Wednesday, 30 January 2008

4-screen Laptop

This is how I get 4 screens for a workhorse computer and optional control on my second laptop.

Workhorse laptop is running Windows XP and a low-cost laptop running Windows Vista Basic Home (This Vista laptop is basically useless except I need it for testing.)
I have two old monitors. So each laptop gets a secondary display. Via the windows display property, I extended my desktop to these secondary display.

Now, on my workhorse, I have two screens. On the vista, I also have two screens.

But I want to have 4 screens for my workhorse when I am not testing using the idling vista. If I can control the vista from my workhorse, then I don't need to move my hand to the vista's keyboard. (BTW, my workhorse has an external keyboard and mouse which make editing so much easier!)

I bought Mirror Pro from (I am upgrading from a previous version, so I am paying only half price. If you don't need desktop mirroring, you can opt for the Professional. I would not suggest you to go for the Standard version!)

Install the software on my workhorse. During installation, it will prompt you for generation of client viewer. I asked for two client viewers.

Copy both client viewers to the vista and install both. Configure one of the client viewer to link to the laptop's primary screen and the other to its secondary screen.

From my workhorse computer, activate extended screens of both Maxivista viewers. I can see the background of the vista changed to the workhorse background. Open the workhorse display property and move the screens to their correct positions.

Viola! I use 4 screens at the same time. Optionally, I can control the vista using Maxivista too! Sometimes, finding the cursor from these many screen estate can be difficult. I use a custom set of cursors (brighter and bigger!) to help with my failing eye-sight!

This software solution requires both computer connected to a network, which is my case anyway.

There is no additional hardware and less cable than using KVM switch.

This is a printScreen of my current desktop.

Friday, 25 January 2008

In fond memory of Marie Jasinski

I remember Marie as a lady with a big smile, infectious laughter and infinitely energetic.

We first met in the early 2000 when she participated in one of my role play simulation workshop. After the workshop, she came to me and said she would help me in spreading the idea. Few months pasted, I got an email and she had organised a workshop for a group of TAFE lecturers to design an online role play using Fablusi - X'mas Party from Hell' [Note: the demo linked in Marie's post has expired. The updated link will be posted later] was born.

She asked me to be a mentor to the TAFE group and I visited Adelaide three times for the workshop. Instead of mentoring the group, I received one of the most rewarding mentor from her!

Marie has made important contributions to my understanding of how online role play simulation (RPS) differs from other learning strategies. Here are some of her contributions:

1. One of the first learning opportunities presented by RPS is asking the players to develop a role profile. This requires the player to have an understanding of the circumstances in which the role play will take place. Marie suggested to use the term 'role embellishment' to describe the concept. From then onwards, we faithfully provide only a sketchy description of the role and ask players to embellish their character in any way they like.

2. During the trial of X'mas Party, my server connections was bad - constantly disconnected due to ISP malfunctions. As a mod, Marie "evacuated" the building within X'mas Party and ended the role playing. Here came the idea of a mod is also a story teller - constantly adjusting the story line to meet circumstantial needs. [see this]

Marie also introduced me to Thiagi [and Eastern Indian dining].

Marie, you are an inspiration. I miss you.

Here are the links to video clips of Marie on "Role play" recorded for National Summit on Online Role Play in October 2002.
# Why use role-play?
# "There’s three key things teacher need to be aware of…"
# "Moderators need quite a complex lot of skills…"
# " A lot of time with role-play you debrief afterwards – we found it is necessary to debrief any time it is appropriate…"
# "It’s the immersion…"
# "Students don’t have to play a role alone…"
# "I’ve just been involved in a role-play that was spread across Australia…"
# "No matter how good your design is, it’s the players who bring that design to life…"

Here are some online tributes to Marie;
Stephen's Web
Full Circle Associates
Janine’s blog

RIP: Marie Jasinski

Died peacefully at Hobart on January 21, 2008. Much loved wife of Martin Cielens. Beloved daugheter of Dorothy Jasinski and Leonard Jasinski (dec.) Cherished sister of Jenny and John. Much loved sister-in-law of Janet Plater, Viesturs and Andrew Cielens, Kym Tilgals and Michelle Marsh, and daughter in law of Tatjana Tilgals. Adored “Auntie Rie” of Sam, Grace and Max Jasinski. To all of us, a friend, companion and guide; someone who wove webs of joy and adventure. An exceptional person who will be deeply missed yet lives in all of us.

I am saddened by the news.

To celebrate her wonderful life and her effect on some many people, an online event has been organised by Janine Bowes (see her tribute to Marie). Details:
Elluminate Live! session:

Name: Tribute To Marie Jasinski
Type: None
Starts: Jan 25, 2008 05:00 PM Eastern (EDT) (This is Australian Eastern time, GTM+10)
Ends: Jan 25, 2008 06:00 PM Eastern (EDT)

Format of the session - This celebration for Marie will be informal but will of course have a moderator. People attending may like to come along with a memory to share - it could be a favourite moment, a funny situation, a particular inspiration, a URL that illustrates a point, a game to play, whatever. Some of us in Hobart will attend having just come from the funeral service and audio of some of the presentations at the funeral may be available (technology permitting!). If anyone has media they would like to be pre-loaded, please email to Frankie Forsyth on [frankie at bigpond dot net]

RSVP for virtual catering purposes (please indicate any special dietary requirements) would be appreciated but not essential (RSVP to Janine Bowes [janine dot bowes at education dot tasdot gov dot au] by replying to this message and editing the subject line)

Position possibly vacant (moderator for this session)We have 3 possible moderators so far all of whom will be attending Marie's funeral service. Traffic jams are unusual in Hobart but you never know on a Friday afternoon. Thus, if anyone else is able to take on the moderator role it would be preferable. Volunteers please email me or phone on 0417 350 956.

Janine Bowes

(thanks Cathy, Jyothi, Jenny for setting this up so quickly)

To join the session, please click on the link below

To view the hardware and software pre-requisites for Elluminate Live! please visit

You can check to see that everything is working fine by going to the PRACTICE ROOM before the session, found on the networks site here -;jsessionid=23D2A8149F804E7B73C9B11FAAEC7616

Networks Administrator

Phone: (612) 62074832
Email: networks at flexiblelearning dot net dot au

Here are some contributions of Marie to this blog:
Maiden Voyage - Engineer's Journal 1
E-learning models

Monday, 21 January 2008

No Child Left Behind…There’s More Cheating than Ever, and the Teachers are Doing it

It may sound impolite for me to say that it is NOT new. In Chapter 1 of Freakonomics, titled "what do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common", the authors explain the phenomena clearly.

It is no use to trying the catch the cheater. It is the system and to solve the problem, we should fix the system.

What if when a school is found under-performing, a huge amount of resources are poured in to help. Then every school, in chasing the resources, will push up its standard to look under-performing!

Got it?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Should the 500 teenage party host pay for the $20,000 damage bill?

In the last week-end, a 16-year teenage issued an open invitation on mySpace while his parents were away on holiday. As a result, 500 teenagers turned up. Somehow, the party spiralled out of control causing damages to neighbours and police cars. The Victorian Police Chief wanted to send the damage bill to the teenager (or his parents). [see news here and here]

I am not endorsing this act. However, the notion of punishing the teenage sounds inappropriate.

1. In our society, we don't blame one person because another person behaved badly. The teenager(s) who caused the damage should be billed, not the host. In the case where the police cannot get those involved, that is NOT a reason to send the bill to the host.
2. Before the issue is settled in a court (or after a proper procedure), anyone should be presumed NOT guilty. Some reports suggested that alcohol was served at the party. That's wrong and illegal if the teenagers were under 16. If the teenagers were over 16, but under 18, an adult must be present. Again, any charge of this should be properly served and go through the proper procedure.

Again, I must emphasis that I am NOT saying that teenagers should be allowed to host unsupervised party while parents are away. What I am questioning is whether our Police Chief has stepped over a fine line. What is your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Coverage Equity - Part 2

The issue of a syllabus and the limited time we have as a teacher/instructor/guide is the tension between the breadth and depth of treatment of a subject area. Traditionally, as an information gatekeeper, the issue on breadth is an important choice to make. Today, when information are just a few clicks away, learners potentially can access whatever information that interest them. The information gatekeeper role has long gone!

I have been careful not to use 'knowledge' in a general sense to describe information. I believe there is a huge difference between 'information' and 'knowledge' - and this is particularly important in the information era. Bloom taxonomy and many other similar scheme come into mind when we are dealing with "knowing" something, but that is for another day or another occasion. The distinction here is that something needs to be known before it can be qualified as knowledge. The process of helping someone to "know" information is the task for the teacher/instructor/guide. The availability of information is now given.

When we give someone a piece of paper with something printed on it, this is NOT teaching. When we can ensure that the information has been read and understood, then that piece of information (not the paper on which information reside) has been transformed to a piece of knowledge for that special someone who manages to read and understand that is written on that paper.

However, this process of transformation - from information to knowledge - is an inner task which can only be performed by the learner. We cannot do that for anyone. One can only lead a horse to the water, right? The obvious task is to make the horse thirsty at the first place before we lead it to the water!

That comes back to the issue of coverage of a subject area again. How can we design a course which make the learner more thirsty the more the learn knows about the subject area?

Like pushing drugs, satisfying the immediate need is NOT the secret of the selling of drugs. It is the addictive nature of the drugs which sell themselves.

If we can arrange the coverage of a subject area in a way similar to drug - addictive to the learner and urges the learner to want to know more, we have a solution!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Hardware Review of XO laptop

If I were to make one general comment about the OLPC XO-1, it’s that its mechanical design is brilliant. It’s a fairly clean-sheet redesign of traditional notebook PC mechanics around the goal of survivability, serviceability, and robustness...

The post goes on to describe the design of the XO laptop.

Monday, 7 January 2008

How to cross a road (in India and China)?

This is how a road junction traffic looks like in India:

This is an attempt to cross the road:

And this is how it looks like if you are in one of the car:

Both, according to the description are shot in India. In my last visit to Beijing, China (Dec2006), the same applied.