Sit Rep

It’s springtime- can you tell?

Me either.

Here’s what I’m up to:

1. I’m shifting gears with my Advanced Media Productions students from documentary work to dramatic. It’ll be a big change for some of them, but it’s time. I’m getting some really good work out of them, and I’ll be trying to continue to post some of it here as it comes in.

2.TheĀ Massachusetts Digital Publication Collaborative is happening again this year- I’m not able to be there this year, but there you go. This is about getting educators together to share and create new digital resources that benefit all of us. It’s free, and it’s a cause I believe in.

3. Just yesterday I had a chance to play way an expensive (14k!) bit of technology. While I’d not (ever) pay that sort of loot for what it was, I was pleasantly impressed with one aspet of it: the 70″ LCD panel. We’ve been looking at not buying projectors anymore, but the exact size of the LCD panel that’d be needed to work in a classroom has been a source of debate. Right now, we’re just waiting for pricing to change a teeny little bit more. I think it’s the way forward.

4. I’m working on some gear that should facilitate me doing some more podcasting in the near(er) future. It’s almost an official project for me- I’ve even got a spreadsheet and everything. Keep your eyes peeled.




Here’s what new and happening:

**1.** My school’s Spring Open House is this week. Besides the normal meet-the-parents stuff, there’s an art show and a fashion show. I’m pretty excited about all that, and I’ll have the Replicator2 up and running all night to show off, as well as having some finished prints on display.

**2.** Speaking of the Replicator2, I just printed a new filament tension mechanism for it. Think about that for a second. Anyway, I’m waiting on one more M3x6mm Flat head screw to get the whole thing installed. Excited about that. It should deal with some of the oddball filament feed issues we’ve had.

**3.** iCon2013 is a week away. Everything is coming together well, and I’m excited to do some presenting and meet some new people. School tours are totally booked, but we still have some space for the conference itself. Get in soon if you want to come, as numbers are starting to get crazy.

**4.** I’ve started active work on a student run web video, and I’m hoping to have that up and running inside the next two weeks. I’m leaning towards not running it live, for production reasons. I’d rather quality video instead of live video, and Google seems to have no interest in making both of those possible in the near term.

**5.** Some of my media students have made some really nice looking video. I’m still reviewing them, but I’m generally very pleased. I’ll be cross-posting some of them here (with student permission, of course).

**6.** I spent an afternoon at the Mass DESE last week talking about digital learning environments. There was some food reception to the ideas, but I felt like there was an undue amount of focus on the money/budget issues. Maybe I’m nuts, but it really shouldn’t be about the money. Tech and digital resources are the new cost of doing business, and pretending like it isn’t is putting your head in the sand.


Here’s what I’m up to and doing:
1) Our new MakerBot Replicator2 has been up and running for a few weeks now, and we’re beginning to understand what it will and won’t do. In the last week, we’ve gotten in 20-odd hours of print time, and the quality and usefulness of the prints continues to improve. We’re currently learning to deal with PLA warping issues, as well as a print bed that seems not to be a dead level plane. Working on both of those those things.
2) iCon2013 (which, by the way, is the continuation of last year’s New England 1:1 Summit) is coming soon. The school visits on Friday the 22nd are all sold out. Actually, they’re wildly over-sold, which is a whole ‘nother problem. That said, there are still spaces open for the conference itself on Saturday. Sign up soon, though, as we’ve had some alarming jumps in ticket
sales. I’m presenting at this with Andy Marcinek, on the topic of open educational resources. I’m excited, and it should be a good time, with loads of learning.

My Advanced Media Production students have started turning in some excellent work. I’ll cross post some of it here soon (with their permission, of course).
4) Burlington High School’s Apple profile in education finally (!) went live this week. Their team did an awesome job- they really got the nature of the town, and seemed to understand and represent what we’re trying to do. I’m in it a bunch. I only look that good because of the talents of the production team (the makeup lady was very nice, btw), and I managed to include a joke/hat tip to some of my former students. I won’t give it away, but those that have spotted it think it’s pretty funny.
5) I’m still doing some consulting work (if you’re interested, drop a line), and my summer is starting to fill in pretty quickly. We’re looking at another couple hundred iPads being deployed in my district, so there’s a bunch of work already starting with that.
6) I’m working to get a live G+ broadcast with some of my students up and running in the near future. As a result of my production experience, I get mildly obsessive about making this thing look good- and sadly, it’s been holding things up. As it turns out, Google Plus doesn’t play nice with FireWire- and tha

t’s the standard for all the pro-gear I have. Working around this is proving to be problematic. Actually, the 3D printer is helping with some of this. I’ve used it to print adapters for web cams to work on tripods. Neat, right?



It’s been a while since I’ve done a SitRep on what I’m up to. Here’s the update:

1. iCon2013 is coming up- get signed up and come share.

2. I’ve shot/edited/posted Burlington High School’s annual Poetry Out Loud Finals.

3. We have a 3D printer now- specifically a MakerBot Replicator2. It’s been printing up a storm.

4. I think (think) that I’ve got a solution to running a multi-camera Google+ Hangout (Live on Air). Still working out some details, but it seems to be coming along. That means regular broadcasts from my students via that. More to come.

5. A million jillion things happening in my personal life. None of which really fit here, and all of which demand my time. Happily.


What was that?

Where did this webpage go and what was that error message?

Well, apparently some aspect of the database for this blog exploded. It took some time to fix it, but we’re back in action.

Hopefully you didn’t feel the loss too deeply.




Updates on my studio.

I got asked the other day what I meant by my studio. My studio’s kind of a hybrid workspace: I use it for music work, for idea development, and for varois hobbies I have. I put some pictures of it here, but they’re already posted over on my Flickr account. It’s a space that is moved with me through several iterations. I had one of my previous residence, and I’ve had two different ones at this house.

I think it’s important to have a working space in your house. I think it needs to be separate from your day to day life space, and needs to be designed specifically to foster creativity. I written before about the idea of the Vegas cube. In as many ways as is practical, I like to use some of those ideas in my studio spaces. That means I don’t keep a clock there. I don’t allow in natural lighting. It is, in as many ways as I can, isolated from the outside world. While that I solution isn’t always practical, it does help with the creative process. Nowadays with my kids, I have to be careful with how isolated I let myself get.

I’m in the midst of contemplating some larger changes to the studio. As those get made, I’ll try to keep this site updated in my Setup section. I’m spending less time on my music, and more time working on idea creation for education. This change of priorities has to be recognizing the physical layout of my studio.

Strangely, one of things that I’m walking in my studio is wall space. I’m looking at some options that allow me to have movable wall space. I’m still unsure about the budget I want to commit, and materials that I want to use for such an application.

What’ve I been up to?

Heavens, my. Lots.

I’ve been working on my health. With two young kids, it’s easy to overlook upkeep on yourself- and I’ve been guilty of that. My diet, sleep, and most other aspects of my life have been, to some degree or another, compromised in sacrifice to my kids. I regret none of it. That said, it’s not sustainable, and it’s not in the kids’ best interests long-term. My interest in improving my health started this summer, when I had my tonsils removed. I’d been getting sick as a result of them for a while, and I was sick of loosing time to something I could have dealt with. Out they came. It wasn’t the most painful thing I’ve every done/had done to me- but given the physical traumas I’ve had, that may be a viewpoint shared by few. It was 10 days of not-fun. Turns out it’s been totally worth it.

So here’s what else I’m doing:

1. Diet. I’m eating better. Breakfast every morning, Almond milk instead of dairy. Solid, healthy lunches. Cooking more (and ordering out less). Cooking with better quality products. I’ve cut out soda (except as a very occasional treat). I’ve cut out juice. I drink water and tea- and I’ve cut way back on the sugar in my tea. And I’ve cut down my tea consumption- and never after 3pm.

2. Sleep. For a number of reasons, my sleep patterns have been a mess. I’ve always dealt with some level of insomnia- when it’s really bad, I can’t fall asleep. Most of the time, I fall asleep just fine, but can’t stay asleep very well. Over the summer I was finding it very difficult to sleep past 3am or so. As a result, I’ve cut way back on caffeine. None after 3pm or so, and less during the day than before. I’m down to two good-sized cups of tea most days. I’m also using an app called “Tonic” to help track my sleep. It doesn’t track my sleep cycles, but I use it to plot sleep/wake times. Then I can track the hours of my sleep.

3. Exercise. I’ve been really bad with this. I haven’t been in the gym for a very long time, and it’s showing. It’s hard with the kids to get time, and my schedule is only getting more complicated. But I’m determined to do what can be done. I’ve been using a standing desk for two years now, but my current rooms don’t have them installed- just in my office, which I’m rarely in anymore. I’ll have to fix that. Also, I’m going to workout. Somehow. Maybe early-morning. Maybe mid-day. I’m not sure yet, but I’m going to.

4. Tracking. I’ve been interested in the Quantified Self movement since I first read about it several years ago- and before that, the life-logging movement was pretty interesting too. I’m not in a position to life-log these days, but I’ve been investing more time and effort in the quantified self aspect of things. So far, this mostly includes using Tonic to track several aspects of my days- and allowing my to export and analyze that data for trends. It’s an incredibly flexible app, and if you’re looking for something to help track any aspect of your life, it’s worth a look. I’ve also been looking into using an activity monitor to do more detailed tracking. I’d been excited about Nike’s Fuelband, but $150 is pretty stiff, and it’s got limited uses. The Jawbone UP is pretty neat- it’ll track more than the Nike, but it has no display to show you how you’re doing mid-day, and to do anything with it, you have to plug it into your phone. Also: $130. The new FitBit gets really good marks- wireless sync, sleep tracking, calibration… but I have an iPhone 4, and it needs at least an iPhone 4S to wirelessly sync. Really? That’s lame. As of just this morning, I’ve backed the indiegogo startup of the Misfit Shine. It’s tiny, waterproof, adaptable, has a very, very long battery life, and will wirelessly (and interestingly) sync with my phone. I’ve pledged $79 for a Shine with a clasp and sport bracelet. It’s supposed to ship in March. I’m really, really doubtful of that ship date, but I’m also really, really excited for it to come.

I’ve also been working on other stuff- a new presentation, some new video work, some new writing, some work on my much-neglected studio, and a new revived interest in minimalism. The kit I carry around has shrunk considerably. The gear I use has changed a bit. It’s the nature of the passage of time- the more I learn, the more things change. I’ll be posting about these things, soon.

Here’s to a new year full of fun, research, thinking, doing, and adventure.




A lot of work.

I’m headed into a very busy time. Several projects, all with deadlines, are looming.

Almost all of them involve shooting and editing a substantial amounts of video- all at 1080 res, all uncompressed. Which means huge files, and long rendering times. And while I love my new MacBook Air 11″, I’ve found a flaw: I can either connect storage or a monitor. I realize that with Thunderbolt displays and hard drives I could do both, but if there’s one thing that my projects always involve, it’s shoestring budgets. So there’s no new gear- Firewire800 drives, and good old VGA displays.

It also means I’m getting started on building a new shooting rig in my basement- seamless background and all.




Sit Rep

Summer’s over, folks. For me, anyway.

1. Got a cool announcement about a conference I’ll be at- but that I’m not running. Pretty excited about it. Check back tomorrow for details and linkage.

2. The school year is starting to roll along, so figure I’ll be getting started on new Tangentials pretty soon. First up is an episode about Red Heads. I’ll likely shoot it as a long form version, and then edit a short version down from that. Likely.

3. A very old friend of mine, Ed Sassler, has tapped me for a new project he’s working on. We’re meeting up this week, in person, to get started on my end of things. It’ll be a ton of work, but I’m excited to be onboard for this. Details/website/info as it becomes available.

4. I’m trying to run updates pretty much every day now. That means mostly shorter-format posts, which is something I’m better at anyway.

Loads more to come.

Back to my tea.

Sit Rep!

So my summer’s coming to a close (rapidly!), and it’s time to get a handle on where I am with things. Here goes.

1. #bpscon is ready to go. Mostly. Schedule is done, sessions are ready (?!), and logistics are mostly covered. Somewhat easier than other con’s I’ve done, in that way, given that everyone is an employee already…

2. One more day of iPad rollout for this year- until the mid-year mark, when there’s another HUGE rollout happening. But still. For now, almost done.

3. New room is mostly up-and-running. Got some smaller stuff to move around and some software I’m still waiting on (!), but the bones of it are coming together nicely. Next step: media gear setup, and art on the walls.

4. My handbook for my Media Production class is pretty much ready to go. It’s built in iBooks Author, and I’ll post a link to it here as soon as it’s public for the students.

5. I’ve been back to twitter, if you’ve been missing me there. I’m finding #sschat to be a great place, even though I’m not a Social Studies or History teacher… and as far as I can tell, #edchat is dead. Utterly useless at this point- a no longer productive echo chamber. A shame, really.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know my project list is hovering in the 30-40 range right now- and I’ve been making some progress through those in the last few weeks. I’ll likely abandon some of those- and that’s not a bad thing, but there’s a 100% chance I’ll add more too. As I’ve said before: I get bored quickly.