Friday, March 26, 2010

The Digital Age of Aquarius

Last night I attended a Second Life education event billed as the Digital Age of Aquarius. It was a 60's style presentation by Kevin Honeycutt (In-world:Kevinski Braveheart) It was sponsored by ISTE on Hippy Island , a fun place to explore and find hidden professional development resources.

I've been on SL for two years, but consider myself a newbie, because I never got into building or costumes. I just walked around in my standard jeans and t-shirt, which is probably more like real life than Second Life for me.

For this event you were encouraged to dress in 60's style. Fortunately, I was using the new client which offers a variety of optional clothing choices. There really wasn't anything 60's in the choices, but in the 60's I was a huge Peter, Paul, and Mary fan and my kids were raise on me playing Puff the Magic Dragon on the guitar. So I figured this choice was very dragonish, and it was as close as I would get to a 60's costume.

If you have never seen or heard Kevin before, you have to make it a point. If we could clone him, our education system would soar. His presentation was all about empowering teachers and children to use Web 2.0. Not only does he make a case for breaking down the firewalls, he does it well, by providing powerful examples of students making a difference in the world. He shows how to model and teach good cyber citizenship even if you are behind a firewall that prevents it. They are analog ways of teaching students digital skill, such as using a bulletin board, paper and pencil to simulate Twitter in the classroom. He offers good solid suggestions for professional development that empowers teachers to become digital leaders, and he even writes songs about it.

Archimedes said, "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." On his site, Kevin says, "I am a veteran teacher and a current educational technology specialist who gets up every day on a mission to help educators improve education by leveraging 21st century tools!"

First, listen to an audio file of his presentation and then visit his website. If it's a fulcrum, we can all be part of the lever that helps move the education world in the right direction.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hammacher Schlemmer has an Interesting Marketing Ploy

Ever get a catalog in the mail and immediately file it in the garbage? That's what I do with most catalogs, but not with Hammacher Schlemmer's Spring Supplement. They managed to get me to look thought it from cover to cover FOUR TIMES!

How could this be? We'll if you are looking at the cover and saying, "WTF is that?" you can just pick up and issue and thumb through the pages until you find it. The problem is that you won't find it! The cover item is nowhere to be found.

It's a nice little ploy. I checked twice to be sure and then two more times, just to make sure I wouldn't be making a fool of myself with this blog.

Now this might work the next issue, because I'll probably thumb through it to see if it is in that issue, but if they don't have it or try the same trick again, I'll probably file the following issue faster than you can say, "Where's the shredder?"

On the other hand, they might just be on to something, because this offers and opportunity to turn the catalog into a "Where's Waldo" type adventure. Who knows? Maybe it already is. Maybe the copy is hiding somewhere.

I know there were a few opportunities that they could have taken to place a stealth copy of the article. For example, on page 13 there is a portable Internet encyclopedia. They could have had some copy on the screen there or in any number of other places in the catalog.

So, Hammacher Schlemmer, are you listening? Why not take my idea and run with it? While you're at it you could run over to the check book and send me a few dollars for my idea. Heck, I'd even take one of those things on the cover, whatever it is!

Riddle: When is $118 = $177?

Answer: When you rent a car from Budget at Manchester, NH airport for 1 week, at $118/per week and return it two days early.

We recently ordered a new car and sold our old one about a week before delivery of the new one. As a result, we had to rent a car. After checking the rates, I saw I could rent a car from Budget at the Manchester, NH airport for $118 per week.

We returned the car today, actually two days early, but still got charged the weekly rate. No problem there. I can understand that, but check out the "other" charges.
$3 per day vehicle license fee
$2 per day customer facility charge
10% additional because it was an airport
9% sales tax

For a grand total of $177.01, which leads me to my next riddle. When is $118 = $199? Answer: When you rent a car from Budget, at Manchester airport for 1 week and actually keep it for a week.

Life is full of little surprises.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

I have seen literally hundreds of Rube Goldberg machines, aside from being an avid follower of his when I was a kid, but this is the Mother of All Rube Goldberg Machines!