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 #105: The One About A Long List

I haven’t done a links post in so long I think people have aged since then.  Sorry, but all you yearbook teachers out there understand – this is the crazy season.  Lots of deadlines from now until we finish.  The walking dead are yearbook teachers without enough coffee – real zombies.   So here are some links…

1 – This one is super cool, data – journalism – education – interactive all rolled into one.  The interactive map of ROI on education.  Just check it out, my school district was actually lime green.

2 – The terrific Bob Kaplitz blog has a graphic with the four levels of story-telling.  Very useful, I’m going to share it with my broadcast journalism kids.  Maybe we can move past level 2.

3 – Here’s a sad graphic.  Educators one of the five worst paid jobs with a degree.

4  - The Daily Grind has a response from the trenches to President Obama’s remarks in the SOTU about education.  Worth reading.

5  - This is funny, and yet true in its own way.  Follows the baffle ‘em with BS theory.

6 – Some of us are old enough to remember black screens with green letters and punch cards.  Our smart phones and iPads are nearly proof that we live in the future.  Ars Technica has a lengthy, but good article about the evolution of computer screens.

7 – Thanks to PetaPixel – this is really cool.  They found someone who still shoots old fashioned Ambrosetypes (similar to Daguerrotypes).

8 – This could be my student’s motto:  From Overheard in the Newsroom.

9 – OK, I’ve never heard of useit.com before, but I’ve heard of nearly all the ideas in this article before.  They just packaged it all together in one spot.  They restate what I’ve heard of people who read on the web and what is known about scanning.  This is why journalists must get back to basics on the inverted pyramid and headline writing.

10 – This is great!

Photoshop CS4 Cream

Photoshop CS4 Cream

11 – Thanks to Bellringers for a series of professional development sessions we’d all really love to see.

12 – We have to stop forcing boys (and some girls) into the box of the “good student.”  I learned so much from my own son and two former students from my broadcast journalism class.  All of these students are the get up and go kind of people.  They can’t stand to be sitting down – unless they are playing a video game, musical instrument, etc.  They have to be active.  We can’t keep forcing passive learning on them.

13 – I still think this kind of photo-retouching is wrong.  People used to smoke – everyone knows that.  I don’t think Churchill will make a kid want to take up the cigar.

14 – My students do this all the time…

Stop Printing

Stop Printing

15 – These kids from Quebec have no idea what a record player is for, or an 8-track.  How long until iPods are obsolete?

16 – Maybe if more journalists acted like this, there’d be more readers/viewers/visitors – see Overheard in the Newsroom.

I think I may post again tomorrow.  Getting sleepy – still got lots of links in the hopper.

 

YLYB #49: Testing Gods Appeased……For Now

The great gods of testing had to be appeased.  The sacrifice of a school day, and more importantly (to this blog) yearbook time to be handed up to the all powerful testing cartel is now officially finished.

Like a great number of schools across the land, we sacrificed at the alter of PSAT today.  We halted school for about 80 percent of our instructional time to take this test.  If I was the kind of person to get ulcers (I’ve had a few) then I might have freaked out about this – we have a major deadline coming up.  But I’m zen.

I think zen sets in after 15 years of yearbook, or your first ulcer – whichever comes first.  I’ve learned that there are three types of things in the world – things I can change, things I can’t change and things I could change if I actually had any influence (which I don’t).   I’ve learned to stop worrying about the first set and to just gripe and complain about the third set.  The second set is so small, it is really easy take care of.

Thus I am in the land of zen.

But testing in it’s many forms still sucks up too much time, energy and resources from all of the schools across this nation.  When will we learn that it is a false deity?  It promises much, but delivers so little – and at a cost of what?  Time.  Money.  Our souls.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

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