Wednesday, November 26, 2014

iphone vs Galaxy

iphone 6 takes the WIN!!!!!!!!

So after:

  •   3 1/2 hours to purchase the Samsung 5s Galaxy
  •   10 days of using it to "try to adjust"
  •   1 1/2 hour trying to return it only to find out they are out of iPhones
  •   1 hour drive to Woodbridge (closest location with one in stock)
  •    Another hour and half to purchase.... 

For a total of : 247.5 wasted hours

It's official I am holding my new best friend the "iphone 6 - space grey 64gb". 

You know the saying, if you love something let it go.... well it came back and I know it was meant to be :)

Here are the reasons I surrendered back to the iphone: 

  • All my data came right back from the transfer.
  • iphone is seamless, simple and works perfectly
  • All my purchased apps are back, otherwise had to repurchase. 
  • I can use one hand, Galaxy was just a bit too big
  • Galaxy Mail accounts were kept into many spots
  • Galaxy user interface was confusing and all over the place, although it did have more options and settings. 
  • The Galaxy was very cheesy looking in its design and icon, iphone is sleek!
  • The data management with itunes, apps, music and pictures is amazing. 
  • Plastic case vs Aluminum case.
  • The passcode option on the Galaxy was annoying you had to hit ok after each time and you only had 5 seconds. 
  • The fingerprint on the Galaxy was annoying also, you had to swipe multiple times, iphone you touch. 

And Siri refers to me as Princess... always :) 

Happy Thanks Giving everyone. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Choosing your Technology Wisely!

So this week I had the wonderful option to upgrade my phone. I have proudly been an iphone user since they came out and have always been true to them.

Well recently after doing some research and finally getting fed up of a few issues the iphone has given me, I decided to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S5 over the iPhone 6 . I was very excited, I love the screen size and most importantly I wanted it to work with all the Google apps.

Being in graduate school and working with so many school districts, I have realized how much more connected I am to my Google account. This was my final decision breaker that led me to the Andriod over the iphone.

Within the first 10 minutes of purchasing I felt I had made a TERRIBLE decision. I wanted to instantly change my mind but my sales person assured me I had 12 days to return and go back to the iphone. There have been so many issues with switching over, but so far I think I have managed to correct all of them. Yes I still have a few things I like better about the iphone but there are beginning to be a bunch of things I am liking better about the Galaxy.

I am giving it a chance, I have until next Monday, and I will make my decision by this Friday to leave a buffer to switch back over the weekend if needed. Everyone I have spoken to that are diehard iphone lovers are calling me a TRAITOR, however everyone that uses the Galaxy says once you make the switch (although difficult) you will never look back.

I am weighing my pro's and con's and this weeks blog is going to help me decide. Please give me feedback as to what you think and thoughts :)

What I miss most about the iphone is that I know all the tips and tricks and shortcuts, not to say that the Galaxy doesn't have them but I have to figure them out and learn them. Like taking a screen shot by holding the lock and home buttons at the same time.

I do love the Google Photo Sync and how it emails me a memory every day that is pretty cool.

I love having all the Google apps. For school this is priceless, all my Google docs are there in drive, my blog, my forms, my sites etc... so great.

I HATE how long it takes to charge and how quick it dies. Maybe I am doing something wrong.

I hate that I lost my iphone apps, and I don't have iTunes anymore :(

My pics got a bit messed up but that ok as I have plenty of back ups.

Here is a great site that compares them apples to apples on the hardware and software specs... what do you all think??? Stand by for my final decision in next weeks blog :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Surveying the Public - It's Not That Simple!

For this week's project in my Instructional Technologies class I did a Digital Native Survey. I feel that I not only conducted a successful survey but I also learned a lot about surveying the public. Most importantly I learned that it is not as easy as it seems to conduct a survey, therefore I thought I would share some tips for future surveyors.

1. Keep it simple.
2. Do not assume the results.
3. Cover all demographics.
4. The shorter the better.
5. Do not use open ended questions.
6. Make it anonymous
7. Do Pre-Research
8. Ask specific questions.

I ran into a few glitches while conducting my survey including not having access to survey an important age group demographic that I believe was vital to my survey.  I also messed up by having an open ended question that opened to the door to rude and inappropriate responses that led to me having to remove that data from the analysis.

All in all I found my survey to be successful and I really enjoyed the analysis portion of the results. It's really important to think of all angles and cover all bases when creating the survey, you can't ever expect the outcome and a successful survey should reveal data that will surprise you.

Have fun surveying and here is a great survey tips webpage for more information.

Here is a link to my Digital Native Survey: How Much Does Technology Run our Daily Lives?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NJSBA - 100 Year Anniversary 1914-2014

While everyone is talking about the NJEA Teacher Convention this Thursday and Friday, many don't know that the New Jersey School Boards Convention happened last Tuesday and Wednesday at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

I was fortunate to spend my time there as an exhibitor for the company I work for Realtime Informational Technologies Inc. It is always a pleasure getting to meet our clients and setting up future clients as well.

The show was sold out and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that it was the NJSBA's 100th Year Anniversary, and they did have quite the celebration.

Great workshops, free food, after party receptions, marching bands, choirs and tons of speakers. The centennial celebration began with a drum line and ribbon cutting ceremony where the guests began to pour in.

My company held two workshops, the first one titled "How a Web-Based Student Information System Can Improve the Staff Evaluation Process Evaluation" was on our new Staff Evaluation Module and was led by one of my colleagues Dr. Tracey Lederman.

Participants learned about our software solution to assist in the staff evaluation process mandated under AchieveNJ. The system, developed in partnership with several school districts, builds an evaluation schedule, sets up meetings, notifies staff, sends feedback forms and provides for flexible construction and completion of a district’s individual evaluation forms. This session acquainted attendees with the benefits of efficiently managing paperwork and engaging in dynamic communication.

The second workshop titled "Streamlining the Student Growth Objectives Process with an Integrated Student Information System" also led by Dr. Lederman and my boss Kenton Nice, co-owner of Realtime, focused on our newest module SGO's.

An integrated software solution drastically cuts down on paperwork and time spent tracking down approvals and signatures so districts can focus on the hard work of designing quality goals and tracking student data. This session included discussion of an SGO management tool permitting teachers to enter SGOs on forms modeled after those created by the state. The screens accommodate simple or tiered goals, allowing a choice of a scoring plan, and permit you to choose a scoring plan, manage approval electronically, and track changes during the February revision deadline. SGOs can even be archived into a personal library that is maintained by a supervisor and curated according to district or school goals.

All in all the show was a success, for more information on the convention check out the website. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Long Lines AT&T building

During our Instructional Technology class last week, one of the groups did a great presentation on The Evolution of the Telephone. One of the topics was on Long Line Transmissions and Ship to Shore communications.

I have some deep rooted history in this area as I grew up and lived on connected property to one of the only AT&T Ship to Shore transmitting stations in the United States.The site is located on Good Luck Point of the Barnegat Bay on the border of two neighboring towns Ocean Gate and Bayville.

Most locals assume the land is in Ocean Gate, but it is actually owned by Berkeley township and is in the Bayville zip code 08721.

In 1881 Ocean Gate was known as Good Luck Point until the town was founded in 1918. My great grand father and grandfather Walter H. Alonzo were the first residents of Ocean Gate which is a small 1 square mile town that was a Pennsylvania railroad stop that connected the old wooden railroad bridge to Seaside Heights which burned down many years ago.

The two other sister stations were located in Dixon, California and Pennsuco, Florida. The Good Luck Point Ship to Shore was a high frequency (shortwave) radio transmitting station providing telephone communications to ships at sea (high-sea service) and to overseas areas under the call sign WOO.

AT&T was looking for locations through out New York and New Jersey to serve as a transmission site. They liked what they saw in the Good Luck Point site and purchased 175 acres of Berkeley Township in 1929, butted up to the east side of Ocean Gate.

My Aunt Kay worked at the site for as long as I can remember and in 1999 AT&T stopped service at ship to shore location and sold the building and property to the to Berkeley township for $1.00 and is now a wildlife refuge today. The site is gorgeous and photographers dream with fallen poles and fields of antenna.

In July 2012 I moved in to a waterfront home in Good Luck Point that stared directly across at the old site and now bird sanctuary You could not ask for a more perfect view, we could get in our kayaks from the back yard and go through the endless maze of marsh lands and enjoy the fallen ship to shore site and the new home to thousands of species of wild life.

Unfortunatly on October 29th, 2012 we lost our Good Luck Point home to Hurricane Sandy. Although I only got to live in this surreal location for 4 short months it will be some of the best memories of my life. Here are a few of my favorite pictures I have taken from my home of the old AT&T Ship to Shore site.

This is the view from my back yard looking at the pole fields and marshes.

This is taken while kayaking through the now bird sanctuary and you can see some of the large egret nests and the Seaside Heights Bridge in the background.

This photo was taken on the most gorgeous summer evening I will ever remember, how about that  amazing sunset.

For more information on AT&T Ship to Shore here are few great sites and forums:

AT&T Long Lines

No Mans Land

What are those poles across the bridge?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hmmmm What to Blog about???

While thinking about what to blog about the word sounded funny to me. I thought where did that word come from and when and where did blogging come from. This led me to our good friend Google :)

The term BLOG is short for WebLog, The term was adopted in 1999 to say "We Blog" however blogging has been around since the early 90's, they were originally single owners to hold self though discussions or instructional sites.

The term 'Blog' is the evolved term coined by Peter Merholz in 1999. 
It's not an acronym,'s a colloquialism. It comes from the conjoined terms web and in weblog. Then it evolved into simply blog when Peter Merholz coined the term in 1999.

Today there are Multi-Author-Blogs or MABs and blogging is used around the world for many reasons. 

For more information and history of blogging read more.

Friday, October 10, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year.... NOT!

So we have entered into that time of year again....
No not the Holiday / Fall season,
NJ SMART October 15th Special Ed Submission season.

This is by far undoubtedly the busiest time of the year for myself and my coworkers at my company. The company I work for is a software development company that creates and maintains student information systems and databases for NJ public, private, charter and non-public school districts with in New Jersey.

I specialize in the Special Education Management Module (SEMM) and it's during this time of the year that our lively hood, sanity, patience and knowledge is tested to the fullest. Every October 15th all NJ public school districts are required to take a "SnapShot" of their current special ed students' data at that moment. They then export to NJSmart where they more than likely get a bunch of errors, based on mistakes in dates and data made throughout the year.

From September 1st until October 15th we suggest and support the districts to clean up their data to prevent these errors from being reported, which ultimately can help lower the likelihood of them being audited by the state. The amount of research that goes in to my team and myself knowing the state code, mandates and special situation exclusions is overwhelming, but we do it and we do it well.

I like my clients to feel comfortable calling me first before the state and we have the correct answer for them. The rules and code change frequently year to year so we are always learning more and more.

The users have the whole year to clean up there data and run trial submissions to make sure they are error free. We now have 5 days left until the final submission deadline, and we have all hands on deck so to speak, with 3 of those fives days being an extended holiday weekend due to Columbus Day.

Being a full time Graduate Student,  Full Time Worker and Full Time Homemaker during our busiest season of the year is difficult, but so far so good... ask me again on Tuesday and I might not have the same response.

You have to remember to keep your balance in all the craziness, and see the light at the end of the tunnel.... TGIF

If you are interested in how some of the NJ Smart Submissions work take a look at the NJSmart webpage.