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February 2013
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March 2013

Dulce has her clown moments too

I've a full time classroom teacher and Dulce and I spend most of our time being pretty serious. We both have our moments though….

Yesterday morning she decided that she needed to demonstrate that she didn't have to know how to walk on a leash. She had one of my coworkers in complete stitches because she first wrapped herself leash around one of my legs, not once but TWICE. Then she had the leash wrapped her body.

Now Dulce is completely capable of untangling herself. All of my beagles have obtained that talent from puppyhood.

In fact, as soon as my coworker was out of the hall, Dulce untangled herself. But when she spotted her again, she was back tangled.

Guess a laugh was needed for the start of the day.

Installing Office 2013

Office 2011 comes on my computer but I have to pay for it to use it. I have purchased Office 365 Home Premium for one year. I have it installed on 4 computers and took it off the old Vario to put on this one.

I had trouble installing Office 2013 before and don't remember how I did it.

This time, I uninstalled the Office that was on the computer first. Then I tried to install from the website and got the lovely "something went wrong". The Office 2013 Click to Run was still running.

I went to a chat assist and he couldn't get it to work either. Both of us tried deleted the registry keys and running a fixit that was supposed to delete.

So here is what worked.

  • Made sure that Office was uninstalled.
  • Made sure that all directories with Microsoft Office in them were deleted.
  • Made sure that all the registry keys with Microsoft Office in them were deleted.
  • Ran the FixIt to delete Microsoft Office.
  • Ran the program to delete all temporary files and clear out the Recycle Bin
  • Turned off the Firewall.
  • Made sure all updates were done and complete
  • Did two complete shutdowns.

All things suggested by the different supports sites about this issue.

It finally worked.

Seemed a little bit like performing an incantation.

Successful Computer Move (but some rough patches)

I'm using ANOTHER new Sony Vaio Touchscreen Ultrabook. My third.

Bought my first the day that Windows 8 came out – and yes, I know. But I'd been waiting for a new, expensive (for me) computer for months, and I'd always wanted a Sony. They haven't done a good job with this model.

The Friday before New Year's, the screen on the first one broke. Nice hairline crack and the touch screen stopped working.

Microsoft treated as if it was user damage, though I didn't drop it. Theory is that I carried it by holding it by the screen – not sure about that …

Anyway, Sunday, I was using the second one, doing normal laptop stuff and the hinge cover fell off. After dealing with everything I did before, I was not putting up with that, especially since the screen did go off at one point.

So back to the Frisco Microsoft store I go. They were great, did it was a manufacturer return, and I left with this, a shiny new Sony Vaio laptop. Frankly I'd rather have the ASUS they have for sale (oh, I do have an ASUS but not that one), but there you go.

Restoring was the easiest. I have been keeping some of my normal software on an external hard drive, saving me from having to download. I've also been keeping most of my development stuff on Virtual Machines. However, I had a real issue with installing Office 2013, which I'll do another blog post, as it will save me from problems in the future and maybe even the next guy.




Google Is Evil

I've suspected it for a long time, but the recent announcement that they are killing Google Reader is convincing me.

It's not that I use Google Reader every day, I don't.

But I do like it. I have purchased several apps on the Windows Phone and Window Tablet that use it and even beta test one – Flux. Hopefully the author will go his own direction.

I don't even use Flux every day.

I tried to use a different account with my Google tablet but couldn't. That's okay, use it even less than Google Reader, and it's no longer in my pack. It's in the downstairs office where my old technology goes to die.

I bought it so I could write a multiple platform app – I have a good idea for a multiple platform app and I'm surprised no one has jumped on it yet. No, I'm not blogging about it, I might actually do it someday.

Thoughts on Staff Development

A recent Twitter acquaintance tweeted that she was at a staff development and that the leader of the staff development demanded that all technology be put away.

First, I want a few things defined:

Exactly WHAT technology?

  • Pencil/Pen and paper
  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • Notebook

All devices that I have used to effectively take notes during staff development. All devices I have used effectively to distract myself from annoying staff development.

I personally think when we do staff development, we should model effective teaching. Effective teaching and staff development is teaching -- involves the whole student – I think that materials should be made available in advance that interest the student and there should be activities during and after the interest and engage the students.

I do that by putting together an online place that people can gather before, during and after. Moodle is ideal for that, but there are also other spaces great.

However, the moral of the whole story is that no one should limit learning technology during teaching and learning. Pen and paper is just a different modality then taking notes with a phone and either can enhance or distract from learning.

Robot Team – Robots didn’t even play

I've been feeling like a failure as a Robot Team Mentor as our robots didn't even move when we got to competition, and we didn't even get to drive our robots. I was very disappointed in the other teams as they didn't pitch in and help. A few kids tried, but they didn't have the knowledge.

However, my husband said that he felt that I was a great mentor and a great coach, precisely because I let the kids do the work and let them learn. He thinks too many adults take over and that probably a lot of the robots were built by adults. This year we had more kids involved, but still didn't have as many actually working as I would like. I am changing that now.

Our biggest problems were that the kids didn't meet my deadlines. Our robots didn't get build in time, so our programmers didn't get a chance to do any programming or testing. Those builders might very well be off the team, we'll have to see.

I'm working with new builders now, and I'm doing the teaching rather than letting the previous builders teach. Here's the scheme: the new kids are following the instructions from me. If they get stuck, I'm having the previous builders help, and if they are still stuck, I'll step in.

I also need to solve the programming problem – but I have GOT to get kids to stop building on things long enough for people to program them!

New Windows 8 Computer – ASUS Touch Screen

I hate my Sony Touch Screen and wanted something I was comfortable running around with. I saw this computer on the Microsoft store site and I was hoping they would have it at the Frisco specialty store, but they didn't.

The call taker at the Microsoft Store phone number suggested I try Best Buy, and they had one of these in the same form-factor for $399, but it wasn't available anywhere. I went into the local store anyway though and came out with this one. The salespeople said that at $50 more I had a new processor. 4 gig ram, 500 gig hard drive, same form factor as a Netbook, BUT touch screen. Pretty sweet machine. It's quiet and runs a lot cooler than the Sony. Also lighter, and the accessories are smaller.

I need to run it for a few more days to know for sure I like it but the keyboard fits my hands well (I do have the smallest female adults hands) and it seems to be running most of my apps well.

Since I already have a Surface RT, the Sony Ultra Book and a large Lenovo, this might fit the whole.

Yeah, I know, it's a problem.