Showing posts from November, 2010

The Best Online Periodic Tables - Something for Every Student

Although I'm out of the chemistry lab, I'm still involved with teaching the subject through private tutoring and online through Northwestern's online learning program. As students and teachers become increasingly attached to their computers both in and out of the classroom, they often have the need to use a periodic table online. Here are a few of the best versions that go above and beyond the traditional paper copy. They are all quick to load, stable, and would surely make Mendeleev proud.

Blogger Template Designer - Customizing your Blog's Look and Feel

With a newborn just hitting the two week old mark and Thanksgiving break at the house, I've had some time to tool around with the look and feel of Chanatown. Just the other day, I discovered some advanced settings in the Template Designer under the Design tab of the Blogger Dashboard. Here are some of the changes I made during the hour of spent (not wasted) time.

iPad App Review: SlingPlayer Mobile

Article first published as iPad App Review: SlingPlayer on Blogcritics.

I know what you're thinking - another Slingbox App?  And I have to pay another $30?  Thankfully, this author received the iPhone version for free for review purposes, but I could not wait once I heard that the iPad version was released to the App Store. The timing proved to be perfect, not because it's Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the holiday shopping season, but rather because we just had a new baby, our basement took in some water damage recently, and this daddy needs to watch his sports.

Happy Black Friday!

If you are a frequent reader of Chanatown (subscribe now if you are not), chances are you're a fan of cool tech toys. And I'd be willing to be you've experienced a Black Friday or two once in your lifetime. Here's a great SNL short that effectively sums up what many may have gone through early this morning.

Hope your BF is going a bit more smoothly than the one depicted below.

2010 EduBlog Award Nominations: I don't read blogs much, but when I do...

I'll be honest - I don't read too many blogs. I have a hard enough time staying on top of current events, tech news, not to mention my full time job as a technology integration specialist. However, I have found a passion for writing through this blog over the past few months, and I do find value in reading several other sources for ideas, inspiration, and creativity. So, on a day of giving thanks, I'd like to nominate the following for the 2010 EduBlog Awards.

Widget Review: LinkWithin - Revive your content

We are closing in on published post #200 here at Chanatown (stay tuned for the black tie gala), and I am proud of most of the content that I've managed to contribute to the Interwebs over the course of a year. Some of my more prominent articles are gaining a fair amount of recognition on Google search, but others remain buried in the archives. With the hopes of bringing some of the still relevant and noteworthy pieces back to the forefront, I chose to implement the widget LinkWithin to show related posts with thumbnails after each article.

iPad OS 4.2.1 Update - the day finally arrives, but was it worth the wait?

Article first published as iPad OS 4.2.1 Update Finally Arrives, But Was It Worth the Wait? on Blogcritics.

It is hard to believe that it's been over seven months since we first heard that the iOS4 update would eventually make its way to the Apple iPad. Users have been patiently waiting on Apple's promise that multitasking, AirPlay, and over 100 new features would be coming to iPad "later this fall." Well, while old man winter is rapidly approaching, Apple did manage to deliver on its promise in time to finish raking those leaves. As fast (or slow) as you can download, install, and update your iPad, here are some initial thoughts and observations on the shiny new update.

Mac App review: BackOff - regain those 7 hours waiting for iPad to backup

This is going to be a quick post more out of frustration rather than necessity. I woke up at 5am this morning for many reasons: 1) our cats needed access to their litter box which I remembered was accidentally closed last night, 2) our newborn baby needed a diaper changed, and 3) the iPad iOS 4 update had finally arrived! Already bummed that I missed the release yesterday (this is what happens when you get a baby, I suppose), I wanted to get a jump start on the day by beginning what I presumed would be a long and drawn out update process. Little did I know that I would be sitting here 7 hours later staring at the same silly progress bar, measuring the millimeters of movement hour by hour. There had to be another way...

Android App Review: Multi-Picture Live Wallpaper - showing off those pictures

One of my favorite features of the Droid X and other Android OS smartphones is the live wallpaper functionality. For the past few months, I've dabbled with the stock options and installed a few of the more prominent marketplace apps (Mario Live, Beautiful Weather, and Aquarium are some favorites). However, with a new baby in the house, and changes happening every day, I've been trying to document as much as I can. And of course, I've succumb to the cliche parent move of using pictures of baby on my desktop, iPad, and laptop. Why should my mobile phone be any different? With MultiPicture Live Wallpaper, I'm able to fully customize the experience. More on why I may never use a different wallpaper after the jump.

iPad App Review: Baby Connect - Tracking all of those diapers, feedings, and much more.

Usually, it is this author who approaches his wife regarding a cool new technology tool, application, or website. She's not always as intrigued by things, but she'll at least hear me out. An interesting thing happened following the birth of our son on Monday. Here's a brief excerpt of the conversation:

Me: OK, I'm writing down - nursing, 10 minutes, right side.
Wife: Great, thanks. I wonder if there's an app for keeping track of all of this.
Wife: Did you hear me?
Me: OMG! There is an app, and it's got everything!

I'm still not too sure why I didn't think of it first, but sure enough, a quick search of "baby" in the app store revealed Baby Connect, for both the iPhone and the iPad. Find out why the iPad app is now on my front page and has been the go-to app for this past week.

iPad App Review: Counting time (and contractions) using Chronolite

So, my wife entered labor this morning, and I thought, "what better time to write a blog post?" Kidding.  Seriously, don't judge me as a father just yet. As we wait out the contractions, I wanted to share how we're using an app on the iPad to measure the times of each contraction, as well as how far they are spaced out. No gory details after the jump, I promise...

Reflections from Google Apps Certified Trainer Meetup

Image via Wikipedia So, I finally completed the certification process for becoming a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer. Yesterday, we had a meetup in the Google offices in downtown Chicago with the live feed from Mountain View, and although I learned a few things I'm not allowed to share, I'd like to reflect on a few nuggets of Google goodness that's open knowledge but might have flown under the radar.

LiveBinders - ePortfolios done easily

I'm working with our Literacy Coordinator on creating some student electronic portfolios, and there exists a wide variety of options ranging from creating student websites to collecting works in a digital file cabinet. We decided to give LiveBinders a try, mostly because it scored big points in terms of ease of use, simple design, and strong core functionality. More on the initial setup after the jump.

Apple TV - At $99, the device hits a price point worth talking about

Image by Farid Iqbal via Flickr Article first published as Tech Review: Apple TV on Blogcritics.

I returned my Apple wireless keyboard last week, not because I didn't like it, but rather because it just didn't fit my current needs. So, what's a tech geek to do with a $75 credit at the Apple Store? Well, I didn't need an iPod Shuffle and $75 wouldn't cover the tax alone on a new Macbook, so I opted to give the Apple TV a chance to win my business and affection. After one weekend with ATV, the device has got me drooling for more.

Apple Wireless Keyboard - Cool, but leaves you wanting more.

Image via Wikipedia I like my iPad. A lot. So much so that I treated it to a keyboard. You know, a real physical one. Soild keys, and not those virtual ones that think they how you type and what words you want to write. I even splurged on the fancy bluetooth wireless keyboard that they have at the Apple Store. It's the one you'll often see in the living room of an Apple enthusiast controlling their Mac Mini while streaming video or music. I opened it up, synced flawlessly with my iPad, and typed away. Less than two weeks later, I returned it. Find out why after the jump.

EdTech @ETHS Vol.1 Issue 2

Installment #2 of our monthly newsletter regarding education technology at ETHS.

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Open publication - Free publishing - More technology

Mac or PC - What's right for me?

Image by Steve Lacey via Flickr A colleague recently requested a list of the advantages of the Mac over the PC, so I thought we'd just settle the age old debate of Mac vs PC right here, right now. Which one should you get and why?  Find out the startling revelations after the jump.