Category Archives: tech

RFI: How much to create learning environment online?

Hematography Plus is an instructional CD-ROM, “a visual resource and comprehensive reference in morphologic hematology.” It’s all about blood.

It was released by the University of Minnesota in 2000 and has since sold over 3,500 copies. It’s a solid learning tool and was purchased by hospitals, clinics, schools, and the military.

The last copy of Hematography Plus shipped this year.

There is interest in recreating Hematography Plus on the Web. Karen Lofsness, the driving force behind the original, would like to get some kind of idea of what that would cost.

If you’re interested in taking a look at Hema, send me an email (pfhyper, at the gmail domain) and I’ll send along a password and site where you can download the compressed CD master for evaluation. Then send along some idea of a ballpark dollar amount of a web implementation.

This is very preliminary. No funds are yet in place. We are not yet interested in how you would do it or how you would want to change it for the Web at the moment. We would just like a ballpark figure as to what you think it would cost.

Karen would probably want to repurpose the cell artwork. It’s a custom 8-bit palette (I think).

Budgetary Realism.
Can it be done for $15,000? $20,000? A sum of $100,000 would probably be way beyond a potential budget.

System Requirements.
Windows 95 or later with assistance from our FAQ.
Mac version requires classic mode.

More info on the project here.


The original Hematography I CD-ROM was released in 1996 by a major publishing company and it was costly (maybe $500+). So was Hematography II which included a little exam and the ability to save the student’s score to disk. Teachers loved it. Also pricey.

Hematography Plus, the final CD-ROM, had more features than the other two but Karen reduced the price to $99 so students could afford it.

It’s programmed in Lingo, the language of Macromedia Director. It’s an older version of Director. There is no plan to keep it in Director but I guess no plan not to either. I see it more as a pure web play or web + Flash.

I programmed it and I also have been on retainer to provide technical support. I estimate less than ten calls a year even as OS’s were changing. We officially support it on Windows 95, 98, and NT but it’s still running on everything through XP (sometimes with system adjustments) and there’s a report that someone is using it on Vista. On Macs, it works fine through OS 9. (Intel Macs ended Hema’s compatibility.)

Drop me a line if you’re interested.



Blog search tools II

See 5/26 post too.

The Rollyo searchroll doesn’t do a good job with its embedded advertising and it’s difficult to tell the ads from the results.

I switched to my good friend Google and so far, it looks pretty good. Ads? Yes. But we are all accustomed to the Google ad concept so that makes their search tool more usable. (Non-profits, schools, and government can turn off the ads.)

Besides creating a search engine for a blog or site, you can access your personal search engine(s) via Google.

Much more control over the look-and-feel and you can specify keywords for tuning your search results. There are also a few advanced features: context, annotations, and refinements. (Sorry, I’m not taking the time to even dig into them right now. You’ll have to go look yourself.)

I have invites to the Google Co-op world where these personalized search engines exist. Drop me a line if you need one.

Blog search tools

I had a Technorati widget over there on the right for searching my blog but it wasn’t working. In fact, a direct search on my blog at Technorati also failed. Don’t have any idea why.

So I now have a Rollyo widget over there on the right. It generates a confusing array of results along with a bunch of ads that look suspiciously like results. I am not amused.

Stay tuned. I suppose Google must have something I can use here.

Apple to release new MBPs?

I start my new position at University of Minnesota Extension (Family Development) on June 11, the week of Apples Worldwide Developers Conference. I think my MacBook Pro order is in process and now Endgadget reports that Apple will release their next gen MBPs at WWDC. They have irrefutable evidence, as is always the case with rumors.

Even if this is fact, I doubt I would be able to have one in my hands before August (although I could attempt some string-pulling with the U's Apple rep). I'll keep what I'm getting.

And hey Pete, what about this new position. Yes, I'm transitioning from the U of MN Cancer Center over to Extension Services but my job description won't change much except it will be more Web and more my Web shop to keep tuned.

I do switch campuses and will be over in St. Paul rather than Minneapolis.