It’s been almost three years since I wrote a post on this site. (Yeah, I suck.) But you know what? I get comments on it nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY! Is the content so great and evergreen that readers just keep coming for more? Oh, hellz no. Welcome to Spamtown. Obviously, I don’t publish these spammy comments…but holy hole in a doughnut, Batman. Currently, there are 3,184 unprocessed comments. Some are in a different language. Most compliment me on my post or tell me they can get me more views. And they are all spam. All of them.

Oh, and I still have my iPhone 6. In case you were wondering.

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Now that I’ve had a day to process the iPhone 7 and related announcements, I think my overall reaction is, “Yeah, that’s cool.” Are any of these new bits enough to make me go out and drop big money? Not right now. I love that the new Apple Watch has GPS, but I’d still need to take my phone with me because I fear snakes (don’t ask). I love the new upgrades to the iPhone and that it’s waterproof water resistant, but I can wait until my 6 gives out on me.

As for the big controversy, I really don’t care about the headphone jack. I completely understand it’s about saving space and helping make the iPhone waterproof water resistant. No physical keyboard? No stylus? No Adobe Flash? Maybe the headphone jack won’t go the same route as the past WTFs, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

As for the AirPods…they may be great, but (1) it’s a stupid name, (2) I would totally lose them, and (3) they look like someone simply cut off the cable from regular earbuds. Mostly, though, I don’t see spending that much money on headphones. I’m cheap like that.

Now, if someone wants to GIVE me a new iPhone or Apple Watch, that’s a different story.

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Sure, it’s been a month or so since the Killeen ISD Technology Conference, but it’s never too late to say thanks. So…THANKS! Thanks to everyone that came out, presented, organized, or in any way had anything to do with yet another successful year.

And a special high-five to those that attended any of the three sessions I helped present. For those that couldn’t make it to our “Create Videos and Screencasts Like a Boss” session, I wanted to share my Quicktime tutorials. There are three different tutorials: one for audio, one for video and another for screencasts. After going through all three, you’ll understand why I love Quicktime Player for Mac.

Record Audio with QuickTime Player for Mac

Record and Edit Video with QuickTime Player for Mac

Record Screencasts with QuickTime Player for Mac

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It’s a familiar story. Boy starts blog. Boy gets busy and ignores blog. Blog runs away with some trendy Eurpoean fashion site.

But fear not. There are updates on the way. Random, pointless updates? Sure. But updates, nonetheless.

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Star Wars Hour of Code
Hour of Code is coming December 7th through 13th, and our campus will again be participating in the fun. Math classes will lead the charge, as they did last year, with students working on various coding activities during the week. You’ll find that Code.org has added plenty of new items since last year, but the geek in me is most excited to see the Star Wars modules. And there are even two flavors to choose from. One is aimed at younger coders, using drag-and-drop block programming, while the other adds Javascript for the older adventurers.
The challenges start with the user needing to create code to move BB-8 around to collect scrap metal, with the difficulty increasing through the first six levels. Then, you switch to helping R2-D2 deliver messages to the rebel pilots for the next several levels. Later levels kick the coding up a notch with new challenges, culminating with a final level that allows the user to create anything they want using the commands they’ve learned throughout the tutorials.
Overall, the tutorials look like a blast to go through, and should be a great introduction to coding for kids of all ages.
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Start Menu
In my last post, I walked you through how to do a simple audio recording using Quicktime Player on the Mac. For those of you that prefer that ‘other’ operating system, let’s look at how to do the same in Windows. Our application of choice for this will be Sound Recorder, an audio recording utility that is included with Windows.
Select the Start Menu and All Programs to expand the options.
Select Accessories and Sound Recorder. The Sound Recorder application window appears.
startrecording
Select the Start Recording button.
stoprecording
When you’re ready to end your audio file, select the Stop Recording button. The Save As window appears.
save

Enter a name for the audio file in the File Name field. Be sure to name it so that the purpose of the file is clear. For example, include the grade, subject, and specific test. Navigate to the location in which you want to save your file, and select the Save button.

Your file is now saved, but it’s not ready to be sent off quite yet. Because the file is a Windows Media audio file, it won’t play on the testing iPods. So, we’ll need to convert it to something that will.

media

Unless you have something you currently use to do this kind of conversion, I’d suggest using media.io, a free online tool.

In your web browser, go to media.io. Use the Select Files to Upload button and then select your saved audio file from the file browser.

Select MP3 for Output Format, Normal 128 kbit/s for Select Quality, and the Convert button.

The converted file is saved to your browser’s default download location, and is ready to email or upload to your test administrator.

Now that we’ve covered how to create basic audio files on both Mac (Quicktime Player) and Windows (Sound Recorder), we’ll dive into some more advanced programs that provide greater recording control and editing functions: GarageBand and Audacity.

See you soon!

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I’ve had several questions about the best way to create an audio exam, so I’m going to share a few different methods you can use. For this first post, we’ll be looking at how Quicktime Player can be used to create a basic audio file on the Mac.
Apple’s built-in Quicktime Player application does a ton of cool things beyond playing video files. One of these added features is recording audio. Here are the basic steps to recording your audio exam (or any other audio file) using Quicktime.
New Audio Recording
Open Quicktime Player from your Applications folder.

Select New Audio Recording from the File menu.

The Audio Recording window will appear.

Audio Recording Window
Select the record button from the center of the Audio Recording window to start your recording.
Stop Button
When you’re done recording, select the stop button in the center of the Audio Recording window.
Play Back
Your file is now ready to be saved. Press the play button to listen to your audio file, if desired.
Save Dialog
Enter a name for your audio file. Be sure to name it so that the purpose of the file is clear. For example, include the grade, subject, and specific test.
Your file will be saved to the location specified in the save window (your Desktop by default) with the .m4a file extension. You can now email the file or save it to your OneDrive account to be shared with the testing iPod administrator.
In our next installment, we’ll take a look at how to use Sound Recorder to create a simple audio file in Windows. After that, we’ll dive into an advanced recording option for each platform, starting with GarageBand on the Mac, followed by Audacity in Windows.
Happy recording!
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