Cool Links #83: The One About Eternal Installing

I recently was lucky enough to get 22 new iMacs from our district’s bond program along with Adobe Creative Suite CS4.  I’ve never had more than six new computers before, and our district does not really have anyone who does IT for Macs (we are a PC district).  So, that has meant that I have been installing software and getting the computers set up.  It has been a real marathon.  I had no idea.  After nearly two weeks, I think I’m finally at the end of installing, updating, and tweaking.  I never knew that getting what I wanted (and my students needed) would be so much work.  I’ve been falling behind on grading and have had to do a marathon session today.  In addition, Saturday was UIL (state journalism contest – local round) and it is pretty much an all day thing.  So, I’ve been behind on getting this edition of Cool Links out.  Here they are:

1 – 100 Books That Every Teacher Should Read – my favorites are: The First Days of School, Animal Farm, and Charlotte’s Web.

2 – This tongue in cheek list of 25 Ways To Save the Newspaper Industry is a funny, yet almost not funny read.

3 – This should be frightening to anyone working the sports beat, sports writing by robot.  Local sports teams will be able to enter their info via computer, which will then spit out a summary and box score.

4 – DK Publishing put out a video about the future of the publishing industry.

5 – In the wake of the Google/China search pullout, Jeff Jarvis wrote a Bill of Rights for the Internet.  If you create, consume or desire free, independent media – then you might want to read this.

6 – Photojournalism From The Student’s Eye has two new Final Cut tutorials, this time about adding Lower Thirds (titles) to your video.

7 – The best news videographer/blogger in the biz, Viewfinder BLUES has a hilarious post on the deseases faced by those who carry logo’d cameras around for a living.

8 – Tamron Lenses released episode ten – all about how to get a good White Balance.

9 – If  you use a lot of Web 2.0 services like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or Yahoo mail – then it irks you when you’re not sure if the services is slow, down or if it is your computer or internet connection.  Now there’s help – Downrightnow – they will let you know for sure.

10 – Sir Ken Robinson has been speaking everywhere they will let him about the broken system of education.  Here he is on CNN detailing what he feels needs to be fixed.

11 – Google, best company ever or evil empire?  You decide.

Have a great week – should be a short one for most of us with a long weekend.


After reading a post from a fellow journalista, I just knew I had to write a post like it.  After 15 years in the teaching biz and more than 20 in the journalism biz, I have collected a few fun bits of phraseology for the days when my students just make me let out my sarcastic, silly side.

1 – “Joe Bob said.”  This is my way of letting my kiddos know that you really only have one way to write attribution on a quote.  Joe Bob is an homage to my first Sports Editor/boss/friend Jim Bob Gleason at the Angelo State Ram Page.  In West Texas, no one ever goes by James Robert.  No one.

2 – “Enhance Your Calm.”  This is my way via that old ’80s flick Demolition Man of telling my students that the time for talking is over.

3 – “Life is not fair, you should get used to it.”  Self-explanatory.

4 – “Ya’ll might want to get some work done today.”  Kind of my way of letting them know that there are deadlines coming up and that their grade is attached to meeting them.

5 – “You better remind me…” and “If it’s not written down, it’s not real.”  My kids know that I have the memory of a gnat or the fish Dory in Finding Nemo.

6 – “Eyes Front”  That means put down all electronics, and actually look at the board or me.

7 – “The universe keeps making better idiots, while we try to make things idiot proof.  The universe is winning.”  Whenever someone messes up something we tried to make really, really easy – like picture day.

8 – “D is for diploma.”  Usually said to lighten the mood when a high flyer is worried about their grades or GPA.

9 – “We have issues.”  Kind of a motto around the journalism room.

10 – “Deadlines really amuse us.”  Mostly a yearbook thing.

11 – “A Ewe is a female sheep, why is it in your story?”  This is to help remind them that we don’t use the word ‘you’ in journalism, except in a direct quote.

12 – “Good, Cheap, Fast – pick any two.”  This is usually for my video kids, who want to find a shortcut for everything.

13 – “Shortcuts = Fail.”  This is actually a new one.  But I like it.

14 – “You can do it your way or the right way.  Eventually you will have to redo it the right way.”  This is for those kids who just have to learn things the hard way.

Maybe I’ll start writing them down for part II of this post.

Cool Links #82: The One Where Global Warming Made Us Colder

OK, I’m just a journalist and so not qualified to comment on weighty scientific topics like global warming, but here in Houston, we’ve had the sixth coldest winter on record.  And we were just feeling spring-like and now it is feeling positively wintery again.  So, as long as it’s cold outside, we might as well fire up the computers and read some cool links.

1 – As the proud owner of a new Mac lab, I sometimes forget that most of the world uses an operating system from Redmond, Washington (Windows).  So, for those who might have a new Mac or end up teaching in a school with a Mac Lab – here’s a great site for learning all things newby Mac users need to know – Mac For Beginners.  It takes you through all the steps of OSX (that’s O – S – Ten or the tenth Mac operating system).

2 – Smashinglists has this post on the Top 25 Historic Photographs ever taken.  I admit to often being a little US-centric when talking about famous photos, but this one has a number from Europe especially, including my favorite in this collection – Hitler in Paris.  That particular photo really denotes the sadness of Nazi Germany being in charge of the cultural heritage of much of Europe.

Hitler In Paris

The sadness of Paris under the Nazi jackboot.

3 – This has to be one of the best videos from Bob Kaplitz’s blog, and that is saying a lot.  This video focuses on ways to make standups more creative.

4 – Great cartoon – How NOT to Save Newspapers.

5 – Straight from Google, How Search Works.

6 – If you work in a typical American school, then your internet is likely to be filtered and slow.  This means no Youtube.  So, how can you share youtube videos with your students?  If you are like me and use Google Chrome broswer, then you might want to add this to your browser – a method of downloading videos.

7 – Random Mumblings blog brings us Jeff Cole via to discuss how video is expanding to fill every niche in the content spectrum.

Beet TV Video Expanding

Beet TV Video Expanding

8 – Photojournalism From A Student’s Eye brings us more Photoshop for Reporters – Color Correction with Levels.

He also brings us another podcast tutorial for Final Cut on Transitions and Fades.

9 – Here’s a great history project for web design students – 15 Websites that Changed the Internet.  It has it all, from Facebook to Geocitites.

10 – The Bellringer has just about had it with yearbook staff members who can’t make deadline.  I feel her pain.  How do we get kids to become self-motivating, internally driven to finish work on time?  Ideas?

Well, ten is a nice round number, but not as round as Pi.  Pi day was a couple of days ago.  Yes, I’m a geek for knowing that.

Cool Links #81: The One About 500/600

No it’s not a math problem.  But now have more than 600 comments on my blog and am closing in on 500 posts.  I do want to do more “content” related posts along with cool links posts.  And I think April will mark the end of year three of my blog too.  That’s exciting.  Now on to the links….

1 – Viewfinder Blues has a superb video post that demonstrates both the reporter and camera operator during a walk-and-talk.  Check out this excellent blog from a video journalist’s point of view.  Too bad there’s not more like it.

What's wrong with TV News?

What's wrong with TV News?

2 – What’s wrong with TV News? Too much crime, sports and weather and darned little else about city hall, local events, etc.

3 – The BBC has a series of graphics focusing on how the web works.  It starts out with the most basic elements like HTTP and URLs.  It discusses domains, servers and searches.

BBC How the Web Works

BBC How the Web Works

4 – Why do some “call to action” buttons work, while others fail? Who knows, Hongkiat knows and will help you to design a better button in this article.

5 – This is almost too hard to read, but I made it through all 119 Broadcast Cliches in one sentence.  Fun, yet sad.

6 – The Onion NewsNation Shudders At Large Block of Text – Headline in the hilarious, but often right on the mark Onion News Network.  And also from the Onion, a funny video about how 24 news channels just keep feeding the viewer bulls&#* in order to keep something on the screen all day long.  Very funny.

Some Bulls#$* Happening Somewhere

Some Bulls#$* Happening Somewhere

7 – As my students would say OMG.  Oh my goodness.  The Cambridge in Color Digital Photography Tutorials. These graphics will help you understand and teach so many difficult photography concepts, like center weighted metering, depth of field, using levels, and much more.

8 – The Edit Foundry Blog shows you how to take a video and make it sing with simple motion effects in post.

9 – Photojournalism from a Student’s Eye has posted several screen casts that focus on using Final Cut.  Very good videos about the basics.  He also has a series called Photoshop for Reporters and here’s the first one:

10 – The dPS has a great post for photojournalists and others on how to take good head shots.

11 – No cool links would be complete without a spot from the Bob Kaplitz blog, this time on improving spot news coverage by focusing on the  details.

12 – Much has been written this week about Marc Andreessen’s advice to burn the boats of the old media world and colonize the digital world.   I agree with Marc, but only to a point.  We need to burn the boats, but not the equipment they carried to the new world and not with the sailors still on board.  “Old Media” does need to invest heavily in new media and learn how to use it quickly.  The time for fighting against the tide is over.  But at the same time, keep milking the print cow until it dies or until digital media makes more money, then burn it to the water line.

13 – Along the same lines is this post from C Dixon that google does not make money from hard news.  Maybe no one ever did.  Maybe your not supposed to make money from what is essentially a public service.  But we need to find a way to keep paying journalists a living wage in order to provide us that news.

I’m on Spring Break this week and enjoying the sunshine here in Houston.  Also got my new Macs set up in my lab.  Still a lot of work to do getting software installed and tweaked.

New Lab Computers

New Lab Computers

Cool Links #80: Shortage – Surplus – Shortage

It seems like we hear a lot about the terrible shortage of teachers we are about to have as the baby boomers retire.  We also keep hearing how we don’t have enough certified, qualified, teachers to fill every classroom.  And then we hear how district XYZ or state ABC is experiencing huge layoffs of teachers.  How can these both be true?  It just seems like they are using the situations to exploit the teachers in the system into constant worry about their job security. And it just doesn’t seem right.  We know that there will be huge deficits in the near future, yet we drive some very good teachers away during these periodic purges.  It’s dumb.

Well, on to the links:

1 – The NY Times has an excellent, but long article on how we should be providing teachers, both in college and on the job training that teaches them more than content – it gives them the tools to be a better teacher.

2 – This is an interesting idea – a teacher draft.  I’m not sure it would work, as most teachers would prefer to choose where they want to live and teach.  Maybe if it was more nationalized with openings and availabilities matched.  Who knows?

The video is from rethingklearningnow and they have this other great nugget.

3 – In his own words, Bob Kaplitz is building the biggest library of Multimedia Journalism content on the internet.  And this video has some great tips on convincing the public of your brand’s fairness.

4 – NPR has a collection of photos of Jobs of Yesteryear.  My favorite is the Lector, but there is also the Typesetter.  Soon to be followed by the Newspaper Reporter?

Jobs of Yesteryear - Typesetter

5 – I guess this next post fits right in with the last one – Ace Photojournalist Peter Parker has been fired by the Daily Bugle.  Maybe it will be liquidated itself soon and Spidey won’t feel so bad.  But how will our super hero pay the rent?  Wedding photographer,, sports photos or Paparazzi?

Spiderman Fired

Spiderman Fired

6 – Journalists can still rejoice over free fonts.  Here’s a great batch at Web Design Ledger.

7 – The Tamron Lens camera series continues with this gem about ISO.

and this one about camera modes.

8 – We in the media business are trying to teach creativity.  But too many in education are just teaching compliance and that is counter productive to what we are trying to do.

9 – I don’t agree with everything Adraina Huffington does or says, but her 4 E’s of 21st Century journalism are worth looking into.  I agree with some of it, but I don’t agree with the way that she content scrapes from others or how she pays her writers peanuts, while making millions off their work.

10 – The ShortFormBlog has a great graphic about how we consume media.  They still think newspapers can own local, but it seems like they don’t get that yet.

11 – has a terrifying look at the future without newspapers.  The worst one is:

4. Demand-driven journalism is changing the nature of what’s created.
6. The distinction between news and opinion will continue to erode.
7. Tabloid journalism will flourish.

12 – Allwebdesigninfo has collected a number of video tutorials for Adobe products like Photoshop, InDesign, Flash and Illustrator.

13 – Thanks to FreeTech4Teachers for this post on the NY Times about Ansel Adams along with an interactive audio feature on his photography.

Have a great week.  Five days left until the yearbook will be done.  Can’t wait.