Archive for the ‘#4life’ Category


Re-interpreting the Daily Create

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

I totally got schooled today.  Totes.  Schooled.

I certainly can’t have that, so I got to thinking about yesterday’s Daily Create, which was “Take a picture of a cloud and tell us what it looks like to you.”

I checked the Daily Create yesterday and then looked at the sky.  It looked something like this for most of the day:

Rainy Day photo courtesy of Alexander Barreto (or Hialean on Flickr)

Rainy Day photo courtesy of Alexander Barreto (or Hialean on Flickr)

After a week of 100+ degree days and no rain for forever, yesterday’s showers were a welcome sight.  I promptly forgot about TDC #184 and went about my day.

I forgot about it, that is, until I was reading my son stories before bed time.  One of last night’s stories was A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock.  Kids’ books are weird, and this one is no exception.  There’s a lot of talk about guns and animals killing each other.  But look what’s on the last page:

A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock

A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock


I was going to snap a picture of this page last night and upload it to Flickr (the cloud in the top left corner reminds me of a shark), but I (a) forgot (b) was lazy (c) was forgetful (d) all of the above.

So let’s talk about re-interpreting.

Shortly after I read that I had invented the lamest excuse ever (truth), my son pulled a bag of poly-fil (the filling for stuffed animals, quilts, and whatnot) off the shelf.

He takes this stuff out of the bag, puts it on his head and my head, and calls it “bubbles” since it looks like bubbles in the bathtub.  Do you know what else it looks like?


“Here’s your re-interpretation,” I thought as I taped the poly-fill to one of the windows.  I had a vision that this taped-up poly-fil would look like clouds in the sky.  Do you know what poly-fil looks like taped to a window?  Santa Claus’s pubes.

I was close to just snapping the picture and being done with it, but I wanted to make it work.  I wanted something that would kind-of-sort-of match up to the image I had in my head.

Maybe taping the poly-fil to blue construction paper with a yellow sun would make things look less pube-ish.

Less obscene, yes.  But still lame.

I give up.  Jobot and I play with his cars.  Jobot drives his cars into the bubbles/clouds/fog.

YES, JOBOT!  That’s it!  Hand me those planes!

And here’s what we do:

That was fun.

So I got that TDC #184 (even if it was a day late), but do you know what I loved most about the whole thing?  The fact that my kid was involved and the process of failing, failing, failing, and then finally getting it.  True, these were small fails on what some would consider an insignificant task, but it felt good nonetheless.

So there.  #4life.  I win.  Maybe… there’s still that seven day Daily Create challenge.


Embedding is #4life

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I think the notion of “embedding” photos on blog posts is causing a few DS106 students to stumble. Let’s see if we can make this all a bit clearer. 

Let’s say I’ve uploaded a truly awesome photo to Flickr, and I want to share it with the world. There are a couple of ways that I could reference this photo on my blog: 

  1. I could link to the Flickr page:

    See what I did there — I copied and pasted the actual Flickr page URL (which happens to show the image on it) into my post, and I turned it into a link to that same URL. Generally speaking, this is a poopy way of referencing a photo. As your reader, I have to look at that ugly URL (although, if I wanted to, I could make the link a prettier phrase or sentence) and then I have to click away from your truly awesome blog to do see that actual image. Then, when I get to the page you’ve linked to, I can see the photo but I have to see a bunch of other Flickr interface stuff to.

    But, most importantly, the Web is a visual medium. You’re taking a class on digital storytelling, which means you’re learning how to use digital MEDIA to create stories and narrative. What’s the point if you’re not actually using the images in your posts? 

  2. I could link to the actual image file that I uploaded to Flickr:

    See how that link also points to another URL, but this time it ends in “.jpg?” That’s because I’m literally linking directly to the image. If you click that link , you’ll only see the image, not the whole kit-and-kaboodle of a Flickr page. 

    How did I do this?! It’s like MAGIC! No, it’s not really. What I did was right-click on the actual image in Flickr and then chose “Copy Image URL” in the menu that appeared (depending on what browser you’re using that menu item might be worded differently).

    Here’s a Pro Tip: In Flickr, if you go to the “Action” menu on any image page, you’ll see an option to “View All Sizes.” This is nice! I get a whole selection of image sizes to choose from, and then I can right-click on the image when I get the size I like to grab the right URL. Isn’t Flickr cool?!

    BUT this is still sucky. I still have to look at that ugly URL and I have to leave your lovely blog to go see the image. Blech.
  3. I can EMBED the image into my blog post. This means the image actually APPEARS in my blog post, instead of just being a link. In WordPress, you’ve got an icon above the main post edit box to “Add Media” (it kinda looks like a camera). If you click on it, you have two basic options: “From Computer” (which means you’re going to upload it to WordPress) or “From URL” (which means you are going to simply point to the image somewhere else — like Flickr).

    Now, you COULD upload the image to WordPress and embed it that way, but you have a limited amount of space on your Web host, so why waste it? And, if you’re already uploading stuff to Flickr (like your Daily Creates), why duplicate the effort and upload it somewhere else? Instead, chose the “From URL” option, and paste that image file URL I talked about in #2. 

    Also, with this technique, you can theoretically embed images from ANYWHERE on your blog — all you need to know is that right-click trick to grab the image file URL. (Of course, you want to make sure you have permission and provide adequate attribution if you’re embedding someone else’s images on your site.)

    When I EMBED, I get this:


    Isn’t that so much nicer?  Embedding images is #4life. Learn it. Use it. Love it. 

Vonnegut on Art, or, Why Kurt Would Have Been DS106 #4Life

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut Image created by Zen Pencils