Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TurboDemo brings screen capture to education

I've long used screen captures to illustrate manuals and Power Point presentations. TurboDemo, while costing money, looks to be a good solution for computer lab instructors who need to introduce new applications and then test the students to how well they understand what they have seen. TurboDemo has the ability to capture the screen in a continuous mode and then have to provide a voice over and ending quiz.

I could see this application saving a tremendous amount of time at the beginning of each semester. It would also work well for helping distance-learning students learn the distance-learning platform. I find that it can take a week or more for a new student to learn the ropes of a new online learning system.


Thursday, April 17, 2008


Online storage is something I've been interested in for quite some time. It combines the pluses of off-site storage with a backup system that can be performed routinely. The old way I did off-site storage was to make an extra set of tapes and take those tapes home. That worked, but had many potential weaknesses.

I've played -- and blogged -- on a number of online storage providers. Some were too expensive and others went out business. And yet others had complicated menu structures that left me wondering what, if anything, had taken place.

In comes Amazon. In addition to books and garden supplies, Amazon now offers various computer resources. Unlike their consumer business, Amazon doesn't make their services easy for the common person to use. A number of providers have come into build in user friendliness into Amazon's offerings. One such provider is JungleDisk. They have one of the nice packages of services built on Amazon. One of the things I appreciate is that even if JungleDisk goes out of business, your organization's data continues to reside on Amazon.

I'm planning on using JungleDisk for my organization. Where I see it as being very useful is with staff with laptops. With online storage, it does not matter where the devices are as long as there is an Internet connection.

One of the things I like most about what I've seen with JungleDisk is their understandable pricing plan. This has not been my experience with other online providers. I hope to be back to post more.

Stay tuned...


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How strong is your password?

Passwords have always been important to get right but with more and more information being put online in publicly accessible locations, such as Google docs, are potential security problems. It's likely someone will know your Google email address if you use Gmail. They are left with just getting the password. That effort could be easy to virtually impossible based on the strength of the password being used.

Password Meter is a free tool that will analyze a password for how strong it is as a password. Finding such a service is not that difficult, but Password Meter goes further to explain what aspects of the password it liked and didn't like.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

WorldAgInfo Final Report

I've been away from this blog for quite some time. While I'm not going back to every day rain-or-shine, I will be posting things with more regularity. The reason I've been away is because of my work on agricultural information systems for the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. As always, I was specifically looking for innovative low-cost solutions to communications and educational objectives.

It was an amazing adventure to be on this project and I hope you'll take some time to read the results. The final report has just been release and can be found here.