Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Fond Farewell

   Yesterday marked my 12th anniversary at ITT Technical Institute. It was a day that should have been filled with nothing but happiness at reaching a milestone that does not happen to very many people today. In fact, according to some US statistics, the average employee will stay with a company for only 4.6 years; I, obviously, beat the average. I look back at this time as having been a fantastic period doing something I love. Being an educator has fulfilled a deep desire inside me to help others learn, grow, and become excited about something.

   All told, these past twelve years have been pretty fantastic! This is primarily due to my coworkers and me being absolutely focused on one thing and that has been trying our best to do whatever it takes to help our students realize dreams that they thought were impossible. We have had the opportunity, together, to help literally thousands take their first step - perhaps become their family’s first son or daughter to do so – towards earning a post-secondary degree and enjoying all the benefits and responsibilities that comes with it. Additionally, I have seen hundreds of graduates get well-paying jobs and, a few, even earn the titles of vice-president, president, and CEO at their respective organizations. These successes feel very personal to me.

   Because of no fault of my own, as of today, I am no longer employed at ITT Tech; I am off to do something else. I have no clue what is in store for me next, but I know it will be great. That is why I wanted to take just a few moments to write down my thoughts and thank each and every past student and graduate who has made this crazy journey possible. Also, I want to challenge each of you to reach out and help others learn something new this holiday season and beyond. It feels good to share something you are passionate about with others.

   I wish you a very merry Christmas and a very rewarding new year. If you have an idea of what my next journey should be, please leave it in the comments section below. Maybe this could be the start of a new idea - crowd-based employment.

   Thanks again, and happy, happy!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Holiday Gift that Makes You a Super Hero!

We all know the vast amount of information, whether it be fact or fallacy, that exists on the Internet. And we know that it takes a little bit of "know how" to make your own website. Well here is a great way for anyone one from "one to ninety-two" to get started.

My friends over at are constantly working to bring the latest happenings to us from the side of the computer world that offers huge opportunities for free. Today they sent out an update letting everyone know a new use for a Raspberry Pi - a device so inexpensive that everyone should have one. If you do not already have it, head on over to my previous post to learn a little more: More Raspberry Pi to Love.

Then have a look at this intro video about a new initiative called Coder for Raspberry Pi. I think it will whet your appetite.

Borrowing from the Coder for Raspberry Pi originators; "Coder is a free, open source project that turns a Raspberry Pi into a simple platform that educators and parents can use to teach the basics of building for the web. New coders can craft small projects in HTML, CSS, and Javascript, right from the web browser."

Check out the article describing how to use Coder for Raspberry Pi here: Raspberry Pi and Coder by Google for beginners and kids and look directly at the Coder for Raspberry Pi website here: A simple way to make web stuff on Raspberry Pi.

Thank you, Google, for yet another great opportunity to learn!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Raspberry Pi B+ ... More Pi to Love!

There is a new Raspberry Pi in town; the Raspberry Pi B+. This is purportedly a great way to experiment with tiny computer, programming, and Linux.

According to the adafruit website, here are the features associated with the new model:
 New Specifications:
  • Dual step-down (buck) power supply for 3.3V and 1.8V
  • 5V supply has polarity protection, 2A fuse and hot-swap protection (so you can plug/unplug USB without resetting the board)
  • New USB/Ethernet controller chip
  • 4 USB ports instead of 2 ports
  • 40 GPIO pins instead of 26. The top/first 26 pins match the original layout, 9 additional GPIO and 2 EEPROM Plate identification pins
  • Composite (NTSC/PAL) video now integrated into 4-pole 3.5mm 'headphone' jack
  • MicroSD card socket instead of full size SD
  • Four mounting holes in rectangular layout
  • Many connectors moved around
Not New:
  • Same basic size, 85mm x 56mm
  • Same Processor, Broadcom SoC running at 700MHz (can be overclocked)
  • Same RAM, 512MB soldered on top of the Broadcom chip
  • Same power connector, microUSB
  • Same software - be sure to run the latest Raspbian/NooBs but otherwise the overall Linux software is the same
  • First 26-pins of GPIO are the same
  • Same HDMI port
  • Audio part of the A/V jack is the same
  • Same Camera and DSI Display connector

In a nutshell, this new Raspberry Pi B+ is the same single-board Linux computer that started the trend but with a new neater layout that should make it easier to use.

Get your copy here:

Free Digital Magazines with Coupon

For me, there is very little more exciting than receiving the current issue of my favorite magazines in the mail, but then I am left with mounds of old magazines that I just cannot bring myself to throw out.

So, over the past couple years, I have looked into several digital magazine services.The only service that I can recommend is NextIssue. They have two pricing levels; $10 per month for monthly issues and $15 per month for monthly plus weekly issues. As long as you have a Windows 8, Android, or iOS product, you can read these magazines in all their glorious grandeur.

Check out the service for 60 days for free... On me. Thank you!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Help! Windows Drivers Will Not Reinstall...

Countless times I have found myself trying to reinstall the Windows operating system just to figure out that not all the drivers loaded.

Typically this means using the Device Manager to figure out what drivers did not install and, simply, going to the manufacturer's website and downloading those drivers. However, manufacturers tend to use whatever hardware they have handy on lower-end computers. This means there might be five or six different sound or graphics or network drivers from which to choose. What do you do?

Have a look at this very good article from PC Pro and see how they lead you through being a kind of Sherlock Holmes to force the operating system to tell you where to look.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Udemy Courses

Have you thought about taking an online course to learn something new or sharpen your skills?

Look at Udemy and see all the great courses they offer. I have taken several and find them very enlightening.

Here is a $5 coupon for your first course at Udemy:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Intro to Linux Progress

For everyone who is presently taking the "Introduction to Linux" course online, how is it going?

I have noticed the pace is just about right for a first-time Linux user. For those of us who have used Linux before, it is a great review with several tidbits of new information thrown in for good measure.

Please join me in this online course. It is free and self-paced.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Linux Sucks! - Funny Video

Everyone who is taking the edX course, "Introduction to Linux" - LFS101x - Introduction to Linux, please spend a little time and watch this video on YouTube. It helps you understand the Linux culture. Let me know your thoughts...

Linux Sucks! Video

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Introduction to Linux Course

A lot of people who know me have had to endure my various soapbox discussions about one thing or another. One of those topics deals with modern operating systems (OS) for personal computers and whether I think any particular OS is better than another. This post is an invitation to learn more about a relative newcomer to the OS field; Linux.

To backtrack just a bit, an operating system is that piece of software that sits between the computer hardware and its end-user. The OS is the one main item that makes a particular computer easier to use or more appropriately paired with a certain use than another.

Prior to the mid '70s, personal computers were quite the adventure. Not only did the buyer need to solder the machine together, but then would have to spend countless hours programming the resulting computer to be able to perform some task. Worse yet, if the user wanted to change from one task to another, a complete rewrite of that software was necessary. Thanks to Bill Gates and his Microsoft company, an operating system called MS-DOS was made available to install on personal computers and, suddenly, the machine became useful to more end users than ever before.

MS-DOS was pretty good at separating the hardware and user, but there were many drawbacks to it. For instance, the interface was strictly text-based and the OS could only do one thing at a time. Take the example that if you were writing a thesis in a word processing package, but needed numbers from Lotus 1-2-3, you would have to exit the word processing software, load 1-2-3, get your data - usually in printed format - and then load the word processing software again to continue with your work. Obviously, this was not ideal. This was where another big company in the industry was able to take a big leap forward and give us more flexibility in using computers.

In 1984, Apple introduced the world to the Macintosh. It brought a graphical interface - based on Xerox PARCs work - and the ability to multitask. Now it was possible to get those number from Lotus 1-2-3 and never have to leave the word processing package. By the mid '90s Microsoft started offering their version of the graphical user interfaced OS in the form of Windows 95. Finally everyone had access to an operating system that was easy to use.

Both the Mac and Windows operating systems are quite good, but they are what we refer to as closed-source. This means that their respective companies are totally responsible for updates and they charge money for that service. In 1991, Linus Torvalds developed the key component to what was to become know as the Linux operating system. With Linux, the entire OS is open-source; we can freely download, use, and make changes to the software with very few constraints. This is an OS that has really started to gain more supporters as it is extremely powerful and easy to use, but it requires a bit of work to become proficient.

Now comes the main reason for my post. I want to invite everyone to take advantage of a free online course that is starting in just a few days on August 1st. This course will deal with everything a beginner needs to know about Linux and lead into an appreciation of some of the more advanced topics. I will be following along in this course and I hope you will join me. Please create your free edX account at the following link and signup for the LFS101x "Introduction to Linux" course. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Habits... Good or Bad?

According to some sources, a habit is something that a person used to think about doing, but now they do without thinking about it. Habits can include anything from when a person clears their throat compulsively, to checking to see if their phone is in their pocket, to checking and rechecking the front door to make sure it is locked, to biting their finger, or worse yet, their toe nails. But are habits to be considered a good thing or a bad thing?
My thought process, recently, has been that students can benefit from good habits; the habits of coming to class early, reading their books, and handing in their assignments on-time, come to mind. In my search for some answers in how I can help students learn good habits, I have decided to read the book The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Check it out here: