Cool Links #47: Stress Less

I’m not without stress, but most of my summer waiting stress is over.  My wonderful bride will have a contract and a job this fall.  She is also a teacher and her district had a RIF (reduction in force) and we were not sure until early July as to whether she would have a job or not.  Stressful.  So here are the lower stress links:

1 – Here are 30 Free System Tools for Macs – my favorites are Name Changer, Growl, and Sync Two Folders.

2 – This next one comes from one of my favorite bloggers, although she does not have time to blog often, Miranda Writes has a post with a list of educational reporters who have Twitter feeds and it is organized by state, so check out your state/city.  If you have an education reporter in your town/newspaper and they’re not on her list – let her know.

3 – California State University system has a bank of free images for educational use, check it out.

4 – If you teach web design and use the Free NVU software, here are a great batch of short tutorials for using NVU.

5 – If you ever wanted to use Skype, but were afraid that it was too hard or would cost too much money, then watch this great video about how easy it is to use.

Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for the tip.

6 – Advancing the Story has an anecdote about how a reporter found, reported and interviewed a story with almost all Internet based tools.  No Internet = no story. Too bad most of these tools are blocked an the majority of schools, because it means we can’t teach our kids how to report using them.

7 – YouTube is trying to do our job.  LOL.  But seriously, they have started a Reporter Center.  Now this link actually crashed Firefox on me earlier today and I thought I had lost this blog post forever.  But I hear there are some really cool videos once you get past the ones from big name news organizations and dig down to PBS, etc.

8 – Mental Floss has a fun post, these are supposed to be the 10 Most Expensive Photos ever sold.  Most are really good photos.

9 – The debate about the future of the news business is ongoing and the NY Times Opinionator blog rehashed a messy war of words about copyright and aggregation online they call the “fight over free.”  Yelvington’s blog has a great post about the wrong headed assumptions of news companies.    Jeff Jarvis’ Buzz Machine has a biting, but factual post about the narcissistic tendencies of journalists and how journalists must change that inward looking personality if they want to survive into the next model of news.   And finally Save The Media blog had two outstanding posts that show exactly how we must change the news business away from the old model or become extinct like Ice Harvesters, while the second post showed that we need to serve niche markets like Sewing Machines.

10 – I hate coming up with “ideas” for yearbook spreads or story topics during February for our TV news show.  The “brainstorming” never works well and students will give you the most inane ideas just to get it over with.  Well, now I will force them to listen to the brainstorming song!  My son loves the Imagination Movers on Playhouse Disney.  The song is catchy, but somewhat inane.

11 – I admire photographer David Anthony for being a true professional.  He found out his VIBE magazine shoot was killed just hours before it was supposed to happen, but he shot the photos and made the subject feel important, and even paid for the studio time.

12 – The 10,000 Words blog has an insightful post about journalists not relying on their tech skills, both because you need to be a good story-teller and the tech skills change very quickly.  I think this may actually be a part of why journalism needs to shrink as a career field.  There are not many people who can master both sides of the field:  tech and story-teller.  I see a future where a small number of these people will create most of the news in very small organizations.  The only real issue to me is how fast the tech changes.  It takes time to learn software/hardware to the point of mastery and it takes money to constantly re-equip yourself with new software/hardware, plus the training.

Happy Summer!


  1. I understand about the RIF…our district did that a few years back, Rifing every business and home ec teacher wtih under 15 years. That was me. Our union fought hard for us; there were 3 days of trials (very stressful) and it went all the way to the final layoff notice.

    Finally, the district person who had done all this backed down and said we could have our jobs. She had manipulated those teachers because she thought we would apply pressure to the union to back off on its demands. Hah. It backfired big time on her because instead of going to the union, we went to the business people we knew and they started applying pressure to this person. Made her life pretty uncomfortable. But, this sure changed my view of loyalty to my district.

    • This is the second RIF they have had at her district in the last four years. They are notorious for overspending and then cutting teaching jobs to get back on budget. Then when they are in the black again, they go on a massive hiring spree. And then they repeat.

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