Friday, October 29, 2010

Want to Have Some Real Fun!

  1. Take one terrific grandson named Sam.
  2. Add one simple wooden birdhouse Kit from the Birdhouse Depot, great people to deal with.
  3. Predrill all the nail holes so the nailing is easy for a little hammer.
  4. Read the directions out loud and show him the pictures so he understands what's going on.
  5. Mount the house right away so you can see the finished product.
  6. Add some cookies when you're done!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ever need to make a label?

About five or six years ago my daughter bought me a label maker as a gift. I didn't think I needed to make many labels but honestly, I loved it. It was this little hand held gizmo. on the right.  It had a keyboard and used about 6 AA batteries. The labels were great and the thing did a great job but finally the motor burned out. Too bad because I have a few feet of label tape left.
So I started looking for a new label maker. I decided on a brother pt-1230PC for a couple of reasons, first, it was on sale and second it has no keyboard. That is the cool part... you just think a label and it prints... Just kidding... but almost.

This little baby, on the left, plugs into a USB port and the software for running it is on the printer. It loads up in a second, not installed, just runs from the printer. You type your label and press the print button on the screen. Out pops a label and you hit the big button on the top to cut it off.

The part that intrigues me is that this is better than plug and play, its plug and use. Nothing to install, you can use it on any windows or mac computer. It uses batteries and just weighs a few ounces.

Think of the magic of devices that work magically without leaving a footprint on your computer.

BTW: if you are thinking buying one of these look at the other models, the next model up makes one inch wide labels, this one only goes to a half-inch. It also make iron on labels for the kids camp cloths. The white or black on clear tape are great for labeling electronics with notes like "Drive E:"

Here's a final picture of the whole gizmo. Bravo brother! (They don't capitalize their name, they were originally founded by e e cummings)
Software is onboard, no looking for the CD for installation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What the heck do we need now?

Welcome to my new graduate students... This is some of what we will talk about on Tuesday night.

What do we really use computers for… would an ipad® do it for us…

  • What did you use a computer for today?
  • Did you check your email? 
  • Did you surf the net?
  • Do a little shopping?
  • Check up on your friends (facebook®)
  • Did you “google” an address or map?
  • Did you find the answer to a NYtimes crossword puzzle clue?

In short, did you turn you computer into a terminal for the day’s work?

  • Were the files you used stored online?Was the data you needed, online? 
  • Did you save your files to an online location?
  • Did the music come from a service like itunes?

So much of it is online that…

  • Computing power is not as important as bandwidth.
  • Processing power is trumped by browser speed.
  • We have put our confidence online with our music, pictures and other documents.
  • Have we misplaced our confidence?
What do we need to go online?

  • A computer, or computing device, that has a strong network connection.
  • Wireless, wired or some combination.
  • We need nice clear video that is able to project what we need to see on the monitor.
  • We need an input device, our fingers, mice or keyboards. That allow us to interact.

Computing Devices…

  • Cell phones, netbooks, tablets and big old computers all seem to work for us.
  • I have a friend who listens to “Pandora” in his car. He uses his ipod to control his cable box and he can surf the net for movies from his TV?
  • My daughter reads the NY Times on her Kindle, cheaper than the print edition.
  • People who used to buy books from Amazon and have then delivered now use their Kindle. (Is UPS scared?)

So what do we need…

  • An Iphone, Ipod or smartphone for talking and music… 
  • A Kindle or Ipad for books and magazines…
  • A netbook to get on the internet to search, shop or scratch out a letter or email…
  • A computer with some special software that is not available on the internet… 
  • A device that will privately store your data…
In the future:

  • We may just need a colorful terminal… 
  • We don’t need much storage, now that it is cheap…
  • We don’t need much processing, now that it is faster than we ever imagined…
  • We now need connections and bandwidth…

So as we look at how computers work, lets take the time to look at how we use them too. This change in the way we do use computers happened quickly, what’s the next change? How can we prepare for it?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Welcome to CEDo510

Computer Systems: How they work

As you can see by paging back through my blog, I usually blog when I have classes in session. Otherwise I'd be pretty much writing to nobody.  During our class I will muse occasionally here but mostly the information you need, will be on the Angel Site.

Here is a nice new picture from my back yard... (That's the Homestead High School parking lot in the background)

This little guy came for the crabapples but I think he's going to stay for the lecture.