Pat Sine http://sites.udel.edu/sine Technology Observations Sat, 21 Sep 2013 14:39:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://sites.udel.edu/?v=3.8.1.1 Transparency in School District Finances http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2013/03/26/transparency-in-school-district-finances/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2013/03/26/transparency-in-school-district-finances/#comments Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:10:41 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=474 On March 27, 2013, I’ll be presenting to the Delaware League of Women Voters on the topic of “transparency.” Because my talk is only slated for 20 minutes, this is a rather abbreviated presentation. I’ve attempted to set out a path for people who want to locate and use data about local district finances. The [...]]]> On March 27, 2013, I’ll be presenting to the Delaware League of Women Voters on the topic of “transparency.”   Because my talk is only slated for 20 minutes, this is a rather abbreviated presentation.   I’ve attempted to set out a path for people who want to locate and use data about local district finances.   The presentation outlines how to find that data and then how to compare a single district to the state and national financial information.

Additional links and resources can be found on my Google site on this topic.
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MOOC Review: Networks: Friends, Money, Bytes http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2013/01/04/mooc-review-networks-friends-money-bytes/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2013/01/04/mooc-review-networks-friends-money-bytes/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 15:07:02 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=469 Course: Networks: Friends, Money, Bytes

This was organized around 20 questions and subtitled 20 questions about Networks. Mung Chiang, the author of the book and instructor for the class, is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University and the Director of Princeton EDGE Lab. The 20 questions included how eBay, Wikipedia, Netflix, Amazon and [...]]]> Course: Networks: Friends, Money, Bytes

This was organized around 20 questions and subtitled 20 questions about Networks. Mung Chiang, the author of the book and instructor for the class, is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University and the Director of Princeton EDGE Lab. The 20 questions included how eBay, Wikipedia, Netflix, Amazon and others worked, so it was very timely.

To fully understand the materials, it was necessary to have a strong math background. The intro provided this guidance: “While linear algebra and multivariable calculus are prerequisites if you want to understand 100% of the course material, you will see that in all lectures anyone can appreciate the first modules of each lecture video, and perhaps 80% of the last couple of modules too.”
As the course wore on, the reliance on math got stronger…as one would expect. However, the lectures were extremely interesting with lots of examples so despite missing the math, the concepts were accessible. In addition, guest lectures on many of the topics added more detail about real world situations.

The complete course included homework and exams, plus several “Grand Challenges.” About 40% of the questions could be answered without using the full range of math skills, but the Grand Challenges needed the strong math background.

The lectures started out with some obvious discomfort on the part of the lecturer and some technical glitches. The lectures included some art, photos and maps but most of the content was straight lecturing from Adelman. As the semester moved on, everything ran more smoothly. More important, the lectures drew together many themes that were developed across the whole semester. The last few lectures did a great job of drawing all of the ideas together.

This was my favorite of the courses for this semester. The material was engaging throughout. I didn’t buy the book but the instructor made a shortened version, all but the math, available for free on the site.

In the closing lecture, Mung outlines how all of the segments relate both in terms of the networking and the math used. He also advertised that a simpler, no-math version would be made for the summer of 2013.

Summary: Great course that touches on many of the networking questions of today. The math is hard but the lectures do a great job of explaining the intricacies.

Recommendation: Be brave and listen through the math! It’s worth it.

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MOOC Review: A History of the World Since 1300 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2013/01/01/mooc-review-a-history-of-the-world-since-1300/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2013/01/01/mooc-review-a-history-of-the-world-since-1300/#comments Tue, 01 Jan 2013 14:06:06 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=466 Course: A History of the World Since 1300

This course was offered by Princeton University with Dr. Jeremy Adelman as the instructor and hosted by Coursera. The course ran from September through December, as an adjunct of the regular Princeton semester.

The lectures started out with some obvious discomfort on the part of the lecturer [...]]]> Course: A History of the World Since 1300

This course was offered by Princeton University with Dr. Jeremy Adelman as the instructor and hosted by Coursera. The course ran from September through December, as an adjunct of the regular Princeton semester.

The lectures started out with some obvious discomfort on the part of the lecturer and some technical glitches.   The lectures included some art, photos and maps but most of the content was straight lecturing from Adelman.  As the semester moved on, everything ran more smoothly.   More important, the lectures drew together many themes that were developed across the whole semester.  The last few lectures did a great job of drawing all of the ideas together.

Besides the straightforward lectures, Adelman hosted a series of “Global Dialogues” featuring scholars in each of the geographic areas and historic eras.  These conversations were built around questions from Adelman, the Princeton students and submissions from the Coursera students.  These too progressed from rather structured at the beginning of the course to a more comfortable, easy give and take in the final sessions.   The last two dialogues included undergraduate and grad students from Princeton and Coursera.

The work for the course consisted of a series of essays that were peer-reviewed.  I did not participate in any of these.  In addition, the forums were very active.  The views from participants from all over the world and of all different ages really enriches the discussion and the topics such as World War II, the Middle East, and Viet Nam drew some heated discussion.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable course!

Summary: Very interesting material. The lectures were engaging;  the forums and assignments provided a lot of opportunity to really try out ideas about the scope of history.

Recommendation: Very worthwhile for a survey of world history with a world view.

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Privacy, FourSquare, and Teens http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/12/30/privacy-foursquare-and-teens/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/12/30/privacy-foursquare-and-teens/#comments Sun, 30 Dec 2012 14:23:45 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=456 Some days two things come up that give you pause. Today was one of those.

Yesterday I finished reading “Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace, the story of the teenaged hacker ‘gangs’ of the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. There are the usual questions of whether these kids were just curious, smart kids [...]]]> Some days two things come up that give you pause. Today was one of those.

Masters of Deception book coverYesterday I finished reading “Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace, the story of the teenaged hacker ‘gangs’ of the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. There are the usual questions of whether these kids were just curious, smart kids who were under-served by the schools or there really was criminal behavior. The book gives enough of glimpse into each of the actors to see the various blends in each one, as well as how the intent changes as the boys grow up.

Today, the twitter-sphere is bubbling over with news of changes in FourSquare’s privacy policy. Apparently, FourSquare will now be sharing full names and giving venue owners more up-to-the-minute data on check-ins starting January 28, 2013. This comes only a few weeks after Instagram was forced to back down on some of its new privacy policies.

My interest is generally around the work I’ve done with schools and teen-agers so these stories intersect. The story of teen-agers is really about how their judgement grows over time. This collision of massive amounts of data with limited judgement provides for some interesting times!

Will our new definition of privacy be more like a small-town where everyone knows what you had for dinner but social mores dictate the way that information is used or more like the anonymity of a big city where so much is visible that no one really sees it.

At any rate, seeing our teenage selves in public will surely shape society for decades to come. This was recently discussed in the NY Times blog “Motherlode” in the article “Thanks, Mom, for Not Telling the World I Pulled a Knife on You.”

Makes you think!

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MOOC Review: Internet History, Technology, and Security http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/11/27/review-internet-history-technology-and-security/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/11/27/review-internet-history-technology-and-security/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 14:49:46 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=452 Course: Internet History, Technology, and Security

This course was from the University of Michigan with Dr. Chuck Severance as the instructor and hosted by Coursera. It ran from July 23, 2012 to September 25, 2012. I didn’t join until early September so was ineligible for the points on most of the quizzes.

This course was [...]]]> Course: Internet History, Technology, and Security

This course was from the University of Michigan with Dr. Chuck Severance as the instructor and hosted by Coursera. It ran from July 23, 2012 to September 25, 2012. I didn’t join until early September so was ineligible for the points on most of the quizzes.

This course was really interesting but more like a PBS show. It consisted mainly of a series of interviews that Chuck Severance had done over the years, which he then strung together to make it into a history. While that is all true, it doesn’t convey Dr. Severance’ contribution to the whole. Clearly, his perspective was essential and his being present at the conversation at the actual points in history made his current insights more valuable.

The work consisted of multiple choice quizzes and 1 short essays which was peer-evaluated. Successful completion would earn you a certificate from the instructor. If you wanted one, you could also send the certificate in with return postage and Dr. Severance would sign it.

Summary: Very interesting material. Well-presented. Little rigor that might be expected of a college course.

Recommendation: Take it instead of watching TV for awhile.

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MOOCs http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/11/02/moocs/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/11/02/moocs/#comments Fri, 02 Nov 2012 12:40:00 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=442 Last spring, as each day brought announcements of new MOOCS, I decided that this was something I needed to know more about. After all, I had taught college classes for more than 20 years both face-to-face and and on several distance platforms. My unit, IT-Client Support and Services, also provided the campus support for our [...]]]> Last spring, as each day brought announcements of new MOOCS, I decided that this was something I needed to know more about. After all, I had taught college classes for more than 20 years both face-to-face and and on several distance platforms. My unit, IT-Client Support and Services, also provided the campus support for our LMS and other online instruction support. Obviously, this new area was something I needed to know about.

I signed up for “Introduction to Databases” from Stanford. At the time, they were using the platform that later became Coursera. I had a basic understanding of and experience with databases, but I knew my knowledge ended somewhere in the middle of a first semester course. This was the perfect opportunity to learn a subject that had eluded me through many web tutorials and and “Dummies” books.

Turns out, I really picked a winner for my first MOOC. The course was well-paced, provided ample support through a lively discussion forum, and was expertly taught by Dr. Jennifer Windom. And I worked my way through all of it and achieved my certificate! Remember, this was something I had failed at numerous times through my many self-learning attempts.

Several months later, I gave this presentation to the upper academic administrators to inform them about MOOCs. Definitely a room full of skeptics!!

Now that I’ve retired I’m engaged in several more MOOCs to get a feel for the whole world of MOOCs and to keep learning. I’ll report back on these later.

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Evernote as a replacement for Diigo? http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/10/07/evernote-as-a-replacement-for-diigo/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2012/10/07/evernote-as-a-replacement-for-diigo/#comments Sun, 07 Oct 2012 12:33:42 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=430 Here’s something I hadn’t thought about before. You can use Evernote to share thoughts and content on the web.

I came across this tweet from Miguel Guhlin @mguhlin today: 9 Surprising Ways Schools Are Using iPads Around The World dlvr.it/2H6rD6

This led me to his Evernote open notebook that included both his [...]]]> Here’s something I hadn’t thought about before. You can use Evernote to share thoughts and content on the web.

I came across this tweet from Miguel Guhlin @mguhlin today: 9 Surprising Ways Schools Are Using iPads Around The World dlvr.it/2H6rD6

This led me to his Evernote open notebook that included both his thoughts and an infographic that he had pasted in.

It makes and interesting alternative to my old favorite Diigo.

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Surviving and Thriving Online – 2011 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2011/10/24/surviving-and-thriving-online-2011/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2011/10/24/surviving-and-thriving-online-2011/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 17:46:42 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=420 Today I had the pleasure of addressing the class of 2015 at St. John’s College High School. The main message was around using the Internet to put your best foot forward, even while other data is growing around you. There are so many ways for students to use the Internet to start building a strong [...]]]> Today I had the pleasure of addressing the class of 2015 at St. John’s College High School.  The main message was around using the Internet to put your best foot forward, even while other data is growing around you.  There are so many ways for students to use the Internet to start building a strong online persona.

The presentation is hosted at slideshare.net and the links used are on my Diigo list.  Feel free to use the presentation which is Creative Commons licensed.

Creative Commons License
Surviving & Thriving Online 2011 by Pat Sine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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The Perfect iPad Notes App? http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2011/04/10/the-perfect-ipad-notes-app/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2011/04/10/the-perfect-ipad-notes-app/#comments Sun, 10 Apr 2011 14:59:50 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=410 One thing that everyone I meet that has an iPad wants to do is to sit in a meeting and take notes, almost the way they did it before. Me too! So I’ve been on a quest for the “perfect” notetaking app. I haven’t found one yet, but I’m getting closer to my desired app.

[...]]]>
One thing that everyone I meet that has an iPad wants to do is to sit in a meeting and take notes, almost the way they did it before. Me too! So I’ve been on a quest for the “perfect” notetaking app. I haven’t found one yet, but I’m getting closer to my desired app.

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • able to input text by typing or handwriting
  • handwriting recognized
  • able to draw figures, arrows, etc. on the page
  • allow me to organize the files in folders
  • sync to a file repository in the cloud – either Dropbox, Evernote or Google Apps
  • able to freely write on the page and have the app know “hey, this is real text turn it from handwriting to text.”

I’ve narrowed my search down to a few but none is yet perfect.

  • NoteTaker HD
  • WritePad
  • PhatPad
  • Livescribe

NoteTaker HD NoteTaker HD

This does a great job of allowing me to take notes on the fly mixing handwriting and graphic annotations. This was the clear winner on speed.

able to input text by typing or handwriting Yes
handwriting recognized No
able to draw figures, arrows, etc. on the page Yes, plus some predefined shapes
allow me to organize the files in folders No
sync to a file repository in the cloud – either Dropbox, Evernote or Google Apps Can upload, but pretty clunky
able to freely write on the page and have the app know “hey, this is real text turn it from handwriting to text.” No

NoteTaker HD WritePad

Price: $9.99 on iTunes

This is best when I want to do handwriting to text. There is a bit of a distraction when watching the handwriting translate, but I suspect that will decrease over time. I’ve also noted the software seems to be getting trained to recognize my handwriting better….or maybe it’s training me.

able to input text by typing or handwriting Yes
handwriting recognized Yes
able to draw figures, arrows, etc. on the page No
allow me to organize the files in folders Yes
sync to a file repository in the cloud – either Dropbox, Evernote or Google Apps Great sync with DropBox – two way!
able to freely write on the page and have the app know “hey, this is real text turn it from handwriting to text.” No

NoteTaker HD PhatPad

Price: $7.99 on iTunes

I haven’t tried this as much, but it’s from the same folks as WritePad and does allow mixing of handwriting and text. This is the one I’ve currently pinned my hopes on. The question will be whether I can easily switch among modes.

able to input text by typing or handwriting Yes
handwriting recognized Yes
able to draw figures, arrows, etc. on the page Yes
allow me to organize the files in folders Yes
sync to a file repository in the cloud – either Dropbox, Evernote or Google Apps Great sync with DropBox – two way!
able to freely write on the page and have the app know “hey, this is real text turn it from handwriting to text.” Kind of. I can write a whole page and then select the text and have it turned into text. If you mix in graphics, they will get erased, though.

NoteTaker HD Livescribe Pen

Price: $99 and up in various configurations

This is not an iPad app but an actual pen and paper. The pen will capture your written notes as well as audio. You can play back any part of the audio by tapping on the associated notes you were taking on the paper or in the uploaded version on your computer.

able to input text by typing or handwriting No…it’s paper
handwriting recognized Kind of with the additional app, but in my experience it’s just not worth it.
able to draw figures, arrows, etc. on the page Yes
allow me to organize the files in folders No, they are organized by page in the notebooks.
sync to a file repository in the cloud – either Dropbox, Evernote or Google Apps Stays in the pen until you dock it for recharging. Gives you access in your online Livescribe account as well if you upload and allows you to sync with Evernote.
able to freely write on the page and have the app know “hey, this is real text turn it from handwriting to text.” Kind of. I can write a whole page and then select the text and have it turned into text. If you mix in graphics, they will get erased, though.
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How Google Works http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2010/07/09/how-google-works/ http://sites.udel.edu/sine/2010/07/09/how-google-works/#comments Fri, 09 Jul 2010 15:48:46 +0000 http://sites.udel.edu/sine/?p=386 Just came across this great graphic that explains how Google delivers the search results.

While Google keeps everything secret, some of the secrets are obvious on closer inspection. The info is much as it always has been but the graphic here makes a lot of the info about PageRank and relevance somewhat clearer.

[...]]]>
Just came across this great graphic that explains how Google delivers the search results

While Google keeps everything secret, some of the secrets are obvious on closer inspection.  The info is much as it always has been but the graphic here makes a lot of the info about PageRank and relevance somewhat clearer.

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