Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!

Pending and Permitted Shale Gas Well Pad Sites Grand Prairie, TX (December 18, 2012)

Grand Prairie, TX Shale Gas Pad Sites and Well Information Updates (12.18.2012)

To find the location for the documents above you need only go to the City of Grand Prairie, TX website.  Click on the tabs as shown below:

  Departments & Services/Services A-H/Gas Drilling.  Yes. That's it!  

And you can find it in alphabetical order between  

Garbage Collection and the  

Graffiti Hotline.  Click on over there and see for yourself

 It's a BIG Yee Haw!

Ladies - Get a bike that fits, please

Biggest mistake ladies make when buying a bike  -  buying an ill fitting bike. Happens over and over, even good cyclists buy bad bikes. Rule number one.....

1. NEVER buy a man's bike, ever, ever ever ever, no matter what the guy says in the bike store, always ask if this is a women specific bike or a man's bike

2. DO you homework before going, there is a new thing out, it's called the Internet!!! use it and do your homework

3. See my post on bike gears and get yourself a bike that you will use over and over and over

4. check out a few different bike stores, there is no need to spend a ton of money, a good bike can be had for around $1400, you are saying holy cow, that much, hey do you want this hobby or not, think how much other hobbies cost over a few years time, skiing, golf or a vacation, $1400 is cheap in comparison

5. higher costs for a bike are determined by the quality of gearing, not necessary to buy top of the line

6. frame, wheels etc all go into the cost of the bike

7. NEVER LET THE bike store owner tell you that you do not need easy gearing, trust me, YOU WILL NEED IT

See you on the road!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Plea for cyclists

Hey folks,  I have not died nor have I have I given up riding the ole bike. Just had a few setbacks - torn rotator cuff and broken ankle last May and surgery to fix it. Rotator cuff surgery this month, 4 month recovery and hopefully back to full time cycling. But I have squeezed in some riding since the broken ankle.

So why crank up the old blog now - well when I am out biking by myself, I get a chance to think about lots of things. Mostly biking things. Mostly safety issues when biking.  My motto - MAKE YOURSELF SEEN ON THE ROAD, RIDE DEFENSIVELY

So here goes my whining for the New year.........

1. ya just might be an unseen cyclist if you go out in an all black outfit, no one can see you, moron! get some day glo yellow or green, dress like a bumblebee

2. ya just might be an unseen cyclist if you have no light on your bike, get a good light, not some cheap blinkie light - use it day and night, I highly recommend the Dinotte 300R

3. ya might be an unsafe cyclist if you do stuff on your bike that you would not do in your car  such as riding up alongside waiting cars at a red light, stay in LINE, be like a car, take your place in line

4. ya might be an unsafe cyclist if you ride in large groups and make yourself one big pain in the neck on road, ever try passing a line of 15 riders on a back road in your car, come on man, split the group or pullover if you have a parade behind you

5. ya might be an obnoxious cyclist if you pass a rider and do not announce yourself,  now many of you guilty folks in this regard have never been passed, so you have zero idea how it feels

6. ya might be an unsafe cyclist if you ride in groups and forget to avoid riding down the center of the road, stay alert and stay safe

so my advice, stay safe, make sure the cars see you and know what you are doing and where you are going, use hand signals, get lights, get bright clothes so STAY ALIVE and bike courteously, share the road means just that - share the road, it goes both ways

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Madness in North Texas (December 2012) *UPDATES*

Saturday Afternoon in the North TX Burbs

This is the Construction Area for the Camp Wisdom Road Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) Site

 (AKA Pipeline Boring)

(No City or State Rules for Signage, Fencing or Inspections)

We're told by the Construction Manager that under that broken wood is a 40-45 Deep Hole. 

This is all for the Installation of the Gas Gathering and 

Transmission Pipeline Systems

in SW Grand Prairie and SE Arlington, TX.


It's All Within a Few Feet of Our Suburban Neighborhoods.

*UPDATE: For the Curious In the Audience* 

 During the week, Boots Smith Oilfield Services is doing this (click on the screen if it appears blank in your browser).  All of it under our streets & neighborhoods! 


Oh, in case you missed it, here's the Recent Industry Pornography  Obscenity

on Display in Fort Worth, TX and we hear it was/is up on the Dallas North Tollway, too. 

Downtown Fort Worth, Texas (November 2012)


As that Famous Philosopher Yogi Berra Often Said:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Looking forward to our Christmas program on Monday! Thanks to all for providing refreshments.

Would you take a few minutes to participate in a mid-year evaluation of our campus?

Please understand the intent of this survey...
The information gathered will be shared with Tutors where appropriate.
The information gathered will be used to improve different aspects of our campus, to make it stronger and healthier.

The information gathered will be used to help our campus make decisions for the future.

Please remember, if you have any frustrations or serious concerns, speak with me or a tutor in addition to completing the survey.

I will be sending the link to take this survey by email rather than putting the link on this blog. I'll be gathering all the responses by January 4th. I greatly value your feedback and appreciate your willingness to complete this survey! Thanks!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Surfacing & Best Buy?

Good news here. I have just received information that the "Microsoft Surface" which is basically only available at Microsoft's website will be available through third party retail outlets, including Best Buy starting in January. In addition to the easier availability the newer model of the "Surface" will come with Windows 8 Pro or to Windows 8 RT. I of course recommend the Pro vs. the RT.

It's important to remember that the "Surface" is the first piece of computer hardware made by Microsoft itself. This in itself is exciting. Once you have Windows 8 Pro operating on a Microsoft Surface I believe that this tablet will truly be a wonder.

Stay tuned for more dedicated readers.....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't Be Fooled This Holiday Season

The holiday season brings unsolicited email messages pretending to be from delivery services such as FedEx and UPS.

Ignore these! Do Not Click on any links in these email message.

If you do you will probably be sent to a malicious website.

Tip! If you do receive a message from FedEx or UPS and you are worried about a delivery contact the delivery provider directly. Do not respond through the email message.

This is a sample malicious message from FedEx.

Training Session 7

Thank You to everyone who attended today's technology training. For those of you who could not attend here is the slideshow we used.

You can make the slideshow full screen by selecting the outward arrow box on the far right of the bottom toolbar.


Time is Running Out for Windows XP

The Time To Upgrade is Now
Did you know that Windows XP has fewer than 500 days left to live?

The 11-year-old operating system will exit support April 8, 2014. What this means is that if you are still using Windows XP after April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer support the operating system which includes no more security patches.

Why are so many people continuing to use Windows XP anyway? Well I believe there are a couple of reasons.

1. Windows XP which was released in 2001 was a really good, crisp and easy to use operating system. It worked mostly the same for both consumers (at home) and corporate (at work).

2. Microsoft's follow-up, "Vista" (2006) was clunky, buggy and therefore never enjoyed wide acceptance in the marketplace. In addition the corporate world never adopted Vista which left out a huge customer base.

3. By the time Windows 8 arrived in 2009 many consumers had lost confidence in Microsoft due in large part to "Vista" and many simply delayed or refused to upgrade to Windows 7. This is unfortunate because Windows 7 was an excellent improved over XP and obviously Vista.

4. Windows 8 is only now premiering and it brings major changes to the Windows interface.

As a result of all of this Microsoft is ending support for XP and the pricing for Windows 8 upgrades have been set very low (about $40.00) in order to entice as many users as possible to finally move off of XP.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recent blog on Philadelphia Homeschool by Gwen Fredette...

"I'm always up with at least one kid every night.  It's night after night of interrupted sleep."
"It's one thing after another all day long."
"I feel like I never get out; I'm always stuck at home."
"My kids are always complaining; it's so draining."
"No matter how many times I explain it, my kid just doesn't understand this subject."
"My kids get on each other's nerves all day long."
"My house is always a wreck."
"I never get any time to myself."
"I'm tired of homeschooling my children!"

"Lord, I'm weary!"

Child of God, are you frustrated, disappointed, exhausted?  Leading your children is no easy task.  It may be comforting to know that you are not alone!   I believe most homeschool moms have felt the way you do, at least at some point in their lives.  There are also many noble examples in scripture of those who struggled with the children in their care, and who felt the same way you do now:

Moses: Exodus 17:4  "Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people?  They are almost ready to stone me."  Day after day, month after month, year after year, Moses had the difficult job of listening to the grumbling and complaining of the children of Israel.  God called them a "stiff-necked people" (Exodus 32:9) because despite the numerous times God provided for them and brought them through trouble, they always seemed to have something to complain about.

David:  2 Samuel 13:21 "When King David heard all this, he was furious."   King David was broken-hearted as he witnessed his children fighting, competing, and trying to hurt and destroy each other.

Paul: 2 Corinthians 11:27-29 "I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep;..... Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.  Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?  Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?"  Paul had the burden of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, his "spiritual children."  His job responsibilities included teaching people who did not want to listen (Acts 13:49-51), dealing with conflicts in the church (Philippians 4:2), people falling asleep while he was trying to preach (Acts 20:9), explaining things over and over to people who didn't understand (Acts 3:1 -4), and being stuck in a house for long periods of time (Acts 28:16).

Jesus Himself:  Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."  Jesus had the unfortunate task of gently reminding his disciples not to take the best for themselves (Mark  10:35-40), not to argue with his decisions (Mark 8:31-33), and not to doubt his words (John 20:27-29).  Daily the children of Israel didn't want to listen to him, or only listened because of what they could gain for themselves.

Child of God, has God called you to homeschool?  God knows your heart and feels your weariness.  He has seen your tears and your struggles.  He knows the task before you is great, but He will give you His strength to complete it.

Here are some words of encouragement for the weary:

Psalm 56:8 "Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll -- are they not in your record?"

Psalm 32:4; 8 "For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer....(The Lord said) I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."

Psalm 71:12 "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help."

Isaiah 40:29 "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Weary Child of God, don't give up!  God has plans for your family.  May you be encouraged by His words to you today, and may He carry you and your precious children in His arms, renewing your strength as well.

Happy Birthday Text Messaging

Happy Birthday text messaging! Although text messaging could be traced all the way back to 1920 when RCA introduced the first "telex" service the text messaging we have all relied on for years was born on December 3, 1992. It was on this day that Neil Papworth used a personal computer to send the text message "Merry Christmas" via a Vodaphone network to a cellular phone.

Fast forward to 1995 when paging services starting appearing everywhere. It was during the mid and late 1990's that text messaging really exploded. Just watch a movie or TV shows from this time period and you will often see the characters with pagers on their hip. These text messages were usually limited to 160 characters. Often after reading the text message the recipient had to then go find a phone. Just think about that!

As cellular phones became available and affordable in the late 1990's "pagers" started disappearing as text messaging become a service of the cellular phone itself. The popularity of smartphones in the mid 2000's ended the reign of pagers altogether.

Even with all the technical changes and enhancements since 1992 "text messaging" itself has continued to grow in it's use and with many of us is actually used more then actually using mobile phones for their primary purpose, "talking".

Services such as "Twitter" are an out growth of that very first text message way back on December 3, 1992.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Think Before You Click

Did you know that many programs--especially those that are free install additional software on your computer? First it is important to know why they do this. They do this as a form of advertising, and they may make some money off of it.

This situation gives you an additional responsibility, especially if you care enough to keep your computer running efficiently. If you're not careful about how you install software, you can end up with a lot of unwanted programs. In addition to causing your computer to slow down these programs leave messes all over your PC.

Here is one of the biggest questions I get. “Bill, why don't antivirus programs block these programs from installing unwanted software?” Well it is because these programs are legal, and because, annoying as they are, they're not anywhere near as bad as real malware or out and out viruses. In addition these unwanted programs don't hide their existence.

What's very important to know is that, in almost every case, you can install the program you want and bypass the unwanted add-on programs. You just have to pay attention while installing and stop clicking before you think.

A good practice when installing programs, especially free ones is that you should never select the "Typical" or "Automated" installation--which will almost certainly be the default. Select the Custom installation or a similar option. Then read each option through the install process and unselect any unwanted programs or add-ons from the install. Not only will you find you can unselect unwanted applications but this is where you can stop the madness of having multiple internet explorer toolbars and search windows. These also will slow down your internet browser.

In the end, the only way to protect yourself from installing unwanted programs and internet browser add-ons is by first, selecting the “advanced” install and unchecking any unwanted options. Think Before You Click!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Extending Battery Life This Holiday Season

Many of us travel during the holidays. When we travel we take our mobile devices with us.  These devices have batteries that often simply can't keep up with our busy lives, especially during the holidays . Even if you give yourself plenty of time to make it to make it to your destination, there is not much you can do if your flight is delayed or if traffic is backed up. Not only will delays make you late, but they could also deplete the battery life of your phone and tablet. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to extend battery life and save power.

If your smartphone has a battery case available that adds extra battery life I would recommend one if you travel. Most of these cases have a connector that plugs directly into the phone’s charge port, which is how they deliver the power. These will often triple the life of your battery!

There are also external battery packs. These are usually very small and usually connect your mobile device with a USB cable. If your smartphone does not have a battery case accessory available these are your best bet. These battery cases are also great for tablets.

Saving your battery's charge can be as simple as tweaking some settings on your phone or tablet.  Here are some changes you can make to prolong battery life when traveling. Each smartphone will have slightly varied ways in which to make these changes but I trust you can figure it out!

Dim the screen: Most phones include an auto-brightness feature that automatically adjusts the screen's brightness to suit ambient lighting levels and system activity. This mode uses less power than constantly running your screen at full brightness would, but you'll get even better results by turning your screen's brightness down to the lowest setting that you can tolerate and leaving it there.

Adjust your screen timeout: When your device has been idle for a certain amount of time, the screen shuts off and goes back to black, thus reserving precious battery life for when you actually need to use it.

Turn off Wi-Fi: If you're not using Wi-Fi, turn it off. Same goes for Bluetooth.

Turn off, or limit, notifications:  These are the popup notifications from apps such as Facebook, Twitter, CNN etc.

Minimize unneeded apps and options: Speaking of apps, kill unnecessary apps that aren’t in use. Because our smartphones are excellent multitaskers, they tend to keep apps running in the background until they are forced closed. Apps are heavy energy consumers. Once again each smartphone will have different methods of doing this.

Turn on Airplane Mode: This disables all of the wireless features of your device, including cellular data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and other location services. Therefor even if you are not flying and you want to simply save as much battery power as possible turning on this feature will help.

Turn off location services:  This will save a lot of power by disabling GPS services.

Turn off vibrate: Vibrating uses much more power than playing a ringtone does. It takes a lot of power to make your smartphone wiggle!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Unofficial Return of the Windows 8 "Start" Button.

One of the biggest complaints so far about Windows 8 is the removal of the start button. This is the little Windows button on the bottom left of your Windows screen which launchs a menu listing the programs available on your computer. While I can understand Microsoft's desire to lure you into their new Metro interface the removal of the classic start button is a mystery to me. Microsoft had to know that several free add-ons making a start button available would be quickly released. After only a couple of weeks post Windows 8 launch several start button applications have indeed been made available (for free).

My favorite is, "Start Menu 8". The software is designed to be as flexible as you need when setting up your own personalized start menu. You could almost use Start Menu 8 as a complete fullscreen replacement for the desktop, though that is certainly not the intended purpose. Start Menu 8 includes a somewhat unique feature, in that it allows the computer to boot straight to the desktop to give the whole experience a feel that is much more like “traditional” Windows experiences. Microsoft probably really hates this as it allow you to avoid the Metro interface altogether on boot.

The design is such that you should never feel the need to use the Windows 8 Start screen at all. Your programs, settings, and folder system are all accessible here, as well as all the Control Panel features and screen controls. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using the Windows 8 Start screen and switching between the two experiences is pretty simple, which is what I reccomend. Pressing the Windows key on the keyboard will still return you to the new Windows 8 Start, which neatly allows you to emplore both experiences.

Start Menu 8 is available for free, but there are no shortage of hooks in the program to try and get you to upgrade to the pro version.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Not Just Yet Windows 8 Phone

Windows 8 Phone I Hardly Knew You
The Short Life of a Windows 8 Phone

I was able to get my hands on a Windows 8 Phone and 24 hours later I found myself going back to my iPhone5. Why? After all I have been following Microsoft closely for the past year and I really like their push towards a unified operating system across all platforms. I also believe that the new Windows 8 operating system brings innovation to a company that only a few years ago was staggering in respect to the mass consumer market. Microsoft, with their Windows line of software and Outlook products has a stranglehold on enterprise customers. This is not in doubt. However the mass consumer market has been flocking in droves to Apple and a lesser degree Android. Microsoft obviously has made a decision to get into the consumer market game and I believe that they are on the right track. However, and this pains me to say, the Windows 8 phone is not quite ready for prime time. My experience is with the HTC Windows Phone 8X.

The Good

The operating system is a great fresh design. In place of flat icons you get "live" tiles that display content like news, weather and photos. The navigation has a great ease to it and it look really really dynamic. Moving the tiles around and designing your layout is also very easy. The "store" is also nicely designed and the process of finding apps, downloading and installing is also well thought out.

Out of the box, Microsoft Office is built in and is easily linked to your Skydrive and Sharepoint accounts. The setup could not be any easier and the application use is mastered in minutes. This I will miss the most.

The Bad

The HTC Windows Phone 8X is limited to a built in 16GB with no expansion slot. That's right. No expansion slot. This shocks me. In today's consumer market these devices are used for music, video and more. After the 3GB of space needed for the OS (operating system) you are left with under 13GB. This is simply not enough for many users and this alone will deter many from switching to this device. I also discovered that most Windows 8 phones are limited to the 16GB storage.

I admit it. I love my apps. The Windows store has about 120,000 apps while Apple's store has over 700,000. This will surely improve over time as developers start to write applications for Windows 8. The success of the app store will also depend on the success of the Windows 8 phones. It's kind of a "Catch-22" for Microsoft. Why would a developer take time and money to design a Windows 8 app if the customer base remains small? While at the same time, most users will probably remain with Android & Apple simply because there are more things they can do with those phones as compared to the Windows 8 phones. Microsoft needs to intice these developers as much as possible to write applications for their platform if they want to succeed in the smartphone market. I am hoping for the best here because I really do want to see Microsoft succeed.

The music app is a bit too complex. Music apps should have an ease of use quality. This is simply because users are often physically involved in other activities such as walking, running or working out while listening to their music. The Windows 8 built in app (remember Zune anybody), although nice to look at requires much thought & action then it should.

The Future?

Windows 8 is not going anywhere and Microsoft is working hard to push this into the marketplace. However unless the Windows 8 phone can be improved soon it will be DOA before it has a chance to succeed. This would be very unfortunate as with RIM's demise there is a real opportunity and need for a reliable work and home smartphone platform, other then Apple & Android.

I have not given up. I will be keeping a close eye on the continued development of the Windows 8 phones. The app store must grow & additional memory storage must be available otherwise I fear for this very capable smartphone platform.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! *UPDATE*

Delicious Anti-freeze


2860 West Camp Wisdom Road

Grand Prairie, Texas

November 18, 2012

Yummy Drilling Mud 

Next to Church & Soccer Field

at 2860 West Camp Wisdom Road



~ And for Dessert ~

A Tasty UNodorized Gas Gathering 

(or Transmission) Pipeline!

(Early November 2012.  This gas pipeline is being prepped for burial beneath Oncor Power Line Easement running through the middle of  one of our local suburban neighborhoods. The description of the plans for these pipelines mention gas gathering 

And/Or TRANSMISSION pipelines.

 More Turkey, Please!!


Whoops!!  Forgot the Gravy

The cranberries are in there, too!


♥♥ Bon App├ętit!! ♥♥

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What is a Classical Conversations Community?

 Need help building school records and transcripts? Check out this transcript service website:

A few class photos!




Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunset ~ South Grand Prairie, TX

November 2012*

*Click Here for  the important story "Made in Taiwan" on the Fishcreek Monitor.

And this one, too.  

Microsoft's BIG Year - 2013

The year 2013 is really really important in respect to Microsoft's future. Here are some of the highlight's of what is happening in 2013 with Microsoft. Microsoft is obviously hoping that these new products will increase their presence in both our professional and personal lives.


Microsoft's advertising campaign is actually catchy & fun which is something that Microsoft has always struggled with. Microsoft's new advertising campaign actually make me forget these 2 guys.

Windows 8

This new operating system which comes in various flavors will seemingly be everywhere next year. Windows 8 actually arrived in the last quarter of 2012. I have been using it for the past several months. This is a new and exciting operating system. Not since Windows 95 has Microsoft been this innovative. There will be surely be some push back from business. This is because it is so very different from prvious versions of Windows. However I believe it will actually be accepted in the business world much faster then Windows 7 was.

Windows 8 has 4 flavors. This will probably be somewhat confusing to the masses. This necessary due to the unique needs and abilities of each platform. However on the surface windows 8 will look and feel the same regardliess of the platform you are on.


The Microsoft Surface is the first piece of actual hardware Microsoft has built on it's own. This is big news on it's own merit. I have not had a chance to actually use one of these yet and the reviews have been admittingly mixed. I believe that the mixed reviews are the result of the limitations of the "Windows RT" operating system. The RT version of Windows 8 is simular in nature as Apple's IPAD operating system. Users are restricted to the APP store for applications. The Surface does come with Microsoft Office loaded however there is no Outlook. This is also be dissapointing to many.

However by the end of the year other manufactorer's such as DELL and HP will be releasing their own Windows 8 tablets which will be running "Windows 8 Pro" as opposed to "RT". This is the same version of Windows that PC's will be running. This version of Windows provides the ability to install any application, from any source in addition to access to the APP store. These tablets will begin the merging of tablets and laptops for the first time. These next generation Windows 8 tablets are the ones which should find success and the ones I am most excitied about.


Windows 8 smartphones are about to hit the market. These smartphones have been receiving high praise from most in the tech world who have had a chance to use them. With RIM reeling, these Windows 8 phones will offer the professional a new opportunity to use a smartphone that has the fun factor while being a powerful work device. With Microsoft Office and SkyDrive built in working on the go will never be easier.

Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft's newest version of Office will officially become available in early 2013. Their tablets and smartphones already have this built in. I have been using the "consomer preview" for months now. This new office is really a subscriber based solution with customers paying a small monthly fee for access. With your subscription, access to your files is available across all of these platforms. With SkyDrive access is available to your files on any PC, even without Office installed. Office 2013 also provides the ability to link social media servcies such as facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to your account.

I may not be 100% accurate in my 2013 prediction for Microsoft but one thing is for certain. Next year will be a truly busy year for Microsoft and it will be fun to watch to see what happens and how successful Microsoft can be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Name Change

The name of this fine blog has been changed to "West Chester Tech Blog". Just trying to keep things simple...

Tis' the Season for Email Scams

The holidays are almost here and sadly in the cyber world that means a new onslaught of potential computer risks to all of us. For example security researchers from Symantec are warning about a recently intercepted flood of Christmas themed malicious and fraudulent campaigns. Each year these malicious campaigns become more complex and dangerous. The recent campaign is an excellent example of this. Not only are the senders completely unknown by the recipients, but also, users are exposed to fraudulent e-shops for counterfeit shops.

Over the past year, there have been numerous attempts to entice users into clicking on links to fraudulent e-shops by impersonating a legitimate message or notification from respected, trusted and well known brands. These dangerous emails will without a doubt become more prevalent  as we get closer to the holidays.

As a result of these fraudulent emails I recommend common sense.  You should avoid clicking on links found in suspicious messages. Remember this lesson, "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is".

Chase recently posted some examples of fraudulent email messages sent referring to their company. You can check them out here.

During the holiday season I will keep an eye on this situation and try to post updates when possible.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Windows 8 - First Thoughts

For the past few months I had been using the Windows 8 “Consumer Preview” on three computers. About 2 weeks ago I was finally able to move to the final release of Windows 8. I promised a review of my experience (so far) with the new Windows 8. Therefore here is a very early review of Windows 8.
First I must say that this rather lively desktop isn't just a rehash of Windows 7. It is a complete redesign by Microsoft. The icons in Windows 8 are live. What is very cool about this is that the new icons or rather tiles can display live information, like weather, email, calendar appointments and news.

Here's a look at some highlights that are different from Windows 7 and its earlier versions.  
The Animated Start Page

Most of Windows 8's widget-like tiles are live and animated. They are really self-updating widgets replacing the static icons we have been used to on a PC since its inception.

Click on the "Photos" tile on the Start page. Then add some photos by connecting to a social network or to Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud service. After a while, the pictures will appear and animate within the Photos tile on the Start page. I have actually has a little trouble with this feature but then again I have not worked with this particular feature much yet.

Follow the same concept to populate other tiles. For example, populate the Weather tile by clicking on it, and allowing Location Services at the prompt.

Software Is Replaced With Apps

Apps are the new applications, or what we used to call "software."
Click on the "Store" tile to launch the Store Spotlight. Scroll through the categories like Games and Productivity by placing the pointer at the bottom of the screen and clicking on the scroll-like navigation bar that appears.

Choose an app, like “Ebay” or “USA Today” by clicking on it and selecting Install. The install process will commence. Afterward the new tile appears on your desktop. These installs usually take less than 2 minutes or so.

SkyDrive Storage

Microsoft's Dropbox is tightly integrated into Windows 8. SkyDrive provides 7 GB of free storage. Drag some files into the SkyDrive folder on the computer, and they will sync on the Windows 8 computer. As with Dropbox and others, there are SkyDrive apps for mobile devices too. Therefore your files can be anywhere you need them, as long as you have the app installed.

Internet Explorer 10
Unlike previous versions of internet explorer IE 10 strives to use all of you monitors real-estate.  By default this new internet explorer runs in full screen. The interface here has changed from previous versions so it will take a little practice to master how things work. Don’t be afraid because if you take a little time here you will grow to love IE 10.

You can save your favorite webpages to your new beautiful desktop by browsing to the web page and selecting the Pin to Start.

The page will then become accessible from the Start page. Some sites create a live notification when updates are available.

Organizing and Touch

This OS has been designed for touch in much the same way as smartphone and tablet are used.
You need a new, multi-touch compatible computer to take advantage of this. If you don’t have one yet, don’t feel left out because a mouse works just fine.

Navigation Tips

Say goodbye to the Start button. On touch computers, swiping in from the left changes apps. Swiping in from the right returns you to the Start screen; swiping in from the bottom displays navigation functions; and pinching and stretching will zoom.
These concepts work with a mouse too. Try some of this navigation by clicking on the Internet Explorer tile. Then move the mouse pointer to the top of the screen until the pointer morphs into a hand icon.

Most of the controls you will need such “pc settings”, “control panel”, “user settings”, “device management” and more can be found in the new “charm ribbon”. You can easily access this by taking your mouse to the lower (or upper) right corner of your monitor and simply hovering it there. The “charm ribbon” will then appear. (pictured left)

Press the left mouse button and drag the Internet Explorer page to the bottom of the screen with the mouse. The screen will be returned to the Start page.
Click in the top left corner within an app screen to see recent apps. Drag one of those apps to a spot on the screen until a space appears. Release the mouse button and both apps will share the screen.

I am still learning more myself with this new excellent operating system and cannot wait to try it out on a new Windows 8 tablet. However do not rush out just yet and purchase one. I will explain more later….

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Here are the websites for the Jesse Tree information. It's a great exercise I think your whole family will enjoy during this Advent season!:

I'd also recommend using the one that Ann Voskamp has created. You'll need to sign up to get her blog (free, of course) and as a gift you can download the wonderful information she has on the Jesse Tree. Go to: and you can find it there.

On another note, for all you avid readers, check out this incentive offered by Six Flags:
On behalf of Six Flags, I would like to thank you for your past participation in our Read to Succeed Six Hour Reading Club and invite you to register for our 2012-2013 program.
Register for Read to Succeed 2012-2013 at:
Registration is fast and easy. You can register yourself and download the necessary reading logs in just a couple of minutes (you do not need to submit your student names at this time -- you can do that after they finish their reading. If you are a school Read to Succeed Coordinator you can register all of your teachers during one fairly quick visit to the site.
The 2012-2013 registration process is completely new, so if you have registered in past years you will need to create a new account. If you have any questions during your registration process you can contact us via the Read to Succeed web site.
Please feel free to pass this email along to any elementary school teachers who you think might like to participate in the program.
Thank you again for your participation in Read to Succeed!
The Six Flags Read to Succeed Team

Happy Reading!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Next Tuesday is a big day for our country! Let's be in prayer for our newly elected local and national leaders!

Speaking of politics...
Did you know that the US is dealing with some of the same issues and practices of the ancient Romans? The article below provides additional relevancy especially to Latin learners as we discover a common cultural link with the ancient Romans. I think you and your students will enjoy!

It's Real. He's Not. *UPDATE*...She's NOT Either.

Mrs. Harper-Brown is Convinced , Too.

  Oh, my. 

 Without a Lick-of-Proof ??

Goodness! Linda Harper-Brown's own "Conservatives" over there at Red State don't even like her.   

So, who really *LIKES* Linda Harper-Brown? 

Vote Rosemary Robbins for TX HD105

 November 6, 2012. Thank you!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Praising God for His protection over our families from the recent storm! We will continue to pray for those in our area still recovering from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. Please also remember to pray especially for the Zalivchii family this coming week and missionaries who are serving the Lord overseas.

A few items of interest:

* Ruth and Zabrina will be providing some type of surprise Thanksgiving activity for all the students on November 15th. We'll have tables set up in the back of the auditorium and students can participate before or after they eat lunch. Thanks Ruth and Zabrina!

* If you are interested in gathering at Jeneene's on November 13th, please let her know!

* Our Christmas program is Monday, December 17th from 6:30-8:30. Please feel free to invite family and friends! Each class will make a presentation and each family will have the opportunity to share a 3-4 minute Christmas-themed presentation. If your family does not want to share during the program, that's fine - there is no pressure to participate! We hope this will be a great time of sharing together in the joy of Christ's birth this Christmas season.

* The Classical Conversations Cycle 1 IPad and IPod apps are now available for purchase. Memorize the grammar--the basic facts and vocabulary-- of 6 subjects in a fun, beautiful, interactive way. Students and parents alike can strengthen their brains by memorizing quality content paired with art and song. Enjoy many new features including enhanced graphics and interactivity, Classical Conversations® Classical Acts & Facts Timeline, and U.S. Presidents.
Get started with your memory work today! (This is now a top 10 paid iphone education app!)

* Check out this link about CC's Challenge program. Lord willing, the West Chester campus will offer Challenge A next year!

Have a great weekend everyone!