Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gift Giving Tips

    As the shopping season is upon us ( at least for a few weeks until the New Years, St.Patricks Day and Easter decorations hit the shelves) many people ask about what to buy on Black Friday or CyberMonday and which do-dad is best. To this end here is a list of things to consider before buying anything.

Will children/dogs/in-laws hide, eat, chew, break, wash, demolish, walk away with, lick, or destroy it ?
Many times things happen to my stuff that I end up feeling like  I should have known better than to show off my new Ipod to my 2 year old who was sticky fingered and holding a sharp object at the time.  Be smart about what you give and ask for.

Now what ?
I normally don't like to shop big box stores for technology as they do not always have a good way of servicing things except by mailing them away for a month or more. But one year we did buy a nice computer and printer from a chain store because it was the only store in 100 miles where my parents would be able to return it and get ink for the printer. Thinking about what happens after the unwrapping is done is what makes you a good gift giver.

But Grasshopper I want one now!
Often times new tech comes out in the Spring, so you might be better off waiting a few months for the new release of the latest Ithing. Ask the retailor or search online to see when the new models come out. At that time prices on the now "old" models will be less as well. Personally I believe that birthday's are the time to shower people with the best gifts, less competition. please.
Just as many parents stay up late the night before to assemble gifts for their kids, many of us kids stay up late trying to troubleshoot technology for our parents. If you are the tech person in the family, assume that will be your job to help your dad figure out how to use the remote, download a song & enter in phone contacts on the new toys you bought them.  (P.S. Also, make sure the big screen fits in your parents car. A story for another day.)

A note about Thanksgiving.
I know this post skipped over all the things I am most thankful for, fear not , I will be telling them all (in person) tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Good News First !

Good News !

Yesterday was GIVE TO THE MAX DAY for many charities and as part of, the Minnesota Literacy Council raised thousands of dollars to help support our literacy work!

A mighty Thank You All to our supporters!

The Bad News

We have two Dell 713w inkjet printers and after putting in a new ink cartridge and printing 50+ pages it told me the official Dell ink cartridge is not authenticated and refuses to print.  (sigh)

This has been an ongoing issue for both printers, about every third time we put in a cartridge it gives us some sort of error. The first time they actually sent out "new" (refurbished) printers. Now, we contact the help desk, troubleshoot, then they send us a replacement ink cartridge.

Unfortunately the wasted time and frustration has led me to say... Bad News Dell ! I, as captain of this blog, officially do NOT recommend your 713w printer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New font designed for readers with dyslexia

I normally don't like to re-post what others have written and have been meaning talk to a few reading experts about this (but have not found a good time to connect) so I want to post this before I forget and the info does not get the attention it may well deserve.

The Dutch design firm StudioStudio has created a typeface that can be read by dyslexics more easily and with fewer errors. For the full story

Using Google Docs

Thanks to all who attended the Google Docs training last week!

In one of the sessions, people had a hard time getting signed up for a Gmail account which I think makes it frustrating for people trying to learn Google Docs. An idea occurred to me (sadly after the training had finished) to use my Gmail account to invite others.

I would like to hear anyone else's comments on using the invitation feature in Gmail.  Is it easier than just signing up ?  Is there any downside to using it ?

Looking forward to learning from your experiences and comments!

Inspiring Leadership: Volunteer Management Conference

Do you have plans for Friday, November 4? Cancel them! 

Attend the 2011 Volunteer Management Conference presented by the Minnesota Literacy Council!

What: A one-day conference focusing on volunteer management issues in adult literacy programs.
     An awesome day of enriching, entertaining, sessions!

Who Should Attend: Volunteer coordinators, managers, teachers, and other staff members involved in volunteer management/support.

Where: Minnesota Department of Education, Conference Center B, 1500 Hwy 36 W, Roseville, MN 55113
    Home of Barry, Astrid, Brad, Todd & other education luminaries!
For more information: