Jun 23 2011

Placeholder images while you design your page- with kittens?



If you do any web design of any kind, this site may come in handy for you. Instead of filling the area where an image goes with a solid color or some other placeholder, why not fill it with real images that are cut to the specified size?


Here you simply enter the desired dimensions of the image placeholder after the http://placekitten.com URL. In an instant (well, with a good connection), it will open an image with the exact dimensions you need so you can use the image as a placeholder. But why kittens? Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I really have no fondness of cats in particular (though I’m not a cat hater either). But I guess the images are harmless enough- and would definitely remind me that they need to be replaced. So why not?


Jun 21 2011

Another Crummy Scrumy Site for You to Check Out!



OK, there are a thousand To-Do lists out there on the internet, but I certainly like the simplicity of this one. Scrumy allows you to create a unique URL which gives you your own page to track activities then move them from the To-Do area to the In Progress area and then to the Verify section and finally to the Done area by clicking and dragging the note- much like you would on a board of Post-it notes.

There is no login required for the free version- so you better make your URL pretty obscure so no one comes across it by accident. Go play with their Demo page at: https://scrumy.com/demo. The paid version (about $7/month) has some nice features and looks much better. But the free version would suffice for project planning and tracking for short-term projects for students and such. Now there’s an idea- teach our students how to use technology to plan and manage projects (wish I had been taught that early on)! Enjoy!


Personal Side Note: Susan and I are heading to ISTE in Philadelphia next week where we will present four sessions (in addition to the awesome Segway tour and the walking ghost tour). So if you have any suggestions for us for things we must do in Philly (though our free time is limited), please sound off below in the comments! And if you are going to be at ISTE, please come by our publisher’s booth and say “hi” to us! Our publisher, Visions in Technology, will have several booths:  2324, 2420, 2321, 2421, 2325, 1910, 2425, 2327 (all but one are all right together in one area).

Jun 15 2011

Create Web Posters at Juxio



This strangely-named web app allows you (and students) to build your own posters using a simple drag and drop interface. Posters may be created from templates or can be built from scratch where you add your own text, images, events, captions, etc. The final creations can be printed or saved, shared on the major social networks, or can be marked private. It’s free! Yeah, they are hoping you’ll buy one of their professional prints of your work- to each his own. I mean, who wouldn’t want this poster hanging on their wall?

Jun 14 2011

Create your own private social network- Minigroup




Another social network? Really, do we need another one? Before you tune out, just hear me out. I keep up with my friends on Facebook. I have built my Personal Learning Network (PLN) using Plurk. Occasionally I use Twitter (though it seems a little redundant). In our office, we used to have a Ning- back in the days when it was simple and free. Social networks are really just a part of everyday living for digital natives and immigrants. But who is teaching our kids how to effective use and behave in social networks?

Our state (Texas) has recently released a new set of technology standards to teach our students. Social networking is threaded throughout. Since there are inherent risks in social networks, we really need a private social network that can be controlled and locked down- and here enters Minigroup. Here you can control who can join the group and delete posts as needed (if you are the controller). Members can make posts with text and images. They can share any kind of file with the group- or with specific individuals. It’s clean and easy to use. Give it a try! If you want to try it out by joining my minigroup I created there, just send me an email at jim at digitalgoonies.com and I’ll get an invite sent your way!

Personal side note: My kindergarten teacher retired a few weeks ago after 44 years of teaching! She was still teaching Kindergarten in the same school I attended 35 years ago! She kept her promise to me and let me have a blow-up letter person of my choice. I chose Mr. H (Horrible Hair) who now proudly watches over my cubicle at work! Do you remember the blow-up letter people? If so, sound off in the comments below!

Jim is in the back row, center, green corduroy jacket (really, mom?) 

And here’s my old pal, Horrible Hair:

Jun 6 2011

Snollygoster… have you seen yours lately?



When we are at work, Jim often quotes to us a “word of the day” that he gets somewhere… who knows, but they are often funny and almost always weird. A few of them have made it into our daily lives, such as superannuated. This one has given us great pleasure over the years especially as long as it’s being used to describe someone else!

Superannuated- Old; no longer in use; no longer valid; outmoded.

I recently came across a website that helps build vocabulary in a similar way. Savethewords.org is a collection of words from the Oxford Dictionary that are not common to most people’s vocabulary. It allows you to browse through a visually attractive collection of words in different fonts, colors and backgrounds.

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