Save Toby/Kill Toby

Wow … I don’t know how true this is, but it’s bizarre (thanks Trudy). has been set up by a (seemingly) anonymous author who will reportedly cook and eat his pet Rabbit Toby unless $50,000 USD is donated through the site. Another site, is reportedly trying to raise $55,000 USD to pay Toby’s owner to go through with his plan.

If this is legit, I’m thinking both sites are linked, and either way, are well on their way to make some money. Already over $15,000 has been made (on, and there is merchandise for sale as well.

Hmmmmm … whatever happened to an honest living?

Update: I checked out Those that know the site, will know that Snopes specializes in sniffing out Internet hoaxes. And, it appears that SaveToby, as suspected, is a hoax. However, the money is being collected to buy SaveToby gear. Still, quite the business.

Blogging and Digital Narcissism

There was an interesting story in the Leader Post (A3, Feb 24/05) titled “It’s all about me baby”. The story first details the recent hacking of Paris Hilton’s electronic organizer, which has ultimately led to hundreds of celebrity phone numbers and email addresses being leaked to the Internet (and Xtina Aguilera still doesn’t return my phone calls). Also, and to little surprise, the article reports that “the bigger picture, quite literally, was that every photograph archived on Hilton’s T-Mobile Sidekick was of herself.”

The article goes on to implicate Paris as evidence of the “narcissism afflicting the Internet generation.” “From blogging to vanity surfing, technology is helping to inflate a new generation of egos of magnitudes never seen before.”

But what I think is more important here is the author’s notion around ideological systems and how reading and writing blogs can potentially entrench authors into shared, immovable beliefs. “News and gossip is obtained from websites that conform to their own view of the world, reinforcing the belief that their ideologies are the right ones.”

See cartoon reflecting that blogging is indicative of the ‘me’-generation. :-)

I recently read a related and timely post from Xplanazine titled “The “Bambi Effect” — Why We Hate It When Cute Creatures (or Beliefs) Are Threatened or Harmed“. It reads, “Once we become aware of how and why we believe what we believe, and once we become conscious of how we interpret our perceptions, we can start to question each cognitive step along the meaning-making road.”

It’s interesting to think, myself, of the blogs that I read and how their authors often convey very similar thoughts, concerns, values, beliefs and humour. I should think, though, of the reasons that I choose these authors, and of the reasons I choose to ignore others.

1-Click Answers:

1-Click Answers provided by is an excellent new(er) search tool available for both the PC and Mac (thanks Heather and Brennan). When you download and install the tool, you will be able to instantly search any word in any application on your computer, against the database. So rather than highlighting your term, opening a browser, pasting your term into the browser, etc., all you need to do is ‘alt-click’ on any term, and your search is launched. A quick and easy way to query.

Digital Story Book Projects: Tutorial

A while back, I mentioned that my brother George, a teacher in Alberta, is developing digital story book projects with his grade 8 students. For teachers looking to do similar projects, George has put together a brief tutorial on how to get started.

The tutorial includes:
– an example of a digital story book titled “Jorge the Janitor“,
a digital storybook modelling the creative process,
a step-by-step tutorial

These projects are worthwhile looking into, as they certainly have the potential to foster creativity in students, and are really not that difficult to create.

Knoppix as a Classroom Learning Tool

I have just read an interesting post by Ming Chow who is relaying his experience in using the Knoppix Linux Live CD as a classroom learning tool. If you are not familiar with Knoppix, it’s basically a distribution of Linux which boots and runs completely from CD. Additionally, Knoppix “includes recent linux software and desktop environments, with programs such as, Abiword, The Gimp, Konqueror, Mozilla, Apache, PHP, MySQL and hundreds of other quality open source programs.”

The case the Chow makes is that exposing (Windows inundated) students to Knoppix is a fairly simple, but powerful way of allowing students to become familiar with an OS alternative. Additionally, Chow provides all of his students with a Knoppix CD to take home to use and experiment with.

While Knoppix is not the only Live CD version of Linux, it is probably the most popular. But if you are interested in other options, check out this comprehensive list of other Linux Live CD distros.

FLOSSE Posse Group Weblog: Open Source/Open Content in Education

I was just notified of a new group weblog titled FLOSSE (Free/Libre and Open Source Software in Education) Posse.

“The reason for our existence is to start a conversation in the blogosphere about Open Source and Open Content in Education.”

Of course, if you have been reading this blog and know of my research interests, this is exactly the type of conversation I am interested in listening to and participating in.

It sounds like the blog will soon feature interviews from prominent voices in the field. The interviewees include Stephen Downes, Alan Levine, Knut Yrvin, George Siemens, Teemu Leinonen and Antti Kauppi. I am told that these interviews will be posted on the blog in the very near future. However, I noticed that an excellent interview with Alan Levine has already been posted.

I think this is going to be an great help with my own research, as it will be a source of first-hand interviews of experts in the area of FLOSSE.

Check it out at:

Blogging on CBC Morning Edition

I am told that CBC Radio One’s Morning Edition (Saskatchewan Programming) will be featuring a piece on blogging tomorrow morning (Feb 22, 2005) at 7:15 a.m. I was interviewed for the piece, along with a few other local bloggers, and I am looking forward to see how they put it together.

I am assuming that there will be an accessible net-version of the broadcast available here shortly after it airs.

Update: Using the power of Wiretap (great App for OS X), here is an audio clip of this CBC broadcast.

Beautiful Panaroma Photography is a beautiful collection of Quicktime VR panorama photographs of some really neat locations. For instance, I love this moment captured in time at Niagara falls, or the amazing lunar landscape photographed during the Apollo 11 mission – or at least that’s what THEY expect us to believe :-).

If you have never used the QuickTime VR format before, move your mouse around in each scene… the photograph will rotate. Additionally, use the Shift and Ctrl keys to zoom in and out.


Way back in April, I wrote a post re: … a website where you could send yourself a message in the distant future, somewhat like a digital time capsule. I like the idea, but since I have already had about 10 different email addresses, I wondered about the feasibility of this and/or if the service would even be around when I wanted to receive my message.

However, FutureMail makes a bit more sense. This service allows you to email reminders to yourself on specific dates, and you can even subscribe (via RSS) to your (future) email feed. Yes, yes … I know there are calendar programs that can perform a similar service (e.g., iCal, Outlook), but I guess the tool has to fit the user. Neat idea … we’ll see how well it works.

And brother George, since you forgot my Bday this year … listen up!

Internet Awareness, Ethics and WebQuests

Today, I presented an Internet Awareness presentation (Caution 28 MB) to my undergraduate ECMP 355 students. Some of the topics covered include:
– Hate-based websites
– Pornography on the Internet
– Accuracy of information
– the commodication of knowledge
– Internet privacy
– Safety and instant messaging

Additionally, I just recently introduced my students to the concept of WebQuests this past week.

SO, I was happy to see an article by Hicks, Gao, Goodmans & Manning (2004) via Cannell titled “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Be Socially and Ethically Aware Producers and Consumers of Interactive Technologies“.

The article tracks the development of a WebQuest within the teacher education program at Virginia Tech which was meant to explore “emerging issues in the classroom” re: technology. The WebQuest itself can be found at:

While, the WebQuest doesn’t quite cover all of what I tried to accomplish within my presentation, it’s a good example of how the teacher education institutions can approach covering important content through alternate web-based pedagogy.

CNET Announces Newsburst Service

I’ve been guiding my ECMP 355 and ECMP 455 students toward a wealth of RSS-empowered web resources, and now here’s an excellent new resource from CNET. “Newsburst is a personalized tool that tracks virtually any type of information on the Web: news, blogs, shopping lists, weather, search results, alerts, auctions and more.”

The new service works very much like Bloglines to track your RSS subscriptions and recommend feeds related to your interests and geographic region (it ask for your zip/postal code).

It’s nice to have an alternative to Bloglines, especially since Bloglines has been recently acquired by AskJeeves (acquisitions make me sketchy). However, I wasn’t overly impressed by the way this page rendered in Firefox on my Mac … had some strange issues with buttons overlapping, etc. Anyways, it’s worth a look.