Reading, Writing, and Watching User Manuals

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whetting-my--app-etite----too-many-apps

Maybe it is my aging. Maybe it is a lack of motivation. Maybe it is a lack of focus on my part. Gone are the times when I used to master a new piece of software or a new computer in a few hours—exploring every drop down menu. Gone is my ability (or the time needed) to write a succinct user’s guide for the new machine and feel comfortable being a resident expert of its capabilities. Ah, my TRS 80 Level I machine—sometimes I miss you!

Fortunately now there are increasingly available excellent screencasts which clearly explain features of software. I find of special value MacMost Videos, Screencastsonline.com, and the superb presentations by David Sparks. When I am producing my own screencast I find most useful Screenflow though I am becoming impressed with Clarify‘s didactic potential.

Just downloaded the new OSX Yosemite Operating System onto one of my Mac’s. I find that it is worth the investment to purchase online tutorials that hand-hold one through the different features. I’ll have my undergraduate research assistants go through them before we install it on one of my office machines. In the interim I need to cycle through all my apps and see which ones work with the new OS, which don’t but are essential for my needs, and which ones I no longer need or have totally forgotten



Treating Appluenza

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Too many apps. I am on a decluttering mission. I am especially interested in keeping (cross-platform and cross browser) software that enhances my capabilities for writing, screencasting, and facilitating global communication.

First I shall revisit each application and attempt to answer these questions:

  1. Why it is on my machine? Was it pre-installed? Perhaps it was very favorably reviewed? Am I keeping it because of nostalgia? Have I forgotten that it is there? How often have I used it? Updated it?
  2. What needs or research interests did it address at the time I installed it? Do these needs or interests still exist? Are these needs likely to continue over the remaining years of my teaching?
  3. How well does does the application address these needs compared to other applications that I have since “collected”?
  4. Is it likely to work with the new Mac “Yosmite” operating system?

Here are the applications I am reviewing:

  1. 1-Password
  2. Adobe Reader
  3. Alarm Clock Pro
  4. Amazon Music
  5. Anki (flash card program)
  6. App Store
  7. Automator
  8. AVG Cleaner
  9. Battery Health
  10. Boingo Wi-Fi Finder
  11. Book Proofer
  12. Boom
  13. Logitech Broadcaster
  14. Calculator
  15. Calendar
  16. Calibre
  17. CallNote
  18. Camtasia2 (Mac)
  19. Chess
  20. Clarify
  21. Cloud
  22. Comic Life 3
  23. Contacts
  24. Crazy Talk 7
  25. Dashboard
  26. Data Rescue 3
  27. Day One
  28. Delicious Library
  29. Dictionary
  30. Disk Doctor
  31. Drive Genius 3
  32. Drop Box
  33. DupeGuru PE
  34. Duplicate Detective
  35. DVD Player
  36. EasyBatch Photo
  37. Evernote
  38. FaceTime
  39. FamilyTree Maker 3 Mac
  40. FireFox
  41. FlipPlayer2
  42. FontBook
  43. Freedom
  44. Fuze
  45. G*Power
  46. Game Center
  47. Garage Band
  48. Glui
  49. Google Chrome
  50. Google Drive
  51. Google Earth
  52. Google Backup
  53. Hello, Tips, Tricks and Secrets *
  54. Ibooks
  55. Ibooks Author
  56. Image Capture
  57. IMovie
  58. Inform
  59. IPhoto
  60. ISoft Video Converter
  61. Itunes
  62. ITunes Producer
  63. Jing
  64. KeyNote
  65. Kindle
  66. LaunchPad
  67. Leaf
  68. Learn IbooksAuthor
  69. Learn Mac OS Lion
  70. Learn Mac OSX Maverick
  71. Learn Mac
  72. LibrarianPro
  73. Logitech
  74. MacCleanse
  75. MacFamilyTree 7
  76. MacJournal
  77. MacKeeper
  78. MacOptimizer
  79. MacPilot
  80. MacUpdate DeskTop
  81. Mail
  82. MailtabPro for Gmail
  83. MemoryKeeper
  84. Messages
  85. Microsoft Messenger
  86. Microsoft Office
  87. Microsoft Silverlight
  88. Mint Quickview
  89. Miro
  90. Missio Control
  91. Moose
  92. Movie Tools
  93. Notebook
  94. Notes
  95. Numbers
  96. OmniOutliner
  97. OOVoo
  98. Opera
  99. Pages
  100. PdfPen
  101. Photobooth
  102. Picassa
  103. Pins
  104. PixelPumper
  105. Pocket
  106. Posterino
  107. Preview
  108. PulpMotionr3
  109. Quicken Essentials
  110. QuickTime Player
  111. RadioShift
  112. RapidReader
  113. ReadLater
  114. RealPlayer Converter
  115. Reflector
  116. Reminders
  117. Remote DeskTop Connection
  118. Safari
  119. Sandbox Cleaner
  120. Screenflow
  121. ScreenSteps
  122. Scrivener
  123. SecondLife Viewer
  124. Shape Collage
  125. Share Bucket
  126. Showcase
  127. Skitch
  128. Skype
  129. SnapConverter
  130. SnagIt
  131. SnapxPro
  132. Soundboard
  133. Soundflower
  134. SplashtopStreamer
  135. StarQuiz
  136. Stat
  137. Stickies
  138. Tapedeck
  139. Techtool Pro 7
  140. TechTool Protogo
  141. TextEdit
  142. TextExpander
  143. Textwrangler
  144. TimeMachine
  145. TurboTax
  146. Tutor for Imovie11
  147. Tutor for Iphoto11
  148. Tutor for Lion
  149. Tutor for OSX Mavericks
  150. Tweetbot
  151. TweetDeck
  152. Universal translator
  153. Utilities Folder
  154. Video Guide to Mac Lion
  155. Voila
  156. Vox
  157. Wallpaper
  158. WashingMachine
  159. WD Drive utilities
  160. WePrint Server
  161. Wimba Diploma 6
  162. Wiretap Studio
  163. WorldClock Deluxe
  164. Zotero



Tool Winnowing 201:Treating APP Affluenza

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*Tools1

Too much stuff. An embarrassment of riches: Books; office supplies; projects; computers; planners for organizing my life:). Too much either wasted or neglected: space; knowledge unshared; time; opportunities; networking.

Inspired in part by the first chapter of Gretchen Rubin’s well written and thought provoking The Happiness Project and in part by my panicking that it is almost time to return to campus to teach, I’m focusing today on (again!) winnowing applications. I doubt that I can change my app-collecting habits (but, reflecting on Patrick Lindsay’s little book of self-help inspirational nudges It’s Never Too Late…172 simple acts to change your life,)—maybe I CAN change. It’s time to reconsider the ideas of “Essentialism“—with a grain of salt. I enjoy too much having many interests, many simultaneous projects, and continuous learning opportunities.

But do I REALLY need so many tools overlapping (or duplicative) in function that as a consequence of their sheer number or my changing interests I never master, I fail to update, or I forget that I possess?:)

Especially with the new Mac Operating system imminent, it’s time for some app-revisiting.

Time to focus.

Today I focus on screencasting/ screen capturing/ video producing apps among them

  • Screenflow
  • Screensteps
  • Skitch
  • Snagit
  • Snapzpro
  • Voila
  • Cantasia
  • Jing
  • Imovie
  • Clarify
  • Pulpmotion3



An APP a day… Give me an “A”!

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Today I explored the Apps on my Mac that begin with the letter  “A.”One of my favorite (but underused) apps( that I am glad I use since the advent of Heartbleed ) is 1Password. It allows me to quickly and securely access my myriad accounts and quickly find things, like this Animoto video of a year ago that I had forgotten I had made to celebrate the wonderful creative work of some of my students.

Another app I take for granted (behind the scenes but there when I need it)  is Adobe Reader. But do I really need AlarmClock Pro any more?—Perhaps, if I remembered that it has a time-zone converter and an uptime recorder that can embarrass me with a record of how long I’ve been sitting at my machine!

“How many different music players do I need,” I ask myself as I rediscover my AmazonCloudPlayer? How many flashcard makers are necessary (which one best suits my needs or those of my students) as I find Anki again, untouched, and with a new version:). And, heaven forbid,  there is always the temptation to visit the MAC App store especially since it is built into the Mac Mavericks Operating System.

I REALLY should learn how to use AUTOMATOR and its distant cousin, TextExpander—and their incredible capabilities for improving the efficiencies of my work flow and my commenting on student papers. To achieve that mastery I most likely shall first seek out the sage guidance of David Sparks and his incredibly well-written books, ebooks, and screencasts. Hmm, I see that he uses Vimeo for his screencasts. I’ll have to revisit it when I get to my “V'”‘s.How about—oh, the audacity of suggesting it, Audacity? I have several times attempted to master it because of an interest in creating podcasts and wanting to support open source software endeavors, but alas, because it just crashed my machine, it has been banished to the trash. Besides, if i ever reach the “W’s” among my apps, I suspect that “Wiretap Studio” will serve the same function—and better.

Enough, even though I hear the buzz of “B’s.”

 

 

Preliminary Personal Responses to the 2014 Higher Education Edition Horizon Report

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Though I won’t have time until this summer to deeply explore the 2014 Horizon Report which I alluded to in an earlier post, I wanted to share some initial reactions here:

  1. I concur with the Report’s assertion of the growing ubiquity of social media. The challenge for me is to find the right balance between the kinds of deep thinking which I believe “more traditional teaching methods” correctly implemented can foster and an ability to capitalize on the enabling capabilities of social media for producing, communicating,creating, and collaborating.  I don’t find that my present institution has the appropriate classroom infra-structure for leveraging these social media tools within the physical classroom and traditional class-room meeting time.
  2. I agree with the Report’s suggestion that that it is inevitable that higher education must allow and facilitate an integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning.
  3. Though I have always been interested in “adaptive” learning and personalizing the learning  environment, I find the promises of “an emerging science of learning analytics” overblown, premature, and creepy in terms of degrees of invasion of privacy.
  4. I applaud and embrace the identified trend of students as creators rather than merely as consumers though I would urge that one not lose sight of the importance of quality control of their products.
  5. I concur that the time is ripe for university programs to support aggressively “agile, lean  startup models” that promote a culture of innovation in a more wide-spread, cost-effective way as long as there are built in assessment procedures which validly document the weaknesses and strengths of these (maybe) new approaches. Too often I have seen institutions chase after the latest educational fad and fail to benefit from organizational memory of prior, similar failed ventures.
  6. For me, online learning is a useful complement rather than a viable alternative to most forms of face-to-face learning. As I’ve written earlier, I regularly and increasingly use “nontraditional” learning tools to supplement my personal professional development and my digital literacy. I am still sorting out, however,  how to embed and assess that literacy among my students.  In what venues I should foster those kinds of skills and intrude them to top learning tools. I am increasing wary of a “digital divide” that ironically exists between K-12 and higher education instructors with the latter—and their students—being the more deficient!

What do you think? I’m also interested in readers’ suggestions about what I should write: