Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fuzzy Avatars

I was scanning the New York Times online yesterday and came across a great article entitled Fuzzy Critters by Bob Tedeschi. What surprises me the most is that my oldest daughter hasn’t asked for one of these Webkinz, at least not yet. The Fuzzy little animals are real, but they also come with their own avatar online. Talk about Web 2.0 marketing. What will they think of next?

Anyway, I think that these little toys that bridge reality with virtual reality are really cool. As a boy, I would have loved to have a specialized GI Joe with its own online avatar. I just remembered! The Internet didn’t exist when I was a boy. Maybe, I should just try and get my hands on a couple of Webkinz for the girls.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Internet plumbing: Plunger needed!

When we think about the Internet and networking, we generally think about a series of wires, but we may also view it as a series of pipes. Internet plumbing? Yes, the Internet is essentially like plumbing. At least, this is the way I have always viewed the Internet and networking. Ted Stevens, a senator form Alaska was widely ridiculed for making basically the same statement last year in a speech when he referred to the Internet as a “series of tubes”. Tubes, pipes, whatever! The point that he was trying to make was that tubes get clogged.

Thinking about the analogy of the Internet being a series of pipes, we may rationalize that it will also get clogged in the near future as a result of digital video. Wade Roush of Technology Review brings to light the possibility of such a dilemma occurring in the near future in an article entitled TR10: Peering into videos future. I haven’t as of yet seen a plunger for the Internet, but maybe it already exists. Hui Zhang’s idea of an Internet plunger seems to be peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution technology. And as Roush (2007) points out, with a little luck and (P2P) file distribution technology, maybe the pipes will stay unclogged a little longer.

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Vixy: A cool online converter

Anytime I find cool free open source software, I try and highlight it on my blog. As such, I was reading an interesting article posted by Stephen Downes and low and behold he provided a post about Vixy. I am not going to attempt to out write Stephen or Gunnar Schwede so I will use their words. They write:

I signed up for the Second Life Educators mailing list and it paid off in one day, as Gunnar Schwede posts this link. "This service allows you convert a Flash Video / FLV file (Youtube's movie,etc) to MPEG4 (AVI/MOV/MP4/MP3/3GP) file online." Even better, When you submit an url, it will download and convert to the video format. Then you can download the converted file. The the Flash Video to MPEG 4 converter is open source. Various Authors, Farside Inc., March 7, 2007. [Link] The link he mentions, in case you didn’t follow the above hypertext is http://vixy.net/.

This online converter looks very promising and I plan on using it tomorrow. I have some files that I can’t wait to convert. I’m sure with Stephen's endorsement it will do a more than satisfactory job of converting the aforementioned files. I just hope it lasts. Enjoy!

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tux Paint: Free Educational Software

It seems like I've been gone forever. I noticed that my last post was on February 16. Sorry! I hope this cool tool makes up for my lack of attention to the blog over the past few weeks. What is it? It’s tux paint. Tux Paint is a great free drawing tool for students of all ages.

Tux Paint can be found at www.tuxpaint.org. It seems more than applicable for K-8 students, specifically art students. I downloaded the program and my seven year old is already creating masterpieces. She is giving up TV time to draw and create art. I have access to our TV now, but unfortunately I lost my laptop to my daughter and Tux Paint. She loves the software.

Last night, I actually sat down with Tux Paint and built the Milky Way Galaxy in less than ten minutes using the stamps and a few brush strokes. I have to admit that it was pretty cool. Check out the screen shot! What do you think? I was proud of my feeble attempts at art and science. The stamps make it easy, so make sure you download the additional stamps. FYI, it's a second download. I hope teachers will download and use this software with their classes as a teaching tool, specifically K-6 teachers.

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags: