Posts filed under ‘Kids’
Heather Leister, better known as the iPhone Mom, reviews iPhone apps for other moms. She is also an expert contributor on Momtastic.com, a site that provides answers, support, ideas and inspiration for moms. Her 2010 Top 50 iPhone Apps for Mom’s was a hit on Babble.com, a website for the new generation parent.
Needless to say, we were ecstatic when the iPhone Mom chose to review PlumbBrain Guardian last week.
In her review, she stated that she was impressed with PlumbBrain Guardian’s key features of storing information about your child in their profile and simplifying the process of alerting emergency personnel should your child go missing.
But, she went on to say…..”This is all extremely helpful and important but the next feature is what made me think PlumbBrain Guardian is really onto something. If you’re like me you would install this app on your phone, add the photographs and then forget about it. Hoping I’d never need to use it and so never going back to update the information. Should something happen years later the only picture I would have of my fifteen year old daughter would be a photo from when she was eleven.”
“PlumbBrain has thought about people like me and they have built alerts into their app. When you setup your account you may schedule alerts that will remind you to update your children’s photos. Reminders can be set as frequently as weekdays, weekly, monthly or annually. This is a fantastic feature!”
How could we have asked for more than to be in the IPhone Mom’s “Hope I Never Have To Use Them” category??!! “I have several apps on my iPhone that fall into the category of “Hope I NEVER have to use them but I’m VERY glad I have them” and PlumbBrain Guardian is solidly in that category. This is a free and useful app you should definitely get your hands on.”
Learn more about the PlumbBrain Guardian and download a free copy in the iTunes Store.
Avast, me hearties! Once a goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends, “Talk Like A Pirate Day” has turned into an international phenomenon that shows no sign of letting up. From South Africa to the South Pole, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, everyone now has their own personal excuse to party like pirates every September 19th.
How It All Began
Once upon a time, in June 6, 1995, to be precise, John Baur and Mark Summers came up with this idea over a game of racquetball – they were not playing very well. Their calls of friendly encouragement to each other quickly turned into pirate slang: they are still not entirely sure how it all started. Anyway, whoever let out the first “Arrr!” started something. One thing led to another. “That be a fine cannonade,” one said, to be followed by “Now watch as I fire a broadside straight into your yardarm!” and other such helpful phrases.
After their hour on the court was over, they realized that lapsing into pirate lingo had made the game more fun and the time pass more quickly. They decided then and there that what the world really needed was a new national holiday, Talk Like A Pirate Day. Since then, for seven years the two celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day pretty much on their own with a few friends. This particular day of pirate slang, however, might have remained virtually unknown if it had not been for one happy accident. One day in early 2002, John Baur chanced upon Dave Barry’s e-mail address. Dave Barry is a syndicated columnist, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and humorist.
After contacting him, John Baur and Mark Summers assumed a famous guy like Dave Barry would have more important things to do than read the e-mail of a couple of goofy guys with a hare-brained idea. It turns out, it was perfect material for his column and the idea exploded. Chat rooms all over the Web have been deluged with “Arrs” and “me hearties” and such. Radio stations were abuzz with the story and the two even interviewed with NPR’s All Things Considered. They tapped into something big, much bigger than anyone had ever anticipated: the world was finally introduced to Talk Like A Pirate Day.
What’s The Point?
The point is, there is no point: and that is what’s fun about Talk Like a Pirate Day specifically, and talking like a pirate in general. It gives your conversation a swagger, an elán, denied to landlocked lubbers and the like. The silliness is the holiday’s best selling point and embraces the mere image of swaggering pirateness. So when Sept. 19 rolls around and suddenly tens of thousands of people are saying “arrr” and “Weigh anchor or I’ll keelhaul the lot of you,” it staggers us. They are talking like pirates — not because two guys from the Northwestern United States told them to, but simply because it’s fun.
Basic Pirate Speak
Pirate lingo is rich and complicated. There are several sites online that offer glossaries of vernacular that will assist any aspiring pirate. But if you just want a quick reference, a “pirate patina,” if you will, here are the five basic words that you cannot live without. Master them, and you can face Talk Like a Pirate Day with a smile on your face, a swagger in your step, and a parrot on your shoulder.
Ahoy! – “Hello!”
Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, “Whoa! Get a load of that!” which today makes it more of a “Check it out” or “No way!”
Aye! – “Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did.”
Aye aye! – “I’ll get right on that sir, as soon as I adjust the hook.”
Arrr! – This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. “Arrr!” can mean, variously, “yes,” “I agree,” “I’m happy,” ” “My team is going to win it all,” and “That was a clever remark you or I just made.” And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!
So be sure to enjoy Talk Like A Pirate Day this September 19th, and embrace the silliness. And be sure to follow the piratical John Baur and Mark Summers on their Facebook Fan Page – more than 15,000 fans strong – complete with a live feed of The Poopdeck newsletter. Or check them out on Twitter under “thecapnslappy“.
In this day and age where everything entertainment seems to be wrapped in CGI (computer-generated imagery), it is easy for audiences to forget how film special effects found their start — Stop Motion Animation.
Stop Motion, or what was first known as “object manipulation” dating all the way back to 1889, involves photographing an armature, (a pose-able puppet), or inanimate object in order to bring it to life on screen by breaking up the figure’s motion into increments and filming one frame of film at a time. Although this technique is time consuming, stop motion animation is simple and fun for all ages. You are only five simple steps away from creating your own Stop Motion Animation and no expensive equipment is required. All you need is a digital camera, some creativity and a story to tell.
Step 1: Develop an idea
When thinking of creating a stop motion animation, keep it simple. What will the characters/objects be doing? Write out a script with action in a story line and storyboard your ideas. Limit yourself to one or two objects/ characters to move if you are a beginner. Plan well. It is important to have the motions worked out in advance.
Step 2: Create an armature*
An armature forms the skeleton of the characters you can create for your stop motion animation. Armatures were perfected by stop motion animator Willis O’Brien, a pioneer in the special effects industry. He began using models with wire frame skeletons and movable joints. The wire and joints made the figures easy to move. Then O’Brien covered the frame with clay and paint to create lifelike models, his most famous being his iconic King Kong from the 1933 classic film. King Kong was a challenge for O’Brien. He brought the giant gorilla to life on film using eighteen inch high models constructed on metal skeletons with ball-and-socket joints, padded with foam rubber and cotton, and covered with rabbit skins to simulate the beast’s fur.
To create your armature, use light weight wire or strong pipe cleaners. Be sure to twist your armature materials together tightly in order to make your character have a strong frame. Any part you want to move on your character should be easy to bend. Add tin foil to the armature to give it mass and shape. Then, use a thin layer of non-drying modeling clay over the structure to add details and decoration.
* Armatures are optional and used when creating figurines you want to animate. Other good choices include clay, wire, Legos or similar building block figures, small dolls with a lot of flexibility, etc. Even household objects and people are great! Be imaginative in the types of objects and figures that might work for your movie.
Step 3: Create your background/set
If you are using armature models, consider creating a setting for them. Use a shoebox or cut a display board into halves. You can even use a cookie sheet as the floor of the set (consider putting magnets in the clay armature’s feet so it will easily stand). You can even use elements from the outdoors to create your scene. As for lighting, use continuous, direct light from desk lamps. Finally, color and paint the background or use printed pictures. Finish off your set by creating accessories or use small toys.
Step 4: Film your scene
Place your camera in front of the “set” and your characters/objects. Check that the camera can view the entire frame. It is very important to support the camera or place it so that it is sitting steadily and cannot shake as you take the photos. Otherwise, the end result will appear chaotic and lack continuity. Keep in mind that the more photos, the smoother the video results. If you do not have a tripod, good alternatives include balancing on solid books, poster tack on the surface of the set or a piece of solid furniture at the same height. Now, begin the movement sequence. Move the figure/object bit by bit – very small movements each time. Take a picture after every movement and repeat the movement sequence until your action step is completed.
You can even use stop motion without models. Think “Bewitched” and “Wizards of Waverly Place”, where magic happens at the snap of a finger or a twitch of the nose. For example, an elephant appears in the room. The camera filming the scene would be stopped and the actors would “freeze” until the pachyderm was in place, then filming would resume. The result is an elephant that “magically” appears in an instant. Consider how you can use Stop Motion in live action scenes as well.
Step 5: Make your movie
Import your pictures into the desired program, such as Stop Motion Animator, Frame Thief, iStop Motion, Stop Motion Pro, Video Blender, or any video software editor you might have available. Make sure the pictures are at a very small duration so they flow very fast, start at a rate of .5 seconds. Adjust the film speed rate if it needs to move slower or faster. Add audio, titles and credits if you would like: sound effects and music will add to your story.
Movies, TV, and even music videos have all found a place for stop motion thanks to animators like O’Brien, Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts ), Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit ), Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, (Robot Chicken) and Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach). They have brought this unique style of animation to the masses, and now you can do it too. Stop-motion animation is one of the simplest, most fun animation techniques. With creativity and some patience you can create something truly unique.
Post by Beth Carls, CEO, OneSeventeen Media & Co-Founder, KidThrive.org
Good Morning America reported Sunday morning on 16-year old Australian Jessica Watson’s quest to be the youngest person to sail solo, non stop, unassisted around the world. Jessica reports on her web site that her inspiration came from two pioneer sailors: Kay Cottee, the first woman to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world, and fellow Australian, Jesse Martin, the youngest person to do so.
While many of us might not set our sights on a goal like sailing around the world, we can take inspiration from the goal of this young woman. Even when it seemed her trip may not happen when, less than 24 hours before her departure, her yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, was struck by a 63,000 tonne bulk carrier and sustained considerable damage, Jessica did not give up. What an inspiration she can be to us and our youth on the importance of goal setting! She shares her route and rules on her site and reported today the weather seems to be cooperating for her to depart Sydney, Australia toward Northern New Zealand around the middle of the coming week.
Jessica was born May 18, 1993 on the Gold Coast and currently lives in Buderim, Australia. Her mantra is: Always make the best of everything, Positive, ask questions, lots of questions. Her interests include: Anything outdoors and on the water, camping, the beach, reading, cooking, weather, fencing, dingy sailing, boat design and CHOCOLATE!
If you’d like to follow her 8-month journey, you can find her blog and other information on her web site.
Good luck, Jessica!
Registration is now open in the Young Minds Digital Times Film Competition (YMDT) 2009-2010! “Studio Chief” Converge magazine has a fantastic article about the competition on their website – “Lights, Camera, Interaction.” You can also check out the official YMDT Filmmaker Blog Buzz where you’ll find weekly tips, tricks, advice and news related to the competition.
There are new categories, prizes and sponsors in this year’s competition, and we hope you’ll choose to join YMDT as a student participant or by encouraging kids you know to sign up for this great opportunity. They competition also makes an excellent class project!
The second year of the Young Minds Digital Times Film Competition (YMDT) is just days away! Starting September 28, students can register to participate in the ’09-’10 Competition. This year’s competition is co-sponsored by KidThrive.org and Converge magazine. As always, there’s no fee to participate. You’ll find all the details live on the YMDT website starting on the 28th. Some exciting improvements to this year’s competition based on your feedback:
- Expanded time line — films due in February 2010
- Larger cash prizes for students
- $1000 cash prizes for the teacher and school with the most entries
- Two new categories to show off your work
Be sure to check back September 28 for all the details! We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!
ReadWriteWeb shares that in a study of 14-21 year-olds, MySpace found that, “Some 36% of the respondents said they found it easier to talk about themselves online than in the real world, leading them to share more about themselves using technology.” For their younger counterparts who’ve never known life without social networks and text messaging, I’d guess that the percentage preferring to share online would be even higher.
MySpace’s numbers make total sense to us. For nearly a decade, OneSeventeen Media’s team members have been creating interactive experiences for kids online; we see technology as an opportunity to connect with kids who don’t always feel comfortable reaching out for help or support in face-to-face interactions. This isn’t to say online interactions should replace real life ones, but often the right online tool can serve as the first step in improving offline relationships.
So often it’s the doom-and-gloom reports about kids online that catch mainstream media attention, and Anastasia Goodstein presents a fresh look at information and youth behavior online:
“- 63% of teens said they DO NOT USE social networks to make fun of other students
- 87% of teens said they HAVE NOT posted naked or semi-naked photos or videos of themselves.
- 76% of teens said they HAVE NOT signed on to someone else’s account without permission
- 72% of teens HAVE NOT posted personal information that they normally would not have revealed in public
I would say wow, most teens are using this technology pretty responsibly…”
While there’s still room for improvement and educating kids as digital citizens, I greatly appreciate Anastasia framing the numbers to give kids the benefit of the doubt. There’s a strong majority of kids choosing to do the right things online, and that’s encouraging news!