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December 2011

Kindle Fire–iPad killer

I didn’t like the iPad as I didn’t think you get a good return on your dollar.  Yes, I took one home and used it for a day, but wasn’t happy with it.

I did see a Kindle Fire in the store and liked it.  Told husband to get it to me for birthday/Christmas and he gave it to me for my birthday.


First, it gives me a chance to see what the Android phone is all about without having to own the phone.  I have an iPod Touch for the same reason.

Second, it just reads well, especially magazines, and not just Kindle Magazines.  I am able to read my Clean Run magazines, as well as the Kindle ones.

It’s a good size, had a good interface.  I understand it sort of sucked before the update, but I got the update before I realized that.

Web works well, and I’ve even been able to load non-Amazon marketplace apps (kmEye for my surveillance cameras.

Loving the Amazon Kindle Fire

I finally have an Android device and I’m loving it.  Amazon Kindle Fire has all the pluses of a tablet without the minuses.

To start with, I like the Kindle and love electronic books.  In fact, this summer I got rid of most of my paper books.  I’ve kept the ones that are signed or have information I can’t get anywhere else.

I’ve tried an Apple Ipod and hated it.

First thing to like about the Kindle Fire is that it works when you turn it on – something that isn’t always true with other devices. 

My Kindle books were already ready to download and downloaded quickly.

Also my Amazon music, my Amazon videos, and just about everything digital I’ve purchased from Amazon (except for an OLD pdf book). 

What is really nice is that the Kindle is letting me retry my digital subscriptions, and given me at new 15 day trial.  That is very nice of them.

Interface is very easy to learn, and everything work well, even my books and books which DO NOT work with the Windows Phone.

And yes, I do have some Apple products, a Mac Mini which was replaced when the original Mac Mini’s power supply exploded (I think I blogged about that when it happened, talk about bad customer service and has been the last Apple product I’ve tried).  I also have an iPod Touch so I can play with apps.  And do Ereader and Audible.

Yes, I want a donation to my classroom for my birthday/Christmas or any other occasion you fill the need to do something for me.

Seriously, and there are several ways to do it.

Donor’s Choose –

Send a check to my school and make sure that you include a note to donate the money to the Robotics team.

Nothing stresses me out more than worrying about where entry fees or part money comes from.  I’ve already given quite a bit of money to the cause.

My school address: 

Hillcrest High School
9924 Hillcrest Rd.
Dallas, TX  75230

Frankly I don’t need food (got a lot of that today), don’t wear perfume (at lot of it turns on me) or much jewelry.  Anything else I want, I tend to buy when I want it.

Experiencing the best Christmas gift ever



I have always said the best staff development is to allow us the freedom to sit down and work. We never get time for that.

This developers camp is precisely that.

The air has been filled with words but they have been useful words. Most of the day is spent working on code and on sharing ideas.

Oh, gee, the ideal classroom.

We need more of this!

Sent from my Windows Phone

New Motto

One of my missions now has a motto:

Make E and T as important as S and M in STEM.

Seriously, both engineering and technology are the ugly step children of STEM education.  Neither are required by many education programs in the US, neither are very well funded.

My goal is to make Computer Science required as a course in Texas again.

Donor’s Choose

I’m finding that Donor’s Choose at is a really good resource for obtaining materials for your classroom.

My personal site is at and even if I don’t have an active project at the moment, your donations will be collected for my next project. 

So far, I’ve had six projects funded:

  • Xbox controllers – 7 total, those were 3 different projects
  • 2 netbooks for the Robotics team
  • 1 Xbox

The Xbox materials I’m collecting for game programming – I incorporate some of the Microsoft XNA programming in my PreAP computer science, and am hoping to add some to my regular computer (Visual Basic) class.

Once you get your first couple of projects out there and going, doing the creative writing for the next projects isn’t hard.

Calling parents when kids are sick

It’s really strange and it’s happened twice now, that when I call a parent to see how a sick kid is, that they are really taken aback.  It’s almost like they think I might be checking if the child is truant or something.

That’s why I find it so weird.

Kid’s in my room for months everyday, I like the kid and am concerned, so I call home, just to say hey, how is kid doing, and let him know I called.

Once we get past the initial bristling up, it’s all good. 



I’m working with several individuals to see if we can promote Computer Science within Dallas ISD.  We’re looking at National Engineering Week since we’re too late for CSED week (that would be now).

Wish us luck!

CS & IT Conference 2011

Am in the process of making travel arrangements for this conference, it is early, but wanted to get it set up so I wouldn’t forget or back out of it. 

I didn’t go last year, too many things going on then, but went when it was in San Antonio as a day trip and that was fun.

This year, since it’s in California and there are only three cheap flights a day (Virgin America), I’m going on the 8th and hanging out until the 11th.  Figure I can do some sightseeing, though my Wednesday flight is EARLY.

The hotel still doesn’t have the code so waiting on that.