Category Archives: technology

Coffee: Foe or Friend?

Standard

A coffee and computer picture from a happier post...

“I judge a restaurant by the bread and by the coffee.” Burt Lancaster

Don’t you love it when you wake up extra early, start getting ahead, and then, it hits?  This morning it hit big time. I was blogging away on a post about the funny things we often do to keep peace.  All of a sudden, I knocked my whole cup of coffee onto my adorable Apple computer.  Can I tell you how much peace I was feeling at that moment?

That’s how my day started.  I drove extra careful to work, miraculously managed to get the contacts in my eyes, and tried to find all of my best words to say to the students on our last day of school before Christmas break.  I returned to find out the state of Apple, i.e., my Apple.

It could be worse.  My computer seems to be working, though it doesn’t know I have an airport.  Thankfully, I’m posting from a nearby house which still has the old-timey land line.

So I ask you, is coffee all it’s cracked up to be?  It wakes me up well in the mornings, soothes my mood, and gives me warm fuzzies.  On the other hand, it provides slightly tarnished teeth, bad breath, and occasional spills that can sabotage.  (Let’s not forget the hot coffee case at McDonald’s.)

Do you have acquaintances like that?  You’d like to trust them, and they do seem really sound on the outside.  When you get closer, however, you may find yourself getting burned?  I am blessed with some wonderful close friends.  I always love the Bible verse which sums up what true friendship should be like, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18a

Coffee–my friend and foe, I shall continue to drink you.  Though tomorrow, I’ll change the location of my mug!

Day 348: 3 R’s To Stay Charged Up

Standard

Staying charged is not as easy when you have to borrow someone's plug.

“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” Paul Cezanne

For awhile now, my MacBook cord has been slowly severing.  I was down to having a few strands of connective wire. I began to need several hours to recharge it, and it hit me that perhaps my three-year protection plan was almost out.  So I took it to The Apple Store.  The word is still out on whether or not it is covered by my $250 plan, which incidentally was due to expire the very day I brought it to be serviced.  (Lucky me.. we hope.)

Now, my computer says I’ve 3% charge time left, which means that I’ll need to attach my daughter’s plug before I finish this sentence.  There– I made it, and now I’m reconnected at 1%.

This made me think about life in general.  I’m in a state of needing to be recharged.  The warranty is coming up soon, and if I don’t get it fixed in time, there will be repercussions.  Christmas can be a great season to recharge if we choose not to  overextend ourselves.

Here are 3 R’s needed to avoid power problems:

1. Rest - In addition to the busy Christmas season, I tried to do an on-line registration at a University in the States.  Something went wrong, and instead of saving $50 for registration, I’m short sleep after getting up to try the conference call which was at mid-night our time.  That’s how life is sometimes.  We know that sleeping helps us stay charged up, but sometimes things happen.

2. Relaxation – We have a couple who comes down and takes us to a foot massage ever so often.  It is not my thing to do, but when we finish, I do feel relaxed.  My perfect day of relaxation would be a day to stay in my pajamas all day, drink coffee, read a good book, and use the computer.  Every now and again, we need time to relax in order to recharge.

3. Renewal – Every year, I like to think through last year’s achievements and determine what I should do in the new year.  The best scenario would include time to think, to pray, to read the Bible, and to plan.  I like to end the year making new goals.  Renewing my MacBook contract would be great though not possible, but renewing ourselves is much more important.

Are you experiencing a power shortage?  If so, please take some time to get your electrical charge flowing again.

Day 314: Please Don’t Watch That Clock

Standard

A clock doesn't need words or numbers to communicate in every language.

“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.” Elbert Hubbard

Obviously Elbert Hubbard was not a teacher.  Yet, I agree that being pleasant will move the day more quickly, and we’ll arrive at the end of it much happier.

Today, I never could get a grip on the time.  Both wall clocks are showing the wrong time, and I’ve already shared with you why I don’t wear a watch.  That left me with the computer clock which should match the school bells.

We’ve been out of school for flooding in Bangkok and are in a whirl trying to get everything graded so that we can measure how well the e-learning worked.  The students have been so fantastic, working hard to help get everything reorganized.  Yet, several of them were eyeing the clock at break time, and my sweetest student walked quietly and gave me a smile when it was time for us to be at lunch.

That’s what I love about a wonderful bunch of children.  They want to help me, and they do understand our clock situation.  Though many of them are still working to learn to tell time, they do have an innate sense of lunch and break time.

I’d rather work along without a schedule, but clocks do intrigue me.  Here are a few questions I have:

Who came up with the direction of clockwise?  To me, it would make complete sense to run the clock the opposite direction.  Yet, a whole world follows the clockwise direction.

Isn’t it amazing that people all over the world can look at a clock and know the time whether or not there are any numbers or even anything other than hands on it?  Even in the most remote parts of the world, it would be hard to find a whole group of people who don’t understand a clock.  We need many different languages to learn how to say hello, but to know the time of day, we just need one picture.

Have you noticed how children have a different sense of measuring time? I laughed yesterday because one of my smart students insisted that there is no such thing as 3:oo a.m.  She was sure there was only a 3:00 p.m., which would be a while after lunch.  We never have 3:oo a.m. she argued.  It was a test, and I couldn’t tell her that she should choose the option that she is asleep at 3:00 a.m.   I guess if you never know it’s 3:00 a.m., then it doesn’t exist.  With children, I find myself saying things like, when the big hand is on the 11, it will be time for recess.  I used to tell my children that we will be there in about one Sesame Street.

Do you have a favorite clock or time of day?  Please drop us a line and share your clock experiences.

Organize Your Ideas On A Glogster: It’s Fun And It’s Free

Standard

Happy Glogging, everyone!

The sound of the word “Glogster” might throw you off, but its organizing qualities are a must for anyone educating or presenting for others.  I first heard of Glogster in an educational article a few years ago.  I quickly played around with the program and found it to have amazing benefits for presentations.

In Glogster, you can easily draw together a number of resources in a poster-style format.  Let’s say you’d like to make a presentation on clean water.  In this presentation, you’d like to show a few video clips, provide some links to some useful information,  throw in some of your own pictures, and even record your voice.  You’d also like your listeners to have access to this information after you finish your presentation.  A Glogster’s the perfect tool for you.  Unlike the power point, which has been overused, it also brings eye candy to those who watch the presentation.  Another advantage is that it is hosted online.  You can see it from anywhere and you’ll only need to give your listeners the web URL to go to your full presentation.  You can make the Glog public or private.  Your private Glogs can be shared with whomever you give the address.

Think of Glogster as an online poster.  For your presentation, you’d like the audience to see the whole poster while you guide them around your discussion.  That’s what Glogster provides.  You chose the subject, put some fancy graphics around it, connect it to your links and videos, but show everything from one place.  If you’ve watched any of the Harry Potter series, it’s something like those moving pictures in the hallway.  You get the idea that if you press any of them, they’re going to send you off somewhere and tell you an interesting story.  Glogster does this same thing in a visually appealing way.  You simply press the text, and you can take the audience wherever you like.  When you finish, you’ll be right back on the home poster.  Here’s an art and language Glog I made to help children learn grammar as they learn about Picasso.

Glogster is hosted online and the basic private version is completely free.  You can send the links of your private glogs to anyone you like.  Should you want to add students to your package, there are other options available to you.  I suggest you begin with the private version today and see if you don’t fall completely in love with Glogster’s features as I have.

If you’re a teacher and not using Glogster, sign up here today and do a little homework yourself!  Happy Glogging, everyone!

Day 292: The Sky’s The Limit (Part Two)

Standard

My help comes from the Lord!

“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.” Thomas Merton

We used to think that the sky was the limit until we pushed past it. Now we need to be updating our thinking at an alarming rate.

Last week, I attended a technology conference, which always sends my mind in multiple directions.  In the end, I want to come away with a practical application that I can use daily, with a plan to extend my learning.

Technology and a changing world can make us feel that we, like Superman, are invincible. As I reflect on man and his goals, though, I’m reminded how we think we’re quite in charge of our own lives. In reality, we’re really not.  Men have many plans, but God’s plans will outshine any of those according to His choice.  Our best bet is to look up in the sky and beg a connection with this almighty one.

I’ve mentioned quite often a decision I’ve been working through this year.  Last week, I put it to rest, and then it was re-opened again.  As exciting as it is to think that I call the shots, the bottom line is that I don’t.  I pursue them, but if I allow it, God will show me the plan in His perfect way.  It is a different and enjoyable way to live life.

Tomorrow, the can of worms will open again.  Whatever the outcome, for this decision, I’m at peace.

Are you connecting with God?  How is He leading you in your daily decisions?

Day 287: 5 Reasons I Love And Hate To Present

Standard

You're up next!

“Our work is the presentation of our capabilities.” Edward Gibbon 

I love and hate to present.  I find it surprising that many people report they fear presentations even more than death.  However, I do believe there is a certain good kind of stress that comes when we need to present something.

Starting young may be the best way to overcome stage fright, but I do believe that some presentation stress is still a good thing.  After all, stress gives us the motivation we need to do a job well.  A bit of stress helps us focus on main points and details.  It also challenges us to prepare well.

Today, I’m doing a presentation about Prezi and Glogster.  These are presentation tools in two very unusual formats.  Both of these tools are amazing, and I find myself passionate to share.  Whether or not I’m able to present my passion in a way that transfers to audience understanding is where the presentation comes into play.

Here are 5 reasons why I love and sometimes hate to present:

1. I have to prepare myself.  Making a presentation requires (or should require) a lot of thought and preparation.  This part I both love and hate, but it is needed for a good presentation.

2. I learn every time I present.  Presenting makes me relearn something, in a way.  My suggestion is that if there’s something you really want to know about, offer a presentation.

3. I enjoy meeting wonderful people.  This is the part of the presentation I love.  During conferences, I get to meet the nicest people.  By attending and by presenting, I find I have a great time networking.  If you want to meet more people, sign up to present.

4. I feel I’ve earned my keep after a presentation.  After a presentation goes well, I feel a sense of relief.  I feel grateful for the opportunity, and I feel I did what I should have for my company.  Presenting well sheds nice light on our organization.

5. I share about my passions.  If I share something I love, it always goes the best.  It’s hard to share a passion without getting excited.  When I get excited, I hope others around me will be doing the same!  If I believe in a product, I want to be its ambassador!

Do you enjoy presenting?  Is there a presentation you’d like to do?

Please leave a comment and share your presentation ideas.

Day 283: Three Ways To Communicate and Build Rapport

Standard

GIving information shows we care.

Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow.” Rowan D. Williams

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been gathering data to make an informed decision.  The whole process has been interesting.  Through it all, I’ve felt loved and appreciated.  I’ve also had some ups and downs, but I feel grateful that all of the choices before me were eliminated, leaving me only one final choice.

Information is very important.  I am most grateful for those people who gave me the needed information.  Simply put, they answered their emails and gave me the information I needed.

This time, I was on the receiving end of the information, but often times, I’m on the giving end.  Do you ever hold on to information that someone else needs to make a decision?  If so, it’s time to turn a new leaf.

Here are a few steps to help us all:

1. Answer emails briefly and quickly.  Communicating with others shows that we love and care for them.  When we fail to answer emails, hurt feelings are involved.  Whatever your excuse for not responding, it’s not a good one.

2. Freely provide information another person needs.  When you know the information but don’t respond, you are keeping the other person from making a decision that is important to them.  Giving needed information shows support even if the information is not pleasant.

3. Respond in love in order to maintain a positive working relationship.  When we share with others, it’s important to let them know how much we value them.  The information should be factual, but the relationship should stay intact.

If we all follow these steps, life will move along more quickly.  At times, we think the other person is trying to get their own way, when in reality, they are just gathering information they need for an important decision.

What information do you have trouble letting loose?