Fort Herriman Middle School


Google Reader and Sharing
May 20, 2008, 12:04 pm
Filed under: blogs, rss


I love using Google Reader. I loved it even more when they introduced Sharing items with people that you chat with. All the time, though, I wanted to add comments to what I shared with people. Google implemented that feature a couple weeks ago. It is wonderful. I got connected with a slew of people when Google announced sharing to begin with, but I would like to get connected with more people. If you read my blog and use Google Reader, please add me to your chat list, so that we can share things we read in Reader. My email is jethro dawt jones at gmail dawt com. You are not required to chat with me, but I do love reading what people share!

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Why I Won’t Use a Typepad blog
May 15, 2008, 9:27 am
Filed under: blogs, design

I have been using Blogger as my blogging platform of choice for two and a half years. It is very easy to use, pretty fast, and I don’t have too many complaints. My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t host files. That frustrates me, especially when I try to help teachers use it for school, and they can’t attach their files to it. You can use Google Docs, but I have found that Google Docs requires a paradigm shift for most people that they aren’t quite willing to make.

When I write for The Apple Blog I use WordPress, which many people have mentioned is much better than Blogger. So far, I do like it a lot. It works well if you know a little more about computers because you can customize it much more than you can Blogger. Blogger is much more simple, and that has its own appeal as well.

Do you know which platform I refuse to use? Typepad. And here is why: their comment system stinks! Whenever I want to post a comment, I click the submit button. The Web site sends the request to show me a page that says my comment has been submitted, so I think it is all done. Well, that is wrong, because this happens every time: about 20 minutes later, I browse through my tabs to see what is open, sometimes to see if anyone has responded to my comments. When I do this on a Typepad blog, I get the screen below:

It is still waiting for me to put in the correct Captcha letters/numbers. Despite the fact that I hate these things, I always mess up the Typepad Captcha. In the picture above, can you see where I messed up? I sure can’t. But, sure enough, I had to enter another response to this Captcha. So this happens every time I post a comment on a Typepad blog. I don’t think I have ever entered the Captcha correctly on the first try. By the third try, I just give up. Typepad makes it so hard to leave a comment, it is just ridiculous.

If they make it so hard to leave a comment, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to even enter a post! Typepad can do some things to make it a better system:

  1. Have the anti-spam question, Captcha, or whatever it is, on the page where you leave your comment. Don’t make us think there just isn’t one.
  2. Change the Captcha system. Perhaps it times out after too much time. It is easy to let it sit there for a while when you expect your comment to just appear.

Just these two changes would, I am sure, increase the amount of comments on posts. Am I alone here, or do you share my feelings?

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Student Blogs Update 2! – Really, it is a critique of the website that I am using for the student blogs
May 25, 2007, 9:37 am
Filed under: blogs

I used 21classes.com for my students’ blogs.

I didn’t like it that much. It was nice for each student to have their own blog, but I think that I next year I will have a blog for the whole class, ask questions, and have students posts their responses as comments. I use blogger for my personal blog and for my education blog . I think I will like blogger better than this 21classes. I set up an account at Google so that my students could all have email addresses that are firstname@jethrojones.com and that has been nice. I have had a couple students get on at home, and chat with me during class to make sure they understand the assignment. That has been a very worthwhile experience. Right now, I email the students a question at the beginning of the week, and they post the answer on their blogs. The thing I didn’t like about 21classes was that they had ads to support it if you don’t pay. The problem is that their ads were like this: “Are you GAY? Take the quiz and find out now!” I am not sure that I would like my students to learn about their sexual orientation while doing an assignment for my class. The site costs $8.95 a month to use without ads, and there aren’t really any other benefits. Blogger also has a much better design. The other problem with 21classes.com is that customer service is non-existent. There is no option to go back to the ad-supported site (as I was planning to do over the summer) without deleting the entire thing. That is kind of frustrating. Also, when I have problems, and I need to know why none of my students can post on a particular day, I try to contact someone, and there is no phone number or anything like that, so I have no way to contact them. Any email links to report problems all pop up with my email address in the field. It sounds very sketchy and probably is. 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