Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is cromulence something you should embiggen?

While watching a slideshow of my Flickr favorites, I noticed that one of the options is to "Embiggen small things to fill screen". I wondered if someone was transliterating from Japanese.

A quick search led me to a wikipedia article devoted to one particular Simpson's episode that uses the words embiggen and cromulent.

So do you think Flickr is hip or ignorant?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A year of blogging

It seems de rigeur in the blogosphere to celebrate the anniversary of your first post.

It has been a fun year of learning about all kinds of Web2.0 tools for me.

Here are the stats:

Google Reader reports that I have 25 subscribers and make 0.5 posts per week - I didn't notice that stat improving from 0.0 posts per week until I just checked it.

Google Analytics, which I turned on in January, reports that I have had 2,608 absolute unique visitors and 6,781 pageviews. Interestingly, more people have visited using Firefox than IE. There were even 17 visits using Chrome, but of course those might have all been from me.

A few of my favorite posts:

  1. See Knowledge being created and negotiated in real time which builds on my fascination with Wikipedia. I think it should be one of the wonders of the modern world. I have made edits to the entries on the UberSketch, Calculator, Cartesian Coordinates, Virtual manipulatives for mathematics, among others.
  2. When is the time for digital education, which is undoubtedly my longest post.
  3. The Un-Read Web? which is in the category of geeky stuff that doesn't seem to attract many pageviews, but which I find hilarious and which tweaked my interest in Javascript.
  4. What is Mathematics? What is Multiplication? which attracted the most august and vigorous commenters but which unfortunately happened at a time that I was least engaged in the web world.
Actually, as I look through the 88 posts, I realize that there is something I love in each one.

The traffic indicates that there are some other posts that Google sends a lot of traffic from. Notably,
  1. Fibonacci Gauge and Fibonacci Gauge - 2
  2. Graphing inequations and inequalities in Sketchpad
  3. Prove that you are human
  4. Math Wars, The Pre-eminence of Algebra and the Presidential Math Panel
There are more than a few posts that try to promote some of my work, like the wiki page of online calculators, the wiki page of resources for the Geometer's Sketchpad and the CLIPS collection of mathematical learning objects.

Of course, my blog has been peppered with things that tickle my odd sense of humour.

I would have given up long ago based on the number of comments I receive without the Live traffic feed from Feedjit which I still find fascinating.

Lately, I have had more ideas for blog posts than the inclination to actually write them, so I doubt that there will be 88 posts this year, but I also doubt that there will be zero.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The CLIPS uberCalculator launched!

I have had the privilege of working on the development of a set of learning objects supporting an instructional trajectory in Fractions, Periodic Functions and Linear Patterns, called CLIPS.

There has been a lot of effort to design a wrapper to complement these activities. One of the elements of this wrapper has been a simple calculator. Recently, Greg Clarke completely overhauled the CLIPS calculator to support four modes: Basic, Scientific, Graphing and Conversion. Greg was able to take advantage of the work of others who have freely shared their code in the opensource spirit. The calculator is available inside CLIPS by clicking its icon at the top right. It is also available standalone at The URL can be appended with ?mode=basic or ?mode=sci or ?mode=graphing or ?mode=conv as above to jump directly to one of the versions. A drop-down list is used to switch between modes, open the calculator in another window (which makes it resizeable) and to download the .swf locally for offline use, perhaps on an interactive white board.

The CLIPS calculator is now prominently catalogued at the Mathfest wiki page of online calculators, which has lots of other interesting online tools listed.

One nice, inobtrusive feature is that when the equals sign is pressed, the answer is copied to the user's clipboard, ready to be pasted into an answer text field in CLIPS or wherever it might be required. I now have the CLIPS calculator as a link in my quick launch bar.