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Finger Zoom in Adobe Reader on Surface Pro

For years, my tablet was an Android device. If some text in Adobe reader was too small, all I had to do is zoom over a paragraph using two-finger spread. The focus stayed on the paragraph immediately after the zoom. Does not seem like a huge computational problem: first get the coordinates of touchdown, then zoom, then re-center to keep the original touchdown in place. So, why or why does the same Adobe Reader wants to jump to the center of a page after zooming on Surface Pro? Now, it’s two actions: first two-finger zoom, then one finger slide back to where you were reading. And, if you happened to zoom too much, your original spot is not that easy to find. Perhaps, there is a setting somewhere in the deep preferences corners to solve this, but sure not easy to find, if it is there.

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Updates Utopia

As I am typing this post, my desktop is sluggish. Another update is going on in the background. As a matter of fact, in the last three days I mostly used desktop Windows PC, Windows tablet, and Android phone. My tablet forced an update that slowed me down last morning. My desktop updated a large program, which resulted in about 5-minute slow down. My phone seemed to always be updating something. And, it was just a matter of random chance whether my text app or maps or email on the phone were slightly sluggish because something was also updating in the background. There were random program update offers too. I was in the middle of doing something else at the time, but was sidetracked into getting “the new most advance and secure” version that looked identical to the old one in my naive “user view”.

So, from now on, I am updating my “terms of use” of all software out there that I am using. It would be in the best interest for our continued relationship that software provider is allowed to disturb me with updates only on the last Sunday of a given month at 3 am by my time, wherever I happen to be. This agreement will supersede any our prior agreements. This generous offer on my part will be replaced with a more restrictive terms of only twice a year update allowance, if software providers do not honor this agreement.

Ya right… this is going to work. Back to reality…

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Canon EOS Rebel T6 Camera Review

Canon EOS Rebel T6 camera is easy to use and relatively easy to learn. If you will allow the camera to do its magic and use only automatic features, the images will come out very nice. Of course, the manual mode is where fun begins.

Big letter “M” in the beginning of mode selection dial helps find the manual mode. Side of the lens that camera kit comes with also has a switch to change the lens into the manual mode. Shutter speed control is relatively easy to find as curved arrows make you look for the wheel just behind the shutter button, which will adjust it. ISO level has its own dedicated button, so not a big challenge there. Aperture control is the only one that is a little tricky. AV button has to be held down as the wheel behind the shutter button is adjusted to change the aperture.

If all else fails, the camera comes with a thick instruction manual. And, of course YouTube is helpful as usual.

Battery charged in two hours and seemed to last over two days of use with plenty of charge left. Transferring images was easy as well. Plug it into USB port and Windows 10 recognizes the camera without downloading anything.  A red light in the corner of the camera blinks when file transfer is taking place.

In summary, initial impression is positive. Canon did a good job on Rebel T6.

Tree shadows in water

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Unity 2018.2 Review

Unity 2018.2 is a game development environment that is a major development  platform in this field. There is a free version that is available for small aspiring game developers.

Installation is fairly straight forward, but like any other big package, takes a while.

An option to do tutorial right at the first start is a wonderful idea and I went ahead and clicked through the first two tutorials.

In all fairness, I so far, only spend an hour on this platform and will probably give it another chance. The points that are a bit confusing are the following.

The tutorial explains that GameObject is the primary point of interaction with this software. This is very understandable as Object Oriented Programming is ubiquitous everywhere. The tutorial also explains that GameObjects have Components. Ok, naming this whole set “Features” or “Attributes” may be a bit more clear, but it seems that each of the components has those as well, so we are at three layers of complexity here. Is each component an object within an object? Well, does not matter.

The really confusing part is “Assets.” Why are those separate? Why another layer of complexity? Unity Asset Store has some free models to download. Well, so far two different downloads did not work. Something happens, but way too quick. One of those deals, where you keep wondering if there was “Exception” type “please do not crash” code in there somewhere. Going back to the store and trying to download again results in “All assets from this package are already in your project.” Manually browsed to the Assets folder in the project, nothing there, except for the generic SampleScene stuff. Manual web pages did not help so far, as they seem to refer to some different 18.2 version from what got downloaded.

By the way, placing a project straight into Documents folder, at least on Windows 10, is not exactly an organized way of doing it. Having a separate working Unity folder would have been better.

So, overall, Unity seems to be functioning and probably worth a second look after some more tutorial viewing/reading. But, it is a good idea to check out the competitors before proceeding.

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Help Kids Stay out of Trouble

I remember my friend struggling with one of her kids. She was so frustrated and did not know what to do. As a parent myself I understand that sometimes is very difficult to point out why our children behave certain ways. I mentioned to her that she needs to pay attention to her kiddo, what I mean by this is: is the child always behaving like this or only at certain places? From then on you as the parent can come out with a plan on how to help improve his or her behavior. And whatever you do, do not pay attention to what others say. Concentrate on how to help him or her. Assumptions are not good.  Children as they grow they want their independence. My little one always wanted to do everything herself. Even now she still insists that she is right in certain situations. This behavior makes me happy because I can see she is getting in and out of situations. But what about when they start disrupting the class or they continue interrupting when I am talking with another adult. Most kids do this, but when you talk to them and explain they usually understand and follow directions. But what if they do not listen? What if the trouble in school keeps repeating? How can you find out when it is really a problem? When to take action?

When I see my kiddos, I see two little angels, how can this cuties misbehave at school, restaurant, grocery store, or anywhere else. Again, because they are growing up they will try their independence…and this is great but as a parent  we need to monitor their behavior because sometimes it changes. If we do not explain to them when they misbehave. Many times, we as parents do not want to see the reality of things. We want to see our kids behaving properly always, but the truth is we always need to encourage a positive and acceptable behavior not just in school but everywhere else. After all, we are their parents. Our job is to guide them for their future and many years from now we would be able see the beautiful, kind, respectful humans that we had guided. We as parents are like their mirror, they will repeat and act how they see us, this includes peers and friends. 

I always explain to my kids the importance of school and what to expect from them. I let them know what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not. Sometimes I have to really explain because they need to know that for every decision there is a consequence. For me and my husband  is very important to continue the same rules at home. If my boy shows good behavior at home he will most likely display that behavior in school. My grandma always gave me this quote: ” Remember, the apple does not fall far from the tree.”

I told my friend to talk to her child’s teacher. It is very important to hear what the teacher says about your child’s behavior. I notice many parents say how can their teacher know the child. Guess what? I have always seen the teachers like a second parent to my kids. They spend most of the day with them. For me, is very important to have a good connection with them. I like to hear what teacher has to say about my children. If there is a problem, the teacher will be able to help me correcting my child’s problem. When my kiddo was in kinder garden the teacher called me and said that he had hit another child. At home my kiddo is an angel. At the park, he always shared. So why would he hit? First, I asked him…he only said that the other kid was bad. I decided to go to the teacher and we came out with a plan. She monitored them during class…nothing happened. At lunch time I decided to go and talk to the teacher one more time. As we were walking in, we saw my son’s classmate kicking him under the table. The teacher decided that she needed to know why this boy was kicking my kiddo. It went on for a few days…it turned out that the boy was stealing my kid’s food and my kid had enough of the kicking. After we solved the problem my boy was very happy and I never heard another complain. They even became best friends.  Again parents, good communication with teachers is detrimental.

If their behavior has not change, try to keep records if possible just for a while. This will allow you to find the problem. It has really worked for me. If you find out that there is a pattern, it will be easier to help. Again, I will mention their teacher, they will  notice the child’s behavior at school. Maybe the child gets out of control in certain subjects. It could be that the child is getting nervous about certain things in class or lessons. Maybe they have a difficult time learning new material and do not know how to ask for help. It could be that somebody is saying something that gets them sad or angry and they react. 

The point is that if you want to figure out how to help them pay special attention to the times that they are acting up. If the child is getting in trouble at school, something might be bothering him or her. Maybe your child feels left out. Maybe math or another subject is giving him anxiety. Maybe is not school, and you need to look in other places outside school. Maybe there are changes at home. I asked my friend to pay attention to his sleeping time. I asked her if he was sleeping thru the night or not. I told her to do what I do: ask them what is their favorite time of their day and their worst. And why? Usually once I know what my child is going thru I am able to help more efficiently. You will be able to come out with ideas and solutions to help.

When to Worry

The point is not to worry, unless the child has no patience and gets angry way too often. Another signal is when the child acts against your authority and does not apologize or has any remorse. Ask the teacher if your child is aggressive with peers and how often he disrupts the class lesson or if the child is not participating. You can see this at home too. Is he getting in trouble always.

Most kids will listen and follow what their parents and teachers ask of them. Children need to feel that you as a parent or teacher are there to help and guide specially when they display their independence and their behavior.

*By the way, my friend found out the problem…her kiddo was having trouble when the teacher was asking him to work a multiplication problem on the board. When he was not able to do it, the kids were teasing at recess. Therefore, the child kept on acting up. Once it was solve, the teacher told her that he was listening and he was happy.

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Evolution of MOOCs

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are a relatively new invention. Pioneered by flagship educational institutions worldwide, MOOCs are now offered by many universities, colleges, and other enterprises, big and small. The usual topics that are covered by these courses are computer sciences, math and other basic sciences, marketing, and numerous others. Of course, quality varies, but in general, the courses were started by well established educators who were able to find time and resources to create cutting edge, high quality content.

Many high quality courses were free in the beginning. There was an option to pay for a verified certificate for some. As time progressed, the dynamics have changed. More and more courses are appearing that either put a time limit on free content, or require registration fee upfront. Some platforms always used paid models.  Now, even the platforms that had predominantly “free, open to all” type philosophy are being gradually changed.

This is natural. As users flood free platforms, operating and maintenance cost increases. As demand for content gets shaped by what students are looking for, more content needs to be developed.

It will be interesting to see how MOOCs evolve further. Will they become an advertising tool for colleges and universities to attract students or will they morph into new educational venues, where students will be able to get better knowledge in a subject, not a degree in a subject from a university.