Dude, where’s my iMovie ’09 project?

For those of us who have drunk the iMovie09-is-so-damn-easy-to-use Kool-Aid I’ve discovered it’s not all good for you, just like actual Kool-Aid. Today I discovered moving iMovie projects to network storage is a bit like driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles via New York City.

The snafu is simple. The latest and greatest version of iMovie (iMovie 09, though this was also true in 08) doesn’t provide an easy option to drop movie projects into a network folder. This is quite problematic for those who operate labs that reboot with a clean image each time, thereby deleting any files from the last time it was used.

I realize it’s possible to copy the “iMovie Projects” and “iMovie Events” folders, where iMovie 09 saves projects and raw video, onto a network drive. However, it’s likely the only option when saving to a network even though it’s less than ideal. The drawback to this option, aside from the obvious difficulty of the process, is that some of the media is not embedded into one of these two folders (i.e., iPhone video that can only be imported through iPhoto).

The external storage limitations in iMovie ’09 as I see them:

1. Moving a movie project to an external hard drive (not a network drive or thumb drive) mostly works well, with the caveat that movies imported through iPhoto will not be embedded as part of the project though external audio files will.
2. Saving the “iMovie Projects” and “iMovie Events” folders housed under the “Movies” folder to a network drive will include all of a project’s raw media (e.g., video and images), but will not include any audio or, like when moving to an external drive, any movies imported through iPhoto. The handy method for moving projects to external hard drives does not apply in this case unfortunately.

I recommend:

1. Save a project to an external hard drive because it’s the simplest method.
2. If you cannot use an external hard drive, save to the network, assuming of course your network storage has sufficient space.
• If you’re including audio tracks, save them to the network storage area where you will eventually save your iMovie project folders and files.
3. For either method, if you’re including video from an iPhone and know you will need to offload the project onto an external drive or network storage:
• Import the iPhone video into iPhoto then drag the movie onto the desktop (or somewhere in Finder).
• In iMovie, import the video from the Desktop (or wherever it was placed previously). This will keep the raw movie footage with the project.

In the end, the software is a cinch to use with the huge dangling caveat of the challenge of offloading projects onto network space.

Online Discussion Rubric

I know there are a number of professors who use rubrics to help them grade more subjective assignments like discussion forum participation. These rubrics also help students to better know the expectations set for them. My wife, Marybeth Alley, created an online discussion forum rubric that I thought some might like to use or modify for their own courses. With her permission I am posting this for anyone to use or to modify.

Donald Draper, the main character in the tragically smoky drama “Mad Men,” has a way with words to which I sometimes aspire. While talking with his partner about a client that thinks they want younger copywriters on their project, Draper senses the clients simply want what their competition is doing. To which Draper responds:

Success is related to standing out, not fitting in. One wants to be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack.

I’d like to find more needles (read engaging teaching and learning; administrators, teachers, and parents who “get it”) in our schools.

Be kind.

Here we are in Wildwood, NJ. Our friends, Rachael, Brian, and their daughter Sophie, and me along with my beautiful wife and just as beautiful daughter Annabeth are here for an entire week Today the kids played in the surf and rode the waves on their boogie boards. They dug holes in the sand that resembled nothing other than the type of fun that can engage a five year old for more than five minutes. We retreated for a little lunch in our beach chairs where Rachael kept a lookout for sandwich-snatching seagulls while we all balanced eating our subs while holding onto the butcher paper in which they were wrapped. Then it rained.

However, before the rains came I was able to find some time to return to Kurt Vonnegut’s, A Man without a Country, a book Marybeth bought me four years ago. One I hadn’t read until now. No real plot. Just a series of memoirs from an old man who died nearly two years ago. Memoirs that tell me that in spite of the world going to shit at the hands of psychopaths, I must persevere to be honorable and educated and to embrace and consider my doubts. Decision making should evolve. Especially when you’re considering invading a country, but I digress, but heck, so did he.

Here are a few of my favorite snippets from Vonnegut’s little book:

A man named Joe wrote Vonnegut with this. “Please tell me it will be okay.” To which, Vonnegut responded:

“Welcome to Earth young man,” I said. “It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, Joe, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule I know of: Goddamn it, Joe, you’ve got to be kind!

This next one made me laugh out loud, so much in fact, that my wife looked up from her beach chair a few yards away. A man wrote Vonnegut with no return address:

If you knew that a man posed a danger to you—maybe he had a gun in his pocket, and you felt that he would not hesitate one moment to use it on you—what would you do? We know Iraq poses a threat to us, to the rest of the world. Why do we sit here and pretend we are not protected? That is exactly what happened with al-Qaeda and 9/11. With Iraq, though, the threat is on a much larger scale. Should we sit back, be little children that sit in fear and just wait?

And now, the punchline from Vonegut that caused my minor outburst:

Please, for the sake of us all, get a shotgun, preferably a 12-gauge double-barrel, and right there in your own neighborhood blow off the heads of people, cops excepted, who may be armed.

A Man without a Country takes just a few hours to read. You get to learn a little more about this author of Slaughterhouse-Five, of which I need to read. Vonnegut is funny, goofy at times, but is unapologetic as he paints a rather dark picture of the world in which he believes we’re destroying fully aware of our costly actions.

So to honor his death as the humanist he was I use his own words, “Kurt is up in heaven now.”

For all our sakes I hope so.

Opinio Invitation reminders

I got a call today from one of our most esteemed Opinio users (don’t worry, she knows who she is) wanting to know if she added a reminder message to an already sent invitation would those who have completed the survey also receive the reminder. We ran a quick little replication of this on a test survey by adding a reminder message *after* the initial invitation was sent. To our delight, those who already completed the survey did not receive the reminder.

Case closed.

To help make finding university video content on YouTube easier to find, a higher education-only channel, YouTube EDU, was recently created by the folks at YouTube. This channel, which requires universities to apply for membership, has very few features, but helps to aggregate higher ed video content using a few simple methods:

• Most viewed videos among the cohort.
• Most subscribed university channels.
• And my most favorite, a higher ed-only search box (I’m a searcher not a surfer as my colleague Ken Newquist coined).

Universities and colleges can be added to this new EDU channel by completing a simple form, which is remarkably only a Google Spreadsheet web form.

As an aside, I’d like to know how many of these university videos are way longer than the 10 min. maximum length.

No more free phone-in on GCast

GCast.com is a free podcasting service that allows account holders to upload audio content. It then produces an RSS feed, which can be cataloged in podcasting repositories such as iTunes.

The thing I really liked about GCast though is that an account holder could register a phone number with their account. Then they could magically call a GCast 800 number and record the entire conversation. After hanging up, this phone conversation would be saved as an MP3 file on the GCast user’s account. This was awesome (and yes, I wrote “was”) because the phone is a technology most everyone is comfortable using. Easy peezy podcasting. That was then.

This is now. GCast is no longer offering this phone-in service for free, but for $99 a year. Below is the email message I received: As you know, we have been offering the ability to podcast by phone for several years. Up until now, this service has remained free for you to use without limitations. We have been incurring significant costs to keep this service free and we now must take steps to lower our cost. Beginning April 1, 2009, we will be charging a subscription fee of$99 for this phone-in service. It will still be free to upload content through our website. Additionally, the subscription usage will be limited to 2 hours in any 90 day period.

Ah, the affects of the economy.

Alternative School Break site is live

Amber Zuber, Assistant Director of the Landis Community Outreach Center, along with her right-hand student, Rashidah have successfully gone live with the new Alternative School Break web site, which they are managing in WordPress MU as one of our WordPress pilot participants.

Next week, Rashidah, along with a number of students from Lafayette, are traveling to Long Beach, MS to work on housing projects and anticipate posting their daily reflections to their new site. I am very excited to follow their progress throughout the week.

For those interested in following these good deed doers, follow them next week at http://sites.lafayette.edu/asb/asb-reflections.

Google gets back a bit more of my love

Yesterday, I needed to find a map of Mississippi for Amber and her first post on the Alternative School Break site. We weren’t having much luck finding a map that we liked, but then it hit me that we could take a screenshot of a Google map and even mark on the map where the Mississippi team would be over Spring Break. So Amber worked on getting the map positioned how she liked before grabbed the screenshot while I researched Google’s copyright policy. Turns out we could legally use the screenshot as long as the Google logo and copyright were both included in the screenshot.

Google also includes permissions for using Google search result screenshots and usage of their logo, which is almost none.

Web 2.0 put into silos

I know, I know. Silos in the work place is ick. We want people to be willing to go outside of their comfort zones and work with one another. To do great things together. Luckily, I’m not talking about putting people into silos, but rather putting some commonly used online apps into task-oriented “buckets” or “categories.”

My wife’s boss recently attended the National Association of Secondary School Principals conference where Chris Lehmann, principal at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia spoke. In his “School 2.0: Combining Progressive Pedagogy and 21 Century Tools” presentation he grouped a number of apps many of us find indispensable (almost all of which are free) into tasks we generally find ourselves applying these tools. His categories looked like:

Research Collaborate Create Network Present