Category Archives: Technology

Is Cursive Writing Dead?

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Until a few weeks ago I hadn’t really given cursive writing much thought.  Don’t really have much of a need for it.  The closest I come to writing in cursive is using a tablet pen on my Nexus 7 to swipe through the keys in the Swiftkey keyboard.

I have been thinking about it more since my youngest proudly displayed a line of cursive e’s and i’s on a paper she had just pulled out of her back pack.  They had started to learn cursive and she was excited to share.

Many would say cursive writing is going the way of the dinosaur.  A quick Google search will show you numerous articles and news accounts where educators and legislators are debating it’s validity.  Given all the computers, keyboards, and tablet type devices one really could make a case for phasing it out of the schools.

There is one reason in my mind to keep teaching it.  That would be your signature.  Block printing your name on a business deal or important document just wouldn’t look as professional.  Although, admittedly in some cases it would probably be more legible.

I say keep teaching it.  Besides, what else would you teach in it’s place?  Keep teaching it but also teach strong keyboarding skills because let’s face it cursive writing may become extinct but I don’t see keyboards disappearing anytime soon.

What does my daughter who is learning it think?  “Yeah, they should keep teaching cursive because it’s fun!”  There you go.  That’s a good enough reason for me.

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Forums: Learn, Help & Make Friends

Have a hobby?  Something that interests you?   Something you are passionate about?   Chances are there’s a forum out there for you.

Forums are online communities of like-minded individuals.  They are a place to  discuss and learn.   You don’t have to worry about your sex, race, economic status, or anything else.  The only thing that matters is your willingness to join in and your contributions to the conversion

I am a member of several forums.   Each one with their own distinct identity and rules.   Some I am more apt to hang back and just take in what others have to offer.   Others I am an active participant.   One even made me member of the month one time which eventually led to me helping to moderate it.

Through forum participation I have learned so much about one of my hobbies;  Android smart phones and tablets.  I’ve been able to use that knowledge to help others.

Probably the most important thing I have realized through forum participation is that people from every corner of the globe are all essentially the same.  When you strip away stereotypes and preconceived notions you can really get to know someone and appreciate what they have to offer.

I now consider a fun loving, airplane flying, race car driving Frenchman my friend.   I enjoy the pictures of orchids from a forum friend in Denmark.   I  share a love of coffee and exchange K-cup recommendations with a friend from the U.S. who met his wife in a forum.   I’m happy to say she’s a friend too.  I am amazed at the bravery and pictures a friend who climbs and works on cell towers for a living has shared.   I prayed for those affected by Hurricane Sandy after hearing firsthand accounts from forum friends.  I could go on and on about the people I’ve met and the things I have learned.

There’s an app available for both android and i devices that makes forums fun wherever you go.   It’s called Tapatalk.  It’s not hard to set up and I actually prefer to use it to interact with forums instead of using a PC.  You can find the Android version in Google Play and the iOS one in iTunes.

My advice would be to use Google to find a forum of a  topic that interests you.   Spend some time reading what others have posted.   If it seems like an informative and fun place to be, read up on the forum rules,  introduce yourself, and start participating.

Do you participate in online forums?

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This Season’s #1 Tech Gift

It’s getting close to Christmas and chances are you have a few people on your list that you’re just not sure about what to get them.  You might consider getting them what I consider to be 2013’s top tech gift.  It’s Chromecast from Google.

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Chromecast connects to your wifi and allows you to “cast” or “stream” content from your smartphone or Chrome browser to your television.    It is a USB powered dongle that plugs into the HDMI input on your tv.  It comes with cords to plug it into the wall or a USB jack on your television to supply it with power.  Set up is a breeze.  Plug it in and a screen will pop up and walk you through the process which takes only a matter of minutes.  It might take you longer to find where you wrote down your wifi password than to set up Chromecast.

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Once set up you can use a growing list of apps to send content to your television.  Currently, you can get content from Netflix, Pandora, Google Play Music, Google Movies, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and a few other sources with more to come.  It works with Android, iOS, and Windows so it more than likely supports all the devices and computers you already own.

We’ve had a Chromecast in our house for a couple of month’s and it has become a big hit.  I love it because it’s new, techie, and can play movies from the Chrome browser on our PC.  My kids like playing YouTube videos with it and my wife has used it to get caught up on TV shows by streaming them right from the show’s/network’s website.

Perhaps the biggest reason I think Chromecast is this season’s #1 tech gift is the price.  It’s only $35.  You can order it from Google or Amazon, or walk into any Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or Staples.

Do you have a Chromecast already?  What are your thoughts on it?  Do you agree that it’s this season’s #1 tech gift?

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