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Q: WyzAnt wants to know: What is your favorite quote about education and why does it stand out to you? A: One of my favorite quotes has always been: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -William Butler Yeats I think, a lot of time is spent in traditional public school filling pails, thinking about how boring it is to fill a pail, or staring at the classroom clock - hands clearly moving through honey - wondering how long it will be until you can go do something truly interesting. I wish more schools would focus on lighting a fire within the hearts of students, rather that forcing them to memorize and regurgitate facts and figures, and do well on standardized tests that really don't test actual knowledge, just the ability to do well on standardized tests. I also feel that if teachers were allowed to take the time to work with their students, and were empowered to make choices about the direction each classroom period... read more

During an unexpected one-day storm, years ago, several electronic items were destroyed in my house - causing a few thousand dollars worth of damage: * Air compressor in my air conditioning unit * Dishwasher * Crock Pot * Clothes washer * Stereo system amplifier * TiVo motherboard There may have been other items damaged in the storm, but these are what were noticed as having worked before the storm, and did not work immediately after the storm. The sad thing is, this damage could have very easily been prevented. Notice the distinct lack of computer-related devices in the list above? There are two defenses against power spikes (too much power at the electrical plug): * Surge protector * Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Only the UPS option gives you a defense against dips (lower than expected power at the electrical plug), brownouts and even blackouts. A UPS is what you want for your sensitive computer equipment. Each of my computer-related... read more

You would be shocked at how many friends, relatives and customers come to me with the same complaint: "My hard drive died, did I lose everything?" I've seen the entire range of emotions, and working through grief is a good thing. The sad thing is, these problems are completely preventable. * Here's the first lesson, even if you don't read any further: hard drives fail. I could expand that to say that everything fails eventually: your car won't drive for 100 years without a complete overhaul of most functional parts - making it virtually a completely different automobile; your home appliances will need to be replaced after a certain period of time; and each of your computer components will fail given enough time. The term mean time between failures (MTBF) refers to a guess (a prediction) of how long a specific component will run until it is likely to fail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_time_between_failures Your computer has many working/functional... read more

I help a lot of people with their computers: laptops, desktops, servers, you name it! With the diverse range of computer and life experience of my end users, I've noticed one topic keeps coming up: memory versus storage. It generally starts out with seemingly simple questions: "If I need more memory, shouldn't I just clean up some of my documents or photos?" or "I'm running out of space to store my music, do I need more memory?" Sometimes computer terms can be confusing, ambiguous or just plain gibberish. The nice thing about the memory versus storage confusion is that it can be resolved pretty easily. First, there are two types of memory: volatile and non-volatile. Volatile means that when you remove power from the device the information that is stored in that memory is forgotten, generally immediately. Non-volatile means that when the power is removed, the information stored there is remembered. When talking about memory, you are generally talking... read more

I'm a big fan of shortcut keys. Years ago, when I first started supporting Macintosh computers professionally, I started working with a team of graphic artists. Now, I'm a relatively fast typist, and am decent with a mouse or trackpad, but these graphic designers were fast - really fast. I couldn't figure out how they could perform relatively complex tasks in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on-screen so quickly that it almost seemed like a blur of activity. Mesmerized by the activity on the screen, I initially failed to look down at not only the mouse, but the keyboard. For the average computer user, the right-hand is primarily dedicated to using the mouse, switching back and forth when typing is required. Of course, the left-hand is used for typing as well, but what chores can you give this hand while the right-hand is busy with the mouse? Shortcut keys! I rarely use exclamation marks in posts, but I wanted to emphasize their usefulness. First and foremost, most... read more

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