Recently in Misc Resource Category

Firefox ESR 10 - A Way to Slow Down Firefox Upgrades

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I love Firefox, but not necessarily the rapid upgrade cycle. The issue isn't so much the speed, but the fact that my plugins can't keep up, particularly my Firefox Accessibility plugins.

On the other hand, I don't want to miss security updates either. A solution I found was to install Firefox 10 ESR (for Extended Service Release). This will essentially freeze my system at Firefox 10, and the only upgrades I will be required to install will be the security upgrades - which are much less frequent.

The tradeoff is that I might miss some cool features in the newer Firefoxes, but I also know my plugins will keep working. I won't be able to stave off the upgrade messages forever though. When Firefox 17 comes out, the plan is that I will be asked to migrate to Firefox 17 ESR. Hopefully that won't come until some time after Memorial Day.

Link Checker Firefox Plugin

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One of the great time savers in the Web 1.0 (and 2.0) universe is the "Link Checker" plugin for Firefox.

If you maintain any Web site at all and have a set of external links, this tool is a major godsend. Once you install it, you navigate to any page, then right click and select the Check Page command. Link Checker will hit all the links on that page and color code them for you.

Green highlighted links work; red links are broken; gray links are waiting for the server or are e-mail links; and yellow links are unknown. This will narrow down your problem areas very quickly.

You'll still get broken-link e-mail messages, but hopefully not so many. Thank you kevinfreitas net!

Foxy Tunes - The plugin and the mashup

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I've been lagging behind in finding cool new Web toys, but I did discover the Firefox plugin Foxy Tunes (it comes alone or bundled with Firefox Campus Edition.

It incorporates a set of player controls at the bottom of your Firefox window (yes I can now control iTunes from Firefox), but more importantly it comes with new buttons which link you to different informational sites related to the current track including Amazon.com and the Foxy Tunes music mashup page.

Here's the page for Björk's "Come to Me"
http://www.foxytunes.com/artist/bjork#/track/come_to_me

As you can see it links to YouTube, Pandora, LyricWiki, Rhapsody, Google and HypeMachine.

My only complaint is that HypeMachine apparently can't handle the umlauted-o (ö) in Björk's name...

Monitoring Faculty Listservs

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As an instructional designer, I find it's a good idea to figure out what "civilian" faculty are thinking (the ones who haven't heard of "learning objective congruence" yet).

One of my favorites is to monitor various discipline specific Listservs for instructors. I still prefer the Listserv because they do come into my e-mail, plus I can usually put them into Digest mode to scan for hot topics.

Some good one include

* H-TEACH@H-NET.MSU.EDU (excellent discussions of different history teaching issues)
http://www.h-net.org/~teach/
* phys-l@carnot.physics.buffalo.edu (this one goes all over the place!)
physicsed.buffalostate.edu/phys-l/
* Tomorrow's Professor (advice for the busy faculty member)
http://ctl.stanford.edu/Tomprof/index.shtml

For foreign language there's also
* SEELANGS (Russian, Slavic)
http://seelangs.home.comcast.net/
* Arabic-L
http://listserv.linguistlist.org/archives/arabic-l.htm

What I appreciate about these lists is that I get to hear about real teaching issues that I probably would miss out on in my isolated cube. And sometimes you hear some great tips on how to navigate the Transsiberian railway!