What’s so bad about email?

After writing his article, The Good in Email, Isaac Garcia has written a follow-up article— The Bad in Email. The article explains why email is not the best tool for collaboration.

Below are the reasons. Read the full article to see an explanation of each.

  • Email is Silo’ed
  • Email *Perpetuates* Many Walled Gardens
  • Email is NOT Secure (Part 1)
  • Email is NOT Secure (Part 2)
  • Group Email is Really Complicated
  • Email is Not a Document Manager
  • Email Communications Do Not Correspond Priority
  • Email is inconsistent
  • Email is not permission based
  • Spam Filtering is better, but still not good enough
  • Email does not work well for multi-users
  • Email is Prone to Viruses
  • Email makes us lazy

F is a passing grade for websites

The Nielsen Norman Group has conducted an eye tracking study that has shown that most users read in an F shaped pattern when visiting a website.

f_reading_pattern_eyetracking1.jpg

What should web designers learn from this study?

  • users won’t read your site thoroughly
  • the first two paragraphs are the most important
  • information-carrying words should start subheadings, bullet points and paragraphs

Read more about the study.

Google SketchUp: Free 3d Modeling Tool

I’ve been playing with Google SketchUp— a free and easy-to-use 3D modeling tool. It allows you to make a model of just about anything. I think it is a great tool for drawing science equipment.

Below is one of my first creations– it’s a ringstand.

ringstand.jpg

Go to CNET to read their review or watch their video of Google SketchUp in action.

Before you start playing with Google SketchUp, I highly recommend that you watch the three tutorials that Google offers– they were a big help.

Don’t have time to create 3D models? See what others have done. Google allows SketchUp users to share their creations in the 3D Warehouse. Happy modeling!

Our School Blocked Google Images

Google Images is an excellent way to find photos and diagrams of just about anything. Recently our school district blocked Google Images and other similar image search engines after sending out this message:

Since Image servers collect images from everywhere, and many of the images are pornographic, we will have to block sites that do not properly filter these images according to the Child Information Protection Act (CIPA), as required by Federal Law.

It is unfortunate that a few students (as always) ruin a good thing for everyone else. However, according to CIPA, a school’s funding can be cut if it doesn’t show “. . .that they have an Internet safety policy and technology protection measures in place.”

Copyright is another thing to consider if you use Google Images. Remember that most of the images online are copyright protected. Make sure that you are complying with fair use policies when using any image from the web.

Don’t believe that it matters? Here is a true story. My brother worked for a company that posted a picture of Milwaukee on their website. The problem was that the picture wasn’t taken by anyone in his company. The artist contacted his company—long story made short— the company had to pay the artist $900. The artist said that they simply use Google Images to see if people are using their work without permission.

But there is more to this story than just the legal side. It is wrong to take things (even digital things) without permission. As teachers, we need to make sure that we are modeling ethical behavior that respects that work of others.