React OS

 

 

react OS

ReactOS is still in the alpha stage so not for your average user , as yet. It is an online collaboration to write a Windows alternative for users who want a simpler OS environment. I created a live CD and a bootable CD neither of which I was able to use as I wanted. I had planned to load it onto my old Linux laptop but the support for Wine and virtual machines is not there on Linux Mint 14 and so I came to my Windows desktop and installed VirtualBox and have since been able to get ReactOS going. I can’t say it was easy or straight forward. I had to wait, reboot, wait, reboot, clean my machine and then finally I got ReactOS installed without a problem. This is a Windows 10 machine so it does work on Windows 10. I have managed to install a theme and you need to go to the computer icon so you can have a bit of a look around. At the moment I haven’t been able to operate the package installer so I can see what is supplied with the OS. I shall be able to load Windows programmes of my own. I am running it in Virtual Box so it is not having too much impact on my desktop computer. I’d prefer to play with it on an older laptop since it’s still in the alpha stage. As I improve my own knowledge and find things out I’ll blog more about it. People do these things because they can. It gives them discovery and learning challenges and an option of collaborating with others who have similar interests and skills. That’s the beauty of 2018.

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Instagram best of 2017

Instagram best of 2017Instagram supports learning and endeavour. It encourages care, commitment, colour and creativity. On March 6th 2016 I had 6 followers and I blogged about it. Today I have 514 so I have come a long way. These photos don’t represent technology as such, but then again they do. I have been learning a lot in the last two years and I have been rewarded by support on Instagram. The photos represent the encouragement I have had learning to spin, to be sustainable, to support local, to care. The tiny teddies were my contribution to a group project to get 100 knitted for a pastoral program in a school. The blanket with the 4 white feet were when I had finished a baby blanket and then had the big challenge of crocheting an AT-AT . On Instagram you lead by collaborating and engaging. You learn by sharing and seeing. My photography with my phone has improved,  I have good followers and it is a very  positive part of my life. It’s a space where I am using my devices to share what I am doing but then get more ideas . I put myself out there and am calibrated against the rest of the world. You can get your own Instagram best nine by going here : 2017bestnine . This is a snapshot. Instagram is still adding likes to older pictures because people come and go on Instagram as they feel like it these days and it is common practice now to do a digital detox. By next week or the week after these images might change because the rhythm of Instagram participation has changed.

What’s DevOps?

DevOps is a new , highly paid IT job but it’s a concept we all need to understand. It’s about smoothing the path between developers and users so that the software is better suited to the environment in which it works and the  people who use it can get the best out of it for what they want to do. In an economy it’s about making yourself the one who is seen, heard and used. ACADGILD explains it really well but then pushes its company. I have used the video by Sanjeev Sharma. He explains it really well and has a lot of experience in the field. The world has changed and the world is changing. We want to use technology in a way which suits us and we want it to be able to do what we want it to be able to do. Developers can come up with ideas and projects . Some of those now are launched as test/lite projects to gain valuable feedback for further development. We do not live in a static world. We now live in a world of communication, collaboration and constant improvement which is why the concept of DevOps has to be understood. Developers can create things but they may not suit the market, the audience or the environment. They may create software which is half way decent and then we need  input to get it to be the best software for the time and place. I sometimes contact developers because I can make suggestions as to how I think something can improve in its functionality or if the software works well on one device and has limitations on another. Software development is complex. Developers work hard and long hours. I don’t expect my changes to occur and I usually only offer suggestions if I am asked. TheAstronauts blog explains why developers are not really interested in your unsolicited ideas. The explanation hits home. The feedback loop is becoming part of most organisations and businesses now and needs to be a part of everything. I have given feedback and thought, well, that’s not going to help, because the feedback form is too limited or doesn’t actually allow you to pinpoint the problems or clearly make observations. That’s when I blog or tweet if I want to. If I think something needs to be changed I put it out there into the ether. It will be picked up. It will be read. It will be considered. People can only do what they do and we have to avoid swamping them. If I have used classroom software which doesn’t quite work in that situation I haven’t hesitated to contact someone who would be able to make the changes and have a conversation. Today that is essential. It is important to be pleasant, polite, concise and prepared to wait . Offering suggestions is part of the process now. I have been stunned by how quickly some things are changed for the better. I have been pleased to see how many sites now include that feedback loop. In the end we’ll all get good at this idea of DevOps. We are no longer a world of victims when it comes to development. We are now part of a collaborative process.

Visual planning

Habitica

Image: Habitica

There are so many visual planning apps and so much software these days for individual and collaborative use. Trello is one of the reliable, well known ones which also comes as an app from the Microsoft store for Windows 10. Techworld has a list of recommendations for worthwhile project planning tools to consider. It is  worth reading the comments too as they give other ideas about good visual planning tools people are using.
RealTimeBoard has a suite of tools for different purposes in terms of visual planning and they all have a free version as well as premium versions. My own favourite is MeisterTask which is good in that it breaks down the tasks for you so that you focus on the individual components and then there is room for collaboration if desired. Habitica adds a questing and gaming layer to increase motivation and achievement if that is what you like. All these planning tools allow you to see what you are doing and what you are achieving. You get sound visual feedback on progress and success so you don’t overlook the fact you have been working hard towards goals. You can see what has been done and what needs to be done very easily. That keeps you positive and motivated.

Personal Maps

Personal MapAs a teacher , you will be more than familiar with Mind Maps. They have been used in classrooms for quite some time and have been a great way to generate ideas, get students focussed, planning and ideas generation. I have used them a lot in languages to build vocabulary and expression and to deconstruct texts.  We are in the web 3.0 arena now where anyone can connect with others elsewhere with a specific task/project in mind. This video by Jurgen Appelo explains very clearly how you can use personal maps to break down barriers and create connections really quickly when you want unfamiliar groups of people to work together. I have also made a mental note to look up what software he is using to make that video because in terms of flexible learning it is very effective. The technique of the video presentation keeps the background uncluttered, it keeps the speaker in control and central and it allows the speaker to deliver a clean, clear message. In terms of UX (user experience) it means the viewer is always on task and always focussed. I have been using Freeplane, an open source mind mapping application. It’s colourful, useful and easy to use. It works on any platform but needs java installed. It creates very clear, uncluttered mind maps. I have done my own personal map which I am sharing with you.

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