Wrestling with the Internet

I’ve been wrestling with the internet. Wrestling with rules that I haven’t written.

What I’m trying to do is to be able to write something in one place and then for it to appear in other places. Some people call this autoposting. I call it saving my time.

Many services offer this already. For example, when you take a picture on Instagram you can make it appear in Facebook, or Twitter, or Foursquare.

For other services you have to do things that are a bit more involved. For example, I choose to keep my blog on a self-hosted WordPress site. This means that I own the data, but WordPress offers some handy formatting. I had previously setup Feedburner to tweet whenever I write a new post. Today I’ve also made ifttt.com do the same job.

What I really wanted to do today is make my new posts appear automatically on Google Plus. But it’s been a bit harder than I thought it would. It appears that there used to be a solution, but it isn’t working anymore. The solution involved a backdoor to Google Plus via an SMS service from Google Voice, however this service doesn’t seem to work within the UK, and I’ve read one or two things that indicate it has stopped working elsewhere too. Reading between the lines of other peoples posts in forums and blogs I detect that Google Plus is trying to position itself as the manual posting place – the place where you go to actually write your content.

Myself, I don’t mind that, but when I write a blog post I like to write it in a text editor of some kind – Google Docs or even Notepad do the job. Then I can cut and paste the text into my WordPress Dashboard. This might seem labour intensive to some, but I have had too many experiences of losing a WordPress blog that I’ve been writing straight onto the web dashboard – I need something I can save regularly – and I can imagine the same thing happening if I tried to get into the habit of writing directly onto Google Plus.

So here’s my solution. I’ve setup a new blog on Blogger at wheregoestheroad.blogspot.co.uk. I can use ifttt.com to autopost from WordPress to Blogger. I have then updated my Blogger account so that it is using my Google Plus profile.

And now, using this very post, I’m going to find out if it will automatically appear on Google Plus.

“I’d prefer to use the Chromebooks”

It’s taken a good year, but my staff now use Chromebooks with their children as a first preference. Given the choice they put Chromebooks ahead of our other devices.

We have 30 chromebooks in a Lapsafe charging trolley and 30 Windows PCs in an ICT suite. The teachers know the PCs – they’re what we’ve used for years – they’re comfortable with them. But the Chromebooks are now more convenient.

The 8 second start up means very little lesson time is lost at start up. Even if the odd device does not connect to the wifi first time, a restart takes 10 seconds – and now we have an open Meraki network around the school, devices connect 99% of the time.

The portability of the Chromebook means that they work really well in normal classrooms. Teachers can use them in the room where they are most comfortable.

Google Apps makes a big difference too. Being able to produce work in Google Docs, share ideas in Google Groups and output best work to Blogger means the Chromebooks are really versatile, productive devices.

But what summed it up for me was last week when a teaching assistant was acting as a cover supervisor for a teacher who was absent. This particular lady is not the most confident with technology, saw the plan the teacher had left for her and I gave her the choice – ICT suite or Chromebooks.

I’d prefer to use the Chromebooks,” she said.