Previous month:
December 2013
Next month:
February 2014

January 2014

Gamefly Rocks

And if you click here , I get a free month.

I teach XBox programming but don't do a lot of gaming myself.  When I first got my XBox, I bought some games I didn't like but I couldn't return them.  I could resell them at a loss.  That really bummed me.

So I found Gamefly.  It's great, because you can rent games, try them, and even buy them, often at a reduced cost.  My students were meh, about it, but I think it's because of the credit card policy and most don't have access to them.

What I really like about Gamefly is that I can put my membership on hold if I don't have time to game and come back to later, like in the summer, when I do. 


Buy One Month, Get One FREE!

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.

Reduced my ATT phone bill

They finally made the Media share plans available to their old customers, saw I to the Twitter and jumped on it. I have two devices now, a phone and a hot spot and was wasting data. I also don't like not having unlimited talk.

I have yet to use all minutes but still.

I am at 6 gig data, unlimited talk and text and still get my 15% discount so I think I am saving about $20 a month.

Unfortunately not an affiliate. But have been a loyal customer for 3 decades.

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.

Project Based Learning on TV

Nicole Curtis - Rehab Addict -- January 16


She presented a problem, told them there was no right or wrong answer and left them to think -- Urban Garden.

On the job site, she appointed a kid that had been working on the project for a while as foreman.  She stopped and showed them certain tasks -- how to plan mum for example -- and then let go.

Here's the win-win on this -- cheap labor, kids are out getting Vitamin D --AND the kids in the neighborhood have sweat invested in the garden -- are they going to tear it up?   Are they going to stand by and let other people tear it up?

No way, no how.   If you are interested in PBL, look up the episode, it just moments, but it's exciting.

Showing my Web Design Students how to blog

I'm in my 2nd period web design class, and I am showing my students how to blog.

I've been using TypePad since they opened business.  They are not free, but I always free you get what you pay for and I have with Typepad.  It's easy to use.  There are lots of different ways to post entries. You can do it on the web, with your mobile phone, with the ipod with an app, (probably with the iPad's, but I haven't tried it). 

There may be an android app, I will have to look but you can certainly do it in Chrome on any Android device.

There are lots of Window's clients and you can even blog in Word, but we're not real happy with it.

Typepad is at and also linked to my site.

Bluetooth attachment for Surface Type Cover

I recently got the Bluetooth adapter for my Typepad cover, but had no idea how cool it was until now. I'm using it to type on my iPod Touch.  Sadly it doesn't work with my Windows Phone.

It also works with my Amazon Fire and my original Google Nexus.  Weird that it works with everything but my phone.

I am using the older model, but here is the current keyboard:


icon icon

Unfortunately the adaptor is currently out of stock:

icon icon



Check out great sales at Microsoft Store

New Year

New Year is starting – didn't get things rolling in time for kids to have dual credit this year for Web Design L so I'm going to do some new stuff with them this six weeks. Traditionally they are supposed to get a client and make yet another large website, which I know they will hate from past experience. So I think start out with some social networking, based on some stuff I did over break, do some movie making, and expand on what we've done on the past.

Game programming will have to be a quick review, will probably get some new students and I know a lot of the students haven't been thinking about XBox programming

PreAP will be keep on keeping on.

Not sure what I am going to do with CS Fundamentals. Better group that last year, but attendance is spotty with that group. Hard to do anything when you don't have students in the room.