Accessing Data Remotely

One of my biggest problems is getting to my cloud data.  I want to access it from my classroom, while I am at teacher conventions, and even just out and about and at the gym.   I don’t want drag my entire music collection around – my husband and I have been buying music for decades and we have all our music on a hard drive.  A big hard drive.  I don’t even want to carry one of those around.

I also want to get to my photos, my lesson plans and anything else I might want when I’m away from house, again, without dealing with a hard drive or flash drive.

So far, the best solution has been the Western Digital My Cloud.  I mentioned the other day when I was talking about backup solutions, but the Western Digital My Cloud has apps for Windows Phone, Apple and Android (including Amazon Fire), that just work.

I have the three terabyte, there are 2 and 4 TB models available.

Super easy to set up.  Super easy to use.  Customer Support via email is a bit slow, I asked a question on a Saturday and heard from them on Tuesday but I was able to solve the problem without their help.

Backup Solutions

I’m always telling my students that they should backup anything they want to keep and that goes for the rest of us.  I always keep things in at least three places – the original computer, the cloud, and a server at the house.  Over the years I’ve had several

My favorite, which I am in morning for to this day was a HP Device that ran Windows Home Server.  That thing was the easiest to use.  I could just stick a thumb drive in a computer, come back to it 4 hours later and it was back to whatever state I wanted it in.

But all hardware has a limited life.  I still have it, but have removed the working drives, and it sits gathering dust.

My next favorite devices are also old, but still working, a Buffalo Terabyte NAS and an Iomega NAS. 

The Buffalo NAS had really good customer service and good software.

Iomega was bought out by Lenovo.  I haven’t dealt with customer service since they were bought out, but I do have one of the new devices:

It was easy to install and very easy to use.  Since the district is very firewalled, I haven’t used any of the cloud features.

I also have a Netgear Stora, that’s quite old.  I haven’t been happy with the support or reliability of Netgear devices.

The latest device I really like is the Western Digital My Cloud.  Customer support is really slow at answering email, but so far, other than an issue with initially loading firm ware, it just works.

I have the 2TB, comes in a 3 and 4 version:

What I really like about this device, is that all my tablets, my Windows Phone and my IPod working with it, both at home and when I’m out and about.  I keep trying to find a way to keep my extra books available to me when I’m on the road and this is it.

Very easy to use.  I’m also willing to help set it up.

The most important thing about any backup solution, is that you use it.  Make sure you set up a way to run your backups. 

One of the things I like about Windows 8, is that you can automatically set up things so they are saved while you are on the go using Skydrive.  However, I still back up my Skydrive!  Especially photos.  That’s what I mean about having everything in three places.

Favorite windows phone 7 apps

One of my favorite windows phone 7 apps is shuffle by album. I used to use the authors software and have followed his blog ever since. Like it so well it's pinned to my menu.

I also like the weather channel app - best part is that it shows current conditions on the title.

Just downloaded and set up remember the milk. The app is called WinMilk - sure wish the outlook task was supported in the office apps but oddly enough it isn't.

Favorite windows phone 7 apps

Zune vs iPod touch

First I like the Zune pass and Zune software infinitely better than iTunes.

I was in class the other day waiting on kids to finish projects so I could hard and a kid asked in I like a band. Used my Zune to find their greatest hits -downloaded the album -played a few songs and determined that I thought they sucked -deleted it hot on with my life.

While I could have done with some thing similar with pandora I like that it doesn't cost money and done with relative ease.

However not very impressed with Zune apps.

On the other hand, audible books, podcasts and iPhone apps make having the iPod touch worth having. All are better on it.

Yes worth having both.


I am typing this on an iPod. New device I playing with.

I like it and got it because of the proliferation of iPhone apps but still don't want one (iPhone)

The learning curve is low and the apps are fun. I am using a Typepad app for this blog entry.

I am afraid the Mac mini might be taking over.

APRESS.COM : Zune Game Development using XNA 3.0 : 9781430218616

I bought my Zune because I wanted a very portable game development environment.  I have been doing some experimenting with it but haven't gotten very far. 

However, I bought a new book from Amazon and I really like it:

Quoted from

APRESS.COM : Zune Game Development using XNA 3.0 : 9781430218616

Zune Game Development Using XNA 3.0 is a comprehensive book that will guide you through the many aspects of XNA game development and their specific implementations on the Zune platform. The book addresses Zune game development concepts in detail and shows you how to apply them in practical, step–by–step examples, building complete, working XNA 3.0 examples along the way that you can download and play.


I'm just finished Chapter 3.

So far, it's an easy read and if you type everything in correctly it works. 

I think I could teach high school student with this who had had some programming. I will be honest that I haven't done much C# but everything is understandable.  I am going to hand the book to a couple of different kids and see what they think next week.  I'll let you know.

Here's the project from Chapter 3:

One of the things I like it, is that so far, there has been a project to build each Chapter.

New Toy - Bluetooth Stereo Transmitter

My absolute favorite headphones are Jabra BT 620S and I snagged them cheap from 

The bad part?  They don't work with my Zune.

Until today.

I gambled a bit and bought a Sony Portable Stereo Transmitter (TMR-BT10A). It makes my headphones work beautifully with the Zune.

The funny thing is I bought them with my ATT Tilt and mind and have used them with it, but frankly, music, etc. is a pain on the Tilt and much better with the Zune. 

The cool part is that the Sony transmitter will work with anything with a standard jack.

And the sad part, is that Jabra isn't making anything like these headphones any more.  Their latest stereo product lets you listen to Bluetooth music with a corded headset.  Who wants that?

Really Love My Zune

Got a 120 gig Zune for Christmas -- husband gave it to me a few days before Christmas so I would have more time to play with it.

Absolutely love it. 

I use it to listen to Audible Books, especially the New York Times Audible Edition each day. Like the other podcasts too, especially Scott Haselman's.

Music in my classroom.  I hook it up to my desktop speakers and listen to music while my students are working.  It's great because I can easily turn it down when I need to, or stop it.  Kids are listening to their music, why can't I listen to mine?

Music at the doctor's office, especially the chiropractor during physical therapy.  Makes it good faster.

Some while I am walking on the treadmill but I usually watch TV.

Videoes in my classroom -- I download videos I like, hook the Zune to my projector and good to go.  Quickest, smallest way to do that.

Dog videos and dog pictures.  Gives me an easy interface to share my pictures with others.  Much easier than my Windows Mobile phone.  And videos are even easier.

Also love the wireless sync. Can remotely login to my Zune computer, pick music and update while I am anywhere in the house.  Do that for Podcasts too.

I almost forgot -- my favorite part of my Zune is Zune Pass.  I hate the idea of iTunes, loved Napster to Go and Zune Pass is even better.  And worth the money.