It’s been a while since I’ve worked on terrain…basically because it has been to dang cold to hang out in the garage. And certainly to cold to spray paint.
I decided to start on a project anyway and use latex and acrylic paints instead. It worked but I think I prefer using the spray paint. Basically because it dries faster…waiting for paint or glue to dry is a real pain.
The base is foam sheathing for home insulating.
The “Stonehenge” like rocks are carved from floral foam.
I used a custom mix of green flock with two colors of static grass.
You can check out terrain pictures in my Picasa album anytime. I’ve also put it into the links list at the right.
Erik’s brother Dave let us in on this great learning aid on the internet. He said that during some of his college courses he’d use these videos to enhance his learning experience.
Check out www.khanacademy.org
Here’s a great article about the man behind Khan academy….
The kids actually ask to watch these videos and then do the example exercises afterward. They’ve each told their math teachers about the videos and both have had genuine interest in them as a teaching tool. Jacob’s math teacher has let him watch these videos after he has completed his classroom work.
What a cool thing!!!
I got this as an email but thought it was so good that I had to share…
Jails and Nursing Homes
Here’s the way it should be:
Let’s put the seniors in jail and the criminals in nursing homes.
This would correct two things in one motion:
- Seniors would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.
- They would receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs, etc.
- They would receive money instead of having to pay it out.
- They would have constant video mongering, so they would be helped instantly if they fell or needed assistance.
- Bedding would be washed twice a week and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.
- A guard would check on them every 20 minutes.
- All meals and snacks would be brought to them
- They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
- They would have access to a library, weight/fitness room, spiritual counseling, a pool and education…and free admission to in-house concerts by nationally recognized entertainment artists.
- Simple clothing – ie., shoes, slippers, pj’s – and legal aid would be free, upon request.
- There would be private, secure rooms provided for all with an outdoor exercise yard complete with gardens.
- Each senior would have a P.C., T.V., phone and radio in their room at no cost.
- They would receive free daily phone calls.
- There would be a board of directors to hear any complaints and the ACLU would fight for their rights and protection.
- The guards would have a code of conduct to be strictly adhered to, with attorneys available, at no charge to protect the seniors and their families from abuse or neglect.
As for the criminals:
- They would receive cold food.
- They would be left alone and unsupervised.
- They would receive showers once a week.
- They would live in tiny rooms, for which they would have to pay $5,000 per month.
- They would have no hope of ever getting out.
“Sounds like justice to me!”
Santa Claus came early this year and dropped off a new toy to play with.
The latest e-reader tech from Barnes & Noble.
This device has been on my radar for a while now as progress was being made on a root exploit to hack the device and allow your own content to be loaded on it. Well, a week or so ago the exploit was released and with several reports of success, it was time to buy.
My first impression of the device was that I was a bit underwhelmed. It’s a bit heavy (15.6 oz), Halle and I both noticed some fatigue holding it in a natural reading position for extended periods of time. The screen looked gorgeous, but is easily smudged. The home screen was not particularly useful, with sideloaded content (books and files residing on the MicroSD card) only accessible by clicking through your library screens. The home screen definately showcases what it does best though, integrating books obtained through B&N’s website.
Reading text, especially the B&N books, was very clear, nothing nearly as good as e-ink on the Kindle, but good enough. Besides, this device was not going to be just a dedicated e-reader, we wanted a full fledged android tablet.
The rest of the content included on the Nook are the bare bones web browser included with most android phones, a couple of games (Sudoku, Chess, etc), Pandora radio, a picture gallery viewer, and a very no-frills pdf viewer. Other features of the Nook I’ll leave off as the meat and potatoes of this post is rooting it on day 1.
I firmly believe when purchasing a piece of hardware like this, a person should be free to use it as they desire. Often times devices like this are crippled from the manufacturer. I would understand this if it’s simply to make the experience more usable for the mass consumer, but options should exist to extend the interface enabling more advanced features for power users.
So root it I must do. (Warning: This often will void your warranty!)
I created the required boot MicroSD image, (although I had quite a bit of trouble/failure trying to use a high capacity SD card). I ended up successfully using a 1 gig card without problems. After booting the device with the image… and waiting impatiently watching a black screen, I rebooted the Nook and was pleasantly surprised to be able to access it with adb commands from the Android Software Development Kit.
The original launcher was the first to change, I installed both LauncherPro and ADW Launcher, I use HomeSwitcher to switch between them and the original Nook launcher at will. Oh yeah, and Google Earth works perfectly.
Skies of Glory = glorious! Real time 3d flight, smooth as silk on the 800Mhz machine. Plenty of multitasking power to spare.
I enabled multitouch support by accessing a shell on the device and modifying some underlying xml code as per instructions of the useful: Nook:Color Portal site.
Not all games worked well, many had interface issues (the Nook lacks a menu button). Many others were not optimized for the Nook’s 7″ screen and did not scale up at all. Still others refused to launch at all.
I’m still in the testing phase and the Nook root is in it’s infancy. I’m continuing my app testing and eagerly awaiting further developments in the hacking community. I hope to perhaps post some findings either on a development forum or portal wiki regarding the apps I’ve tested and results I’ve had.
I’ll likely update this post or at least refine the content as this was just written quick to share with you our new toy.
That got my attention, not your average football game.
It looked like an 8-bit, ok maybe Super Nintendo graphics version of Madden, but to move the ball or kick, you had to answer financial questions. Jacob then informs me it’s a game he played in mathematics class in school today. Every Monday is stock market day.
Wow, I was humbled by a fifth grader answering questions like “Comparing several credit cards allows you to obtain the ____?”.
A correct answer means a successful pass or score, a failed answer means a tackle/loss of yards, or even an interception.
Financial Football, it’s like a game show, but leverages sports with learning (finance and math ftw!), now that’s a video game I can appreciate. What was especially thrilling was listening to Jacob’s enthusiasm… “I just sacked Drew Bree’s!”… lol’s all around.
He’s clapping his hands and yelling at the screen, just like any other sports fan, but his success depends on his ability to answer educational questions. He mentioned this game during dinner tonight but said he was playing as the Jets, which made me lose interest and not pay attention. But tonight he is so engaged, and each play presents him with a new question he must answer to determine his whether he succeeds or fails on the field.
Jacob won his first game in the office tonight, now is currently leading as the Colts vs The Saints. A double header on Monday night, couldn’t ask for more.
Halle and I subscribe to a dizzying array of RSS feeds.
I’ll update this post as I think of new things to add, but as a quick intro, here are links to our Google Reader feeds and what we are sharing.
If you use a feed reader, you can subscribe to those links directly. Otherwise you can bookmark them as they are updated as we share articles in Google Reader. If your unfamiliar with RSS feeds, your missing a great way to condense and absorb the massive amount of information and news that travels the tubes.
You should also subscribe directly to our blog, there, right there, upper right hand of this page, the RSS feed link. Do it, we know you want to.
We get our weather forecasts from a number of different sites.
I thought I’d list a few here for everyone to use. The forecast pages are localized to our area code so if you link to them you’d likely want to customize the settings on the page for your zip code.
Storm Tracking & Totals
We also aggregate weather data from a few other local Radio/TV stations and I think that gives us a much clearer picture of the weather than subscribing to a single news outlet. I normally discourage software installation of dedicated weather programs for PC’s (ie: weatherbug), not for their inaccuracy, but often come packaged with additional programs and toolbars that if your not careful on installation, pack your computer with unwanted software. I have found several dedicated apps for mobile devices I have used (iPhone, Android) that work very well and usually are better formated for the device than websites. Some websites do have very well laid out mobile device pages.
An example would be Weather Underground Mobile.
Last sites of interest, not 100% weather related, but useful on a stormy days: