2007 at work (ding dong, the Lotus Notes witch is dead!). With its hilarious Ribbon, however, my paste key sequence got changed, and is now Alt-H, V, S. Gahhhh!! Muscle memory rage!!

I now use a free little (13KB!) program called PureText to paste as plain text using Windows-V. It’s marvelous — a lightweight and simple program that works as advertised. It’s even compatible from Windows 95 all the way to 7. (88 versions of Windows! OMG!)