Thursday, 31 December 2009

31. Desktop Publishing with Scribus


Scribus is a desktop publishing package that is free and open source. There is not much more to be said since most people know what these words mean! Very useful if you want to present material in a very professional manner.

Scribus

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

30. Search the computer with SearchMyFiles

Do you ever get frustrated that you cannot find the right file on your computer? You know it is there somewhere, but the Windows search is not specific enough? SeachMyFiles here is an alternative. According to them "It allows you to easily search files in your system by wildcard, by last modified/created/last accessed time, by file attributes, by file content (text or binary search), and by the file size. SearchMyFiles allows you to make a very accurate search that cannot be done with Windows search. For Example: You can search all files created in the last 10 minutes with size between 500 and 700 bytes." I am not sure the last time I created a file of only 700 bytes, but the principle is excellent.

SearchMyFiles

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

29. Visual home page with Symbaloo


This is a new visually-based website that is good for a home page, to replace the more widely used text-heavy iGoogle or similar. Simply set up each square for a link to your regular information sources and it will display all those pages. The image you see above is the UK standard default, which already includes quite a few of my favourite websites.

Symbaloo

Monday, 28 December 2009

28. E-Readers from Barnes and Noble - The Nook

Barnes and Noble have launched their own e-Reader, and sold out their pre-launch versions such that now the next delivery will not be until February. (Check their website for details Barnes and Noble)

However, before you buy, you may want to compare to the Kinder. A comparison on specifications can be found in the Gizmodo website. In brief, it uses the Android operating system, and seems to avoid text-to-speech, probably to avoid the problems that Amazon had had over access issues. However, a hacker has found there may be speech-to-text. So there may be other things still to come.

Unfortunately, I think this case with a blind student in the US will limit the take-up of e-readers in the near future as manufacturers will be reluctant to include text-to-speech until the issues are resolved. (If my interpretation of the legal issue is correct, the problem is put across in the media as the device is not accessible to the blind, a legitimate concern. However, if you read the background, it appears that the problem is around concern that the course notes are not available at the beginning of the course in a form that is accessible to Kinder in a manner that can be easily accessed by the blind. But this failure of the university to offer e-notes to the student(s) has been around for a long time. So the reality is that the blind student is still as badly off now as they were before Kinder, while the dyslexic individual would be better off but is denied its use. Instead of addressing the old issue of ensuring course material is available at the right time, his university has been accused of discriminating. So Kinder appear to have withdrawn the text-to-speech, and so no dyslexic individual can benefit. Of course, there is also the argument with the Writer Guild of America. But that is separate.

Gizmodo review of the Nook

Sunday, 27 December 2009

27. Better searching - through YouTube

In the good old days, searching for information was simple - you went down to the local library when it was open! Things have changed slightly with the internet. The trouble is, there are so many tricks that you cannot keep track of them all. However, if you go to YouTube and type in "effective searching in google" (for example) you will find a number of very informative tips that may help cut down the huge volumes of useless information.

YouTube

Saturday, 26 December 2009

26. Notes on the desktop - Hott Notes

As you can see from the illustration, you can not only use this for notes, but you can also add images to it.

Hott Notes

Friday, 25 December 2009

25. How many days until - Timeleft

Do you ever loose track of how long it is to a big event? Here is an excellent piece of software which has multiple and fully adjustable "timers", including reminders, Clock, Timer, Auction Watch, Countdown, Stopwatch and Stickers. Available in English, German, French and Italian.

Timeleft

Thursday, 24 December 2009

24. Auto Enter with TypingAid

Typing Aid is, as the webpage says, a simple, compact and handy auto-completion utility. It includes:
- Auto-complete words and phrases in any window which you set
- Support European languages with accents - so you can use in any language.
- Show suggestion tooltips, no toolbar used.
- Add words and phrases to word list with shortcut key.
- No configuration needed
- Portable (you can put it on an USB memory stick), so installation needed.

So for example, I could just type "Ian" (it uses the first three letters) and I can make it so that it would give me the full set of alternatives such as my email address which I then enter using the number keys.

The download comes with a "blank" template for work lists, but there are many on their website to download.

And it appears to work in all programs including Word and while doing this blog in Firefox. It is without doubt one of the neatest I have seen, and would say this is my find of the year (so far!).

Typing Aid

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

23. Keeping it clear in Chrome with Adthwart

The Google Chrome browser is slowly making inroads to the market, and the inclusion of an Extensions Gallery will, not doubt, begin to remove the advantages that Firehfox has with all those little extras. One of my pet hates is all the advertising that now follows us around, and litters the desktop landscape with distracting dross. Now it seems there is a new extension Adthwart for Google Chrome that blocks intrusive ads using EasyList filter. I wonder how happy Google will be about that?!

Adthwart

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

22. Manage your chaos! Use Chaos Manager

According to their website, "Organize your chaos. Chaos Manager is a compact freeware organizer with a simple and easy look and feel. Features appointments/to-do's, contacts (address-/phone book), calendar, multi-topic notebook (supports text formatting), sync via Internet, e-mail forwarding of appointments/to-do's, print/import/export, search options, skinnable and lots of customizable options, so you can personalize it"

Chaos Manager

Monday, 21 December 2009

21. Easy access using MouseExtender

This is a screenshot from MouseExtender, showing roughly what it would look like when you set it up. Basically you can make it a great little short cut device to quickly access programs, folders and files. Very flexible.

MouseExtender

Sunday, 20 December 2009

20. Do we need to know who is dyslexic? Just give us the technology!

In the UK we have had a number of recent “reviews” around the subject of dyslexia. First there was Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties (affectionately known as The Rose Report) published on Monday 22 June 2009. Then we had the parliamentary Science and Technology Committee report, published 18 December 2009. The first reviewed the research, while the second questioned the quality of the evidence and the use of the term dyslexia. Given the words this committee used, one has to question their intention as well as their capability (NB I could not see their academic credentials to ensure they knew how to carry out research). Were they trying to do something useful, or stop funding of 4000 specialist teachers and other funding opportunities? Sadly they cannot see the irony of their own methods, which is that they carefully chose who to interview and what to cite. This clearly creates a bias in the approach. Yet they criticise the research into dyslexia! You cannot have it both ways.

The Committee’s Conclusions and Recommendations says “The Rose Report’s definition of dyslexia is exceedingly broad and says that dyslexia is a continuum with no clear cut-off points. The definition is so broad and blurred at the edges that it is difficult to see how it could be useful in any diagnostic sense.” My view is that instead of prolonging the arguement around cut-off criteria (which are always a funding-related issue), why don’t they put some funding into assistive technology that could then be distributed free to everybody irrespective of the label, and thereby save a huge amount of money?

Science and Technology Committee Report

Saturday, 19 December 2009

19. A suite to suit your language - Lupo Pensuite

Lupo Pensuite (I am not sure why the name!) is a set of programs all in one suite. It includes 7-Zip, Audacity, CCleaner, eMule, FileZilla, Firefox, Foxit Reader, GIMP, IrfanView, Notepad++, Opera, Pidgin, Thunderbird, ĀµTorrent, VLC and many more. Of course not all are for the dyslexic user. But having them as portable version that can be accessed from a USB that travels with you is a good idea. And you can add your own portable software too. Of great importance is that they are available in 28 languages. (Arabic, Brazilian (Port.), Catalan, Chinese (Simpl.), Chinese (Trad.), Czech, Danish, Deutsch, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Swedish, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian), with an invitation to contribute more.

Lupo PenSuite

Friday, 18 December 2009

18. Reassign the progam to open a file with Coffee

Do you ever get annoyed because a setting in Windows means every file of a certain type gets opened by one program? Here is a little tool that lets you reassign what program opens what. This means you can open a file using what you have on your USB memory stick, for example.

Coffee

Thursday, 17 December 2009

17. Meetings made easy with MeeBee

Too busy to find a good way to organise a meeting? Then you may want to try this one.

MeeBee

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

16. Draw anytime - with Draw Anytime!

This website could be called just another drawing package/concept map. But it would be better to describe is as good for certain tasks, such as:
  • Draw Flowcharts, Process diagrams, Organizational charts and more.
  • Share your diagram with others or link to your webpage.
  • Export your diagram as an image file (jpg, png etc).
It requires no software to download. It works with the Flash player in your browser.

Draw Anywhere

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

15. Concept mapping in Business

Just over a month ago I highlighted a concept mapping blog run by Chuck Frey. Today I just wanted to highlight one of their articles, on producing concept maps at work, which he calls "How to manage a complex writing project using mind mapping software". The article is clearly writen, and although some would people prefer to see it as a YouTube entry, this is short enough to be very useful.

Concept mapping article

Monday, 14 December 2009

14. Website to watch - Teachnology

Although I reviewed this over a year ago (11 November 2008), it is worth highlighting again. With now over 8000 worksheets and 30,000 lesson plans, there should be something for all. But the secret, as with all things reviewed here, is to take the best parts of it and adapt to your own particular needs. So that just because Hot Subjects included a Phonics section (and UK reader should not that this is an American site), it does not mean there is something for you. But perhaps there is an inspiration.

Teachnology

Sunday, 13 December 2009

13. In brief

I discovered some time ago about the synthesis or summarisizing of information, and how you could reduce the amount of words you need to read (or access through text-to-speech) by clicking a button in Word. I thought that this function has been lost in 2007. However, if you look deep enough, you will find it. I am grateful to Diane Huggins for the following:

1. Click the Office button and choose Word Options.
2. Click Customize.
3. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose Commands Not In the Ribbon.
4. In the list of available commands, locate and select AutoSummary Tools.
5. Click the Add button. The command is copied to the right side of the dialog box.
6. Click OK.

Source of information

Saturday, 12 December 2009

12. Etherpad evolution

Apparently Etherpad, the superfast online collaborative text tool, has been acquired by Google. It seems that there was a danger of it closing.But rumour had it that is will continue to function (thanks to Jane Hart for info, plus the Etherpad blog). However, this does not appear to be the case when I checked last night. All I can say is that I hope it comes back.

(No point proving a link I know does not work. But you can try EtherPad in Google for the latest new.)

News Source (Jane Hart - 6 December 2009)

Friday, 11 December 2009

11. Innovations in accessibility - with YouTube

I was recently told about this exciting development which provides a hint at the way ahead! (Thanks Anna.) Basically, YouTube will used speech recognition software to match your transcription of a video to the video itself. So you end up with auto captioning. This means you have a chance to read the text as it is spoken. This may provide a creative way to develop reading and reading comprehension skills in the future, as well as other skills. And then of course you could translate it too!!!

YouTube Caption

Thursday, 10 December 2009

10. Password storage - with portable Keepass

I first reviewed Keypass back in August 2008, and I would say I have used it (almost - but then let's not talk about me, computers and holidays!) every day since then. To me it is by far the best way to store all my passwords. Version 1.17 of the portable version has just come out. The "portable version" means you can keep it on your USB memory, and access the information from any website. As one of the recent reviewers say, "Been using this program since early 2007 and don't know how I could do without. Truly a grand piece of art!"

Portable Keepass

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

09. Boarding passes - always with you

On my last overseas trip I was send an electronic boarding pass to my phone (a Blackberry). This seemed a great idea, as I would never loose it. (They don't actually send the Boarding Pass, they send the web link, and hope you have an internet connection at the point of entry.) There is only one problem with this particular version - it does not say my seat place! So I still had to take the paper version anyway.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

08. Text to speech widget from Yahoo

This is a simple little desktop widget from yahoo. The widget sits on your desktop, you copy and paste words into it, and the widget speaks it for you.

iSpeak

Monday, 7 December 2009

07. Organising from the USB with PStart

If you are now carrying your programs on a USB stick so that you can plug in anywhere, you may want to consider this little tool. It is described on the website as "a simple tray tool to start user defined applications. Designed to run portable applications (like portable Firefox & Thunderbird), you can start anything runnable from USB key devices or removable disks." And of course it can sit on the USB drive.

PStart

Sunday, 6 December 2009

06. Seek and you will find, with Google (blog) Search

At the start of next year I shall reorganise this blog so that you can find what you are looking for more easily. At the moment, if you wanted to find what I has said about concept mapping, you would need to go back through nearly 500 entries. But there is a quicker way. At the top left there is a white box. Just put in your key words, and hit the "magnifier". (Ok, so it is a circle with a short line coming out of it!) And then that will list all the entries I have made that refer to concept mapping. So why would I change the system? Because it is not always possible to find the right keywords.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

05. Dictionary and thesaurus from Wordweb


According to their own website "WordWeb is a comprehensive one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows. It can be used to look up words from almost any program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. It includes pronunciations and usage examples, and has helpful spelling and sounds-like links." Beware that the sound files are about 84Meg.

Wordweb


Friday, 4 December 2009

04. Onscreen ruler and visual help

Every now and again I come across what I consider to be a really cool piece of software, which I am sure does more than maybe the author intended. Today is one such entry.

Onscreen Ruler is a simple onscreen ruler (!) which is designed to allow you to measure the size of something on the screen, in pixels, millimetres or whatever. But you can change the colours and the degree of transparency (through right clicking), and the length (through dragging from the right). This means it is a very easy onscreen ruler to use when trying to follow text on screen. And I could even have more than one at once!

A guide to shortcuts can be found at
https://sites.google.com/site/rulerhelp/shortcuts-1

Onscreen Ruler

Thursday, 3 December 2009

03. Full screen ahead

Sometime I get really upset with myself for not knowing something so simple. I am sure many readers already know this already, but for those few who do not ....

If you find yourself on a website where you really need more of the site visible, and less of the browser, try hitting F11. (This works in Firefox and Internet Explorer.) This should fill the screen, and maximise the area available. (Hit F11 again to get out of it.) I find this very useful when working on a netbook. I am just annoyed with myself for not knowing it before! (Thanks Marek.)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

02. Online presentations with Preezo

This is, in effect, making Powerpoint presentations online. Good, clean effective. Give you anytime access and the chance for collaboration.

Preezo

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

01. November Review

Today sees the last of my monthly review, with the one on January 1st being for the year, and then I will try the new format which will allow people to find answers more quickly. All they will have to do is search the past month instead of the past 500 entries.

Commentary
08. Online assessment

Hardware
03. Tablet PC from Archos
09. Apple mouse
18. Just put your lips together and blow - Key finder
23. Shopping for Livescribe

Memory and organisation
10. Stickies update
16. Timelines made easy - Tom's Planner
28. Tracking business notes with Timetonote

Visual presentations
20. Mind mapping software update - Inspiration 9
07. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for free

Blogwatch
14. Blogwatch - concept mapping

Resources
06. SEN Teacher

Screen recording, sharing and backup
05. Recording calls with Cogi
13. Back- for free with Save2FTPup
21. Recording phone calls with Recordiapro
30. Remote control from tightvn

Projects
04. Study skills project - DESSDYS
15. Discovery 1
29. Dys2 - the return of Edysgate

Text-to-speech
17. Text-to-Speech with Talking Clipboard

User preferences
11. Zooming using QZoom
25. Mini magnifier from Optelec

Miscellaneous
02. DysFest
12. Spellchecking with Tinyspell
19. Download Microsoft Office 10 Beta
22. Window 7 - from experience
24. Talking avatars from Voki
26. Keyboard for the iPhone
27. Make a tiny (memorable) URL with TinyURL

Monday, 30 November 2009

30. Remote control from tightvn

It seems that remote control of desktops is becoming commonplace, and certainly a boone for dyslexic individual and those who are supporting them. This free software allows you to see and take control of somebody else's computer. Great is you want to help demonstrate to a colleague how to use software, for example.

TightVN Remote control

Sunday, 29 November 2009

29. Dys2 - the return of Edysgate

I try to keep people up to date with projects that are starting or have made significant progress recently. In this case, I want to inform readers of an exciting project that I have been involved with, for which the first (two year) part is already completed. Now it enters a second version, Dys2, which is an extention of Edysgate.

It is about making game-based activities to help develop the areas of:

1. Auditory discrimination
2. Auditory memory
3. Auditory sequence
4. Visual discrimination
5. Visual memory
6. Visual sequence
7. Spatial position (e.g. top, bottom, behind, ahead, left, right)

These computer-based activities may be used in conjuction with other teacher-based activities to help develop these skills that are used in the development of literacy skills.

It is a partnership between UK, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Lithuania.

The Dys2 website will be launched towards the end of January. In the meantime, the original activities can be accessed through the Edysgate website.

Edysgate

Saturday, 28 November 2009

28. Tracking business notes with Timetonote


There are many systems that allow you to track what you do. And in the end, it comes down to you remembering to follwo a system, no matter how complex or simple. Timetonote is an attempt to bring organisations to some compoents of business, such as tracking the follow-up actions on phone calls and logging actions.

Time to Note

Friday, 27 November 2009

27. Make a tiny (memorable) URL with TinyURL

Have you noticed how web addresses are gettting longer and longer! Take for example, if I wanted to tell you about my book due out in January, Dyslexia in the Digital Age:

Standard link: http://www.continuumbooks.com/books/detail.aspx?BookId=133190&SubjectId=940&Subject2Id=1067

The TinyURL website allows you to cut it down into something manageable (here I used the abbreviation of the book - dida - and the author).
http://tinyurl.com/didasmythe

You can register your own links at www.tinyurl.com

Thursday, 26 November 2009

26. Keyboard for the iPhone

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not a lover of the iPhone. But part of that is because I miss the tactile experience I feel with the Blackbery. I know what key my fingers are tapping! Well it seems that now you can get that experience by using 4iThumbs. As I understand it, it is an overlay that goes on the front of the screen, or stored on the back. Cost are around $20.

4iThumbs

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

25. Mini magnifier from Optelec

At first glance this may appear to be something more for the visually impaired community than the dyslexic. But try reading those ingredients on a food packed, or instructions on medicines. You know the ones, those with the unreadably small type. this could be a useful tool to make life easier. The Optelec Compact mini is a small and light video magnifier, designed to be a simple and effective, high contrast alternative to a traditional optical magnifier.

Livescribe Shop

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

24. Talking avatars from Voki

These free talking avatars can be used to animate emails, websites and other places. I confess I have not tired them yet, and look forward to hearing from those who have.

Voki Talking Avatars

Monday, 23 November 2009

23. Shopping for Livescribe

It seems that Livescribe have now added an online shop to help those looking to buy this increasingly popular hardware.

Livescribe Shop

Sunday, 22 November 2009

22. Window 7 - from experience

For all those out there thinking they should stick with Vista (or XP!) as they do not want to try yet another new operating system in Windows 7, I can tell you that so far the difference I have found are minimal. Clearly there must be new features, but so far I have been able to use all the old functions, and change back to older interfaces where necessary.

How do I know? Because I have just bought a new machine (Sony Vaio 15.5in VGN-NW20SF for the record) with Windows 7 installed. Why? because the old computer decided not to work. Did I loose any data? Everything was backed up only a few days before, and all new documents had been send to colleagues for checking. So (remarkably for me) no data lost!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

21. Recording phone calls with Recordiapro

Thanks to Robert for this suggestion. It is a hassle free call recorder. It is a paid-for service, but then you often (but no always) get what you pay for.

Recordia Pro

Friday, 20 November 2009

20. Mind mapping software update - Inspiration 9

If you are contemplating buying concept mapping software any time soon, you may like to consider that Version 9 of Inspiration is due out in January 2010. I am not suggesting that it is the one to buy, but if you are looking to compare them all, this adds a new presentation tool that may be useful for some users.

Inspiration 9

Thursday, 19 November 2009

19. Download Microsoft Office 10 Beta

It seems the Beta version of Microsoft Office 10 is already out there to try. Of course I do not want people to be confused by problems in Beta versions. But I do like people to have free versions where possible.

Microsoft Office 10 Beta

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

18. Just put your lips together and blow - Key finder

These things used to be everywhere a few years ago, but seemed to disappear. Anyway, I have just come across again those little gadgets which you can attach to your keys. Then just whistle and the device will make a noise so you locate the keys (or anything else you attach them to). I am sure there are many sources, but here is one. (Product code 01063.)

Hawkin's Bazaar

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

17. Text-to-Speech with Talking Clipboard

This is a text-to-speech software which has some additional functions. Basically it is a cut-and-paste type, whereby you identify text in another application (e.g. Word or your browser) and copy it into this software.

Talking Clipboard

Monday, 16 November 2009

16. Timelines made easy - Tom's Planner

This is a simple way to help plan out your activities, whether it is a project, an essay or a party. It helps put everything in order, and track what you should do, and by when.

Tom's Planner

Sunday, 15 November 2009

15. Discovery 1

This autumn a number of new EU-funded project are starting, bringing together partners and expertise from across Europe. I am delighted to say that Discovery 1, led by a school in Vasto in the Abruzzo Region of Italy, held their first meeting last month. The project is about helping the dyslexic individual and those at risk of dyslexia transfer from pre-school to primary school with the minimum of problems.

Partners include Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Turkey. The language of the project is English, and therefore all resources will also be available in English. I will advise readers of this blog when their website will be ready.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

14. Blogwatch - concept mapping

Probably one of the best ways to keep up with what is going on in the field of concept mapping is to subscribe to Chuck Frey's Mindmapping Blog, published weekly. Of course it is so full that it can be difficult to separate out the most useful information, and it also addresses the business world. But there are useful hints in there.

Mindmapping Blog

Friday, 13 November 2009

13. Back- for free with Save2FTPup

Quoting their website "Save2FTP is an easy-to-use FREEWARE utility intended for automatically backing up your important data to remote FTP servers. It will help you to organize your backups and schedule automatic backups. Save2FTP also features an intuitive user interface making even the most advanced features easily accessible for beginners and professionals. It is designed to fit all your needs."

Save2FTP

Thursday, 12 November 2009

12. Spellchecking with Tinyspell

According to their website "Occasionally you need to check spelling in an application that does not include a spelling checker and you don't want to launch your word processor just for that. This is when tinySpell becomes handy. It is a small utility that allows you to easily and quickly check and correct the spelling in any Windows application."

TinySpell

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

11. Zooming using QZoom

QZoom describes itself as a full screen zoom and operation tool like Mac OS X in Windows XP and Vista. There is little more to add!

QZoom

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

10. Stickies update

An updated version of the well respected Zhorn Stickies is now available, also in a portable (USB memory stick) version. That means you can put it on your memory stick and take it with you anywhere.

Stickies

Monday, 9 November 2009

09. Apple mouse

I see this new Apple mouse as something slick, but also as a chance to move the touchpad off the computer as I keep on touching it!

Apple Mouse

Sunday, 8 November 2009

08. Online assessment

I thought I would be a little provocative today and mention about online assessment. (Readers please note that I have a commercial interest in online assessment, so my opinions may be biased!)

If there are 1,000,000 new school entrants every year in the UK, and 10% are dyslexic, that is 100,000 dyslexic kids. So, surprising as it may sound, we could solve the problem of assessments with just 500 assessors (assuming one assessment per day for 200 days a year). The problem with the maths is that we would have to have identified who to assess first (using an assessor?) and that these are all in accessible places. The alternative is to use mass evaluation of all kids, rather than just a select few. But, you say, don’t you mean screening? That depends on your point of view. If a computer can give the same degree of accuracy of, say, memory as a human assessor, do you need to be paying £100 an hour for the face-to-face service? (A human assessor is not as reliable as we may think. At least a computer is consistent!)

But what about support for those identified? Shouldn’t there be somebody on hand to provide emotional support? Yes, I agree. Therefore, at least in the short term, until we have a real Turing machine (where the you cannot tell if the support is human or computer, as is already happening in medical services) for me the concept of online screening/testing/assessment/evaluation is about combining human resources with computer resources to provide a service that is cost effective and easy to implement. For me, it is not about computers. It is about identifying the needs of dyslexic individuals and delivery of appropriate support as soon as possible and in the most effective way. It may not be perfect, but isn't it better than nothing?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

07. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for free

Many dyslexic individuals turn to the visual arts as a means of expression. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is for those who want to get more out of a photograph. The link below shows how it can be accessed for free.

Lightroom

Friday, 6 November 2009

06. SEN Teacher

This is a website that provide resources for teachers of special educational needs children, including those with dyslexia. It includes computer based literacy activities as well as typing tutors.

SEN Teacher

Thursday, 5 November 2009

05. Recording calls with Cogi

There are a number of phone call recording systems, and Cogi (pronounced Co-Gee) is yet another. It costs, but it does appear to offer a better set up, and can be arranged to record mobile conversations too as well as conference calls.

Cogi

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

04. Study skills project - DESSDYS

I thought that I would announce the start of a new dyslexia related EU project even thought the website is not yet launched. It is called DESSDYS, and is about providing online e-learning about study skills for dyslexic post-16 students. The project is a collaboration between England, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland and Turkey, with resources available in all these languages. Let me if know if you are interested to be a part of this and I will forward information to the appropriate partner. (See my email address on the side of this blog.) I shall let you know when we have a website.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

03. Tablet PC from Archos


This is a neat little table PC from the manufacturers as what I have seen for years as huge storage and media playing devices. So it is only logical that they made a touchscreen Netbook.

Archos Table Netbook

Monday, 2 November 2009

02. DysFest

I do not usually mention events on this blog, but in this case I make an exception.

Dysfest is the first dyslexia film festival in the UK. The aim behind the festival is to look at the different ways dyslexia has been portrayed in films.

It starts today, Monday 2-11-2009, and runs until Friday 6-11-2009, starting from 6.15pm. This will be held at University College London (UCL). It’s FREE entry but there is a need to reserve a place.

The Director of DysFest, Pietro Passarelli, like the Directors is dyslexic and a self confessed techno geek.

Unfortunately I was unable to help directly this week. But this is my way to promote the activity. Check out the website for more details.

Dysfest

Sunday, 1 November 2009

01. October Review

This month I did not see any real highlights, though there were some good things. The decreased price of Captura was good (19). I like mini Homer (07). It is the sort of thing I would buy on impulse it I saw it. And the flash cards (28) seemed worth following up.

Collaborative work
04. Collaborative suites
20. Office live - from Microsoft

Commentary
01. September Review
10. Keeping up to date with technology - Google Wave
17. Keeping up-to-date - E-learning: How important
18. Search Me has gone! At least for now.

Hardware
07. Mini Homer, for where its at
14. Kindle in the UK
25. Wireless power

Memory and organisation
02. Highlight and save web pages with iCyte
09. Netnotes links the note to the net!
21. Notes taking with Knowledge Notebook

Resources
03. E-learning and assistive technology from Lexdi
13. Work lookup (and hearing) with WkiLook

Screen recording and sharing
16. Screen sharing with Skype

Text-to-speech
19. Shoot and hear from Captura

Miscellaneous
05. See your battery life in colour with BattCurso
06. Convert to PDF in many languages with doPDF
08. Open Office for Mac - NeoOffice
11. News Flash for smart phones
12. YouTube (and similar) easy downloads
15. Check that URL with URL Fixer
22. Learning languages with Lingoversity
23. Magnifier with PCLoupe
24. Keeping up-to-date with Twitter
26. Tracking what works
27. Photo editing with Picnik
28. Flash cards with BambooApps
29. Security software - from Microsoft

Saturday, 31 October 2009

31. Zotero video tutorial - from Edenskills

I have had Zotero, a reference logging software, on my computer for some time, but have never utilised it because I am not sure how to use it. Here is a video from Edenskills which takes you through the basics.

Zotero video tutorial

Friday, 30 October 2009

30. Free text to speech from Yakitome

This is free text to speech that is used around the world. It appears to be available in English, Spanish, French and German.

Yakitome

Thursday, 29 October 2009

29. Security software - from Microsoft

Microsoft have launched free security software that is for XP, Vista and Windows 7. One should be grateful, though also asking why now? Is somebody trying to start a Class Action about "reasonable liabilities" of the provider?

According to their site "Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple."

Google sidebar removal

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

28. Flash cards with BambooApps


Want a simple program to make flashcards? This could be the answer.

Bambooapps

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

27. Photo editing with Picnik

This is another picture editing tool that is free, though there is a subscription based upgrade.

Picnik

Monday, 26 October 2009

26. Tracking what works

This is not directly assistive technology for dyslexic individuals, but one that would be useful for website developers. The part that caught my eye was tracking for websites. That is, for a small fee, web designers can see which parts of their website are most commonly used, and what does not work. By careful use, it should be possible to make websites more dyslexia-friendly.

Crazyegg tracking

Sunday, 25 October 2009

25. Wireless power

It seems the "wireless power" technology is moving forward. This is the one where the put your device down in a certain place and it recharges without being plugged in. It seems now that Nokia has joined the ranks of Duracell, Nokia, Olympus, Philips, Samsung, Sanyo, ST-Ericsson, and Texas Instruments and others. But there are no dates for technology release.

Wireless Power Consortium

Saturday, 24 October 2009

24. Keeping up-to-date with Twitter

If, like me, you are pragmatic and will use anything where its advantages are obvious, you will still be "dubious" about value-added with Twitter. Sadly, the first time I have seen it of "use" was when I watched the progress of a two fundraisers on a journey to London. (Cracknell and Foley riding a Rickshaw from Edinburgh in 60 hours.) But this is not exactly learning, and not dyslexia related. But rather than be out in the cold and dismissive, I try to be inclusive. So here is a website that has a whole collection of links that may help you get started. I look forward to reading of uses that support the dyslexic individual.

And do I have a Twitter account? Yes, currently averaging one entry a month.

50 sources of Twitter help

Friday, 23 October 2009

23. Magnifier with PCLoupe

This is a simple, free little download which provides a magnifier around the mouse.

PC Loupe

Thursday, 22 October 2009

22. Learning languages with Lingoversity

According to their website "Lingoversity is specifically designed to increase your vocabulary in an effective and friendly way. Unlike traditional learning methods, our concept has the power to stimulate, excite and motivate students. Our unique technology guarantees that you will never forget the words you learn." Sounds like it may be dyslexia friendly.

Lingoversity

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

21. Notes taking with Knowledge Notebook

This is an offline notes program that provides association and search capability beyond that of most notes programs. Unfortunately after the 15 day free trial, you need to pay €29. But may be worth the trial.

Knowledge Notebook

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

20. Office live - from Microsoft

It was almost by chance that I stumbled across OfficeLive. It is a Microsoft development. The site allows you to (according to them):
* Access and share files from anywhere
* Work with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
* 5GB of free online storage (thousands of Office documents)
* Share password-protected documents—you control who views and edits
* Use for work, home, and school

Similar to several others, but worth exploring since it should be there a little longer than some other sites!

Office Live

Monday, 19 October 2009

19. Shot and hear from Captura

The Captura System has been developed by Iansyst Ltd, and is a quick and always accessible way to capture text and hear it spoken. Basically you can run the software on a Windows Mobile 6 mobile phone. All you do it take a photo of the text, and then you can hear it read back to you. The prices have tumbled from when I last checked, and with a price of only £275 (for the micro SD version, using your own phone), it is worthy of serious consideration.

Captura

Sunday, 18 October 2009

18. Search Me has gone! At least for now.

One of my favourite dyslexia-friendly websites, Searchme, has gone! It is, sorry was, a browser site where it showed internet pages instead of lists of words. What a pity! The website simply says "The worlds leading visual search engine has gone off line. We are selling our IP (Intellectual Property)". I hope something appears to replace it soon.

Searchme

Saturday, 17 October 2009

17. Keeping up-to-date - E-learning: How important is it?

I came across a report on an Oxford Union debate that happened at the beginning of October, and I was intrigued by the result. (Below is a link for others to read the details.)

The motion was: "This house believes that the e-learning of today is essential for the skills of tomorrow." The motion was defeated, with 90 in favour and 144 against. That is, the attendees agreed it was not necessary. Personally, I am in favour of the new wave of learning, p-learning. And in case you are unsure, it Paper-based Learning. I love it!

This link provides a brief summary with a link to the longer version.

Oxford Union Debate Summary

Friday, 16 October 2009

16. Screen sharing with Skype

It seems that everybody now is using screen sharing. The latest that I have used is Skype. All you need to do is start a conversation with somebody and then in the conversations window click Share > Share Your Screen in the IM toolbar (in Windows) or ShareShare Screen (on a Mac). It could hardly be simpler. Then you can expand the image to cover the whole of your desktop if required.

Skype Screen sharing

Thursday, 15 October 2009

15. Check that URL with URL Fixer

It can be very annoying when you type an address only to find you typed google.con instead of .com. This Firefox addon takes a number of the most common extensions and check that they are correct before failing to find the website. Don't expect miracles, but it will check common misspellings of .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .biz, .info, .mobi, and .travel

URL Fixer

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

14. Kindle in the UK

After what seems like a long delay, Amazon's Kindle is finally coming to the UK (and the rest of the world!). Reports suggest that the issue was trying to make it compatible for the 3G mobile networks (they set it to work with the US ones only, for reasons I cannot understand!) Apparently it due on the 19th October, with orders only being possible through the US site. Cost will be around £200 (including possible export taxes). What I cannot find out is what books the text-to-speech will work with.

BBC Report on Kindle

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

13. Work lookup (and hearing) with WkiLook

Wikilook for Firefox was updated last week and is even better than before. It is similar to AnswerTips, but works with Wiktionary. All you need to do (once you has installed the add-on) is to hold down the Shift key and right click. It gives you the definition and (usually but not always) the pronunciation of the word. (Also if you hold down the Ctrl key instead of Shift, you can access Wikipedia.) It also allows you to change the look-up place, making it usable in many different languages. (For example, for the Spanish look-up, you could use http://es.wiktionary.org)

WikiLook

Monday, 12 October 2009

12. YouTube (and similar) easy downloads

According to the Mozilla Firefox site, this is "The easy way to download and convert Web videos from hundreds of YouTube-like sites." Of course one should always be aware of copyright infringement. But if you were looking to review later that "How to do a concept map" website, this could be the answer. At 450,000 downloads per week, several others seem to agree.

Video DownloadHelper

Sunday, 11 October 2009

11. News Flash for smart phones

It seems that finally Adobe Flash, the full version, will be available for smart phones. This means that those thousands of resources that we have been able to use online will now also be accessible on the phone. Of course this is also getting ready for that point not so far away when we are projecting the screen from the mobile, for such use as YouTube, since 75% of all video is delivered through Flash. Apparently this should roll out in early 2010.

BBC Report on Adobe Flash

Saturday, 10 October 2009

10. Keeping up to date with technology - Google Wave

Google has moved forward with their "new technology" Google Wave, which Wikipedia describes as "a personal communication and collaboration tool" announced by Google at the Google I/O conference on May 27, 2009. It is a web-based service, computing platform, and communications protocol designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wikis, and social networking. It has a strong collaborative and real-time focus supported by extensions that can provide, for example, robust spelling/grammar checking, automated translation between 40 languages, and numerous other extensions. Initially released only to developers, a "preview release" of Google Wave has been extended to about 100,000 users on September 30, 2009.

Now to me that sound great but is in fact empty, since how is it different from what we already have (and what relevance is it to dyslexia?!). Sadly Google have never been particularly responsive to those with difficulties accessing the printed word. However, if they would include say speech-to-text, which I can now use with my Blackberry search thanks to Google, then we would see something significant. My feeling is that this could however, become somehow integral to e-learning, providing new ways to collaborate and share. My concern is that it may be impressive and innovative to developers and those who have been teaching for 20 years and need something different. But will it help the learner, or just further disenfranchise the dyslexic learner.

Sadly I can find nobody addressing these issues.

Google Wave

Friday, 9 October 2009

09. Netnotes links the note to the net!

This is a simple little Mozilla Firefox extension that creates a note which is attached to the bookmark in your browser. So re-open the bookmark and the Netnote will reappear. Simple but effective.

Netnotes

Thursday, 8 October 2009

08. Open Office for Mac - NeoOffice

As readers know, I have a tendency toward open source software which reflects the social model (available to everybody rather than just those with money) and Windows systems, which is pragmatic rather than preference. (I grew up on Macs and still prefer them.) But I have to be familiar with the needs to users. Hence a lack of Mac software listed. However, I shall try to address that in future!

I have just found out (thanks to Jane Knight) about NeoOffice, a very stable open source Office system that is designed for Macs. Apparently there are over half a million users worldwide. It appears to be available in English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

NeoOffice

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

07. Mini Homer, for where its at

This is a great little keyring attachment that helps you relocate you car (and up to five other locations) using GPS. A simple re-use of technology to create a very different (and useful) application.

Navin MiniHomer

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

06. Convert to PDF in many languages with doPDF

The reason for highlighting this pdf converter is that it is also available in 21 language versions!

doPDF

Monday, 5 October 2009

05. See your battery life in colour with BattCursor

There is little more annoying that just getting to the crucial part and suddenly the battery on the laptop fails and the whole system shuts down. Of course there are many types of indicators that you could use. But some are not very conspicuous, and only tell you once you check! This is a free utility that I came across (in PC Utilities) as "Automatically change the colour of window borders to indicate the stare of your laptop's battery." There are also battery saving functions and apparently many more options. Certainly worth a try!

BattCursor

Sunday, 4 October 2009

04. Collaborative suites

I was recently asked what would be a good tool for collaborative projects. Although my answer was that it depends on the specific needs of the individual, I did provide a short list of suggestions, despite a shortage of information on real needs. Recognising the increase demand for as well as opportunity, I thought that I would share. Note that this is far from a definitive list, since it does not include drawing packages, for example.

Tools I would recommend include:
Shared environment - Dimdim
Shared document - Etherpad
Shared spreadsheet - Editgrid
Shared storage - Dropbox

Saturday, 3 October 2009

03. E-learning and assistive technology from Lexdis

Lexdis is a developement from the University of Southampton which says it is "for those who are using or developing on-line learning materials. All the strategies have been provided by students who have first hand experience of e-learning. We have pulled together handy hints and tips on technologies you can use to make e-learning easier. Any technology that achieves this has been called an Assistive Technology." But there is lots more to it than that, with many tips, ideas and strategies.

Lexdis

Friday, 2 October 2009

02. Highlight and save web pages with iCyte

This is a simple online service that allows you to highlight and save any page on the internet. It allows collaboration and organisation in new and improved ways.

iCyte

Thursday, 1 October 2009

01. September Review

For me the most exciting announcement for the past month have been in the area of hardware. With laptops becoming thinner, cheaper, and more mobile (what does the term "mobile" now mean as Nokia enter the netbook market?), technologies continue to merge. And rumours suggest that there is more to come this year, including maybe from Apple. Watch this space!

Hardware

16. Cheap laptop still going down
20. Laptops move to thinner versions
23. New computer - from Nokia!
26. Asus to enter the E-Reader market
27. The end of XP is near
30. Big USB offers a viable back-up

Resources
02. Create games with Classtools
12. Neurodiversity in Higher Education
19. Quality research support from Intute
24. Free and paid for audio books from The Talking...

Screen recording and sharing
03. Sounds easy - online audio sharing with Chirbit
04. Screen recording made easy with Screenjelly
08. Etherpad just got better with the timeline
09. Storage online for sharing - from Box
18. Screencapture with PrtScr
14. Free video chat from Tokbox

Memory
28. Reminders for multiple users - Byapp
07. New form of stickies - Postica

Commentary
06. Where is it all going?

Miscellaneous
05. Inspirations about mind mapping
10. Speaking websites and blogs from ReadSpeaker
11. Creating animation - with Go! Animate
13. To Twitter or not to Twitter
15. Time out for computers with Romaco
17. Organise your status bar in Firefox with Organize Status Bar
21. Blogging just got easier with After the Deadline
22. Maths tutorials from Brightstar
25. Build your CV using Ceevee

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

30. Big USB memory offers a viable back-up

When I remember to back-up (!) I used to use a large plug-in device I have at home. But I have just acquired a 32 Gig (yes, 32 Gig) USB memory stick which allows me to back up just about everything. (I do not have much music or images on this computer.) The added attraction is that it has a little button on the memory stick which when you press it, the computer is backed up automatically. Now that has to be a good step way forward!

32 Gig with backup

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

29. Dropbox gets an upgrade

Dropbox has gained over one million users in just one year. So they must be doing something right! New features that have been added to this online backup and storage system include the ability to handle multiple files and perform bulk operations. For those who want to use it just to access files away when away from the office, there is also a new mobile phone access version.

Dropbox

Monday, 28 September 2009

28. Reminders for multiple users - Byapp

Byapp is a simple to-do list that can have multiple users. Not much more one can say!

Byapp

Sunday, 27 September 2009

27. The end of XP is near

The imminent death of Windows XP keeps coming up and if you are looking to buy a new computer, such as an XP netbook (or whatever you now like to call the "sub-notebooks"), this year, you would need to know how long it should still be serviceable. Of course, if Microsoft had had its way, XP would be long gone by now. But the arrival early last year of the Linux-based machines forced them to change their policies, and offer a cut down version of XP, at a much lower price. And to be honest, I cannot see the difference between the XP on my old Sony Vaio and the cut-down version on my Samsung sub-notebook.

The Microsoft website does not seem to provide answers. But Wikipedia (which Microsoft does monitor) offers the following: "However, an exception was announced on April 3, 2008, for OEMs installing to ultra low-cost PCs (ULCPCs) either until June 30, 2010, or one year after the availability of the next client version of Windows, Windows 7—whichever date comes later."

XP in Wikipedia

Saturday, 26 September 2009

26. Asus to enter the E-Reader market

Apparently 80,000 ebook readers have been sold in the UK to date. I wonder where they are! This may be set to change soon with the announcement of Asus, the "inventors" of the netbook, entering the market. It appears that they have a "double page" book, in full colour and an entry level version at around £100 ready to hit the market soon. (Codeword for by Christmas?) Unfortunately the news does not say about the text-to-speech, which was the thorn in the side for Amazon's Kindle.

Asus E-Reader

Friday, 25 September 2009

25. Build your CV using Ceevee

Writing a good CV is never easy. This website is designed for that and that alone.

Ceevee

Thursday, 24 September 2009

24. Free and paid for audio books from The Talking Book Store

This illustration here is for the page that has lots of free downloads. But there are many many more books which can also be downloaded that are paid for, at very reasonable prices and for all ages.

Talking Book Store

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

23. New computer - from Nokia!

You may like to check out this video on the new computer from Nokia called the Booklet 3G. Obviously it has built in connection! It is already advertised on their Italian site. But no news of availability elsewhere.

Nokia Computer

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

22. Maths tutorials from Brightstar

It is difficult to find good videos that offer support for those looking to improve maths skills. While it does not go back to absolute basics, is does offer around 1800 videos on Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry.

Brightstorm Maths

Monday, 21 September 2009

21. Blogging just got easier with After the Deadline

I do this blog in Google's Blogger. But there are many other good blogging systems out there, such as WordPress. They have just acquired After the Deadline, which the publicity says can be used with the WordPress blog. But if you go to their webpage, you can also use the Demonstration area to check any text. It allows you to check spelling errors and provides grammar and style suggestions using artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology.

After the Deadline

Sunday, 20 September 2009

20. Laptops move to thinner versions

It seems that there are a number of "ultra" computers in production which are less them ten millimetres this, possibly even half as thin as the Apple Air. At a recent Microsoft event to show off their Windows 7, employees were shown Sony and Dell versions. However, it was not clear if they were due for production or just concepts.

Are they dyslexia-friendly? My question would be how robust are they?

Report

Saturday, 19 September 2009

19. Quality research support from Intute


Intute calls itself "a free online service that helps you to find the best web resources for your studies and research." It is run by a consortium of UK academic institutions, and offers information on a wide range of subject. Don't expect full courses here. But there are links to high quality material, apparently vetted by academics.

Intute

Friday, 18 September 2009

18. Screencapture with PrtScr


The website claims "Sure, there are loads of free screen capture tools, but this is not another cheesy, spreadsheet-looking one. This one offers directness, ease of use, and does it with style." Too many of these screencapture tools are just too complex for their own good. Let the user decide if this is any better than the rest.

PrtScr

Thursday, 17 September 2009

17. Organise your status bar in Firefox with Organize Status Bar

This is a Firefox Add-On that helps you organise, unclutter and hide parts of your browser status bar (the one at the bottom). Very useful if you have a cluttered area.

Organize Status Bar

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

16. Cheap laptop still going down

If you are in the market for a very low cost but fully functional computer, the Asus EEE PC 900 running with Linux systems are excellent. These ones with 8.9in screens are very good for kids (keyboards are a bit small for adult hands) and while it may be argued that there is not too much specialist software available, they will run anything that runs in the browser. Therefore any online software or web searching is as good on these machines as the more expensive ones. The link shows a US site offering a machine for under $150, which is around £90 or €105. There are many more like this.

Cheap Asus EEE

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

15. Time out for computers with Romaco

This software could be very useful for all those who loose track of how long they sit in front of the computer. The blurb says "Romaco Timeout is a free utility that is able to limit the amount of time your kids can spend in front of the computer." But it is not just the kids that overrun. Of course you can get back in with a password. But at least it makes you stop and think about your actions.

I admit I have not tried this software yet. But then would I ever want to log off?!

Romaco

Monday, 14 September 2009

14. Free video chat from Tokbox

Tired of the slowing speed of Skype? Or its increasingly "old" feel? Or just want something different? Tokbox is a new system that seems to be more in tune with users needs and looks more "2009". It allows you to easily hold group video chats (this could be social or class discussions as well as tutorials) and you could also send a video message rather than having to type. Check out their Demo for a quick overview.

Tokbox

Sunday, 13 September 2009

13. To Twitter or not to Twitter

As a "social phenomenon", there is little doubt that Twitter will have a place in history. But quite where remains to be seen. Recent changes suggest it is gearing up to try to develop a business model, which probably means charging organisations and institutions (e.g. businesses and education) for its use. In the same way that you can have Google Docs for free if you have the ads, or advert free if you pay, so I expect Twitter to offer benefits to those who pay. But that can only happen when the system (and its users) matures enough for it to be worth it. Reminding parents about a Parents Evening and homework notifications is not enough. Product news may be cheaper for companies than producing newsletters. But what will be the impact for dyslexic individuals? Will they help overcome the memory issues? Will the technology make them accessible? Or will they once more create a digital divide, with the good readers gaining more than the poor readers? Nobody is addressing this, and if these micro-blogging systems are to be more widely used, somebody has to analyse their potential impact with respect to the dyslexic individual.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

12. Neurodiversity in Higher Education

This site was set up to support the neurodiverse populations in Higher Education (in the UK) and offers lots of valuable advice for students and staff. The information is good, though parts have not been updated for a while.

BrainHE

Friday, 11 September 2009

11. Creating animation - with Go! Animate

This post is made on the basis of a picture paints a thousand word (though I am not sure what a 25 frames per second movie creates!) Anyway, with many creative dyslexic individuals out there, some may wish to experiment with this innovative animation web site.

Go! Animate

Thursday, 10 September 2009

10. Speaking websites and blogs from ReadSpeaker

As software development progresses, so things like voice enabling websites and blogs becomes easier. This one appears to be very simple. Perhaps I should try it, so you can find out for yourself! (Or else tell me your experiences.)

Webreader

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

09. Storage online for sharing - from Box

File sharing is can be a problem at times. Here is a simple, secure solution.Basically the free part give you a one Gig of storage with the maximum file size of 25Meg. Then you share the contents. There are some quite big companies using it, so it must be reasonably good!

Box

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

08. Etherpad just got better with the timeline

I have always liked Etherpad as a real time collaborative document website. Now it just got better with the addition of a timeline that allows you to go back to previous versions. This is the way online collaboration should be.

Etherpad Timeline blog

Monday, 7 September 2009

07. New form of stickies - Postica

There are many Post-it notes out there, each with its own pecularities. But this is a little different, and from brief trials, I like it. It is online, within the browser. Of course the catch therefore is you need to be online to read them. For me that would be a problem. But if you were not on a fixed email, this could be very useful.

Postica

Sunday, 6 September 2009

06. Where is it all going?

Without want to advertise, I have just finished my book "Dyslexia in the Digital Age" which took a little longer than I anticipated. (But for those who are interested, it should be out in January.) What was most interesting was the way I had to update during the writing process, as the technology matured and changed. So what will happen in the next 12 months, and what will be the implications? Going back over the year, for me the real change is the quantity (and quality) of services that are available online. And with even Microsoft putting significant resources, this has to be the way forward. And the impact?

Consider the way funding for assistive technology currently works for university students and those in employment. Normally there is a lump sum which can be used to pay for products. But how many funding systems are set up so that the beneficiary can pay a monthly subscription for an online service? (The fee paying versions usually have advanced capabilities.) Could this mean that users are lumbered with having to use second rate products that do not take advantage of the latest software advances and trends?

Saturday, 5 September 2009

05. Inspirations about mind mapping

There are many occasions when mind maps (or concept maps) are useful. This is an interesting website that I have just found which could inspire. There is plenty more to explore on this site too.

Mind Map Inspirations