Student Pranks Professor

This April Fools’ Day prank got over 1 million views on Youtube in just a day. The students of a microeconomics class at Aquinas College pranked their professor who has a policy that states, “if your phone rings in class, you must answer it on speakerphone”. The girl in the video arranged to have her friend call her that day and the professor’s reaction is hilarious.

It’s very common to see students on their cellphones in class or have their phones go off during lecture. This professor’s plan to reduce those numbers backfired when he was stuck in a tough situation. He seems like a cool professor though!

 

Advertisements

World’s Largest Tetris Game

On Saturday night, a 29 story Philadelphia skyscraper was used to play the world’s largest game of Tetris. Or the largest videogame for that matter. To carry this out, Drexel University’s computer science professor Frank Lee and his colleagues hacked into the LED lighting system of the Cira Centre building in downtown Philly.

Lee told the New York Times,

“People will think of this as a game, but I think of this as a public ornament. Technology has sort of made us isolated from each other. I want us to be with each other, and play with each other.”

This larger than life Tetris game was played for the ongoing tech week. This is the second time that Frank Lee and his team hacked into more than 1,400 LED lights on a skyscraper in Philadelphia. Last year in April, Lee’s team created a game of Pong on the skyscraper and scored a Guiness World Record for world’s largest architectural videogame display. This year’s Tetris game was twice as large, so the team is expecting to be recognized again.

Check out the video here: http://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/100000002809966/the-worlds-biggest-tetris-game.html

Big Papi, Big Selfie

During the Oscars time, I posted about Samsung marketing its new Galaxy phone by promoting a selfie tweet made by Ellen DeGeneres. Once again, Samsung promoted their new Galaxy Note 3 with a seemingly impromptu selfie of Boston Red Sox David Ortiz with President Barack Obama. However, this time, they forgot they were dealing with White House.

In a statement, the riled up Press Secretary Jay Carney commented, “As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes. And we certainly object in this case.”

Obviously, Samsung’s marketing campaign took a wrong turn while trying to sell more of their phones. Using Ellen DeGeneres for promotional purposes is one thing, but when you involve the President as ammunition in your marketing campaign…you have an entire White House to deal with. Especially when the title of your selfie is “Big Papi, Big Selfie”.

selfie-obama-620x543

 

http://www.zdnet.com/white-house-slaps-samsung-for-promoting-obama-selfie-tweet-7000028075/

Two Finger Scroll Problems

Yesterday, as I was using Google Chrome on my laptop, it stopped scrolling with two fingers. Every time I tried to scroll down, it would just zoom into the page instead. At first, I overlooked the problem and thought the small glitch would be fixed when I opened up another Google Chrome window. After opening what may have been the 7384th Google Chrome window, I became frustrated with looking at fonts the size of my laptop screen. Most people who use this two finger scroll function know how much easier it makes using a laptop, especially for reading through notes and browsing Facebook (of course). I looked up the problem on Google and apparently, many people went through the same problem when their Google Chrome automatically updated. It told me to reset my Chrome’s browser setting and restart my laptop. Thankfully, I was able to scroll with two fingers again after I tried this. We never think about how much of a difference little features like two finger scrolling make until we don’t have them anymore. We are literally the generation of high maintenance people.

Honest University Commercial

I came across this video on Youtube called “This is What an Honest University Commercial Looks Like”. Although I don’t completely agree with all of the ideas in the video, it does portray some of the problems college students face – financial debt, job insecurity, stress, and unnecessary classes. Rarely ever do we read or write about the difficulties of post graduation. People usually just mention the time of joy, learning, and partying we will experience. Whatever the case, I think this video is really funny and gives society a visual of what some of us will go through in the future.

Garden City’s Waldorf School – No Tech Approach

The Waldorf School of Garden City, NY, founded in 1947, is a private institution with an out of the box approach to technology in education.  The school is radically different from public and private schools around the United States in which it has “no tech” learning in the elementary grades. Waldorf School has 353 students in preschool through 12th grade and claims to be the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world. With 19000 students and 1000 schools in 60 other countries, the Waldorf School is beginning to take pride in their curriculum. During the preschool and elementary school, students are banned from using technology in school. Most parents even use this policy at home. In middle school, students are gradually introduced to technology. So, until sixth grade, there are no computers, iPads, laptops, Smartboards, or televisions. As they enter high school, their curriculum is integrated with it. All their schools around the world generally follow this technique.

The founder of this movement, Australian philiosopher Rudolph Steiner, believed a new school was needed to address the whole child – physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social. He thought this approach would teach them in developmentally appropriate stages. The schools emphasize hands-on experiential learning, creativity, collaborative relationships, and physical movements. They make sure students play outside everyday, regardless of the weather, to foster a healthy and cooperative learning environment.

The chair of the Garden City early childhood program stated, “We need them to be in this world before they are in the virtual world. They must be out in the snow, feeling the cold, digging in the garden, picking up those worms, walking in the crunchy leaves.” In general, people don’t even think of those things because we are in such a rush for the iPad.”

In some ways, I think the Waldorf school is gearing towards a positive learning curve, but I think their emphasis on absolutely “no tech” approach during early years seems kind of ridiculous. One parent in the article stated how her four year old has never seen a movie or watched television. That to me seems absurd. No child should go through their first years of life without their favorite television shows, especially if they are educational. Sometimes children find it easier to learn through these methods than books because it’s just simple and fun, but that’s just my opinion. What do you guys think?

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/garden-city-s-waldorf-school-takes-no-tech-approach-in-lower-grades-1.7474070

What makes a Podcast interesting?

Ever since Youtube became popular, it has become so easy to share ideas with a visual input to help attract viewers. Whether it’s a how-to video, educational video, or just something interesting, Youtube is a great way to engage yourself with other people. I think an integral component to its success is having both audio and video together. Although for most technology this seems normal, for some, having only audio makes it unique. Podcasts are one example that seem to be useful in certain circumstances – exercising, sitting on a bus or train, or driving.

For the second class project, we will be creating our own podcast. Over the years, podcasts haven’t lost their popularity. This is very surprising to me because they only consist of an audio component, and as we all know, our generation is mostly visual learners. So, what makes them interesting? There are many websites that teach you how to create podcasts that are useful, effective, and entertaining. Some tips are:

Get a friend to create a podcast with

Use audio level compression

Get a decent speech microphone

Skip introductions

Don’t take breaks to play music

 

Most of these are simple rules for radio stations, but they are good lessons to be learned for podcasters. I hope our podcasts turn out interesting!

 

3-D Printing Saved Baby’s Life

Garrett Peterson was born with a defective windpipe that left his trachea very weak leaving him unable to breathe normally. The condition was called tracheomalacia. The Petersons contacted Dr. Green and Dr. Hollister from the University of Michigan’s 3-D Printing Lab. Their goal was to create a 3-D device made out of plastic and metal to hold open Garrett’s windpipe until it is able to work on its own. First, they took a CT scan of his windpipe to create a 3-D replica of it. They then used a 3-D printer to design and build a splint, which is a small, white, flexible tube tailored to fit around his windpipe. FDA never approved the device, but Garrett’s condition was so critical that they implanted the splint regardless.  Garrett’s splint is designed to expand as he grows and eventually dissolve in his body as his own windpipe gets strong enough to work normally. After the surgery, Garrett began to breathe normally and regain his strength. The splint saved his life.

Doctors and engineers like Green and Hollister are continually working on creating other 3-D printing devices to build more body parts, such as noses and ears. I think this story is amazing and really shows us how far technology can advance and save lives.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/3d-printed-splint-helped-save-babys-life/#!BdhE0

iTunes NPR

On Monday, iTunes radio added its first non-music station – National Public Radio. NPR is one the leading talk radio networks in the US and is currently available on desktop and mobile versions of iTunes. Although you can listen to its first 24 hour stream, there is no option to download or purchase individual NPR shows.

According to Mashable, NPR’s Chief Marketing Officer, Emma Carrasco, mentioned, “In the future, digital streams from NPR Member Stations across the country will begin appearing on iTunes Radio. We also hope to offer an expanded listening experience on the iTunes Radio platform that will bring you content from your local station blended seamlessly with NPR programming.” Seems like they have big plans for the NPR radio station. I think this is a good idea because many people listen to iTunes more than they watch or listen to the news. Thus, having both options in the same platform can allow people to listen to the news more frequently.

http://mashable.com/2014/03/24/npr-apple-itunes-radio/

images

Pushbullet alerts from phone to computer

Ever been lazy to get up and see who’s calling you when your phone is charging, but still want to know? Happens to me all the time. Pushbullet is a new application that sends a notification to your laptop or monitor as soon as you receive it on your phone. Whether it’s a text, file, email, Facebook post, or Twitter notification, you have the ability to see it instantly to determine whether you should actually get up to answer it. Call me lazy, but this can be really helpful if you’re doing something important on your computer. For example, whenever I’m writing an essay I constantly look at my phone when it buzzes, so I am bound to read what someone has said. However, with Pushbullet the notification just pops up on your screen and if it’s not important, I wouldn’t have to bother checking my phone.

Although Pushbullet is not the first app of its kind to be connect computer and phone devices, it is the first app to combine all the features of text, notification, links, and photo transfer into one. All you have to do is download the app on your phone, download the Google Chrome extension, and then log in with your Google account. As of right now, the program is only compatible with Android phones, but their team is working on integrating with iOs devices. Once again, it is harder for this to work because it connects through Google Chrome. The drawback for this app is the fact that you can’t answer the call or text on your computer. If the notification is important, unfortunately, you will have to get up and check your phone.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/24/pushbullet-instantly-blasts-alerts-from-your-android-phone-to-your-computer/