Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Web of the Week Wednesday: African American History Month

Web Address:

February is African American History month and in anticipation of this UEN has created a site highlighting resources that can effectively be used in classes to commemorate the contributions of African Americans.  Lesson Plans, Links and eMedia videos give a broad picture of how the African American experience has influenced life in the United States.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental File Formats - Part 1

Understanding file formats today is not what it once was.  When computers first came on the scene there were a few conventions that were followed.  All files had a name, an eight character name with a 3 character extension.  Although this varied a little by Operating system, the very first Commodore 64 I used followed this and it didn't change until someone opened a Window.  Well not literally, but with the advent of the Graphical User Interface or GUI on the Mac and later with Windows the 8 character limit became less important, although if you looked at the files carefully you would see that the computer still truncated a longer file name to an 8 character version. What hasn't changed is extensions, although we often don't see them anymore.  Both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows now have the option of hiding the extension on known file types.  This can make it easier to quickly view files and simplify navigation, but if you have ever wondered: "How does my computer know how to open these files" Well it's all in the extensions.  The simple 3 characters after the period in a file name.  This is code for the computer. It tells the computer which little icon to display on the file and which program to use to open the file. Over the next few weeks we are going to explore some essential file types and what those extensions mean.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fill up an external hard drive

External hard drives come in a wide variety of styles, forms and purposes. But what do you put on it? The first obvious answer is computer files. But here are some suggestions that may help you along.

Back Up your Documents
External hard drives provide portable storage for files you don't want to lose. Keeping a copy of your curriculum on your computer's internal hard drive or a network drive is a good idea, but having a copy on an external drive may be the difference between sanity and weeks of frantic work. If you lost all the documents on your hard drive what would it take to replace them? With an external drive you can use built in tools on the MAC and Windows to backup files. Alternatively you can manually copy important files to the hard drive yourself.

If you regularly use your computer in the same place storing your pictures, music and videos on an external drive makes a lot of sense. Most programs for managing multi-media, (ie: iTunes or Windows Media Player) will allow you to store your music and audio on an external drive. Photo management software (ie: iPhoto, Picasa, Windows Live Gallery) will do the same. Keeping large video files on an external drive can really save you internal hard drive for the most essential files. Incidentally having your internal hard drive full or close to full can slow down system processes which depend on free space on the hard drive to perform needed activities.

Archived Materials,
If you are a laptop user it can be useful to keep your most frequently used files on your internal hard drive. Keeping archived curriculum, student work, or other files that you are no longer currently using on an external hard drive is helpful technique. Copying all your PowerPoint presentations for a course to an external hard drive allows you to make changes on your internal hard drive to reflect more timely information while also maintaining a record of what you have taught from year to year.

Have fun filling up your memory!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Web of the Week Wednesday: DemoSlam

Web Address:

Google wants you to advertise their products. Then you get to go head to head against other Slammers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Pick a Hard Drive

A few years back I was shopping in an office supply store and I saw something that totally caught my eye: a portable external hard drive. You could get a 10 Gigabyte for $99.99 or a 20 Gigabyte for $129.99. I thought to myself, I will wait until the prices come down. Well it's been several years and the prices haven't come down. What has happened is what has happened with a lot of technology. The price stays the same but the features improve. For the same $99.99 you get a 250 Gigabyte drive.

So, here's the tip! Pick a better hard drive, I have shared my surefire tech tip for buying technology before: Buy the biggest numbers you can afford. Some additional help though.

There are a couple of measures used for hard drives. First, is storage, here numbers are it. The larger the storage the more expensive the hard drive is likely to be. Also, the higher the number the less you are paying per gigabyte. Measuring price per gigabyte is a good way to compare several hard drives of different capacities.

Second, is the rpm. RPM stand for Revolutions Per Minute. The higher the number the faster the drive can spin. The faster the drive can spin the faster you can access the information stored on the drive. Typical numbers for RPM are currently 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm.

A couple of other features to look at are portability vs. external power source. Some drives are not designed to be portable but rather to have an external power source and sit on the same desk all the time. These drives are often less expensive per gigabyte but they aren't buffered against shock or movement. They are also often faster than their portable counterparts and physically larger. The portable drives are smaller and draw their power from the USB cord. Older drives and some newer drives often required a special USB cable with two connections in order to provide enough power. Be sure to choose a drive that meets your power and connection needs.

Finally, consider warranty. If you have a favorite computer manufacture you may want to do some research to find out what brand of drive they use and purchase from the same company. Also look at what kind of warranty and data recovery options are available for your drive. Some companies offer data recovery at low or no cost if their drive fails.

So now that you have an external drive what do you put on it? Well tune in next week.

Welcome to Jorgie Learning

I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

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