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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Financial Planning Aid

Planning for college? It is a serious expense to consider.
Already there? You know what this means.
How do you pay for it? Hard work certainly is one way. With smart work is another way.
The second best part of this it is FREE.
That because the best part of it, may in fact find some money to put towards the bills you face or are arriving.
PS - Christopher Penn is the man behind this site. He was also one of the key people behind the PodCamp Boston . This is not some fly-by-night website.
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Today's IPO - How I Blog

The written version can be found on the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network blog here.

8 minutes, 40 seconds


MP3 File

The JJL Anthem

It has been a good holiday weekend and it was made a little more special this afternoon as my daughters were joined by two of Allison's friends, Ashley and Theresa, to record an 'a cappella' version of the JJ Learning Anthem.
We had a great time recording this. They did a couple of readings, a couple of dry runs, listened to the CD (a live version of Neil), to the "Shrek" version, and then did three takes. The third was the best. I believe you'll enjoy it!
Listen to it here.
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Does money make the world go

Are you motivated by money? Or by doing what is necessary?

Interesting post by Blaine via Guy Kawaski who references a study that reveals that thinking of money makes individuals less likely to work with others.

The Joyful Jubilant Learning Network is working together in an environment with out money being mentioned directly. I think we are preparing ourselves to be more effective in a flat world.

At work, I have a good deal of cross functional team collaboration and I do find that if the incentives are not properly aligned (meaning the individuals participation is not part of their personal bonus objectives) then the results can be inconsistant. The "good" people will do what is necessary all the time. The "others" will do what is necessary when there is an incentive in their favor.

Read Blaine's posting here.

The song from Cabaret comes to mind:

Money makes the world go around,
the world go around, the world go around,
Money makes the world go around,
it makes the world go round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,
a buck or a pound, a buck or a pound,
Is all that makes the world go around,
that clinking clanking sound,
Can make the world go round.

How do you see this?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for learning

The Joyful Jubilant Learning Network that I am part of has created a Thankful for learning post to help celebrate today.

Click on over to read.

What have you learned recently that you are thankful for?

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Turkey Trivia Quiz

A good friend of mine passed along this Trivia Quiz via email. While relaxing after the feast, here are some questions to test your knowledge of the turkey and its facts.

Turkey Quiz


PS - I did not do so well getting only a dozen correct on the first pass. I should have cruised about the site more before taking the test.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

credibility signals

From Ronald Rice's posting at Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning

In what ways do digital technologies themselves affect credibility? I think the essential consequence is of increasing the diversity of credibility signals (both positive and negative, clarifying and obscuring). And at two levels--that of credibility of the content (whether a posting or about a person) and the credibility of the medium itself.

Online links/citations, background searchers, web of science, google scholar, recommender system, automatic sorting by date of posting, blog tags, social networking systems, and more, all offer both features and indicators about credibility of content and people.

I found some simple signals recently. As I retold the story to my youngest daughter, Carolyn, she said. Well what if those sitting at the table move the shakers themselves? She speaks from experience. There are several times when waiting a restaurant, one can fiddle with what ever is on the table to pass the time. I suspect that if the folks seated at the table are playing with the shakers, the wait staff would notice as they approached and revert to Plan B (needing to ask as their clue is now no longer reliable).
Back to credibility...
What helps you determine the credibility of a source?
Recall the content in context that Tom Asacker mentions in his book A Clear Eye for Branding?
Are some bloggers more credibile than others?
What do they do (or not do) that helps you make the decision to trust what they say?
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Games as learning tools

To my posting on exploring wikis, Sandra commented that she was using a wiki and invited me to visit. I needed to follow her connection through MyBlogLog but I could not do that within my work environment. I did try technorati and other search options without success and then patiently waited until I got home to go to MyBlogLog.
Once there, getting the links to her blog and wiki were easy. I like what she writes here:
As adults, we want to learn stuff that is directly relevant, practical, and useful to resolving the real challenges we face in our work. We learn best by doing what matters to us personally. We want to build on what we already know, transfer our prior experience to a new situation, share what we know, find out what like-minded others know, and form connections. We want rapid feedback. We want to learn what we need to know right now, just in time to complete the task in front of us. We might need to know a little or a lot; either way, we want to decide what we learn, when, and how we learn it.
Does this ring a bell with you?
Does this stir your passion for learning?
Jump on over to check out the Joyful Jubilant Learning Network and see what "like-minded others" are attempting.
And if you have something that you have learned since October (or at least recently), please share it. Instructions on how to join our Thankful for learning Forum are here!
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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wiki's - the next best thing since sliced bread

Today's Boston Globe has another in a series of articles appearing in the press touting the new wiki phenomenon. Wikipedia is certainly well known. Other uses of wiki technology are being explored. The wiki cake project mentioned in the article is underway. The wiki in this case is collection votes and suggestions from the group (and anyone can join) to decide what kind of cake to bake. A simple but effective exposition of the tool.
Dan Bricklin, inventor of Visicalc, the precursor to Excel (and I did use it once upon a time) is about to release wikicalc as an open source application. Anyone anywhere could collaborate on a shared spreadsheet.
I am exploring using a wiki to enhance the blog writing I do. Comments help foster the conversation but the content of the postings and comments maybe more readily available via wiki to continue the conversation and build a real information source. My 2 cents would be worth more if it was tended to, tempered, and added to by the collective intelligence of the readers. Or so my current thinking goes.
What do you think?
How would you use a wiki?
Would you help explore the use of a wiki?
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Friday, November 17, 2006

Variations on a theme

Yes, another one of those days when it just came out this way. I had one idea. Probably a silly one at that and I couldn't let it go. It had to come out in three versions. One song, three ways of introducing it.

Was it a good song? You tell me.

If you don't like it, I'll deny any knowledge of its creation.

And if you do like it, I'll still deny any knowledge of its creation to avoid the royalty police.

I hope you enjoy these variations on a theme: one two three

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

BlackBerry Thumb

As a recent convert to a BlackBerry from a Nextel phone/walkie-talkie, I am fearful of the dreaded "BlackBerry thumb".
I should not really be too fearful. One way to avoid this malady is to limit your usage. And I do. My thumbs also assist in that they are larger than the keys on the keypad so if it will take more than a few words to write, I'll wait until I get back to my desktop to respond.
But if you must respond all the time, then there are some exercises to help avoid the problem.
The American Physical Therapy Association has released a series of hand exercises that can reduce the chances of developing "BlackBerry thumb."
Yes, it may be time to exercise your fingers.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bleak Outlook?

Autumn's glorious color has gone.
The leaves have left the trees.
The day dawns, bleak, dreary.
Is your outlook on life as dismal?

You need a little spark.
You need to stretch yourself.
You may need to learn something new.

When did you last learn something worthwhile?

Jump on over to the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog and check out what is going on there.

Whatever it is, it is not bleak!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Simple Signal, Important Message

Communication amongst the team is critical to successful delivery of service. A baseball pitcher works out the signs with his catcher. The football team reviews the play in the huddle before they head to the line. There are any number of such examples in the sporting world. How do you handle such signal coordination in the workplace? Maybe via an instant message, or a page, or maybe if the workplace is a restaurant, you use the salt and pepper shakers.
Salt and pepper shakers?
Yes, indeed. It requires coordination and execution but when successfully done, the customer won't notice that detail.
So how does this work?
"Here's a good one, " Emeril told us. "We have both a front waiter and a back waiter serving any particular table. One of our commandments for service is that your cocktail order should be taken within 15 seconds of your being seated. Now, how do we make sure that both waiters know whether the order has been placed? We use the salt and pepper shakers on your table. When you sit down, the two shakers are separated; when one of the waiters takes your drink order, he or she puts them together. That way you won't be bothered by a second waiter asking you about drinks. It's a little thing most people would never notice, but that's what great service is all about--- little things that add up to a big difference."
Emeril is the Emeril Legasse of Food Network fame. This is from Jonathan Tisch's book The Power of We. I am reading it now and when I read this story (page 89) I could not wait to write about it.
This is a simple and cool idea.
How can you use your environment to help deliver better service to your customers?
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Joyful Jubilant Thankfulness

Christine Kane, a wonderfully talented signer and blogger, has a timely post on "Everything I needed to learn, I learned randomly this week"

Note: it may not look like anything is there if you use IE, but scroll down to find the text.

Christine writes:

The most rewarding thing is when, in the midst of anything going on, I can sit down with a guitar and just moodle and play and allow a song to be there. All the “shoulds” and the “here's what's not going rights” try to distract you. But if you can stay with the song (or the painting, or the writing, or whatever) you rise above (or below) and you get to see who you really are, just for a moment. The peace in that place is why we create at all.

Read her full posting to begin to truly appreciate the meaning of this ending.

So how is learning connected to thankfulness?

Rosa Say, equally talented coach and blogger writing at Joyful Jubilant Learning writes:

On Thursday, November 23, 2006, the day that we celebrate the American Thanksgiving Day, we'd like to celebrate our thankfulness for YOU, the Ho‘ohana Community of readers of Joyful Jubilant Learning, by getting your “Learner's voice” here on the blog.

How would you finish this phrase?

“I am thankful that I am a Joyful Jubilant Learner!

Why? Since October I have learned ...”

Read the full posting for additional details (not very strenuous) and the link to make your submission (should be as easy as an email).

I am sure you have learned something. Why not be thankful for it!

Share your learning and your thankfulness will be rewarded. I am not sure exactly how, but trust me, it will be!

Disclosure: I am also part of this Joyful Jubilant Learning network and I have plenty to be thankful for so I will be sharing as well.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jenks Fountain in Franklin

This is the Jenks Fountain on the bridge in downtown Franklin that I referenced in my posting on Evolutionary Blogging that I did in September on Rosa Say's Talking Story.

Dolores and I walk by this on our "normal" Saturday route. I have been by here a few times and forgotten to take the picture. Today was another opportunity and the weather was too cooperative to pass this by again.

Stopping by also gives me the chance to correct my posting in that the fountain was made by a decendent of Joseph Jenks and not by Joseph himself. Oops. It still is a valid connection to Pawtucket which was the main point.

The podcast version of the Evolutionary Blogging post can be found here.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

A father's advice

I want to remind you that in my own experience, all of the “learning” I did in all of the college classrooms I've spent time in does not come close to the learning that I've done on my own for the simple reason that now I am learning with people who are just as (if not more) passionate to “know” as I am. And that is what I want for you, to connect to people and environments where your passions connect, and the expectation is that you learn together, not learn on your own. Where you are free to create your own curriculum, find your own teachers, and create your own assessments as they are relevant. Where you make decisions (and your teachers guide you in those decisions) as to what is relevant to know and what isn't instead of someone deciding that for you.
Halleluiah!!  Bold for my emphasis
Read the full posting here titled "Dear Kids, you don't have to go to college"
Recalls the posting of last year by Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users.
Do you have that passion?
Isn't it wonderful?
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

I am the Guest Author at Talking Story today

Rosa Say writing at Talking Story was looking for input around the theme of "when parenting works" for this month of November. I went into the archives for a good post to share. You may recognize it.

This is a good case of using the archives and then also exposing a comment that was worthy of getting some notice.

Thanks, Allie!


You can find the posting at Talking Story here.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More than peas

Coming home now, there is a 50-50 chance, I'll be first. On trash day, that means bringing in the barrels and recycle containers. On the others, it means getting the mail. Checking for messages. And as we start getting into dinner, emptying the dishwasher or cleaning up the dishes left from breakfast.
Most of these tasks were the girls to handle but they don't come home first any more. They are spending their time away at college preparing for their new world and whatever their road will look like.
What is your day like? Do you involve your children in the household routines?
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


From Limerick Savant we get the word for the day:
... I found it necessary to abuse those tools to express my excitement over the discovery of the Bantu concept of ubuntu, "I am because we are." Suddenly, it seemed the perfect way to express my experience of the blogging phenomenon. Ubuntu seems to capture how the blogosphere (I hate that term) has created interconnectedness among many individuals, worldwide, who share their similarities and differences in a generally civilized way through posts and comments on those posts. Maybe that makes us all mixed metaphors of a sort? I know that the longer I do this the more, what was once, a solitary activity has become a conversation.
You should click through to read the full post.
 It opens with the traditional limerick.
I'll admit that I don't read this as often as I should. Everytime I go there I end up laughing.
So that should be the message, when you need a laugh, go to Limerick Savant.
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Vote on November 7th

Yes, do your civic duty.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Writers needed - good passionate voices can apply

There are some business oriented blogs in need of good passionate writers.

Do you love to read about this topic? Do you have an expertise or a passion in this topic? Love to write? Want to make money writing?

We are Know More Media, a rapidly growing network of business-related blogs, and we need an author for this blog. We seek a person with an authentic, competent, clear, and honest voice. We invite any skilled writer with an expertise or passion in this topic to apply.

Click to find out more about becoming a Know More Media Author, or go to the “Write for us” link on this page.

Some of the blogs looking for writers are:
The BizClass - about business schools, continuing education, and business educational options
DoubleLedger - Accounting, accounting software, and accounting services
HelpDeskNotes - Help Desk and Technical Support
The full listing of blogs needing writers can be found here.
My writing is my "hobby" but this may be up your alley!
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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The price of admission

Are top-tier private colleges worth the price of admission? is the title of an article in today's Boston Globe. Jeff Brown writes:
Last spring, I told a friend about all I'd seen at the Ivies -- and the enormous cost. "What's wrong with Penn State?" I grumbled. "Hey, I'm a big believer in the land-grant universities," he said -- a successful product of one himself.

Sending a kid to a prestigious school is a real accomplishment. But lots of happy and successful people have come out of state schools.

At less than a third the cost, maybe they're a better buy.

The attraction of a top tier college needs to be more than just having a degree from one. The expense of that top tier education is considerable. Trust me. I have two in college and they are in great schools but arguably, they are not in the "top tier". Our bank accounts are thankful for that.
I am satisfied that the girls are where they need to be. They are both challenging themselves in good environments.
You should consider the alternatives. Kathy Sierra wrote about them a year ago:
The conventional wisdom says that the specifics of what you learn are much less important than the fact that you're learning the fundamentals, and you're learning to learn--things you'll need to maintain your skills and knowledge in a quickly changing world.

The problem is, you virtually never hear a student say that. It's always the parents or someone speaking on behalf of the educational system. When was the last time you honestly heard (and believed) an actual current college student claim that the true benefit of their formal college education is in learning to be a lifelong learner?

You can read the full posting here.

I think it is important for the family to have the discussion about college and what it means, to the learning process, to what direction the student is headed, and very importantly to consider the financial aspects. Will some amount of debt be worth the price of admission?
What do you think?
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