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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!


Stick a fork in me…

… I think this blog is done.  Johnseeking, signing off.


Highly Recommended

A conversation with my wife led to a headsmack/”yeah, huh?” moment this morning.

We have a friend who needed me to write a letter of recommendation as part of her application to a math and science teacher training program. I love it when people ask me to do things like this, because I get a big kick out of pointing out things I see in people that maybe they don’t see in themselves.

For an antisocial sort, I’m actually pretty fond of people. On a personal level. (It’s just the GROUPS I don’t particularly care for, I guess. But anyway.)

I wrote the letter yesterday, and emailed a copy to my friend, who seemed quite happy at what I had written about her. And it makes me feel GOOD to make people feel GOOD about themselves. And that’s what I told my wife.

In a moment of sheer, clouds-parting clarity, she looks sidelong at me (in the mirror… still working out the geometry of that one) and says, “You know… you don’t have to wait for someone to ask for a letter like that, or for someone to be applying for something. You could just write one, if you like doing it so much.”

My first instinct was, “Why would I do that? Who would read it?”

Oh yeah… I could write it and give it to them.

So I think I’ll make it my goal to write one “letter of recommendation” a week. And see what happens.

I like blessing people. I like writing. ZOUNDS! I can do BOTH AT ONCE?!?!?


Pilot light going out on your water heater? Try this…

About a week and a half ago, our two-year old Reliance 606 gas water heater started… well… NOT heating water.  Turns out that the pilot light (the small jet of gas that keeps burning so it can light the main burner to heat the water) kept going out.

A quick troll of several appliance message boards (read: gripefests) revealed that this was a common problem.  I emailed someone at the water heater company, and got this from them:

Thank you for contacting, it sounds as if the flame arrestor on the water heater is restricted not allowing air to flow through the burner chamber. I am sending you a link to a video which will show you the correct way to clean your water heater’s screen and flame arrestor. Simply click on the following link to view the short video (you will have to push the play button “>” for the video to start).

If you are unable to play the video, there is also a PDF you could print out or view on your computer. The PDF contains an illustrated step by step instructions guide for cleaning your water heater’s filter and flame arrestor.

Thank you, Technical Support Department

If I can figure out how to embed the video here, I’ll do it later.  But click the link above and watch it.  It seems to have worked.


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed — Watch on Netflix!

It has amazed and intrigued me at how much bile the mainstream media, science bloggers, and well-known critics have unleashed at the Ben Stein documentery Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Whenever something makes this many of these kinds of people mad, I’m drawn like a fly to poopie to see what all the… stink… is about.  Sadly, like many other theatrical releases, this one went unseen by my wife and myself when it came out.  (Four reasons for this:  One, the nearest theater that was showing it was about an hour’s drive away.  Two, three, and four are the fruit of my loins.)

I added the film to our Netflix queue, and waited eagerly for its release, which came earlier this month.

Three days ago, I noticed that magic little “PLAY” button next to it, which meant that we could watch it online.  And we did.

I’d highly recommend the film on several levels.  First, it’s just a darn entertaining picture.  The editing makes use of some shocking/hilarious stock footage, and Ben Stein’s deadpan delivery simultaneously enthralls and tickles the viewer.  Second, it gives voice to a group of scientists which, though their ideas may or may not be worth exploring, are rarely given the chance to make their case.  They face demonization at every step of the way.

So if you have Netflix, it won’t cost you anything to watch it online, save a couple of hours.  I think you’ll find them to be well-invested.

Here’s a link to the Netflix page. (click)

And here’s about a 7 minute trailer to whet your appetite:

This is a film about freedom.  I think we can all agree on how important that is.


Fake Plastic Drums = Legit Musical Training?

Check out this video of a video game commentator subbing in for the drummer of Coheed and Cambria. 98% on Expert indeed…

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Class Links – Thursday, 6/5/2008

Speciation — General Discussion:

Examples from Class:

Other Stuff:

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