Monday, August 27, 2012

Stop Blaming the Dog, Already

Students are headed back to school, and we all know what that means--The "H" word:


There, I said it. The great dread of all people in school.

There's no way around it, so how do you keep it under control?

A planner is probably the best way to stay on top of your schedule. Planners are just calendars which you write in to keep track of your tasks. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, in fact, you can probably make one yourself, or simply use an ordinary notebook. Sometimes schools will furnish a simple planner free in the first weeks of school. If that's the case, by all means take one!

As soon as you know about an event, a due date, a deadline, or anything else that will be happening in your life, put it in the planner. That would include family events as well as school test dates. Here are some examples:

  • Study times
  • Assignment due dates
  • Test dates
  • Appointments with anyone
  • Family get togethers such as birthdays, etc.
  • Sign up deadlines
  • Dates of SAT or ACT tests
  • Due dates for fees
  • Application due dates

You can color-code different subjects if you wish, or whether an assignment is going to be a major time commitment, or color code by month due. You can even name the planner to give it more importance.

A planner you can carry with you is great, as is a large calendar you might place on your desk. Whichever form will make you check it daily is the right one for you. You can do both, but be sure they look just alike.

You can put one on your computer, as well. The important thing is to USE YOUR PLANNER. Refer to it at least every day to see what's due and what's coming up soon.

Give yourself plenty of time: If the due date is the 10th, pretend it's the 3rd. This way, if you have some obstacle to get over, you still have an extra week. If you are done early, that's great!

Break down larger items into: 'Get to Chapter 12 by this date' if reading a book, or 'Finish #16 by this date,' or 'Get outline finished by this date,' etc. It will make big assignments seem less overwhelming. If you try to cram it all in right before it's due you aren't going to do well because you won't remember what you need to. But then, if you're using your planner, you won't be cramming, right?

Some general tips to keep you ahead of the game:

Put all your financial aid stuff in a folder. Your FAFSA application AND PASSWORD go in the folder. Your award letter, loan papers, any communications about financial aid you receive: it all goes in your financial aid folder. And the folder goes somewhere you can always find it.

Put your phone in another room. Turning it off, or on vibrate, won't really let you ignore it. You really can go for a stretch of time without checking it...or texting someone that you're doing homework.

Homework should be on your schedule, as in: 4:00-6:00 every day is homework. Then a break, and homework again from 7:00-9:00...or whatever you need. Maybe you have to work on it more hours one day in order to go out with friends the next day. Check your planner: Are you on top of things?

Be sure your notes on your planner are legible: They're no help if you can't read what you wrote.

When you have an assignment done, have a box or a particular place to put it--a safe place but not where you won't see it. It's not fun panicking when you want to turn it in but can't find it.

We interrupt this blog for some interesting excuses given to teachers as to why students didn't do their homework:

  • I have a solar powered calculator, and it was a cloudy day
  • I was kidnapped by terrorists
  • The dog ate it and we had to take him to the vet and it was really late when I got home
  • Aliens stole it to see what human handwriting looks like
  • I lost my hour to do homework due to Daylight Savings Time
  • I only had a green pen and you said it had to be in black pen
  • My brother took the paper and made an airplane out of it and it landed on the roof of our house.

Here is a planner sheet with times during the day:

Here are some planner pages to give you an idea of what your planner might look like-keep scrolling down for the current date:

You can download an academic year calendar from your school's website, as well.

You are a student, so homework is part of your life. Remember--it's how you're going to reach your goals. Do your best, and make it a little easier by getting organized.

Have a great year!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Solve Life's Problems With Apps and Webs....Maybe..

There are plenty of apps and websites available for college or high school students-see if some of these might be helpful:


BookCircus (Free)  Sell your used books
ZohoSuite   Planner/organizer
Evernote    Note taking
RTM  (Remember the Milk)    a to-do list
Soshiku   Track your assignments
freewififinder  Quit guessing where there's a wifi hotspot
Bookfinder    Find your textbooks at the cheapest price    Free FM radio through your phone
wanderlust   Organizer, and lets you set reminders
PDF Notes Generator  (for forms and notes)
i-FinAid (This one is $1.99)Check out your options for financial aid
inClass   Keep track of your schedule and more
Allthecountries   Learn about..well...all the countries
Encalc  An advanced calculator to use on your phone
Historymaps Maps of the world, how countries have changed
Tuition.Tab  (99c)  Track how much your tuition is going to cost
Smithsonian   Not just museums, but facts, documentaries, and their TV show
itranslate   translate from one language to another
BrainTutor  Anatomy of the brain-a studying aid
gFlash&Flashcards   Make your own flashcards and share them
iQuotations   when you need a quote for a speech or project
myHomework  Homework help
gasbuddy   Best prices on gas today in your area
audioboo   records your voice or your instructor's voice
Repairpal   when your car breaks down
Guitar Tuner  Keep it tuned for all your gigs
Mygpacalculator  figure out where you're at with grades
aroundme  restaurants and pricing close to your neighborhood
yelp     also restaurants close to you

Never fear, we know not everyone has a Smartphone...Here are some good websites for college students:
(also, try the apps above with .com after the name, and you may be successful with them as well)     Track your money   Find the cheapest gas close to home   If you need a computer fixed, or if you can offer advice   simple budget plans    Did you borrow money from a friend for coffee? Keep track of that at Buxfer.   How can you spend the least money to travel?   Who sells what you want with free shipping?   Get organized   Get out the gadgets you never seem to use and see what you can do with them   This one is written by college students  Homework help     Get out of debt    free books for your Kindle, updates 3 times a day   listen to radio through your computer free (limit 40 hours a month)    coupons and deals for groceries in your area (they also have an app)   an office suite similar to and compatible with  Microsoft Office, but this is free      a reference desk online  another reference desk  download thousands of free books and audiobooks for study    reviews of colleges
Nasa.gove/audience/forstudents   NASA on Facebook-videos and information-High school and college

-And check your local library websites; they have Homework Help and plenty of reference materials

*Triogenius can't guarantee that all of the apps or webs are still up and running.

Hope you try some of these and find them helpful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

You Mean It's Not Legos???

What is this??

It looks to me like an overhead view of a bunch of black and white Legos.

But no!

These patches are called QR codes. QR stands for ‘quick response’ and they were invented in Japan initially to track the manufacture of Toyota automobiles. QR codes are ‘cousins’ to the usual bar codes we see everywhere, but they can transmit more information faster than a traditional bar code.

This information comes to us from
A QR code appears as a black-and-white square containing three smaller alignment squares and a random-looking pattern of dots. The alignment squares, which are located in the corners of the larger square, help the QR reader to focus in on the code. The pattern of dots contains the actual information for the QR code. QR codes can, technically speaking, be any size; however, to make it easier for smart phones to read them, most QR codes are at least 1.25 inches by 1.25 inches.
So what’s the point?
Here are some uses for them:
      • Conduct a mobile survey
      • Coupons
      • Announce a new product
      • Business card
      • Promote a sale on something
      • Share a video
      • Direct people to your website
      • Link to Youtube, Facebook, etc.
      • Boarding passes for airplanes
      • Networking
      • Tour guides in museums-patches on displays that give more information

Advertising and Marketing
QR codes often appear in advertising and on consumer products. A car advertisement on a bus shelter, for example, might contain a QR code; when a passerby takes a picture of the QR code using a smart phone, the code opens the phone's browser and takes the user to a website detailing the car's specifications and price. Many coffee and wine companies include QR codes on their products' packaging; when the user scans the QR code, her phone opens a website that shows where the coffee beans or grapes originated.
Other Uses
Because a QR code can contain virtually any type of information, it has many uses beyond advertising and marketing. Some conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, for example, put a QR code on each plate on the belt, and then set up a camera that reads the QR codes as they go by. If the camera detects that a certain plate of sushi has been on the belt for too long, it alerts the restaurant staff. QR code t-shirts allow people to view others' social networking profiles by simply pointing a smart phone at the shirt, while QR codes on historic landmarks can open audio tour clips on the users' phones.
How can or will colleges use QR codes?
Syllabi for courses
Textbooks for courses
Library resource

Here’s an example from the University of Minnesota:; there are tags on the trees for Arboriculture students that give information as they walk through the tree plantings.
Accessing QR Codes
To take advantage of QR codes, you'll need a QR reader app like NeoReader for the iPhone, Blackberry Messenger 5.0 for the Blackberry or QR Droid for Android-based smart phones. Download and install the app on your phone; then launch it and point the camera at a QR code. If the app has a "Scan" button, tap it; otherwise, just hold the phone so that the QR code fills the screen. When the app recognizes the QR code, it launches a Web browser on your phone and takes you to the link contained in the code, or opens the information associated with the QR code.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity-and Martians??

The United States landed a spacecraft on Mars today. Its name: Curiosity.

Did you know...

That two other spacecraft have landed on Mars before? Their names were Spirit and Opportunity, and both landed in 2004. Opportunity is still sending us data. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010..

Here is a picture taken by Opportunity, with theoretical enhancements:
 Layers in Burns Cliff Examined by Opportunity

There have been 39 attempted missions to Mars. of those, 15 were successful, 24 were not.

Artist's concept of a scoreboard with Earth and Mars scores

Curiosity was launched from the NASA space center in Florida on November 26, 2011. Arriving on August 6, it took 253 days.

The vehicle is about the size of a Mini-Cooper car. Among other things, it has 17 cameras; lasers; and instruments for soil sampling and testing.

It's looking for any signs that life was or is supported on the planet. The most important factor would be the presence of water. In fact, the Curiosity landed in a crater that scientists think might once have been a lake. Their research will try to see if there might be water under layers of soil. These layers are similar to Earth.

Greeley Panorama

The above picture is made up of 817 separate pictures taken over several months. It gives a 380-degree view of Opportunity's work area.

 Seventeen Cameras on Curiosity

Curiosity is expected to continue to send us data for two years. All experiments and data collected will be controlled from the Jet Propulsion Lab in California.

Check out the NASA website for all kinds of information about the program:

To look at a history of NASA's missions:
And for news about it, try CNN:

It's Rocket Science: What careers can you pursue at NASA?  
  • Accountant
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Biologist
  • Computer Engineer
  • Computer Science
  • Engineer
  • Meteorologist
  • Budget Analyst
  • Information Technician
  • Public Affairs
  • Accountant
  • Electrical Technician
  • High Voltage Electrician
  • Instrument Maker
  • Model Maker
  • Electrical Technician
  • Engineering Technician
  • As well as typical jobs in any business: Administrative, Maintenance, and Records Management
"Don't Tell Me The Sky's The Limit.
There Are Footprints On The Moon."