Archive | December, 2017

Graphic Artist Loves Open Source

29 Dec

Are you an starving artist looking for some affordable digital tools? We’ve posted before about open source software. However, I just have to jump in again and focus on Graphic Designing with Open Source. I work on a Mac, PC and even an Ubuntu Linux box. Professional Graphics Software isn’t cheap. So I let my Boss buy it for work. Adobe is great, and pricey. My heart is with the following software. All available for all platforms I use.

 

Inkscape (Illustrator equivalent)

Pros:

  • The Best Auto trace anywhere.
  • SVG native format- (one of Illustrators default save options)
  • PDF editing well underway- not fully implemented
  • Diagraming tool works great for planning websites

Cons:

  • Color Swatches are not currently able to be saved in direct manner. No Built in Pantone support ( but that is just a matter of specifying the proper Pantone number for printing)

 

Gimp (Photoshop equivalent)

Pros:

  • It’s free
  • Regularly updated with fixes and the latest features
  • Strong community
  • Runs smoothly on almost every platform
  • Customizable with plugins and scripts
  • Handles almost any format including: bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm

Cons:

  • Newest version can be buggy
  • No 16-bit per channel color support
  • Feature development is slow

 

Scribus (InDesign equivalent)

Pros:

  • It’s free
  • PDF compressing is quality
  • Works well on Windows
  • It is a lightweight program

Cons:

  • Lacks the “spell check”
  • Need to keep the pictures integrated in your document in the same location on your computer or you’ll lose them
  • Doesn’t look pleasant when switching fonts
  • Runs slow with multiple pages or large files
  • Navigation needs to be updated
  • Not enough intuitive
  • Documentation is incomplete

 

Blender (Maya equivalent)

The pros:

  • It’s free
  • Features animation, rigging, fluid simulations, UV mapping, and more
  • Export blender files to different file formats
  • Render with your gpu instead of cpu

The cons:

  • Slow viewport performance with high-poly scenes
  • Layers system is not intuitive at times
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Most Functional and Durable Badge Holder & Wallet

28 Dec

Do you need to carry an ID badge to work everyday? If so, you need to check out this cool, functional, and durable badge holder that my friend created. I generally don’t talk about products in such high regard, but after seeing it – it had me at hello 🙂 It can not only hold your work ID, but you can also hold your driver’s license, and credit cards too!

Features of GOVO Badge Holder&Wallet:

  • A combination of badge holder and wallet
  • Carry your Badge Holder/Wallet in anyway that fits for you
  • Durable and light weight

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1460729046/govo-the-most-functional-and-durable-badge-holder

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Create Your Own Augmented Reality Video

26 Dec

Take a video selfie and add yourself into any video? Let’s say you wish you were at a recent concert but couldn’t get tickets? Find some concert footage and add yourself into it from your phone! Or record a video of yourself and send it to a friend so they can add themselves into it! Try this iPhone app and join the world of augmented reality by creating some videos!

http://flipsnap.me/

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5 Classroom Apps for Teachers

24 Dec

Teachers do you need some apps to keep your classroom organized? Here are some apps we saw on Education World that you might like to use in the classroom.

TeacherKit

  • Teachers can build classrooms with student and course data, take attendance with the tap of a touchscreen, as well as take quick behavior notes to monitor classroom performance and participation. The app provides a full gradebook (with weighting options), and report summaries for parents and guardians, all backed up to the Cloud.
  • Price: Subscription

ClassDojo

  • With ClassDojo you can build a classroom, take attendance, and store general student information. Although ClassDojo doesn’t include a formal gradebook or reports section, it does add some cool communication tools. With ClassDojo, you can privately message parents using their email or phone number through the app.
  • Price: Free

Remind

  • With Remind, you can add students and parents to a class by sharing an email link or by simply having them send a text to your Remind username using their devices. The beauty of using communicators like this is your ability to communicate through the app while maintaining your private phone number.
  • Price: Free

Google Classroom

  • Google Classroom is free for all schools signed up for Google’s Apps for Education (which is also…free). In short, if you are already using Google Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Sites, you need this app. Google Classroom streamlines the submission process for these features by allowing teachers to build classroom folders, give online grades and feedback, post conversations and announcements, ad share classroom calendars.
  • Price: Free

PowerTeacher

  • PowerTeacher is your all-in-one organizing system. Create classes, take and track attendance, monitor grades, keep detailed student and parent information, and print complete reports. Students and parents can download the PowerSchool app to access the gradebook, attendance reports, check the school’s calendar, read announcements, and contact educators and administrators. It’s a phenomenal gradebook system that seems to improve yearly.
  • Price: Suscription

http://www.educationworld.com/five-incredible-apps-classroom-organization

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Travel the World in Style with Airbnb

23 Dec

Have you tried Airbnb? It is an online community marketplace that allows people to rent or sell lodging. You can book unique homes and experiences all over the world! How does it work? As a host you can rent your property for overnight stays as guests you can rent properties for overnight stays.

Airbnb Steps
1. Find hosts with extra rooms, entire homes, and unique accommodations.
2. Connect with hosts, confirm travel dates, and pay through Airbnb.
3. Travel to the location and enjoy your stay!

https://www.airbnb.com/

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Next Door – Local Social Network

22 Dec

Did you lose a dog in your neighborhood? Do you need a babysitter for the weekend? Are you looking to see what garage sales are happening this week? You should check out Next Door, a free social network for your neighborhood.

Per the site, “Nextdoor is the best way to stay in the know about what’s going on in your neighborhood—whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter or learning about an upcoming block party. There are so many ways our neighbors can help us. We just need an easier way to connect with them.”

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Organize a neighborhood group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Call neighbor’s by their first name

http://nextdoor.com

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How Parents Can Help Their Kids Learn What Schools Leave Out

18 Dec

Although most parents are eternally grateful to teachers for the wealth of information and life skills taught to kids, the packed curriculum and limited hours mean that there are many more crucial abilities that children are failing to pick up. Learning involves mathematics, history and science; but ideally, it should also focus on how to be more technologically savvy, practical, environmentally aware, and, in general, happier! In this post, we highlight four ways in which parents can help fill gaps which are sometimes left by schooling.

 

Using Technology in Daily Life

 

It is surprising to think that this day and age, when coding and programming are part of the school curriculum in so many parts of the world, some schools have yet to offer computer science as a subject. Parents can enhance children’s interest in technology in many more ways than by just placing a tablet in their hand. There are a plethora of websites, for instance, which parents and kids can use to create their own games and learn a bit or programming while they are at it. Parents can also help children use creative apps (focusing on drawing, or even filmmaking) to work on projects together during school holidays and long summers. Finally, moms and dad can support budding techies by signing them up for a challenging robotics course, where children will enjoy meeting other people their age who are fascinated by programming, coding, and/or design.

 

The Importance of Nature

 

Richard Louv, expert in the benefits of nature and author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, greatly laments the blunt way that children in the modern world have been deprived of a relationship with nature. Countless researchers back Louv’s claim that nature has the ability to calm, increase focus, and excite the senses in unique ways. When you children get home from school and finish their homework, why not head into the Great Outdoors for an unstructured play session?

 

Practical Skills

 

At school, children can miss out on vital practical skills that will come in handy for the rest of their lives. These include cooking, sewing, gardening, and basic mechanics. You can really give your children’s self-confidence a boost by giving them problems to solve at home: a faucet that needs changing, raw chocolate that needs preparation, a garden that has veggies that are their responsibility to grow and tend to. Kids don’t have to be a master of any one skill, but if they can be a ‘jack of all trades’ and work alongside you, all the better!

 

How to Calm Oneself

 

Placing children into a ‘quiet corner’, as is often done when kids are in preschool or in the early school years, enables them to collect their thoughts, but we can really help them sharpen their ability to emotionally self-regulate, by teaching them mindfulness-based activities. You might like to start with controlled breathing; there is a wide array of free apps that guide children through short pranayamic breathing activities. Learning how to inhale slowly, and exhale even more slowly, really helps bring the heart rate down and stops the ‘fight or flight’ response in its tracks! Other interesting holistic activities include yoga, kids’ meditation, and Tai Chi.

 

Although teachers have a wealth of valuable knowledge to pass on to your kids, don’t forget that you, too, can help make them whole, happy adults by teaching them the importance of other abilities, hobbies, and skills. Learning to value nature, developing important practical skills, and cornering the difficult art of emotional self-regulation are just three life lesson you can pass on. What other skills would you love to pass on to your children?

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Top Ten Bicycle Safety Tips for Children

17 Dec

We recently received instruction from Safe Kids on proper Bicycle Safety. We thought we would share with you the highlights of what we learned.

Top Ten Bicycle Safety Tips for Children

  1. Children should always wear a helmet for all wheeled sports activities. “Use your head, wear a helmet.”
  2. Ensure proper fitting by bringing the child along when shopping for a bike. Select one that is the right size for the child, not one he or she will grow into.
  3. When children are sitting on the seat of the bike, their feet should be able to touch the ground
  4. Before riding, making sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work, gears shift smoothly, and tires are secured and inflated properly
  5. It can be heard for children under 10 to judge speed and distance of cars, so limit riding to sideways, parks or bike path
  6. Kids learn from parents, so wear your helmet so they wears theirs
  7. Tell kids to ride on the right side of the road with traffic and not against it. Use appropriate hand signals and stop all signals and signs.
  8. Stop and look left, right and left again before entering a street or crossing an intersection. Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind you before turning left
  9. Make sure you child knows how to put on their helmet. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and not rock back and forth or side to side. The strap should always be buckled.
  10. When riding at dusk, wear reflective shoes or clothing. Use a front headlight so other motorists can see them.
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Do Need To Do A Plagiarism Check?

16 Dec

Are you an educator that needs to double check a student’s work authenticity? Have you tried Plagiarism Check? We recently stumbled upon the tool and it works quite well. You can upload one page for free to try it out. The service is not a subscription and your purchase packages – you are done once you are out of pages. Here is a full list of plagiarism tools Leading Hands Through Technology did previously.

Follow Three Simple Steps

  1. Register and upload
  2. Wait for a check
  3. Review the results

https://plagiarismcheck.org

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Twitter Photo Search

10 Dec

Are you looking for a quick way to search Twitter for an image? If so, then you need to try Twipho! You simply log into your Twitter account and start searching for images. Remember some images could be inappropriate!

http://twipho.net/

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