Christmas recycling

This post has been very popular and the video always gets a lot of reaction when I share it. It is a great way to use up those old magazines you have around the place and the effect is really nice. You need time to make these little trees so I am giving you time now! Certainly a creative way to recycle magazines and bits and pieces of Christmas decorations. Something to keep little hands busy and something where you could make quite an impressive display if you made several of them. The video guides you all the way and so you could run it on a smartphone or tablet and pause it as you go along. This is a real  advantage of video instructions. You can stop when you need to, rewind when you need to and simply go along at your own pace. Students can get very absorbed by making things and this tree tests manual dexterity and patience but then offers the chance to be inspired with the decoration. Students will come up with very original ideas for decorating and creating their own personal trees and they can photograph and film them to make other Christmas things. Snapchat them , even, when they get home. This sort of activity is a good precursor to an oral activity or video. They enjoy making their own little characters and props from bits and pieces and then filming it or photographing it. As they are constructing they are thinking about what they will actually say and do for the task and the busy hands and working through the practicalities of designing a tree helps to direct their thinking. It is surprising how your ideas develop and you make things. It is even more surprising what will come next in terms of digital use of things which have been hand made.

Do you know your icons?

We are swamped with icons. Some we know , some we don’t. Some, some people know. Other people know other icons. The Hanselman blog has a number of icons which he believes we need to dispense with. I have said that on this blog before. Having a floppy disk icon for the save icon makes no sense any more even to those who are well and truly familiar with that icon. There are two games which test and develop your knowledge of icons – Icomania and Icon Pop Quiz. The gaming world acknowledges, at least , we have a problem. There are so many icons. We can’t and don’t know them all. Then there are icon changes with some OS upgrades and we are supposed to work it out. Google is oblivious to the fact we have an icon recognition problem. The internet is blissfully unaware. We are just given icons and told to get on with it. Some of us can and some of us can’t. Given the internet is very much about communication then I think we need to have icon awareness built in to daily living.

download-128I realised that the other day when a 30 something described the download icon as an arrow going into a bucket. It can also mean forward or share if the arrow is going the other way. share-128 (2)

There is no one age group responsible for this lack of clarity.

The    Share-128   icon confuses a lot of people. They cannot work out what it means because it looks like a molecular structure to them. Share icon is the last thing which would occur to them.

In time, I am sure we shall sort this out and generational change will be understood as the way we need to go about icons as each generation of devices brings us new and different functionality.

Take better pictures with your phone

You learn something very day. I was doing some work on images related to colour yesterday and the images just were not the same as the things I was photographing and I didn’t know enough to improve the situation. The colour yesterday was important. It has not really been an issue before. I have occasionally noticed my phone is not representing a colour accurately but in the scheme of things it hasn’t been a problem. Yesterday it was.  Time to fill the learning gap. Yes, I could use an SLR or one of my digital cameras. They have a better colour representation. Some phones display better colour than others. It all gets very technical. I can adjust the light and contrast. I can play with the display settings. I tried changing the light to no avail. Gizmodo has an overview of devices and displays and some of it relates to having devices which calibrate better automatically. My phone is good on automatic image clarity but not complex colours. UX-stackexchange emphasises looking on your phone for what affects display and colour and considers some of the issues. CNET looks at how you can use filters to improve image colour. Lifehacker comes up with a number of ideas for improving phone images. It is a matter of looking through the information and trying out  the ideas  one at a time so you are clear as to which ones are the best for your phone.

Make an illuminated Christmas tree

LXG Design has a good Facebook page where they come up with electronic and tech projects which are quite inventive but achievable. The illuminated Christmas tree is cute and the instructions are clear. Have fun making one. The LXG Design You Tube channel has lots of ideas and their videos are very good at making you feel like you, too, can make something like that.

UX and Web Design

UX and Web Design

 

Joe Natoli is a consummate professional and this Udemy course leaves you in no doubt that you are learning well and from someone who knows how to engage you and teach you in the best way. It is a paid course but $15 for 187 well thought out, detailed and content rich lessons is a gift. I got an iTunes card last Christmas and used some of the money to purchase this course. The course has kept me going all year and so I have had more than my money’s worth. Lessons vary between about 3mins, 12 mins and an hour. Joe introduces himself to you by the use of videos and so you get to see and hear him and make a connections with him. There are then a number of voice lessons and , at the end,  the course comes back to video. Nothing is left to chance. It is all throughly mapped out and considered so that as a learner you are immersed in learning and have so many things to know and do.  It says on the certificate I did 23.5 hours . That is not quite right. During the course you get really helpful downloads and emails. These all need to be read if you want to add to what is already a comprehensive curriculum. There is also the processing and practising time. At the end there is a lovely gift of another video. That really is the icing on the cake and tops off the course in a very satisfying way. What I really liked was the show and tell approach. Joe talks you through everything and so you are learning visually and aurally and your brain is engaged all of the time. Nothing is left to chance. The rationale for doing something is explained in global, local and personal terms. You can watch him attend to details and see what a difference it makes. He explains and reasons everything he is showing you. It is about design principles , values, reasoning, being careful. It gives you a lot of insight into WordPress and how to get the best out of it. It teaches you how to be very good at what you have chosen to learn. Everything is there if you want to launch yourself on the web in a competent fashion. I loved this course and even though I didn’t want or need to know everything in it, it has all added to me and it has given me a good way to approach UX issues. At the beginning I had sound issues with the course. When my internet connection was changed from ADSL2 to nbn those sound issues were resolved. Udemy was buffering , as it turned out, under ADSL2. I also had a problem with no video when I viewed the course on my iPad. I had sound but no visuals. I used the contact option on the course and that was resolved within 24 hours. Doesn’t get better than that. I thank Joe Natoli for such an enriching and worthwhile course.

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