They aren't all gems

We live in a very interesting time.  We have more access to free software than we ever have before.  A new Web2.0 tool is released every 3.7 minutes (Source: Made it up), which is wonderful for prosumers in general, but not every release is a winner.

Typically I only share with you the sites that ‘make the cut’, tools I’ve tried and see some benefit to educators.  However, there are plenty of sites that don’t.  Today I thought I’d share a couple of those! sounds like it should be pretty handy for people.  It’s a Google Maps mashup that is supposed to show you what kind of cell reception you should get in different areas.  Neat idea.  However, it’s about as practical as my solar powered flashlight.  By the time you realize that you have a reception problem, you probably won’t have access to your computer either!  Not only that, but while community driven sites may be the way of the future, they may not be the best way to fill in a blanket coverage map.  I did a search for my entire zip code and discovered that there’s only one place in the entire town to get cell phone coverage.  Helpful?  Hardly.  And I’m guessing that it wouldn’t help you out too much on school grounds either.  So long, SignalMap.

The other site I took a look at this morning was eSnailer.  Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but the idea of using a Web2.0 site to send snail mail for free kinda got me excited!  I was so excited that I was already typing up the blog post in my head as I explored the site.  I filled in my address, my parent’s address, and typed up a rather pleasant little letter to them.  Short but sweet, thanking them for watching Aiden over the weekend.  Then I clicked Next and my enthusiasm was dashed to pieces by what I saw there.  In order to have my lovely little letter mailed out, I had to participate in one of 4 free offers.  I’ve seen those types of offers before, and it would take less time to hand deliver the letter myself than complete one of those offers.  Of course, the site did say that if I didn’t want to do an offer, I could just pay them to send the letter for the bargain price of $1.50.  Yeesh.  For the price of a stamp I could just hit print and send the darn thing myself!  Total bummer. 

I’d say that I reject at least four or five for every site that I mention on Digital Passports or Twitter.  Not a great ratio, but you gotta pan through a lot of dirt to find a few nuggets of gold….



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  1. Martha Thornburgh said:

    Thanks for panning for us. Makes my searches so much easier. I have plenty to explore by just following your suggestions on this blog.

  2. Debbie Bohanan said:

    It’s nice to have someone on the inside looking out for us. Thanks for being our filter!

  3. Teryl Magee - TN DEN LC, Chair said:

    Thanks for panning for gold for us, Steve. Glad to see “Wild Bill” Gates doing a lot of good for those of us who are still in the trenches! : )

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