Bringing this back

I had discontinued this for a while… but I realize now that may be a mistake. I’m going to be bringing this back. My intent is to start creating a lot of video content and publish it through YouTube. All of this will be free to use as an individual or as content if you are an instructor or teacher. I would greatly appreciate thumbs ups for content you find useful. I’ll probably start this back up at the start of the new year- and it’ll probably get a face lift at that time as well.

Thanks for staying interested.

For right now, I’m only posting content for two of my classes:
Digital Comm (Intro level class to creative software)
Web Design


Things to Consider and Stuff to Check Out

Avoid Brain Drain!

Studies have shown that students can lose 2 months of knowledge and growth from the school year through inactivity over the summer. Reading, using knowledge, and gaining new knowledge can help reduce that, or actually cause summer gains. The district’s reading lists are up on our school website already. As for other topics, consider checking out Khan Academy, specialized youtube channels, iTunes U, or a mooc or two.

Below, I’ve included some upcoming moocs you may find interesting. At the very bottom of the post, I’ve included a table of a variety of free online courses and content. Do something to stimulate your brain this summer.

Paradoxes of War, Advanced Competitive Strategy, Intro to Finance, Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Foundations of Psych, Food Nutrition & Your Health, Mining Engineering
Creative Coding, Forensic Psychology, Preparing for Uni
Inside the FIFA World Cup, Thinking Like a Writer, Math Refresh w/ College Tips

Articles related to MOOCs:


Some cool stuff to check out:

Code for America (includes Houston & San Antonio)
Regular people being involved in coding and coding events to make stuff better

Noiseless shell-shaped turbine, claiming an astounding 80% efficiency
for reference, estimate is ~15% efficiency on gasoline engines

A real life dropper tool; a pen that lets you steal colors in real life.

Graphene; the new super cool material
Super conductive, super strong, and super flexible- and could create a new wave of tech

Old, but still cool:
Best map ever made of America’s Racial Segregation
Just a really beautiful map, and interesting too; some tech went into creating it too

Some concerning stuff to check out:

Extinction Rates soar to 1000x normal rate
These numbers are a big increase from the previous estimates…

Smartphone/Computer Use Study
How much time do we spend each day staring at screens?
– Source: Mary Meeker’s report on 2014 Internet Trends

And with that concerning info about how much time we spend looking at digital screens, here’s a vast number of providers of free online courses you can check out…


More MOOC-ish Resources

Third Party Platforms
Canvas Network
Future Learn
MS Academy
Khan Academy
iTunes U
In Spanish
Miriada X
In French
In Russian

In Sinhala


MOOCs University
Academic Earth
Open Culture


Platforms by Schools
Carnegie Mellon
UC Berkeley
OU of Israel
Earning College Credit
In Chinese
In Spanish
In Vietnamese
GIAP School
Specifically for Educators
 Adobe Edu Exch NMC Academy



Recent Events

So, if you came by Friday. You’re aware that I wasn’t here. Friday & Saturday were the commencement events for Rice University. You can see some of the photographs from the events from their News & Media page. I know you guys attended our very own college-related event, Senior Signing. It sounds like it turned out rather well. See more on Rice’s 101st commencement. Learn more about Rice from their youtube channel.


SBISD recently uploaded the winning entries to the MediaFest. If you aren’t graduating this year, its something you should consider participating in next year. We had a couple students from here take awards. You can see the entries here.


Of course, SBISD isn’t the only ones who has competitions like this. Adobe, and others(National Design Awards & INT’L Design Awards for example), also have their own design awards. Some of the work is pretty amazing.


Other topics of interest:
US Cites Chinese Officials in Cyber-Spying Case
6 Flexible Jobs that Pay
– VG Consoles Cost Americans $400m Annually, when off

My Field Trip

Sorry if you tried to see me yesterday.

I was able to go to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). It’s hosted in downtown Houston, and is pretty incredible. ~80,000 people attend each year, tons of companies from all over the world with booths and representatives (some costing half a million), and some amazing technology on display.

Next year we’ll try to take some students, sorry Seniors. We tried this year, but we didn’t find out students could go until it was too late. There’s an incredible range and variety in technology and jobs related to the Energy industry. If you are a senior, and are interested in the Energy industry, I can share some things with you since you obviously won’t be able to go with us next year.

Notes from speaking with industry on what they are looking for in graduates:
– Take as many STEM classes as you can stand
(Science Technology Engineering Mathematics)
– Learn a second language (or more)
– Learn and choose to actually write properly.
– Learn to program.

Other issues:
– Kids don’t want to work outside. Some jobs are outside, these jobs are not being filled.
– All applicants take a drug test. If you fail a drug test, you are permanently black listed.

District Tech Survey

…The district would like to know how the secondary students in the district use technology.

They’ve created a google doc survey to poll the students in the district.
You can take it here.


Stuff to check out:
Seven in-demand jobs paying over $30 an hour
Finding a great career can be a terrific long-term proposition. But which careers should you be looking at? One thing to look for before pursuing a hopefully rewarding and long-lasting career is how…
Read the Article>>
Related Articles:
Best & Worst Jobs of 2014
Teen Job Interest Drops in STEM & Med


Whats popular in Web Design currently?
What web design trends do you think we’ll see in 2014? I’m betting on more simplicity, more cleanliness, and more focus on smaller screen sizes, among other things.
Read the Article>>


At Chernobyl, Hints of Nature’s Adaptation
The clicking sound from Timothy Mousseau’s radiation detector slowly increased as he walked through the forest here, a few miles west of the Chernobyl nuclear…
Read the Article>>


A fair amount of news happening right now with the Net Neutrality issue:

Netflix CEO Calls for Net Neutrality, Blasts Abusive ISPs
In a blog post this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings advocated for Net Neutrality and took ISPs to task for not doing the same
Watch the Video>>
Relevant video from February>>
Relevant Article from November>>


Why You Should Be Worried About Net Neutrality
If you like the way the Internet is now, I’ve got some bad news for you: Things may be changing. New rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission could mean...
Read the Article>>


Major U.S. Internet Providers Accused of Deliberately Slowing Traffic
Five major internet service providers in the US and one in Europe have been accused of abusing their market share to interfere with the flow of the internet for end users. The accusations come from Level 3, a communications company that helps connect large-scale…
Read the Article>>

Stop Using Internet Explorer

Update: Internet Explorer fixes come faster than expected- and for Windows XP too, despite MS recently dropping XP as a supported OS. Read the article.



Following the HeartBleed Bug from earlier this month… another digital security issue:

In case you use IE (Microsoft’s Internet Explorer), you should probably stop. A variety of users, for a long long time, have recommended ditching IE ¹ ² ³. In 2013, we were seeing articles ¹ ² claiming the Microsoft’s days of abundant security issues with IE are over. However, with a recently announced security issue, US Gov Homeland Security’s CERT, the UK Gov’s CERT, and AUS Gov’s Stay Smart Online all recommend ditching IE, at least for now. What version of IE has this newly found vulnerability?

Most of them… versions 6-11; and PC users with Windows XP or older will not receive any support on fixing this vulnerability, as Microsoft stopped supporting XP somewhat recently. This may lead the question, does the security issues with an OS (operating system) from over ten years ago really matter? Over 25% of computers are believed to be running XP still ¹ ². And how bad is this vulnerability? CNN Money explains it in pretty simple terms.

This is how it works: Hackers set up a website that installs malware when you visit it. If you’re duped into visiting the website while using the Internet Explorer program, malware seeps into your computer and gives a stranger total control. You might not even notice.
“I’d say someone taking control of your computer is just the beginning of the worst case scenario,” said Adrian Sanabria, a security expert with “Because then they steal your info, get access to your email, etc.”
That’s where the real danger lies. Anyone in control of your computer can spy on everything you do. If it’s a PC at work, hackers can reach into anything an employee has access to.

What should you do? First make sure you know and are aware of what browser you are using, and what version you have. That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t what browser they use, what version, or even how to check. Granted, they probably aren’t reading this… but still.

Know what your options are; sure, pretty much everyone has heard of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and if you use computers much you are probably aware of Safari and Opera, but there are tons and tons of options out there, including some whose main goal is focusing on security, such as Comodo Dragon or WhiteHat Aviator. It’s easy to find comparison articles ¹ ² ³, but its hard to tell if there is really a best choice.

However, maybe it’s better that way. With more diversified browsing applications, there are more varied security strategies, and as such, its hard for any one piece of malicious code to jeopardize our interactions. Just make sure you are using a frequently updated modern web browser, and, at least for now, that it isn’t Internet Explorer.

If you find stuff like this interesting, consider taking Digital Forensics (Digital/Cyber Security) maybe during your junior or senior year.