Dec 14 2010

Google Earth 6 Adds 3-D Trees!


Of course we are Google Earth fanatics (otherwise why would we have written 3 books on it?). So when Google adds something really cool to its already way-cool and free application, that gets us kinda excited! The next release of Google Earth (version 6) is still in beta testing- but of course that didn’t stop me from downloading and playing with it. There are several new features- but the 3-D trees is way cool. Just take a look at these two screenshots:

No 3-D Trees:

Now here is that same shot with the 3-D Trees layer turned on:

That’s a pretty incredible difference! So the placement and species of trees is not altogether accurate, but it certainly provides a more realistic view, doesn’t it? The 3-D trees are limited to certain locales, with more sure to be added with updates. There are talks of mapping rainforests, etc. Go Google go!

Dec 9 2010

What if our students don’t have email? How do they register for sites?


That’s the million dollar question that we get quite often and have answered that here on our blog on a few occasions. See the post on OtherInbox and Piggy-backing email. I’ve recently learned that Other Inbox has changed the way it’s doing things and isn’t so easy to set up anymore. And some sites don’t allow the Gmail piggybacking solution by refusing to allow the plus sign (+) in an email address. Oh what to do!

Never fear, there’s a new player on the scene that is fantastically easy! is a site that will instantly build “anonymous” email addresses that will route email to your real address automatically. As their website states: “We’ll give you an obscure email address that you can give out whenever you want to remain anonymous. All mail sent to that address will be forwarded to you. You can have as many surrogate addresses per one “primary” address as you like.”

Continue reading

Dec 6 2010

What can you spell with X J Z Q and E E E E? Online Scrabble!


My daughter recently got a iPod Touch, and she and her friends have non-stop Words With Friends games. She asked if I had ever seen a game like that before and I realized she wasn’t very familiar with Scrabble. Oh dear, how have I let my parenting skills get that rusty?

Since there is a Scrabble game on her Christmas list (although it’s the electronic Flash version), I thought she’d enjoy playing the real thing… until I realized my old Scrabble game had gone to the big garage sale in the sky. So in comes Pogo has a wide variety of favorite board games that you can play online.

Pogo does have some commercials that you have to watch before you can start playing, and occasionally you have a “intermission” for a commercial break.

I played Scrabble as a guest so that I didn’t have to create an account. It gives you two minutes to find a word to play scoring as many points as possible against the computer. The computer opponent plays at your level so that you have a fair chance to win.

You can also create an account to play against family or friends. That will be fun for me and my daughter…. as long as I can beat her!

Dec 2 2010

MessageHop- Animated Linear Slideshows


This cool new website is a quick and easy way to upload images then add and position animated captions to accompany the pictures. It doesn’t make a “slideshow” so to speak as we normally think. Rather it’s a linear (top to bottom) display of images and animated captions that play automatically.

There is no login required at all. Students add photos and text then it generates a unique URL to share. Viewers of the URL also have the option of modifying the “slideshow,” making changes, and passing it on.

Check out my MessageHop on the Water Cycle.

Normally I wouldn’t encourage titles to all animate in various ways, but wanted to show you some of the cool animations!

The interface still needs some work as it’s kinda quirky changing font size and repositioning items as the site scrolls automatically. Customization is limited to font size, color, justification, bold, italics, and the vertical positioning. But overall this has some great potential!