Twitter, my Nemesis

Why I don’t use Twitter:

1.) My opinions cannot be condensed to 140 characters

2.) Strunk & White’s ode to punctuation

3.) #hashtags and their rules are a monstrosity

4.) Justin Timberlake told me so

So I say:

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Google’s Fall Rollouts

You could go to one of the many Google blogs and be distracted by flashy ads invading the side panel of your screen and be bombarded by Facebook notifications of useless polls and updates. Or you can let me highlight Google’s big announcements below. Still here? Good.

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Quickoffice
Editing a Microsoft® Office document, let’s say Excel, is not that easy on a Google Nexus tablet, or any Android device for that matter. Sure it’s easy to view a document with Smart Office, but you cannot make changes. Google introduces Quickoffice, free to use and easily integrates with Office and Drive.

Note: Everybody likes free swag. So when you log into Google Drive from your Quickoffice account by September 26, 2013, you’ll receive an extra 10GB of Google Drive storage.

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Google Keep
I use my Google Keep post-it app daily and now it syncs seamlessly with Google Drive. Also recently rolled out, Google Keep features time and location reminders you can set to your checklists. For example, I can make a grocery list on my tablet in Google Keep and with a click of a button, it is accessible on my PC via Drive to print out for the grocery store. I can also be notified of such a list when approaching the destination thanks to Google Now location reminders.

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Open edX
Google teamed with edX to “further innovate” the open source MOOC platform. Both companies have the same goal: to accelerate education by making it accessible through technology. With this shared vision and Google as a contributor to edX’s new website MOOC.org, students will hve access to quality learning.

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Chromebooks
In an effort to make college education more affordable and accessible, Google is partnering with colleges to offer reduced priced Chromebooks. Twenty percent of school districts deploy Chromebooks with Google towering the market at the $300 price mark. This school offers Chromebooks fully equipped to its students with a price tag under $200.

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Google Translate
The latest version of Google Translate for iOS recognizes handwritten text in nearly 50 languages. I can literally use my stylus to handwrite umlauts or Chinese characters rephrased letter by letter.

The brain behind Google Engineering – Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil, futuristic thinker, TEDTalks, SXSW speaker, and founder of Kurzweil Education Systems. He is the man who thinks he will live forever and inventor of the Kurzweil Reading Machine, developed with optical character recognition (OCR) technology and text-to-speech software for sighted and blind people.

In 2012, Larry Page hired him as the director of engineering at Google. Following my last post, Kurzweil is working on projects with machine learning (AI) and natural language processing.  By 2029, Kurzweil hopes artificial intelligence will be able to recognize human emotion and advanced syntactic parsing.

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For clarification, [Kurzweil]:

My mission at Google is to develop natural language understanding with a team and in collaboration with other researchers at Google. Search has moved beyond just finding keywords, but it still doesn’t read all these billions of web pages and book pages for semantic content. If you write a blog post, you’ve got something to say, you’re not just creating words and synonyms. We’d like the computers to actually pick up on that semantic meaning. If that happens, and I believe that it’s feasible, people could ask more complex questions.

Kurzweil is using Google as a catalyst to propel artificial intelligence into the future. With great anticipation, I can’t wait to see Google’s transcendence into machine learning research.

Two things you didn’t know about Google

Did you know the Google Nexus phones have built in gyroscopes?
According to Wikipedia, gyroscopes are tools that measure and maintain orientation of an object. Nintendo uses this for the motion action sensors in Wii MotionPlus and handheld portable Nintendo 3DS for added gameplay.  When you swipe your finger across the screen of your tablet, this is an example of roll, yaw, pitch, or the principles of angular momentum: a disc spinning on an axis with only its device’s orientation remained constant. In simpler speak, it’s why our smart phones, tablets, iPods and PCs have touch screen display. You can magnify, slide and tap your display to change the direction of a view without changing the orientation of your device.

Did you know the new version of Google Glass has no tethering?
Tethering shares the internet connection of one mobile device with that of another. A mobile phone can pick up the same signal as a nearby tablet with WiFi (aka HotSpot) or Bluetooth capabilities, allowing users to hack the net for free. The newest edition of Google Glass no longer requires a tethering plan and therefore, there is no competition amongst data providers. Googlers will have the ease of instant connectivity without all those 3G/4G network nuisances. An app enhancing Google’s UI will transfer data between devices with no need of a USB or the above-mentioned WiFi-accessible location.

Math in the Realworld

Do you remember math class in middle school or how about high school? I remember sitting attentively, yet struggling even in college to make sense of these difficult mathematical questions, thinking how can I relate to this problem in order to solve it. This was Introduction to IT and I had no idea why I had to learn amortization tables in excel as a creative writing major.

I believe content developers struggle to find suitable assessment questions and material that not only is relevant, but engaging and invokes thought. Learning should be fun (ignore reference to corny cliché) and encourage students to explore other avenues with math and science backgrounds. Prime example is the budding interest to get children (and especially girls) involved in STEM or STEAM deciplines. For example, computer programming, video game development, robotics, and anything Minecraft.

Mathematics should address problem solving in the realworld. Real World Math, a free website presents lesson plans for teaching with Google Maps. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego just got a whole lot better. Educators can use Google Maps to discuss distance formulas from point A to B, enhance geography lessons with satellite images and real-time street views, and plan travel adventures, navigating through twists and turns of Google traffic and subway lines.

What are some other tools that help make math fun and meaningful in and out of the classroom?

What’s in a name?

Each year Android chooses a new name for its operating system and creates lifesize replicas of these tasty treats on their Google Campus lawn. These clever monikers are not chosen at random, but in alphabetical order. Resembling sugary sweets that health conscious foodies might be offended by, here is a list of diet-friendly approved names. Perhaps Kale Krunchies, Chickpea Cookies and Spinach Smoothies can make the cut.

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Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty is the reason we buy Apple — for its clean lines and simple designs.  It establishes a buyer’s trust in a product and secures repeated purchases. Google has been ensuring their brand loyalty with edible treat names since the acquisition of Android back in ’05. [My own brand loyalty: If I have to buy sneakers, they are going to be Puma and if buying a car, you better bet it’s going to be European – either the Swedes or the Germans.]

Current Dessert Releases
Cupcake – Pink frosted delight
Donut – Chocolate jelly with multicolor jimmies
Eclair – For french pastry lovers
Froyo – Softserve vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Gingerbread – The XMas fav
Honeycomb – TM of Post Cereal, circa 1965
Ice cream sandwich – Strangely happy looking creature
Jellybean – Weird green minion dude
KitKat – The lifesize chocolate bar

Predict future names here:
Cronot
Whoopie pie
Peanut butter cup
Lollipop
Root beer float
Marshmallow s’more
Willy Wonka bar*

*Nestlé signs an advertising campaign with Google for candy bar sweepstakes.