Google Drive

Courtesy -

First of all I must I admit that I am a big Google fan.  Yes, I know they spy on you and you are absolutely correct that are growing very big and have their tentacles in a number of things and true like sky net in Terminator they will take over this planet and enslave the human race but while this goes on in the background I just wanted to tell you about a new cloud based service called the Google Drive…

A little history, before Google actually came up with the G-drive many applications were created that used your Gmail account space as an online storage but not to much success.  Actually it was a pitiful attempt but nonetheless a worthy cause.

Google’s entire business is based on offering the best cloud services around, so the fact that the company didn’t offer a true cloud-based storage service up until now is downright odd. Certainly, you could store files in Google docs or Gmail, but without a proper desktop component to sync with them, neither was especially efficient. But with the introduction of Google Drive, the search giant has managed to give its users a place to keep their files and more, turning Drive into one of the top cloud-based storage solutions virtually overnight.

The setup is super simple and pretty much functions like the popular cloud based services like Dropbox and Sugarsync.  Google actually gives you 5 GB of space and from what I hear your Google docs do not count against that space.  Currently G-drive is available for PC’s, Mac’s, Android and iPhone are soon to follow.  The cool deal with G-drive is that you can share files and have multiple people edit them.  Truly a collaborative tool!!  Ofcourse you can buy more space by upgrading to 25GB where you mat 2.49 a month or $30/year.  Not too bad right.  Exactly and Google is trying to get you from being a free user to a paid subscriber.  As an incentive it will bump your email account with 25GB of space.

Courtesy - Computer World

The interface is pretty simple and well integrated with your online Google docs account.  One of the service’s biggest advantages is its ability to recognize and open more than 30 file types, including HD video files of up to 10GB in size and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (PSD) files. Don’t have either program installed on your desktop? No problem, Google Drive’s preview mode allows you to open and preview those files without issue.  One of Google Drive’s more useful features is its ability to interface with apps from the Chrome Web Store.

Google Drive has what it takes to take on Dropbox, Box, Skydrive and other cloud services.  For users and businesses heavily tied to Google Docs, Google Drive will likely make more sense.  So go ahead and give it a try.  You know you already use gmail so chances are that this may be something you may actually like.

World of Tomorrow

I recently read a review about a book titled:   “Physics of the Future” by Michio Kaku, Ph.D., released in February of 2012.   Kaku is a professor of physics at the City College of New York.    The book interested me because the author makes prophesies about technology and he is also a theoretical physicist.    What captured me was his comment:  “Human are born with the curiosity of scientists but switch to investment banking.”  I started scanning his articles and web site for more information and found that he has written a series of books:   “Parallel Worlds” and “Einstein’s Cosmos.”  The Discovery Channel will be producing a ten series program on his bestselling book “Physics of the Future” and he has appeared in BBC series on:  “In Search of Time.”    

 Some of Dr.  Kaku’s  predictions:    

We will have driverless cars, Internet glasses (glasses/lenses which allow you to download from the internet), universal translators, synthetic organs, robot surgeons, and the resurrection of extinct life forms, designer children, space tourism, and a manned mission to Mars.  As we are aware, every 18 months computer power doubles (Moore’s Law)    in eight years, according to Professor Kaku, the cost of one chip will be a penny.  Instead of having one chip in our computer, we will have millions of chips in our cars, appliances, clothes.     

 Does most of this sound familiar?  Use of hand held language translators is advertised by the cell phone companies. Robotic surgery and driverless cars already exist in some form.   Many of these developments are already in the works and can be developed from existing research and technology.  Professor Kaku is drawing on current research and our future is there if we can reach it.    He believes human beings want to understand the sciences and technology but then we hit the years where the lack of good teachers and no inspiration turns people to banking.  How can education help students to want to learn? Many students are intimidated by science and technology.    His biggest concern is that the U.S. will fall behind these technical changes and lose our technological edge.   Even though our high schools graduate students lacking in math and science skills, by the time they hit college, then that’s when they begin to accelerate.    Our students are our future.    Scientists and engineers can change the world. 

M.Ash 4/27/12


Jing is powerful little desktop application that copies and pastes parts of screen into image or video. I use it to provide swift, specific support.

It is often said  ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’  Using Jing, I can use less text if I use pictures.  Pictures can offer reassurance that everyone is looking at the same thing.  It is easier to help remotely if we are at the same place.

Jing is the Chinese word for ‘essence.’ Being allowed to capture a portion of the screens and the five minute video limitation, it captures the essence of the solution provided.   Instead of showing a generic video that offers some support and a lot of extraneous information, Jing allows me to capture portions of the screen for quick, explicit directions.  The Jing sunburst sits on desktop ready to use with the click of my mouse.

Try Jing!

by keningilbert on May 14, 2010

Assitive Technology

In the world of IT, which is fast pace and constantly changing, it is an unfortunate occurrence that many groups of users are often left out, one of those groups in particular are those who are faced with learning disabilities, physical handicaps or both. One tool that I found to be helpful when utilizing the web with this particular group is Cynthia Says. Cynthia Says is a web database offered by HiSoftware and is used to analyze how handicap accessible a website is. To utilize the database, simply follow the link below and upon reaching the page, type in the URL of the website in question, check the boxes corresponding to what it is that you would like tested and click the Test My Site. The database will then generate a report that will inform you on the strengths and weaknesses of the site in mind. Enjoy!

Twitter for Development

Hearing about Twitter for the first time less than six years ago, I thought, ”How dumb.  140-characters to text something pithy like-Had a latte at Starbucks-How pretentious and who cares?”  But now I’m a Twitter lurker.  It is one of my go-to-tools for professional development. I use Twitter to follow leaders in Instructional Technology/Support and Blended Librarianship, for general academic news, and for the occasional inspirational quote. It provides a snapshot for ideas and topics that the academic community is actively discussing. It is yet another way to keep current.

By shortening urls and adding images, you can circumvent the character restrictions.  A teaser message is tweeted and you can choose to investigate further by following the link and #hashtags.  This teaser message is effective for me.  Being able to quickly switch focus at a moment’s notice coupled with my short attention span make Twitter an ideal tool. My mother-in-law describes this phenomenon as behaving like ‘a fart in a lantern.’ I believe she may mean ‘a firefly in a lantern.’  Regardless often I feel as though I am caught in the lantern.  I find myself flitting around and losing myself in the ripples of information, culling it, repackaging, and sending to hopefully interested parties.

Twitter is like a treasure hunt for information. Finding the right guides to follow is key to finding treasures quickly. I have chosen to follow people who are prominent and prolific tweeters and then add the people they follow.

I don’t use a twitter manager like TweetDeck or HootSuite. I don’t use my phone to text my twitters. I go directly to on a computer.

There some exciting uses of Twitter in your classrooms like running commentaries for in class movies, field trip tweets, real time reactions, etc.  Look at to collect feeds into a cohesive group.

Try Twitter!

25 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom, By Degree Of Difficulty
Edudemic (28 March 2012)by Jeff Dunn
20 Terrific Twitter Tips
Laptop (28 January 2011)by Anna Attkisson
Twitter Theory and the Public Scholar |
Scholarship | HYBRID PEDAGOGY (22 March 2012) by Pete Rorabaugh
6 Reasons Twitter is Becoming My New E-mail – Forbes
By Steve Cooper (10 April 2012)

My not-so earth shattering  lurker Twitter account is @mo_boland

Inside look at how the iPad is made – Marketplace

Most of us just cannot get enough of Apple products.  I must admit they are sleek, trendy, appealing and super cool.  Ever wonder how these devices are made?

We all know that these products are made in China, and Foxconn has been all over the news for bit now, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we could get a glimpse of the inner workings of this factory.

Thanks to Rob Schmitz from American Public Media’s Marketplace, we can all take a peek at the iPad production line.  The hope is to educate user on the reality of Foxconn Longhua facilty.

Lets take a look, shall we…


Dr. Dre Beats Audio HeadPhones

You have to get a pair of these headphones if you are into music and quality sound.  Great sound, good bass and you can really hear the music as it is produced at the studio.  They are very obvious and visible (looks good also) so if you like technology that blends in, then these headphones are not for you.

A bit pricey but I would highly I would highly recommend them.

iPads or Laptops

If you could buy one mobile device for a student would it be an iPad or a laptop?  Now that Ultrabooks have been released, weight is less of a factor and they are more functional because of the multiple input options (flashdrives, SD cards, HDMI, etc.).  iPads are great but a laptop may offer a bigger bang for the buck (they still don’t support flash, so there is some compatibility issues as well).  Also, some manufacturers are going to offer touch screen functionality in a laptop form factor as well.  So you have $800 bucks, what do you buy/recommend for a student?

Goodbye Novell GroupWise…Hello Microsoft Office 365

City Colleges is moving to the cloud by implementing Microsoft’s Office 365, a suite of hosted collaboration services which includes email using Outlook 2010. CCC is first implementing Outlook 2010 email service with possible plans to implement other Office 365 services.

Outlook 2010 provides a more robust and streamlined email system for City Colleges as well as greater mobility, enabling access to email and communication services from anywhere on most devices. Click to read more information about Office 365 and Outlook.

The migration schedule for the remaining CCC locations is as follows:

CCC Location**

Migration to Outlook

Harold Washington & Olive-Harvey

April 16

Malcolm X & Truman

April 23

Kennedy-King & District Office

April 30

**Satellite locations will be migrated with their associated colleges.