Archive for the 'computing' Category

11
Dec
13

How to Fix a Nonresponsive Smartboard

Teachers! If your Smartboard has trouble tracking your position, especially in only certain areas of the board, and doing a calibration doesn’t work for you, try this:

Take a 3×5 index card (or other thin, stiff paper product,) slide it between the board surface and the bottom frame, and slide it completely across, left to right or right to left. I think this removes accumulated dirt, skin cells, etc., and may make your board responsive again.

Good luck!

10
Feb
10

Fear of FAIL… and Why We Need to Screw Up More Often

I’m inspired by a fantastic piece up over at Ars Technica that I just read.  Matthew Lasar, the author, offers a three-page rogue’s gallery of lesser-known inventors and innovators in telecommunications.  All of them failed to capitalize on their discoveries, usually because they were a few decades ahead of their time.

Here’s the article.  (Clicky Readey)

As a teacher, what strikes me the most about this is the alarming trend in child rearing and education to shield a kid’s purportedly fragile self-esteem from the “crushing” experience of failure.

Parents, fellow teachers, and other responsible, compassionate adults reading this: please hear me.  It is MUCH more important that a child learn how to fail and learn from the failure than it is for them to experience success.  To fail to do so is to produce a person with an inflated ego due to an overestimation of his or her own abilities, and to whom the entire concept of “trial and error” is an alien thing.

Perhaps worse still, you deprive them of the thrill of success that only truly comes after repeated, failing attempts.

So let them bump their heads, skin their knees, fail a school paper or project, or even an entire class.  Then be there to help show them the most important part of the process: how to dust yourself off, clean up the blood, accept the natural consequences of your choices, and ultimately try, try again.

08
Jan
10

URGENT!! Crayon Physics Deluxe “Pay-What-You-Want” SALE!!

Go here RIGHT NOW and BUY THIS GAME.

http://www.crayonphysics.com/

Teachers! I’m talking to YOU TOO.

It’s only good until the 15th of January, so HURRY!!!!

05
Jan
10

Outstanding Essay – Bittersweet Christmas Morning

This comes courtesy of Julian Murdoch (a.k.a. “Rabbit”), member and regular contributor to Gamers With Jobs — a site (and podcast) I frequent since I decided to outgrow the bathroom humor inherent in so many other video gaming communities.

Click and read this.  Now.

Mr. Murdoch has a good ten years on me, but we’re hitting several balls in the same park.  It’s a hard thing when a lifelong hobby and love of mine tends to be equated with immaturity.  It’s refreshing to encounter other “grown-ups” who aren’t just sad man-children that never really left their early twenties behind, but who can still enjoy “childish things” respectably.  Kudos, Rabbit.

21
Oct
09

Happy Birthday, Ubuntu!

There’s a great post up at Ars Technica (click) which should answer any nagging “What the heck is JC going on and on about with this Ubuntu thing lately?”  It makes for a good (quick) read if you’re even SLIGHTLY curious.

Still flying Microsoft-free, and still loving it.  You should too.  Seriously.

11
Oct
09

Almost lost my cool there…

The Great Ubuntu Experiment had a major hiccup today.

I was fiddling around with my video drivers, trying to improve performance for both windowed and fullscreen video playback (mostly divx rips of some DVDs I have) and I somehow end up crippling my video settings, so that they will ONLY display 1024 x 768… on my widescreen monitor.  I HATE having all my stuff look squished, so I did some more fiddling and somehow managed to delete the GUI entirely AND get myself locked out.

Terrific.

I almost did one of two things:  (1) install Vista again, or (2) wipe and reinstall Ubuntu… and lose all the tweaks I’ve been making these last two weeks.

Fortunately, I kept my cool.  This was a puzzle to solve, and I’ll be d*mned if I’m going to wuss out in the face of a geek-problem of this caliber.

Long story short, I managed to figure out a password that would let me back in, boot into recovery mode (which I had forgotten existed,) removed and reinstalled several packages via command-line interface ONLY… and an hour or so later, I’m back to as-good-as-it’s-been.

And that feels good.  Original problem NOT solved, but at least I fixed what I broke in the first place.

Still Windows-free… unless you count using my wife’s laptop to look up all the crap it took to fix stuff.  And I don’t.  Or so I keep telling myself.

09
Feb
09

Zombie insects! In 3-D!!!!!

This is, without a doubt, the most bizarre thing I have ever seen (next to the births of my three — soon to be four — children.)

CLICK HERE for video.

That’s right, kids.  The army is funding research into HACKING THE BRAINS OF INSECTS!!

This reminds me of the zombie cockroach story I read a few years back (link).  Now if only someone could figure out how to mount frickin’ laser beams to their little heads…




The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
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