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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

The Best Graphics Ever

I am sure many of you have seen the stick figures all over the net, some on TV and I note one building in Whangarei has them on their signage.

Okay, okay… I know you want to know where to get them from… Then you need to go to Presenter Media  and you will get The Best Graphics Ever, well that’s my opinion.

You can get Power Point Templates, Animated Graphics and just the standard pictures as well.

The other place I mentioned in the video is Morgue File. This place has amazing pictures. Wow they will blow you away and unlike Presenter Media most of the Morgue File pictures will cost you nothing. I also mentioned on the video to be careful with the sizes. If you use a picture on your website and it seems to take a while to load then you would be best to change the file size.

If the graphics are not animated for you, then maybe change browser and take a look they are really excellent, high quality and with Christmas coming up I see they have many different options there as well.

The Best Graphics Ever

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10 Emerging Education Technologies You Should Know About

With educational technology, social networking and agile apps are all the rage. Whether it’s a group of students collaborating on a project or a research team seeking out resources around the globe, today’s EdTech essentials are all about keeping in touch. The emerging products, companies and high-tech tools on our list are all designed to make life easier for online teachers, students and researchers. Take a look.

  • Knowledge Transmission: This Cambridge-based team aims to deliver the best social learning experience in the world. To do that, its developers are hard at work on mobile products, like Kigo Apps, designed to prepare students for TOEIC practice tests. The company creates a number of digital products for online learning and boasts a powerful back-list conversion, which makes it simple for you to bring many of your low-tech tools into the digital age.
  • Scholrly: Where do you go when you’re looking for solid research? Scholrly founders hope you choose their brand-new search site. Co-founder Corbin Pon says, “When we talk about neighborhoods, we know that there are communities of related research that are not always easy to see and explore.” The creators of the engine, currently in beta, hopes to revolutionize the way scholars and garage inventors alike find data.
  • Instructure: Online learning veterans know that organizing a web-based classroom requires a complex system. That’s why Instructure created Canvas, a features-rich platform featuring a speed grader, an online testing manager and other simple-yet-powerful pedagogy tools. Based in Salt Lake City, this Learning Management System (LMS) newcomer is led by CEO Josh Coates and co-founders Brian Whitmer and Devlin Daley.
  • Skitch by Evernote: You already love the note-taking powerhouse. Now meet Skitch, the sketching tool that makes it simple to make your point using built-in arrows, shapes and quick sketches. The tool moves flawlessly from phone to desktop to tablet. Evernote’s team — including CEO Phil Libin and founder Stepan Pachikov — are banking that their products will help the world communicate easier.
  • Desire2Learn: Simple meets sophisticated; that’s the Desire2Learn philosophy. Their Learning Suite 10 offers an intuitive user interface, beautiful course homepages and an easy way to make podcasts and downloadable presentations. Desire2Learn was founded in 1999 and — through partnerships with companies like IBM and Adobe — aspires to stand at the forefront of advance educational technology for years to come.
  • Udacity: How many robotics engineers does it take to reinvent education? At Udacity, the answer is three: David Stavens, Mike Sokolsky and Sebastian Thrun, who use their unique backgrounds to think big with distance learning. (How big? Think 200,000 students per class.) The system includes Google’s moderator service, which allows students to vote on the best questions for instructors to answer.
  • The SNAC Project: Believe it or not, there were social networking sites before Facebook. Their remnants — newspapers, corporate publications and personal histories — are scattered across manuscript archives and libraries around the world. The Social Networks and Archival Context Project hopes to change that, creating methods and tools for matching and combining records, creating timeline-map histories, accommodating languages other than English and more. Before long, you could find the menu from a picnic in 1950s Idaho without leaving your deck chair.
  • Mendeley: Manage your research, collaborate with other academics and bring your bibliography online with the tool designed to make life easier for grad students and professors alike. The site, co-founded by Dr. Victor Henning, Jan Reichelt and Paul Föckler, already boasts over 1.7 million users and above 242 million documents. And, unlike EndNote and RefWorks, Mendeley’s basic software package is free.
  • Moodle: This user-friendly course management system from Australia is designed for both purely online schooling and blended courses. Moodle is open source, and volunteers take charge of much of the development process. The end product is easy to customize for large and small courses alike. Martin Dougiamas, the creator of Moodle, thinks of his LMS as an infinitely-customizable Lego-world for educators.
  • SlideShark: Love your iPad, but hate having to switch to a laptop in order to view presentations? SlideShark offers an elegant solution. The free app retains the fonts, colors and graphics of your PowerPoint presentations, allowing you to show on the go and work anywhere. The app is made by Brainshark, a company founded in 1999 by Joe Gustafson and designed to change the way students and businesses work on the road. SlideShark looks to be the perfect solution for online college presentations on mobile devices.

The tools above have one important thing in common: they’re all designed to evolve and adapt with emerging technology and shifting student and teacher need. You’ll find new innovations in the EdTech space every day, but it’s safe to say that the minds behind our list are a good place to watch for the next generation of smarter schools.

This is a post from Online Schools.

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BlackBerry 10 L-series tutorial videos surface online, give a literal peek at the future (video)


BlackBerry 10 Lseries tutorial videos surface online, give a literal peek at the future video

Those of us who’ve used a BlackBerry PlayBook will be familiar with the inevitable first-boot tutorials showing how to navigate the swipe-driven interface before we’re let loose. Thanks to a series of demonstration videos leaked by BlackBerryItalia, it’s apparent that we won’t escape that educational process on BlackBerry 10 devices, either. The four clips show the basics of what we know the gesture experience will be like on full-touch L-series phones, including the signature BlackBerry Peek to check notifications and the unified inbox. Anyone looking for a direct clue as to what production BlackBerry 10 hardware will entail might be frustrated, mind you — the rendered phone appears to be a placeholder rather than the L-series or a Dev Alpha B, and the device name is censored in an attempt to protect the source. That said, the clips provide a very straightforward explanation of the new interface concept and give us one more indication that RIM is closer to launch.

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by: Jessica Sager

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus seems to be enjoying her time on the small screen. The former ‘Hannah Montana’ starlet recently wrapped filming a guest arc on ‘Two and a Half Men,’ and now she’s in talks to play a bank robber in ‘Bonnie and Clyde!’

Cyrus is currently meeting with directors to discuss taking on the role of Bonnie Parker in the upcoming Lifetime/History Channel dual project, per The Hollywood Reporter. The miniseries will be the first to air on both the History Channel and Lifetime (both of which are AETN networks) and will be helmed by ‘Smash‘ directors Neil Meron and Craig Zadan — does that mean it’s a musical?! (We sorta hope so!)

‘Bonnie and Clyde’ will be the next in a series of miniseries and cable movies featuring marquee names. Kevin Costner won an Emmy for his work in the History Channel miniseries ‘Hatfields & McCoys,’ while tabloid queen Lindsay Lohan got her first starring role in what seems like forever as Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Liz & Dick.’

It appears that television is a kinder medium to Cyrus than movies have been lately. Her last feature film, ‘LOL,’bombed following a limited release. We’re glad to see more of Cyrus — and we don’t mean that in terms of her leaked nude photos, either!

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My preventive mastectomy: Staying alive for my kids

By Allison Gilbert 

Allison Gilbert and her mother, Lynn, in 1995 on the day Gilbert got engaged. Her mother died two months later from ovarian cancer.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Author Allison Gilbert shares why she chose to undergo a double mastectomy after testing positive for the breast cancer gene.

I’m not a helicopter parent and my children would tell you I don’t bake cupcakes for their birthday parties. But I’d readily cut off my breasts for them — and recently, I did.

Removing breast tissue uncompromised by cancer is relatively easy. It took the breast surgeon about two hours to slice through my chest and complete the double mastectomy seven weeks ago.

The time-consuming part was left to the plastic surgeon who created new breasts out of my own belly fat so I could avoid getting implants. Total operating time: 11.5 hours. And I don’t regret a second.

The decision to have surgery without having cancer wasn’t easy, but it seemed logical to me. My mother, aunt and grandmother have all died from breast or ovarian cancer, and I tested positive for the breast cancer gene.

Being BRCA positive means a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer is substantially elevated.

“Patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have 50%-85% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to approximately 60% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer,” according to Karen Brown, director of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Gilbert at age 5 or 6 with her mother on a ferryboat.

By comparison, the lifetime risk of breast cancer for the general population is 13% and 1.7% for ovarian cancer.

CNN iReport: Tested for the breast cancer gene?

At my gynecologist’s urging, I tackled the threat of ovarian cancer first. Because the disease is hard to detect and so often fatal, my ovaries were removed in 2007, a few years after my husband and I decided we were done having kids.

The most difficult part of the operation came in the months that followed: I was thrust into menopause at 37. Despite age-inappropriate night sweats and hot flashes, I was relieved to have the surgery behind me and wrote about it in my book, “Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children.”

The emotional release was short-lived. Less than a year later, my mother’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and died within four months.

Aunt Ronnie’s death set me on a preventive mastectomy warpath. I had already been under high-risk surveillance for more than a decade — being examined annually by a leading breast specialist and alternating between mammograms, breast MRIs and sonograms every three months — but suddenly being on watch didn’t seem enough, and I began researching surgical options.

Gilbert, her husband, Mark, and their children, Jake and Lexi, at a birthday celebration.

Regardless of my family history and BRCA status, I still went back and forth on having a mastectomy. I vacillated between feeling smug and insane.

Over the years, I’d read too many stories like the one in the Wall Street Journal last week, on doctors who make fatal mistakes (up to 98,000 people die every year in the United States because of medical errors, according to the Institute of Medicine). I was anxious about choosing a bad surgeon and a bad hospital.

The stakes felt even higher after I decided to go an unconventional route to reconstruction. Implants generally offer a quicker surgery and recovery, but they’re also known to leak, shift out of place, and feel hard to the touch and uncomfortable.

I would also likely have to replace them every 10 years — not an unimportant consideration, since I’m 42.

Ultimately, on August 7, I underwent double mastectomy with DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap reconstruction. The benefits would be that my new breasts would be permanent, made from my own skin and flesh, and I’d be getting rid of my childbearing belly fat in the process.

Gilbert and her husband, Mark, near their home in Westchester County, New York.

I had multiple consultations with surgeons who explained every reason not to have the procedure. They warned me that I’d be under anesthesia unnecessarily long and I’d be opening myself up to needless complications.

While every concern was valid, it wasn’t until I was six doctors into my investigation that I realized the likely reason why I was getting such push-back. The plastic surgeons I was consulting, despite their shining pedigrees and swanky offices, couldn’t perform a DIEP. The procedure requires highly skilled microsurgery and not every plastic surgeon, I learned, is a microsurgeon.

It also requires a great deal of stamina. The doctors I interviewed who perform DIEP flaps were generally younger and fitter than those who didn’t. On average, a double mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction takes 10-12 hours, while reconstruction using implants can take as little as three.

In total, I met with 10 surgeons before choosing my team, and while I am now thrilled with the outcome, all the years of research and worry took a toll on me.

The worst moment came one night when my husband and I were in bed. I began to cry uncontrollably and wished I could talk with my mother and aunt about which procedure to have, which doctor I should choose, and whether I should even have the surgery.

Gilbert's Aunt Ronnie and Gilbert's daughter, Lexi. Her aunt died from breast cancer in 2008, four months after the diagnosis.

Then a moment of bittersweet grace clarified what I needed to do. It struck me that the reason I couldn’t speak to my mother and aunt is exactly the reason I had to have the surgery.

Undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy was a great decision for me. It’s clearly not a choice every woman would make, but I’m convinced without it I would have been one of the estimated 226,000 women the American Cancer Society says is diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year.

I could have tried to eat my way to a cancer-free life, but even Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the popular vegetables-are-key-to-health book “The China Study” admits diet may not be enough to protect BRCA patients from cancer.

Gilbert and her husband, Mark, at a basketball game.

“We need more research,” Campbell told me. “Conservatively, I’d say go ahead and have the surgery, and eat a plant-based diet after.”

I also could have waited for a vaccine, a pill or some other medical advance to come my way that would have made such a radical decision avoidable.

Perhaps MD Anderson Cancer Center’s newly announced war on cancer will produce positive results for patients who are susceptible to triple negative breast cancer, the type of aggressive disease likely to afflict BRCA1 patients and the kind my aunt most likely died from.

Gilbert's children, Jake and Lexi, in Tikal, Guatemala -- the last family vacation before Gilbert's surgery.

But every surgery substitute seemed locked in hope, not statistics. And as I’ve told my husband and children, I wasn’t willing to wait. I love them more than my chest.

My preventive mastectomy: Staying alive for my kids

Chris Brown Sacrifices Himself In ‘Don’t Judge Me’ Video

CHRIS BROWN “DON’T JUDGE ME” from Riveting Entertainment on Vimeo.

By Colin Greten

Chris Brown released the video for his latest single “Don’t Judge Me” on Thursday (September 27), and the clip finds him in the military, asking everyone listening to do exactly what the title says.

Brown is shown walking through the desert and sitting in front of a couch with a woman sleeping behind him. As the song continues he goes to a military base as he preps for a mission that is described as “suicide.” The singer has to do this “for his country and his planet” as he hops into a space shuttle that is then hurled towards a massive alien ship that is very close to earth.

He begins to weep and destroys the ship by crashing into it, incinerating himself in the process. He leaves behind the woman on the couch that could be seen as a symbol for his ex, Rihanna, as the song continually asks for forgiveness for his past indiscretions.

Whether this song is for Rihanna or his recent girlfriend Karrueche Tran is unknown, but the video has a futuristic look and feel and is sure to make his fans cry with him as he makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Chris Brown Sacrifices Himself In ‘Don’t Judge Me’ Video

AT&T Shoved a Touchscreen in Its Latest LTE MiFi Hotspot Because, Hey, Why Not!

by Adrian Covert 




Wanna know the quickest way to make any mobile product more tantalizing? Give it a touchscreen! And that’s exactly what AT&T and Novatel did with the 4G LTE MiFi Liberate, packing the finger-friendly tech into a form factor that looks like a Magic Trackpad.

Though its likely not the most desired or necessary of features, the better screen could mean that it’s easier to configure and manage the network directly from he device, instead of some crappy desktop software. Pricing and availability is still TBD, but it will be available only from AT&T. [AT&T]

AT&T Shoved a Touchscreen in Its Latest LTE MiFi Hotspot Because, Hey, Why Not!

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SNAPSHOT: Mariah Carey Hits The Studio With R. Kelly [PHOTO]


mariah carey and r. kelly in the studio

Mariah Carey is having a less than “Triumphant” moment with her new song and is on the hunt for another hit. The songbird has enlisted none other than the Pied Piper, R. Kelly to help her achieve that goal. Mariah who is in Chicago for the “American Idol” auditions, was side by side with Kels in the lab.

Mariah tweeted:

Me and Kells in the lab in Chi town working on a new song!OMG-his voice sounds A++&

I’m hoping that it’s a collabo between the two rather than a produced by R.Kelly hit!

SNAPSHOT: Mariah Carey Hits The Studio With R. Kelly [PHOTO]
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Bad Hip-Hop Covers: 5 Terrible Renditions From Rednecks, Grannies & More — Watch

by Caitlin White

In an age when Youtube has actually become a platform to launch the careers for new artists, the number of people uploading videos to the site has spiked dramatically. Some artists have used the platform to successfully pursue their dream of becoming a musician. However, the number of those people who are actually good is relatively small. But this doesn’t stop the masses from covering their favorite songs and desperately posting their mediocre renditions in hopes of gaining recognition.

The bad videos become viral and the result is usually a laugh fest. Many of these visuals are a result of grannies trying their hand at rapping and rednecks doing the same. They love Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Kanye West, too. Yes, hip-hop isn’t just for people in the Bronx where the genre originated. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at 10 of the most ridiculously terrible hip-hop covers below.

1. Watch Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa” Covered on the Ukulele

Style is everything and certain messages usually work better with specific genres. That’s probably why Notorious B.I.G.‘s well-known pimp celebrating jam “Big Poppa” works really well with a smooth R&B beat and B.I.G.’s velvety vocals. Somehow a ukulele just doesn’t lend itself to discussions of “blunt passing” and which “honey B.I.G. is going to creep with.” However, technically, this guy isn’t actually bad at playing the ukulele or singing, so he’s got that going for him. Its just that a ukulele and Biggie are an even worse combination than the “cheese, egg and Welch’s grape” jelly he raps about.

2. Watch Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” Redneck Version

It’s practically a scientific fact that there is nothing more hilarious than making fun of rednecks. Therefore, taking a song from the suavest of them all, Snoop Dogg, and superimposing it with a country twang and a slideshow of extremely ridiculous backwoods photos is a perfect cover idea. The song is actually sung by country band the Gourds, straight out of Austin, Texas. Sometimes combining two things like this from completely opposite ends of the spectrum is so weird it almost becomes good again.

3. Watch Dynamite Hack Cover Eazy E’s “Boyz N The Hood”

This video features what could basically be described as the male counterparts to the characters in “Clueless.” Eazy-E would either be turning in his grave or laughing along with these cheesecloth preppies with their acoustic guitars and fake Greco-Roman mansions. Watching a guy in an argyle sweater banging a tambourine while a soft male voice croons on about a 12-gauge is an experience in itself.

4. Watch Brett Domino Cover Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”

First of all, this video makes use of the astonishing “instrument” called a skoog, which can be examined in detail here. Moving on from that bizarre instrument, the decision to re-make Outkast‘s hit “Hey Ya!” which is one of the most ear-worming tracks ever made could only have disastrous results. No one can pull off the role of MC like Andre 3000 does on this track, turning the repetitive chant of “Alright Alright” into something enjoyable to listen to, and working skits into the song with an ease that is downright uncanny. Watching these two British nerds botch the classic is pretty funny though.

5. Watch Bricka Bricka Cover “Hard in Da Paint”

See All The Boombox Galleries »

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A New Google App Gives You Local Information — Before You Ask for It


Google has created a new mobile app that gives people facts about the places around them — unprompted, without the need to even ask for the information.

The app, Field Trip, offers historical trivia about a park, an architectural factoid about a building or reviews of a nearby restaurant. Google says it’s like having a local friend with you as you make your way through a city.

“The idea behind the app was to build something that would help people connect with the real, physical world around them,” said John Hanke, a vice president of product at Google who runs a small lab at the company building location-based and social mobile apps. “It’s always running in the background, so it knows where you are and is always looking to see if something interesting is in your immediate physical environment.”

While the app might seem small, it reveals a lot about the big directions Google wants to go.

Google, along with other companies and researchers, dreams of so-called ubiquitous computing or ambient intelligence — computers woven into the texture of life as opposed to being separate machines. Eventually, the theory goes, computers will be part of the environment, know where people are and anticipate what they want to know.

The Field Trip app is a small step in that direction, and an example of what Google is capable of doing. Another is Google Glass, the Internet-connected eyeglass frames with a small screen. With Field Trip, Google is trying to move beyond the first generation of mobile apps, which were not much more than desktop transplants, Mr. Hanke said.

Google wants to “move the device out of your way and put the information front and center,” he said, so people can “scan the environment and know what the Web knows about the places around you.”

Fans of “Iron Man,” “The Terminator” or William Gibson’s science fiction will recognize this idea of augmented reality, he said. “What we’re doing is essentially building the information framework and tools to enable that kind of experience in the future.”

More immediately, Field Trip is a big step toward helping Google get its services and ads in front of mobile users. While it has long been a dream of advertising companies to deliver ads to people on their phones when they are near a business, that is still relatively rare. But with Field Trip, Google is able to show restaurant reviews from its Zagat service or sell deals from Google Offers or city tours from Vayable, all based on a person’s location.

In addition to Google’s own services, most of the information in Field Trip comes from a few dozen publishing partners, some esoteric, including Arcadia Publishing, Atlas Obscura, Curbed, Eater and Cool Hunting.

Field Trip uses signals from nearby cellphone towers to determine a user’s location. Its users can choose from which publishers they receive alerts — so they could turn off alerts for Google Offers, for instance — and how frequently they want to receive them. They can also choose not to receive alerts, in which case they open the app to find information.

Users can also ask Field Trip to read them notifications if the phone is connected to a headset or Bluetooth or if they are driving — and the app will determine on its own that they are driving based on how fast they are moving.

Mr. Hanke, who co-founded Keyhole, a mapping start-up that Google bought to help it develop maps, was the head of Google Maps for several years. Last year, he decided he wanted to leave Google to found another start-up. But Larry Page, Google’s chief executive, persuaded him to stay, Mr. Hanke said, and start a small lab in San Francisco. He named it Niantic Labs, after a ship that traveled to San Francisco during the Gold Rush.

Field Trip is available for Android phones; Google is working on an iPhone version. To introduce the app, Google on Saturday is playing host at parties in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis for people to explore the cities. Attendance is free. Registration is at

A New Google App Gives You Local Information — Before You Ask for It

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