Archive for April, 2008

Rainy Week Ahead, They Say…

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Sunday, April 27th, 2008 at 12:04 pm
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How do Rain and BeLL Affect Substitute Teachers?

§ 1. As street hair wrapper for 15 summers and off and on hitchhiker for ±40, I was often recalled that bad weather can affect us greatly; it can even kill or scare us, change our mood, or get us wet, drowned or burnt! Weather’s Forever changing nature is overwhelming; whereas this last week of sunny, warmish days colored our days, grey is the forecast for the upcoming week….

§ 2. Since I can simply walk to many of the scools I may work at, rain likely will discolor my pants with street goo; heavy rain could get me soaked to the bones and smelly, even though I do have a raincoat; even worse, rainy days ahead could affect already overflowing rivers and creeks, but that is another story!

§ 3. Finally, one has to pray for rain to slack off, if one must walk from A to B :lol: Moreover, I don’t even know which school will require my services, this week: I may just be travelling by bus, anyway. Nonetheless, I, we, have a BIGger problem: it started this last Friday; once again, BéBeLL demonstrates its inefficient sluggishness: they inadvertently cut off our phone! I detail in my Wiki.

§ 4. Although with BéBeLL, delays often seem quite extensible, we hope our phone line, as promised, will be back on, tomorrow, Monday, since I’m on call… As a matter of fact, there’s a school’s caller who often phones me up on Sundays; I’ll be quite :x Xcited if I miss her or another call, today or tomorrow morning, or if someone phones us up and gets the message our phone # isn’t functional anymore and thus never phones us again!

§ 5. Two days later, our phone still isn’t reconnected, and they’re talking about Friday! Therefore, using Skype out, I phoned two schools’ callers and I em@iled another school and some ESL teachers; our saga with Bell is a real drag! I’m presently waiting for another IP phone and I feel that this one will be the right one…

6. Finally, we were without our home phone for a week; I’ll continue to think that our problem could have been resolved much faster

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Live From Cardinal-Roy High School

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 7:57 am
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Yet Another Teaching Day

§ 1. Here I am, waiting for the first group of students to come in… It is about 8h10… Students just helped me to set up the video. They are going to be watching the movie School of Rock with Jack Black… After checking absent students, we started the video… They’re watching attentively and in silence: that’s good!

§ 2. They have to fill up a questionnaire; they may help each other, though only in pairs, but I asked them to wait after to babble and complete it in teams or not, just so they can hear the movie properly… Here’s what Wikipedia says about School of Rock. I’d think it’s a fine movie for secondary III students!

§ 3. When one replaces a teacher, one often leaves comments; since students are watching properly, why wouldn’t I be writing my comments in this blog, as I do now… Indeed, this would not be the place to write down the name of disturbing students, but I don’t see anything wrong with explaining that everything’s doing fine…

§ 4. The music of the movie is fun to listen to: Rock and Roll, indeed! Since they were all done with the questionnaire, 20 minutes before the end of class, I put on The Simpsons: The Movie, which I carry with me, in case of emergency... It’s an okay way to keep students into English, rather than just letting them do nothing or speak too much French, or get bored… The students actually had a few giggles and got to listen to English! I’m satisfied.

§ 5. The first pause in this school lasts 10 minutes; this second group had to remit a questionnaire, then work on prepositions in Unit IV of Time Out; some students worked seriously; others could have worked a little harder… I kind of had to encourage some of them quite a bit. 12 students were actually absent; I was told some of them have gone on a trip to New York.

§ 6. Since I don’t have a car, as usual, I kind of have to wait here for the fourth period, which only starts at 2h15, whereas the second period ended at 11. There are yet another two hours to go… Since I carry along my nomad Internet connection, at least I can listen to some music, keep on writing in this blog, check my em@ils, read Google NeWs or search the Web… Yes, there is a computer in the classroom, but I neither have the user name nor the password: therefore, it’s useless to me.

§ 7. So, I went for a little walk; it’s 13h15. My last group’s students today are at the secondary III level; as with the first group this morning, they are going to be watching School of Rock and are going to have to answer the same questionnaire. I’ll find out when they get here, where exactly they are at in the movie, which, I believe, they already started watching, according to the teacher’s instructions, which nevertheless don’t indicate exactly up to where, whereas she did so for the first group: however, that’s a minor problem…, especially if we compare it to the actually deteriorating situation of food aid organizations, due to high fuel costs, bad weather, and so on…

§ 8. Finally, the fourth and last class should start in ±10 minutes; this group has 23 students; let’s see how many will be there: 16! Some students of this group also have gone to New York… As usual, videos or movies keep the students quite attentive and interested: in fact, movies are kind of perfect stuff for substitute teachers… I personally find that watching movies puts the students into an anglophone surrounding, a bit like a trip to Toronto or New York. With this last group, I had to ask them to whisper if they wanted to help each other during the movie: I added that AFTER the movie, they are going to have time to do so…

§ 9. 15 minutes to go; all went fine: they’re finishing up the questionnaires and I just put The Simpsons on for the last ten minutes: that’ll keep them happy until 15h30… Well, time to pack up and be thankful for this other fine teaching day…

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Skype + Vonage

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 at 12:53 pm
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Another reason to have a PC?

Nope!

Since I wrote this, I discovered magicJack, a much cheaper, though not yet perfect, telephony solution…

§ 1. http://vonage.ca/ will tell you all about Vonage IP phones. Unfortunately, they don’t work with MACs, so far

AJOUT ADD-UP: 2008avr24, we received our V-Phone yesterday: unfortunately, V-Phones DON’T work with MACs AND they DON’T seem to really work with VISTA either. I had read about it on vonage’s website, but it mentionned a solution, which nevertheless DOESN’T work. Therefore, we will annulate our activation and simply send them back their stuff… My conclusion is that they SHOULDN’T sell their V-Phones to people with VISTA! EVEN VONAGE AGREES WITH ME!

v phone§ 2. This ‘V-Phone‘ has the size of USB keys! Wikipedia explains that Vonage also offers a USB phone adapter (called a “V-Phone “) that runs a soft-phone application on the computer, and with internet access, gives it a fully functional and portable telephone with access to the worldwide telephone network.

§ 3. Indeed, with neither electricity nor a broadband Internet connection, it doesn’t work; apart from that, you have a phone you may carry anywhere for $20 a month + tax. That includes unlimited in-calls and 500 minutes of calls, anywhere in Canada or the USA. Additional minutes are at 5¢; at 501 minutes, we then could use Skype at 2.5¢.

§ 4. Unanswered incoming calls simply go to the VoiceMail Box; the panoply of other usual phone functions is also included. We ordered our first V-Phone last Wednesday, for less than $100: that includes the V-Phone, shipping, activation, our number transferred, etc. Once functional, we’ll be able to add another phone, and phone #, for $15 a month + ?$… We’ll keep you posted!

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Since I wrote that, I discovered magicJack, a much cheaper, though not yet perfect, telephony solution, @t $20 a year + $30 for the delivered magicJack, ready to @ctivate…

magicJack VOIP Phone

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A Computer for Each QC Teacher

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Monday, April 21st, 2008 at 10:37 am
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Do Soldiers Pay for Their Weapons?

§ 1. It seems that at this moment, a teacher cannot deduct the purchase of a (laptop) computer from his income because teachers are paid employees and not autonomous workers; on the other hand, yes, in schools, there are computers made available for the teachers in teachers’ headquarters, apart from the other computers in computer labs, school libraries and so on… However, what are you supposed to do, if another teacher already is using the computer shared by a few teachers?

§ 2. Indeed, teachers do know that some of us bring a lot of work at home… We create documents for our students, organize projects, seek information on the Web, participate in pedagogical or educational discussions in teachers or students’ blogs or Wikis… Therefore, since the computers at school aren’t in our homes, we need computers at home too, unless we have our very own laptop, which we can carry wherever we are.

hippocampus§ 3. Moreover, having your own computer is like having a third and fourth horn, grafted to your hippocampus; indeed, according to these two im@ges, THE hippocampus seems to be organized as my laptop’s double hard drives.

§ 4. The animated GIF comes from duke.edu, the PNG, from Wikipedia.

hippocampus§ 5. Could you imagine having someone else’s hippocampus, or shouldn’t we say hippocampa, grafted instead of yours! That would be like working with someone else’s computer, or sharing one with numerous other teachers… It appears to me that each teacher needs her, his very own computer, maybe even more so, a mobile substitute teacher like me.

§ 6. When you @ct and le@rn on the Web, you have different user names and passwords; you don’t want to constantly have to remember all of those details and that’s another reason why a teacher needs her, his very laptop. Moreover, for obvious security reasons, I wouldn’t want to set up all my user names and passwords on a shared computer: in the end, I required MY computer; I bought one!

§ 7. However, I won’t even be able to deduct it as an expense on my income tax report, even though others also seem to think a laptop is an essential tool for any teacher: see chez Sylvain or chez Pierre; even an April Fools’ Day prank was created by the Infobourg. Within certain jobs, when you go home, you may think about anything else but work; when you teach, however, you even dream about it. Your evenings, your weekends are filled with teaching related activities: corrections with positive feedback, class preparations, and so on…

§ 8. Throughout all that, we constantly need access to a computer and the Web: our own computer is a must; a constant @ccess to the Web seems to be another. The other day, for example, I explain it better here, students were working on a text, which mentioned the ‘Bonifacio Fortifications’; a quick se@rch led me to Wikipedia and I now know those fortifications are in Corsica: how could I have guessed it, if I hadn’t had a functional Internet @ccess?

§ 9. Frogs will bear feathers, when school boards offer a loan to substitute teachers, to help them get a laptop since they don’t even know how much work we’ll get, thus, if we’d be able to pay our loan back… Maybe, school boards, or even the MELS, should get into buying lots of laptops, so as to get the best prices; then, they could sell them to us teachers, at the best available prices. They could do a survey before, to know what the teachers want and then, buy so many MACs, so many PCs and so many exploitation licenses.

§ 10. The trouble all that would give to the school boards or the MELS would only compensate the fact that THEY should supply teachers with those tools, especially that we cannot deduct that expense: do soldiers have to pay for their weapons? What I’m suggesting here is that each teacher pays for its own laptop because it’s a private tool, which should be carefully cared for. Indeed, I’d want to keep my artificial hippocampa, in the event I change school board or job. As for a personal, nomad, unrestricted @ccess to the Web, it seems to me that in the best of worlds, it’d be another teaching related tool, which would also be tax deductible!

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MoM

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Saturday, April 19th, 2008 at 9:22 pm
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Maman

§ 1. I went to MTL overnight and thus could visit twice my dear little mom; I also had the joy to sleep on my dad’s temporary little sofa.

§ 2. my MoM’s as sweet and pretty as my Little Maïs, or Corn, in English. Parkinson has parked MoM for four or five weeks, in a geriatric unit of MTL University, to adjust her intake of medications; meanwhile, my dad rented an unit on the 15th floor of a residence for the golden age.

§ 3. I sure wish they’ll soon be together, back into their lovely home.

§ 4. Here’s a video of my mom, done during my visit with her; we don’t quite hear what she says, but I now know how to resolve that, next time, soon. I’m learning.

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My First Video on YouTube: My MoM

Dot Ca + Dot Qc

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 8:41 am
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DJO.CA + DJO.QC :: 2008avr16

§ 1. Branchez-vous and also Canoë @nnounce that one million dot ca dom@ins now exist in Canada. The ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ou ACEI, l’Autorité canadienne pour les enregistrements Internet, takes care of dot ca dom@ins since 2000. We acquired the djo.ca dom@in # 660936, on 2003mai31; we’re paid up until 2011mai31; as for our great, cheap but efficient Web Hosts, whose Web servers are in Switzerland, we’ve paid them up until 2009mai25.

§ 2. Since a few months or a couple of years, I forget, a search with DJO, in Google.ca set in French, has been delivering a first pl@ce to DJO.CA, on 168,000,000 results. Indeed, who’s gonna do a search with DJO? 8O

§ 3. Still in the same domain, breaking NeWs let us know that PQ’s Daniel Turp requests from ICANN that be created the politico geographical extension, or top level domain, TLD, QC.

§ 4. Moreover, pour appuyer ses démarches auprès de l’ICANN, le député péquiste lance également, en collaboration avec le Mouvement national des Québécois, une pétition en ligne. :arrow:

Finally, on this 2008avr16, we hereby prerequest ICANN for the domain n@me djo.qc :roll: Here’s what I just sent to the ICANN

Quebec, QC, 2008avr16.

Dear ICANN People

As you know, a request for ‘dot QC’ or .qc, as geographical, top level domain extension has been presented. See: http://blog.djo.ca/?p=112

We assume the ICANN will ±quickly @llow the existence of dot QC… Meanwhile, even though we cannot request a dom@in with an extension that doesn’t yet exist, we hereby wish to let you know that I, we, will apply for the dom@in n@me DjO.QC, as soon as possible.

We do own http://djo.ca since 2003mai31; djo.qc would nicely pair.

Thanks for your attention

Joseph Deneault, for himself and Audrey Cloutier

Quebec, QC, 2008avr16.

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Frank Zappa: Montana

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Over 10 minutes of FrankZappa live! The tune itself starts @ 3 min 44 sec… Before, Zappa speaks with the crowd, tunes up his guitar and presents the musicians…

Listen and Watch Zappa’s Montana Song

Read the lyrics

SeaMonkey

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Sunday, April 13th, 2008 at 8:20 am
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§ 1. When a comment commands

§ 2. A couple of days ago, an anonymous tr@veller, whom I know in real life, asked me in a comment, if I had considered SeaMonkey as a solution to my m@iling, browsing, or composing Web p@ges…

§ 3. The fact is that I’ve been using Netscape’s browsers ever since 1999: 4.7 was followed by 4.8, then replaced by the 7.2 English version. When version 8 came out, I couldn’t install it on my Windows 98, but since I have my laptop, I had installed the version 7.2, but youtube.com stopped working, so then I installed version 9, but it doesn’t have a Composer anymore… ;-(

§ 4. Then I got a comment suggesting SeaMonkey: at first, I thought that I already had all I needed with Netscape + Internet Explorer, but, I finally dived in and was truly happy to have done so, for SeaMonkey really is a continuation of Netscape Composer 7x, did I discover on Wikipedia.

§ 5. As a matter of fact, when you download the SeaMonkey, you do so from Netscape.com servers. Thus, it’s quite compatible with Netscape and it transfered automatically my em@il data, and my browser’s bookmarks and settings…

§ 6. As for its Composer, it’s quite exactly the same as Netscape’s 7.2 version ; the browser has the same silver skin, which is neutral with any Web p@ge’s content…

§ 7. I’ll conclude by acknowledging that a Web 2.0’s interaction made me discover the SeaMonkey Project. Even though, at first I didn’t dive in, I’m quite h@ppy I did so: Navigator est mort ; vive SeaMonkey !

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skype.com + didww.com = ± Laptop Phone

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Saturday, April 12th, 2008 at 4:53 pm
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Phone me up on my laptop

§ 1. Skype.com is a phone system, which allows you to phone or WebC@m other Skype users’ computers, for free; moreover, you may phone out to any phone number, by buying Skype Credit: that costs $14, which gives you, they say, about 9 hours of use. They supply you instantaneously a short and clear written report for each call, in or out. In-calls cost nothing!

§ 2. Skype.com also sells numbers, to which other people could call you, but not in Canada; however, I did discover a possible solution to that problem: there’s a company called didww.com< , from whom you may ‘buy’ a local phone number: in QC, there are phone numbers available in Montreal and Quebec City. When someone dials that number, a Quebec City #, my laptop gets the call, if my Skype’s on, of course. That cost me $5 to open up a file and then $5 a month, for three months, thus, $20.

§ 3. Since I’ve been writing this ‘@rticle’ over the past few days, I can now acknowledge that Friday, Thursday and Wednesday, for a couple of hours each day, around the second half of the afternoon, upon calling the phone # I was given, I’d get a busy signal. I had unplugged twice or thrice the power to my WiMax modem, so maybe, that had, has a causal link…

4, I do have three months to continue watching how useful and effective didww.com can be or is. Indeed my HP laptop and Wimax modem have to be on, thus plugged in, so as to get calls in, when the # does work and it does work, sometimes… However, it seems that today again, Saturday, 2008avr12, after 15h, it didn’t work; nevertheless, if it does work in the morning, and that everyday, it thus could be useful to be reached for teaching. We’ll see, but I likely won’t renew; for sure I’ll keep looking for better solutions… 17h43: this time it worked.

§ 5. All that makes me more mobile than ever, though still restricted by electricity…

Add-Up 2008mai22: finally, apart from possible WebCam convers@tions with Skype, as far as basic telephony goes, one is much better with

magicJack VOIP Phones

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On the Web At School

This @rticle was cre@ted by Djeault, on Friday, April 11th, 2008 at 8:37 am
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As Mobile As Can Be

§ 1. Here I am in the school Cardinal-Roy, for the first time. It’s also the first time I go anywhere with my WiMax modem and my laptop. So here I am waiting for the first group of students: class will be starting in half hour or so. And, here I am, also able to write in this blog, or n@vigate on the Web, or check my em@il.

§ 2. If had to or wanted to, I could even phone the secretariat, with the Skype program installed on my computer: I actually entered the number, just in case and for the fun of it… As for the Internet connection, it is entering at 100%, since the five lights are on. Well, students are starting to come in… What’s nice with secondary IV students, as these actual ones, is that they quickly calm down and settle to work…

§ 3. This group has a nice 23 students and the following one, 22 ; it seems that not all schools pile up students, to save money, not to say that some schools would actually do that… All of them are working quite seriously…

§ 4. Bonifacio fortifications are in Corsica, did I just find out in Wikipedia; the text they’re reading and working on mentions those fortifications; having @ccess to the Web enabled me to quickly find out that they are in Corsica; I must admit that I hadn’t really registered in my brain, that the French word « Corse » is translated by Corsica… 10 more minutes or so to this class…

What’s interesting at this school is that some of the students have three classes in the morning. They start at 8h20 and finish at 12h30; in the afternoon, they go and practice their sport: some play baseball, others, judo, soccer, hockey, even kayak… Well, the first group has gone; here comes the next one…

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