Thursday, March 27, 2008

Phishing Attempts Via Google Calendar

Over this past month, I have gotten two random appointment requests on
my Google Calendar. I reported the first one to Google, but did not
even get an email from Google over it. Word of warning: do not use
Google Calendar. There are shifty shady characters trying their best
to lure you into giving them money.

I am deleting Google Calendar. You might should consider doing the
same. You sure will not hear from Google- they could care less about
the little guy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Night Out with my Father

It has been a long time since I have taken the time to attend an event like last night. I have been invited to this annual wild game cooking party, but something has always kept me from attending. When my father, 83, visited our family doctor this week he got invited again. The doctor is one of the main hosts of the event. He extended an invitation to me as well.

The weather was absolutely perfect. Cool enough so that the charcoal grilled venison steaks, grilled air-dried country sausage, (real) buffalo chilly, fried catfish, herb broiled quail, Eastern North Carolina chopped pork barbecue, baked yams, and my favorite- original recipe seafood gumbo. It was truly a feast to behold. The food was prepared by local businesses that sell products to farmers and landowners in our area. For example, the seafood gumbo was provided by a famous cabinet and construction company from Whiteville. I have know the owners since high school some 34 or so years. Mike, one of the owners of the cabinet shop, flew out to the mid west and killed the buffalo. He purchased a custom built rifle just for the hunt. If Mike had to put a price on the kettle full of buffalo chilly, he would have had to charge $1,000 per plate to come close to breaking even. Everyone was crazy about the gumbo. I noticed a local independent restaurant owner critiquing the steaming hot bowl of gumbo. I overheard him comment that he knew that a pot that large had to have cost over six hundred dollars to prepare. I immediately got another bowl full. Peanut butter sandwiches inhaled in my ten minutes of lunch time pales in comparison to the wild game cooked to perfection I eat Friday night.

As for those present, I will not try to list those that in attendance. However, I only saw two other teachers there. One was my future son-in-law. The other was a coach that is an avid outdoorsman. I did see a retired high school coach in the crowd. It was a real who's who of movers and shakers from our rural county. Our NC State Senator made a brief appearance, As did our current Sheriff and several NC Highway Patrolmen, some off duty and some on-duty. Those on-duty officers eat and ran. They probably stopped to ask that we move all those four wheel drive pickup trucks off the shoulder of the road. I parked very close to the food so my father did not have to walk far.

The best part of the evening was shaking hands and getting caught up with all my old friends. I chatted with people I had not seen in 15 years. It was like a homecoming. The funny thing is that none of the men there has a blog, none of them have a wiki, none of them could tell you the difference between Facebook or MySpace. I would be willing to bet that less than 5 of them use email. Yet, they all are making a living, have sent kids to college, could buy and sell most any thing they want, and hunted everywhere in the world, have boats, lake front, river front, or beach or mountain vacation homes. Technology is not part of their lives. Sure they have cell phones so their kids and wives and keep up with them. I did not see a single one of them with a cell phone stuck in their ear. The doctors there left their pagers/cell phones at home. The judges walking around with plates of catfish and cups full of their favorite beverage, could care less about answering text messages or if iPhones will have push email in July.

Social networking still is all about face to face personal contact. I am not going to miss another one of those events. It has been too long since I have been to a pig picking/wild game cooking. Blogging compared to wild game cook offs are a waste of my time. No one reads what I blog anyway. Who cares what a small town school teacher has to say.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Poll Everywhere in my classroom to engage thinking

I ran across Poll Everywhere and signed up for a free account. In a recent email, the folks at Condense, Inc, recently changed from offering prepaid blocks of votes to monthly subscription plans. Since I had registered for 100 free votes to try it out, they’ve transitioned me to their free plan which includes 1000 free votes every month, up to 30 votes per poll. They
wanted to make a useful product that is free for K-12 educators (schools today pay over $1000/room for hardware clicker systems). They’re providing an audience/classroom response system over ten times cheaper than buying hardware!

Brainstorming how to best use this tool to enhance learning, I am considering trying to use it to ask students to come up with their own Power Point Polls. I need a resource on how to write poll questions. I do not want the polls to be "do you like Rap?" However, it could be interesting if we could have all our students create their own poll and students vote. I do not think our polls will exceed 30 votes per poll. If they do, then our school may invest in Poll Everywhere. Free is good.