Tag Archives: iPad

The question we gotta ask is: “Is our kids learning?”

ImageThis September was a landmark for the Los Angeles unified school district, which began to equip each of its 30,000 students with iPads. The push goes through all grades, K-12 and provides the iPad, an educational suite of apps and a gated internet portal.

Businessweek (citation) reported that it took only days for students to hack their machines and work around the limitations imposed on internet usage. The school district  immediately reacted to the breach and seized all the machines in order to address the problem.

Interestingly, I see no mention of how this is quite an amazing effort by the students to assess their situation, realize they are frustrated and hack their way through the security. First, this should be exactly what you expect. But more importantly, this demonstrates a lot of skill and ingenuity. I would be proud if my son had been the one to do it.

This is like recognizing the Kevin Mitnicks of the school early on, before they got into any deep trouble and having the opportunity to cultivate their skills rather than demonize them. After all, where did this guy wind up?  


Phone home, Captain.

That’s right, working as a security advisor. (I’m sure everyone would have been happier without the time on the lamb and locked up for doing for fun the stuff he does today for profit.

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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first day jitters

Yesterday was the first day of my Bio and MicroBio classes for the Fall semester and I’m trying some new things including using iPads as clicker devices and media delivery. I’ve had some problems moving my iBooks onto the devices, but with some help from Apple’s technical services, I hope to have that worked out soon.


Won’t get Fooled Again

One problem I did stumble into was getting used to the eClicker interface while trying to keep my cool at the same time. Worse, in my fluster I confused the approach of 11 o’clock with 12, and rushed my way into ending class a full hour early.

in the event that anyone reading this is a student in my class, I want to mention that I would like you all to read the first chapter of the textbooks and write out the end-of-chapter questions (MC&TF for Micro, Testing Yourself for GenBio). You should also read the first chapter of the complementary book by Thursday, Aug 29.

All in all, I think everything went fine and I’m eager to get working on core material in the coming classes.

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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sheriff Harry

DownHouse Software is offering a the first iBook in the Sheriff Harry Series free on iTunes. This series follows the adventures of how a cowboy cleans up a small town and becomes its celebrated sheriff. See how Harry is called to town by the oppressed  townspeople and saves them from the bullies and line-cutters that have made their lives rotten.

The Sheriff Harry books are easy readers for young children, illustrated simply and presenting a western tale with child-sized problems that appeal to new readers.

Sheriff Harry Comes to Town

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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I just walked into an Apple store for a few minutes while I was getting a coffee next-door. I have to warn you NOT to go to an Apple store right now unless you want to buy an iPad Mini or iPhone5. I took some time to play with these devices and wish I hadn’t. 

On the plus side, my 2 yr contract with Verizon runs out in January, which will make it possible for me to upgrade to the new iPhone.

On the minus side – that seems too long to wait now. But even more tragic is that the iPad Mini is too damn cool. Having held one in my hands, it pained me to put it down and walk away. They work exactly like an iPad, but let’s be honest – it’s just a better size: Big enough to get a ‘full screen experience’ (it also loads iBooks that don’t run on iPhones – like mine.) but small enough to thumb-type easily a la iPhone.

-crap… gotta run. 


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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


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It’s been a while since I’ve actually made a post that was ‘on topic’ for this blog. Mostly, that is due to the fact that I’d been getting pretty… lazy….? No, perhaps discouraged is the better word about trying to pursue the apps I’d developed. In fact, I still have two or three apps that are 90%+ finished, that I need to get into the app store.

Regardless, last night I finally put the finishing touches on the Chemistry iBook. I got it all prepped, the artwork installed, layout worked out, internal and external links set up and ready to go out the door. This was my first time submitting an iBook, but I have to say that it’s probably easier than submitting an app. The only real hurdle was that all books (digital or otherwise) require ISBN numbers. I knew that, but I didn’t know you had to buy them. I thought it was just something that the library of congress assigned or something.

But the answer is, NO. You do buy them, and they’re not cheap.  If you are getting ready to submit a book, go over to Bowker identifier service to buy your ISBNs. The nice thing was that you buy them online and immediately have them assigned to you with no waiting

Enough about that. What else do you need? Apple provides an application called the iTunes Producer that automates the submission process. This was a relief. All you need to do is upload all the content and fill out a couple pages of metadata and you’re done. The pages look like this: Image

There are a lot of tabs (along the bottom), with information to fill in at each step, but none of it is difficult. Just make sure that the metadata matches the other files you submit. Otherwise you’ll get error tickets like these. One is for a mismatch between my metadata and my cover title, the other is for illegally using the term ‘iBook’ in my preface. apparently, you aren’t allowed to even say that work. ‘book’ is acceptable, so is ‘eBook’ but that’s it. iBook is a registered trademark of Apple.



One thing I didn’t know was that in addition to the book itself, you also have to submit a preview book with limited content. It was easy enough to make one – I just clipped out everything but the first chapter of my text and repackaged it.Image

So, like I said… Making the book was fairly easy. I spent a little on my illustrator, but otherwise it was just my own time writing and no need for any professional help in organizing the book or anything. I submitted Wednesday night, but had it rejected until I fixed the errors outlined in the tickets (5 minutes) and then resubmitted again tonight (Thursday). The only pain was that I had to recreate the whole submission package from scratch. I couldn’t find any way to simply re-submit the books directly on iTunes Connect.

One last thing: Today is the 4th. I think it said that I could expect it to be in the iTunes store on the 10th if all goes well. Cross your fingers for me.


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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized


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I don’t want to repeat myself, but I just read a couple of interesting articles about a new app that brings Shakespeare’s play ‘The Tempest’ come to life.

Check out the posting on my technology in the classroom blog, app

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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