Saturday, August 28, 2010

Small Size, Big Sound, Small Price

From time to time I come across some exciting technology and I am going to star sharing here on my blog. I have been looking for a good ipod doc but just didn't want to fork out the money required for a good one.  There are many great ipod docs out there ranging from $50 to $600.

However, you want to get a great portable speaker from ANY mp3 player you may want to consider the iHome speaker portable speaker ( iHM60LC - Portable Multimedia Speaker )

The speaker is about 2/3 the size of an itouch.  The comparison above is close.  (Dimensions: 2.36" W x 2.29" H x 2.12" D)

 The speaker comes with a built-in li-ion rechargeable battery.  The battery lasts for over 6 six hours and can be recharged by plugging it into the usb port of your computer.  

Obviously the most important part of any speaker is how it sounds.  This speaker can easily fill a class room with excellent quality sound.  I was amazed at how good the sound was from such a small portable speaker.  The speaker will plug into ANY mp3 player through the headphone jack.  For even more impressive sound you can twist the top and bottom of the speaker and it expands to give you a richer sound with added base.  ihome describes this as "Vacuum bass design for enhanced low frequency response and sound beyond size"


I was able to find this speaker at WalMart for aproximately $18.96 plus HST.  The speaker comes with a storage bag and a cord that is used to connect to the mp3 and to charge.  If you search iHM60LC on the net you will find it all over the web.  You even have a choice in colour (Red, Blue,Grey)

If you have any comments about this gadget or another please feel free to comment below.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Great Citation Tool For Your Schools

Citing your work is very important. Citing your work properly is even more important. Thanks to my colleague Karen Kasic,  I found out about this great website that can assist students to cite properly in either MLA or APA format.

The site can be located at the following link:  OERB  The OERB or Ontario Educational Resource Bank is available to Ministry of Ontario Students and Teachers.

The site will give you the option of wether you would like the details about citing read to you or not.

Once the site demonstrates why you should cite materials and how you can build your own citations using MLA and APA for different media:

Students can easily fill out the online forms:

and then copy and paste the citation into their work.

Google Celebrates Pac Man's Birthday Today

If you visited or today you would have seen this:

Google integrated a PacMan game into their logo to celebrate Pac Man's 30th birthday.  The game is playable as you can see here:
Apparently there is also a hidden joke included in the game.  The app will run on the iphone as well as as Macs and PCs.  This could be a subtle shot at Apple considering the app runs on iphones but was not purchased through the itunes store and was of course not written in the EVIL Flash.  For more on this click here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Few New Tips for Smartboard Notebook 10

One of our resident DI Specialists (David Petro) attended the OAME math conference and shared some really interesting  Smartboard tips with me so I wanted to pass them on to you.

Smartboard Calibration:

1. When calibrating, rather than tapping the targets on the screen, tap anywhere around the target and then drag to the centre of the target. Then only let go when you are dead centre. Do this for each calibration target. This way you get a far more accurate calibration.

Transparency Tool:

2. If you have updated to the latest version of Notebook, you now have what is called the transparency tool. It should be on your top toolbar and look like this:

What this does is make Notebook disappear with the exception of the tools. In this mode you have all the Smartboard tools (dynamic and static) which you can now use in any other application. So you could pull up a picture on  a web page and then take the dynamic protractor and measure angles. Very cool.

Try it out to get a real feel for what it can do!

Thanks Dave for these great tips.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

SnowLeopard Will Will Not Update: continued part 2

Continued from SnowLeopard Quickview won't work:

My move to Mac over a year ago has not been exactly an easy one.  I enjoy the challenge of learning a new OS and actually prefer to use the Mac these days although I still use both.  I have had my problems though....
My first MacBook Pro had a hard drive crash and my Time Machine backup was also corrupted.  Lukily I received help and support from my Twitter PLN and our Board's Mac expert (Trini) who managed to save my Time Machine Backup and all the data contained.  The permissions were all mixed up.  The reason I mention this is I believe this has caused me problems even to this day.

I purchased a new Macbook Pro in June of last year and imported my account over from the old Mac.  This Migration tool was tool was incredible.  I was impressed when I was able to restore my computer from the Time Machine Backup but, this can easily be done on a PC too.  However, moving an account with all my exact setup, software, and data was incredible!  I am not aware of anything that does this so easily on the PC side.  The time savings was immense.  The MBP worked wonderfully until the OS x v10.6.2 Combo Update came out.  My MBP would download and begin installing the update but would fail to install it.  The error message suggested I contact Apple.  I combed through discussion forums and then I contacted Apple who I have found are very helpful.  Unfortunately they were unable to offer a solution that would solve this problem. 

Eventually I did get an idea from @mwalkinshaw to transfer my information over to another MBP and then send mine in to get checked out  (still have applecare).  I decided rather than send my MBP in I would transfer my information over to another MAC and then reinstalled OS 10 with all the latest updates to get it to 10.6.3 on my original MBP.  I used the Migration Assistant to bring over my account (and all software and data) to the original MBP and now everything seems to be working fine.

The best way to proceed would be to format my drive and install everything from scratch. A reinstall would require ton of time to document and reinstall all my software then move the data.  Hopefully this works but somehow I believe their will be another chapter in this post.

Monday, March 15, 2010

SnowLeopard Quickview Issue Solved

Working with my new Macbook Pro has been an adventure but, I don't see myself turning back. I am a career PC user but I can confidently say I use both with relative proficiency. I am a PLN tweet away from any expert help anyway.

Time Machine has proved to be batting .500 for me. My first MacBook Pro was adopted from a colleague that was nice enough to let me try it out! The unit was a couple years old but unfortunately for me the hard drive crashed. I had a time machine backup so I was not concerned. However, whatever killed my hard drive scrambled the time machine as well. Thanks to the work of one of Techs the drive was recovered from ruin. I restored the OS on a new drive and I was off and running again.

A year later I now have a new Macbook Pro which required an install from the time machine. Everything was fine this time but I lost the use of Quickview. This allows you to preview images, movies and other media as shown in the picture to the left:

I searched the web and found a couple of solutions for this peculiar problem that seems to crop up when restoring from Time Machine.

  1. Reinstall Mac OS X 6.2
    -this method was not going to work as whatever was causing my Quickview to disappear also prohibited the OS upgrade from working.
  2. Suggestion 2 had me erase the quickview library files so they would be recreated and possibly correct the problem: "/library/quicklook and /system/library/quicklook" I spent some time removing files and copy files from other computers that worked but no luck.
  3. The third option was given to me by our Mac Rep @mwalkinshaw, to install a fresh copy of the Mac OS while maintaining your software and data. This is called a "archive and install"
I was surprised to find there is very little documentation to do this with SnowLeopard. However I did find out SnowLeopard has incorporated this procedure into the Installation Routines. By default if you reinstall Mac 10.6 it will automatically archive your software and install a new version of the OS. I did this and all my problems were solved. The install was easy and even my Parallels 5 OS's were maintained. Thanks to @aforgrave who gave me a link to a couple of ways to back up your Parallels 5 files. The process is not that difficult but a big time saver.

I was very pleased with the ease it was to install a fresh copy of the OS. I am now up and running without any problems.

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