Diigo Links (weekly)

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Question: Google Apps for Education Contact Lists

WhyMy school is using Google Apps for Education.

We are looking for a solution to a problem that is proving rather sticky. We have several contact lists that we maintain. For example, we have lists for all 9th grade parents, all 10th grade parents, and so on. All of the students, faculty and staff have email addresses in our domain, and they appear automatically in our contact, but we can easily make groups or contact lists from those emails. The parents do not appear in our domain as they are not given addresses on our school’s domain.

Does anyone know of a solution that allows Google Apps for Education users to create contact lists that could be updated globally so that each user in the system would not have to update every single change? We are trying to minimize the number of people who make global changes (such as when we add a transfer student’s parental emails or when a parent changes their email). CSV files are proving to be rather cumbersome, and they also do not allow for quick global changes.

Right now, we don’t know of a way for a single user to add a contact and share it with everyone on our domain using native Google Apps tools, which means we would have to continue to load CSV files or keep some separate list. This solution is not ideal mainly because of the support we would need to provide faculty and staff as well as the increased opportunity for errors to creep in.

If you have a solution, can you brief me on it in the comments and provide any relevant links as well as personal experience with the tool(s)?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tintin44 – Sylvain Masson

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Why, Microsoft?

Frustration (was: threesixtyfive | day 244)Microsoft, can you please tell me why you felt it was necessary to change the default line spacing to 10 pts. after a line? The default should be 0 pts., and if a user wants to change it, they can change it. I have to teach my students how to make this change every time they write a paper. Now that we are standardizing Word 2010 at my school, I can see I will need to help faculty and staff change this default, too. I cannot think of a single defensible reason for monkeying with this particular default feature, which prior to Word 2007, was always 0 pts.

Correct formatting for MLA (and every other style I can think of) calls for double-spaced line-spacing, and this setting you changed introduces extra space after each paragraph. You have introduced incorrect formatting by default and have forced users to change this default in order to correctly format their writing. That is not user-friendly, and it is not cool.

Also, I hate Calibri.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sybren A. Stüvel

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Preplanning

Golden Gate SunsetI began a new job this week (well, really last week, but this first week with teachers back made it feel more like the first week), and this image of the Golden Gate Bridge seemed to capture something about how it feels in many ways.

I am excited. The opportunity to use my technology skills to help my colleagues has been exhilarating, and they seem so appreciative. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

So far, I have written documentation for using our gradebook software and grade/homework site (Edline) and also conducted training in these two programs. I have also had training on our copiers that I translate into training faculty. I sent my first technology newsletter to our faculty (Gmail tips for Outlook users and Dropbox). I have also helped a few colleagues with some questions or issues that have arisen as they prepare for school. To be honest, I am starting my own classes on Monday, and I was completely unable to prepare anything this week, but I will work on that over the weekend.

Google Calendar has a new feature that allows users to create appointment time slots, so I have created slots and shared that calendar with my colleagues. I already have several appointments booked for next week. I have already learned so much, and most of all, I have actually had a lot of fun, even though I’ve been busy. I have been happier in my job than I can ever remember being. I think it’s really important to me to feel useful, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt this useful before (at least, not at work). It was a busy, busy week, but it was a good week.
Creative Commons License photo credit: vgm8383

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I Found a Twitter Client

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you might recall I have been looking for a Twitter client to replace Nambu, which stopped developing their software. I tried out Seesmic, HootSuite, and TweetDeck. I tried out the native Twitter client. None of them did everything I wanted. Most of them did some of the things I wanted. The main thing I needed was a way to see an unread messages count, and preferably also see an unread messages count by list organization. I had frankly despaired of being able to find something, when I saw this tweet by Audrey Watters:

Audrey Watters

Well, I decided it didn’t hurt to check it out, especially because it’s free. I downloaded it from the App Store, and I have been loving it. It offers unread message counts, and I can add new tabs for any lists I also want to monitor, too. Here is what it looks like in Normal View.

YoruFukurou

But you can also follow Twitter conversations easily with Conversation View.

YoruFukurou

This view is handy for trying to figure out what folks in your timeline are talking about if you missed earlier tweets.

I also like the Drawer feature, which allows me to click on a person’s tweet, click on the Drawer icon, and see the most pertinent information in the person’s profile.

YoruFukurou

You can read all about its other features at the YoruFukurou website. I’ve been using it for about a month now, and it’s been the best Twitter client I’ve ever used—even better than Nambu was. Unfortunately, it’s only available on Mac, and there are presently no plans to develop for Windows.

A strange thing I noticed: When I followed their Twitter account, I had a ton of random follows from Asian spam accounts, so I unfollowed their Twitter account, but left them in one of my lists so I could still see their new tweets, and the spam follow issue resolved. Just a warning.

I am not sure how well the client works with Lion, as I am still on Snow Leopard, but the developers regularly update the app, so if it’s not compatible, it soon will be.

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Diigo Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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