Cool Links #109: Not Taken By The Rapture

Contrary to popular opinion, I have not been abducted by space aliens, raptured away or joined a cult.  OK, maybe I did join a cult – or at least my son did – I was drafted by the cult known as Boy Scouts.  As a yearbook advisor, I already have very limited time. Now as a Boy Scouting leader AND still a yearbook advisor, free time has become a mystical concept that is heard about, but never seen.  I am not blog-fading, just trying to figure it all out.  With summer upcoming, I should be able to get back into a rhythm of blogging again.  (I hope.)  Now for the links…

1 – After months of indecision, the Texas Legislature has finally settled on the amount of pain to inflict on public school districts.  If you live here and want to know how bad it will be for the next two years, take a look.  Thanks to the Texas Tribune for providing our state with the best info on every twist and turn of the crazy pink building in Austin.

2 – I love photography.  Didn’t start out that way, but I love it.  I am intrigued by famous photos, especially of “regular” people who just happened to be in a famous photo.  Listverse has a Top 10 of the lives of people made famous by famous photos – especially what happened after the photo was published.

3 – Here is a great tool for creating visualizations for news stories called Many Eyes.  It appears to be free.

4 – Are our First Amendment rights in danger? They are when Police see cameras like this

How Police see SLR Cameras

How Police see SLR Cameras

5 – I recently wrote about how teachers in the US are taking the blame for a problem created outside of schools.  And Finland has been held up lately as the solution to all our problems.  But Finland and the US are nothing like each other.

6 – I deeply respect Mindy McAdams, I think she is one of the best professors in online journalism today.  I mainly agree with her post – that it is not stupid to major in journalism today, as long as the student understands the landscape.  They must be prepared to never work for a traditional news organization, or only work for one for a short time.  They must be ready to work for a small online startup, maybe even a series of them.  Their career will be very different from journalists of the past.

7 – Now this is a Facebook style photo that is worthy of being called a photograph.

Houston, that is going on my Facebook page.

Houston, that is going on my Facebook page.

8 – I love my Mac, but I hate waiting for Photoshop or Final Cut to render.  The Macintosh Performance Guide has all kinds of ways to help you get the most out of your Mac and the software on it, like the Adobe line of products.  Worth studying.

9 – This is turning into a “stuff I love” post, but I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the wonderful people at B&H Photo.  Apparently a camera they were testing (a used one) mistakenly ended up leaving their store with the photos still on it.  This gave the outside world a glimpse into the world of B&H.  I love the photos.  I love the fact that B&H is closed on Jewish holidays, just like I love the fact that Chick-fil-a is closed on Sundays.  I respect businesses that have a positive ethos and B&H does this well.  They provide a great service at a good price, by friendly people.

10 – Need a free, easy to use HTML editor look no further, just click on the link.

11 – At my school, we ditched our photo company a long time ago – too costly.  We now take our photos ourselves, and this means training the students on how to take a good portrait.  But what is good for a thin person, doesn’t work with someone like myself – someone who has a higher BMI.  dPs has a top flight post on how to photograph larger people.

12 – If you are like me, many of the photos in your yearbook are taken by staffers who never took a photo class.  They got a quick and fast version of it in yearbook class and they shoot most of their photos with a point and shoot – often badly.  Clifford Otto has a terrific post about how to hold your point and shoot to get the best photos.

13 – I know this is how many teachers and students feel about school right now.

Not sure you get 100% in May

Not sure you get 100% in May

14 – Do ethics matter in online journalism, maybe more so than ever.  Check out this post from Mindy McAdams with 10 Rules for Online Ethics.  Best takeaway – #2 Assume everything you write online will become public.

15 – Petapixel has the best explanation of depth of field I’ve ever seen.

16 – This is a fun site to teach kids about ISO, shutter and aperture – Camera Sim.

17 – I’ve heard that the kerfluffle over staging shots of presidential speeches has changed the official policy at the White House, but it is sad that they ever did it this way to begin with.

18 – This is pretty geeky and contains math content, but it is interesting – the f/stop scale is logarithmic because humans are bad at telling the difference in brightness, unless it is really big.

19 –  The owners of Leica Camera were the Oskar Schindlers of the photo world.  The untold story of how they snuck Jews out of Germany before and during WWII.

 

I have more, but I’m saving some for later in the week.

 

Cool Links #108: Promises, Promises

I know.  I promised to post more often.  I’m trying to keep that promise.  Here come the links.

1 – I saw this graphic and thought of the number of times I was searching for something like, “How to Write A Broadcast News Story.”  Try it, you’ll be deep in the google results before you find something remotely useful.

Deep In The Googleplex

Deep In The Googleplex

2 – YouTube has a fairly good resource called the Copyright Center.  It is focused on video, but has some good videos about remix culture, educational use and fair use.  And of course they have several good videos about copyright that would be useful in the classroom.

3 – Ever wanted to clean your lens the right way?  Nikon has a lengthy video with a how to do it the right way.

4 – As a web designer, I find this funny.

Go Web Go!

Go Web Go!

5 – This is also true, and I tell my broadcast kids this all the time.  No one else thinks your voice sounds weird.

Does my voice sound funny, or am I sucking down helium?

Does my voice sound funny, or am I sucking down helium?

6 – I really like the Iconic Photos web site.  It is a combination of my two favorite subjects History and Journalism.  This photo of Pope John-Paul II’s assassination attempt affected billions of Catholics and others world wide.  The site also provides great in-depth information about the photos, it is terrific.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

7 – Do your photographers want to make a living after they leave your classroom, then they must have all five of these key skills for a 21st Century photog – thanks dPs.

8 – Bill Mecca has a video that answers the question:  How long should you leave graphics on the screen? My answer is usually long enough to read it out loud at a normal pace.

9 – HTML 5 is all the rage it seems.  But why bother learning it, when HTML 4 works just fine.  WDL has an entire post devoted to that answer, but here are the bullet points:

  • HTML5 will load much quicker than its older brother because it implements WebSockets.
  • Mobile phone applications will be much more accessible if written in HTML5 because you will not have to write applications for a specific brand of phone but rather can create universal applications for all phones.
  • You have more flexibility in creating your website.
  • Video, audio and images are all easily written right into the code, eliminating the need for any third party software.
  • This language is growing and will only result in more, new, better and faster features that will leave old websites looking outdated.
  • HTML5 simply builds on HTML4, so the old markup can stay in place as you develop the new features.
  • HTML5 and CSS3 together will give you some serious designer credibility.
10 – This is a great behind the scenes video of how they shoot the Super Bowl for Sports Illustrated.
11 – I love this quick way to teach sports photography “two faces and a ball.”  It’s just that simple.
12 – How magical this must have been.  Kids today don’t understand that we used to have to wait to get our pictures back.  Not Polaroids.
You Don't Have To Wait

You Don't Have To Wait

13 – How do you tell a story?  Good question.  Campfire Journalism has a post with three different answers.  Thanks.

Until next week.  Keep the faith.

Cool Links #101: The One About Rest For The Weary

I really enjoyed taking a nap both yesterday and again today.  Neither were scheduled, I just felt very tired and then took a nap.  I was really tired after a week of homecoming activities.  So, now I’m fairly refreshed and here are the links.

1 – I found this short video about making printer’s ink from Speaking Yearbook.  It’s a little bit dull for my yearbook kids, but it added to my knowledge base.

2 – The Library of Congress has a great timeline of copyright law on their website with other teaching materials too.  They should know, since copyright law falls under their jurisdiction.

3 – Five Tips From A Newsman on Getting Better Event Photographs.  This one hits on all five.

4 – What’s The Best Internet Browser?  – Google Chrome of course!  Here’s Why.

5 – The Introduction to Web Usability is a super easy to use, easy to read resource on both How and Why you should create navigation and other elements in specific ways on the web.  It is a free PDF book.  Download it today.

I know it is a short list this week, but some weeks you just don’t catch many fish.

 

 

Cool Links #96: The One About Busy-ness

I’ve been busy.  It seems that summer too can be a busy season.  I’ve had meetings and phone calls and my son’s football camp.  Lots to do, lots to do.  So, cool links haven’t bubbled to the top of the to do list until now – nearly a week late.  And to add insult to injury, my read it later password expired and I didn’t notice for several days that items were not being added to my read it list.  So, some cool links have been lost forever.  Sad face.  Here’s the links I’ve been able to add, re-add or just plain found by brute force search.

1 – Teachers At Risk has a top notch post – Nine Things My Students Have Taught Me. If only it were just nine, but a great list.  Best take away - 1. I’ve learned that students need me to be a teacher and not their friend.

2 – And to piggyback on that post, from the same source comes Nine Questions I Ask My Students On The First Day.  Best take away – 1. When have you felt particularly successful in school?

3 – Common Craft has several helpful videos on YouTube for those that teach anything to do with the Web.

4 – The Digital Photography School should be in every media teacher’s RSS reader – because of nuggets like How To Work With Locked Pixels.

5 – Seems like this is a favorite topic right now – extending the school year or eliminating summer vacation.  Time magazine has a long article that goes around the topic, but never really decides what to think.  I see both sides to the argument.  Summer would be very expensive in the south – A/C would run non-stop.  The travel industry would be hurt badly and the traditional vacation plan would have to be rethought.  But there are upsides to changing the summer schedule.  More days in the calendar might take some pressure off and allow more in-depth teaching.  Fewer days off would lessen the effects of lost retention.  But most teachers would want more compensation for more days and it would only be fair.  Plus, as it happened in Texas, you really can’t have just some of the schools go to a year-round schedule and others stay on a traditional one.  It won’t work.  It has to be all or nothing.

6 – Copyright Office says that jailbreaking and re-mixing are OK!  And they said that teachers and students can remix and reuse with few if any restrictions.  Read about it at Free Tech 4 Teachers.  Fair Use Win!

7 – I’ve been looking for a good online “text” for Web Design for a while, and the Web Styleguide is it.  It’s 12 chapters seem to cover all the basic areas that a designer needs to know.  I only wish it were available in a PDF format.

8 – Tamron lenses posted their second video about Photo Composition – give it a look.

9 – I just had to share this – the long weekend theory of summer vacation from An Untenured Teacher.  I’m still hanging on to Saturday, but Sunday morning is just days away.

10 – Teachers At Risk seems to be my favorite blog today – lots of great content, for example How The Web May Be Spoiling Our Students.

11 – This has to be one of the best ideas that has ever been on MTV, since they stopped playing actual music. If You Really Knew Me is a show about a program that focuses on character education in high schools around the country.  I’ve only watch the first episode, but I can see the power that this program could have in almost any school.  Make sure to start with episode 101.

12 – If you are a journalism or media teacher and your students are not publishing online, then you definitely need to read the Innovative Educator’s post about Sticking It To the Man and Publish Online.

13 – OK, be honest – how many of you have had a broadcast, newspaper issue or  yearbook that ended up like this?

Insert Image Title Here

Insert Image Title Here

14 – Peta Pixel blog has a great post about a music video made for $500 done in one take.  Not only is the video cool, but they also have a behind the scenes video too.

15 – Why do they do it?  Why do photojournalists doctor photos and then claim they just mistakenly sent in the wrong image?  Seems like there is a lot of it going around right now and BP just can’t seem to do anything right.

16 – Worried that photos you post to the internet will end up on a billboard, or in an ad somewhere and you didn’t get paid or even a photo credit?  Google is releasing a new service called TinEye – a reverse image search, so you can find out if your photos are being used somewhere else.

17 – Want some advanced InDesign and Photoshop Tips for Yearbook – The Yearbook Connection has a great resource page.  Check it out.

18 – If you are from Texas and you don’t know Hal Schmidt, then you need to meet him.  He works in Houston for the office of Taylor Publishing, and he knows his tech.  His page has all kinds of great resources and teaching tips.  Hal is your Pal.

19 – I love these A to Z yearbook terminology cards.  I am going to download them all – thanks Yearbook Ladies.

20 – Is solo reporting too much for reporters, with the always on deadline 24/7/365 news cycle?  The Journalism Classroom Notebook thinks that today’s journalists are likely to face lots of burnout and possibly change to other careers more quickly.

21 – Black Star Rising blog has a superb review of the history of the First Amendment and why it is so important to keep defending it today.

Wow, I guess I had more links than I thought – of course now I won’t have anything for Sunday!  lol.  I hope you are still enjoying your time off – I start back at school on Aug. 16 (no students until Aug. 23).  Hoping to enjoy my last few weeks off.

Cool Links #94: The One About The Midpoint

Here in most of Texas, we are about mid-way through the summer.  And for many of us, summer will end early because of back to work tasks that can’t wait – like getting all the computers hooked up and running, taking football/band/cheerleader pictures and meeting with the new yearbook rep.  All things we yearbook teachers do off-the-clock and unpaid.  No one has any idea how many hours of unpaid work go into being a yearbook teacher.  Our stipends don’t even come close.  We work from before the year starts until long after it ends and get a stipend that pales in comparison to the lowliest coach.  But, enough about that.  On to the links:

1 – Here is a collection of sad graphics about the decline of the news industry – focusing on the last three years called A Quick Primer on the US News Industry.

2 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page Blog2 for this photo – it really brings to life the computing revolution:  size, price and power ready to take anywhere.  I really miss my old Bondi Blue iMac.  But I love my new iMac even more.  We retired our last bubble iMac from the lab this year – it was 8 years old and still going as a printer server.

iMac v iPad

iMac v iPad

3 – This is a great article for any young, would-be journalist at either the college or high school level to read.  Thanks Ms. Yada, I hope the job search is going well.

4 – OK, yes clip art is so, like the ’90s.  But sometimes you really need a good piece of clip art for a powerpoint presentation.  Here is a royalty free clip art site for teachers.   As always, check the guidelines before reproducing anything.

5 – I’m incensed about the BP oil spill in the gulf.  As of this week, tar balls have been sighted on Galveston beaches.  Just like the Louisiana gulf coast, East Texas gulf coast was hit by hurricanes Rita, Katrina and Ike.  Many coastal towns live on tourist dollars in the summer months to feed them all year long.  Others from shrimping and fishing.  The last thing these towns need is the oil disaster that BP has unleashed upon us all.  The whole gulf coast is feeling it, but BP and the White House keep lowballing the problem and trying to keep journalist from seeing the real devastation.  I hope brave photogs and video crews keep thwarting the rent-a-cops and Coast Guard to publish photos that keep the disaster fresh in our minds.

6 – Here is where our industry is heading, as ad dollars keep shrinking and publications close, those few that remain will be more beholden to the ad money they still get.  This is especially true for trade publications – those magazines that cover a single industry, or group of related industries.  A reporter for Motorcyclist Magazine was allegedly fired because he did a story critical of a major sponsor – a helmet maker.  Who will be watching the watchers?

7 – This confirms something I’ve know for a while, minorities use the mobile web (smart phones/laptops/netbooks) more than Anglos.  I suspect it is because phones and netbooks are cheaper than a traditional desktop or high-end laptop and provide the user the mobility to seek out wifi at places like McDonalds, the public library, schools, Starbucks, etc.  That is a powerful combination for those who don’t own a home (rent) or have a need to be mobile due to their work (truck drivers, construction workers, seasonal laborers, etc.).  I think this is an important finding for those who wish to market to minority groups (yearbook).  You have to go where the customers are – online via mobile.

8 – Everyone has a story.  Eight million people live in the NYC area, each one has a story.  This is a great way to show your student journalists how to get personality profiles.

9 – If you don’t have great video of the event, then you need great storytelling/standups.  The ever-great Kaplitz blog has a superb example.

10 – I ran across this little tidbit while working on a lesson about Matthew Brady – how photos were made in the 1860s.

11 – If you create a web site, then you should validate the code.  This helps to make sure that your page is compliant with all web standards – All Web Design Info has a list of several sites to do just that.

12 – Working with type on the web?  Then you need these Six Super Helpful Typography Cheat Sheets.

13 – Here’s another resource for teachers wanting to learn the Google tools for your classroom – a 33 page guide from Free Tech 4 Teachers.

14 – And we wonder why journalists are held in such low regard and no one wants to pay for our work?  It is no wonder when well-respected publications keep violating the most basic of ethical standards – don’t modify photos.

Economist modifies photo of Obama

Economist modifies photo of Obama

15 – Want to use a popular song in a YouTube video, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the rights.  Now you can – Rumblefish is a service that is supposed to sell the musical rights to video creators who want to post to YouTube.  The rights are usually between $2-25 for a song and are only good for YouTube.  Try it out and let me know how it went.

16 – What makes a great teacher? No one thing, maybe these 12 things each contribute to being a great teacher – I think number 5 and 6 are pretty important.

17 – I’m always looking for more of these Photos That Changed The World to add to my collection.  Some great ones in this collection – Ghandi and Brady.

Keep having a great summer.  I just finished an 8 hour InDesign CS4 tutorial that took me about two weeks to complete – up next Photoshop, then Flash.

Cool Links #93: The One About Independence Day

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  If only we could live up to these ideals.  But the first link today shows that we don’t.

1 – The First Amendment is dead.  Just ask Anderson Cooper.  Link via ShortForm Blog.

2 – If you live in Boston,  it may be too much to visit USC or if you are in Washington, then University of Miami is a long commute for a campus visit.  But youniversitytv can help your student get a look at a far away campus they are considering for a college choice.

3 – The Journal Register Company, a small chain of 18 publications is now running it’s entire operation open source.  Check it out at the Ben Franklin Project.  Freedom of the Press is for those who own the presses.  The Press is now FREE!

4 – I hate the pen tool.  In photoshop, illustrator, etc.  I don’t like it.  I don’t get it.  All Web Design Info wants to change that and help me and you learn how to control the pen tool.

5 – Don’t know how to post a video to YouTube?  It’s only seven basic steps away.

6 – Google Apps For Education has some training available for you at the right price – FREE! Learn all the basics for all the Ed Apps.  And then get certified.

7 – Royalty Free music is hard to come by – Adam Westbrook has Five Places for Cheap or Free Music for your video project.

8 – On a day when Freedom is supposed to ring, we are hearing the slow death of freedom.  At a time where nearly everyone carries a camera with them every day in their pocket, a photographer was harassed for trying to shoot video in Miami.  You have to watch this.  I can’t believe this is America, sounds more like the Soviet Union to me – “where are your papers, comrade?”  What scares me the most is that nobody seems to care.

9 – Maybe we need to show this to everyone!

10 – All Web Design Info has a simple series of graphics that explain how CSS3 Properties work.

11 – Great advice for young, starting off journalists from 10,000 words blog.  My advice via my j-prof:  “Get the secretary to like you.  The world is run by the secretaries.”  Best advice since my high school band director – “If you’re early, you’re on time.  If you’re on time, you’re late.”

12 – The Denver Post followed one kid from high school graduation to boot camp, to Iraq and back.  Great photo story telling.

13 – Not sure where I found this presentation about HTML 5, but make sure you start on slide 16 and skip the Java Script stuff unless you need to know about that too.

14 – Adventures in Pencil Integration has Six Lies We Tell Ourselves about Technology.  The biggest lies we teachers tell ourselves is:  If only I had this piece of technology or software, then everything would go smoothly in my classroom.

Have a happy Independence Day.

Cool Links #87: The One About Prom Craziness

Last night was Prom.  Yesterday was insanity day.  We had our seniors out most of the day to get ready for Prom.  Some of the sophomores were at a Field Day, the Ballet Folklorico dance team was performing somewhere, there were AP Tests, and we were getting ready to prep for Yearbook Day!  Too much craziness for one day.  So, after another 16-hour day, it was time to sleep.  Now, it is time for cool links!

1 – As a yearbook advisor, I’m always on the lookout for a way to sell more yearbooks.  I think I may have found an advantage.  According to businesspundit.com, women make 70 percent of consumer purchases.  That is not a typo – 70 percent.  So, even though they are about 52 percent of your student body, the girls or the moms will make the decision to buy most of your yearbooks.  This may explain why girls dominate yearbook staffs.  Yearbooks are a consumer purchase.  They’re just more into it.

Women Make 70 Percent of Consumer Purchases

Women Make 70 Percent of Consumer Purchases

2 – If you teach video production or broadcast journalism, then you know how difficult it can be to get cutaways or b-roll.  Then you’ve got to watch this video. (mildly not safe for school)

3 – Is journalism about access?  In some ways it seems that the only journalism making any money these days (business, sports, entertainment) is about access.  Adam Westbrook takes this debate up with a piece on his blog.

4 – I love PHDcomics.com and this one is spot on.

Things You'll Never See In A Newspaper

Things You'll Never See In A Newspaper

5 – The JEA has a good presentation about the reasons why students should think internet publishing first.

6 – With Youtube changing from FLV to HTML5 on their site, I need a new way to download Youtube videos to use in class.  I prefer to use the Google Chrome browser, but you will need to download Firefox for this one, the Easy YouTube Video Downloader.  It works pretty good and lets you choose several formats to save your videos in.

7 – Dateline: Silver Age is an homage to both the “Silver” Age of Comics and to the many journalists who have had to pen a headline in a newspaper.  I love the site, it is so much fun.

Police Baffled By Newspaper Headlines

Police Baffled By Newspaper Headlines

8 – When you are creating a web site, you need that site to run in a lot of places.  I’m not talking about Denver and Boston, but Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Explorer.  And you need it to run on mobile devices too.  Noupe.com has a terrific list of sites that can help you optimize your web site for every type of browser and platform.

9 – I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but the SnapFactory Blog has some great tutorials, called Digital Photography 1-on-1.  They are for beginning and intermediate photographers.  They are available on their Youtube channel too.

10 – Want a simple way to develop grid-based web design systems?  Webdesignledger has everything you need – tons of links for grid based web design tools.  And who doesn’t like to design on a grid?

11 – Wired Magazine is stepping up for fair use.  In an online article, they note a study that says Fair Use of copyright material adds nearly $7 Trillion to the US economy alone.  So, I wonder just how much damage has the DMCA done to our economy?

12 – Where do computer threats come from?  You’d be surprised.

Where Computer Threats Come From

Where Computer Threats Come From

13 – Just funny.

Hall Monitor

Hall Monitor

14 – I’m a big fan of Rebooting The News, which comes from the author of Scripting The News.  I love his idea of creating three simple rules for computer standards that are similar to the rules for robotics by Isaac Asimov.

Have a great Yearbook Week and I hope you get your books in soon or finish your Fall books soon.

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