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Blog #248



Great Great Grandpapa


   Papa's oldest son, William's oldest son Brain's daughter Kristin gave birth to Boston Reilly Baker on February 13th, making Papa a Great Great Grandfather.  (Papa > William > Brian > Kristin > Boston)


Better Ski Pictures

My friend, Karen, took these last Friday.  Thanks Karen!



   OK, I admit it.  I have another website.  I've actually had this URL for maybe a couple years now.  My intent was to have a website where I could host the lessons that I've created.  For the past six years I've been creating lessons that I've placed on my school's extensive Intranet for my students use (Note that Intranet typically means within one network or building and not on the Internet.)  I've been meaning to clean up the better ones, rebuild everything with Internet viable filenames and put them online.

   I spent a little time on it and uploaded a few lessons and then basically forgot about it.  A couple months ago the Diocese of Cleveland hired me to give a presentation on "Browser Based Mixed Media DVD Yearbooks" to fellow K-8 teachers.  Theses digital DVD yearbooks are a simple concept that I developed that allow viewers to surf through a yearbook on their computers just like they would a website or print yearbook.  The DVD yearbook we produced last year contained over 100 movies, slideshows, animations and presentations totaling over nine hours in length. It contained over 500 webpages including a page about every student in the school.  It's so simple in concept that I'm reluctant to say that I invented it; that would be like claiming to invent spreading butter on bread.  It seems such an obvious and simple idea that I'm puzzled that it's not done everywhere.  As far as I can tell, however, it's not been done elsewhere.  There are many companies that will produce a DVD yearbook that is essentially a movie about the school year, but that's not nearly as cool.  Over the past week I gave techwisekids a simple look and created a how-to guide on creating Browser Based Mixed Media DVD Yearbooks.  Last night I gave my presentation.  Afterwards I agreed to do it again for local Catholic high schools; we'll have to see if that pans out.





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Blog #247




Boston Mills (Again)


   Svea, Brigitta and I went skiing at Boston Mills again last night.  This was Svea's third and Brigitta's second time skiing.  We focused on parallel ski turns and stops.  This was difficult for them, but by the end of the evening both girls were just starting to get it.  Brigitta caught on especially fast. 


   Although I've been downhill skiing since early elementary school I've never taught anyone to downhill ski; I taught cross country skiing before I left Alaska through Anchorage Junior Nordic League, however, but the skills are completely different.  I had to evaluate exactly what one does to control a parallel ski turn and a parallel ski stop.  We practiced sliding sideways down the hill and digging our edges in to stop and flattening our skis to the hill a bit to slip.  They both tended to turn ski tips downhill and traverse across the face of the slope, however.  Their instinct was to snowplow to control speed which was what we were trying to get past.  I realized that leaning back a bit helps one slide sideways.  Leaning back a bit more allows you to slip down at a backwards angle.  Once the girls stopped leaning forward and centered their weight over their boots they gained better control.


   We found that the second most advanced/steepest hill has a three person lift that had practically no line and had the least crowded slope, so we spent the last half of the evening on the "Croyle Race Slope".  On our second run on this hill Brigitta terrified me; from near the top she pointed her skis straight down and became one with gravity.  I had been filming nearly every run but was so full of dread that I forgot that I had the camera in hand, running.   I knew that she really was only capable of snowplow stops and doubted that she was under control.  When I caught up to her at the bottom she was exuberated from the thrill of speed and beaming with pride.  I guess she was under control, relatively.  I filmed her on one more speed run and then wised up; we needed to focus on speed-bleeding parallel turns and controlled parallel stops. 


   By the time we arrived home, Brigitta was out.  I managed to carry her from the car to her bed and removed her boots and coat without her showing the slightest degree of consciousness. 


   I took a few still pictures on their first run on Buttermilk; they fell more on that run than any other by far.  I took movies on most of the other runs and will post a film next week.  I'm preparing for a presentation on Monday for fellow Diocese technology teachers on "Browser Based Mixed Media DVD Yearbooks".  I am underprepared and have much to do this weekend.








I haven't figured out a clever way to explain the article in the above link;

but I did find it quite amusing.




Blog #246




In the News Again:


   We were surprised to learn that another picture from our "ski photo shoot" was published.  This time we were in the Falls News Press.  It's a better photo and caption than the one that was in the Tallmadge Express (see Jan 09 Blog), but the timing seems a bit off since nearly all the snow has melted. 




Today (or perhaps yesterday) the blog passed 30,000 hits.


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Blog #245




Happy Valentines Day

   Papa and Nana, and Joan and I renewed our marriage vows today at church.


Svea and Brigitta arranged Joan's Valentine's flowers.




This is the front of the Valentine's Day card I made for Joan


Annika's Bunny

   Annika drew this bunny.  Joan and I just loved it so I scanned it, purified the lines and fill colors and dumped pink around it to make it stand out.  Joan printed tee-shirts with this bunny for herself and the girls.





   I changed the hallbuzz favicon from this: to this: .  A favicon is a tiny 16X16 pixel image that shows up in the browser tab, in front of the URL and in the favorites/bookmarks. 

In the past browsers have only supported still favicons; recently Firefox has begun to support animated favicons so I thought I'd give it a try.  Opera, Chrome and Safari show the first frame of the animation (Brigitta's baby eye).  Internet Explorer/Imploder does not show the file properly at all, but that's par for the course for everything IE has been doing lately.  For the first time ever, my web statistics page shows that Internet Explorer is handling less than half the web traffic hitting our site.  IE is taking a major nose dive.





   All seven in our household have been pretty sick for at least a few days each over the past two weeks.  The girls and Joan and I each took at least one day off from school.  For me, it was only the second time in six and a half years that I've called in sick.  We think everyone is well now.



   It all went away; I'm a bit sad since the ski track has vanished.  January was the second snowiest month on record.  Brigitta went downhill skiing for the first time the Friday after last.  She did about as well as Svea.  Look for a movie on our movie page.




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