Dude, where’s my iMovie ’09 project?

koolaidFor 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.

The invisible God

Photo by stevendepolo from Flickr
Photo by stevendepolo from Flickr

My heart was racing when my wife told me the story of my daughter explaining how God is in her school everyday and that he’s invisible. She said they talk about it each day when they look at the flag. I instantly thought, “Oh my, her teacher is telling them they can think about God during a moment of silence.” I’m not against worship, but I think school is a safe zone for this kind of thing. Turns out my fears were for naught and my apologies go out to Mrs. M., whom I’ve not even met yet.

No, no. My daughter was speaking of the God of:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Her God just happens to be invisible, not indivisible. She’s still right.

Online Discussion Rubric

Marybeth Alley, author and educator, has kindly shared her pared down version of a discussion forum 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.

Another way to WordPress

iPhone landscape keyboard viewed in the WordPress app

WordPress on campus has been a godsend and I anticipate it will continue to be throughout this academic year. I love showing it to anyone on campus willing to listen because almost without fail they are impressed by its ease of use. Some people are downright excited, which includes me for sure.

But, tonight I’m even more excited because I can add to and edit my site via my iPhone using the free WordPress app. I admit I experimented with this app while we were piloting WordPress MU in the spring, but I didn’t have my phone then. Instead I was using my wife’s iPod Touch, which lacked the luster of publishing posts or pages from anywhere because I had to rely on wi-fi networks. Plus now, the addition of the horizontal keyboard in the iPhone 3.0 software makes typing a somewhat more realistic task.

Updating your web site from your phone while riding the bus into New York or proofing a post scheduled for review from our beloved College Hil coffee shop (yes, I’m talking about you, Cosmic Cup) strikes me as a lightyear leap from where we were just a year ago.

If you’re an iPhone and WordPress user, do you think you would ever use this app to update your site? If so, under what circumstances?

“Mad Men” and a mad quote for education

Donald Draper picture available from American Movie Classics, "Mad Men" site.

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.

manwithoutcountryHowever, 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.

Day 11 with the Samsung Omnia

OmniaFirst, just to get this out of the way and off my chest, I want an iPhone. It’s superior in almost every comparison. However, my carrier is Verizon Wireless and I get a pretty sweet deal on my family plan because I have a family member who works for Verizon Wireless. That’s the dilemma. Pay more than $50 more each month and go with the iPhone plan or try to make it work with a smartphone from Verizon. I’m trying to make it work. I’m trying really hard.

I have been auditioning a Samsung Omnia, which has almost every feature imaginable, during the 30-day no hassle return policy. Here’s what I like about the phone so far:

  • Completely touchscreen based
  • Wi-fi
  • GPS, though Verizon Wireless has disabled it; I’ve read rumors that they will be opening it up by the end of June
  • Bluetooth
  • Works nicely with Exchange/ActiveSync supported email servers (we use Zimbra)
  • Comes pre-installed with the Opera Mobile browser
  • Has both a 5MP camera as well as a video camera that shoots up to 640×480; the video is choppy though
  • Supposed can mount it as a drive to my Mac, though I haven’t tried this yet
  • Expandable memory up to 16MB with a micro SD card
  • Have been able to install some important third party apps

Here’s what I hate though:

  • Windows Mobile; this is the worst interface because it’s still based around the expectation that people will use a stylus to interface with it.
  • Bluetooth won’t mount the device to my Mac
  • Don’t think I can charge it through my Mac because it requires some special program that is only Windows based
  • Proprietary USB/charger jack
  • GPS is locked. Come on Verizon please get with the times and let us use the phone with apps we like such as Google Maps for mobile phones
  • The power button is sometimes hard for me to get to
  • The cover for the USB/charger jack is hard to remove without longer finger nails
  • Outlook just stinks
  • Windows Mobile. I mentioned it already, but it’s pretty bad
  • The Samsung keyboard, though generally pleasant to use, wouldn’t type into Google Maps for mobile phones. Some of the other keyboards already installed worked, but they’re terrible stylus-expecting keyboards
  • Rotation animator works almost flawlessly

And, here are some apps making life bearable, if not enjoyable some of the time:

  • Spb Mobile Shell 3. Makes the phone pleasantly usable by essentially throwing away some of the Windows Mobile interface. This will cost me $30 if I stay with the phone, but I think it’s worth it because it’s that much better
  • Spb Keyboard. Though this will cost about $15 it might be worth it though I’m willing to look for another keyboard that works well with my fingers as well as one that will work with Google Maps for mobile phones
  • Google Maps for mobile phones. It’s Google Maps on a phone. Works great and would work even better if Verizon would open up the GPS. I so want to use the GPS. Think it would be great for getting around NYC by foot or for taking a detour due to a backup on the highway.
  • PockeTwit. I looked around for a decent Twitter client and I settled on this one because it supports kinetic scrolling. I liked Twinkini enough but it didn’t support kinetic scrolling. It also comes with a “QuickPost” app that lets me post a tweet without having to lauch my Twitter timeline. And, the QuickPost app exits automatically after sending my tweet.

So what’s left? What am I going to do before the 30-day period ends? I’m still undecided because namely I haven’t been able to find a better email and calendar interface, which is my biggest stumbling block at this time. Outlook is terrible and the Spb Mobile Shell app doesn’t skin those apps. I hear that Windows Mobile 6.5 is out or will be soon. I’m hoping the interface at least makes scrolling and interacting with the buttons much easier.

I like this phone a lot, but hate Windows Mobile. Get me a better interface for calendar and email and open up the GPS. That could sell me easily.

Opinio Invitation reminders

Photo by Andrew Coulter Enright from Flickr.
Photo by Andrew Coulter Enright from Flickr

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.