(Really?) Free The Pictures – Review with PSA

Brian S. Hall has a overview of free cloud picture services at ReadWrite. Interestingly, before he gets to the review itself, he notes

Before diving into the features of the various services, it should be noted that taking advantage of any of these free cloud services comes with a potential price. As the saying goes, if an online site isnt selling you a product, then you are the product.

Good to see a public service announcement of sorts about the costs of “free” services becoming a normal part of a review. While well known to folks who keep up on tech issues, this material is still unknown to many people.

Ooops, I Did It Again! I’ll Never Get SEO Right…

I was just reading some advice on how to increase web traffic and make sure your blog gets noticed on search engines. I’ve been feeling guilty that now that I’m no longer Freshly Pressed, my little old blog doesn’t get more traffic.

The first rule seems to be using popular web keywords in the title and throughout the article. If you don’t use popular terms, then the site won’t be “search engine optimized” and no one will find it.

I’m in trouble. Somehow, I don’t think “cat piano,” Athanasius Kircher, Plato, or the year 1904 fit into the “hot keywords” category. Nor that Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure reference.

Do I need to write more columns about Justin Beiber and President Obama? Or do I just consider this a “first world problem” and get back to writing?

Online Education: Just Like Regular Education, Just Online-ier

It’s the last week in August and I’m back in the classroom. (And back to blogging regularly!) School started on Monday, and suffice it to say that we’re all a bit rusty. Add to that the fact that I’ve been away from teaching for a year, and there are a lot of cobwebs to clear.

For teachers everywhere, the start of a new semester is also a time to revise assignments. Most of the time we’re iterating in order to refine and increase the effectiveness of the things that we do to engage students in the process of critical reflection. Sadly, sometimes we’re just figuring out ways to assign things that will be harder to complete by plagiarizing.

And these days, we are all under a lot of pressure, what with the current surge in articles heralding (or reflecting on) the end of the university at the hands of online education. We are currently in the midst of a surge of excitement of the prospects for digitally mediated learning spaces. Some of this makes sense to me from the standpoint of learning. There are so many more people going to college today—both in terms of numbers and diversity of background—than when the predominant model of the university was developed, it seems more than reasonable that some re-visioning and innovating is in order. (Heck, I’ve never taken or taught a class of more than 35 students, so I don’t know how people even do that!)


“Don’t Be a Tool” and Other Friendly Reminders

When I was a kid, I remember people having diaries.  They chronicled their lives writing their innermost thoughts as a way of processing and remembering.  These diaries were hidden away so no one saw them, and sometimes had little locks on them to symbolize the privacy of their contents.  I presume that some people still keep diaries.  I know people who carry journals around and write in them.  But I also know people who chronicle their lives in public via Twitter, blogs, or Facebook. Many people chose to share their more than they used to, and draw the lines between public and private in new ways.


Paying (for) Attention

This past week, three stories about advertising caught my eye.

1) Ad Age ran a story on an Innerscope Research study for Time Warner about media device use during non-working hours. Setting aside all of the questionable aspects of the report and study (using the thoroughly debunked category of “digital natives,” referring to people as consumers, and the reliability of a study with a sample size of 30), the study confirmed what we already know from experience: younger people tend to switch between media devices more than older people: 30 times per hour vs. 17. I can’t stop changing the channel on the one device (tv); kids change channels between devices. The big takeaway was that you have to advertise in creative and emotionally engaging ways if you want to be noticed.

2) Yet it may not be as simple as all that. VatorNews reported on a Nielson survey of “28,000 online consumers in 56 countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America.”


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