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To Mac or Not to Mac?

That is the question! Well, that was the question I had when, about two weeks ago, I cracked the screen on my 3-year old HP laptop. Now, from what I understand, a 3-year old laptop is equivalent to a middle-aged person. My analogy is that when your knee goes out in middle age, maybe you should listen to the doctor who says “Stop running.” And so, it went with my HP laptop, when the screen went out, I placed it on a desk at home, hooked to an extra monitor and it slowly blended in to the furniture, no longer able to captivate my heart with its sleek appearance and easy portability.

I shopped around and asked friends on Facebook what they recommended in terms of a replacement. My heart and soul is with content creation – podcasts, videos, screencasts, audio, music, etc., and I couldn’t be happier with the 13″ Macbookpro I got this week. I’ll just add this – I am learning and re-learning quite a bit of fundamental navigation and software shortcuts, but so far I am very impressed. Importing HD video clips from my Canon T2i from teacher trainings into iMovie has been a seamless, easy experience. Mixing audio in Garageband – easy as well. I went with iWork (the comparison product to Microsoft Office) and so far I have only played with Numbers (the spreadsheet program). It has captivated my heart, in a way that Excel never has, with its easy “categorize this column” feature which you can use multiple time to categorize data within categories – all with a nice little indent and bold arrow at the start of each category to show you where you’ve set your categories.

So far? The learning curve doesn’t hurt more than me kicking myself for not getting a Mac sooner.

Top Productivity Tips (In 5 Words or Less)

At this time of year, we all need to take care of business, stay in high gear, and get ‘er done.  While those hackneyed phrases are not specific, practical tips, these are:

1. Define realistic goals.
2. Start now.
3. Plan, but not too much.
4. Do important things first.
5. One thing at a time.
6. Break complex goals into tasks.
7. Disconnect yourself from distractions.
8. Love what you do.
9. Learn from your failures.
10. Celebrate your successes.
11. Be early.
12. Handle small tasks immediately.
13. Batch process similar tasks.
14. Manage your time.
15. Use a planner.
16. Take notes.
17. Focus more on less.
18. Find and follow efficient patterns.
19. Learn productive shortcuts.
20. Tomorrow is today’s result.
21. Organize your space.
22. Clear clutter.
23. Be productive while you wait.
24. Automate tasks and reminders.
25. Read the manual.
26. Learn from others.
27. Teach others to help you.
28. Delegate.
29. Allocate and maximize your resources.
30. Use the right tools.
31. Work on goals every day.
32. Keep it fun.
33. Establish and maintain strong relationships.
34. Spend time with your family.
35. Take care of your health.
36. Get enough sleep.
37. Delete the unnecessary.
38. Trust your gut instincts.
39. Face your fears.
40. Solve problems.
41. Make your own decisions.
42. Take your own advice.
43. Try something new.
44. Follow your values.
45. Learn to say, “No.”
46. Spend minutes to save hours.
47. Validate your assumptions.
48. Follow and speak the truth.
49. Never cheat.
50. Never give up on yourself.
51. Small steps add up fast.
52. Be meaningful.
53. Ask questions.
54. Identify and strengthen your weaknesses.
55. Over-deliver on your promises.
56. Adapt to change.
57. Pay it forward.
58. Stay flexible.
59. Be open to new ideas.
60. Challenge yourself.
61. Be positive.
62. Disregard negative people.
63. Live below your means.
64. Listen more, speak less.
65. Think.
66. Continuously educate yourself.
67. Lead by example.
68. Always do your best.
69. Don’t settle.
70. Communicate clearly.
71. Treat everyone with respect.
72. Act when opportunities arise.
73. Quality over quantity.
74. Do the hard stuff first.
75. Set deadlines.
76. Reflect on your progress.
77. Keep track of important milestones.
78. Follow the 80-20 rule.
79. Urgent is not always important.
80. Done is better than perfect.
81. Learn skills few people know.
82. Provide tangible value.
83. Time trumps money.
84. Be yourself.
85. Find people with similar goals.
86. Reuse and recycle what works.
87. Patience is a virtue.
88. Ask yourself: “Why do this?”
89. Don’t worry about the uncontrollable.
90. Your thoughts create your reality.
91. Complaining just wastes time.
92. Excel at what you do.
93. Slow and steady.
94. Be here now.
95. Perform tasks with multiple positives.
96. View things from different angles.
97. Use your imagination.
98. Visualize your success.
99. Smile.
100. Keep it simple.
101. Finish what you start.

Please expand on this list by adding your own advice in five words or less in the comments section below.

(List originally featured on (

True Confessions of a Tech Geek…

Okay, okay, okay, so I don’t have my act together. Not all the way. After some complaints, some razzing in the staff lounge, and some pretty blunt emails, I knew that I would have to do a better job of providing the videos that I use on the site. People would comment that the video wouldn’t play, etc..

Well, I found a new video service that I want to share with you all. It’s called Viddler. It allows me to upload the tutorial videos that I create with Camtasia and it processes (or “encodes”) the video, adding a nice little watermark (the “etc” logo in the corner which stands for Ed Tech Central), and allowing me to embed the video in my site with a nice-looking (customizable, in terms of size and color) video player. Have I found the solution to my site’s video woes? You be the judge. How well does this work for you? Click here:

How To Create Your First Animoto Video

Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to create your first Animoto video.

Prerequisites: Sign up for a free Animoto educator account at

1) Sign in and click “Create Video”

2) Choose a theme or style, “Water” or “Air” or “Original.”

3) Upload pictures.

4) Choose music.

5) Finalize (add title and description)

6) Wait for the email that your video is ready.

Watch the tutorial here: