Python for iOS

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App of the Day – CloudOn

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CloudOn brings Microsoft Office to the iPad and allows you to save the documents you create right to your DropBox account.  Once you choose between Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint you are greeted with a robust version of the application which can be used just as you normally would on your computer.

Documents can be saved to Dropbox, Google Drive or your Box.net cloud storage.

Get CloudOn free here.

ArtRage for iPad

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Main Website
iTune Store

Review here

pdfpen

PDFpen

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Hardware: iPad 2 WiFi/3G
Interaction: finger, Griffin Stylus, Adonit Jot Pro
Export/Share: Email, iTunes, iDisk, WebDAV, DropBox, Evernote, FTP, Google Docs

PDFpen from SmileOnMyMac, LLC joins a small collection of PDF annotation apps like iAnnotate PDF and PDF Expert that allows a user to import PDF files, annotate them on their iPad and share them through a variety of popular web services.

The user selects from six basic markup tools: highlight, free hand, shapes, underline, strikethrough and squiggly underline.  Once the appropriate tool has been selected the user can brush their finger or stylus along the word they want to annotate.  I found most of the tools to be pretty intuitive, once you select it all you need to do is drag your finger/stylus across a word and it will be properly marked-up.  Sadly, the finger seemed to be the best tool for this, with the Griffin Stylus coming in a close second.  The more expensive Adonit Jot had some issues, but I think that was because the app was designed for a ‘larger’ capacitive footprint and the appeal of the Adonit Jot Pro was that it has a fine point of contact.

PDFpen falls apart when a user wants to use the free hand tool to scribble notes on the pdf.  While suitable for signatures I found it very difficult to write a small note.  As a teacher, this would not be a suitable for writing feedback directly on a student’s paper.  While you could create a textbox with typed-text in it and drag in an arrow pointing to a highlighted section of the pdf the lag time to do this was pretty noticeable.

Smile Software has the potential of offering a fantastic app.  PDFpen shares documents through a wide-range of popular solutions, namely DropBox, Evernote and Google Docs that would integrate nicely into our school’s iPad 1:1 program but for the hefty $9.99 price tag I couldn’t justify making this a required app for my faculty.

Create a superscope to solve the problem of dwindling IP addresses

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The growth of the amount of wireless devices on our network has accelerated. Everyone–especially the students–has every reason to celebrate. But the IT Dept isn’t in the same celebratory mood. The reason? We’re running on empty (or, more precisely: the DHCP server is).

The problem is that the DHCP server is fast running out of IP addresses to dish out to all the new devices being added to serve our students and faculty. There’s an exclamation mark hanging like an ill omen over the DHCP server icon, an indication that we’re dangerously close to the end of the available address pool.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution–using a superscope. What’s a superscope? A kind of mother of all scopes. It allows you to add more than one scope (called child scopes, or member scopes) under one umbrella.

Let’s go ahead and create a superscope for our scenario. We’ll assume DHCP is set up to use the scope 192.168.0.0. We want to add another scope from the same class (Class C), so let’s use 192.168.1.0. But first we need to create a superscope. Here’s how:

  1. Open DHCP.
  2. Right-click on the DHCP server.
  3. From the drop-down list, choose New Superscope to launch the New Superscope Wizard.
  4. The wizard prompts you to enter a name for the superscope. We’ll just call it Wireless.
  5. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select a scope(s) to add to the superscope. You’ll see the list of available scopes–in our example we’ll just use the original IP range of 192.168.0.0. Select it and click Next.

The final screen of the wizard informs you that you have successfully completed the New Superscope wizard and gives you the details. If you go back into DHCP, you’ll see that the new superscope has been created.

Now we’re ready to create our brand new child scope that will be watched over by our superscope.

  1. Open DHCP.
  2. Right-click on the DHCP server.
  3. Select New scope (to launch the New scope wizard.
  4. Choose a name and description for the new scope. Call it whatever you want.
  5. The wizard will prompt you to add an IP address range. We’ll choose a range from the Class C range 192.168.1.0. (We could also have chosen 192.168.2.0, 192.168.3.0, etc., but we’ll stick to … 1.0, as it follows logically on our first range). As for start and end address, we’ll select all available addresses, starting with 192.168.1.1 and ending with 192.168.1.254. You will also have to use the arrow keys to update your netmask (most likely to 255.255.255.0).
  6. On the next screen, you can choose which range of addresses you want to exclude, if any.
  7. Now, you get to select the duration of IP address leases. The default is eight days.
  8. The wizard then gives you the opportunity to configure DHCP options. You can choose to do it now or wait until later. Note, however, that you have to configure the most common options (like DNS server address and default gateway) before clients can use the scope, so now is as good a time as ever to do it. Just use the same options as your existing scope.
  9. After configuring the DHCP options, you are asked whether you want to activate the scope now or later. Once activated, you’re almost done.

You now have what is termed a multinet–multiple subnets on a single physical network. But you’re not quite there yet. Yes, you have an additional scope; yes, you have a superscope. But your superscope won’t assign IP addresses from the new scope. And even if you add a static address from the pool to a client machine, you’ll notice that you can’t browse the network.

You still need to add the IP to your main router. Here’s how to add that:

The commands to add an IP address to an interface look something like this (depending on the interface and address):

int e 0/0

ip address 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0

But you’re adding a second address to the same interface, so you have to add the keywordsecondary to the command. So to add the address range from our new child scope, the command would be:

int e 0/0

ip address 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0 secondary

That’s it!   When your first series of IPs run out the devices should grab a hold of the second range.

pan

Mythology eBook project from David Ashby’s blog

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David Ashby recently posted about a fantastic assignment his 7th grade students accomplished using Google Apps and Pages in OS X.  As I read over what he did in his classroom I realized that it would be a great assignment to duplicate using iBooks Author or Book Creator on iOS devices.

You can read the original post here:  http://techtoolsforschools.blogspot.com/2011/11/mythology-ebook-project.html

How to Eliminate iWork ’09 Serial Number Prompt

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Apple customers using iWork ‘09, have reported that, in some rare cases, the serial number prompt won’t go away, even after installing the full version of the software.

The company informs that, although installing the full version of iWork should allow customers to start using Pages, Keynote and Numbers without problems, in some cases the installation process may be blocked by a dialog asking the user to input their serial number.

This may happen if a trial version of iWork ’09 is already installed and it is a higher version number than the one being installed from DVD.

The resolution is fairly simple. Basically users need to delete a couple of files. However, not everyone will know where to locate them.

The proper procedure, as outlined by Apple themselves, is:

1. In the Finder, click the Go menu and choose Applications.
2. Locate the “iWork ’09″ folder and drag it to the Trash.
3. Click the Go menu once again and and choose Go to Folder.
4. In the prompt, type:  /Library
5. Click the Go button.
6. Open the Application Support folder.
7. Locate the “iWork ’09″ folder and drag it to the Trash.
8. Return to /Library using the back arrow in the Finder window.
9. Open the Preferences folder.
10. Locate the files “com.apple.iWork09.plist” and “com.apple.iWork09.Installer.plist” and drag these to the trash.
11. Reinstall iWork from your Installation DVD.

Auto-logging off Windows 7 after xxx minutes.

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Once we decided to get away from network logins and move to a generic Student account we were faced with the problem of students forgetting to log off.  This was remedied with the WINEXIT screensaver that comes with the Windows 2003 Resource Kit that can be downloaded here.  Once you have downloaded the package follow the following instructions to install the screensaver.  It involves some registry changes as the screensaver needs access to shutdown applications in a non-admin setting so don’t do this unless you are comfortable changing registry settings.

1.  Log in as an administrator
2.  Download Rktools.exe from the link supplied above.
3.  Install it and Restart
4.  Log in as an administrator
5.  Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe)
6.  Open the following key:  HKEY_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Control.ini
7.  Click Permissions
8.  In the Name box, click and add Everyone, and then click on the ADVANCED box for special permissions
9.  Click Edit and select the Set Value and Create Subkey check boxes
10.  Click OK, and then click OK
11.  Quit Registry Editor and restart the computer
12.  Log in to the Student account
13.  Copy the WinExit.scr file from Program Files -> Windows Server Resource Kit
14.  Paste WinExit.scr to  C:\Windows\System32
15.  The Logoff Screensaver should now be an option in your Windows Screensavers
16.  Adjust Settings to choose how long the computer should wait before logging off.

NOTE:  In order to change the message that appears you need to hit enter after changing the message.  Do this before you click on OK or Apply.

angry-birds-game1

Angry Birds in the Classroom

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So after having a discussion about Angry Birds with the Department head of Science (he had mistakenly purchased the game with the ITDept’s iTunes account) I made a casual comment that I wished there was a way the science department could apply the game in their Physics class.  He did some digging and came up with the following blog post.  How Cool!

After searching some more I came across this blog.  He uses the chrome-based game (free) with Tracker Video Analysis (also free) to plot some interesting data.

Mrs. Coltz poses next to her new LCD television and AppleTV

Comparing Technology rich classrooms

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After a colleague pointed me towards Fraser Speirs and I saw what he was doing in his school in Scotland I wanted to test the application of the technology in my own classroooms.

We have two classrooms set up to compare technology use:

The first has a smartboard, projector, Mac Mini, teacher laptop and various peripherals (monitor to mirror mac mini, speakers, hdmi cables, etc).

The second has a 55″ LCD television, iPad, AppleTV, teacher laptop and various peripherals (elmo, hdmi cables, etc).

The first thing that I noticed was that visual acuity was significantly better in the classroom with the LCD television.  You could walk anywhere in the classroom and see the screen clearly.  Once everything was set up, however, the first problem reared it’s head.  The wireless connection.  The teacher’s iPad used Airplay mirroring to connect to the AppleTV and then display on the television.  The AppleTV also got it’s internet connection wirelessly from an Airport Extreme that was a few feet outside the classroom in the hallway.  With two points of wireless connectivity her iPad frequently dropped it’s connection.  The solution was to have the AppleTV connected via ethernet and not get it’s internet from a wireless access point.   We tried again and there was a noticeable difference in both speed and stability.  The

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