My 1 month iPhone Shameless Review update!
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A month with the iPhone 5.

First thing, don’t turn on your GPS when you are in buildings, it seeks signal all day long and at the end of the day when you need to talk to someone you better have an emergency charging device. Because you aren’t talking to anyone on low battery. That was my hard lesson of yesterday.

What I really like:

  • screen is amazing
  • All my apps from my old iPhone just work
  • I didn’t restore a backup of my old phone so I did the full setup experience, which is very nice and quite simple
  • call quality is excellent even on the metro
  • I love the new iteration of visual voicemail from AT&T

What I am a little annoyed by

  • I stopped being an apple guy in 1996 and wasn’t one for 15 years. Part of that was employment but part of that was frustration with the closed market Apple had created. So without a doubt what bugs me the most? The fact that Apple keeps a close lid on the lightening connectors. It is freaking annoying to not be able to connect to anything without an adapter.
  • PS I am also frustrated by the connector change.

Long term it was a great idea to upgrade. The phone is simply that much better. I have only had to reset the device (power off not factory reset) twice in the past thirty days and both of those were newbie issues (one was turning off a background application that I should have had on yesterday the other was simply not getting signal in an area I’ve always gotten signal before so I turned it off and back on again to reset the connection to AT&T.)

My impression remains that Apple gets fit and finish. The application market continues to grow and flourish which makes the device better every single day.


Just kind of Tuesday…
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Interesting fact both of my blogs have more than 13,000 unique visitors. I suspect that everyone who reads my blog is unique – but then I guess we are to some degree. More than 79,000 views of my blog so each of the visitors actually comes back more than once.  I wonder if that is a testament to having something to say or that I have simply said everything over and over and different people are reading it (that is not a question that requires an answer).

A few follow-on reviews:

  • I had a chance to show off the Labquest device again – it really resonates with kids and adults. It has to be the easiest measurement device I’ve ever seen. Add to that the ability to connect it to your PC and create controlled measured experiments and it is a great tool. I suspect eventually the device will take off as a data center tool as well. Today it is built as an educational tool but tomorrow it will become a lot more than that. Its cool technology.
  • I was looking at my Active Words cost savings (check out the program it really rocks ) I have save over 100 dollars worth of time this month (and I set my time at $10 an hour – so it is 10 hours of saved time). It’s a very impressive program I just wish I could install it on my work PC. I suspect I would benefit even more if I could.
  • I still love the ihealth Blood Pressure monitor. I check my pressure every day now – its still in the good range (122 over 80). The device is really easy to use although it does have the 30 pin connector so I don’t use my iPhone 5 anymore I use my iPad to capture and measure my pressure.
  • I have a few upcoming reviews of some new technology items – watch for them in the next couple of months!



The constant learner
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Being a teacher is a tough job. You spend day after day helping kids and often you fail as often as you succeed. When you send a child home and they don’t eat until they come back to school the next morning its hard for them to focus on reading and maintaining the skills they need to be successful in a classroom – it isn’t survival to succeed in a classroom.

At the time I was a teacher I believe in the art of the possible. (I stole that description from a very smart person I work with now). Possible meant that you could do anything. I used to use model rockets with 2nd grade students as a way to teach two subjects, advanced math and science. I had the kids spend time figuring out where they thought the rocket would land based on the weather conditions the day of the launch.

I had a mother tell my principal I ran a sexist classroom because I took girls outside with the boys to launch the rockets (and it was cold). My principal just smiled and said he would talk to me. He just told me to be fair and do indoor activities as well. Which we did, I never wanted any child in my classroom to be at a disadvantage.

Had I in my hands what I have now – I suspect I would still be teaching.

There are rocket simulation packages that allow you to add not only the math – but planning against the burn rate of a model rocket the lift, potential maximum height and potential range. You can do the math on the board, and then redo in the program to not only validate but to begin the broader concept of testing assumptions. For example, one year we launched a model rocket with a nose cone that had a hinged door. We put things of various weight in the nose cone (never anything that was alive – ever. Although both the boys and girls wanted to send various living things up). With the new programs you can actually begin to do even more. We never got the camera rocket – it was more than the measly 100 dollar budget I had could afford. Plus it only took 10 pictures and it was expensive to develop the pictures. Now with digital camera’s you can take video of your rocket’s trip.

From computers to improved model rockets teaching science to 2nd graders would be a blast now. What would I stock that classroom with?

  • Cubicle walls inside the room so that there could be a loud side and a quiet side of the room.
  • Comfy pillows and Kindle Fires for the kids to read on.
  • A Wikipedia station in the corner.
  • A reward station that had lots of free books for the kids to take home.
  • A science station featuring the Vernier Labquest products (simply the most amazing devices ever!
  • A weather station for the kids to see what the current conditions outside were.

The only cost for this classroom? Four PC’s, four Labquest’s and four Kindle Fire’s. Simply put an inexpensive room. Heck you could even go so far as to say a Kindle for each kid with their text books on it. Cheaper for electronic text books anyway.

Teaching and learning should become a state of innovation. The teacher and the students striving to learn more about the world around them. To create a concept I call “the constant learner.”


Late day blogging…
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I wonder sometimes which I think this blog establishes fairly effectively. I don’t know about things and I end up thinking about them for days trying to take them apart. Not because I am a genius but because I like to understand how things work. The boys and I went on a walk yesterday around Clopper lake (which is near the house). During that walk I realized I had passed that desire to understand how things work to my sons.

They follow the same pattern I do, taking things apart mentally and then figuring out how they work. It really made me proud. That and knowing my reaction to taking long walks with my parents – its nice that they like to take walks with me and Dylan on the weekend.

I think sometimes as a parent its as important that they boys do things they way I do them, as the reality of how they do them. It’s a funky parent thing but you do get a great sense of personal pride in that.

The problem is that as a parent you always want to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes you do (and boy I made a few over the years). That really in the end isn’t possible, but you wish that.

Late blog today – had to review some internal documents for work…


Why voter ID laws now?
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Reflection for today:

It matters what other people think of you.

It doesn’t, or shouldn’t shape who you are.


There are a number of things that make me wonder. I am not sure why, I suspect its my parents fault (but then what isn’t their fault? Smile). My parents used to ask us questions about things (mostly my dad but mom did it to) to make sure we not only “knew them” but “understood them” as well.

So now I ask myself questions.

Like I said – its their fault.

50 years ago this day my sister was born. Seems amazing that 50 years have passed. I still remember my childhood like it was yesterday. Instead it was more like 45 (or more) X 365 yesterday’s ago (and don’t forget a number of leap years in there 12 more days).

Anyway sorry for the diversion back to what I was wondering about.

There seems to be a huge interaction right now regarding voter fraud. These voter identification laws that are popping up honestly make me nervous. I am not sure as a country we are doing the right thing. There has to be a better way to identity people than forcing them to show a card that can be fake. It is possible to create a fake ID. Yes it is a federal felony but the reality is you can do it.

In the Syncverse I talk about some concepts that I feel would be of value in creating the digital you that couldn’t be stolen or replicated. It may be time for us to consider – what really is the goal of these voter ID laws. If the goal is to truly reduce voter fraud I suspect we’ve missed the train.


Water, Water everywhere and Dylan had a lot to drink…
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Reflection for today:

  • The balance we all have to strike in our lives is in balancing what is expected and what is needed.
  • What you have to give and what those around you need.

Last night Dylan and I walked all the way around Great Seneca Creek lake (about 3 miles – plus 4 miles to get from our house to the lake). Many of my happiest memories of my childhood were spent near or on a lake (mostly Lake Ripley in Cambridge Wisconsin but we visited others as well Lake Michigan, Lake Superior – those were fun times as well).

About 1/2 around the back side trail we hit a long hill climb, as we were about a 1/4 of the way of that hill a herd? of deer bounded past us. Dylan of course voted immediately for full pursuit with the intent of venison for dinner. I voted for standing and watching the beautiful creatures as they bounded across the woods. I won, but Dylan wasn’t very happy about it.

In Indiana we lived on a pond and Geese drove us nuts. We didn’t see deer very often except in state parks. Now I see deer far more often and I am still struck by the majesty they possess. Dylan is struck by the number of dinners he could get out of one deer but that is a different problem.

I find myself relaxing more around water. I don’t know why. I just do.


What if education were the power that drove the world economy?
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I was thinking about this yesterday for most of the day – processing the “lines” of the debate. I think there is far too much blame going on personally. I just want to know that whatever person wins the other side is going to cross the line and work with them. We cannot continue down this brinksmanship path. It just won’t work.

The rhetoric would have you believe that the problems our world economy faces can be solved in four years. They cannot. It is easier to point the finger of blame than it is to work together solving the problems we have.

The reality of what has to happen is not just coalition of the US factors, rather it is coalition of world groups trying to solve this problem. We have for a long time created and maintained an imbalanced world wide consumption model.  That imbalanced economic model struggles to move forward because of its very design.

I wonder if we could through the UN actually begin to evaluate what we can do to shake up the world economy. To create an economic world where resources weren’t power, education was…