Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mass shooting - how to deal?

Another mass shooting just few months after at a massacre at a movie theater in Colorado in July.  The latest one, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut took life of twenty innocent children and teachers,  and forever changed lives of the families of the victims. 

How much longer till something will be done about gun control?  And I don't mean the insane idea of arming the teachers!  The second amendment (the right to keep and bear arms - US Bill of Rights) was adopted in 1791! I believe that times changed since then. 

We also need to tackle the problem related to a free or affordable mental health help, problem of unwanted children (planned parenthood), lack of interesting and affordable after school programs, and problem of increasingly violent movies and games. All of these issues contribute to the problems we have as a society.  Unhappy childhood, lack of professional help, boredom, easy access to guns, trivialization of the violence and glamorization of the aggression in our pop culture is an easy recipe for the disaster. 

Post from Bill Maher's Facebook Page

According to the MotherJones report Between 1982 and 2012 there were 62 mass murderers and more than three quarters of the guns possess by the murderers were obtained legally! 

In a words of comedian Eddie Izzard : "They [NRA] say that 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people.' Well I think the gun helps. If you just stood there and yelled BANG, I don't think you'd kill." 

On Friday in China one mentally ill creep also went on a killing spree - He attached 36 kids - hurt 22 - killed... O - The numbers would look different if he have assault weapon. Why an average citizen  need a weapon large-capacity magazines?

I agree with Maher, that just hugs and preyers won't change much. Not in a political arena. But they can help to cope on an everyday level.  How to talk to kids about all the cruelty of the world?  Someone posted this on Facebook and I plan to teach that to my three girls: 

Here are tips for Parents and Teachers from the National Association of School Psychologists (NSAP) how to help children cope when national tragedy happens.

Friday, October 19, 2012

eBay - New logo and Functionality to keep up with trends

On September 13, After 17 years ebay decided to change its logo (and website) to more contemporary look. The announcement came with the list of other significant changes  that will help eBay be stronger on mobile devices and enhance the convenient any-time, any-place shopping.

Old logo

New logo

Devin Wenig,  President of eBay wrote:
Today we begin to introduce a series of significant new features and enhancements for our customers. We’re delivering a cleaner, contemporary look and feel; a more intuitive, convenient way to browse, decide and buy – both globally and locally; and a new personal way to curate your own shopping experience and discover items perfect for you. (More of the letter here).
mobile app

The new logo looks cleaner but also more generic. It keeps the color scheme almost unchanged and the letters are still touching one another but no longer overlapping. The Helvetica font makes it much like any other store front sign around the world. Is that what Wenig meant to achieve? Logo universal enough to look Ok in any culture? After all, according to eBay's October'2012 statistics, there are 105 Million active users in 190 countries!  In my opinion it looks clean and contemporary but it lost its unique characteristic :-(

Microsoft also modernized its logo. Here is an article poking fun of the changes
What if Microsoft's new logo style was applied to other famous brands?

Friday, October 12, 2012

With all due respect that 's a bunch of malarkey

Joe Biden said to Paul Ryan "With all due respect that 's a bunch of malarkey."
... and the users of the second screen went wild:-)

2012 first Vice Presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan was not only watched but also discussed and analyzed in real time by millions of private viewers exercising their First Amendment:-) Twitter posts, google searches for the definition, and creative images avalanched the social networks and cyber space. Obama Campaign immediately bought Ads for ‘Malarkey’ Hashtag on Twitter;  and you can already purchase #malarkey t-shirt!

Martha Raddatz, Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent for ABC News, and an amazing moderator that put Jim Lehrer in to shame, was also trending at google search with +50.000 searches

According to Tropsy, word malarkey or malarky was used about 30.000 times within few minutes. Name of Joe Biden came up around 230.000times while Ryan roughly 80.000

I wonder how many people will/did remember the context in which the Biden's critical comment was used? How many people will remember or watched Clint Estwood bizarre conversation with empty chair  during GOP Convention?  For sure both became part of American pop culture meme :-)

Next presidential debate on October 16 will be moderated by CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. Will Obama step up?

Image by Reuters

Mentions of words Malarkey and Malarky on Topsy

Mentions of Martha Raddtz on Topsy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Visual essence of Obama and Romney acceptance speeches

The RNC and DNC are over, the base feels energized, the swing voters are still swinging:-)

It is time to have fun and look at the words in politics again!  This time let's take a look at  Mitt Romney's acceptance speech for the republican presidential nomination during the Republican National Convention (Tampa, FL ,August 27-30);  and Barack Obama's acceptance during Democratic National Convention (Charlotte, NC September 4-6).

Below are candidates' speeches narrowed down to the 10 most used words and visualized in Wordle. Appropriately, on the left Mr. Obama on the right Mr. Romney. The size of the word grows with the frequency of the word used in a speech. So for example, one can immediately notice that word "America" was used in Mr. Romney's speech far more often than any other word, while  President Obama's use of words was little more balanced with "New" and "America" being in a lead.
2012 Presidential Candidates acceptance speeches in 10 words (Left- Obama, Right- Romney)

Here are the speeches narrowed down to 5 words:
2012 Presidential Candidates acceptance speeches in 5 words (Left- Obama, Right- Romney)

Can you guess whose speech is narrowed down to five words and visualized in the next word cloud?

How about this one?

Do you still need the hint?
First speech was a weird conversation with... an empty chair,  and the second delivered by the best public speaker in Politics ever! :-)  Hmm.. base on the most frequently used words, which speaker stayed more focus on the message?

Full transcript resources:

If you like this post you may want to take a look at visual analysis of  President Obama 2012 State of the Union address followed by Mitch Daniels' GOP response.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Second screen apps to play with, and good news for Apple TV

So many many new things  popping up in the second screen market!

Yahoo's IntoNow and GetGlue, has officially launched for the iPad. All i need is time to play with it :-)

But the most exciting news for me is that Hulu Plus finally came to the Apple TV! Combine it with Netflix and who need the cable TV?!
I would miss the Morning Joe and The Rachel Maddow Show from MSNBC but I can always download free video podcast via Apple TV with a slight delay.  Something to consider after the presidential election.

For more updates watch The Pulse from the awesome Lost Remote

Friday, May 4, 2012

Family by Lulu

My Family by Lucy May 2012
For the first time Lucy included her two sisters on the picture. Until this she was drawing Mom, dad and Lucy and pretended that twins are still in my belly.  Big step!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How much connection is too much?

image by Erin Hanson

MacBook and iPad connected to wireless network at work and at home. Do I really need my HTC Android and unlimited data plan? Could possibly plain cellphone be enough?

I guess right now it is a dumb question. We signed two year contract with our provider (evil smart!) so quitting would not give me much savings.  But next year...  I want an iPhone! :-)

Some people are not meant to be reach (sigh) 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Second Screen Culture

Take a look at this photo.
Image flickr by ScottKMacklin
What you see is the photographer's son and his friends watching the Super Bowl. "Not only were they communicating with their friends, but they were snapping photos and even recording video of their own play-by-play announcing of the game, consuming and creating content at the same time" reads the explanation on Cory Bergamn's blog the 

Cory calls them the second screen generation. I would argue with the attempt to assign the phenomena to just one generation. It is more of the Second Screen culture or perhaps, in risking exaggeration, the Second Screen epoch. 

What is a second screen? According to my BFF Wikipedia it is term that refers to an additional electronic device (e.g. tablet, smartphone) that allows a television audience to interact with the content they are consuming.

To give you an example, watching the last two  State of the Union Addresses did not have to be just a passive one dimensional act of staring at the TV screen or listening to the radio. The White House website offered the second screen broadcasts enhanced with charts, graphs, reinforcing statistics and reinforcing quotes.  Public could and did participate in live conversation with the White House officials via social media. 

My personal indulgence is to "participate" in the Hollywood red carpet events by commenting on super stars via Twitter and Facebook, exploring the Oscars App on my iPad  and comparing my notes with my beloved Joan Rivers and the Fashion Police crew. 

Using second screen is not a fad. It is here to stay. According to Nielsen statistics form 2011, 70 percent of tablet owners and 68 percent of smartphone owners said they use their devices mostly while watching television. The question is, how we the teachers,  parents, community members could use the Second Screen phenomena to our advantage?  How to turn second screens in to your teaching and students' learning enhancement  in your classroom?

Friday, April 20, 2012

On how we use our mobile connected devices

I stumbled upon this interesting statistic from the Nielsen Company  Q1 2011 report on mobile connected devices. It shows their research findings on how and where people in the US use the following mobile devices: tablets, eReaders and smartphones. (Based on almost 12,000 owners of the devices)

Looks like fairly similar number of tablet owners (70%)  and smartphone owners (68%) use their devices most often while watching television. 61% of eReader owners use their device in bed.  Understandably, smartphones are the most popular in "on the go" situations as shopping, running errands, and commuting.

I could not get free access to the full research. Buy it would be interesting to analyze the demographics of the survey responders and also to compare it to the laptop users.  Interestingly, contrary to the popular fear of many educators, using  smartphones in class/meetings is the least popular option.  Again, the age of the responders could shed more light on that numbers.

My use of the devices looks similar but I spent most of my time being wirelessly connected via my MacBook Pro
  • I dropped my Kindle for an iPad and for my htc Android OS smartphone. 
  • An iPad has backlight for night reading and also gives me more chances to instantly expand upon readings by searching the web. 
  • Smartphone is just always with me so I could potentially read even during boring social situations (not that I am doing it ;-) ) or  during many unexpected moments in which your larger devices are left behind. 
  • I like iPad apps but I love my MacBook so I am usually watching TV with my laptop on my laps (as the name suggests).  
  • Laptop is too cumbersome for bed time - that is when I switch to an iPad which completes the cycle :-) 
  • Except the alarm clock... it is set up on my it is a first device I will touch in the morning. 
Soon I will travel to Poland . The problem is that I cannot make a decision which device to left behind! My husband has a similar dilemma. We both will be teaching an online course while there. On top of everything my daughter like her iPod touch. So, we may end up in rather ridicules situation where family of five (with two infants) will travel with two laptops, two iPads at least one smartphone, and an iPod! Oh an a Kindle!  I am planning to reunite with my old Kindle to use it while traveling because of  the long battery life and low monetary value in case if lost or stolen.

Here are the findings related to how much time people in US spend with their device in different situational use:

Post inspired by this blog post on Nielsen Wire

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest

Hi, My name is Magda and I am addicted to Pinterest. So are my students!!! Why not combine pleasure with business?

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest
From: Online Universities Blog

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.
The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.
The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.

It's just too good not to pass along :-D

What's that? You don't see the humor in it?  Dig dipper ;-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pierwsze milosci? / First crushes? 
♥ Tomek from Alfred Szklarski's books; 
♥ Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery;  
♥ Thorgal - awesome graphic novel hero created by Grzegorz Rosinski;  
♥ Janek Kos from Four tank-men and a dog
♥ Atreyu from The Neverending Story
♥ Christopher S in preschool;  ♥Christopher B summer vacation; ♥ Christopher K in the elementary school  (what's up with those Christophers?!) 

What is your first <3  list?
Happy Valentine's day! 

Janek Kos & Marusia

♥ Tomek z ksiazek Alfreda Szklarskiego,
♥ Gilbert z ksiazek Lucy Maud Montgomery o Ani z Zielonego Wzgorza,
♥ Komiksowy Thorgal stworzony przez Grzegorza Rosinskiego;
♥ Pancerny Janek Kos;  
♥ Atreyu z  Niekonczoncej sie Opowiesci;
♥ Krzysiu S w przedszkolu , ♥ Krzysiu B na wakacjach i ♥ Krzysiu K w szkole podstawowej (co z tymi Krzysiami?!)

A jaka jest twoja pierwsza lista <3 ?
Szczesliwych Walentynek!  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RIP Wislawa Szymborska 1923 - 2012

The Polish poet and the winner of Nobel Prize for Literature (1996) died yesterday in her beloved Krakow, Poland. In a poem On Death, without Exaggeration, she put:

There's no life
that couldn't be immortal
if only for a moment. 
always arrives by that very moment too late

Her poetry made her immortal.

It is a second time I am using her poem in my blog. First time to talk about love and now to talk about death.  That was her genius. Using simple words to describe complex world.

Here is the Epitaph she jokingly wrote for herself in 1962. I wonder if anyone considers putting it on her grave?
Here lies, old-fashioned as a comma,
The authoress of a few poems . Eternal rest
The earth has granted her, although the corpse
Did not belong to any of the literary groups.
But also there is nothing better on the grave
besides these rhymes, the burdock, and the owl.
Passerby, take the electron brain out of the briefcase
and over the fate of Szymborska's muse for a while.
~ Wislawa Szymborska 1962
Tu leży staroświecka jak przecinek
autorka paru wierszy. Wieczny odpoczynek
raczyła dać jej ziemia, pomimo że trup
nie należał do żadnej z literackich grup.
Ale też nic lepszego nie ma na mogile
oprócz tej rymowanki, łopianu i sowy,
Przechodniu, wyjmij z teczki mózg elektronowy
i nad losem Szymborskiej podumaj przez chwilę.

Image source: ASSOCIATED PRESS Photographer Czarek Sokolowski

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Actions Against ACTA in Poland

AP Photo by Alik Keplicz

Poland's plans to sign ACTA - Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, called by some critics SOPA and PIPA on steroids, sparked attacks on Polish government websites and street protests in several Polish cities . On a picture above lawmakers from the leftist Palikot's Movement protesting during a parliament session, by covering their faces with copies of the masks used in the  “V For Vendetta”  after the Polish government signed the agreement (Warsaw, Poland, Jan 26, 2012).

Those masks have been used by the internationa hacking group Anonymous, which attacked Polish government Web sites to protest its plans to sign the treaty.

twitter screen capture

Friday, January 27, 2012

The visual essence of 2012 State of the Union address

On January 24 President Obama delivered annual state of the Union address to the United States Congress, followed by Republican response delivered by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels
Here is a visual analysis of both speeches narrowed down to 4 words. Can you guess which one belongs to Obama and which to GOP?
Word cloud made with by maggda based of full speech transcripts 

Here is another hint this time in 10 words:

Word cloud made with by maggda based of full speech transcripts

One picture can be worth the whole speech :-)

Full speech transcripts:
Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address
Mitch Daniels' GOP response

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Actions against PIPA and SOPA Acts

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge... Do you follow the actions taken in response to PIPA and SOPA Acts? 
Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are the two controversial bills in Congress that propose to impose some strict regulations and consequences related to the online piracy. While the concern is legitimate it is also believed that the act will stifle the creativity, freedom of speech and impose impossible to maintain restrictions on some file sharing and open source services.  

In response many major services taken actions in protest: 

Wikipedia blacked out in protest Jan 18, 2012

Google call to take action and sign the petition 

Flick allow users to darken photos for 24 hours blocked with rollover effect 
Google homepage

Polish Wikipedia posted an article in solidarity with the American version

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2.0 poetry

This is great. "A 3-minute fairy tale of mixed emoticons" told by Rives, so called First 2.0 poet. Try to interpret it on your own before you hear the whole story xD

I would be interesting to challenge kids to write a story with emoticons.  I bet that their creativity would make mr. Rives jealous!