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March 2009
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April 2009

Digital Photo Frame - Phase 1

Using the Zune software is the easiest way to create a Digital Photoframe.  In fact, I do that at school all the time with my actual Zune.  I set it up on my desk so I can see the slide show.

Last night was playing with my Zune software on my desktop upstairs and got the same effect going, so I've got both that computer and my gym computer acting as digital photoframes right now.

Basically turned off the screen saver and power saver software and am just running the Zune slideshow on its own.

This method works well around the house.  Would like to find a way to shut things down at night and come back up in the morning or other predetermined times.

Won't work very well at school though as I don't want to install Zune on all the computers, and the older computers can't handle it's graphics.

Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson : FDG 2009 Day One

Man, oh, man, I wish I was with them!

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Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson : FDG 2009 Day One

So I am aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship for the Foundations of Digital Games conference.

I went to this last year, and it was the single best experience I had ever had.  Because we were fairly isolated in one place, we really interacted, especially between sessions and meals.

We were seated together at each dinner service but in random groups -- the first night was assigned.  That encouraged us to sit together for other meals. Frequently I'd be in a dining area and a total stranger but "tagged" walked up and joined me.  We had fabulous conversations about the topics involved. I even had the courage to sit down with some of the presenters and ask them even MORE questions about their presentations.

It was very empowering.  On several different occasions I was complimented by fellow attenders by my good questions -- I've gotten in a habit because I work for a heavily audited school district to go to conferences and listen intendly for a good question.  Then at the end, I ask it, giving those around me a good chance to remember I'm there at the actual session if it comes up.  Yeah, sad, but I do think of good questions doing and it helps me be a more active participant.  Try it sometime.

I even have several college professions wonder why I stayed at the high scohol level -- I have no idea how it works in their part of the world, but I know that in mine, my work environment is more stable and I actually DO make more than most college professors, at least at the master's level.

Project Idea - Displaying Student Work

I have been going around and around with the PTB about displaying student work.  I teach Computer Science, and printing out source code and/or screen shots as student work has never made sense to me.

I have little use for paper as it is -- and having less and less each day.  Right now, if you give me a sheet a paper, I scan it in, put it it in the appropriate place in One Note, and toss the paper itself in the recycle bin.  I much prefer getting a file.

It also burns me up that I have to turn i na paper lesson plan, but more into that later.

Alfred Thompson (one of my heroes on the internet etc.), retweeted the following link:  alfredtwo 64 things a geek should know I know quite a few of them bot no where near all 64. You?

The real link is and the important part is:

46. Turn a Laptop into a Digital Picture Frame

So you want to show off pictures of your dog and that girl you once met, but you want to do it in an uber geeky way. Any schmuck can go to Walmart and buy a digital picture frame for a grossly inflated price. But you...oh, you're too smart for that. No, instead you'll find an old laptop on eBay for $5 and turn it into a true work of art.

Well, I have several old laptops that would make great digital picture frames, but most of the suggestions involved installing Linux and tearing up the hardware. 

a) I hate screwing with Linux

b) I don't want to tear up a perfectly good laptop even if it is 10 years old.  Plus they have perfectly good OS's, etc.

So here's my first idea:

Take my oldlaptops and set them up with a screen saver that will rotate pictures.  I can then put my student work on whatever appropriate media for that laptop, sit it up in a corner of the room on top of one of my file cabinets, and let it rotate the pictures.  I can use SnagIt it to screen capture appropriate work, and display the work as big as I want.

My second idea:

Put the student work on the server and set up each of the student computers to screen save / display the student work on a rotating basis.  Probably a summer project, but I might have enough time to work it out as I go.

I'll update what I've come up with as I go.

I can also see using this same technique to put up other kinds of displays too, not just student work.

Zune Gift - Mothers' Day

Taking my own gift idea for my mother for mother's day.

I ordered a Pink 4 gig Zune from because it was obscenely cheap.  ($75.00 with car kit).

I plan to do the following:

  • Get a teapot engraved on it with her name on it (she collects teapots)
  • Download a cute teapot image and load it as the background.
  • Download several audiobooks I think she'll like and load them
  • Scan some photos I have in the house and load them
  • Load electronic photos and videos of my husband and dogs (we're pathetic)
  • Get some photos from sister and load them
  • Add some music

Ship the whole kit to her.

I figure she can take it on her long bus trips as use it as a portable photoframe (something I do a lot) and listen to music when she is bored.


An Open Discussion for Gifted Education: Bragging

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An Open Discussion for Gifted Education: Bragging

When is it okay to brag about being super smart?

I get aggravated at some of the really smart kids at our school because they don't want anyone to know they are smart.  I've had discussions about it both privately and individually when it hit me a few years back, I tend to hide my smartness myself in order to get along with other people.

Let's face it, I teach computer science, when it comes to technology I am the smartest person in the room.

So I make a concentrated effort to model proper "smartest person" in the room behavior. Being helpful, and demonstrating cool technology stuff to as many people as I can when I am NOT in my room.

I also model good sports bragging behavior, as I am an active participant in dog agility.  I do this by displaying my ribbons and sharing my accomplishments with people who are interested in such things.

I think modeling behavior is very effective with students -- though it takes a long time for it to have an effect.

Zune - Perfect Gift for Grads, Mom and other special events

I have come up with perfect gift for prom, mother's day, etc. A Zune, but not just any Zune, but a preloaded one.

For Prom, load it with some of the songs from Prom night, load it with the Prom pictures.

Same type of thing, for mother's day, especially if you're an adult and have children.  Load it up with the children singing, maybe even some videos along with the pictures.

Best yet, take it somewhere and have the back laser etched with something meaningful.

Blending Blogging and Twitter

I love Twitter.  I’ve used twitter for a long time and I use it a lot.  I’ve gotten a lot of good out of it and have posted about it in the past.

What I have been doing is blending my blogs with Twitter.

If I feel something I want to say takes more than 140 characters, like this post, I go to one of my two blogs and blog about it.  I have both blogs set up so that when I make a post, in a few minutes the post is tweeted by Tweeterfeed (

Also, if you go to my blogs, both of them have a twitter feed going on the side, so anything I post to twitter appears on the blog.

It works really well for me, and I get a lot of good interaction that way.

TELPAS Reading Testing

I hate online testing.  Especially since we only have computer labs for computer classes.  Nothing that isn't being accessed most of the day by an assigned class.

Today was the first day of testing and we got through it.

However, I had installed the software as soon as we returned from spring break.  It was fine in one room but all of the icons were missing in the other room.

I punted, installed the testing software over Deep Freeze in my classroom, we tested the first group in my room, and sent my students to the original testing room which gave me time to figure out what happened.

Found the software, and used Lanschool to fire it out over the room.  Worked okay but there are some additional problems with that lab.

I pushing hard to get Deep Freeze installed in all the labs since the business teachers not only don't supervise their students but teach the students how to use proxy to get to blocked websites.  <sigh>

The bad part, since I manage my lab and students well, MY students suffer for it, were without a teacher most of the day because administration decided they didn't really need a sub for me. I should have called ofr a guard each time I left the room but there really wasn't time.

Love my HP MediaSmart Server BUT

it crahsed last night!

I needed to reboot it, and so I did, and then it got stuck in the boot up process.  Cycled it through the boot cycle server times and got no where.

This morning tryed a System recovery and got no where again.

Called HP, gave them all my information and they walked me through a recovery.  It's looking a lot like one of the drives went bad.

Oddly enough they want me to do the factory restore on the biggest drive which I am doing now. 

Hopefully I'll have good news, but I' beating that the Seagate 500 gig drive that came with it went south and is one of those that need the firmware patch.

HP Media Server - Final Resolution I hope

So now my server is restoring itself.


I got what I thought was all the updates, and tried to restore my backup to the server but there was no place to do that and no place to setup the external drive as a System Backup.  Everything I had said that if I added the drive to the server it would reformat.


I also had discovered that the drive that shipped with the server has failed. 

Decided to get both resolved.

Tech support looked up my S/N and sure enough it was a bad Seagate drive so they are shipping out a new one.

And why I couldn't restore?  Hadn't installed all the service packs.

So I am happily restoring now.