Saturday, September 11, 2010

CALL for Korea is going to fade away

I'm going to leave this blog up, but I'm going to copy all of the content and move it to for now.  The Posterous site is where I have all of my stuff going now, from tech to general education to family life. I'm treating my blogs like I treat Twitter now. No more compartmentalization of my interests (at least not as much). I'm going to through a good deal of personal and professional posts there.

Of course, I'll always have, so I'll try to keep links to my current projects on there, too (though I'm a little lazy when it comes to maintaining that sight too.

Blogger blogs just don't work for me any more and I have too many to keep track of. Technology rolls on and so shall I :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Locking down your Facebook account

Online social networks were not really created to protect information.  They were built to share as much as possible.  This has become problematic for many people who find their information oozing out of their accounts in ways that they didn't anticipate.  Most often this is a human to human problem, in other words, gossip.  This is never going to be solved by technological means.  However, the inadvertent loss of control of ones data can be managed to an extent with privacy tools provided.

First, I'll give you advice that my father gave me long ago..."Never put it in writing" :-)  Maybe a strange thing to say to your young son, but it's served me well over the years.  Never record, in any way, things that you wouldn't be ok with the world seeing.  However, I do understand that there are things that you would rather not broadcast to the world if you can help it, so modifying privacy settings in your online social network is a good way to address that.

Below is a quick and dirty text tutorial on locking down your Facebook account. If you do all of the following, your account and information will be as private as possible.....however, your Facebook experience will be quite limited too.  That's your choice.

Regardless, good to see you're here.

If it's a problem of too much information available to the world, you can set your settings to essentially share nothing.  However, you would still be able to send/receive messages (internal email) and comment.  Of course, there is nothing stopping your "friends" from tagging you in pictures, notes, and such, but if that's the problem, unfriend them (which, it seems, is what you did before).

Here's how to go about locking down your account.

  1. Click on "Settings" in the upper, right of the page.
  2. Find "Privacy" and click on the "manage" link to the right of it.
  3. First, you can block someone from even being able to see you in searches. You can do this by Facebook account or by email.  If you're having problems with particular people, use this.
  4. Click on the "Profile" link on the privacy page (the blue link, not the white one across the top). Next to each of the categories, there is a drop-down list. From this list, select "Custom".  Each of the categories will give you slightly different options here.  Select the most restrictive ones.  "Only Friends" is an obvious choice, but some allow you to specify "Only Select Friends" or even "Only me".  Additionally, you will have to select which Networks have access, choose "None of my Networks". The networks setting is the biggest privacy hole in Facebook.  People often don't realize that their entire network (say, Joliet) has access to their info.  Lastly, you can set exceptions for some categories.  So, you can specifically add peope who you want to, for example, see photos that are tagged with your name.  This is good for specific family and friends who you want to see these things.  When you are finished, click "Save Changes"
  5. Click on the "Contact Information" tab and make the same choices as in #4.  I'd suggest being a little freer with your email address and a little more restrictive with phone, address, and so forth.  When you're done, click "Save Changes"
  6. Click on "Privacy" again to get back to the main privacy settings page.  Then click on "Search".  you can restrict who can see you in a search.  In most cases, you probably want to keep this as open as possible, but you may have reasons to restrict it.  Below that, however, is a section that describes what people can see when they search for you.  I usually suggest leaving these checked: picture and a link to add me as a friend, at a minimum (otherwise people won't be able to find you.  Lastly, there is an option to have public search.  This means that your Facebook account will show up in a search like Google.  Good if you want people to find you, bad if you don't :)  When you are finished, click "Save Changes".
  7. Click on the "Privacy" link again to get back to the privacy setting page.  Click on the "News Feed and Wall" link.  Uncheck all of these for maximum privacy.  This stops, to an extent, your activities from being posting on yours or your friends' news feeds.  When you are finished, click "Save Changes"
  8. Click on the "Privacy" link to get back to the main privacy settings page.  Click on the "Applications" link. You can read the info on this page to get a better idea of what this is for, but to change settings, click on the "Settings" tab.  The first set of settings essentially tells you that you are sharing your name, networks, and list of friends with applications that you are using in Facebook.  The only way to turn this off is to delete those applications (I'll tell you about this later).  Do make sure that you aren't sharing anything extra.  Uncheck any checkbox that is checked.

    The next setting that you can change is Facebook Connect.  This is the program that lets you log into other websites with your Facebook login.  It also tracks you to a great degree.  Make sure to uncheck that box.  It doesn't turn this off, but it does make sure that "friends" don't know what sites you use it on.

    Finally, the next setting is about Beacon.  This is Facebook's social advertising platform.  Definately check this box.  You do not want your network notified when you buy your wife's Christmas present or other, more sensitive things :)

    When you are done, click "Save Changes"
  9. We're done with the privacy settings, but there's one more place to go to really lock down your account.  We need to manage applications.  Go to the settings link on the upper, right of the page.  You will see a drop-down list of options, click on "Application Settings".  On this page, you will see another drop-down list of items that dictate what "Show" in this list.  Choose "Authorized" to see the best list of applications.  The easiest way to control these is to delete all applications that can be deleted.  These have X's on the right side of the listed application.  By deleting the applications, then can do nothing on your behalf in Facebook.  Of course, you can no longer use them either.

    With the remaining applications, you can adjust some (not many) options by clicking on "Edit Settings".  I'd suggest limiting who can see it as much as you see fit.  At least, "Only Friends" but even "Only Me" might be a good idea. 

That's all.  Your account is locked down as much as possible now.  You can always go back and open settings up a little as you become more comfortable or see more of a need to do so.

Please, add your advice below.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Google Wave - Easy List of Bots and Gadgets

The real power of Google Wave is not in the basic collaboration that it provides, but rather the bots and gadgets that live on the platform.  I don't know why, but I couldn't find a nice, easy list that would enable to to quickly add these to my Waves.  So, I went through all that I could find and listed them here.

Please feel free to add more to the comments and I'll add them to the list.
  1. The list of Bots are ones that you have to add to the Wave in order to work.

  2. The list of Gadgets are two forms. Most are ones that have to be installed. They end in manifest.xml. These have to be installed through the down arrow next to the "New Wave" button. The others (gadget URL) can be added using the green puzzle piece that appears in the toolbar when editing a blip.

  • The Wikify bot ( adds links to and definitions from Wikipedia to your waves for a given topic. When you add Wikify to a wave, it provides instructions on how to add a link to Wikipedia for a topic, or a definition of that topic.
  • The CleanTXT bot ( is an automated janitor for a wave, especially helpful on active waves with lots of participants, like public waves. When CleanTXT is participating in a Wave, it automatically deletes empty blips, reduces repetitive blank lines in a blip, automatically corrects common typos (such as a mistyped "teh" for "the"), and inserts missing spaces after commas and semi-colons.
  • Polly the Pollster ( lets you create multiple choice polls with custom questions and answers
  • The TwitUsernames bot ( inspects the content of any wave it's participating in, and converts any word that starts with an @ sign to a user link to Twitter.
  • The XMPP Lite bot ( sends you notifications of a wave's changes via XMPP (an instant messenger protocol).
  • Madoqua Wave Bot ( When added to a wave, this bot provides customizable JavaScript code you can copy and paste into any web page to embed a wave.
  • The Emoticony bot ( converts textual smiley faces into smiley face images.
  • To embed an image that's already online, add the Inbeddable bot ( to your wave, and simply add the URL of the image to it. When you click Done (or press Shift+Enter), Inbeddable will turn the link image into the image itself
  • The Easy Public bot makes waves public without's disappearing act. Add it to any wave to give everyone on the Wave server access to your wave. What Easy Public does is add the contact to your wave for you.
  • Eliza the Robot Shrink ( is a programmed therapist who chats with you in Wave.
  • The Swedish Chef bot ( inserts "Bork bork bork!" into your waves.
  • Flippy ( flips the text of your waves upside down—great for some April Fool's Day fun.
  • Grauniady ( searches the latest items from The Guardian for a given phrase.
  • Cartoony (, Java source code) - Should replace the text of every submitted blip with a cartoon balloon that contains the text instead.
  • Yasr (, Python source code) - It replaces emoticons in the wave with smiley images.
  • Complety (, Python source code) - Replaces “???” in a blip with a suggested word.
  • Bloggy ( ) adds wave to blog.
  • Stocky ( automatically detects stock symbols from a wave and updates it with the live stock price.
  • mywaveid ( ) adds wave id to the wave. not sure what a wave id is.
  • Craig's List Search ( ). Search Craig's list.
  • Messy the Wave Robot ( ) integrates with the Ericsson Labs API "SMS Send & Receive" and makes it possible to have a 2-way communication via SMS in a Wave. After entering a special syntax in a Wave, a participant can trigger an SMS delivery to another user, e.g. to someone not currently online. The user that receives the SMS can reply to it and the reply gets posted to the conversation in the Wave.
  • Norton SafeWave ( This robot will validate any links typed into a wave conversation. The links are validated against the Norton SafeWeb API ( This will keep waves safe from phishing links, malware sites and infected sites.
  • Translabot ( ) Translation bot.
  • Dr. Musical Wave ( Dr. Music will tell you: 1. What a user is listening to you (includes you) 2. Music compatibility between people 3. Similar artists to an artist you like All of this with pictures to make it colorful. Once you add Dr. Music he'll tell you how you can get him to do things for you.
  • Ego Robot ( A simple, but entertaining robot designed to stroke your ego. It will reply to all your blips with 'praise phrases' like "You're Very Talented".
  • Row of Four ( Connect Four bot
  • Drubot ( Post Wave to Drupal.
  • Notify ( Google Wave Email Notifications it's a wave robot that sends an email to the participants of a wave whenever the wave is updated.
  • Tagdef ( This wave looks for #hashtags in your wave/blips, and uses the API at to look up definitions for these tags. It then adds a reply to the wave with the definitions.
  • Tuxaios ( is a dice rolling robot for Google Wave written in Python.
  • Skimmy ( change text to emoticon.
  • WordPress Bot ( add wave to WordPress.
  • Starify ( allows you to star waves and load the list of starred waves later. Visit for more information.
  • Rssybot ( lets your watch RSS feeds from Google Wave. Just add it to a wave, enter the link to the RSS feed you want to subscribe to and wait for new posts to appear in your inbox as unread blips. For more information, visit:
  • Treeify ( Multi-wave robots are agents that in some way operate on more than one wave. Treeify is a multi-wave robot which lets you connect waves into tree structures. With it you can build and navigate trees of waves.
  • Wave Live Messenger ( allows you to log in to your Windows Live Messenger account from within Google Wave and have conversations with your messenger contacts right from within a wave. Even if you leave the wave and start reading a different wave, Wave Live Messenger will keep your conversation up to date so you can return to it at any time and continue chatting. For more details, visit:
  • Google Calendar Robot ( Robot recognizes date pattern in form YYYY-MM-DD ('.' or '/' can be used for separator also) and updates it to link to add an event to user's Google Calendar.
  • Wave Alpha ( Wolfram-Alpha query.
  • Buddy as Service ( Buddy as a Service is a wave robot, using Yahoo YQL API, Google API and other services to do searches and some other stuff (translations, weather forecast, etc) for you.
  • Regexey ( This is a simple find-and-replace robot. After you add it, it will display an introduction message. Then any blip you create should be of the format: seach string replace string text to process It will search for the "search string" in the "text to process" and replace it with the "replace string." Then it will append the results in a reply blip.
  • Graphy ( extends Google Wave with the ability to collaborate on flow charts and graphs. Graphy searches for a marker (#!dot) at the top of a blip, and when found, adds a gadget to the bottom of the blip which presents an image of the graph. Graph edges are expressed with simple statements like a -> b
  • Reddit ( This robot is able to post the top articles from and any sub-reddits. Simply reply to a wave for which it has been invited with the word "reddit" followed by a colon ":" and then the name of the subreddit (or "homepage"). You can specify the number of articles to return by appending an additional colon ":" followed by the number of articles. Examples: reddit:wave, reddit:pics:15, reddit:technology
  • Posterous ( Post wave to Posterous.
  • Blogbot ( Organizes related waves (blog posts, FAQ, etc) in a central Table of Contents wave.
  • Magic 8 Ball ( Sees and Knows All. Just add this Robot to your wave and ask the magic 8-ball any question and receive your answer.
  • Piratify Robot ( Turns whatever you type into "Pirate Speak" .. Arrrr.
  • Google Wave Drupal Integration ( A Drupal module and corresponding robot that enabled the embedding of Google Waves embedding, robot.
  • BotURL ( Replaces FULL URLs with hyperlinks whose title are the domain names. Replaces TinyURLs/ URLs with original URL domain names and links them to the original URLs.
  • Censorship Robot ( Google wave robot, that filters specific words from dictionary and then replaces with random chars. The dictionary can be updated from any blip with two commands: censor:someword - add someword to dictionary uncensor:someword - remove someword from dictionary
  • Converts-y ( Convert units from one type to another. 1.23km (?miles) -> 1.23km (0.76 miles).
  • Embeddy ( Embeds Wave into Web.
  • Embedded Search Results ( This simple robot allows you to quickly and easily perform a search and have the results embedded in your Wave. Currently supports Google & Flickr Searches. Support for more search providers will be coming soon. For full information visit
  • Anti-swear Bot ( A simple bot in Python that stops people being rude on a wave it is added to. Note: The rude words have been blocked out in the screenshot to avoid offending anyone.
  • Complety ( Uses the Google Search API to replace "???" in a blip (after it's submitted) with a suggested word. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Social Isolation and New Technology: How the internet and mobile phones impact Americans’ social networks

Social Isolation and New Technology: How the internet and mobile phones impact Americans’ social networks

Below are points offered in the executive summary. It's good to get this information and add it to the pile.

This Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey is the first ever that examines the role of the internet and cell phones in the way that people interact with those in their core social network. Our key findings challenge previous research and commonplace fears about the harmful social impact of new technology:
  • Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. We find that the extent of social isolation has hardly changed since 1985, contrary to concerns that the prevalence of severe isolation has tripled since then. Only 6% of the adult population has no one with whom they can discuss important matters or who they consider to be “especially significant” in their life.
  • We confirm that Americans’ discussion networks have shrunk by about a third since 1985 and have become less diverse because they contain fewer non‐family members. However, contrary to the considerable concern that people’s use of the internet and cell phones could be tied to the trend towards smaller networks, we find that ownership of a mobile phone and participation in a variety of internet activities are associated with larger and more diverse core discussion networks. (Discussion networks are a key measure of people’s most important social ties.)
  • Social media activities are associated with several beneficial social activities, including having discussion networks that are more likely to contain people from different backgrounds. For instance, frequent internet users, and those who maintain a blog are much more likely to confide in someone who is of another race. Those who share photos online are more likely to report that they discuss important matters with someone who is a member of another political party.
  • When we examine people’s full personal network – their strong ties and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with having a more diverse social network. Again, this flies against the notion that technology pulls people away from social engagement.
  • Some have worried that internet use limits people’s participation in their local communities, but we find that most internet activities have little or a positive relationship to local activity. For instance, internet users are as likely as anyone else to visit with their neighbors in person. Cell phone users, those who use the internet frequently at work, and bloggers are more likely to belong to a local voluntary association, such as a youth group or a charitable organization. However, we find someevidence that use of social networking services (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn) substitutes for some neighborhood involvement.
  • Internet use does not pull people away from public places. Rather, it is associated with engagement in places such as parks, cafes, and restaurants, the kinds of locales where research shows that people are likely to encounter a wider array of people and diverse points of view. Indeed, internet access has become a common component of people’s experiences within many public spaces. For instance, of those Americans who have been in a library within the past month, 38% logged on to the internet while they were there, 18% have done so in a cafĂ© or coffee shop.
  • People’s mobile phone use outpaces their use of landline phones as a primary method of staying in touch with their closest family and friends, but face‐to‐face contact still trumps all other methods. On average in a typical year, people have in‐person contact with their core network ties on about 210 days; they have mobile‐phone contact on 195 days of the year; landline phone contact on 125 days; text‐messaging contact on the mobile phone 125 days; email contact 72 days; instant messaging contact 55 days; contact via social networking websites 39 days; and contact via letters or cards on 8 days.
  • Challenging the assumption that internet use encourages social contact across vast distances, we find that many internet technologies are used as much for local contact as they are for distant communication.

Halloween-themed Web-based Resources for teaching/learning English

I gave a presentation on Halloween. Therefore, the Halloween theme for this presentation.

Here is the handout. This is much better for accessing all the links

Here is the presentation (do full screen)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

BubblePLY & Screenr

BubblePLY is a very cool annotation tool for online videos.  It accepts more than just YouTube, but it makes no guarantees about those it will accept.  I suppose you'll just have to try it out and see.

BubblePLY enables you to put text annotations, subtitles, and even images and video on top of the video.  This is a great tool for teachers.  Imagine the benefits of being able to annotate instructional videos.

Here is a sample (though, not good one) from my personal video collection:

[edit - The embed doesn't seem to work, which is unfortunate. I hope that they fix this. Here is the link to the video.]

Here is a screencast of the process done with Screenr.  You'll notice the audio isn't very good.  I think that's my microphone (and/or audio card).  Both BubblePLY and Screenr is a great job, though.


TubeChop is a great YouTube editing tool.  No need to register or log in.

As a teacher, I often just want to show a piece, or a series of pieces of a video to a class.  TubeChop makes this easy.  Just grab the URL for the YouTube video you want to edit (or do a keyword search from the YouChop site) and paste it into the text box on the YouChop homepage.  YouChop with then load it into the editor and you can choose a range of time (the portion of the video you want to watch) using a slider for start and finish.  Then "Chop It".

The site will them give you a link and embed code that you can use to disseminate the finished product.  Very easy and very convenient.

Give it a try.  Here is the resulting 10 second piece that I cut from a 5 minute video