• Every once in a while, a gem crosses your desk: one of those "how could I have lived without out this for so long" tools.  For me, that's XODO PDF reader and annotator.  Several years ago our family licensed the ridiculously-priced but-feature-packed Adobe PDF Professional XI; XODO competes quite nicely, either as a complement, or as a stand-alone in place of Adobe.  If XODO was available back then, I wouldn't have bought the Adobe version.

    PDF editor, form filler, xodo

    Here's the quick take on what makes XODO a real winner.  You can draw or type on it on major platforms (Windows, iOS, Chrome, Android, as well as an online application launcher) then save it.  You don't even need to sign in to make it work. You can also add and remove pages from your PDF.  Other than esoteric legal functions like Bates numbering, XODO does most of what everyday households need.  In fact, the latest version also includes encryption. Think about how revolutionary this is.  You open the form on your iPad, fill it in as you would a piece of paper, save it, then send it. 

    Here's the mystery: why is it free, and how does the company make money?  Having tried it, I would certainly pay to have this product thrive.

    To get your copy, go to your respective phone or tablet operating system: Apple App Store, Google Play, or the company website, www.xodo.com

  • mini maker faire honolulu 2016

    Mini Maker Faire 2016 at Iolani School: A recap 

    Mini Maker Faire in Honolulu wrapped up on June 25, 2016 and I finally made it to the event in their third year.  It was all I expected and more.  I had also signed up for a soldering lesson.  Soldering, pronounced as sautering, is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and then flowing a filler metal into the joint.  It's what holds your components to your computer circuit boards while still allowing electrical current to flow.

     The volunteer instructor was patient and thorough, and here's a picture of what we made.  They bought most of the parts from an electronics supplier, but they also had the front designed especially for the event.  It's a little badge that lights up an LED when the switch is turned on. 

    It was free.  The event was free and the soldering lesson and materials were free too.  I'm always amazed at how small turnout can be at these events in Hawaii.  Maybe it's the constant allure of our also free beaches? 

    The event was held at Iolani School, which is a beautiful campus and venue for the fair.  Parking was readily available for all 1,000 attendees.  The event also attracted two dozen or so vendors ranging from the predictable coding schools and afterschool programs to the more ecclectic, like a yarn vendor with materials ranging from alpaca to angora. 

    My favorite vendor?  The up-and-coming HNL Tool Library, a project in progress.  It's a lending library for tools and equipment.  From their website, they describe it as "Tool libraries are just like traditional libraries, but with tools instead of books."


    The Maker Movement 

     The Maker Movement started in 2005 with the release of MAKE Magazine.  According to the Maker Faire website

    "With the launch of MAKE Magazine in 2005, Dougherty and his team provided the catalyst for a tech-influenced DIY community that has come to be identified as the Maker Movement."

     I read MAKE Magazine once.  I think I picked the exact volume that could turn me off for years to come.  While there were many interesting articles highlighting individuals' projects and the schematics to make the projects work, the one that stood out in my mind was one where someone thought it was a great idea to do self-surgery and insert a RFID reader under his skin -- because how cool would it be to walk up to your front door and have it immediately unlock for you? 

    Since having read that article, I've searched high and low for it again.  No one in Hawaii believes me when I say that MAKE story exists.  In any case, I was living in Silicon Valley at the time, and having met the eccentric individuals that live there, I believe that the idea of RFID self-surgery is less strange there than it is here. 

    If you would like to read a copy of MAKE Magazine for yourself, you can sign up at this link

    In any case, Maker Faire Bay Area (San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara) started growing around 2007.  They still relied on volunteers to run the event and charged a small nominal entrance fee to recoup the cost of renting the San Mateo Convention Center.

    makezine watermelon centerpiece

    Today, Maker Faires are huge and they take place across the country in various forms and sizes.  The Bay Area event has grown to hundreds of booths and the price of entry is now $30.  It has even become a travel destination, not unlike the way in which San Diego Comic-con is.

    If you would like more information, visit Makezine.com. Maybe with detailed instructions from the site, you'll be impressing guests at your next get-together with this handmade watermelon bowl.



  • Consolidated Theatres has announced its lineup of $1 summer movies for the Keiki Hui Club.  Movies take place throughout June and July on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:00am.  Tickets can also be purchased in advance at the box office.  Save your ticket too. Some Koko Marina merchants will also offer a discount to moviegoers with recent ticket stubs.

    [Click here and search events for Wednesday and Thursday}

    June 1 & 2 - Lego Movie

    June 8 & 9 - Hotel Transylvania 2

    June 15 & 16 - How to Train Your Dragon 2

    June 22 & 23 - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

    June 29 & 30 - Minions

    July 6 & 7 - The Peanuts Movie

    July 13 & 14 - Home

    July 20 & 21 - Mr. Peabody and Sherman

    July 27 & 28 - The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water



    Theater Location Distance Start Date  
    Regal Windward Stadium 10 Kaneohe, HI 10.9 May 31  
    All movies start at 10AM and are rated G or PG View theater details
    Week Dates Movies
    Week 1 Tue May 31 
    Wed June 1
    The Lego Movie
    Week 2 Tue June 7 
    Wed June 8
    Iron Giant: Signature Edition
    Week 3 Tue June 14 
    Wed June 15
    The Smurfs 2
    Week 4 Tue June 21 
    Wed June 22
    Despicable Me 2
    Week 5 Tue June 28 
    Wed June 29
    The Peanuts Movie
    Week 6 Tue July 5 
    Wed July 6
    Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
    Curious George
    Week 7 Tue July 12 
    Wed July 13
    The Book of Life
    Hotel Transylvania 2
    Week 8 Tue July 19 
    Wed July 20
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
    Shaun The Sheep
    Week 9 Tue July 26 
    Wed July 27
    The Croods
    Dr. Suess' The Lorax
  • AYSO Hawaii Region 48 (Kaimuki through Hawaii Kai) is currently accepting mail-in registrations for its Fall 2015 season.  Registration will continue until teams are filled. More information can be found [here]

  • Recently I received a number of inquiries regarding math tutors in Hawaii. I'm looking for one for my kids too, but I also remembered that the University of Hawaii provides free tutors through their Online Learning Academy  (OLA). Their generous hours are from Monday through Friday: 9am to 10pm; Sunday: 5pm to 10pm and Closed on all State Holidays  That means that even your last-minute child can get help from OLA.

    Here are the details you need to know:

    • Eligibility: All Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) students statewide.
    • Tutors:  Undergraduate and graduate students of the University of Hawaii majoring in Math and Science related fields.
    • How to receive tutoring: Sign-in at their website.  Login with just a first name.  The first available tutor will be matched with you.

    That's it.  You can use OLA tutoring for help on a science fair project, for test review, homework help and more.

    By the way, OLA also offers writing services.  Go to the same website and login to receive an online appointment for a later time.