February 6

Is it time to say goodbye to Moodle?

instructure

This week, I have been playing with the “Canvas” Learning Management System (LMS).

I have 5 years of experience with using Moodle in my classrooms.  For what I needed at the time, Moodle was fairly sufficient.  However, Moodle’s development seems to have slowed the past few years.  In fact, Moodle’s integration of “Web 2.0” seems non-existent.  On the other hand, Canvas seems to embrace the “Web 2.0” features (collaboration tools, conferencing options, Google Doc Integration, Social Network Integration, etc).  In addition, Canvas’ User Interface seems cleaner and smoother than Moodle’s interface on the frontend and the administrative backend.

 

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June 30

Microsoft’s Basic (and Free) Antivirus Application

This month, Microsoft released the Beta version of their Security Essentials Antivirus program.  It runs on Windows XP and Vista.

Security Essentials has a basic and clean interface that should not intimidate the novice pc user. 

Overall, I have been pleased with Security Essentials.  Of the two older XP based PCs I have tried out with Security Essentials, neither has had any noticeable slowdown.  

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June 2

DropUpload – A Great Little Free App for quickly upload a file via FTP

DropUpload is a simple Open Source application I ran across for quickly uploading files to a FTP server.  Occasionally, I need to upload a few files via FTP from a computer that does not have an FTP Client (Filezilla).  DropUpload comes in handy, because it runs from as a portable app from my USB drive. 

With DropUpload, I can setup the FTP server info and then drag and drop the file into the program to upload it.

Another nice option is that I can add my server information in a protected setup in which the login information is hidden and encrypted.  Then give this to others who will need to upload files to my server.  The users do not see the FTP login name or password. 

Get DropUpload here.

May 9

Apps I Love … Evernote

As part of my "almost" paperless classroom project, I have been using Evernote for a couple of years.  About a year ago, I had been deciding between Evernote or Microsoft’s OneNote for my preferred note taking application.  I had been leaning towards OneNote for my personal notes.  I love how OneNote will record audio and help link the audio recordings to notes.  I also love OneNote’s interface with the side-tabs and drag and drop capturing of work.

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May 5

Apps I Love … GreatNews RSS Reader

Once upon a time, I used to check various websites for news.  I would have a bookmark folder in my browser with several news sites that I would visit one after another.  These

days, most news and blog sites have RSS Feeds.  With RSS Feeds, I can see just the new posts added to the website.  To help keep the RSS Feeds easily readable, I use GreatNews RSS Reader.

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April 29

My favorite Video Editing Software

I do a lot of video editing on the computer.  For simple tasks, I will use Windows’ Movie Maker.  It is included with XP and Vista, and it does a decent job for basic editing.  For more advanced editing, I like to use Cyberlink’s Power Director.  Power Director is one of the few multimedi commercial apps that I use on a regular basis.  With Power Director, I get over 100 types of transitions effects between clips, over 70 video effects, picture in picture video and images, multiple audio tracks, multiple video output options (ranging from MPEG II to YouTube), DVD Authoring, Slideshow Wizards, and various import options (from Camcorder / webcams to DVDs).  Click here to see a full list from Cyberlink’s Website.  If you are looking for more features than Windows Movie Maker, I definitely recommend checking out Power Director.

December 20

Another Online Office Suite Solution

Over the years, several free alternatives to Microsoft’s Office Suite have come on the scene.  We have great computer-based applications, such as OpenOffice, and we have online options like Google Documents.  Zoho is another online-based alternative to MS Office.

Zoho currently contains online options for Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Notes, Wiki, and email.  So far, I have only used their Presentation App, Zoho Show.  Zoho Show allows you to either create a presentation online or upload an existing Powerpoint presentation.  Once your presentation is published, you then have the option of sharing it with others.

November 29

Free Image Resizer

PixResizer

PixResizer

With the megapixels in cameras continuously increasing, I often have the need to resize a lot of my images for use on the web or in presentations.  Rather than using PaintshopPro or GIMP, I usually use PixResizer for quick image resizing.

PixResizer is a free application that does a simple task very well.  Thus saving me a lot of time.  With PixResizer, I can resize an entire folder of 200 photos and even save them in a new file format in just a few minutes.  This has become of the my staple applications I use almost daily.