BOOK EM

We watched an interview with James Patterson, the best selling mystery writer. (This guy’s office would make a neat freak weep with joy.) He said he insisted his eight-year old son read a book a week all summer. It stuck. Years later he got a perfect score on the verbal part of the SAT exam. So did Bob. This runs counter to the current millennials and even some earlier gens, who don’t read much at all. What’s a mother, or father, to do? Recent numbers from the Pew Research Center say a quarter of Americans don’t even read a book a year. This is not a reflection on their intelligence; one of the smartest guys Bob ever knew is an […]

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FUN WITH WEBSITE NAMES

We learned some interesting things about websites. For example, the minimum length for a website ending, which refers to the site’s “domain,” is two letters. There are more than one billion web sites and every possible letter combination has been taken. We went to GoDaddy.com to verify this and searched on tv.tv. Sure enough, it’s taken, though apparently it isn’t being used. (If you go to tv.tv, it just hangs there. It’s sort of a no-show show.) The domain name “tv” is for the Pacific island country of Tuvalu. Domain name sales are big business. HomeAway.com bought VacationRentals.com for $35 million back in 2009.  You can buy the website name “TV.xyz” for $3,250. “TV.lgbt” is $4000. We know a few […]

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THE CROWD “SOURCERESS”

“Crowd-sourcing,” also called “crowd-funding” is like found money. Instead of one sponsor, you have hundreds, perhaps thousands of strangers donating to your cause, with few strings attached. A new book, “The Crowd-sourceress” by Alex Daly, ($17 at PublicAffairsBooks.com) offers advice on how to do it. Over 100,000 projects have been funded by Kickstarter.com, one of several crowd funding services, since it began in 2009. We are talking big bucks here. It’s common to hit a couple hundred thousand and can sometimes bring in a couple million. This has even drawn the attention of major corporations, like Samsung, General Electric and Hasbro. Because after all, there’s no interest charge, unlike borrowing from a bank. Sometimes there’s also no accounting. When you […]

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SKY MATH FOR KIDS

“Sky Math” for iPad acts as a child’s virtual math tutor.

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LEARNING LANGUAGE THROUGH SONG

Lyriko is a free app and a fun way to learn Spanish or English through songs. More languages later.

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LINKING CHILDREN TO SCIENCE PROJECTS WORLDWIDE

GlobalSchoolNet.org links children worldwide for science projects and cultural experiences. A current project looks at the problem of plastic in the oceans.

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MUSIC TUTOR APP

“Music Tutor Sight Read” is a free app for Android phones and it’s getting Joy playing the piano again. The app offers quizzes so you get better at recognizing notes in sheet music.  It helps if you’ve already had some music lessons and need a refresher. “Music Tutor Free” for iPhone/iPad is similar.

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BACK TO SCHOOL APPS

Some of these are for students, some for teachers. It will be obvious what goes with whom. — “Notability,” $4 for iPhone/iPad, lets you create notes, bring in pictures, music and video, and highlight your text. — “Nearpod” allows teachers to send surveys, ask questions and present slides. This has over 100,000 users. —  “Schoology” allows teachers to share assignments, and lets students receive test scores. Already has 500,000 users. Are there that many digitally hip teachers? (iOS) (Android) — “Google Drive” is great for storing documents. Save stuff online at drive.Google.com. No matter what machine or phone you’re using, you can still access your stuff. — “Reminders” is Apple’s to-do list. It has a lot of tools for tracking […]

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CURIOSITY STREAM

CuriosityStream.com claims to have the world’s best documentaries from the BBC and other channels around the world, plus original programming. The first month is free, then it’s $3 a month if you want to continue. But you have to give them a credit card for the free trial — and we never like that.

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ECONOMICS VIDEO ENDORSED BY BILL GATES

Economicprinciples.org has a 30-minute video explaining economics. It’s recommended by Bill Gates and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

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