A New Direction

One of the big differences between living in Minneapolis and living in Herbster is that I now routinely lock the door. When we turned the Herbster house over to our new tenant, we could not find the key to the front door and had to hand over a new lock-set and say; “Install it if you want to.” In Minneapolis, bicycles are attached with a Kryptonite lock to bike racks. But if the bike is left for a couple of days unlocked parts are stripped off. Lock it up or lose it.

I hope urban living will not lock my mind. I don’t want to lose that. The morning mind-opening routine has evolved, at least a bit. Getting up early for some quality time with stout coffee, classical music and a keyboard has long been a routine. Today and for the last several weeks, the keyboard has been attached to a different kind of computer. My Chromebook has finally received attention. I don’t remember exactly when it was purchased but it had gathered almost two years of dust.

Meanwhile my huge custom built desktop kept acquiring bigger and bigger screens to accommodate my failing eyesight. Writing was done with Open Office, which provided wonderful word processing along with powerful spreadsheet and presentation functions. With multiple backups, my desktop had acquired over five terabytes of storage. But I still occasionally lost files when when the beast crashed from overstimulation by web advertising with video junk. It was custom built, but with some pretty crappy parts. That I didn’t see that sooner was not a failure of eyesight but other parts of the nervous system. Eyes are easier to fix.

In April Dr. Jon Yoon and his office team in Superior changed everything with hugely successful cataract surgery. Because of macular degeneration, he had been reluctant to do the cataract surgery out of concern that more damage to the retina might occur if the blood vessels were not sufficiently stable. When everything looked good as best he could determine, the decision was made to do the surgery, and we were both surprised about the results. The vision in my left eye is now nearly 20/20.

I can now easily read this little screen of my Chromebook with cheater glasses perched on the end of my nose. My writing is instantly saved to a Google Drive account. I no longer fret about the next computer crash.

The result is a much more comfortable morning routine. Yesterday I began thinking about TGIF as well as other ventures and initiatives with my various websites and social networking accounts. I don’t use Twitter but that may begin to happen soon enough to compliment Facebook and LinkedIn. My thoughts included sending out TGIF on Fridays as I had in the past but not adhering slavishly to doing so EVERY Friday and before 7:00AM. I’m going to be comfortable putting TGIF on the wire whenever it gets done; sometimes even on Saturday (and now everyday is Saturday).

TGIF will begin to look a bit less “essayesque”  more Blog-like, with shorter paragraphs and links to stuff I have produced and interesting articles and papers I have been reading on and off line. At this point details of design will simply have to evolve. Some elements already in place include my old consulting website, a personal website and a Blog. In addition I have never abandoned the IDEA Consortium, which may still hold promise for engagement of retired educators through online tools. If you have some thoughts and comment about how these might improve through evolution, please let me know. I welcome conversation.

As mentioned last week, education together with economics and ecology will continue as a focus of my attention. For several months I have been reading books and articles while writing a book tentatively called Education Ecology, which takes a pretty dim view of what has been happening with schools at all levels K-20. Our institutions of education are failing our economy AND our environment. You can see an outline here and a bibliography here.

Over the years a lot of stuff has accumulated on my hard drives but has been buried under too much digital dust. I’ll be using a dust brush on some of this stuff and posting what appears less dusty at Up North Clipboard until something new evolves.

Let’s keep in touch.