Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, May 23, 2008

Useful Tools

Have you ever needed to convert a file from one format to another? Hasn't everyone. I discovered a great file conversion program called Zamzar. Because I can't get YouTube links in my school, because of the filter, I discovered I could send Zamzar the TouTube URL and they would convert that file into a media file of my choice like .mov, .mpeg, etc. In addition I discovered I could convert many formats to file formats I could work with on my computers.

doPDF is free for both personal and commercial use. Using doPDF, everyone from novice users to professionals, can create high-quality searchable PDF files, by simply selecting the "Print" command from virtually any application. With one click you can save your Microsoft Excel, Word or PowerPoint documents or perhaps your emails and favorite web sites, into easy to share PDF files. This is especially handy for teachers who have created Word or other word processing documents or other handouts for their class. These documents might be read by each scholar for lack of that software, but a PDF document can be read by everyone via the free Adobe Reader. So all the teacher needs to do is upload the document to a website and the scholars have access anytime, anywhere.

LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain. There are several options for listening. The first step is to get the mp3 or ogg files into your own computer. You can also read for Librivox. I have found this very useful. I could create my own podcasts of literature I teach, but Librivox sometimes has better voices and even the author reading. This is a great audio resource for teachers.

What happened to that great website I used to go to? How many times have you gone back to a website you have used and come to depend on only to find it is gone. YIKES!! The sense of loss is numbing. It leaves us empty and wishing we had saved some remnants or information we used and needed. Well not is all lost. There is a website called "The WayBack Machine" that has been spending the past decade archiving all websites. They don't necessarily have all of the website, like images, but you should find the text content. The archives contains many different versions of the website over the years. I have been lucky to find many of my former websites that were lost when a major server I had stored many many files on crashed and died. I was able to find almost all of the files I had lost on the WayBack Machine. It was arduous, but it was a life saver. In fact, the WayBack Machine will show you different versions of any website still active or inactive. This is very cool to see growth and changes of different sites. They boast of 85 billion pages and counting. In addition to webpages, they also have archives of moving images, live music, audio, and text files. It is a digital archive library and is growing. So next time you get a "not found" message, don't panic, try the WayBack Machine to see if the files you are looking for are archived. Chances are in your favor they are.

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