Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Round of Applause for the Oregon Department of Education

Today, Google announced that the entire public education (K-12) system of Oregon will begin to use Google Apps:

Official Google Blog: Alis volat propriis: Oregon’s bringing Google Apps to classrooms statewide

This is an incredibly fantastic move by the Department of Education of Oregon for a few reasons. First, it will allow students the opportunity to use tools to collaborate with their teachers as well as other students for class projects -- or even just for studying for tests (e.g. making collaborative study sheets on Google Docs for a test). Second, it will give students real life experience using email, document editors, and much more in the cloud which is where all of their internet experiences will take place over the next 20 years. Finally, it will give students who have historically not had the chance to use internet or cloud technologies a fantastic opportunity to develop skills that will make them more successful as they (hopefully) move on to college and then into the "real world" where everyone uses technologies like these.

Mad props, Round of Applause, whatever you do to celebrate a great achievement should be hailed on the Education system in Oregon. Now, let's hope every student in the US and the world gets an opportunity to use these technologies while in the public school system someday.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

How to import OU mail to Gmail in Two Steps!

Hey fellow Sooner students, have a Gmail account and a OU email account?

Tired of having to check two different places for email?

Well, there's an easy way to get all of your OU emails into your Gmail inbox so you will only have to read one inbox.

Step 1
Go to 'Settings' in the right hand corner when you are at your inbox and click on the
'Accounts and Import' tab.

In the 'Check mail using POP3' click the 'Add POP3 email account' button

Enter your OU email address.

Enter your OU 4x4 for the username and your OU password.

The POP server name is and the port number is 110.

Check the first box and the third box if you want the mail coming from your OU account to be labeled

Step 2
Go to 'Settings' in the right hand corner when you are at your inbox and click on the'Accounts and Import' tab.

In the 'Send mail as' section click the 'Send mail from another address' button

Input your name and your OU email address

Click Next

For this screen select the second option. (This will allow you to send mail as your OU email instead of for example "from saxplaya (at) gmail (dot) com on behalf of jcyr (at) ou (dot) edu"

STMP Server:
Port: 587
Username: OU 4x4
Password OU account password

Leave the 'Always use a secure connection (SSL) when sending mail' UNCHECKED

You will get an email in that account you want to send mail from, so be sure to check it in order to verify that you are the owner of that account.

That's it! 

(This process works for other email clients, i.e. Yahoo, Hotmail -- but some of the port numbers and other details are different but those can easily be found by googling)

Let me know how it works for you and if you need any help!


Thursday, May 21, 2009


Sorry for such a delay for those of you who are still reading my blog, I've been quite busy since my return to the States and now I finally have a chance to sit down and write a blog post for the final trip I took during my Semester Abroad.

First of all, I would like to thank for their great podcast of Barcelona. The content covered the major sights to see in the city and it gave great history and background of each place. From all of Gaudi's work throughout Barcelona to the Camp Nou Estadio, where the famed Football Club Barcelona plays, the iAudioguide podcast gave me much more insight and understanding of each place, allowing me to appreciate the sights of Barcelona even more. One thing I would suggest to improve the audioguide is to provide greater detail about the interior of some buildings, but other than that it was a great audioguide. There are many cities (European and American) to choose from at iAudioguide. To learn more information visit

Thursday: my flight left at 18:10 from Madrid so right after school I had to eat a quick lunch and then make sure I had everything ready. I got to the airport just before the plane boarded - perfect timing. We got into Barcelona and arrived at our hostel around 10ish. We got into our room and put our baggage away and decided to plan out what we wanted to do for the next few days.

Friday: We woke up at 0800 in order to take advantage of the free breakfast and get ready to go explore Barcelona. We were going to take a free tour of the city but we got lost on the way so we ended up not making it there and we decided to get back to the hostel and then go to the beach. However, on the way to the beach it started raining and instead of trying to wait it out the group decided to go back to the hostel - essentially wasting half of the day doing nothing. After adjusting our plan of action and eating lunch we headed to the Montjuic park (where most of the 1992 Olympic games took place) and got a great panoramic view of the city! After that I met up with a friend I met in Ireland who has lived in Barcelona his whole life for a drink. He suggested some places for me to see and explained some things about Barcelona that the guide books don't explain. Once I was done meeting up with my friend, I headed to the magic fountains of Montjuic to meet up with the group of people I traveled here with. The magic fountains are one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It is a huge fountain with mechanized water spouts that shoot water off synchronized with music and as the sun went down, lights began to illuminate the water - it was spectacular. We were all tired after the show so we went back to the hostel to get some sleep.

Saturday: Once again, we enjoyed our free breakfast at the hostel in the morning and then had to change rooms for our last night. After that was out of the way, we went and visited a few of the more famous places in Barcelona, most notably the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. The Sagarada Familia (meaning Holy Family in Catalan) is the most visited construction site in the world. It started in 1882 by the famous Catalan artist Antonio Gaudi but he died before it was finished and it is still being continued today with an expected completion date of 2026 (read the Wikipedia article for more information). Parc Guell was also designed by Gaudi and has a very Dr. Suess feel to it with bright colors and strange architecture. Originally it was planned to be a neighborhood for the wealthy but that fell through because it was too far away from the city center of Barcelona. It eventually was opened as a public park and now it is a very popular tourist attraction and it even houses an elementary school. After those two famous sights, we looked at some other minor Gaudi designed buildings and then headed down to the beach (even though it was a very overcast day). We spent some time laying on the grass next to the beach (we didn't want to get all sandy, of course) and after a while we headed home so we could beat the approaching rain clouds. Dinner included sandwiches we made after buying supplies at the local grocery store (much cheaper than eating out) and we just took it easy until later. We had heard about a supposed "Stock Market" bar in Barcelona, so we ventured out to see if it existed -- and to our surprise it did! This very unique bar ("Dow Jones Bar") has a different way of selling its drinks. The prices are displayed on monitors above the bar just like stocks are and when a drink is purchased, the price will rise a few cents and when no one has bought a particular drink in a while, the price will fall. Quite an interesting concept and they even had ESPN America which was a great relief for my friends and I.

Sunday: I woke up, ate breakfast and split off from the group because I wanted to tour my church (AKA Camp Nou Estadio). It was amazing to be inside the biggest stadium in Europe, making my way from the locker rooms to field level, up through the stands, in the press box and through an amazing museum and trophy display. The stadium was absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to go back someday to watch my believed Blaugrana play a game. After spending about 3 hours at the stadium, I headed back into the city center and wandered around the main street, Las Ramblas and got a good view of some more of Gaudi's famous architecture. I met back up with the group and we eventually headed to the bus station to catch our night bus that left at 11PM and we arrived in Madrid at about 6AM. It was quite a long trip back but we all made it to class and didn't fall asleep (at least not too many times).

Barcelona is a magnificent Mediterranean coastal city, with wonderful art, architecture, beaches, and football. What more could you ask for. I would rate this in the top 5 places I've ever visited (my list isn't that long yet, so take it with a grain of salt) and I would recommend a trip for everyone if you get a chance.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Semana Santa -- Rome

Photo Albums:

We landed in Rome in the mid afternoon and paid 11 € (ouch) for the train into Rome. When we got to the main station, Termini, we had no idea where we were but we had directions to the hostel and we walked around the station for about 30 minutes until we found the street we needed. Finally we arrived at the hostel, checked in to our room and then got a little rest before heading out to walk around the city.

The weather was fairly good so we just decided to walk around the city for a while looking at some of the more "touristy" things in the city. We saw a bunch of really cool monuments but didn't have any idea what they were or what they symbolized but we finally saw something we knew about -- the Spanish Steps. As we were walking down the steps, we ran into my friends from Alcala just by chance! We all decided to grab some dinner together and then go to the Colosseum for the Stations of the Cross -- to see the Pope! The program was quite long, about an hour and a half, but it was quite worth it to see "Il Papa" even though I am not Catholic.

The next day, my friend Liz and I, got up very early to get out to Vatican City to avoid the long lines at St. Peter's Basilica. Our plan worked and we only were in line for about 30 minutes. We got into the Basilica and WOW it was absolutely amazing. The structure on the inside was beautiful with intricate sculptures and memorials for past Popes. After walking around the interior of the Basilica, we took an elevator then what seemed like a million steps to the top of the dome for an epic (yes, epic) view of Vatican City and Rome.

Next up--the Vatican Museum. The World's Richest Art museum does not fail to impress guests, with art from all over and it's centerpiece -- The Sistine Chapel. There was mainly religious art -- obviously, but I even saw a mummy! With so many different things, it's better if you just check out the link to pictures at the top of this page.

After we were done with visiting the Vatican City, we decided to walk around Rome and visit some of the random "cool things" to see around the city. We saw the Trevi Fountains and the Pantheon -- with it's perfectly spherical dome that architects still marvel at today. At this point, we were pretty tired so we decided to head back to the hostel to get some food and rest up for the next day at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

The Colosseum, the model for stadium architecture around the World and one of the most visited cites on the globe. It was very interesting to see the place where gladiators battled for their lives and the Roman Empire put on spectacles to keep the Plebeians entertained. If only walls could talk as history was just seeping from the grounds of the great building. The Roman Forum used to be the center of all things during the Roman Empire. With the old senate building, temples to all sorts of gods, and the burial mound of Julius Caesar. It was quite the experience to see the epicenter of the ancient world first hand. That was pretty much it for the day of sightseeing and after eating dinner, I lucked out and was able to watch the final round of the Masters on the TV in the hostel.

I didn't have any problems getting to the airport in Rome and made it back to Madrid. Once I returned, it was time to finish all the homework I didn't do during the week. Next update will come very soon about my trip to Barcelona.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Semana Santa -- Paris

Since I have returned from my Spring Break travels I have had no time to sit down and write a blog but finally with a weekend of no travels I can tell the tale of my travels around Europe.

The first stop on my trip was to Paris to see the city of lights. I met up with my friend Liz from OU who is studying in the south of France. She had already been there for a few days with one of her friends from the States so when I arrived, it was time time for the the "touristy" places. The first day I was there, we went to the Arc de Triomphe and walked down the Champs Elysees then we walked up the Eiffel Tower (668 steps!!) to the second level but didn't go to the top because there was a very long line for the elevator.

The next day, we visited the Catacombs (an underground ossuary filled with millions and millons of bones of deceased Parisiens) in the morning and then the Notre Dame cathedral and some other monuments around the city. At night, we went to the Lourve because we thought there was student discounts on Wednesday nights but we found out it was only for EU students...urgh.

On Thursday, we went to the grand palace of Versailles but we had a little trouble getting there. The train system of Paris is extremely complex if you don't know what you are doing so instead of getting on the train to Versailles, we got on a train that branched to a north suburb of the city. We eventually got there but then had to wait in like for about an hour and a half just to get tickets -- the wait was well worth it though. The interior of the palace was breathtaking and the "backyard" was even better. The royalty of France had acres and acres of land at their disposal in which they could take a stroll around the man made lake or hunt for animals. It was quite impressive. When we got back to Paris, we went to the Montmarte (artsy part of town) area and saw the infamous Moulin Rouge, then walked up the giant hill to see the famous church of Sacre Coeur.

The next morning was our flight to Rome but we had a few problems getting to the airport and even getting on to the plane. First of all, the train system that runs to the Charles De Gualle airport was shut down for some reason or another so we had to go catch a cab, unfortunately so was everyone else who wanted to get to the airport. Luckily, there was a couple who had "illegaly" hailed a cab (meaning the cab driver had stopped for them even though he wasn't at the front of the line) and asked us if we wanted to go because the cabbie would only go if he had a full cab. So we reluctantly follow him to the cab but once we get in we realize everything is okay, because the guy's girlfriend is an American and she was even from Texas! We finally get to the airport, check in and get our boarding passes, and head to the gate but if you've ever been through security at CDG you know how much of a pain it is. The security gates are squeezed right in next to the gates and only one machine is operating -- by the time Liz and I got to security we had about 45 minutes until the gate closed, so we thought we would have plenty of time. Only 10 minutes before our plane left did the security people open up another gate for the about 30 people waiting in line to get on the same plane as us. Luckily we made it just in time but it was closer than I would've liked.

The plane ride was uneventful and we landed in Rome in the afternoon...that will be my next blog.

Time to study for my last final and write my last Spain paper!!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Paris and Rome

I'm in Barcelona right now, but I will try to have a blog post up from my trips to Paris and Rome this week after I get back. Sorry for the long delay, I got right back from my trip and had to start working on my school work!

Bye from Barça!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spain vs. Turkey - World Cup Qualifying Match; Mahou (Spanish Beer) Factory

Spain vs. Turkey - 1
Spain vs. Turkey - 2

One thing I have always wanted to experience is an International Football match and last weekend I received my chance when Spain played Turkey in a 2010 World Cup Qualifying match. Since this game wasn't just a friendly game the atmosphere before, during, and after the game was electric. Spaniards have a passion for football and when "la seleccion" is playing, they get very excited for the game. Here's a video of the crowd singing the Spanish national anthem:

My friend Conner and I got to the stadium a few hours before in order to meet his friend (Russ) who came in from Granada to enjoy the match. We walked around soaking in the atmosphere and hung out in a few bars before the game. It was quite windy and cold so we decided to sit down inside Tony Roma's which was right next to the stadium. After a while, a group of Turkish fans sat down next to us and struck up a conversation with us. They were from Turkey but have been living in Boston for 15 years and they only picked up English from living there. It was really fun to talk about the match with opposing fans (in English too!) and they were extremely nice as well.

We got to our seats about 40 minutes before kick-off too get a glimpse of both teams warming up and watch the stadium fill up with crazed Spaniards (and a good portion of Turkish fans). The game was actually quite boring and defensive but there were certainly plenty of scoring chances. I got to see some of the best players in the world and my two of my favorite Spanish players (Fernando Torres and David Villa). The result ended up in the favor of Spain although I could tell the crowd wanted more goals and more action.

This is quite an experience that I will never forget and I hope I can see more International matches in the future (especially the World Cup!).


Also, on Monday I went with my business classes to visit the Mahou factory! Mahou is a Spanish beer and is very popular throughout the country. I got to see some inner workings of the factory and the production line where the cans, bottles, and kegs are all made. At the end of the tour we also got all the drinks we wanted and some very tasty tapas. We also received gifts; two cans of Mahou and two drinking glasses. All in all, I'd have to say this visit was the best field trip of the ones I have been on!

I leave for Paris on Tuesday and then fly to Rome on Friday for Easter weekend, it should be lots of fun!