This summer, I survived the ds106zone. There was a creative blitz that I’ve been wanting to carry through the fall. But life (literally) has come into my life, and I haven’t been able to carry the momentum.

Right now, the ds106 community is tracking through a self-inflicted “headless” course. No professor, no grades, no expectations. It’s pretty fun to watch the flow coming through Twitter, and I wanted to take a few minutes today to participate in the visual work they’re doing.

The assignment was a photoblitz: 15 minutes of photography around certain themes. I was able to do about 10 minutes here at my desk during lunch (not counting the writeup). In fact, I didn’t even stand up. It was all done from my chair on my phone, because that’s all I had with me. My five photos are below.

You can see other photoblitz submissions on Flickr.

How to: Efficient Account Management in Chrome

This post has been on the back burner for a long time, but I finally have a little time to sit down and finish it.

I use Chrome exclusively. There are a few little hiccups (like Java plugins not running, but really, in the age of HTML5, who uses Java plugins? Get with it, people.) but for the most part, Chrome is the most reliable and most customizable browser available.

One thing I really struggled with was having multiple Google accounts. I have my personal account, but I also had one for work. If you’re in a GAFE school, you know what I’m talking about. It really drove me nuts when I would click on a document link only to have it open in the wrong account.

I’ve discovered a really interesting little tidbit about Chrome that has changed my life forever. Chrome does this neat thing called “sandboxing.” Essentially, what happens in one tab doesn’t affect what happens in another. The same is true for one Chrome window in relation to another. This is the key.

So, to manage your Google life like a boss, you need to do a couple things. First, go into your Chrome settings.

Now, find the part on the page that says Users.

Then, click on Add new user. Once you name the user (and choose a sweet avatar) you’ll get a sign in page.

This sign in page is where you choose which account you want to use for this particular user. So, I have a personal user as well as a work user. Each user is linked to that specific Google account. So, I don’t have to deal with the annoying “multiple sign in” option any more.

The other awesome thing about this method is that all of your apps and extensions are kept separate (which makes sense, because they’re linked to accounts). I can have extensions associated with my personal Google account (RSS reader, calendar, etc) as well as extensions for my work account. The same is true for passwords, forms…you name it.

If you’re a Chrome user, this is definitely the most efficient I’ve ever been with the web. I do have to keep two windows open at times, but the amount of time that is saved from not having to sign in and out of accounts has been well worth a slightly more cluttered desktop.

Do you have any other Chrome power user tips? Leave them in the comments.

And Then There Were Three

Today is the last day of our family of two. This weekend, my daughter will be born.

My wife is 39 weeks pregnant today. We’ve been busily preparing our home for the arrival of our daughter, who happens to be the first girl born in either family since Lindsey. We’ve been blessed with support from our families and we wouldn’t have been able to do nearly as much as we have in the time we were given.

How do I know my daughter will be born today? Because if Lindsey doesn’t go into labor by tonight, we will go to the hospital and be induced.

I’m in a weird place right now. This was not the plan. Everything has gone so well over the last 39 weeks, it feels almost like we’re dropping the ball at the goal line.

There are mental positives and negatives to this whole arrangement. Pro: I don’t have to anticipate waking up in the middle of the night to my wife’s contractions. Con: I have to think about the induction and possible cascading effects all day. It’s hard not to think about the negative impacts of medically inducing labor when you’re staring it in the face.

I trust our doctor. I trust his judgement and wisdom. I trust his staff, who alerted us to the fact that Lindsey’s amniotic fluid is lower than it should be. But I also trust that God has arranged all of our meetings, relationships, and circumstances with our best interests in mind. While this isn’t the path we were hoping to take, it doesn’t matter what we had in mind. All that matters is the fact that Lindsey delivers the baby safely, and that we can all come home together.

We’ve been prepared and we’ll continue to be equipped. We’re ready for two to become three.

in absentia

I used to write a lot. It wrote about day-to-day. I wrote about wins and losses, living, learning, and people. I haven’t written that way in a long time. I want to change that.

I wrote, what seems like ages ago, about a shift in my career. I left the classroom. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, and now, six months later, I’m still glad I took the risk. Honestly, until last March, I hadn’t ever considered what it would be like to not be a teacher. I went into college having my major declared. I stuck with the program, even though I wanted to quit in my third year. And I can’t even begin to explain how glad I am to have stayed with it for (nearly) four years after graduating.

I do have to admit that I’m still struggling with being part of the 50%. I had my reasons, as I’m sure everyone else does. But, it’s still hard to answer the question, or respond to the looks when I tell people I left teaching. Interesting side note: this fall was the first time in 25 years or so (including my own schooling) in which I didn’t experience a first day of school. It is definitely strange.

But, even in absentia, I can still experience students.

I bought a house nearly a year ago. We had overlooked it mainly because it looked pretty ugly on the inside. Not gonna lie. The yard is awesome though. We’ve got a full acre of land, with half of it fenced in the back. (I feel completely comfortable saying that a dog is in our future sometime.)

We moved in planning on doing some remodeling at some point. Mostly, because of the kitchen.

And then, we got another incredible piece of news.

My life had been inexplicably changed with the sound of my daughter’s heart beating strong and resolute. We had some serious work to do. What ensued was a display of love, support, and encouragement from family and friends as my wife and I worked hard to make sure our home would be ready for little _____ (sorry!) when she arrives any time now. It started with the kitchen and quickly spilled out into our dining room. (There are far too many pictures to post here, so feel free to browse through the project on Flickr.)

I haven’t been around for a while. I’m not writing in an effort to explain my absence or even to get more likes, props, kudos, or back-slaps for the blessings I’ve been given this year. I’m writing because of the support I’ve felt, along with friends and family physically here, from you. The notes on Twitter, the blog comments, and the emails…they did not fall on deaf ears.

The year has been wonderful, and I’m excited about the new things on my horizon, even though they’re not in a physical classroom any more. I’m reminded every day that learning can, and should, happen without walls, and I’m thankful for the friends surrounding me, helping me continue to learn.