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June 2010

Children of Illegal Immigrants

It’s a tough issue.  The Dallas Morning News has been talking about it here:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/062810dnmetnuundocgrads.1c4739b.html and own of my favorite diabetes bloggers here:  http://lifeafterdx.blogspot.com/2010/06/illegal-aliens.html

I’ve actually dealt with it.  I’ve had students who were brought in to the country for our education.  One in particular, actually called me “Mom”.  Here’s the deal:

One day in class, he accidently called me “mom”, instead of Miss.  Wasn’t sure why at the time, probably one of those slips, but he needed helped.  One of the other kids started teasing him about it, and so I sent along with him and said, “sure I’m his mom”.  We had a really good student/teacher relationship, and he started calling me mom all the time.

Well, come to find out, he’d been snuck in with his cousins, I didn’t learn about this until he was a senior and was about to be deported as he had been caught.

This is on aspect of the illegal immigration issue that is tough the way things are.  I honestly do believe the children of illegal immigrants who have been here all of their lives, and the ones that have been snuck in, should be given a free pass.  We should capitalize in what we’ve invested – we’ve educated these kids, and many of them can and could be great contributors to our society. 

Yes, the parents should be sent back, but if the kids have gone through our education system, they should be granted legal status.  We should take advantage of that education we paid for.  However, if and when they break the law, the legal status should be rescinded, and they should be deported.


More on the Kindle

The more I use it, the more I like it.  I tried it on the treadmill yesterday and it worked quite well, better than reading with a computer and with a book itself.  To turn a page, you just press a button, which is easier than turning a page, or pressing the right button on a keyboard, or using a stylus on a table PC.  (I have all kinds).

It’s looking like a keeper.

Last night I was reading a sample of a book, decided that I wanted to buy the book, and it was quite easy.

Still wish there were more magazines and more newspapers, but I am sure that will come.  Also wish PDF’s were a bit easier to read, but I suppose if I really want to read something, I could pay to get it converted to Kindle.

I’m about to break down and buy it a reading lamp.


Kindle

I have been anti-Kindle (the device) because of the cost.  When the price went down to less than $190, I jumped on it Monday and it arrived on Wednesday.

I’ve been playing with it ever since. 

I have been using the Kindle software for the PC and have purchased and downloaded several books.

The things I like about the Kindle hardware vs. reading on the PC, is the quick availability.  The Kindle boots much faster.  It’s also easier to hold and read the kindle when you are out and about.

I like the ability to read magazines and newspapers and I wish there were more choices.

Love the ability to read PDFs and I have already transferred some items I want to read to PDF as I own a copy of Acrobat, and have put them on the Kindle.

So far, it’s been a good experience.


Man, I love Microsoft and Office 2010

First, I think the smartest thing that Microsoft has done, is the public betas of Windows 7 and Office 2010.  I downloaded and tried both, fell in love with both products.

I’ve gotten a free copy of Windows 7, and ended up buying 3 other copies for other machines.

I’ve done the same thing with Office 2010.  Downloaded the beta, and then immediately went out and bought two copies of Office 2010.  I will tell you I am now completely hooked on Outlook 2010 and can’t wait until they integrate it with Facebook.

And the best news!  I got a free copy in my inbox, so I can even load Office 2010 on my test machine.  I’ll take it off when school starts and load it on my machine at school.

As always Microsoft rocks!

(and I have at least one former student working for them). 


New HTC Pure

Just finished talking to a really nice lady at ATT and confirmed, yes, I bought a HTC Pure as an upgrade for $40.00.  Awesomeness.

I plan to switch the phones back and forth and am working on setting the new phone back and forth.  The other phone is the Tilt 2, which the keyboard is nice, but it is huge.

I couldn’t decide between the two when I bought the Tilt 2, so this is quite awesome.

One good thing – the software appears the same, and the marketplace, etc, items I have bought appear on both phones. 

Lesson learned – WinMoSquare has to be loaded early, along with Audible Air or they just don’t work.

The fun thing about it is that I keep trying to “slide” it.  It also doesn’t have the modem ring tone I have on the other phone.


Finding former students

One of the fun things about facebook is finding old students.  And I just found one of my first AP Students on facebook.  It was really cool to find out he was a hardware guy with Microsoft.

I found through another one of my former students – Jay .  Jay and I have kept in touch through the years, and in fact, everytime I buy a new vehicle, he’s the first place I go so he can install my ham radio in it (yes, call is N5EZQ).

Grant was hooked up and corresponding with Jay on Facebook, so I friended him and put him in my former student list.  Hope to hear more from him.

I’m always happy to see my kiddos grown, successful and happy.  From his facebook timeline, looks like he might be.

And if you find me and are a former student, feel free to friend me, email me, Twitter, etc.  I always love to hear from former students.


Summer Toys - Kindle

I always get a few toys in the summer - partly because i got paid for being campus tech, partly because i get summer pay and finally because of good deals. got a chumby for my classroom since it was $119 and free shipping, the mobile phone for $34 plus free shipping and now the kindle for $189 plus free shipping.

okay it sounds like the free shipping is the reason but still the pricesthemselves are good.

love toys and besides i already have a free library of kindle books


Yes, I am working

I’ve mentioned this early –I am doing one of my favorite part time gigs – writing the district final.  We call them ACP’s (Assessment of Course Performance) and we have a whole department in charge of them. 

It’s great for the students as it keeps all the schools on the same page.  Great for the teachers as it gives us a structure, plus we don’t have to write a final or grade it. 

It’s great for the test writers, as we get $20 a hour, get to set our own schedule, and influence the course.

Unfortunately the district may end up phasing out my course, it looks like my school will be the only one to teach it next year.  This would be a bad thing since my regular kids could not handle the PreAp course.

The only drawback is that I have to drive to south Dallas to work on the test, but I try to schedule an outing around it.  For example, today I went in about 9:30, worked until just after noon, and am heading to rehab.  Tomorrow, I’ll go in the morning and take a class at the same location from 1:00 – 4:30.

My plan is to put in 2-3 partial days a week.


XNA Programming

This is the "handout" I created for the short presentation I did at the AP workshop I attended.

XNA Programming

XNA is a development tool kit that allows people to develop for the Windows PC, Zune, and Xbox. It is free. We researched in class, WII or PS2 programming is MUCH more expensive.

C# is a programming language by Microsoft that is a free download. That is the IDE and language needed to work with XNA. Download C# first – it looks just like Java.

Download C# and XNA Game Studio 3.1

http://creators.xna.com/en-US/downloads

XNA gives you everything you need:

Which the listserv, twitter, and etc. and Microsoft has been developing XNA curriculum for high school students. My twitter id is kathweaver - http://www.twitter.com/kathweaver

Programming for the Xbox is somewhat expensive: Xbox, Creator's Club and Xbox Gold membership needed for full development.

Programming for Zune is cheaper – can get small old style Zune for < $100.

Programming for Windows PC is absolutely free.

Demonstration of XNA curriculum I did for kids at http://www.screencast.com/t/NGI3ZDBhN

FYI: Movies made using Camtasia at http://www.techsmith.com and free storage at http://www.screencast.com which is rarely blocked by school districts.

My CS blog is http://www.kweaver.org/cs

    Free moodle: http://www.keytoschool.com/