I'm going to call my first attempt at livestreaming a flop: A disaster: A good idea whose time has not yet come.
Livestreaming has been in the news quite a bit lately, from the House Democrats' sit-in to the Minnesota police shooting of Philando Castile. In the first example, on June 22, 2016, House of Representative Democrats staged a sit-in to force a vote on gun control. CSPAN would normally have broadcast it, but -- CSPAN directives are given by House staffers: that is, the controlling Republican majority. They ordered the cameras turned off. Democrats responded by livestreaming video through Periscope while posting updates through Facebook. In the second example, Philando Castile, an unarmed black man, was shot dead at a traffic stop. His girlfriend had the livestream video running the whole time, from the confrontation to his death. The video added additional evidence to U.S. outrage over black deaths at the hands of law enforcement and sparked yet more protests and calls for action.
My own experience pales in comparison.
First, I thought I'd shoot the opening before the start of the ESSA Town Hall meeting at Kalani. That left me walking with the phone in front of me, talking to myself. I grabbed a quick glimpse of a what was still a nearly empty school cafeteria. Then, I moved to a corner of the courtyard to continue to talk to myself. No one. No one joined the stream. . .then one. . .he/she said "Hi." This was my highlight. I was about to reply. Then the phone rang. It was my husband. I purposely hung up on him, not knowing if this was being caught live. He called again. I answered. "Yes." He said, "I'm at Costco. Need anything?" To this day, I have not yet reviewed what was captured on the livestream. I guess the world can know we have stocked up on milk.
Next, on to the live notetaking during the meeting. I would call that a measured success. I rigged up a clipboard with a makeshift phone holder, connected a bluetooth keyboard and typed as the meeting went on. I'd say they're among the better notes I've taken and best of all, they're done and posted all in one step. You can review the first draft at EastOahu96825.com/gpublic, where I keep all of the Google Drive public documents related to this site. The [direct link] is here. I'll use those notes to write a short review of the meeting soon.
I had promised a follow-up livestream through Periscope, but alas, I had problems connecting at the coffee shop my friend and I stopped at. Truthfully, I was pretty much done with the humbling experience of livestreaming, at least for now.
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.
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.
Have you ever wanted to get around a pesky paywall limit -- the one that says you've reached your maximum free reading? Just use the incognito function on your browser. Here's how:
On Chrome, for Windows, right-click the link and select "open link in incognito window." For AppleOS, Ctrl-click and select "open link in incognito window." That's it. If you don't use Chrome browser, read on. . .
On Safari or Firefox, copy the link URL (the address at the top of the browser), go to "tools" on the menu bar and select private browsing or private browsing mode. Paste the URL into your new private browser window.
(Internet Explorer also has an InPrivate browsing mode that does the same. However, with the repeated alerts on Internet Explorer security, I recommend not using Internet Explorer if at all possible.)
I find the Hawaii State Library's website logic about as good as it gets when it comes to libraries -- that is, not at all intuitive. I, however, am of the belief that more is always better. You just need to be able to find what you need. The following instructions are for anyone who has ever wanted to be alerted on just the parts of the Honolulu Star Advertiser that interests them. And, for what it's worth, you can ONLY do that through the library system. Even the newspaper's own website doesn't allow you to do what Newspaper Source Plus does.
These tips are also extremely useful to my mainland transplant friends that only want bits and pieces of local news. For non-residents, all you have to do is request a library card when you're back home visiting family, then pay the incredibly small fee of $25 for five years.
How to create an automated search of the Star Advertiser
(requires Hawaii State Library card)
First, have your library card and PIN handy. Then, access this list of databases.
Although it may be tempting to use the database that says “Star Advertiser,”
resist the urge. Instead, access Newspaper Source Plus by EBSCO. The site comes with the ability to create customized email or RSS feeds. The ProSource version does not.
From here, it’s more simple. Enter your library card number and PIN, then create an EBSCO account within the database. Now, do a search for the item you’re interested in, and click the button that says “Create Alert.” You’ll be given options for creating automated email alerts as well as an accompanying RSS feed if you use those. Here are a few screen shots to help you out.
In the example above, I pre-selected the “SO Journal Name” from a dropdown and entered “Honolulu Star Advertiser.” I also typed “Hawaii Kai” in quotations for the next field, and from the dropdown selected “TX All Text” The quotations around Hawaii Kai helps the computer know that those two terms need to be next to each other and are part of a phrase. Depending on your research you may also choose not to select the journal name. If you skip that field, you’ll get all of the results for “Hawaii Kai” from every source in this database. Or, if you're a glutton for all the data you can gather, go to databases and select all of them. This includes all EBSCO data ,Newspaper Source Plus and others.
You can’t miss the giant button that says “Create Alert.” Click it and you’ll get results like the one below:
See the line about Email? If you want to be alerted when new material comes in, click the "sign in" link next to the Email instructions. Select your options. Your alert is good for up to one year, then you need to re-create it.
Google Chrome users may need to install an extension to read the feed link that is sent, or use feedly.com or other online RSS reader. Other browsers read RSS by default.
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.
I did a little data mining to find the educational attainment level in the State of Hawaii, in the City and County of Honolulu and in Hawaii Kai. As it turns out, 30.1 percent of Hawaii residents 25 years and older have a bachelor's degree or higher. Amazingly however, 9.6 percent of Hawaii residents have less than a high school diploma. The percentage of statewide residents with less than a high school degree seemed a bit high to me, but it also coincides with a 9.7 percent rate for Oahu.
Here's where it gets interesting. In Hawaii Kai, 51.8 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, and 43.0 percent of these college graduates have either a graduate or professional degree. High school dropouts number 777 and comprise just 3.5 percent of Hawaii Kai residents.
I make this point as a reference to future ruminations on education in general in Hawaii. There are a number of factors that weigh heavily upon how far children will pursue their formal studies. Key among them is a parent's educational level. While our public schools are deeply concerned about insuring that no child who wants an education is denied one (and this is indeed a noble and necessary goal in any democratic society), parents are more concerned about their own children. It is for this reason that while the Department of Education's Strive HI index may work for its purposes, it does not permit parents to make educated decisions on which public school path is most likely to produce a college-bound senior.
Geek Note: A five year average ending with 2013 (the most recent year for which data are available) was used in order to reduce the margin of error. I'm also attaching a detailed table [pdf] below and reminding readers that there are wonderful sources of local information available free of charge. Visit census.gov. Did you know that there's a tool that lets you start small, with just a street address, and build tables around that location? You can find the link [here].