Archives for August 2006
Creating Text-based Graphs within Excel
Here’s a few nice techniques for embedding mini-bar graphs within table cells. The “bars” are just | characters; the trick is getting the font right, and then all kinds of possibilities open up. Nice work over at juiceanalytics.
The discussion sparked (no pun intended) an exploration of ways to create Tufte-flavored graphs in Excel as well.
QuickTime and Closed Captioning
Buried among the announcements for Leopard, the upcoming release of Mac OS X, is the news that the next version of QuickTime — probably either 7.5 or 8.0, depending how Apple decides to number it — will add support for analog closed captioned tracks (CEA-608).
If Apple’s smart, they will also add a simple mechanism for toggling text tracks on and off, much like the CC button on a remote control. Currently the user has to jump through hoops to change the visibility of text tracks, and it’s up to developers to provide custom fixes (like a button in a sprite track). A standard solution for this would be fantastic.
CFP: Digitel 2007
Here’s the call for papers for The First IEEE International Workshop on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhance Learning conference. The conference is March 26 to 28, 2007 in Jhongli, Taiwan. Looks interesting.
There is a rapidly growing interest in the design of digital games and intelligent toys for learning. Digital games use advanced computing, multimedia and Internet technology while intelligent toys are embedded with chips and sensors utilize wireless, mobile, and ubiquitous computing technologies. The game and toy designs that these technologies make possible integrate individual and social activities in new ways, and thus reframe long-standing questions, ideas, and approaches to learning. This conference will convene experts in digital games and toys from academia and industry to address fundamental questions about these new technologies for learning:
- What kinds of meaningful learning takes place through digital toys and games, and how does the process of deep understanding develop in these contexts?
- What new theories are needed to explain the phenomena of learning through digital game and toy-based play — and what old theories can be extended to this domain?
- How can we characterize the pedagogies of digital game and toy based learning?
- How can these technologies be adopted for formal and informal learning settings?
- Are there possible adverse outcomes and how can they be avoided, minimized, or mitigated?
Submissions are due September 15, 2006.
Census Bureau to use GPS to map the nation
NPR’s All Things Considered ran this story about the Census Bureau’s planned use of GPS for the upcoming census. Using 100,000 volunteers armed with GPS devices, the Bureau plans to “capture the latitude and longitude of the front door of every house, apartment and improvised shelter they find.” Wisely, the information will not be made public (though business interests are pushing for changes to this policy).
The story goes on to discuss how one county in Ohio has used Geographic Information Systems to study such local data — and use it for public services like knowing which houses to evacuate when a local reservoir was in danger of overflowing.