Friday, January 25, 2008

Web Filtering/Censoring

Photo by Billy Abbott

Recently my school district started blocking most blogs as social networks. This got me to thinking about the usefulness of filtering software.
From what I can see the WebSense filter blocks sites according to broad definitions of the content of the sites. So if a site is associated with other sites by name only then that site is also blocked.
Now image if books in the library were "filtered" in the same way. The other day a book from our library was brought to the administrations attention "My Mom's Having a Baby" innocuous enough right? Well when one of the students brought this home and showed it to her parents they looked through the book and found the following passage "The man puts his penis between the woman's legs and inside her vagina". Now if books were filtered by words or author then this book may have been filtered along with all other books by Dori Hillestad Butler. If books were filtered by the publisher which would be similar to the network a web site is associated with then many more books would be blocked.
Am I proposing that kids be given open access to everything at school, no of course not. What I am saying is that web filters are a very blunt tool and do not do a very good job. They give the illusion of safety with out teaching kids how to be safe on the web.
If you teach swimming, kids have to jump into the pool.
Photo by Glennharper

Monday, January 21, 2008

What I Make

Found this video on another blog and thought it was good, a little harsh but good.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Science project looking for an art connection

So now all I have to do is figure out an art project that I could connect this with.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida

My wife and I just received a notice from Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida that our homeowners insurance was being canceled. Or in their feel good words "non-renewed" which I’m sure some corporate wordsmith really enjoyed writing. Apparently the main reason for canceling our insurance was not from not paying our insurance bill or making too many claims (we have made one in the 19 years we have lived in the house). No our Nationwide Insurance was canceled because of L.I.F. or Living In Florida.

Our house has survived, with out damage, several hurricanes. We have prepared our house for the next by trimming trees and preparing plywood covering for all our windows. We are ready and so is our house but apparently the only risk Nationwide is willing to take is if our insurance payment might be late, and they never were. So after 19 years Nationwide just up and bails on us.

Thanks A Lot Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida.

Now I guess that Nationwide Insurance Company of Florida can’t take all the blame. The Florida Legislators in Tallahassee also need some of the blame for this happening. In their “Show me the money” attitude the Leaders of Florida allow insurance companies in Florida to keep their books separate from their parent company. So I send money to Nationwide Insurance but it really is only Statewide Insurance.

What will I do you are thinking. Well Monday I’ll go with hat in hand and ask my agent if there is an insurance company that till cover my home, the one that has had one claim in 19 years. To me that looks like a pretty good risk.

Nationwide may be on your side, but not on mine.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Here is another way to use web 2.0 for collaboration

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Story Telling Tool

OK, found a new site called Bookr. It allows you to search tags of images in Flicker and paste the images in to a Bookr "book" This is a very simple example.

As you can see when you move your cursor over the corner of a page it flips up and turns to the next page. You can also read it in full size by clicking the bar under the book to the left.

I "discovered" Bookr while reading a post on my Twitter account.


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