Saturday, September 30, 2006

webheads chat 9-10-06

CarlaA: so. You have a print screen key on your computer, just hit it, then save it. After that, you can upload it to your blog.
SusanneN: that would PRINT a fullscreen?
NinaTL: I will try this, thank you!
RitaZ: yes, Sus
NinaTL: How would I adjust the size of the shot? Could I make it smaller to show on a power point?
RitaZ: a bit amaller in sixe, though
RitaZ: size
SusanneN: I never found a good way to use this on windows.On mac this was so easy to do
CarlaA: if you hit shift Print screen, then it only captures the first screen on your computer.
SusanneN: and where does it get saved; I don't see any save prompt
NinaTL: as opposed to///
NinaTL: ...?
CarlaA: yes. nina. you can edit the image in any photo editor and resize it.
RitaZ: Sus, just open a word doc and hit paste
SusanneN: OOOH -so it will be in my pasteboard
NinaTL: Which free photo editor do you all prefer?
DennisOl: And PowerPoint lets you resize, too: just pull the "handles" of the graphic.
SusanneN: picasa
BrianR joined the room.
RitaZ: photoshop
CarlaA: generally susanne, I open the photo edito and paste it there, adjust to the size I want and save it
NinaTL: I don't think photoshop is free, is it?
BrianR: i just came at the tail end of something didnt i
SusanneN: photoshop is not free is it?
RitaZ: it is, I think
SusanneN: Brian , you can jump in anytime
CarlaA: nina, i use Picasa. it has great featues
NinaTL: Welcome, Brian
CarlaA: features, i mean
BrianR: whats the topic?
DennisOl: Brian: We're discussing uploading photos and screenshots to blogs.
BrianR: webheads right?
RitaZ: free, Carla?
NinaTL: I have Picasa but have not really explored it yet
SusanneN: we're talking photos and print screen tricks
NinaTL: Webheads, right!
CarlaA: yes, rita.
BrianR: hmmm...
CarlaA: it does wonderful little things to photos.
NinaTL: such as...?
BrianR: i like the firefox plugin fireftp
BrianR: makes it all really easy
BrianR: an ftp client right in your browser
NinaTL: for photos Brian?
BrianR: for ftp
DennisOl: If anyone here uses a Mac, GraphicConverter is a wonderful tool. It isn't free, but I use it so often that I didn't mind paying for it.
BrianR: so photos too
SusanneN: *all reaslly easy* such as ...?
CarlaA: nina, before uploading my pictures to bubbleshare, for example, I resize all of them at once using picasa
BrianR: i used it for posting screenshots etc
RitaZ: then I publish photos in fotothing
NinaTL: I was having difficulty with photos I took with my institute's digital camera..
NinaTL: they were HUGE
VanceS: snaggit for a comparable windows tool
NinaTL: when I tried to email them they made gigantic files
SusanneN: I agree . Graphics converter is really useful (o mac)
BrianR: jpg compression is a beautiful thing
NinaTL: but I couldn't figure out how to make them smaller
NinaTL: or even take them smaller in the 1st place
DennisOl: In GraphicConverter, I crop, resize, adjust brightness, remove blemishes and distracting elements, and much more.
ThomasLev: I had that problem also
CarlaA: so nina, with picasa, you import the photos, edit them, then you export them to a new folder with the size you want. it's great. it saves time and work
DennisOl: You need to use some sort of image editor to reduce the size.
NinaTL: I am finally thinking about getting a digital camera of my own. Does anyone have any recommendations? I'd like to spend under $150.
BrianR: ebay
BrianR: [;
DennisOl: Photos straight from a digital camera, for example, are ENORMOUS in sized.
CarlaA: i don't like to take my pictures with low quality cuz sometimes I print them.
CarlaA: I love CANON
SusanneN: you can do all of these diting processes with Picasa too
CarlaA: right, susanne
NinaTL: I think I need to explore my Picasa more deeply!
RitaZ: me too, Nina
DennisOl: I have a Kodak, Toshiba, and Canon. I like the Canon very much, but the quality with the Kodak is also quite good, even at a low megapixel rate.
NinaTL: Do new photos I upload (or download?) automatically go into Picasa if it is already installed?
CarlaA: yes, nina. and it can really enhance your pictures in terms color, brightness, etc...
SusanneN: I often have high res pictures saved for pints and then resize them as a batch for smaller screen images
BrianR: but if you want to post them on the web its good to compress them as small as possible
BrianR: for bandwidth reasons
NinaTL: Is my price limit of $150 realistic? Can it go lower?
CarlaA: I think you can do that, nina
SusanneN: Picasa is keeping order in pictures
RitaZ: in the USA you can, Nina!
CarlaA: I like kodak, too, dennis
CarlaA: I love the colors in canon. and the flash is really powerful
NinaTL: Would a Best Buy kind of big box store be the best place to buy? Radio Shack? Circuit City?
NinaTL: (Sorry you folks outside USA)
BrianR: just go window shopping
BrianR: try the net
RitaZ: they have special offers, Nina
CarlaA: Nina, i bought two of mine at best buy
NinaTL: Are there any particular features I should be sure to get?
BrianR: those stores just might have online their prices
CarlaA: and you can chech pricegrabber online
NinaTL: You have Best Buy in Brazil too?
RitaZ: at times recycled one are also good, much cheaper
CarlaA: no. I bought in the US
NinaTL: How about features?
BrianR: anything in specific?
DennisOl: I agree about the colors with a Canon, Carla. My Toshiba, for example, has a red-balance problem.
BrianR: for your needs?
FrancisHu left the room.
NinaTL: I don't know anything about it, just want to be sure I don't end up with something that lacks a major feature I would want.
BrianR: not really sure
BrianR: for me a picture is a picture
RitaZ: video included, transferrable to pc´s
SusanneN: Nina, there would always be more features and more space and highter resolution, this is a never ending spiral
NinaTL: I plan to use it mainly for photos that I will not print. I will save them on the computer, put them on blogs or Bubbleshare, etc.
DennisOl: Hear, hear, Sus.
NinaTL: Video??
RitaZ: thats what i do, Nina
SusanneN: I live my cell phone, it can also take small videos
MoiraH: how about a cell phone then?
RitaZ: yep, mine fils short videos
NinaTL: Just print very occasionally, like for my fridge, or for people without computers (there are still a few of those)
BrianR: nina then you could get a real cheap one with low resolution
RitaZ: film
DennisOl: You should be able to get something with about 4 megapixels for $150 or less, if you shop around. This would be a good resolution for work published online.
NinaTL: I was thinking about a cellphone, actually, because mine is really old
BrianR: really good resolution
SusanneN: the Sony Ericsson w800i was my choice and i certainly don't regret
RitaZ: brb (going for a yogurt)
SusanneN: it had a 2 megapix cam
BrianR: nina i would go with a cell phone they get pretty good resolution lately
CarlaA: Nina, at school I use a Sony Cybershot 4.0 pixels . It works fine for the purpose you need. it films too...You can find it for a good price.
NinaTL: I am going to print out this part of the chatlog and take it shopping with me!
MoiraH: that's why I am so happy to inherit my son's!!! It has all the goodies
SusanneN: lol
BrianR: and its more handy
NinaTL: You webheads are the best!
DennisOl: My first digital camera was 2.1 megapixels--but the resolution was still quite good for online work.
CarlaA: mine is a canon A85. I just love it!!!
NinaTL: It's already 10:30, I have to go figure out who I am going to vote for on Tuesday--
SusanneN: after i became familiar with using my cell phone for so many things my older digital cam is in a drawer
BrianR: i dont have a phone with a camera anymore
BrianR: it sux
ThomasLev: I agree, Nina...I'd like to save this part of the chat too

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

freedom of blog

Here's what I've been mulling over:

Hemmer, A. (2006, Sept. 15). When free speech costs a career. Yale Herald XLII, 2, online. Accessed 9-06.

He makes a number of good points, including the fact that a blog can make an academic very prominent, especially if one does any kind of self-promotion; that this prominence is a double-edged sword; that blogs put the natural secrecy and closed-door nature of academia up against the wall; that academics should participate in a participatory democracy; that universities and colleagues can get very nervous when they actually do; that a number of academics have paid dearly for their extreme views; and, that this sense of wariness toward the self-publishing tendencies of the posers among us has been increasing.

On reflecting on this article, I have come to realize that I'm probably lucky that so few southern Illinoisans are even reading this. They might get mad that I know mostly about teaching, but freely expound on a variety of subjects including soccer, the war, and obscure languages, of which I am far less qualified to talk about. Or that I get my authority from Southern Illinois University, a great place which is definitely worth fighting over, yet I freely criticize it, sometimes in public, or with a biting sense of sarcasm barely hidden between the lines.

Ah, but I don't advertise. I don't even put blinking lights or scrolling photos on it, though I probably could. I don't register at the local blog-raters, or comment in the prominent places. I posture a little; ok, I expound; I pound my own drum. But I try to behave. After all, my university puts the food on my table. To bury one's head in the sand; let the tides of change wash over, unnoticed and uncommented on, to wait until the tides are high enough to reach even the furthest tidepools- would that be the best way to thank it?

It's a quick world. If you think blogging is dicey, wait until chat-publishing becomes the norm, and the gps in your cellphone makes your every move traceable, publishable, public information. Not that I even stray far from the residential streets of the west side. I'm just saying, privacy has already become more or less an abstraction- no sense dwelling on it, but it's a totally new world- and you're either in it, or you're running away from it. I'm not running any more. If you want to read about that, go here, scroll down the template, and read travel stories.

Monday, September 18, 2006

endangered projects

I've been very busy, due partly to just teaching a lot and starting a new term, but also due to personal matters: moving to a new house, helping a son with elbow surgery, helping my wife attend a board meeting in Chicago. It's crowded me especially with some of the projects that are most dear to me. And some of them are on the brink of extinction. I have to write them down just to clarify my priorities....

CESL Today, the CESL student newspaper, is compiled from blogs and tedious html programming- both a print ink-and-paper version and an online version which I love to present & deliver. Unfortunately it's hard to scrape six to eight hours together these days, especially since you need a couple of them to be together just to get focused on the code. If I don't do this, though, I can't tell the teachers to keep it coming, keep putting good stuff on the blogs.

SOS project...haven't done a lick of work on this in a while. It's my true love- making an elegant, simple model for language change and development- one that is readable, and at the same time explains why things are the way they are. I have the linguistics background; I know what I want to do, more or less; I just have to do the research & get it down. At least I've started. Don't want it to die. I'm not the only one working on it- but I'm nevertheless putting it together in my own way.

CESL's static web has about 300 pages; 130 or so in active use; 90% of these need updating of some kind or another. An index would be nice. I've been working on it a little, actually.

The weblogs get bigger and carry more weight...and so need updating. Get some new characters in the squares. Develop the CESL history page, the alumni pages, etc. Some of these are quite nice...actually behind that, is a picture collection that needs to be organized, sorted, labelled, etc.

The cesl chat is being upgraded, improved, moving out. Actually I've been trying to figure out how to use chat with my classes without eating up gobs of time on something they frankly have mastered in their own chat-pidgin kind of way, and don't value as much as I do. I tend to see it as valuable for those who don't focus on the pure fluency aspect of interactions- but about half of my students are the opposite, these days, anyway. I'd like to make it an SIU-community thing...not worry about using it with the classes. Open it up. Make it siu-world chat, or something like that, make it come out of the alumni page, jumpstart a community. It's a dream. If I don't do it though, it won't get done.

Finally, the university is flailing around wondering if second-hand texas vision is good enough for southern Illinois, and what exactly does it mean to serve the people, not to mention which people. I have my own ideas, although they are specific to linguistics and CESL. The world is getting smaller. People are moving into new technology and new media at an astounding pace. Chat and videophones are opening up new forms of communication and people are doing very little to determine what this is doing to the language, to the way we operate, make networks, define the world, think about ourselves, etc. An obvious role for a university that has aspirations for making a difference in the future is to place itself in the forefront of a movement to understand and frame the future of language learning, language teaching, understanding and perception as influenced by forms of media and communication- and finally, the evolution of English itself, as it is influenced by its own use in different environments. I would say, again without even reading the relevant documents, that we can no longer use the same sentences someone used five years ago, if we really want a vision that will yank our Studebaker out of the beer-soaked ditch. But I might need some help with this one- I won't be doing it alone. I've got eight kids, a stack-a-midterms to grade, and have to get a drum set out to Kansas....though I may just frame this argument, in my own terms, with more careful wording, if I can rub a couple of minutes together.

And yes, I do have a band, the Parsley & Sagebrush Band, and yes, we're making a cd, which I'd be glad to share when the time comes, and no, I was unable to play in the last gig, last weekend, or even practice much recently, but yes, I play soon (tomorrow), this time for 2-4 year olds at SIUC's CDL, finest daycare in Carbondale, now that's a tough audience, and I'd better practice a lick or two, before I get started on any of the above. Can't miss a beat- and, would like to get a website for that band too- not to mention one for travel stories, which I'd like to evolve into a kind of auto-biography, so to speak...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Leverett, T. (2006, Aug.). This is your class on weblogs. Teaching English with Technology, 6, 3. IATEFL Poland Computer Special Interest Group.

Leverett, T. (2006, Aug.). Three ways to integrate weblogging into writing classes. Teaching English with Technology, 6, 3. IATEFL Poland Computer Special Interest Group.

Monday, September 11, 2006

vision- don't take it for granted

Traditional Snellen chart used for visual acuity testing. Illustration only; this is a scaled image and hence not suitable for vision testing.

It occurs to me that people in my position may be better placed to provide this than those who are responsible for producing handbooks about it (see post below). Be that as it may, I will try to take it on, though maybe not right away.

btw in passing, here's one blogger, with sister in nyc, brother in london, a couple dozen saudi students & friends & relatives, all of whose lives put through the grinder by bin laden & his nineteen goons, or their buddies, and the self-serving and enormously costly response to it on the part of our entrusted leaders- who does not want to devote another word to lives pointlessly wasted...or even the struggle to stop the madness. i'm tired of it. i will, however, remember the victims. when the innocent are dying, nothing is more important. may they rest in peace.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

plagiarism at SIUC

The recent Chronicle article about plagiarism in the Southern at 150 report brings up a number of questions, and is very important to me, since I teach about plagiarism as part of my life work. If you haven't read the news, our strategic plan, Southern at 150, has been found to have been copied at least partially from one at Texas A & M, and was even called Vision 20/20 at one point, like the Texas A & M plan. So, if it was plagiarism, it was not very sly plagiarism, in the sense that someone might have known they were copying it, or might have tried to lift a finger to cover their tracks in any way.

First, I have used my own leftovers on my own work before, and think that's entirely possible and explainable in some circumstances; if you wrote it yourself, you surely could write it again, as it sounds natural enough. I guess what bothers me is this: if we were all supposed to be in on this idea of the future, shouldn't that alone make it unique? Shouldn't vision for our future, by its nature, include us as we are now, and what is special about us, and what we ourselves think is best or possible?

One of the ironic things about Southern at 150 is that before this, probably very few people had even read it (maybe it's an elaborate trick to get them to read it...if so, it won't work for me). I admit that I only scanned it, and even then it was for some hint that: 1) we recognize that the world is getting smaller; and, increased and rapid awareness of other peoples, their languages and cultures will be absolutely essential in the new world; 2) we recognize that awareness of languages and the teaching and learning of them will be absolutely crucial in the new world; and/or 3) we have some awareness of how important the new technology and the new media will be in the shaping of our immediate future. I admit that I didn't find any of this in my brief encounter, and thus concluded that it was somewhat short in the "vision" department, at least as I would have defined the term. I couldn't have imagined that it had been somebody else's dinner a few years back.

Every university wants to be in the top 75, if it isn't already. And every one of them is going to use the usual stuff to get there- the usual words, the warmed up platitudes about academic excellence, etc. The ones that make it, though, or even move up on the list, are going to be the ones that have their own vision, and enact it. It is important. Somebody needs to account for what happened here. Then, let's start over again, and this time, open our eyes.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

a virtual cigar

This is for Motref's new baby boy, born in Saudi Arabia...


Welcome, Badar!

And thanks to padrino cigars
for the image...