Category Archives: Tech

Playing with Time

As a relatively new  GoPro  user, taking advantage of the opportunities at  CATC Camp  seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment and learn.

After some trial and error over the afternoon actually wearing the device to take some time lapse photo sequences, I decided to experiment with capturing the magnificent sunset view at Kempenfelt Centre.


After capturing the sunset with photos every 5 seconds over a 20 minute period of time, I imported the photo sequence into iMovie to render the sequence into a movie.  Next, I re-imported the movie and added a “speed up” effect at a factor of x20 to produce this silent “one minute sunset” video.

Great learning for me.  I wonder what I will do with the GoPro today?


Apple TV tech tip

In large scale wifi network deployments it is often necessary to implement peer-to-peer blocking protocols in order to stop devices interfering with each other.  While this does provide a much better, and arguably safer, end user experience, the approach does restrict the use of screen sharing devices such as  Apple TV or  Chromecast.

There is good news on the Apple TV front.  The latest iOS and Apple TV software now provide added functionality which solves this challenge.  Lets zero in on the needed settings.


On the Apple TV end you need:

  1. software version 6.1 with
  2. Airplay = ON
  3. Conference Room Display = ON
  4. Bluetooth = ON

and an newer  iPad/iPod/iPhone  running iOS version 7.1

This combination of devices and settings will let the  “iDevice”  connect to the Apple TV through bluetooth.  Once connected, all of the display functionality works as you would expect.

I was able to successful test this functionality in my WRDSB office.

Happy mirroring and sharing!



Free wifi, sort of

Travelling is always an interesting time.  For me, one of the perspectives I keep an eye on is technology use in other contexts.

Here in China, it seems that everyone has a cell phone, and some have smart phones.  It appears that at least basic connectivity is deemed an important need.  As a traveller of course you need to have an eagle eye  (or an internal beacon) for free wifi opportunities.  In conversation with tour guides,  I believe that the cellular network is massive and quite robust.  Three major telco’s dominant the market, and I will write more on this in a upcoming blog post.   Wifi, and make that free wifi, is not readily available like it is in North America.  Yes, hotel lobbies etc. but not necessarily in retail places.

I did come across a Starbucks in Beijing and HAD to check out the wifi. Of course, I have to admit to wanting a coffee too.  While the venue offered free wifi access, the actual process to get access is controlled.   In order to gain access, you must enter a mobile phone number and you are texted an access code.  This process is oriented to cellular devices, not so handy for wifi only devices.


… you may prefer  the translated version:


This verification approach seems to be used by a variety to vendors.  So, no free wifi for my iPad on this attempt.  Watch for my next connectivity update.


A New Device, A New Learning Opportunity

In the last few months, I must have run across at least an article per week that begins something like this:

“How to replace your old computer with __________”.  You fill in the blank with a device of your choice — laptop, netbook, tablet, iPad, smart phone … what ever.

What strikes me in the typical article,  is the focus on this question:

How do I do take the list of old tasks and approaches on my old computer and duplicate them on my new device?

OK.  Lets spin 180 degrees and land on a growth mindset perspective.

Why not explore a new technology device with curiosity. What can it do:

      • that my old computer couldn’t?
      • differently?
      • more efficiently?
      • easily?

Are you leveraging a opportunity with a new device?  Maybe it is time to unlearn some old habits and be a curious explorer and learner.



Branding Lesson

In today’s digital world, personal branding is just as important as company and product branding. One needs to consider usernames, public names, pictures and profile management as part of the thinking. I am sure that like many other users, I did not think about this very much when I started my online work years ago. Over time I have recognized the importance of branding and worked to achieve high consistency in this area. I have settled an internet identity, and fortunately, I have managed to obtain my desired user ID on the wide variety of services I use with just a couple of exceptions.

One of the exceptions was on Skype. Once I realized what I wanted to do with branding, I registered a second skype account with my desired username, which was available. This at least held the account until I decided when and how I would either use two accounts, perhaps for different purposes, or migrate to the new account.

… many months go by …

I have been working through an interesting scenario. I registered my new account with a (then) relatively new but rarely used email address. After leaving the skype account dormant, I could not remember the email address used for registration. Skype searching did not yield any clues, and although I could see my registered account I could not change the password without the email address, and in turn I could not ask the folks at Skype to give me access without that email account.

I decided to take a long shot and put in a helpdesk ticket at Skype. As it turned out, the email address I had used was phased out by the host vendor. Even though I did not have the ‘key email address’ Skype staff provided me a series of detailed questions about the account which I was able to answer to verify my identity. Well, today was success day as I finally gained access to the account and now I can move forward with my plans.

Lessons Learned:

1. Use mainstream email addresses when registering for user accounts.
2. Use a ‘keep’ folder for important things like this.

I am writing this blog post as a shout out and thank you to the staff at Skype who were able to help me resolve this scenario. Thank you for having a good identity management process in place.


ISTE13 BoF reflections

One of the sessions I attended at the ISTE13 conference was a Birds of a Feather discussion.  The original discussion topic was advertised was chromebooks.  When the actual event happened, the chromebooks topic was replaced by a more general discussion on mobile devices in K-12 learning environments.  There were about 8 people at the table, mainly representing independent schools as it turned out.

What really surprised me was the nature of the conversation put forward by most of the participants.  From most participants, the discussion centered around being a “one device school”.  The key question that emerged was:  “How might one go about choosing between the variety of available options: windows netbooks and tablets, android tablets, iPads and chromebooks.”

It seems to me that different tools have different strengths, and that there would be value to having a variety of options available. Besides, at the rate of change with technology,  it would be challenging to set a particular long term direction at this point in time that you could stick to.  Perhaps the key idea is to focus on learning with technology, and leveraging new possibilities rather than focusing on the device itself.  No matter what the device mix is now, things will change.  I believe investing in the infrastructure to support the needs of students and staff in todays 21C learning environment with a variety options including BYOD is the best way forward.

An invitation:  I am curious to know your view.  Please share your thoughts in a comment or tweet.


Related Resources

Blog Post:  What’s in a device

Smart Phones, Smarter Medical System





WATCH the iDoctor





Livescribe on the Road

Do you spend a lot of time in your car?  You might like to leverage your livescribe pen while on the go and, literally,  on the road.

Simple simple tech tip:


  • bring your livescribe notebook
  • plug your pen into your car stereo system using a standard audio cable
  • start playing a recorded session you want to listen to
  • adjust volume
  • hit the road

First up for me will be my livescribed session of Audrey Watters’ excellent session at Educon on the Politics of Ed Tech on one of my road trips this week.

Related Resources

Read Audrey’s blog at  Hack Education


iO Dock review

I finally had an opportunity to try the Alesis iO dock dock for the iPad. The iO dock is a docking station that provides a full state of audio input/output connections for XLR and 1/4″ connectors. The unit also has MIDI in, out and USB connections as well as a video out. The iPad simply slides in, and you can use your favourite recording application. The unit fits both iPad 1 and iPad 2 designs through the use of an adjustable sleeve that fits under the iPad 2.

The iO Dock and GarageBand

Last weekend I worked with 2 of our family musicians to produce a sample recording as a ‘test run’.  The recording was created with a mic’d guitar, electric violin (see below) and a Mackie mixer directly interfaced with the iO dock. Enjoy this personalized arrangement as the fruits of our session. Listen here.

Meet the electric violin:


There are many different recording apps available on iTunes. Here are 3 that I have used:  Recorder,  Blue FiRe  and  GarageBand .   This particular project was done with Blue FiRe.  The Recorder app has an nice process for easy process to transfer the recorded files through a local wifi browser connection.

Perhaps the iO dock has a place in your studio or classroom.


A little nature, tech and creativity

While on vacation this summer, we took some time to visit the Hopewell Rocks. We have been there before, and certainly looked forward to the return visit as it is an amazing place. On this particular day, we arrive about 2:00 p.m. to observe the water at high tide, then returned at 6:00 p.m. to explore during the low tide time of evening. I am still astounded at the 41 foot vertical difference in the high tide, low tide water heights.

High Tide

Low Tide


While walking around, a number of us noted a bird screeching from high up one of the rock cliffs. It turned out that the bird was a baby Peregrine Falcon, almost old enough to fly. Unfortunately, I did not have a high powered camera with me, and the lighting was somewhat on the dark side, so it was time to get creative.

The following 3 pictures were taken using an iPod touch ‘looking’ through a set of binoculars. Considering the distance, lighting and make shift approach I was able to get some interesting shots.

Falcon 1

Falcon 2

Falcon 3