Tag Archives: web2.0

‘Technology’ Needs a New Name

Trying to understand how new gadgets, iPads, smartphones, tablets, Kindles, and whatever else you can name are changing the way we learn, I’m prompted again with an annoying error message: Technology.

Sure, back in the day, when regular mail became electronic, remotes were without cords, and phones could actually be carried “mobilely,” using the word ‘technology’ seemed appropriate.  It made sense to know that ‘technology’ in Greek meant ‘art,’ since we were witnessing new forms, with the world acting as its gallery.

But now, the term ‘technology’ seems too formal, sounds too weird, mechanical, a ‘technical’ abstraction— separated from reality.

Technology used in the old way reminds me of how my mother uses the word, computer.  She speaks about it as so different, distant, disjointed, and always foreign from her real world. 

But in reality, ‘technology’, is ever-present, seemingly integrated naturally into our daily lives. Emerging innovations makes it a lifetime companion, a new edition to the family, again and again. It is already a common language shared around the world, speaking many tongues with variety. 

So, I think we should find a better term to reflect just how well it functions today, labelling it in the right way to fit its continuing leading role. 

You know, if I told my mother that I will order a new refrigerator to be sent tomorrow (never reminding her that a ‘computer’ will make the order) she would appreciate how it made her life easier, rather than having to make a special trip all-the-way to Sears.


What Fantasy-Football and Stock-Investing Have in Common

TouchdownAcross many computers, websites, and smartphones there are millions engaged in last-minute rituals of tweaking fantasy football rosters for gameday. Admittedly, I am one of them.

It is an activity only recently I call a hobby, in small part, due to embarrassment; the other, due to a real passion for winning despite its fanciful ways. Unlike arts and crafts that are relaxing and even therapeutic, the task of managing a fantasy football team can be mentally exhausting, layered with high risks and rewards: From looking at the injury status lists, making game-time decisions, and ‘pooling’ free agents in hopes of getting more points.

I thought about how ‘fantasy skills’ could transfer in ‘real life’ actions.  In truth, I think being a fantasy league player, coach, and owner is quite the same as being a stock investor , securities trader, or portfolio manager. 

For example, researching company’s ‘ticker’ symbols for making profitable returns is similar to a fantasy owner looking at icons for winning games.

So I encourage fellow fantasy players to start stock investing too.
We see commercials from Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and TRowePrice and think we need tons of cash to make even more money. Unfortunately, starting with $10,000 accounts simply take some of us “out of the game.”

However, there are a few sites that you can invest as low as $10 a month. I’m not talking specifically about a 401K plan or the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) variety, although these may be helpful as well.

Time for a DISCLAIMER: I’m not an investment consultant or advisor, so you might consider talking to a professional before you act on my advice. But if you are a fantasy league owner, I’m confident you will learn a lot just by checking it out yourself.

These investment sites allow you to forego using a broker and discover how to invest directly:

Computershare:  https://www-us.computershare.com/investor/default.asp?cc=us&lang=en&bhjs=1&fla=1&theme=cpu

BNY Mellon Shareowner: https://m1.melloninvestor.com/mellonone/index.jsp

Some other helpful resources and associations:

Drip Investor:  http://www.dripinvestor.com/index.asp

The American Association of Individual Investors: http://www.aaii.com/

Again, these are opportunities to invest in companies directly and take control of your money as you do your fantasy football team. There are thousands of companies to choose from that ranges from the popular to the less publicized. Of course I wouldn’t tell you which companies to invest, just like I wouldn’t tell you my ‘watch-list’ of fantasy football players.

The point here is that although some may look at fantasy football owners as unproductive, I think you might find stock investing not only as a way to make real money, but also just as rewarding and fun as our Football Sundays.

32 Days without a Cell Phone

ole bage phoneand still counting… What started as a refusal to pay an overpriced bill has turned into a personal research project.  I wondered what it would be like to not use a cell phone, and I came up with 3 major findings so far:

1.   Cell phones are biological just as red & white blood “cells.”  Imagine if you lost an arm or even a best friend.  There are bonds to our cell phones that we ignore until it is lost or gone.  Cellphones are mini-representations of ourselves and make statements about who we are.  Look at the Blackberry- i-phone war going on now: it’s really personal and we discover that ‘cellphone blood’ is thicker than plastic.

2. Cell phones are not actually for talking.  Some call these smartphones or super smartphones, but many applications attached to cellphones makes it unnecessary to speak.  In fact, due to texting or checking emails; talking is an afterthought.  A better outlook is that they are used for contacting and locating each other.  It’s probably weird today for someone to make a surprise visit stopping by while pressing a doorbell.   

3.  Cellphones acts as contact information.  What I mean is that having a cellphone is what people keep for the sake of others.  Additional examples are: home phones (some cells act as such); business cards; websites, and of course a facebook page.  If you are without any of these, you may appear outdated, disconnected, anti-social, or even suspicious.     

Overall, what I noticed in these 32 days is that I am more free. Free from checking my phone so often that I never  concentrate on one thing at a time.  Free from frustration when my signal is low, battery dying, or periodic drop calls.  However, although I enjoy these freedoms, they are  only temporary.  I’m still bound by the wave of social connection and constant communication.  Having what could be considered as a PC bagphone on your hip, you have complete access to the world. 

But, when I finally succumb to being cell-phoned again, I hope to keep in mind that my life is more than devices. I’m convinced that being truly connected means being fully linked-in with oneself.

Social Networking Sites to Check Out

There is a great blog called the Lifelong Learning Blog by DiplomaGuide.com that provides information about a few other social networks than the Facebook & Ning that many of us know.   Here’s the link:


What’s funny in all of this, is that as we become more social, we  are more isolated in groups.  Something about saying that I belong to 10 social sites seems odd.  Why don’t some of these “social sites” get together to create a larger community of learning and sharing interests.  I think this blog and website take a great first step to tie these sites together.

AB UNO DISCE OMNES:  From One Learn All

Really Simple What? Basics of RSS Feeds and 6 You Can Use

rss iconWhen talking to a friend about the LEARNLONG BLOG, I mentioned how our postings can be taken through RSS which sparked the title. The look of confusion was beyond words. Yet, I realized that this gaze is rather common to anyone new to RSS feeds (even those like me who may understand what RSS does, but wouldn’t teach a class) .

So I’m taking on the challenge of explaining how RSS really works, in practice at least,  and what’s available for anyone interested in trying it out.

To start, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It allows websites to transfer information that eventually “feeds into” your own computer or cell phone, which are called RSS Feeds. Of course, there are more complex coding and installations involved, but we don’t care how the digital sausage is made right now, do we?  Exactly!

In fact, probably your internet browser has this icon on its tool bar just like when you add favorites. By the way, one quick tip:  You can tell if a website or blog offers RSS feeds-the icon actually lights!

Simply stated, the purpose of receiving RSS feeds is to get current, up-to-the-minute info and alerts in all the areas that interests you.  Doing it the old-fashioned way would take several annual subscriptions from paper newspapers, magazines, newsletters across all disciplines, local, regional, national, and around the world just to keep up: That’s just too costly and very time-consuming.

RSS feeds are a way to have the essential information and content that interests you, all-in-one page, even your very own home page if you prefer, especially the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Fox.


firefox logo

You simply click on the orange icon, subscribe to receive the information and that’s it!

rss logoThe question left becomes where do you want to receive your RSS feeds and through what online service? Your internet browser can collect feeds or you can use other services below.  Most of these are free to download, register, and set-up, so I cheer you on to click any link to one and test it out.  Even if you may have a Google or Yahoo! Account, which many do, I am sure you can take this opportunity to structure your feeds that saves you time and money.

Here is a list of Six (6) other RSS Feeds “Readers” for starters:

Free to subscribe:

Google: www.google.com/reader


My Yahoo!: my.yahoo.com


Bloglines: http://www.bloglines.com

Bloglines is also a free online service. As the service suggests, there is no software to download or install, simply register as a new user and begin accessing your account at any time, from any computer or mobile device.

blogline logo

Others RSS Feed Readers (some costs apply)

Feed Demon: http://www.newsgator.com/individuals/feeddemon/ -Under the larger Newsgator used by enterprises but they offer easy-to-use interface with a free download.

NetNewsWire (reader of choice for Macs): http://www.newsgator.com/INDIVIDUALS/NETNEWSWIRE/ -Also under Newsgator.

Awasu:  http://www.awasu.com/ -There are personal, professional, and advanced editions available.

Reference: Shaw, Maura D. (2007). Mastering Online Research: A Comprehensive Guide to Effective and Efficient Search Strategies. Writers Digests Books.