Archive for January, 2010

Our local Waldenbooks is closing, is closed, it’s going away, gone.  We are in a changing world where media has become available at the click of a mouse.  I can’t say I don’t understand why the store has closed.  Trends seem to make this inevitable especially in small town America.  So, what to do?

We still have a library if you want a good book, and the library card is cheap!  My kids love to go to the public library.  They also loved to go to Waldenbooks, but those days are over.  Our family has a Barnes & Noble account online, and we order books from Amazon, etc., but there is something about the tactile process of perusing a new book.  It gives you time to get the idea of what it is about, it stimulates your imagination as you look at the cover art, and now we will have to drive several miles to get that opportunity.  Sure there is a used bookstore in town; yes, there are new books at Walmart, but well, you know.

I grew up in a place where there was no bookstore.  The library was “the bookstore” and it was a 15 mile drive one way, but my Mom took us there, often.  I spent time in schools that had huge libraries compared to the middle school and elementary libraries my children attend today.  My home has more books, on shelves, available to my two youngest kids than they have at their elementary school.  So, what’s my point?

Waldenbooks has closed, and I think maybe the library might too!  Oh it won’t happen all at once, but the Kindle and other handheld devices are bringing a slow death to the printed word.  Is this bad?  If the power goes out, yes!  That will never happen:  Haiti.  Not every child has access to a Kindle nor can go to a Waldenbooks or Barnes & Noble, but for now they can go to the library.  As we know there are more than books, there are computers hooked to the internet, and there are people.  The greatest resource are the people.  Hopefully, if a kid lives 15 miles away they have a mom, dad, grandparent, someone who will take them there, to the library.  Hopefully.

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In an excerpt from his new book, The Quants, Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Patterson shows how a brilliant new breed of mathematicians and computer scientists nearly destroyed Wall Street.

Also, read the Wall Street Journal Article:  “The Minds Behind the Meltdown

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Using technology, students monitor their own musical and athletic activities and analyze the data and feedback to improve their performance.”

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more about “An Introduction to Technology Integra…“, posted with vodpod

What is WiMAX?  Well, the following video from CES somewhat tells you:

The last mile is a challenge when it comes to providing connectivity to students beyond school and in rural areas.  WiMAX is a solution.

It really is so much more, and I will be sharing more about WiMAX as I gain experience with it!  Stay tuned!

How WiMAX works?

Intel’s WiMax info

Diigo Elementary Level Links

Diigo Secondary Level Links

What is Diigo?

The final day of 2009 brought me to a point I had been contemplating for several weeks:  What social networking sites should I no longer use?  I considered using suicidemachine.org to delete my accounts, but it would have had me join another social network to share why I “commited internet suicide.”  No thanks!  I began with MySpace, long ago unused and a dinosaur in the short history of social networking.  FriendFeed, MyLife (formerly Reunion I believe), and Classmates were next.  I joined the “class reunion” sites long ago before things like MySpace and Facebook took over that niche.  There were others, but I now thought of doing away with Facebook and Twitter; however, Twitter stayed as it has become a great professional tool, and I like the useful information I get from those that I follow (Thanks to you all!).

Facebook was staring me in the eyes like a wounded animal (Believe me, I know the look!), and I thought of all the Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. posts I would be missing and that brought me to my senses:  I discontinued my account with Facebook!  I was free!!!  I had time on my hands, and I got things done in record time.  All I really had to check now was Twitter, and that could rack up responses in between real life as I hardly have anyone I follow anyway!  I played Apples to Apples with my kids, went to occupational therapy, read a book, researched and ordered a new piece of art, watched several great bowl games, and even shared a lengthy conversation with my wife!  What a refreshing chain of events.

Now, I know I could find ways to optimize my use of social networking sites; however, most people don’t really care what I say anyway, and I’ve tired of “listening” to those that “talk” all the time.  I have so many other things to do I honestly don’t have time to spend on much of this network that supposedly draws us together and breaks down walls.  I think it has become mostly a series of people on soap boxes, with everyone shouting at the same time, and no one is really listening, or cares to listen (Twitter is a perfect example of that, and I will have to filter my list better!).  Many talk of the “conversation,” but generally those that do are carrying it on with themselves or with a select few.  It’s tough to get in on these “conversations” that supposedly are taking place in the digital world.  I’d swear it’s like high school all over again!  You have to be in the right clique to get noticed, I left that behind 25 years ago, and I’ve got no desire to go back!  I’m 44 years old for heck’s sake!

With social networking tools I was in contact with former classmates from high school and college, sure I had family contacts, and even several of my former students in my friends list, but they have always been in/on my list, and they can find me if they really want too.  I have developed a web presence since the late ’90s, and I am out there for the finding.  I’ll still be using YouTube, Flickr, Ustream, and will continue this blog (almost at the 3 year anniversary!), and I plan to make myself available at my office during the work week and will welcome the opportunity to stop by and visit, in person, if anyone wants me too!  My home is yours, and I may be stopping by your house with cookies, my fishing pole, or even my mountain bike once I get up the nerve to ride again since breaking my arm.  I need human to human, face to face, smile to smile contact at this point in my life, and I am bound and determined to facilitate it!

The photo in this post is of my three boys and I on a fishing excursion over 3 years ago!  It seems like yesterday that we were together on that trip.  Time flies, and social networking can take us away from these people!  My Grandpa Hokanson and I used to fish almost everyday.  I’m talking EVERYDAY!  We fished in the middle of a western Wyoming winter catching whitefish by the hundreds, we fished in the summer with homemade rootbeer in our glass bottles catching cutthroat trout, we fished in the fall and listened to bull elk bugle in the mountains and hills right near the Salt River, or the Snake, or the Greys.  We also talked to each other, a lot:  a whole lot!  So much so that when he passed away  when I was 16 I didn’t have anyone else to really talk to because he was my guy, the one I trusted and confided in on a near daily basis.  I began to build a new, bigger network that included Farmville and Mafia Wars types but also encompassed an interesting bag of mixed nuts, if you will, over the years.  Most of those relationships were developed while in the same room or location.  This includes many of the people that were in my digital, social network.  The problem is, in that social network I still missed them.  You see, they weren’t really there, or at least they were only there in a limited number of characters.  Grandpa and I never limited our characters, and that was a really good thing.

Happy New Year everyone.  Stop by the place if you get a chance, or I’ll come over.  🙂