Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Patriot Spy - Webrangers NPS
This cool interactive from the National Park Service starts right: it has sound!. Designed to introduce students to four of Boston's historic locations, it assigns students four tasks involving a painting or document. (I masterfully got all 4). Completion here grants you a token to the larger Webranger game, and also links to the individual historic sites.

IMHO, the play to "critical thinking skills" is a little heavy; and I'd shorten the introductory directions. Also we learn almost nothing of the people involved. Still, kudos to the Park Service team for this exploration of learning through sound, motion and interactity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NMAH: Closing the National Museum of American History
Might want to change your labor day plans--your next chance to see the National Museum will be mid 2008! "The full museum will close to the public as of September 5. (Labor Day, September 4, will be the last day to visit the museum.)"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When State Standards Go Wrong Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Later today, a gathering at the National Press Club will receive the latest study of state education standards. If you check in, and are as disappointed in progress as might be expected, you might just sign up for next Tuesday's session on Entrepreneurship in Education (

Our own experience with state education standards a few years back was a real eye-opener. The BS-to-content ratio was amazing even by government standards. And the writing! Oh, my. We had previously thought engineers to be negligent with the basics of Rhetoric. Huh. They had nothing on O.D.E. educrats!

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Violent Underground - Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone From Yahoo! News
Sites visits the tunnels used by the North Vietnamese in their war with America. Interesting video and photos.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gucci goes Ajaxy!
Ajaxian points out the relaunch of Gucci's site with AJAX and instead of Flash. We don't shop Gucci, thus can't personally vouch that the new site looks like the old version; it does imitate many Flash sites past. You can try Runway Fashion for their version of slider effects.

Most important to us, you can see that we were able to give you a link for Runway Fashion. That's not always the case in Flash sites, and one of the big advantages of the AJAXy approach.

Monday, August 21, 2006

FlashForward 2006
The 2006 edition of this famous conference is just around the corner: Sept. 11-14 in Austin!

Friday, August 18, 2006

UBCD for Windows 3.0!
On occaision, we take this space to give news that has nothing to do with history or education or new media, but may just make your life easier. Today is such a day: This summer, while we were burning ribs or somesuch and you were who-knows-where, the folks at Ultimate Boot CD for Windows were busy releasing version 3.0!

If you've never used UBCD, you may be lucky, or wealthy, or you just didn't know it was there. But is sure helps fix broken computers, as we often do to pay the web hosting provider. And version 3.0 is just sweet. Much, much easier to build a disk than before. New tools, new look, mem test before boot - all great new stuff.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Alexander Hamilton . Gallery of Peers New-York Historical Society
Here we have a unique way of approaching a story: a browser of the main character's contemporaries. In this case Hamilton's friends and enemies run from Dolly Madison to Gouverneur Morris.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Death in Sakkara BBC
This beautifully crafted game of Egyptian mystery had me hooked - for about 10 minutes.

Alas, if there's deep learning here, I'll not know. I spent quite awhile trying to guess the combination to the safe - without which the game just ends in the 4rd scene. Next, my arrow-key skills were too low to catch the thief--without whom the game also comes to a screeching halt. I fear the discussion board won't help me cheat through the mouse chase, so... let me know how the game comes out.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Flickr Clusters: Photos tagged with americanrevolution
Of course you want images for your interactive--or maybe you just need some inspriration and you know you could get it if you could just make get the gas money to go to Antietam or the Alamo. Flickr clusters perhaps to the rescue. Tag searches are great-sometimes. And sometimes they're a bit exasperating. If you haven't found Flickr clusters, here's a heads up. We found clusters for americanrevolution, civilwar, statues, civilrights, WWII, and WWI. Of course, the clusters for Kings turned up more on Kings Canyon and Kings College; I can't find any methodical way to find new clustered tags. But maybe you know more, or can add these and more to the Wiki.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Yahoo! Video
This may be obvious to many readers: Look to the video services of Yahoo! and others for inspiration, ideas, clips, and connections. Yahoo's collection has grown nicely. (Of course, you may see a lot of other stuff). Try Thomas Jefferson, American Revolution, Crusades, or just History.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Constitution High School Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
The impetus to teach more history grows!! You recall the National Constitution Center? They've teamed up with Guilder Lehrman to build and run a high school. It's in Philly - home to some of the very worst schools in the nation a few years back.

More surprising is that there are already 31 History High Schools around the country. But maybe you, dear reader, go to one!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Drake Well Museum
In our non-stop quest to bring you the best ideas in storytelling, we took one for the team and took time from our camping weekend in Allegheny National Forest to visit Titusville and the Drake Oil Well Museum. We walked in the footsteps and learned of the tenacity of Col. Drake (no, not Sir Francis Drake - Edwin Drake).

Of all things, the movie in the visitors center starred a young Vincent Price!

Good news for those interested: The 150th anniversary of this huge moment in the industrial revolution is just around the corner...and the Feds are providing money to celebrate. Big improvements to this site will be coming in the next several years. Send them your ideas for new media!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Click to activate and use this control
We missed this - you probably didn't. If the problem still exists, or if you are creating based on old info, you might want to check out the solutions.

We hadn't actually seen ("The Flash/Flex ActionScript Developer Community") for awhile. Glad to see they're still flying!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Enterprise Integration with Ruby Maik Schmidt / Pragmatic Bookshelf
OK, we're not really going to tell you about building enterprise software. I wouldn't begin to presume!

But an hour with this book this morn cleared up for me my recent intuition to learn Ruby and Rails. I get these feelings about some technologies and languages and not about others; until this morn I couldn't place exactly why Ruby draws me.

It's this: the OHP website is far from "Enterprise". But it ( along with certain of my other projects) has enterprise-like aspects. Most of these are faked through some generously open and WELL documented library of php functions or free services that together deliver the blog, forums, wiki, etc. But it's becoming apparent that keeping up will require much more code, especially on the DOM side.

Ruby gives the feeling that one can hope to pull together many code bits in the way enterprises have, without the total confusion of JAVA & Javascript libraries, frameworks, and tools that have been the case so far.

This hope may or may not mature, but that's what struck me while reading this well-crafted book.