Photography – Week 46

At this point I’m taking between 200 and 300 pictures most days. I end up keeping about 1 out of 10. There’s talk about taking fewer pictures making you a better photographer. Maybe. I’m having fun and trying out lots of things so I’m ok with lots of pictures. Some shots I take I know won’t come out well with this lens but I want to create the itch to do it right. Other shots I take blind. Some times that’s to keep things really candid, other times I just want to take a shot from an angle my head can’t make it to (really high, really low). I’m willing to fire a few shots that way and take the penalty on post processing. With a number of the street photography attempts I start shooting early and keep shooting. It’s closer to the way I used to shoot football. My processing workflow starts with a quick run through where I throw away anything I dislike immediately. That’s often quite a few- focus errors, things I knew weren’t going to work etc. Round two is usually throwing away choices between similar photos. After that, I start actually editing. If I feel annoyed about editing to making the picture better then I throw it away. All this is now done in Lightroom […]


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

The Miseducation of the Doodle “Having exhausted traditional learning methods such as highlighting, note-taking, and rote memorization, Virginia chose to unleash a powerful, primitive tool that ultimately turned out to be her savior: The Doodle. Virginia decided to draw rudimentary visual representations of every concept in her Morrison and Boyd textbook. She deployed a problem-solving technique that defied conventional wisdom and all the academic advice she had received. And the story has a happy ending. Not only did Virginia ace her organic chemistry final and eventually become Dr. Scofield, she also became a celebrated immunologist, earning accolades for one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs related to HIV transmission. She credits much of her success, then and now, to her world-turning decision to doodle. “ tags: drawing draw visual notes weekly altlabtweet thinking art Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Case Study in Viral Marketing “By Pew’s analysis, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Mormonism are all net-negative: there are more people raised in the religious groups who have left, than there are people who have converted into the religious groups. Even Hinduism — which has the lowest attrition rate — is just breaking even. But Jehovah’s Witnesses are actually net-positive. Despite their heavy leakage, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the largest Christian group gaining American membership. They’re winners! “ tags: stats viral socialmedia jehovah marketing case study weekly […]

Angles on Open

I spoke briefly, and almost certainly disjointedly, at the Open VA meeting yesterday. The focus of the panel was “open pedagogy/curriculum” and the whole day was focused on open education concepts. My topic was simply labeled MOOC. As the day progressed I tried to get a sense of the audience and figure out what would I should say to them. I would not say I succeeded. Here’s an attempt at better articulating what I should have said regardless of the audience. Open Pedigree The ability to imagine and actually build the #thoughtvectors cMOOC1 is a result of a long history of open and connected practice. Part of the MOOC was shaped by educational beliefs, part by relationships, part by technology but it’s mostly the result of an almost seamless blending of those three things. I’ll stick to my own relationships, and those specific to #thoughtvectors for brevity’s sake, but every person involved in #thoughtvectors likely has their own entwined stories. In the beginning there was WordPress I spent a lot of time with WordPress and it provided opportunities that changed how I thought about all kinds of things. My first WordPress blog was on an early incarnation of WPMU that was hosted by James Farmer (later of Edublogs) on This led to a later decision to purchase my own hosting […]

Photography – Week 45

  The mix of reflection and texture in this shot was what appealed to me. The Scott House is a pretty impressive place.   Fall leaves on the bricks and the napkins with the napkins echoing the shapes of the bricks- it seemed almost intentional.   This looks better large but the texture and color of the car and the photo as a whole really appealed to me.   This ended up with pretty strong lines in both directions. I like the abstractness of it.   This is another one that looks better large. The color and stillness of the man and his bags make the shot interesting to me.   The larger version makes their expressions more interesting. It’s very theatrical.     I like these old signs. This particular view mixed in a variety of other interesting objects – fire hydrant, street light, and a few windows.   The background makes this more interesting but the expressions make the shot.   A different expression and interesting contrasts and shadows.   I like pets looking out windows.   I’ve taken a great many shots of this cathedral. This is one that finally felt interesting and a little different. I was on a porch rather than on the sidewalk which gave me a very different angle. I’ve taken this shot […]


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

How Students Lead the Learning Experience at Democratic Schools | MindShift “The most significant responsibility at the school is that “you are responsible for what you make of your life,” McCaig says. To graduate, students write and defend a thesis that they have “prepared themselves to become effective adults in the larger community.” “ tags: weekly democracy freedom responsibility school America’s Strange Love Affair With Czars — NYMag “Executives, in fact, generally dislike, discourage, and avoid the use of czar — although the Government Accountability Office investigated in 2005, apropos of “Drug Czar,” and determined that such use does not “constitute unlawful self-aggrandizement.”” tags: words tsar weekly czar etymology sociology Everyone In What Looks Like A Group Photo On GOP Governor’s Website Is Photoshopped She must be a fan of the Gov. tags: IFTTT Delicious Diigo weekly truth lies photoshop governor Why Not Eat Octopus? – The New Yorker “They can just at will project images on their bodies, and change their shape and turn into different things,” he fawns, calling this morphing “postsymbolic communication.” Cephalopods are on their own from the moment they’re born, he points out: with no concept of parenting, they pass on nothing to future generations. “If cephalopods had childhood,” he goes so far as to suggest, “surely they would be running the Earth.” (One of my colleagues […]

Pre-Filling Forms via URL

I have to figure out a rather unpleasant and boring thing. I am, however, learning some fairly odd and interesting tricks as a result. This is one that might be useful to someone. Google Forms You can pre-fill Google form entries with a URL. That might be useful if you had 720 students in groups of 6 reviewing one another but didn’t want to build a form with 720 student names or build a 120 forms with 6 student names. I don’t think I’m going to end up using this for this purpose1 but maybe it’ll prove useful to someone else and it’s dead simple. Step one – Build your form. Step two – Go to Responses in the Form Editor view and select “Get pre-filled URL”. You then fill out the form the way you want and it creates the URL. In this case, I’m filling out a multiple choice question and a free form text entry.,+for+one,+have+always+admired+the+number+two. Now, you might wonder what would happen if in the URL you set a multiple choice answer to something not available as an option- like ‘Freddy Kruger’ for the first field in the form. I wondered that. It just comes up blank in the spreadsheet.2 Sadly, as I mucked around I couldn’t come up with a decent way to hide the […]

FacetWP – a semi-tutorial

I don’t usually usually pay for WordPress plugins but this is one I’ve come to like1 quite a bit. To start off, I have a historic interest in facet based searching. It is one of the main things that continues to appeal to me about Exhibit (one of the earlier javascript based tool libraries aimed at non-developers). I’ve looked at a lot of different options to make that kind of thing work for WordPress over the last 5 to 7 years.2 This is by far the best option I’ve found. Why I Like It You can see all the bells and whistles on the demo page. The brass tacks version is that it allows you create a variety of guided search options and create custom page templates with or without the search pieces. I’ve used it personally and on rampages in a few slightly different ways. Here it is just using the custom display (no search) to show 3rd Space related images and I’ve used it to do something similar on this page with posts from my blog in the ‘Photography’ category.3 On this site, it’s allowing faceted searching based on tags created by students through a Gravity Form. Another example that’s using two facets (date and work type) based on parent/child category relationships to sort out my work. Given […]


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Nothing To Do With Arbroath: Crematorium fire caused by 500-pound body “A fire that damaged the roof at Southside Cremation Services Henrico, Virginia, was likely caused by a “rather large body,” according to fire investigators. The fire started when the furnace used to cremate the 500-pound body got too hot, Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Daniel Rosenbaum said. “ tags: henrico fire physics cremation weekly wcydwt more than 95 theses – If this particular book is not giving me pleasure… “Of course, once you have abandoned a book after more than six hundred pages, abandoning one after fifty seems trivial. But for me that wasn’t a bad thing. I needed to overcome the sense of duty that had marched me through so many books before the ultimately liberating, if at the time miserable, experience of The Recognitions; and I needed to learn, as I eventually did, that if I set a book aside today I am not thereby forbidding myself to return to it later — nor am I promising to do so.” tags: reading commitment weekly The Seven-Year Glitch – WSJ “If a human year really were equivalent to seven dog years, then people would reach reproductive age by seven, and some would live past 150. ” “If a human year really were equivalent to seven dog years, then people […]

Troubleshooting Patterns

I got an email from a professor who was using Gravity Forms to allow students to create blog posts. The problem was that when they submitted posts via the form the category ended up being the default category no matter what was selected. Here’s a few of the things I did trying to figure out what was going on. It’s just a matter of isolating variables but occasionally it’s helpful to see how people work through this sort of thing. First, I googled it but that well was dry.1 I made sure the Gravity Forms category selection worked on other sites on the same installation. It did. That let me know it was at least blog dependent. There were only two other plugins active. They were both turned on and off with no change. That meant no plugin conflicts. On the input side, I tried selecting multiple categories. No dice. I tried changing the default category. It change the default category but didn’t fix the issue. I couldn’t think of any more input based variables to mess with so I moved a bit deeper into things. On the form side, I tried changing the category selection options. I tried using checkboxes, multiple select, all categories, select categories etc. None of that made any difference. I copied the form to see […]

Photography – Week 44

There are lots of pictures this week. I’ve been walking in an entirely new area and that’s been interesting. I’m also playing around a bit with adding more commentary about what I liked about the pictures. Race cars on the streets of Richmond are fun and this one had an interesting background that echoed the lines of the grill. Dazed and slightly confused. This guy shouted to me to take a picture of the damaged sidewalk as he passed. The light caught his face just right as he turned the corner. You can’t see it all that well in the preview version but it looks better full size. The tattered grip tape and the echo of the yellow in the window appealed to me. I love the guy’s clothes and his expression. That mixed nicely with the hand drawn sign and strong primary color blocks on the store behind him. I like the way the power lines come down and meet the rivets of the semi trailer. The semi-pro feel of the eagle is also fun. I liked the mix of nature and litter in a way that juxtaposes the title of the beer- so natural it grows on bushes. There is a certain kind of decay that feels almost intentional. While this doorway smelled of urine, it had that […]