Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Only In My Dreams

Still not sure about androids and electric sheep but I caught a PBS show last night called Electric Dreams. The premise was to take a typical British family through the technological innovations of the 70's, 80's and 90's.
Part of it was nostalgic as the crew searched for functioning devices. Other parts were laughable as the family dressed and "lived" the role from each decade. Of course Mom and Dad remembered those decades but the kids were experiencing them for the first time.
The episodes were filmed in Britain so some of the cultural elements may seem foreign to American audiences. Come to think of it, most of the show will seem foreign to anyone born after the turn of the century.
Teachers may want to reference the episodes for Sociology, Computer History, or even just recent history.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Free Tour of Jerusalem


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Have you ever wanted to visit Jerusalem? Do you ever wonder about places mentioned in the Bible? Then check out Google Maps new street views of this ancient Holy City, such as the Church of the Holy Sepluchre or the Via Dolorosa.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Radar Gun Build

This week in Programming class we built a radar gun from Lego Mindstorms. Input used the ultrasound sensor. Used some basic math (distance over time) for the calculation. And the LCD display gave the output.

There are lots of variations that could be added to the project. I found that meters per second was easier to compute than miles per hour. We have an older educational kit that includes an LED and transparent bricks, so it could also light up if a speed limit was exceeded.
Download the build instructions and code here.

Ubuntu Homework

Sent an Ubuntu computer home with a student this weekend. He wants to use it to write game software. First he's got to figure out how to use a totally foreign operating system. I know he won't give up. Get frustrated? Yes, Give up. No. That's the best kind of homework.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kite Project Rubric

Untitled
By Smithsonian Institution
Spent much of last night helping the missus develop a rubric for an 8th grade science project. You can find the rubric on Google Docs. She started with the overall concept and desired outcome. I helped her quantify and organize the assessment. Fell free to modify and use for your own kite project.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Review: Unison Spark

What if all the collected data points could paint a complete picture of who you are? What if it revealed something about yourself that you didn't know?
Andy Marino's Unison Spark combines elements of the Matrix, Aeon Flux, Twitter, Facebook, Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World into a digital narrative. Easy to read and suspenseful, the book follows 15 year-old, blue pony-tailed Mistletoe as she tries to understand who she is in a complex world.
I appreciated that the book was free of vulgarity. If you enjoy DuPrau's Ember series with a dash of futuristic sci-fi, then Unison Spark should be on your must read list.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Not For The Faint of Heart

Google Maps has a new view! Not only can you find directions in map, satellite and street views, but adventurers can search using Quest mode. Even though this is only the latest Google April Fool's prank, it is rather cool.
Google Quest view of the Queen's castle.
Scene of many epic adventures by my band of weary travelers.