Episode 205 – Butterdish Crumblescone

Original photo by Gene Skidmore – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/28570188272

Tony and Patrick are back with another great episode. Learn the many names of Bumpercar Crumplezone amongst some other fantastic info as we talk and rant (a little about technology.

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch
    1. https://www.wattpad.com/622757598-the-many-names-of-benedict-cumberbatch
  2. What am I drinking?
    1. Tin Roof Blonde – https://www.tinroofbeer.com/brew/blond-ale/ 
    2. Big Lug Goat Ranch – https://sahmsalehouse.com/nora/ 
  3. Google Flex OS (Wasn’t this already made and then removed, and now it is back?)
    1. https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/chrome-enterprise/chrome-os-flex 
    2. Tony signed up for a trial
    3. Chrome OS is a Linux derivative 
    4. Can it dual boot?
  4. CISSP – Tony’s dream and nightmare has come true
    1. Tony passed his test!
    2. Must do continuing education units (CEU) every year
    3. Bollards – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollard 
  5. Tech Support is becoming somewhat impossible- no one understands the cloud …
    1. We cannot control cloud outages
    2.  Cloud folder syncs suck!
    3. Go to the website

Google Forms – Choice Eliminator Lite Add on

Welp that was quick. Not too long ago I wrote about the Choice Eliminator 2 add on for Google Forms. This Add on allows you to put limits on how many times a choice can be made and then it will eliminate that choice from the form. Think about people signing up for appointments, you only want one person at a time – this (in theory) could achieve that.

The bad news is that Choice Eliminator 2 is no longer available 😦

I am not sure the reason and the developers website doesn’t really have any info about it as well. My thought is that Choice Eliminator 2 has been replaced with Choice Eliminator Lite (also made by the same developer). So I thought I’d take a quick look on how that works and whether you can count on it.

Installing the Add-on

This is pretty easy. First, open up a new Google Form (this only works in Google Form, not Docs, Sheets or Gmail). In the top right hand corner you will three dots next to your account icon, click that. A drop down menu will appear and you select Add-ons.

A new window will appear and form here you will srarch for Choice Eliminator Lite. When it comes up click on it.

After you click on it, you can read its description and scroll through its images and more. Most important of all you can click the Install button and this will make the Add-on available to all of your Google Forms. Don’t worry though, it is not active until you start using it with specific forms, so it is not going to mess up anything you’ve already made.

When you install it the first time, it will ask for permission to do some actions. Go ahead and approve those and now you are ready to start using it.

Using Choice Eliminator Lite

Before you start using Choice Eliminator Lite, go ahead and create your form. Here is a sample form I quickly threw together.

Then select the question with the times by just clicking on it and now it is time to start using Choice Eliminator Lite. Go to the Puzzle piecec near the top right hand corner and click on it and then select Choice Eliminator Lite.
A little box will then pop up, click Configure.

Just like Choice Eliminator 2 you will get a Take Note!!! box that pops up. This basically tells you to use drop down menus instead of Multiple Choice questions. More on that later.

When you close it, you will see the editor on the right hand side as its own pop out window.

You have very limited options here. You can either till it to Eliminate Choices or not. I imagine if one choice is selected it will disappear from the form. So, there is no way to assign a limit to each choice, for example if you wanted to allow three choices for my 4:00 meeting, then this Add-on will not work for you.

OK – now that is done, let’s test it out.

Always, always test

The heading says it all. Don’t just trust it is set up and working, always test it out before opening it up to the public.

To test it out I had it loaded the form link in a Chrome browser and then another in Microsoft Edge and finally another in Firefox. I wanted to test how long it would take to remove an option.

The good news is that it is pretty quick to process and remove the option. It only took a few seconds. Even if the someone took a time and another person picked that time, it would return an error for the second person and ask them to pick another time.

On the other hand, if they made the same choice within a second or two, then it is a good chance that it would allow both of those answers through. The only service I’ve ever seen that reliable limits is using the Form Ranger Add-On but that is not as easy to set up.

Conclusion

If you used to use Choice Eliminator 2 because you could allow certain quantities for specific questions, this cannot do that. This will let someone make one choice and that is it. For that purpose it is fine, it works well enough. For something more robust that lets you put different limits on different questions, then you need to use Form Ranger. I made two posts about it (Part 1 and Part 2). It does take a little bit to set up but it will absolutely work.

Episode 204 – Snowplosion

Tony and Patrick are back for another great show. We talk about snow, printers, and a bunch more. Check out the talking show notes below and as always, you can subscribe to us with your favorite podcasting app.

  1. Snow everywhere
    1. Snowdays vs eLearning days
    2. Winter Olympics – Are you watching? Is anyone?
      1. Anal swabs for Covid 19
      2. Government approved hotels
  2. What am I drinking?
    1. https://www.metazoabrewing.com/ – Crocodilian American Pale Ale
    2. Kirkland Sparkling Water – So Adult
  3. Google Forms – Choice Removal and Choice Eliminator 2 Add-ons
    1. https://wp.me/pYzzW-29w
    2. Really popular post last week
    3. Choice Eliminator 2 Google Form Add-on is gone 😦
  4. Printer H#LL – DoS – Windows 11, Next Moves, I miss the Image Runner
    1. Two printers in library
    2. Wireshark
    3. Student had a print job going to an older printer
    4. Problems with WIndows 11 because Papercut hasn’t updated its services
    5. Canon Imagerunner
      1. WiFi enabled printers

Episode 203 – I quit

  1. Bengals in the Super Bowl!
  2. What am I drinking?
    1. Bells Kalamzoo Stout – http://www.bellsbeer.com/beer/year-round/bells-kalamazoo-stout 
    2. Sapporo Steel Can Tall Boy – https://sapporobeer.com/our-beers/sapporo-premium-beer/ 
  3. Revising Chatterbox
    1. Video coming soon
    2. Not as bad as first time
    3. Still don’t recommend it
  4. Weekly CISSP- Mandatory Vacations
    1. https://www.isc2.org/Certifications/CISSP 
    2. Minimum 1 week with no contact
  5. LinkedIn Trends: People recruiting teachers into other industries
    1. https://personalexcellence.co/blog/talent-stack/
    2. https://www.ixl.com/company/careers

Tony and Patrick are back to celebrate the Bengal’s win and talk about the education job market and much more. As always you can subscribe to us using your favorite podcasting app.

Just stop it please

I saw this article on BBC and it made me a little angry – not going to lie. The title is How hologram tech may soon replace video calls. This article is posted on the BBC a reputable news site that is pretty respected around the world. This article was published in their business section.

The tech itself is pretty impressive. A person sits or stands in front of a camera with a white back drop and their image is beamed (with nearly no lag) to a 7 foot tall rectangular box anywhere in the world that shows the person in 3D. It looks good – check out their YouTube video below.

It’s neat right? So why am I angry with this article? Well it presumes that this technology may very well replace video calls. What a load of crap (sorry for the harsh language). This technology will never make it into mainstream businesses, homes and certainly not schools.

I am perturbed because it feels like the BBC is trying to get you excited about an idea that is not feasible (at least right now). They sound more like a commercial for Portl than an actual news report. They are more wowed with what it can do as opposed to what problems can it solve.

Sketchy

On top of all of that this company is pretty sketchy. When you head to the Portl website (https://www.portlhologram.com) and start to poke around you see some weird things. Like a new product called the M by Portl (https://www.portlhologram.com/m). They have a very nice video you can watch below.

What looks sketchy is the “Reservation” screen. check out the screenshot below.

  • You pay $100 to reserve one.
  • No timeline of when (if) it will arrive.
  • No mention or estimate of the final price.
  • No real tech specs (HDMI? USB-C?)
  • No tech computer requirements given.
  • Camera requirements?
  • What are the speakers used?
  • Privacy policy concerning their digital assistant?

So, your $100 gets you a spot in line and . . . ?

But hey, this company was highlighted on a reputable news source so we should trust that they are on the up and up.

Credit where credit is due

I am not saying this is vaporware. I know they made the Portl Epic (the big 7 foot tall booth). It works, it is pretty cool, but it does cost about $60,000 for the Epic and who knows how much for the M (if it ever ships or even ships with all those features). They did make it but it’ll never sell and certainly not to schools and certainly won’t be for everyone to use everyday.

My real problem

These articles present this vision of the future with emerging technology today, but they don’t talk about the feasibility of it. Why does it cost so much now? What will it take for the price to come down? Who else or how many other people are working on this type of technology (not something similar)? There is no questioning, no probing, just reporting what the company says. As a person who hears a fair number of sales pitches, this article feels like that and I don’t appreciate it from my news sources.

I was super excited with Magic Leap and everyone slurped up their sales pitch without even being allowed to see or try their project. Then when they did get to try it out it failed to even come close to the hype that was generated around it. This is the same thing and I just wish that

Sorry for the rant – I am just tired of good news sources either getting duped by dubious companies or simply pushing their dubious products on their readers.

Episode 202 – Vintage Tech

Tony and Patrick are back for another fantastic episode. So sit back, hit the play button and enjoy sometime with us! We have good drinks and better opinions. As always you can subscribe to us using favorite podcasting app.
  1. What am I drinking?
    1. Great Lakes – Conway’s Irish Ale – https://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/conways-irish-ale 
    2. Samuel Adams – Cold Snap White Ale – https://www.samueladams.com/our-beers/limited-release/white-ale/cold-snap 
  2. Legacy Technology – could be costing you a fortune. Tony’ story about a lost telephone line 
    1. https://c.tenor.com/H56jRVjI7bkAAAAd/airplane-ii-comedy.gif
  3. Chatterbox – skip it
    1. https://hellochatterbox.com/
    2. Costs too much
  4. Surface Laptop SE – repairability
    1. https://itbabble.com/2022/01/14/surface-se-repairability/ 
    2. Cost and availability of parts?
    3. Bundled parts like screen/keyboard assembly
  5. What’s a Freak’N BI; Do you use Canvas? Because I have a gift for you. 
    1. Microsoft – https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/
    2. Google’s version – https://datastudio.google.com/
    3. Tableau – https://www.tableau.com/resource/business-intelligence 
    4. Amazon’s version – https://aws.amazon.com/quicksight/ 
    5. info@tonydeprato.com for more information
  6. Windows 10 on an SD card
    1. Tony did it!

Surface SE repairability

There has been a lot of back slapping and congratulations being passed out to Microsoft over this video. Yes, it is good that they have made a device that can be repaired by just about anyone with a screw driver and parts on hand. It looks pretty easy to do as well. This is what I expected but I still have concerns and questions.

Parts

Where do you get them? Right now I bet the only company making these parts is Microsoft. This isn’t great. When there is no competition for certain parts, the people that actually sell said parts can sell them for whatever they want. Here are my predictions of what these parts will sell for (I hope I’m wrong by the way):

  • Keyboard & trackpad – $120 USD
  • Screen with lid – $120
  • Battery – $80

I’m not going to go further than that. Remember that Microsoft is going to sell this starting at $250. If the prices are even close to this, then repairing should be an after thought for schools that purchase them, or maybe a device is good for one repair and then call it quits. It would be easier just to buy a new device altogether if that is the case.

Separate parts?

In the video you see the technician remove the keyboard. Can you also separate the trackpad away from the keyboard? That would be very good for repairs. A trackpad is a lot cheaper if you can purchase just that part as opposed to replacing the entire keyboard assembly along with the trackpad. This is also true the other way too. Maybe the trackpad works wonderfully and you only need a new keyboard – can you purchase just that part?

Then there is the screen. Do you have to purchase the entire lid to replace the screen? The difference in price here can be pretty significant. A screen for a device like this should cost around $50 (give or take where you buy it from and the demand on the market). If you have to put the entire lid to replace the screen, then you are also replacing the following components:

  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Lid
  • Coaxial cables for the WiFi antenna

This stuff starts to add up and a school could easily be looking at $100+ for that part.

Bah Humbug!

I know I sound like Ebenezer Scrooge a week before Christmas, but these are concerns I have. I want the Surface SE to work, I do. Right now I think Chromebooks dominate without much competition out there, but I am afraid that Microsoft will inadvertently shoot themselves in the foot by making the parts unnecessarily expensive and difficult to get. Time will tell and despite the tone of this article I am optimistic, but I am also keenly aware that companies like money.

Shure MV7 – Not a review

OK, Santa was good to me this year. I received a new boom arm and a new microphone. The boom arm is the Røde PSA+ and it is pretty sweet. The microphone though is what is really special. I;m not going to review it here because 1) I’m not a sound engineer and 2) there are literally tens of reviews out there for this product. I know tens doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me – it is a bunch and it’ll give you a good idea if you want it for yourself. I’m here just to talk about the decision behind this mic.

What was I working with before?

Well let’s go waaaaaay back to the first episodes. Omar and I were huddled around a MacBook and were recording with its internal mic. It sounded like garbage.

Then I upgraded to a Blue Yeti. This is a USB microphone and it sounds pretty good.

One of the most beloved USB mics out there

Yeah this thing was great! It was especially great for voice overs and it was OK for podcasting. My wife got it for me as a gift and it cost just over $100 USD. The problems with the Yeti is that it picks up everything (air conditioner, people talking nearby, etc.) Lots of background noise made it into our shows. It also has a desk stand which is super convenient, but again, when someone bumps the desk or table, you hear that pretty clearly. Another issue is that it is a USB mic, what this means is I could only plug it into a computer and you can really

Then I “upgraded” to the Behringer xm1800s. Sounds fancy? Not really. This microphone is only sold in a 3 pack and costs a whopping $39 USD for all three, the carrying case, and the mic holders. It’s something you may find in a shady karaoke bar.

Cheap but sound pretty good for the price.

So why did I buy them? Well I had this bad boy and needed an XLR mic to plug it into.

You want a tank? This is a tank.

The Zoom H6 is a beast – I’ve raved about this thing here and there. This made podcasting remotely pretty easy – no need for a laptop and it was battery powered making it even more portable than ever before. Then I carry around those Behringers and picked up some cheap desktop mic stands and Bob’s your Uncle. I was set to go.

I used this set up for a good 6 years and it sounded way better than the Yeti. Here everyone had their own mic and everyone therefore sounded much better than crowding around a USB mic.

I finally replaced the Zoom H6 for the Zoom P4. It was cheaper, had soundpads and built in mix/minus which lets people on Zoom calls hear you and through your mic and your computer sounds as well. Overall it is better suited for what I wanted.

Ohhhh – what a nice piece of kit for podcasters

Shure MV7

So what does this bring to my set up that I didn’t have before? Well, this mic is both an XLR microphone and a USB microphone. That may not seem too special but it actually is pretty cool. When I podcast at home I use the Podtrak and plug it in via USB, but if I need to do a voiceover, I can toss this thing in my bag and use any computer I want. My iMac at school a spare laptop, it doesn’t matter.

I like the ability to be able to switch easily between XLR and USB. This allows me to work pretty much anywhere. Even when at home, if I need to do a voice over for a tutorial, all I have to do is plug the Shure into my computer and I’m off and recording. No need for a mixer, audio interface (which the Podtrak can totally do by the way) or any other go between like I needed with my Behringers. I just plug and go – its great!

Ami I set?

Yeah, probably. I still have the Behringers in case of in person group recordings or if students at my school need them, the Podtrak is great and I love the new mic and boom arm. I really can’t think of what to upgrade now. The mic stand, microphone and Podtrak are all built supremely well so they should last for a while. I think I am good to go for the next 7-10 years.

Episode 201-Omar’s FJ

No Omar this week, sadly, but Tony and Patrick soldier on! We have a great discussion about beer, watches, Omar and oh yeah – some good ed tech stuff. Check it out on your favorite podcasting app or listen down below.

  1. What am I drinking?
    1. https://www.lindemans.be/en_US/beer/Framboise 
    2. Belgium Beer Cafe Dubai – https://belgianbeercafejumeirah.com/ 
    3. Modelo – https://www.modelousa.com/en-US/product/especial 
  2. Comfy headphones & Omar’s FJ Cruiser 
    1. Avid – https://avidproducts.com/product-solutions/learning/
    2. JLab – https://www.jlab.com/collections/on-ear-headphones/products/neon-bluetooth-wireless-on-ear-headphones 
  3. Finalsite Ransomware
    1. https://www.finalsite.com/ 
    2. https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/finalsite-ransomware-attack-shuts-down-thousands-of-school-websites/ 
  4. I’m replacing my smartwatch
    1. Withings Steel HR- https://www.withings.com/us/en/steel-hr 
    2. https://www.casio.com/products/watches/databank 
    3. https://www.bulova.com/us/en/product/96C139.html 
    4. https://www.nixon.com/us/en/dork-too/A1266-000-00.html 
  5. Full story coming next episode – Legacy Technology – could be costing you a fortune. Tony’ story about a lost telephone line https://c.tenor.com/H56jRVjI7bkAAAAd/airplane-ii-comedy.gif

    “Clean closets – ask questions” ~ Old Geezer Wisdom

Notion.so – Shortcut keys

Notion is great for taking notes and it works even better when you know some basic shortcut keys. This helps you keep your hand on the keyboard and focused on the discussion, lecture or meeting you are in. Check out the short video above for some beginner tips.

List of Shortcut Keys:

  • ctrl (command) + 1 = Heading 1
  • ctrl (command) + 2 = Heading 2
  • ctrl (command) + 3 = Heading 3
  • ctrl (command) + 4 = To-do list
  • ctrl (command) + 5 = Bullet point
  • ctrl (command) + 6 = Numbered list
  • ctrl (command) + 7 = Toggled list
  • ctrl (command) + 8 = Code/syntax block
  • ctrl (command) + 9 = Create a page block

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list – check out usethekeyboard.com – https://usethekeyboard.com/notion/