Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Very cool new Open Source archive! Check it out!

I was just on Digg and found this great Open Source software archive! It's quite comprehensive....lots if great cross-platform offerings. You oughta' check it out! Maybe you'll find something new and useful for your new computer that you got over the holidays ;-)

Open Source Living

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

OS in Education Grad Course at UMaine

Thought I would give everyone a heads up on a new course at the University of Maine. We are offering EDT 598 section3: Open Source in Education. It will be offered online through Moodle. It is aimed at teachers and administrators whose schools may be going toward open source solutions and meant as an introduction to OS. Participants will learn what open source software is, why it exists, and look at how to implement popular open source software packages into the classroom.

If you know anyone interested in this course please email me at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TechTip Podcast Episode 002!

download episode 002in MP3 format (plays on most common MP3 players and computers)

download episode 002 in OGG format (free and open source format high very well with Linux)

Today we're talking about setting up extensions and themes in Firefox. It doesn't matter whether you use Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X. Firefox is cross-platform and so are the extensions and themes! It's really easy...listen to the podcast and then check out the show-notes for links, screenshots, and more!

Click here for the show notes

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Our first day with the Intel Classmate PC running Edubuntu!

Last week at the Ubuntu Developers Summit in Boston I was given a shiny new Intel Classmate PC loaded with Edubuntu 7.10! Aside from being a nice little tiny laptop that I could play around with, I was really excited to get it home and show it to the kids. I used it as a prop for a lesson on free vs. freedom in the world of computers and software. I also discussed with the kids how computers can play a vital role in opening up the world for kids who have never even seen a computer, especially kids in the developing world. It was a great discussion! Check out the excitement for yourself!

Classmate PC at VCS

Powered by ScribeFire.

Basic System Administration on Ubuntu Seminar

The Informatics Institute held a Seminar on Basic System Administration on Linux, more specifically, Ubuntu. Mr. Jed Berones, a Network Security Engineer, was tapped as the resource speaker for the said seminar.

Most SMB's and Enterprise businesses are already running Linux, and this seminar will benefit the participants by exposing them to a more stable Operating System. Participants were also provided with hand-outs and certificates of attendance. And because of the success of this event, plans are underway for future seminars.

The topics discussed were:
  • Ubuntu Installation
  • Configurations
  • Customization
  • System Administration
  • Advanced Techniques
  • Applications

More images at Flickr.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Using Flock

Going to try Flock again.  I have heard that the new release is much better.

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Great news! Local Applications on Edubuntu thin-clients!

Hey everyone! History has been made at UDS Boston! Last night, Halloween, four developers holed up in a room in the Hotel@MIT and hacked away on what would become a working version of local apps running on an Edubuntu thin-client! This is VERY big news. Normally in a thin-client environment, the applications all run on the server. This is fine except when you have a whole lab of kids using Firefox and Flash to access an educational web site or to (*gasp*) play games. What about YouTube? Well, with local apps you take advantage of some of the processing power on the thin-client itself (which largely goes unused). In essence we simply ask a particular application to run on the thin-client rather than the server. This will be something that can be defined for individual thin-clients or groups of thin-clients. As schools already have or possibly may purchase more powerful thin-clients, the choice to be able to run some applications such as firefox may become more desirable. Right at this moment I am watching a very smooth video running locally in Firefox on a thin-client. Normally it runs quite choppy on a thin-client, but when running locally it's very smooth just like running it on a desktop or laptop. I just tried an educational subscription site called BrainPOP...the flash movies ran very well. I'm excited about this new will revolutionize the whole Linux thin-client industry. It still has a ways to go before it's fully implemented, but it won't be long! Look for local apps on LTSP coming to a server near you!

Visit Scott Balneaves' blog for more information

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Extend OpenOffice with OxygenOffice

Windows/Mac/Linux: Add clip art, advanced PDF functions, and in-editor Wikipedia searching to open source office suite with OxygenOffice Professional, a modified installation package and extension. Along with adding roughly 3,400 clip art files and templates, OxygenOffice's extensions also add support for Microsoft's Visual Basic for Applications in the Calc spreadsheet program and conversion tools for the Office Open XML format used in Office 2007. Combined with the Writer's Tools package, this gives a number of exclusive features.

To install, download the extension, open, go to Tools -> Extension Manager and click the "Add" button in the My Extensions section, or download a binary to make a fresh install. OxygenOffice is a free download that runs wherever does. (via

Featured Download: Extend OpenOffice with OxygenOffice

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ubuntu 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon" - My First Impressions

As of this post, the release of Ubuntu 7.10 is only 3 days away. This past weekend I blew away my Feisty Fawn installation on my old Dell laptop and replaced it with a shiny new installation of Gutsy Gibbon, other wise known as Ubuntu 7.10. I used the latest "release candidate" which is essentially the finished product minus some tweaks which I'll grab with the Update Manager anyway. In fact, over the past couple of days I've noticed some artwork changes and things like that. When I first installed Gutsy the OpenOffice splash screen was the default OpenOffice blue and white, but as of yesterday it had been changed or "upgraded" to the familiar Ubuntu brown and orange. I suspect that there are many little things, or finishing touches, like this that are being applied each time I update over the next few days until the release (on October 18th).

So...what do I think? I'm lovin' it! First thing that really jumped out at me was the easy screen and printer setup. Setting up multiple screens is a snap! There's a nice GUI for setting up most of your video settings. Very cool. My printer? The easiest I've ever encountered. Last night I needed to print something here at home. I have a networked Xerox Docuprint N2125 Laser Printer. In the past I would have had to input the IP address, port number, and so forth. This time? The printer dialogue asked me to select whether it was a local or networked printer. I selected "networked". It then asked me if I'd like the computer to search my network for the printer...I clicked "Yes". Next thing I know, it has found my printer with the correct IP address and port settings...AND it then offered to find the correct driver for me! Which it did...and that was IT! Off to work I went....printing and printing some more!

Next stop...F-Spot Photo application. The new F-Spot is AWESOME! Now I know that's not an Ubuntu issue, but it is included as part of a default installation so I feel it's part of the "package". I was able to easily grab photos off my digital camera, import them to F-Spot and then easily upload them to my PicasaWeb account! So far I am very impressed with the polish and improvements in Gutsy Gibbon.

I have ordered a new laptop from System76 which should be here soon. I'm very excited and look forward to "moving in" to my new laptop. What's different about this one? System76 only sells Linux based laptops...more specifically Ubuntu laptops. The nice thing is that I'll always know that my hardware will work with Ubuntu as I have a company standing behind it. I can't wait to see how Gutsy flies on my new System76 Darter laptop. I'll write a review as soon as I get a chance to "move in"! In the meantime, download Ubuntu 7.10 and give it a try!

Powered by ScribeFire.

K12Online - let the fun begin

(Cross posted from SharonsShare) These presentations have been published today at K12OnlineConference 2007!

Direct links to the presentation are provided.

  1. CLASSROOM 2.0 KEYNOTE: “Classroom 2.0 or You Live Where?”

  2. NEW TOOLS KEYNOTE: “More Than Cool Tools”

  3. Classroom 2.0: “Travel Through Space and Time”

  4. New Tools: “Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools”
This is a must attend conference - at your own time and place. Even have CEU's and college credits offered. The presenters names are a list of visionary educators.

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

FOSSED Attendee/Presenter now writing about Education!

Deborah White of the Asa Adams School in Orono, Maine is now a columnist with the Bangor Daily News! She has been asked to write about education and how it applies to all of us. Not only that, Deb is a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) user! Deb has been using FOSS in her own classroom for a couple years now. She wrote an excellent column on Software Freedom Day. Check out her below.

Deborah White, Bangor Daily News Columnist

Powered by ScribeFire.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Need help making the jump to Ubuntu?

Need help making the jump to Ubuntu? Check this site out! This web site attempts to create an "Ubuntu for Dummies" blog to help people with ZERO experience with Linux get through the day. The site is "human readable" and a great help for those migrating from the Windows world. The most recent post deals with migrating Outlook to Thunderbird and Evolution. Check it out!

Ubuntu Help

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Content Management

Just put out a plea from Techtwaddle - but wonder if the readers here would also like to participate?
All summer I have been studying the different Content Management Systems for a change to some of my sites. I have decided on Joomla - wondering what opensource systems you are using and how you feel about them.

I now use Metadot (school) and do not like its sluggish load time - also not a big fan of Perl (probably because I just don't understand it well enough).
Also use Wiki's and Blogs - and am now into Ning. All of these are great for personal and social sites, but I still think CMS is the way to go for a district. Anyway - any comments here or at Techtwaddle are appreciated.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lady of Lourdes College goes Open Source

Our Lady of Lourdes College Foundation has followed the footsteps of Royal Roads University, Durham Academy, and Handsworth Grammar School by using Free and Open Source Software in their classroom. But this time, the school's administrators decided to take it one step further: eliminate all proprietary software from their computers and their courses and use FOSS exclusively. This move was seen as the most cost-effective solution for the Foundation while at the same time providing quality education that the students need.

Open Source is a set of principles and practices that promote access to the
design and production of goods and knowledge. The term was initially and is
most commonly applied to the source code of software that is available to the
general public with relaxed or non-existent intellectual property
restrictions. This allows users to create software content through
incremental individual effort or through collaboration.

By using Open Source Software, the Foundation managed to cut down the Total
Cost of Ownership dramatically. The school's IT budget was used to purchase
additional computers for students instead of paying software licenses for
Microsoft Windows Vista Basic and Office Basic which costs as high PhP 14,000
per PC (based on's pricelist). Xubuntu was the Operating System
of choice and OpenOffice for Office applications, both of which are free,
stable and secure. Xubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu, a Linux distribution,
but is designed for old and low-end computers which will extend the life
cycle of computers from 5 to 8 years. Security and Stability are also
guaranteed by Xubuntu. Due to its impeccable design, viruses fail to thrive
in a Linux environment and its strict permission-based method made sure that
no system files can easily be modified or deleted rendering the system prone
to crashes. Software and security updates will always be free and a new, also
free, version available to the public every six months. Because of it's
faster release cycle, active development, and community participation,
Xubuntu has become very appealing even to first-time computer users
disproving the myth that Linux is for programmers and experts only.
OpenOffice has gone a long way and has evolved into a direct competitor of MS
Office. It has Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Database, Presentation,
Mathematics, and Vector Graphics applications which can also open, edit, and
save MS Office files which made sure there won't be file incompatibilities.

But the foundation won't stop there, they'll also adopt Drupal for their
content, Moodle for eLearning, and SchoolTool for their school administration
needs. The Department of Computer Studies would replace Visual Basic and
Visual C++ with Gambas and Anjuta/KDevelop respectively. Eclipse would be
utilized for Java subjects and MonoDevelop for C# and .NET. Plans are also
underway to offer courses on 2D and 3D Animation using Blender and GIMP. The
Contact Center Course would use Asterisk and SugarCRM. And all of these would be implemented next semester.

Two of the many workstations with Xubuntu Feisty Fawn

The teachers/participants during the Seminar

Our Lady of Lourdes College Foundation is located at Vinzons Ave, Daet, Camarines Norte
For inquiries, you may contact Dr. Joaquin Palencia at jgp88 at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Portable Apps revisited!

I recently stumbled upon (literally I was using StumbleUpon) I've been there before, but this time I noticed they have the Portable Apps Suite!  Sweet!  You can download and install all the apps at once to your USB drive and truly have a "portable" suite of apps! - Portable software for USB drives | Your Digital Life, Anywhere™

Powered by ScribeFire.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Unix/Linux Command Cheat Sheet

The good folks at FOSSwire have created a really cool Unix/Linux Command Cheat Sheet! I'm by no means a command line newbie, but there are often commands that escape me and thus I have to turn to Google for my answers....this cheat sheet may just save the day! Check it out...and while you're there...check out the FOSSwire site! I'm adding it to my Google Reader! Great job!

FOSSwire » Unix/Linux Command Cheat Sheet

Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Getting ready for the roll-out of Edubuntu

Well, the summer is beginning to wear on and I have to get back to work at getting things ready for the upcoming school year. I've been in to school a couple times, but for the most part I've stayed away. No longer. I must return and begin another adventure. I'm actually looking forward to it. This year I am rolling out Edubuntu (click here for more info) throughout the entire school. I'm also taking a major step at breaking our dependence on Windows (even more). Up until now each classroom has had a Windows machine (or a Mac in some cases) in addition to a "mini-lab" of Linux thin-clients". This year I'm replacing them with Edubuntu machines. Now...before you gasp too loudly...Windows will still be available in two forms. One is via our Windows Terminal Server and the other is quite unique if you ask me (go ahead...ask me) Ok I'll tell ya'. I'm installing the free VMWare Player on the Edubuntu desktops and creating a Windows XP Pro virtual machine to push out to these desktops. So...if the users MUST use Windows, they can. My hope is that by having the base operating system as Edubuntu...they will see that they can do more than 90% of their tasks right there without having to go to Windows. I will also be using Edubuntu on all of the the transition around school will be effortless for the users. I also will be using Samba/LDAP as my central point of authentication regardless of platform. Matt Oquist has created a fantastic installer for Samba/LDAP called "smbldap-installer" (click here for more info) which makes it a snap to install and configure a Samba/LDAP server in minutes. I'll be running mine on an Ubuntu server so it'll be nice and stable...and lightweight. My mind is racing with new ideas and that's kind of exciting. I'll keep ya'll posted on my progress!

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

sharon's share: Online presentation tool

sharon's share: Online presentation tool

This free presentation tool ranks even above my favorite from ZOHO.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

230+ Keyboard Shortcuts for Top Web Services

Ok, this is very cool...if you use a lot of Web 2.0 services like I do (I'm a major Google user...PicasaWeb, GoogleDocs, iGoogle, GMail) then you'll love this article. These shortcuts really make things go a lot faster! Enjoy!

230+ Keyboard Shortcuts for Top Web Services

Powered by ScribeFire.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Back from NECC

All I can say is "WOW". NECC (in Atlanta) was a fabulous motivating experience. There are many blog postings for those who didn't attend -
Some on my network - which I invite everyone to join:

and all fed through Hitchhikr.

A bit of a hiatus...

Hey all...I'm taking a bit of a hiatus for the next couple weeks as I'll be on the road with the next FOSSED conference...taking in a Red Sox game in Boston...and heading off to camp for a week. So...I will have my N800 in case I get inspired, but at the moment I'm storing up all sorts of cool ideas for the months ahead. Stay tuned!

Also...there are many others who are able to post to this blog...check out their articles. If you'd like to become a me at []

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't you wish you were here?

Open Source Software on the Mac!

What? Free & Open Source Software for the Mac? You bet! Click Here

Web 2.0 in the classroom

What fun - there was such enthusiasm in the sessions yesterday. You can see the Moodle presentation (it is open to Guests).

and please think about joining the participants in our Social Network (you will need to join to post and get your own page) at


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

First Day at FOSSED 2007 (Gould Academy)

Well...we have finally begun the 5th year at Gould Academy...and what a day it was! The sessions all went very well. I was shocked to see how many teachers were here and how many had packed in to participate in the Web 2.0 session and the FLOSS in the classroom session. So cool! As usual the food, atmosphere, and conversation is incredible. Tomorrow is I gotta' get some sleep! :-)


Intro to Linux Docs

The Intro to Linux session begin taught by David Trask is going quite well. The link for the documents for this session is HERE.

Bloggin at FOSSED by a Participant

This proves that Sharon is a good teacher. The lab is filled with the sounds of rapid-fire key strokes as we all try out blogging.

Blogggin at FOSSED

This is an example post from the FOSSED bloggers.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Phew! Almost ready...

As Sharon said in a previous post...this is FOSSED week. I'm headed to Gould Academy for the 2007 FOSSED conference tomorrow afternoon. I must say that organizing a conference is a whole lotta' work, but for me it's a labor of love. I look forward to this week almost as much as I look forward to Christmas. It's so much fun to eat, sleep, and breath Linux and Open Source for 3 whole days. I meet some incredible people who are very passionate about what they do. It's refreshing to know that there are folks out there who've had enough of banging their heads against the wall and are ready to move forward whether it's with FOSS or whatever. It's encouraging to hear the success stories and see the growth that has happened since the first NELS/FOSSED conference was held five years ago! So...if you're reading this...and attending the conference at Gould Academy....I'll see you tomorrow. If not, I hope you'll join us in July at UNH! That one's just as fun!  for more info. Off to FOSSED....

Powered by ScribeFire.

Hey everyone

Thank you to David for inviting me to participate in this blog. This is FOSSED week - as you know - and very busy. Next week I am off to NECC and plan to blog both for myself and for eSchoolNews. I will attempt to remember to cross post any open source sessions that I attend here.
See many of you at Bethel.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Ask Me About....."

As I start to pack up cables, CPUs, lamps and LAMPs, swag and pillows in preparation for the Hadj to Bethel, I am thinking about the incredible opportunity that these next few days present. These are my favorite conferences of the year and if I had to pick my very favorite thing about these NELS/FOSSEd conferences, it would not actually be the food (though that is really a close second) but the fact that I learn something from every single person I talk to, eat with, listen to and drink among. From incredibly knowledgeable network people to first year teachers for whom this is their first tech conference, everyone has some expertise to offer. People that have never seen FOSS software and were dragged to the conference by a friend offer great insight as to how people view our world from the outside. And the people who are actually coding some of the magic will really listen to concerns and feedback in a way that really doesn't happen at national development conferences. Usually I am having so much fun that I forget how amazing this fact actually is.

So I always start thinking about this time of ways to turbo-charge this process. Could we ask people to provide a digital picture of themselves and 3 topics that would go under the heading of "Ask me about..." Topics like RAID installation, classroom FOSS use in K-2, international FOSS conferences, magic shell commands, good introductory books on OpenOffice, FOSS Library software, educational software horror stories, or backup strategies for rural tech coordinators. And then we post all this on a wall in the science center.

And beside it a huge sheet of paper (how analog!) where people leave questions like "How do I connect two computers to share files on linux machines?" or "Has anyone gotten a Ubuntu LTSP to support Flash 9 and where do I find you?" or "Is there FOSS software for Macs?" Then someone would leave their name saying they can help with that questions and by checking the other board the questioner can seek out that face at some meal or break.

Perhaps something to be discussed this year for implementation at a future conference. where did I leave that hub......

Installing Moodle 1.8 on Ubuntu Server 7.04 (Feisty)

FOSSED 2007 at Gould Academy is only a couple days away and I figured it's time to begin posting some of the how-to's and so forth in preparation. Back in February I created a document that detailed the easy installation of Moodle 1.7 on Ubuntu Server 6.10 (Edgy). Moodle 1.7 turned out to be a pretty buggy release (even the Moodle guys said so), so I had also created another one for installing Moodle 1.6 (very stable). I chose to "redo" the Moodle 1.7 document for Moodle 1.8 and Ubuntu Server 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). You can find that document HERE.

If you have any suggestions or comments...please post them below in the comments section. I'm constantly striving to make this document better. It is a Google Doc so any changes are automatically republished...check back often. Hope it works well for you...share your successes!

Free & Open Source Software in Education

This blog is all about FOSS in Education! It is also the posting and storage point for the annual FOSSED conferences. ( I hope you visit often and learn some new things!

FOSSED 2008 Conference Schedule!

The 2008 FOSSED Conference schedule is now posted...get it here CLICK HERE

Conference Sessions listed here

Great sessions! Great presenters! ALL driven by YOU! Check the session descriptions (always a document in progress) here:

Click here to view the Session descriptions

NOTE: This session list is currently in development...some sessions may be added and a couple may disappear, but for the most part things will give you a very good idea of what is being offered at FOSSED 2008