Monday, 15 October 2012

How to make Blogger sticky post using a gadget

Found an interesting blog how to make blogger sticky  thinking this might be useful if I cant find another way to make the overview on each blog the landing page, at least I could keep the overview at the top :D but not on every single page

Monday, 3 September 2012

Styling pages individually

Found a useful page on styling pages individually like we wanted.

III. Styling pages individually
(added Oct. 2010)
Using the static_page conditional tag as explained above will apply the styling on all static pages. Now what if you want to style only one page. Let’s say for instance you want to change the background color of your About Me page to pale green, while leaving all other pages as they are. Can you do that?
Yes you can, and it’s easier than you might think.
Go to Postings > Edit Pages and select the About Me page.
Switch to HTML mode.
Insert you CSS code on top of the page content, like so:

<style type="text/css">

.content-inner {background-color: palegreen;}



Yes, you don’t need any conditional tag. This code only resides inside that one page, therefore it won’t affect other pages.


So was wondering if we could insert columns and stuff xD

Monday Bacon n Eggs, or barramundi

Friday Corn

Right-o, not a bad turn out for Friday Corn last week. Today is Monday Bacon n Eggs. 12-1pm.

At Friday Corn we all looked at the Google Reader for the powerful information management tool it is. For those of us using Reader now - there aint no-one more informed on what's happening nationally, and territorially across the inter-webs. We also looked at Google+, for the program managers interested in using Circles and Hangout to communicate with their participants. And most valuable of all, we all got to know each other a bit better, while we chomped down on beautifully roasted corn, and swigged ginger beer.

Check out the Hangout video of some of us at Friday Corn.

Now, today being Monday, we do Monday Bacon n Eggs. Another fun, regular, food oriented, get to know each other and the tools we plan to use for online work in 2013. But instead of bacon and eggs, we're cooking fresh caught, wild barramundi! Jon, Garry and Leigh went fishing with Greg Peckham and his mate Chippy on Sunday, so today we're cooking the catch! Come to the barbicuearea in the court of Blue 1, anytime between 12-1pm. Bring your laptop and/or mobile, and be ready to talk tech, teach and possibilities.

BTW, check out the Wikipedia link for barra to see how famous Garry is getting in all this.

Here's a video Leigh whipped up on his phone on the way home from the trip: In The Deep Darkness, Jon caught a fish.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Printing in Colour from Google Docs

Just discovered a little hiccup when printing from Google Docs to our local (NT DET) printer. Even though the color option might be selected in the Print dialog (as displayed below) you also need to click on Print using system dialog in order to first check on the printer defaults because if they are set for black and white that will override.

PLOD: Author, share documents in Google Docs and Drive

Our badge for
Author, share documents in Google Docs and Drive
At tomorrow's PLOD (Professional Learning for Online Development) we're looking at authoring and sharing documents in Google Docs and Drive.

In this session we will:

  1. Access Google Docs and Drive 
  2. Import and create a document on Google Docs
  3. Uploading, sharing and publishing files from Google Drive
  4. Working with Open Document Formats across MSOffice, Open Office and Google Docs
  5. Installing the Google Drive App on a smartphone and a tablet


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Requesting guest access to Eduroam

Just requested my first 2 guests to have access to Eduroam through CDU's eCentre. Is a pretty lengthy form, with Date of Birth even.. I felt too rude asking for DOB, so I estimated. Will let you know if it takes more than a week.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Badge concepts

In the plan for Professional Learning for Online Development, we mention Open Badges as a way to show achievement and progress, and to help with motivation and transferability of skills. plus, open badges are a growing trend that we want to be across here in the eTeam.

Here's a sketch for badges for the skills we have in the plan (we've added one here though, News is not included in the plan)

Google Drive & DET Network

We got there! (with a lot of assistance from James Vreeling & Robert Kennedy)

While connected to the NT DET network Google Drive now downloads properly & installs a local folder on your local hard drive -- pretty much in the same way as DropBox works. All proxy issues now seem to be solved. So, you can now drag & drop multiple files into folders as an alternative method to using the web-based upload interface. It just takes a few minutes to first sync.

Download Google Drive

Manage a Google Apps user account

The badge for Managing a Google User Account
Last week, a small group of us came together for the first PLOD (Professional Learning for Online Development) to work out how to connect to CDU wireless. CDU sent 2 lovely fella along to help us. We reckoned EduRoam is the go.. and the screen grabs for doing it are in the post from last week (Thanks Emma).

This week, we're skipping Using a Browser, and going straight for Managing a Google Apps User Account. I'm referring to the Professional Learning for Online Development plan btw, where we have laid out all the skills, tasks and sorts of learning events that are needed to get good with the range of tools and systems we are deploying for Online Development into 2013. Comments and suggestions to these plans are very much encouraged.

  1. Everything relating to these plans are here.
  2. Our calendar for Professional Learning for Online Development

So, Managing a Google Apps user account. We've broken this down to 4 areas:
  1. Sign in and Email
  2. Calendar
  3. Google+
  4. Google reader
This day, we covered all but Google Reader. We'll review that and the others next week.

But first, an overview:

  1. Here's the Google Apps info pages
  2. Here's a 2007, but still relavent video (2 minutes)
  3. Here's a presentation on Why Google Apps is good for education (10 minutes)
  4. And here are some criticisms of Google Apps

NB. We're not touching Google Sites because they can't be backed up easily. Instead of Google Sites. we're using Blogger - which can be backed up easily.

Signing in and email



Google Reader

Next week...

For now:

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Connecting to wireless


Windows XP to Eduroam

Mac to CDU Staff

Windows 7 to CDU Staff

iPhone/iPad to eduroam

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Connecting Blogger to Google+

So, your Google+ status can be updated automatically when you post to Blogger. Here's how...

Wikipedia editing blocked for DET

It seems the Northern Territory Government's Department of Education and Training is now afflicted by the same problems that other states and territories have, or are dealing with - a Wikipedia editing block on all their IP addresses.

This is the first time I've noticed the block, as I've been able to edit Wikipedia from a computer within the DET IP address range before. I did however notice a history of warnings from Wikipedia administrators that a block was imminent if DET was unable to address the vandalism coming from computers in their IP range.

Normally an IP address range block doesn't affect people with Wikipedia accounts however, so I'm surprised to be blocked like this even when I am signed in.

I've requested that the administrator unblock my username, and to advise what can be done to make the block more precise, or to enable existing user accounts back into editing.

Hi Tonywalton,
You recently blocked IP and no doubt others in a range. This IP address comes from the Northern Territory of Australia, Department of Education and Training. No doubt the vandalism comes from schools. 
Can you grant my username: Leighblackall an exemption to this block? I'd like to request exemptions for other users being my immediate colleagues, but some of them don't yet have Wikipedia accounts. 
Is there anything I can do in assisting this block to become more precise? Perhaps I can request NT DET to change some settings? Your advice would be appreciated.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Update on the Open Data project

Our Open Data Projects Survey
can be filled our here:
We've had a mild response to the Open Data Projects Survey. So far 5 responses:

  1. Linked Data for Open Government 
  3. OpenGeoscience 
  4. PROD 
  5. AusGOAL - DATA.SA
We'll now move into a phase of collecting information manually ourselves, by ringing and emailing around other known projects, as well as giving a few more prods to people we know could help us gain more responses.

Also, on the advise of a critical friend with Wikimedia, we've moved the wiki that documents our progress on the research side of this project to Wikiversity, leaving the Wikibook solely for the creation of the finished product.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Two New Videos

Yesterday we were visited by Adam Voigt, an ex-school Principal & local consultant who is leading the Dynamic Teacher Seminar Series at CSLLD, and Professor James Dalziel from the Macquarie E-Learning Centre of Excellence and a specialist in ICT systems development supporting Learning Design.

Both videos now uploaded  to the CSLLD YouTube channel:

Adam Voigt - Dynamic Teacher Seminar Series
James Dalziel - Using Learning Design for Innovative eTeaching

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bridge Meeting

Just crossed the bridge walkway & spent some time checking out the Office of Learning & Teaching meeting a few people -- Gemma Izod has just been appointed as Admin Support for the HEPPP project so we will be working together a little more in the coming months. Also spent some time with Helen Rysavy, who is Manager of Innovative Learning Resources - doing a lot in the multimedia space. It seems that there's probably a lot of upside in us getting to know each other better & we agreed that we should have more "bridge meetings".

Friday, 20 July 2012

Project tages

I realised the other day, we aren't using project tags on our posts. The ones we agreed on on the Projects page. So I've gone through all the posts and added the project tags.. Felt that project 'oDev' (Online Development) doubled up with project 'clouds' quite a bit, and we have barely anything up for project 'oDat' (Open Data).. so these project lists and names might need revisiting at some stage.

Outlook now running GMail

We have a breakthrough thanks to James Vreeling at the Computer Support Group at DET.  As indicated in an earlier post on this issue, proxy problems needed to be sorted to fix this. But unlike the earlier post which linked to guidance on how to configure Outlook, Google now provides a Google Apps & Outlook Sync Tool which downloads a configuration script into Outlook & migrates email, contacts, & calendar info.

Before running this tool it is important to check that the new proxy settings are first set up. They should be:

This proxy setting should be automatically set up within a few weeks. The initial setup can take up to an hour but once running seems to perform quite well. A new window appears within Outlook that monitors sync progress:

I am now testing this out but it looks like it will satisfy the needs of those people who prefer to manage their email from within Outlook.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Wikipedia and our Programs

Liz recently posted to Google+ her general approval of the Wikipedia article on Mentorship. I took the opportunity to suggest we think about using Wikipedia a lot more in our work.
I'm hoping our programs can start using Wikipedia on may levels
Such as in assignments:
  • Instead of essays, the challenge is to edit Wikipedia articles to status of Good Article, or Featured (Masters level assignment that!)
  • Start or join discussion threads on any of the Wikipedia article discussion pages. The Mentorship article has lots open to talk about.
Or Using the range of WP articles that relate to the topics in our programs, to list and manage course materials like papers, videos and the like.
Two good starting links for people interested in such ideas:
This is something we hope to suggest and talk more about in October this year, when the initial work of getting more of us working web based is underway, and some of our earlier adopters are thirsty for more...

Monday, 9 July 2012

A benefit of being browser based

USB in the bottom right, Ubuntu the rest
Despite the increasing concerns over Google's browser competition and interoperability, right now, being browser based is for me a real productivity concern.

Last week, and the week before, I've been having troubles signing in to my work computer. It's not me, each time they have to come to my computer and make adjustments with their admin rights. I'm still waiting for the 3rd visit, and if I hadn't figured out another way, I wouldn't be typing here. (Probably better I hear you say!)

It just so happens I have the Ubuntu Operating System sitting on a little USB stick in my draw. Hitting F12 in the early stages of the computer start-up, gives me access to the boot sequence, where I boot Ubuntu from the USB and so avoid the Windows login where I keep getting locked out.

Ubuntu runs well from the USB, and Firefox comes installed, as does a range of Office and Graphics productivity software. Because all my work is "in the cloud" so to speak, all I need is Firefox to get me through to a day's work online and in Google Docs.

So far I've been keeping up with email, working on a service level agreement (just finished it actually), and about to do more on the Online Development Plan, the 2012/23 Budget, and the Centre wide Professional Learning Plan, just after I post this note to Blogger and yer-all. All these documents are due this week, so while I wait for the fella with admin rights to find his way to me, I'm happy progressing work through Ubuntu-on-a-stick, Firefox and Google Docs. Hell, I think I might just install it hard, and be done with it! But then I'd lose my access to that Shared Drive others keep wanting to use...

Working browser based has given me a lot of freedom and flexibility in my work, to the point where I can swap out the operating system, including running one from a USB!, and I can use my phone if I have to.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Testing the Canon XA10

We purchased a Canon XA10 with a Sennheiser wireless lapel microphone recently, and today we gave it a little test. Unfortunately we've discovered  that the battery has broken, so we can only run it on power. Also, using it for web streaming will require another bit of hardware.. here are a few suggestions.

Use caution with Google Forms

Carli and Donna have discovered an issue with Google Forms that is pretty critical. A question cannot have the same text or choices as another. It will only generate once in the corresponding spreadsheet, and collate all results into that one column.

Carli and Donna are trying to use Forms to create a group booking form, but where they ask for the titles (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Dr etc) for one person, if they ask that again for the next person, it creates only one column in the spreadsheet.

To work around this issue, they created a question "Participant 1 title, Participant 2 title, Participant 3 title" and that is enough to generate different columns for the different entries.

It's great to have more people testing out the Google Apps with us, finding issues and developing work arounds. The awareness and methods we develop here will have great value to all the other people trying to use Google Apps, such as some of the NT schools.

Browser no longer supported by Blogger!

It is a constant worry to us, the creeping issues operating Google services in browsers other than Chrome. We are watching for signs of lock in as we gradually use applications outside the Windows lock-in we are presently in. We have contigencies in place to manage this risk, but it is very dissapointing to see Google allowing concerns like this grow.

This recently appeared in Blogger for example:

"You browser is no longer supported by Blogger... try Google Chrome"
Blogger has been managing an update to their interface for months now, and we've noticed issues with this new interface all along. While we're happy using Chrome, we're not happy that Blogger has been unable to at least support Firefox and IE!

A bit of looking around reveals this forum thread starting up: Not Supporting Firefox! with what I think is a pretty fair complaint. In that discussion is a link to this blog post that offers an explanation for the loss of support. It basically says that Blogger developers are not able to keep up with the developments of the other browsers, and older versions of those browsers, but they are working to make their system usable on all browsers. That's some reassurance I suppose.. let's look for an official statement along that line.

I dunno, you'd think with months of transitioning to a new interface, Blogger would be working fine on at least the most recent versions of IE, FF, Saf and Chrome.. I could accept it not working on older versions of those brands, but it should be working on the up-to-date versions.

We are noticing similar issues with Google Docs as well. Working fine in Chrome, but not in IE or Safari. It seems Google's priority is to achieve seamlessness across all its services, rather than across the mix of services in and outside Google that people actually use. I smell lock-in.

But on balance, the exact same issue is prevalent in government, schools and universities who are way down the Windows route. They use systems that only work within a Windows environment, and have done for far too long now. Being public servants we should be keeping a principle of interoperability at the forefront of what we do. Which is why we're watching this space with Google, and keeping escape routes in place.

We backup XML files of our Blogger sites monthly, and those files give us the ability to move to Wordpress if need be. For Google Docs, we store stable versions of our documents on a local shared drive, and are slowly working toward formating those documents in open standard formats so documents can be reasonably interoperable with any office document software.

Logo going external

Hey guys,

So after all that, it looks like we are going external for our new logo. I'm just going to pop up some documentation on what I've done so far in the style guide, but it wont be finished :(

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

CSLLD at the Reconciliation Action Plan walk

The Northern Territory Department of Education and Training become the first NT Government agency to formulate and sign a Reconciliation Action Plan. This RAP It is part of a nation wide action for reconciliation with Indigenous Australians. 

NT DET held a walk in the park to mark the occasion, and CSLLD attended in support.

Gary Fry (centre) and Suzie Peckham (Gary's head left)
Emma. Carli and Jon
Leigh and Karen

Donna and Jon
Yum food

The day the boss hung out

Today is a big day. The boss signed in to her Google Apps account, answered and sent email, connected people on Google+, created and shared a document on Drive, and then joined a 4 person Hangout! Pretty good for an afternoon's worth of skills development.