Christchurch Earthquakes and Modern Education

There has been a big push in this country to get away from the old-fashioned concept of learning “the three R’s: Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic.” Almost all of our schools have abandoned the idea of teaching cursive writing because the gurus of education have decreed that it is more important for a child to learn how to type because everything is now geared toward the computer and texting; they say that cursive writing is time-consuming and not as useful as the keyboard skills.

In my previous articles, I have addressed the importance of learning these fundamental skills and not being dependent on electronic gadgets. I took issue with our students not being held accountable for learning basic math and not being able to count out change from a purchase without the electronic printout from the cash register telling them how much change to give the customer. My contention has always been that there may come a time when we will lose power for very long extended periods of time.

As we all know, Christchurch, New Zealand was hit with two horrendous earthquakes recently. The devastation has been horrific, the second one being more devastating than the first one; the infrastructure has been severely compromised and buildings have crumbled to the ground with occupants falling to their death. For such a small country, the damages in terms of life and property have been extraordinary.

Living conditions in Christchurch have become unbearable with aftershocks continuing all day and night, every day and night. There is no potable water, sewage is collecting in the streets with nowhere to drain off, people who have lost their homes have nowhere to live, there are no first aid supplies on shelves, people are buying survival items, and there are power outages that don’t look like they will be restored any time soon.

All of which brings us back to my original concern about people who are so dependent on electronic gadgets that they can’t function without them. Electricity is not an inexhaustible resource yet we treat it as though it is. When educators tell us that it is more important for children to learn how to type on a keyboard so that they can send text messages, and learning cursive writing is irrelevant and takes up too much time, then either we have the wrong educators in charge of education or we have a society that can’t think beyond the text message they are sending.

As of now, the schools in Christchurch are closed. At least 25% of the population can’t use their computers or their telephones. They can’t get on the Internet, and their cell phones are silent. Their typewriting skills remain dormant, rendered useless by the power outages. Fortunately for the citizens of New Zealand, students are still learning how to use longhand so they can at least write letters to their loved ones to let them know they are safe. If they can find food on the supermarket shelves, they can at least count out their money to purchase some.

If this crisis should happen in America at a time when our students are no longer learning how to use cursive writing, and they are being taught that their math skills are not essential because they have calculators that always give them accurate readings, our society will cease to function in a meaningful way. Instead of being capable of embracing the information highway we will be entering the Dark Ages of Modern Technology and the Stone Age of Modern Education.

by Connie H. Deutsch

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Don’t Make A $300 Digital Camera Mistake

There are hundreds of different digital cameras on the market, all of which claim to be the best camera to buy. There are, however, many factors that should be taken into consideration before you make your next digital camera purchase, to make sure you don’t make a mistake and pay a great deal of money for features you won’t use or even need.

Megapixels is one of the first things buyers look at when making a digital camera purchase, since many camera companies claim their camera has the most megapixels on the market. Although this may be true, the number of megapixels actually has very little to do with the overall quality of the picture. There are many other factors camera buyers should be looking at before making a purchase, and megapixels should actually be last on the list.

How easy the camera is to use should be the first consideration, especially if one plans on using the camera on a regular basis. It should be simple to take a picture as well as use many of the features, such as person recognition, scene setting, color changes, and all of the other settings the camera has to offer. There is no point in spending a great deal of money to get the best camera on the market if it is awkward to use, so make sure it is user friendly before making the purchase.

The quality of the pictures is probably the second most important factor to consider, since nobody wants a blurry picture when they are trying to capture something amazing. Image stabilization is the most important feature that any digital camera can offer, since it is pretty much guaranteed that your pictures will come out crystal clear. It allows you to take pictures in situations that would normally require a flash, but they still come out looking as clear and detailed as the actual item you are trying to capture.

Many digital camera manufacturers say their camera has shake reduction software, but this offers nothing compared to true image stabilization. Shake reduction usually uses ISO settings, which can actually make the picture appear grainy rather than crystal clear. Even though it may help to filter out the picture when taking it in an unstable setting, the picture will look nothing like the actual frame being captured, and will actually look like it was taken on a low quality camera.

The zoom capability is the final factor that should be taken into consideration when making a digital camera purchase, since almost everyone would like to take a clear picture from far away. The camera should have a respectable amount of zoom, which is normally in the range of about 3x. It is preferred to have 4x or above as this will give you the best pulling power.

It is important to take all of these factors into consideration when making a digital camera purchase, to make sure you are not wasting your money on features you don’t need. By buying a camera that is easy to use, contains a respectable amount of zoom, and has image stabilization, you will be sure to get every penny’s worth when making your digital camera purchase.

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Computer Monitors – The Best LCD Monitor

An LCD monitors are a popular choice for people looking for new computer monitors because the display is brighter and the colors pop, which make an LCD monitors perfect for looking at multimedia files. However, many people have difficulty when deciding what type of these monitors is the best for their needs. What makes finding the best LCD monitors so tough is that there are many of these computer monitors in all sizes and prices, each with various features. With all of the endless options, it is no wonder shoppers become confused when looking for an LCD monitors.

First of all, you should take a look at the overall appearance of the computer monitors you are interested in buying. And even though you probably want a nice looking monitor, there is still more to think about than its attractiveness.

Basic Computer Tasks

You must also consider how you plan to use it when you are shopping for LCD computer monitors. For example, if you need one for just searching the internet and performing basic tasks, you do not need the best LCD computer monitor that comes with tons of bells and whistles. So you should look for computer monitors with screens between 17 and 19 inches. And of course, a good LCD compute rmonitor will not hurt your eyes and will make text and graphics appear sharp, clear, and colorful.

Artistic Tasks

If you are a graphic design artist, you will definitely want the best LCD computer monitor on the market for all of your art and editing needs, which means you will need to look at the higher priced, higher end models. Computer monitors with a minimum resolution of 1280 x 1084 will be your best bet. Also, try and purchase from among the highest monitors that fall within your budget. These monitors allow users highly detailed views of graphics.

Entertainment Tasks

Widescreen LCD computer monitors are perfect for those wishing to use their computer for entertainment value in addition to everyday work. The best LCD computer monitor will show video clips, television shows, and movies as if they were being played on a large screen. And if you really want to bring something extra special to your movie viewings, think about purchasing a high definition computer monitor.

Business Tasks

Now, if your computer is strictly for business purposes, you will still need to purchase a monitor according to what type of business you work in. If you work with spreadsheets and databases all day long, regular LCD computer monitors should fit the bill. But if web design is your field of specialty, you need something a little bit better.

However, before you march up to the check out line with your new LCD computer monitor in tow, be sure you have conducted thorough research, including reading reviews on specific computer monitor models that have captured your interest. And if you have decided to make a purchase online, take a look at the LCD monitor in question at the store first. As long as you adhere to the above advice, you will definitely be able to choose the best LCD monitor for your computing needs.

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Social Mobile Media to Be Next Big Thing

When I started one of my first websites, it was impractical to be continuously adding content everyday, so I set up a guest book to allow users to add content instead. Years later, someone coined the phrase blogging and blogging became the big thing. At the time, I remember hearing the phrase for the first time and learning what it meant, and I thought to myself, “I was already doing that.”

Since the late 1990s, I always owned a bunch of websites. Over the years, I learned the secrets of traffic generation and Search Engine Optimization. So much so that web host after web host would tell me that my website crashed due to traffic overload. I was on the economy package and to allow the amount of traffic I was bringing to their servers would have required me to be on a high traffic package. Those were the good ones. Most of them would just shut down my website or suspend my account and punish me for traffic spikes. Quite foolish but that’s the reality website owners have to live with. Recently I’ve noticed some web hosts claiming that this is precisely what gives them their competitive edge.

So I started backing up my websites on my hard drive. Guess what happened. Yes, that crashed too, again and again. This was back when I was using Windows instead of Mac. (I’ve since fixed that problem.) So I got fed up and decided that I would no longer store anything on my hard drive and that everything had to be stored online. So I created a number of free storage accounts and would save all my material there. This was my de facto cloud.

Software became increasingly available online so I would try to use online software as far as possible. The idea was simple: to be as independent as possible of any computer and to be able to work from anywhere. That was what “cloud computing” afforded me.

Some years later, I heard, at an ICT conference, the phrase “cloud computing.” I found this to be a most unappealing name. The perception of a cloud was always something negative. Every cloud has a silver lining. There is a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy. The prime minister’s vision is clouded by greed. I don’t know who came up with the term “cloud” but it is rather lame and negative-sounding.

So now, before anybody else comes up with a term for it, let me lay claim to the next big thing, not that I take part in it much, but I seem to be able to identify trends before they are labeled and marketed as “clouds” and “blogs.”

In my mind, I don’t need to come up with a new name for it. It already exists and you may very well be reading this article through it.

For marketability, however, let’s call it “smart media” because I believe the next big thing will be mobile social media. Everything is going to be happening on smartphones. An application will be created that will transcend all platforms. It will not be limited to BlackBerry or iPhones. It will be usable on all platforms. Twitter comes close to what I have in mind but it is still too complicated. The application will be a no-brain-required kind of app. It will be fast and in real time. Users will be able to get news, updates from friends and even free videoconferencing like FaceTime.

In my next article, I will tell you about another prediction. I believe people will revert to the rolodex and start writing things down again. As more and more computers crash, as more and more smartphones and tablets drown in the red sea, as newer and newer systems systems take root, as websites keep updating and upgrading, often to the chagrin of the user, the goo old pen and paper will resurrect, so that every time a device changes, the user would not have to try to re-enter all of his contacts’ and information.

Mark my words, this is what is coming next.

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