Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Podcast Player for Teachers

Dave Winer has been thinking about the features of an ideal podcast player on his blog Scripting News. As a classroom teacher that has struggled to teach my students how to use Garageband on Apples, I agree with Dave’s wonderful characteristics. The recording feature is the trick. All my students have USB flash drive MP3 players. I load then podacast mp3 files on their devices so they can share them with their family and friends. This task is time consuming at best. So, to add RSS feeds to this idea device, wireless is a must.

powered by performancing firefox

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What? Huh? I am sorry, what did you say?

Last night, my daughter, my wife, and I attended a wonderfully pleasant wedding. At the reception, the DJ spun his magical mix of jazz, rock, hip-hop, Top 40’s from the 70's, 80's, and 90’s. I am not sure how close my old ears got to the speakers, but my ears are ringing a little louder today than usual. While reading my RSS feeds on Google Reader, I skimmed across this post from WIRED Blogs and had to comment on the article. It is: SPOT ON. My hearing is not what it once was. Add to that the dance music and I know I missed some really interesting comments made by fellow attendees at the wedding reception. I could see lips and mouths moving and could catch parts of what was being said. The people at my table must have thought I was ignoring them, but I could not hear what they were saying. The stress from trying to hear conversations made having a conversation a real challenge.

Not to be a grouch, I actually enjoy all kinds of music. So, if I cannot hear well, why not get a hearing aid? No. They are not cool. Call it vanity if you want, but hearing aids equates old age. Now, not go postal on me. This is my opinion. My father paid big bucks for a set of hearing aids. He would not wear them. He complained that they did not fit right. He kept leaving them here and there. My mother fussed constantly about him not wearing them or not putting in a battery, and on and on. I do not mind wearing ear buds while at the gym working out. IMHO, hearing loss is the redheaded stepchild of the worthwhile diseases, but it is a personal issue to me. This is a desperate predicament for all most all Baby Boomers.

While reading the article linked below, it hit me: iEar. Steve Jobs please design your fellow Baby Boomers something cool. iEars could be a big financial success and popular tech gadget. Imagine “digital hearing appliances” from Apple. Taking design clues from the original iBook and how it transformed the boring black laptop into a cool “must have”. Then it was the iPod. They are fabulously popular and user-friendly. Steve- your fellow aging Baby Boomers need a favor- design us a cool hearing aid. Could it have bluetooth, so we can hear our podcasts, music, iPhone, video, and Apple TV? Whip up support and the cool factor by celebrity endorsements. Maybe folks like Bono, Ozzy, Mick, and James Taylor to raise money for "iEars for Baby Boomers". I can see the ads for it now: [wide-shot] Are you tired of the What? Huh? Tell me that again? [two-shot] I'm PC and I cannot hear a thing you are saying. I'm Mac, and I am wearing the new iEar from Apple, Inc. I can listen to my iPhone, and all my Beatles music without having to drag around my laptop and iPod. [fade-to-white] iEar, from the corporation that damaged you hearing, we now offer these products to you at a low cost of 99 cents.
[TagLine] iEar: hear like a hawk. Now available at an Apple Store near you, or online at

WIRED Blogs: Bodyhack

As one scientist just put it at a briefing for reporters at the AAAS annual meeting, "hearing is considered to be the sort of poor cousin of vision. It also doesn't have the sex appeal of aids and malaria and other worthwhile diseases."
powered by performancing firefox

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Legislative School Technology Day

Instructional Technology Division NC Department of Public Instruction

North Carolina school districts are cordially invited to participate in Legislative School Technology Day, Tuesday, February 13, 2007, from 10am until 2 pm at the North Carolina General Assembly Building. This event is designed to showcase for our legislators the exciting ways that technology is being used to support the teaching and learning of 21st century skills in the classrooms across the state. Every North Carolina legislator should be able to point with pride to the ways that schools in his or her district are using technology to enhance teaching and learning. Visit the Legislative School Technology Day web site for more information.

Our participants will be leaving NWA at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and travel via an activity bus to Raleigh. Join us later this week as we bring back audio files and edit a podcast for our listeners.

powered by performancing firefox

First Impression of H4 Handy Recorder ZOOM

I just picked up a H4 yesterday. Tried to record a podcast while riding in the truck to pick while making a quick trip to town. However, nothing recorded. I read the manual when I got home. I found that starting a recording is a little tricky. To make the H4 record, you turn it on, then press the REC button, then press it again. I did not like this feature, until I realized that by requiring that extra button push allows you to monitor the recording settings before recording. Using a good headphone, I can listen for background distractions like a fan running on my computer. I like the one clip button on the front so the file type can be selected. For the price, ZOOM should at least include a set of batteries. Maybe they do, I did not get any. Also, my copy of the free software was missing. Not to complain, this was just my experience. I am saving my money for a couple of XLR mics and cables to use with it. One last point - if you use the H4 as a handheld device, set the mic gain to L and use MP3. The L or low gain cancels most of the noise that results from holding the device in your hand. MP3 compresses the file. Go ahead and buy a 2 GB SD card when you buy it. Look around for cheap 1 GB cards if you do not need to record a long presentation. Also, buy a tripod. I found a cheap one at a store called Big Lots that was designed to use with a camera. Also, I recommend investing in recharge AA batteries and a charger. I am looking for a carrying case for it too. One last impression- if you are over 50 years old, make sure you have your reading glasses nearby when operating the H4. I was not designed for farsighted users like me.

powered by performancing firefox