Monthly Archives: July 2012

You’re a college student. Write like it!

I have little tolerance for stupidity in daily life. I have even less when it comes to education. I’m in a 400-level class and not only can’t some of the students read the assignment schedule, but they write like they’re on Facebook!

“Your” and “you’re” are different words, with different meanings. As a junior in college, you should know the difference. Also, “thru” is not an acceptable word for academic writing. It’s an informal simplification of “through” which is the preferred in most writing.

Academic writing is not informal, by any stretch. The syllabus states “[t]hese are academic dialogs and you should avoid informal instant messaging style language” on page 1. Let me restate that for you: TALK LIKE A GROWN UP!

Something else that bugged me this week is that our mid-term was due on Sunday night. Monday mid-day, someone posts message asking if anyone else is having problems submitting work to the online plagiarism checker (TurnItIn), which is a requirement before turning the paper in. Upon careful examination of the  TurnItIn web page, it explicitly states that the deadline for turn-in is 29-Jul-2012 11:59 PM. A quick glance at a calendar suggests that the time in question is midnight, Sunday night. In most civilized countries, Monday comes after Sunday.

Critical thinking skills. I has them.

RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. How to deal with an active shooter scenario

As of July, 2012, you have to have been living under a rock if you don’t know what Aurora Colorado and the The Dark Knight Rises premiere is. In case you read this after the event has passed out of everyday discussion, a lone gunman went into the movie theater and shot the Hell out of the place, injuring 58 and killing 12, for a total of 70 direct victims.

I’m not here to debate the reasons, causes, or politics behind the shooting. What I am here to talk about is how to deal with an active shooter scenario. These happen all too often in the USA, so everybody should know how to react.

In that light, I present you with a video produced with the help of funding from the Department of Homeland Security. There are actually two videos, one in English and one in Spanish. I’ve included the one in Spanish with the hopes that it will be shared out with Spanish speakers.

Videos after the jump. Please share with your friends, family, and coworkers.


Continue reading

Product review: iStudiez Pro

A couple of years ago, I downloaded the iStudiez Lite app for my iPad in the hopes that I could use it to keep track of my schoolwork. At that time, I was using a Windows computer, and I don’t recall there being a desktop application for the Mac. I could be wrong, but I wasn’t a Mac user at that time. I discovered that the, while the data entry was a little tedious with the virtual keyboard, it worked well enough that I bought the iStudiez Pro app for a couple of bucks. 

iStudiez is geared to real classroom studies, as opposed to the virtual/online courses that I take. You can set up class/lecture meeting times, test/quiz/exam schedules and the entire set of assignments provided in your college syllabus very easily. They set up on a calendar in the application, but those schedules don’t propagate to the main calendar app on either the iPad or on my Mac. This is my biggest complaint about the application: I would like to see my assignments on my default calendar. There are a couple of other, minor things (sorting options, grouping options, “help” improvements, default data entry selections) that I would like to see, but none of these is a deal breaker by a long shot.

What really shines, though, is the iStudiez Pro desktop application. Yes, it’s “just” a desktop version of the iPad application, but it is much easier to navigate around with a mouse and keyboard. I leave it open and sitting in my Dock so that it keeps track of the number of items pending for the upcoming week. This is by far the best thing that I have used it for, since I have a moderately busy life between work, family,  external activities, and school. The iStudiez desktop app calendar can be set to show the events that are in iCal (the Mac desktop calendar app) so that you can see what all is happening on a given day. As I said, I would like to see this all on the iCal listing, but it’s something workable.

Once you set up the class profile with instructor info, assignment info, and test/quiz/exam schedule data, you can set the desktop to sync to the iStudiez cloud, and then with your portable device via Internet connection. This goes both ways, too. You can change data on the portable device and sync it to the cloud and onto the desktop application.

When setting up your classwork information, you can give it a weight and iStudiez can automatically track your score for you. You have to manually enter the weight, of course, but this is very simple to do.

I continue to learn new and more effective ways to use iStudiez as I take more classes. Part of this is because I didn’t read the guide that the creators put up online, and part of that is because several of the components of the application just aren’t quite intended for my online-only education.

All in all, between the desktop app and the portable app, I paid less that $10.00 for the works, and I’ve been well served by the tracking functions. I think that my grades have been improved because I haven’t missed assignments, thanks to the pending count on the Dock icon. iStudiez is not a perfect app, and it needs some more work, but it is VERY serviceable as it is, and I would highly recommend it for any student looking for a way to keep track of their classes, classwork, and grades. 

Trying to plan for the future. Again.

Several years ago, I went to school for an EMT-Basic ticket. The class was pretty easy, information wise, and the practials weren’t hard, either. But, I couldn’t get work in town as a part-time EMT-Basic, and I let my license expire.  Recently, I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting licensed again, especially since I can only find part time work right now. The cost of the program is roughly a thousand dollars (including books), which I think I can scrape together without damaging the family economy any more than I already have.

EMS is a young man’s career choice. The pay sucks, and the work is complex and physical. And, much of the employment opportunity is either in fire-service or part time as an EMT-B. But, this is not a career decision for me, I don’t think. It’s a stepping stone, a waiting point, if you will, until I can finish my degree in Emergency and Disaster Management.

Ok, I started writing the above several hours ago. In the mean time, I discovered that I might just be able to get help paying for the local EMT-B class via the “dislocated worker program” in the area. Must call during business hours.

I wonder what Kristen will say…

Thoughts on “A Manifesto for Blogging”

I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of days, so that I could let it digest in my brain. I saw this article come across my Twitter stream the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it: A Manifesto for Blogging | Social Media Today.

I’ll admit, I am a spotty blogger. I’ll post furiously for a while, then fall silent for days or weeks, which is not a good way to retain readership. I really need to change that, despite what I have said here. At the very least, I need to be consistent about posts. this is especially important for my other blog at Since I started that one in order to be a voice of emergency preparedness, I’ve been really inconsistent. Bad blogger.

After reading the article mentioned above, I think that I mostly do OK with the guidelines that Chris Street uses. I welcome feedback. I’m not trying to sell something, especially in a manner of whoring for it, though I am willing to do reviews. I share what I learn, and do so freely. I hope that I encourage individual thought and inspire readers. I share resources that I think are helpful.

I’m not fearless, though. I censor myself, often a lot. Sometimes that’s because I am ashamed of the thoughts in my head. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to cause discomfort with my friends or family. Sometimes it’s because I don’t think that what’s in my head is “significant enough” to put out there for the entire world to see.

And sometimes it’s because the thoughts in my head feel so fragile that they’re crumble under the weight of being put into words. I may act like I’m resilient, but I know the truth: I’m not very much.

Anyway, this manifesto is worth reading. I’ll be trying to put it into practice more often.


%d bloggers like this: