Ignore the facts, just look at the babies

Try and watch this demo video of Apple’s FaceTime for iPhone and tell me that they don’t know how to use emotions to sell a product.

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Don't burn the books

a student told me his book had bad words in it. I asked if they were written in the book or printed by someone else. He wasn’t able to answer the question so I asked him to bring me the book.

He came back to my desk with his dictionary and showed me that it contained the word ass. I said it was okay that the words were in his dictionary, he didn’t need to use the words.

He was okay with that answer.

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CBC: The Nerve

CBC has started airing a new six part series on CBC Radio 1 and CBC Radio 2 about music and the human experience. “The Nerve”:http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/features/theNerve/ explores the relationship between music and the brain, war, spirituality and more in each of its six episodes.

You can listen to “The Nerve”:http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/features/theNerve/ on Saturdays at 12 PM on Radio 2 and Sundays at 8 PM on Radio 1, or if you have missed an episode you can subscribe to the podcast at the unofficial “CBC Podcasts”:http://cbcpodcasts.wordpress.com/podcasts/ website (The feed can be found at “http://feeds.feedburner.com/cbc_thenerve”:http://feeds.feedburner.com/cbc_thenerve)

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We Share Everything

I was reading a story to a grade 1/2 classes yesterday and read the Robert Munsch book, “We Share Everything”. I had the students reciting it along with me when the repetitive part comes in the book. So after the class has finished saying “we share everything” at least five times and we are finished the story it is time to go pick out a new book. One little boy gets up and tosses the book he had in his hand over his shoulder and runs to the dinosaur books. Another boy was pulling a dinosaur book off the shelf and he grabs it from him. I went up to him and had to tell him to let go of the other boy’s book and go back to pick up the book he threw.

I really should have made him check out We Share Everything.

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MediaPortal: MP-TVSeries

I tried a few different software packages including Windows Media Center and MythTV before I settled on MediaPortal. There were a few reasons why I chose MediaPortal over the others including a balance between ease of use and installation and the ability to customize the installation. The factor that really decided it for me was the MP-TVSeries plugin.

MP-TVSeries will scan a folder for TV shows and organize your shows by series, and season. The real advantage is that MP-TVSeries gathers information from “The TV DB”:http://www.thetvdb.com/ so that the interface can give you series and episode information.

MP-TVSeries has been developed for long time an is on version 2 now so it’s stable and has a lot of features. If you use your computer to watch television shows, consider giving MP-TVSeries a try.

mp-tv-series-episode
TV Series Banners and Information

mp-tv-series-episode
TV Episode Information

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MediaPortal: My Smart Playlists

Since I started using “MediaPortal”:http://www.team-mediaportal.com/ nearly two years ago, I wished there was a way to play a playlist of random music. The problem was the library was too large to load the whole library and shuffle. Thankfully someone was good enough to make “MySmartPlaylists”:http://www.team-mediaportal.com/files/Download/Plugins/AudioorRadio/MySmartPlaylists/.

With MySmartPlaylists you can make smart playlists like can with iTunes or Winamp. Well sort of like you make a playlist with iTunes. MySmartPlaylists is still in its early stages so it’s not very user friendly yet. To make a new playlist you have to edit an XML file with SQL statements[1]. Fortunately, with a few sample playlists you can probably figure out how to make more.

In the past two weeks since MySmartPlaylists was first released there have been two updates and features are being added, so maybe someday it will become more user friendly.

fn1. Sample playlist to play 30 random songs added in the last 2 weeks: @@

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2007 Podcasts

  • This American Life This American Life started to podcast their show near the end of 2006. Episodes take a theme and uses stories and interviews to explore the theme. This show got me through a lot of long carpool drives.
  • CBC Spark Former DNTO host Nora Young has a new show that explores tech trends and fresh ideas.
  • CBC Search Engine
  • RadioLab
  • CBC Wiretap CBC still has not added Wiretap to their large selection of podcasts yet. So until that happens, there is the unofficial supernintendochalmers feed. My only complaint is that it is limited to 32 kbs bitrate. Update: Wiretap now has an official podcast.
  • CBC DNTO I don’t seem to listen to the radio Saturday afternoons so it is great to be able to listen to the non-musical portions of DNTO when I have the time.
  • CBC Q I don’t listen to every episode of The Q podcast, but it’s a good way to listen to a show that I used to be able to catch on my drive home.
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2007 Books

Not in order of preference, just as they came to me.

  • Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop (fiction) Fight Club meets Fahrenheit 451. A group of bookstore workers have a book burning club.
  • The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (fiction) The Matrix meets Jaws. A man wakes up with no memory after a conceptual shark hunts him down and steals his memory
  • JPod by Douglas Coupland (fiction) Microserfs version 2.0. A story about a group of video game programmers. Soon to become a CBC 13 episode miniseries.
  • A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (fiction) All about growing up in a Mennonite community and not fitting in. Not that I could relate.
  • Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill (fiction) The story of a 12 year old girl and her heroin addicted father in Montreal. Debut novel from a regular contributor of This American Life
  • Rant An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk (fiction) A retelling of the life of a serial killer by everyone that knew him or became obsessed with him.
  • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins Scathing criticism of religion and the harm it does to society.
  • The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein A very detailed account of how governments have taken advantage of natural disasters and economic and political upheaval
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Married != Related

Today when a student realized that my last name was the same as a teacher at his school last year, he asked if I knew her. I said that she is my wife. A few minutes later he says, “you know you two look a bit like each other”. I said that we’re married, not related so we shouldn’t look alike. I hope I didn’t confuse him.

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Sodium/Water Explosion

I used sodium in class to demonstrate an exothermic reaction. I follwoed the directions the high school teacher gave me, but it was too much sodium and it caused the beaker to explode. Atleast it wasn’t 20,000 pounds of sodium.

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