Back from a long break

wpid-Photo-Dec-22-2011-336-PM.jpgI have been away from this blog for quite a while, but it remains a good place to put the tracks and experiments of my growth in ed tech.

I mourned the end of Google reader along with many others, but I was already not reading the blogs I had collected. Well after the collapse of my RSS feeds, I started looking around for another reader to replace Mr. Reader, my favorite Google Reader reader. After a side tour in Flipboard, Feedly, Feeddler, and many others, I have returned to Mr. Reader which now allows for subscriptions from several RSS feed bundlers. I just like the features of the reader so much that nothing else really cuts it.

Now the work is pulling what was my Google Reader feeds that were saved in Flipboard into Feedly which powers Mr. Reader. Luckily, once I connected Mr. Reader to my new Feedly account, I can do much of this by moving between Flipboard and Mr. Reader which lets me add and organize my Feedly account from within the Mr. Reader app. Gotta love the amazing range of service integration and the fast to read layout.

Cultivating Evernote

I didn’t plan on getting back to Evernote so quickly, but I have found a worthy long-term project for it–my garden. I am slowly getting into gardening. Last year, I planted a few veggies with my daughter, and this year we are trying a few more. Meanwhile I am getting up and running on composting and other related topics.

To assist this, I have created an Evernote notebook about gardening in which to collect my findings. I hope to get a few things grown this year, but mostly I am learning. Part of the learning happens outside with my hands in the dirt, and part of it happens with my nose in a book or looking up info.

My goal is to find a good garden planner, a source of info about when to plant different veggies, resources for improving my soil and using containers for gardening. I hope to make next year’s garden much better, and part of that is the experimentation that happens this year. Let me know if you have good garden resources, digital or otherwise.

The Evernoting Story 3: If Disney Can, So Can I

Yes, I can drag this story out into a series of poorly crafted, straight to TV posts. But I won’t. This is probably my last one until I have more time under my belt with this app.

However, I did want to share what seems to be one of my biggest growing uses of Evernote so far. After installing the app on my iPhone, I found the voice memo feature and began recording memos about what blog posts I wanted to make. I know there are so many other apps that can do the same, but this allows me write comments on them and add photos, etc. For the time being, this will probably drive my use of Evernote with more uses building from here.

The Evernoting Story 2

Just like all movies, good and bad, have the potential for a sequel, here is mine.

Today, I messed around with the Evernote iPad app that is somewhat limited. It can’t make new notebooks. However, I did play with the voice recording and typing at the same time. Wow, I could see some really great uses for this. I have decided that I will stay with Delicious for my bookmarks. I like the stacks, and I don’t really want to write copious amounts of notes or do voice annotations on web bookmarks. My task lists either will live in Wunderlist or in SpringPad. I think personal in Wunderlist and work ones in SpringPad where I will use the project management tools.

What does that leave? The first thing that comes to mind is that this is a great tool for digital portfolios! Being able to snap photos of work and put them in different notebooks, have students write or dictate reflections, and see it on any platform certainly lends itself to portfolios. I have already read several articles and talked to Ivan Nieves at Concord Academy about just this process.

What else? The web clipping tool would be great for research. Creating notebooks with the clips rather than bookmarks along with notes, photos, and other stuff could be a good use. I also see using Evernote as a good place to do the expansion at the beginning of a project when I am gathering lots of info. I can dump it in one place, sort through it, and then begin to focus. I don’t know if it will serve as well for that part; that is where I’d probably switch over to SpringPad. I’ll have to use it on my next big project to find out.

The Evernoting Story

Unlike The Neverending Story, the web is not being destroyed by the Nothing. Quite the opposite, in fact. The web is rapidly being expanded, and no flying, furry luckdragon could possibly fly all of the way across it. Tron, himself, would find it hard to navigate the ever expanding infoscape.

I have made attempts to filter this boiling sea of data and only direct pertinent info toward me. It is still far too much to see all of, so finding a way to dip in when I want to, to not miss the really important stuff, and to curate things I want to find again has been my major focus this year. My journey has taken me from Diigo, to Delicious, to Springpad, and now to Evernote. I am not yet sold on this being the solution for me.

So far I have created an account, installed the web clipper, watched a few videos, and made a few test notes. I can easily see many uses, but I really need to get my hands dirty by using it for a few weeks. I would love to hear how others are using Evernote or how they have decided not to and what they are using instead.

One Digital Flow to Rule Them All

It appears that I will attempt to move my digital flow to Evernote. I am hearing it from too many sources, now, that this is the way to go. I am not sure how much of my other pieces it will eat up. Certainly it will replace Springpad, but I have hardly started using that. It might replace my social bookmarks so recently moved to Delicious from Diigo. We’ll see. I am pretty sure I’ll keep GoodReads and probably IMDB Watchlist. Image handling will be the same, too.

This is a weekend project.


My digiflow has a digiclog! All of these apps and web tools are great at creating ease and efficiency with managing photos, RSS feeds, and the many other pieces I feed through my digiflow. However, when I get busy or caught up in being with my kids, I am the piece that still has to do some work. When I don’t, a clog forms. My reader backs up into the thousands of posts unread, my Flickr stream is a massive, unsorted mess, and emails threaten to once more spread across pages and pages of my inbox. While dealing with these sometimes feels like pouring Draino in my brain, I work hard to keep up. I prioritize email. I have no compunction about blowing through RSS feeds and marking all read in certain categories. Photos just take time to sort through now and then.

No flow is perfect, and all require some persona l attention. Without the attention, the rough edges of the flow become more apparent.

Should Not Do

Today, I am blogging from my iPad. While poking around for inspiration related to technology, I remembered I hadn’t checked out the new features of Blogsy, the app I use to create WordPress and Blogger entries from my iPad.

There are quite a few new features, and I had to reset my Blogger settings. While looking at their new help videos, I was amused by the title, “Shold Not Do.” This video outlined some things one should not do when using Blogsy, but the presence of the video spoke to several things.

First, there are quirks in Blogsy in which one can get caught. This is to be expected in apps to some degree, and that brings up the second point: at least these developers acknowledge the issues and create a video to help users avoid problematic usage of their app. Lastly, they have a sense of humor. They could have titled the video, “Issues with text placement around image and video objects” or something of the sort. Instead, “Should Not Do,” caught my attention long enough to actually click on the link and learn about what I should not do.

In a car, on a phone. Blogging there makes me groan.

This is my first entry using the WordPress app on my phone. Even my keyboard is dead. I am not actually in a car though I spent from 9:15 to about 6:00 on the road.

This app is serviceable in a pinch. I, however, do not have master finger typing skills, so this will be a short post.

Springpad: another foray into organizing my life

As many of my past posts have shown, I am trying to organize my life, both the digital and non-digital parts. To do this, I have used very general organizational tools, such as Wunderlist, and very specific tools like GoodReads. General tools are great because they apply to many situations while specialized tools really add a lot to the specific task they handle. My digiflow now includes Wunderlist, Goodreads, IMDB Watchlist, MyFitnessPal, Twitter, Facebook, CameraSync, Flickr, Mr. Reader, and Blogsy when I have to blog on my iPad. There are others, but these make up the majority of my daily digital use. I am mostly satisfied with Wunderlist as a list manager, but I have been looking for something to organize projects that is friendly on iOS devices. Google Apps still isn’t very user friendly on iPad or iPhone. Evernote is very popular, but seems to be overkill for what I want to do. Today I started up Springpad. It is free, it has checklists, it has projects, and it seems to be pretty smooth on iOS. I think this is where my work projects will get organized.