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Showing posts from January, 2012

February 2012 Read of the Month

Well, 2012 is nearly one month old and that means it is time to find a new read for the month of February.  My last Read of the Month was a suggestion from a fan of the blog, and I enjoyed the book.  Well, I have another suggestion from a fan of the blog and I am going to pick it up for February.  My former co-worker, Mark "The Captain" Nyholm has suggested Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. February 2012 Read of the Month   Unbroken tells the true story of World War II soldier Louie Zamperini who was shot down over the Pacific Ocean in 1943 while flying on a rescue mission.  The book covers what takes place over the next three years.  Just from reading the summary I am pretty excited about this book.  Thanks for the tip "Captain." I think I am going to go back to eBook form this month, so I will be picking this book up via Apple's book store so I can read it on my iPad.  I notice that Laura Hillenbrand also wrote Seabiscuit .  I never read the book, nor

Books to Film in 2012

While I may be a gadget geek and a book guy, I am not much of a movie person.  I enjoy a movie now and then at home on my own television, but I rarely go to the theater to see first run movies.  Actually the last two years (2010 and 2011) the only visits to the theater were for my daughter's birthday parties ( Tangled and The Muppets , both very good movies).  This year, things may change as a number of movies have caught my eye already, including many great novels that will soon hit the big screen.  Here is a great piece that presents the 10 most anticipated book to film adaptations of 2012. So, how many of the ten films mentioned am I interested in seeing?  Well looking at the list I think it is safe for me to say I will see at least four of the films.  I really enjoyed reading Life of Pi a few years ago in a book club.  I am interested to see the novel play out on the big screen.  I mean, a young boy trapped on a small boat with a giant, vicious tiger?  Wow, talk about drama

January Read of The Month

When I reviewed my December Book of the Month a reader suggested I pick up Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.  I was happy to see the book was a Bargain Book via Amazon.  It was at my door within two days thanks to my Amazon Prime membership. Sorta Like a Rock Star is narrated by main character Amber Appleton.  Amber is a homeless high school senior, sleeping on a school bus each evening with her mother.  The bus is a temporary home, as Amber's mother is a bus driver.  Each night Amber's mother is out on the town, looking for a new man.  While it may sound like a difficult life, Amber is one of the most positive characters I have come across in young adult literature.  She is an outstanding student that volunteers at a local senior citizen home and ethnic Catholic church teaching English.  While life is difficult on the bus, Amber remains positive and is a truly kind, loving person....until a tragic event mid-way through the novel. As I always do with my reviews, I

More on Apple and School Textbooks

I wrote earlier this week about Apple's attempt to enter the school textbook market .  I wanted to take some time to expand on that a little bit after reading a little more about the business venture.  Time's Teachland has a good piece on the entire project.  It appears the textbook companies are on-board because students would actually buy the eBooks new each year.  I agree very much with the author, that this is clearly the future of textbooks.  The question is, how long will it take to get there?  I know, if I were starting a school from the ground up today, I would not buy one printed text for student use.  Unfortunately, purchasing every student in a school district an iPad is just not something that a school or district can accomplish at this time.  Maybe this will be something I see before I retire from the world of education.

Apple Has Already Defeated the Compact Disc, Is the School Textbook Next?

Interesting blog entry from Time Magazine's Techland regarding Apple's Education Event in New York tomorrow.   It appears Apple is going to jump into the textbook market, through Apps and their iPad.  Not only will Apple work with publishers to get textbooks onto iPads, but software may be revealed to allow teachers and instructors the ability to create their own material for classroom use.  Teachers will no longer have to reamin tied to a specific textbook for their classes. Working in a school, I have to say the textbook may be entering its final decade in print form.  I do not imagine schools and students continuing to pay $70+ more for a single textbook.  At the high school level books are expected to last seven years or more, and quickly become outdated.  At the college level, students buy books, only to re-sell them for half of the original value (if they are lucky).  The eBook may save students and schools millions in the near future.

Interesting Professional Development

Today I was fortunate to experience a day of amazing professional development training at Wayne Count Community College District.  Sadly, many days of professional development are wasted days, but this was not the cased today.  The topic was the human brain and reading.  Dr. Maryanne Wolf, from Tufts University was the presenter.  It was so interesting to hear about the "science" of reading, something I rarely think about. It was interesting to hear about different brains and how they respond to language and reading.  I really look forward to reading Dr. Wolf's book which was provided to everyone in attendance.  While I usually do not review academic reads for my "Read of the Month," I may have to make an exception for this title.  It may not be an exciting fiction novel, but the topic is very important to the success of students throughout the country.

Is This Your (or My) Next Computer?

If you are a tech geek like myself, I am sure you have been following the news from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this past week.  CES is a showcase for all of the new gadgets scheduled for release in 2012.  The hot product this year at CES appears to be ultrabook notebook computers. Samsung's Ultrabook Computer So, what is an ultrabook computer?  Well think of a standard laptop or notebook computer, but even smaller and lighter.  Most ultrabook computers use flash meory instead of hard disc drives and have no optical disc drives.  With the development of cloud storage/computing, machines with large hard disc drives are no longer necessary.  The line of Google Chromebooks are designed totally upon web-based computing.    Apple's Macbook Air was one of the first ultrabook computers on the market.  It does not have a hard or optical drive. So, will my next computer be an ultrabook?  I am not sure really.  I love taking digital photos and I am trying

Amazon Lending Library Grows

Back in November  I wrote about the New Amazon Lending Library available to Amazon Prime Members.   When the lending library first went online, just over 5,000 titles were made available to Amazon Prime Kindle owners.  Amazon Prime is $79 a year and provides members with three amazing features: Free two-day shipping, or over-night shipping for only $3.99 Instant access to numerous movies/television programs via streaming Access to the Amazon Lending Library Did Santa Bring You A Kindle Fire?  You May Want To Join Amazon Prime. Now the lending library  provides Kindle owners access to over 66,000 titles.   Kindle owners can "borrow" one free book per month without a due date.  Users must own a Kindle, the lending library does not work with the Kindle App on other devices.  If you own a Kindle and shop using Amazon frequently, now may be a good time to spend the $79 and become an Amazon Prime member.  I am currently a Prime member (mainly for the shipping and the

Saturday Mobile Mini Update

The joys of mobile blogging today via my iPhone. I tried this once before and it appeared to work, so I figured I would give it a shot to hit my 3 entry per week goal. I figure to keep me writing I would write a brief entry each Saturday about little "tech" items that grab my attention. 1. I finally updated my television situation. My 55" monster is now out of my great room and replaced with an amazing 60" Sharp LED with a Blu Ray player. I am very happy with my purchase and will write a full review with pictures next week. 2. I spent part of this afternoon playing Laser Tag at the new Zap Zone in Taylor. It was really a great time. The two-level arena is huge and the new technology involved with Laser Tag is amazing. If your are looking for a fun thing to do in the Downriver area you should give it a try. Happy Saturday and Go Lioooooonnnnnsss!!! Sent from my iPhone

January Read of the Month

My first Read of the Month for 2012 was suggested via a comment by a reader of the blog.  When I selected my December Read of the Month "Anonymous" left a comment and suggested I read Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick.   I picked the book up in late December via Amazon at a bargain price of $6.72 for hardcover (not a bad price for a new hard cover book). First Read of the Month for 2012 I started reading a few weeks ago, but sadly left the book in my office as I left for our winter break.  I am just a few pages into the book, but this young adult novel is off to a great start.  The narrator, Amber Appleton, lives on the school bus her single mother drives.  Amber and her mother are homeless after the most recent "mom's ex-boyfriend" has thrown them out.  I wish I would not have left the book in my office during the break, I wanted to read more during my vacation.  I look forward to picking up with the book on Monday and finishing it quickly with a

New Years Resolutions For The Geekly Reader

Greetings and Happy New Year to all.  I hope everyone had a safe evening celebrating the end of 2011 and the welcoming of 2012.  I hope 2012 is a great year for each and every one of you.  Like most, I make "New Year's Resolutions" each year on New Year's Eve.  I thought I would use my first entry of 2012 to share some of my New Year's Resolutions. "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff":  I actually started doing this about mid-way through 2011.  While it can be difficult sometimes, I have been getting better.  I want to enjoy each day that I am alive with my family and friends.  If the people most important to me are happy and in good health, then I am happy too. "Write More Entries, More Often":  I always can come up with excuses for not writing a post.  I work full time and put in many extra hours at work (announcing, coaching, committees, etc.) and will start a part-time job teaching at Wayne County Community College later this month.  Throw