Category Archives: webapps

April’s Latest Book

(Updated) WordPress 3 Complete is out. This is April’s (not the month, the geek) latest publication. It’s a complete rewrite of the earlier editions for WordPress 2.x that she co-authored.  This one’s entirely April’s.

WordPress 3 Complete
April's WordPress 3 Book


It took me longer than expected to read this.  There’s a lot of information presented here, and it turns out that WordPress itself is bigger than I had imagined.  It seems that there’s a whole culture that has grown up around this stuff, which is good because it means that the environment is rich and the possibilities are great, but it also means that it is easy to get lost.  That’s why it’s helpful to have a native guide, and that brings us back to April’s book.
Continue reading April’s Latest Book

dimdim for dumdum’s


OK… not really. But I wanted to share with you all a new web conferencing tool that I discovered. Patrick and I tested it the other day and we were relatively impressed. It is an Open Source solution which any geek can get behind. It’s called Dimdim.

This service, like many web conferencing services allows you to share your desktop with others. Dimdim also also allows you to share PPT and PDF’s right within the web conference which is nice. You can use the annotation tools to mark-up the ppt or PDF that you are reviewing as well which comes in handy. You can use the Whiteboard within dimdim to collaboratively share ideas or to highlight things as well.

Dimdim also has VOIP built into the service as well along with video. The video service is not included in the free version but the voice is. You can have up to 4 people I believe all with voice at the same time in the dimdim web conference. The things I liked the best were the ease of use and the nice GUI. A lot of these web conferencing tools today are powerful but don’t allow the user to manage them well and don’t give the user or the participants anything good to look at. And… it’s cross platform. There is no plugin to install when using this tool because it uses Flash to power itself. Pretty cool.

Go check them out if you are currently looking for a web conferencing tool. They have a couple different flavors of their service, one of which is of course free. And if you really want to geek out, since it’s open source you can take the entire application, download it and install it on your own server to use. Pretty cool stuff.

Third Party Applications on the iPhone (Repost)


Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than “totally open,” we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone’s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.


P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch. [Oct 17, 2007]

Backpack Gets My Money


I’m an educator. I’m a pretty damn good potter, an avid doityerselfer, and a wannabe geek. But at the end of the day, I’m an educator. But, lately I’ve been struggling with my own levels of productivity.
I know I can get more done during my day at school and at home, but so many things get in the way.

So, when I came to the first GGM over at Patrick’s house and started perusing his journal, his efforts at coming to terms with his org-fu, as he calls it, struck a cord with me. The theme of de-cluttering rings true with me, as does the mantra of less, less, less.

I signed up for a free Backpack account and started using it as my website at school for parents and students to visit for assignment information, extra credit offers, additional information for curious students, etc. I thought I’d give it a try before ponying up the $5 per month that they ask for for a real account. And, happily, that’s lasted me for quite some time.
Here’s one of the uses I came up with: Spanish Immersion Backpack page

But, the ghosts of scattered brains still haunt me.

I emailed the nice people at in response to their offer of a free Basecamp account for educators. They hooked me up and I dived right in, trying to see if this were the tool for me. It’s more than I need. And it’s really geared toward project management and collaboration, which isn’t really waht I need. It’s myself I need to collaborate with most of all!

So now I know what BP can do for me and am familiar enough with it to say that I think it could help in other aspects of my life- Today I made the decision to really give Backpack a try and I upgraded my account. I think there’s money to be made in creating a webapp like Backpack for teachers…

I’ve created pages for different home projects, areas of my professional life including the two thinking-skills initatives I’m leading at school, a text formatting tips page for easy access, and a page dedicated to creating a business for my pottery.

I’m more curious now then ever to see how Patrick is organizing his pages, and I’m wondering if any of you geeks out there are also using Backpack. (If not, just mention my referral number when you sign up ;) )
I suggest we have a GGM centered around organizational tools we all use- tools that really help, rather than bog you down.

UbuntuBook, ctd.

And yes, it can work. Grant and I successfully installed Ubuntu’s Breezy Badger on a vintage 500MHz iBook. This time we have a filesystem complete with the Nautilus file browser. Online updates downloaded and istalled successfully, too. We were trying to set it up with the latest Firefox browser and Thunderbird email app to use it as a lightweight web station. Does anybody know how to actually install Firefox 1.5 in Ubuntu? Being the ignorant Mac users we are, we were hoping for an installer to do the trick, but we were unable to get that going… Any thoughts? – Online Calendaring

OK, you all know I am on this quest to find the best online calendaring program so my wife and I can orginize our lives with our two small children, work, pets, family, etc. I think I have found it with 30boxes. However, I just learned of a different one I have never heard of before called This not only does calendar sharing but does contact sharing in the same app. It also allows you to do multiple calendars for groups incorporating bloggin and such. Very interesting. I would love to hear your thoughts on this web app. Michael, I know you hate them all so I won’t expect one from you. :) Patrick, I expect to hear feedback from you especially please. For you geeks having new babies you might want to think of an online calendar to organize your new more busy lives with your better halves. And of course coordinating all the Dr. appts, feedings, etc for the baby (and the mental health check-ups for yourselves). OK, check airset out below, if nothing else watch the demo.

Trixie Tracker

OK, since Babysâ„¢ seem to be the new “must have” gadget for geeks these days, I know you are going to want to pimp yours out shortly after you get one. Sure, anyone can have cool covers for thier Baby or a custom dock, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you could have some sort of web app to track your Baby? Anylize the shuffle mode to make sure that the noise it is making really is random? Well with Trixie Tracker, now you can.