Archive for the ‘Laundry Room’ Category

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News & Notes

In Laundry Room on December 23, 2009 by Media Specialist Tagged:

 

LATEST NEWS:

  • Check out my restaurant reviews on Yelp.
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How To Make Shorter URL’s

In Helpful Websites,Laundry Room,Online Services,Tips & Tricks on December 3, 2009 by Media Specialist Tagged: ,

What is a URL? A URL is the address of a webpage in the world wide web or internet. It’s short for Uniform Resource Locator. No need to go into what that means.

For example, to get to Pueblo High School’s website you have to type the URL http://www.pueblowarriors.org in the web address box in your browser.

Example of a URL in address box. (Circled in red)

It’s a short and simple address so that our visitors can memorize it easily and return to our website.

From time to time we are on a website we would like to share with our students or colleagues that unfortunately looks like this:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Pueblo+Magnet+High+School&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.22949,61.787109&ie=UTF8&hq=Pueblo+Magnet+High+School&hnear=Pueblo+Magnet+High+School,+Tucson,+AZ+85713&ll=32.186945,-110.978994&spn=0.039952,0.060339&t=h&z=14&iwloc=A

That’s the web address for driving directions to Pueblo. What you normally do is copy and paste the URL into an email or document. Unless they all have photographic memories, they will not be able to memorize that URL for future reference. That’s where URL Shortening comes in handy.

What basically happens is that these online services assign a shorter, easier to remember URL to the long and complicated like the one above. I personally use bit.ly for most of my needs, but what I like about tinyurl.com is that I can personalize my own name to the address.

Screenshot of the Bit.ly website

I went ahead and copied the long URL above and pasted into tinyurl.com since I wanted to personalize it and this is what it looks like now:

http://tinyurl.com/pueblomap

or

http://bit.ly/8Ie3NH

What a difference huh?

This comes in handy when you want your students to visit a specific URL on any given assignment or when you want to share a web address that you want them to easily remember.

There are many online website that offer this service for free and offer additional paid features that you don’t need. Here’s a few:

Here’s a link to the Top Ten with a nice breakdown of the services they offer.

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Almost Free Music Downloads

In Entertainment,Helpful Websites,Laundry Room,Online Services,Reviews on June 26, 2009 by Media Specialist Tagged: , , , ,

MP3Panda

It’s been around for quite a while now, but check out MP3Panda for downloading legal music. At 5 cents,  a nickle, you can download some of your favorite tunes.

I know what you’re thinking, is it legal?  Apparently yes! I copied the following text from Cheap and Legal Dowloads which offers other downloading alternatives too.  CLD states:

Legality of MP3Panda
It’s worth highlighting MP3Panda is perfectly legal. Russian legislature enforces compulsory licenses, which means that a company can get the license to distribute and sell music as long as they pay for it somewhere. In the US if you plan to sell a certain CD, you have to negotiate with the labels, and that’s why the original Napster got shut down by the courts – they violated the law by not obtaining the licenses from the RIAA mob.

In Russia if you prove that (a) you keep track of what you’re distributing (log number of downloads) and (b) you pay to the collection agency, you’re legal to distribute any music you want. The collection agency (ROMS and FAIR, quoted in the Wall Street Journal article) will then re-distribute the money to the copyright holders.

The only catch, if you want to call it that, is that you must pay upfront. When you register you must select the amount of money you want in your ‘bank’.  If you select the $20 option, it basically means you have $20 in your account to spend on music. In iTunes it’s the opposite, you pay as you download.

Lets do the math, at 5 cents a song that equals to 400 songs! Compare that to 20 in iTunes. It’s even cheaper when you purchase entire albums. Purchasing entire albums is more cost effective when downloading “Greatest Hits” or “Best Of” type albums which most artist release.

Also note that the selection is not as big as iTunes. (10 million compared to 2 million)  Browse the site first and see if most of what you like to listen to is on there. Interested? Read on–>

Registration

The registration process is simple and secure. All you need is an email address and credit card.  If you select the higher dollar amount options, you will notice you get additional dollar bonuses for music.

Downloading

Purchase Entire Album or Single Song

Purchase Entire Album or Single Song

After you log in, start browsing for the song you wish to download. (Entire album if you wish too) You can listen to a 30 second preview of the track by pressing on the litte panda next to each track. (Please note that the preview is NOT the quality of your download) Click on DOWNLOAD button and it will prompt you the amount that will be deducted from your account.

Window that prompts you for payment

Window that prompts you for payment

You will then need to go to your DOWNLOADS section and  right-click the link Download and choose Save Target As…(or Save Link As…). Select where you want the file to download and depending on your connection speed an MP3 file with the song name will appear. All the ordered files are available for download within 48 hours. You’ll have to order these files again to be able to download them after that period.

Download Link

Download Link

After your file downloads to the location you selected, you can import it to the music player of your choice. If you import to iTunes, usually the album artworks pops up automatically. If it doesn’t, follow these instructions to do add it.

This service certainly makes listening to your favorite music more affordable. Here’s a blog that explains it a little more.

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Imaging USA 2009 Photography Expo

In Accessories,Apple,Audio Visual,Emerging Technology,Entertainment,Laundry Room,Reviews on January 16, 2009 by Media Specialist Tagged: , , , , ,

Imaging USA 2009 Expo

Imaging USA 2009 Photography Expo

Attended the Imaging USA 2009 Photography Expo in downtown Phoenix on Sunday and one thing is for sure, this event is a photographers dream. It certainly exceeded my expectations. I figured I would see many booths with over zealous vendors trying to sell me photography equipment I do not need. It was anything but that!

It was a well organized 223,000 square feet showroom floor featuring the biggest players in the photography industry. This expo gave you the opportunity to try out any camera out on the market, from least to most expensive. No point & shoot’s here.

Best Buy or Circuit City don’t display the high-end Nikon and Canon cameras. Here you can try everything hands on. I mean everything. The digital explosion of photography has taken over! I don’t think I saw one thing that involved film

Green Screen

Green Screen

It’s amazing how the big companies like Sony, Canon and Nikon try to entice you to purchase their product. They do it in such a professional & convincing way, I almost dropped $4,000 on Canon XH GI HD Camera. I wish!

Here’s a brief summary of what I saw at some of the biggest booths. No surprise that Canon and Nikon were the most popular at the expo because of their elaborate setups. It was a toss up between those two on how well they used their floor space to encourage you to hang out.

Sony

I was disappointed with Sony’s space, since they only had 1 camera with various lenses. 1 camera, come on Sony!

They were featuring their new SnapLab™ Digital Photo Printer which was fun to play with. Wasn’t too impressed with the quality on some prints we got off our SD cards on sight.

We participated in their green screen presentation with a quick lesson in an after-effects software called eXpress Digital. Green screen looks like a fun way to photograph with the ability to manipulate backgrounds. The photographer presenting this session was from the UK and was very engaging. He was using a Canon.

That’s about all Sony had. Oh and the cool lanyards they were handing out.

Canon

I enjoyed the presenters Canon scheduled to display their work in a small, intimate setting. Had the opportunity to see Joe Buissink, the photographer that shot Jennifer Lopez‘s wedding. He explained how a photographer should make his photos count and how important it is to sell yourself. After all you are the image of the company. Very interesting speaker. Had me sold!

Canon also had on display every camera they make. One could go up to the representatives and ask any questions while you play with the camera that interests you.

The workshops they had with live models were quite informative and onlookers paid close attention to the tips the Pro’s were giving. Bob Davis, famous for photographing Eva Longoria’s Wedding and others, was doing one-on-one with anyone who stopped by the booth. Time well spent for those people!

Every color printer Canon makes, big or small, was available for you to test and compare print quality. I believe we spent the most time in this booth!

Nikon

One thing caught my eye right away as we got closer to the Nikon booth. It was the enormous LCD screen they were using to display photographs. At the time, Jim Reed was presenting his unique weather photographs. Simply said, they were beautiful photographs of nature in action. He is a well known storm chaser.

Jim Reed Presenting At Imaging USA Nikon Booth

Jim Reed Presenting At Imaging USA Nikon Booth

Nikon also had all their cameras on display for us to play with. One of my friends fulfilled his goal of using the Nikon D3, the hottest camera on the market. The smile it brought to his face was worth price of admission. Easy to see why digital has replaced film, the quality is unmatched. I tried some of the Nikon cameras with the long-throw lenses. The clarity you can get from a distance is unbelievable. Those things can get heavy carrying around.

Summary

All in all it was a fun way of spending a Sunday afternoon with friends. I should also point out that MacBook Pro‘s and iPhone‘s were being used by everyone. They were either displaying or instructing with a MBP or running through a gallery on their iPhone. I guess if you want to be a photographer, those two items are a must!

Our next stop will be CES 2010, where hopefully Apple will show up, Steve and all!

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Typing Final Exam Tips

In Copy Room,Laundry Room,Tips & Tricks on December 8, 2008 by Media Specialist Tagged: , ,

It’s that time of the year again! Many of you will start typing your final exams & study guides soon and I just thought I’d share some tips on how to save paper and maybe some of your valuable time.

1) Make good use of the paper by adjusting your margins and making it double sided. Microsoft Word has a default setting that DOES NOT make good use of each piece of paper. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do that. Your font size should be no bigger than 12.

2) Create an answer sheet and use with a class set of copies of the exam. I know some of you won’t be able to do this because you require writing or an essay on the test, but most can. Running a set of 35 is better than 150, agree? Scantron Sheets are available depending on your department. Some purchase them, some don’t. They do save time during the grading process, ask the Science department.

Example of Scantron Answer Sheet

Example of Scantron Answer Sheet

3) Align your multiple choice questions horizontally not vertically. Can you see the difference in paper use between Question #1 & #2?

1) What year did the Laundry Master graduate from Pueblo High School?

A) 1956

B) 1991

C) 1995

D) He Did Not Graduate

2) Does the Laundry Room Blog help you in any way?

A) Yes   B) No   C) Needs improvement   D)  Never seen it

Try to use the format of Question #2. Using this tip can cut your test size in HALF!

4) Put two sheets of paper in one. Some teachers do this already and like it. The number one complaint is that the text is too small, but let the students be the judge.  If it doesn’t work for you on the test, would it work at least for your study guides? Again, this cuts your test or study guide size in half.

If you can do one or all of these tips as you type your final exam, you will be helping save a tree! : )

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Anti-Virus Programs & Why You Need Them

In How To,Laundry Room,Software,Troubleshooting,Windows on October 17, 2008 by Tech Support Tagged: , , , , , ,

If you are a Windows user, you should be concerned about you computer catching a virus, and I don’t mean the flu. I am talking about those nasty programs that clog your system down to a crawl, that pop up window after window non-stop, or even worse, that uses your computer as a spamming machine to the rest of the Internet. So what can you do to protect yourself from these ugly critters?

My Apple Fanboy friend would say, “Just get a MAC and you don’t have to worry about viruses.” In part, he is correct to a certain extent. However, most users own PCs and have Windows operating systems.

Nowadays the definition is blurry between a virus, malware and spyware program. The makers of anti-virus software have their work cutout when trying to protect you. The bad programs have gotten nastier, harder to remove and cause havoc once you get them. So I will mention some general things you can do to help protect yourself.

Useful advice not to get viruses in the first place

For many people the main reason to use a computer is to get things done. They have no desire to know how a computer works or how to fix it. So they use the computer, the Internet and email to accomplish specific tasks. If you fall into this category, please listen to the following tips to avoid the dreaded malicious viruses. These points mainly involve changing one’s behavior:

  1. EMAIL: Never open an attachment (pictures, documents, spreadsheets, files, etc) that you weren’t expecting. Even if it comes from a friend or someone you know. It’s always best to ask the sender if they did intent to send you something.
  2. EMAIL: Never click on a link in email. Again the same concept applies as with attachments, if you’re not expecting it, then question why you got it. This is a favorite way for Phishing scams to collect your personal data.
  3. WEBSITES: Be careful of the websites you visit. Those that offer FREE downloads are especially suspect. You know you’ve been to them. The sites that offer free desktop backgrounds, free screensavers, free clipart, free software, and free mp3s. Now, I am not saying that ALL these sites are malicious, just be careful. It is better to stick to well known websites.
  4. PROGRAMS: Again be very careful when installing programs you have downloaded from the internet. Make sure they come from a reputable source.
  5. ROUTER/FIREWALL: At home, make sure you have a router between your computer and the Internet. Most new routers are firewalls that will prevent unsolicited traffic from getting to your computer. These pieces of hardware are very inexpensive and will hugely increase your protection. Even if you only have one computer, make sure you get a router. At work, hopefully your IT Department knows what they’re doing and has all the computers behind firewalls.

Software to help bolster your defense

I know the natural tendency is to click on those cool little links that you’re friend sent you. You may find it hard to resist opening an attachment that promises is the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen before.

So for you folks, I offer some picks on Anti-Virus software that will help you in your quest to remain virus free.

I personally use AVAST. They have a free version for home use. This piece of software is lightweight and does the job. It updates everyday with new virus definitions to keep you current. I would recommend you try it. Another free program that gets good reviews is AVG Antivirus. I have never tried this one, but it comes highly recommended from experts in the field.  There are a few good paid applications such as NOD32 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus that get high marks from reviewers as well.

There are many others, especially the Big Two, McAfee and Norton. I used Norton in the past but it is bloated and you have to keep paying every year to keep the program updated. My recommendations are save your money and get yourself one of the two free ones I mentioned.

As for Malware/Spyware protection I would recommend Spybot – Search and Destroy. In this category there are many programs that will help you eliminate the nasties. Take a look at Malware.org for helpful resources.

If you’re infected, just bite the bullet!

Just bite the bullet

Just Bite The Bullet

Is you’re computer already compromised? No matter what programs you use to try to fix the problem, you can never be sure that everything bad has been removed. Your only safe way to know your system is truly safe is to reinstall the operating system. Use the discs that came with your computer to restore it. Doing so will put your computer back to the way it came from the factory. Don’t forget to back up your personal files (or you should already have them backed up).

After you restore your system, start practicing the safe habits described above.

Be safe in your Internet journeys…