Monthly Archives: March 2011

Practically World Famous!


Check us out on CNN!  Mario Armstrong discusses technology and seniors in a CNN Saturday segment entitled “Internet Savvy Seniors.”  That is our VisionBoard2 White, ladies and gentlemen.  How cool are we? Practically world famous!

Show Season

It’s that time of the year again. Chester Creek gearing up for a flurry of trade shows this spring.  First on the list this year is the NSSEA.  This is the National School Supply and Equipment Association’s Ed Expo, down in San Antonio.  April 7-9, this show is running at us head on.  Meg, Kathy, and our newest colleague, Paul, will be attending.
Ed Expo is the world’s premier Back-to-School purchasing event, specifically geared toward helping the educational products/ parent-teacher retailer, cataloger and full-line distributor find the best teaching tools and resources for the classrooms of today, tomorrow and the future.
Providing an unsurpassed opportunity to see thousands of products and to comparison shop, Ed Expo is the ideal venue to exchange ideas with peers and keep a pulse on the market. In short, Ed Expo is vital for those who want to stay involved in our ever-changing industry.
Only at Ed Expo will you find the ultimate mix of networking, exhibits, and workshops all designed to help you and your business succeed.
Most of the attendees are the people who supply schools with their needs, rather than the schoosl themselves.  As such, we’ve got several meetings lined up with specific groups.  That said, there will always be someone at the booth to talk and answer any questions anyone has.
We’re very excited about this expo – even more so than usual because this particular show encourages exhibitors to donate some of their show items to the Kids in Need foundation, rather than shipping them back home.  We are happy to say we will be donating several items to this charity foundation that works “to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need.”

Spanish Keyboard

I honestly cannot say enough how cool I think this idea is. Spanish Keyboards. For homeschool or public school or just those learning Spanish. Maybe as a companion to Rosetta Stone, which you see in so many school and homeschool catalogs. These  keyboards are almost just like standard keyboards, but include the special characters for Spanish. They are also colored by character set to help those who may be less familiar with the keyboard. This way, students can learn to communicate in Spanish over their whole day, not just in school.  Plus, so many more advanced students have this challenge:  writing an assignment or essay in Spanish.  Hard enough already, right?  Then add in the need to have it nicely typed, either for teacher preference or because of poor handwriting.  Now you’ve added in the hassle of copy-pasting  special characters in, interrupting the flow of learning and typing.  With a Spanish keyboard, that goes away!  That easy.  And there is no software, these keyboards are plug and play!  That means you can plug the Spanish keyboard in when you want it, and plug its English counterpart back in when you’re ready.  Isn’t that cool?!  Check out our other products at www.chestercreek.com or call us for more info at 218-722-1837!

“Keyboards are disgusting”

Keyboards Are Disgusting – http://www.xkcd.com

Its true.  Short on incredibly interesting and engaging things to say today, I thought I would share one of my all-time favorite time-wasters with you.  http://www.xkcd.com  They are hilarious over there.  And I love this strip, because it is so true.  Please, do not actually try this.  At least not over your face.  Unless your keyboard is nearly new, you will be showered with eww-inducing particulate.  Don’t risk it – unless you have a handy-dandy keyboard seal, of course.  Then go right ahead, you are safe as a …. well.  Something really safe.  Because these things keep all the eww out of your keyboard, no problem.  Plus, you can wipe them down with just about any sort of industrial strength disinfectant out there.  For all you germaphobes.  (I am not pointing fingers here, by the way; I may join you.) 

Tablets

As Apple rolls out its new iPad 2, competition waits anxiously.  While the first iPad faced virtually no competition in the tablet market, its predecessor is diving into churning waters.  The new device boasts two cameras, a slimmer build, video streaming to AppleTVs, and many of the features the iPhone4 included.

However, in order to be successful, this tablet will have to not only convince new buyers of its superiority, but also sway current iPad users to upgrade.

Competition includes the Motorola Xoom, Galaxy Tab, LG Slate, Acer Iconia, Dell Streak, HTC Flyer, BlackBerry PlayBook, and Playstation tablet, all of which bring something different to the table.  And what’s more, many of these have been on the market for a while.  Certainly Android, the competing operating system, has a leg up with so many devices running its software.

What do you think?  Do you have a preferred OS, hardware manufacturer, or specific tablet?

Do you think these devices had a place in schools?  How about for assistive tech?

The Pro

The last couple days here at work, I have been using a LessonBoard Pro.   This is one of our newest products.  The keys are all colored by which digit one should be using to press them.  I’ll admit, although I type reasonably quickly, I do not type well. And there is a difference.  When I type, I use my ring fingers almost not at all.  And my pinkies, I use only for the “stretch” keys, if you will.   So with my thumbs, index, and middle fingers, I type at a moderate pace – about 70 words per minute. I know that sounds pretty fast.  But sitting here at my desk for the last few days, I have been trying to type more correctly.  While the adjustments I am making (paired with the lack of labels) is slowing me down a bit, I can feel how much smoother the typing goes.

This is going to be a learning process.  I only wish I had learned things right in school.  We had typing class, of course, but the software has no idea which fingers you use where.  Since I didn’t particularly care either, at that time being a rather average typist for a third grader, I learned some bad habits that I bump up against a million times a day.  They tangle me up, slow me down, and get my letters switched around – ask anyone I email on a regular basis.

So now, I am relearning to type.  And its not as hard as one might think.  But I am so glad I’m not using those typing diagrams from elementary school this time around.  I can actually see where I’m going.  It’s sort of like turning the lights on.  And that said, the lack of labels isn’t really so bad for me.  But then, I’ve been using a keyboard hours a day for the last decade.  Pausing to look for the letters is probably responsible for a food third of my normal typos.  Once I get my fingers going the right places, I’ll be flying.