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The following list of 10 rules are succinct and meant to be printed out and posted on your lab’s walls. Hopefully we can all remember that and these other rules (except for the food and drink one – I typically find myself eating at my desk) when we sit down in a computer lab.
I think a bigger question is why do you still have a computer lab – are there better options that promote differentiated instruction? The rules on this poster do not reflect a 21st Century learning environment that promotes creativity, collaboration, communication and creative problem solving. Computer labs are as outdated as desktop computers and if you think they are outdated then you need to reexamine what is done in the modern workplace, CAD, Video editing or any number of creative pursuits are done using a desktop computer where large desktop real-estate often multi-monitor comes to the fore.
Keep in mind ICT is about the Information not computers with today’s computing device begin tomorrows e-waste, the information is what keeps moving forward.
I think you may have a paradigm locked into your head about computer labs and 20C learning vs 21st.
Despite the rising popularity of streaming set-top box hardware over the last few years, the HTPC community continues to thrive among home theater enthusiasts that have large collections of video content in digital storage, want to access a larger range of free streaming video services on the Web and would like to digitally record over-the-air high definition content without having to pay monthly DVR fees.
While hardware like the Roku 3 is fantastic for firing up Netflix Instant or Hulu Plus, the sheer number of options available to a HTPC user is staggering. First off, if you don’t feel comfortable building a PC, there are a number of pre-built solutions that can provide solid video playback performance and get your feet wet in the HTPC world. In addition, check out the Zotac ZBOX series starting around $200 at retailers like Newegg, a popular choice among starting HTPC enthusiasts.
However, if you can handle a screwdriver and read an instruction manual, putting together the parts to build your own HTPC can be less expensive and useful in the future when you want to add or swap out components within the system. Alternatively, if you are going down the path to build a Steam gaming rig in addition to a HTPC, consider starting with an Intel i5 Haswell as your base CPU.
Regarding the remaining components, I usually go with 4GB of RAM (perfectly fine for video playback) and a 64GB SSD drive for quick booting of the operating system. The main upside to the Ceton InfiniTV 4 is that you can record four high definition channels at once, you can extend access to other televisions in your home using Windows Media Center Extender on a device like the Xbox 360 and renting a CableCard is extremely cheap compared to renting a cable box with DVR support.
If you have cut the cord completely and are relying on free over-the-air high definition network content, take a look at the Hauppauge or AverMedia Dual-tuner cards. When setting up XBMC, you basically point the software in the direction of where your content is stored, be it on a hard drive within the HTPC or a NAS home file server.
The easiest way to accomplish this effectively is to work through your library prior to using XBMC and assign supported name formats for each piece of content.
In addition to cover art, you will also see a high definition promotional still related to the movie or television show splashed up on the screen.
Regarding additional functionality: You can stream a variety of Web content through XBMC, stream content over Airplay from an iOS device, watch Blu-ray discs through the XBMC interface and use Advanced Launcher to play games or read comics.
Be sure to pair your HTPC with a solid indoor or outdoor home theater antenna for crystal clear, over-the-air high definition content. HTPC accessories like remotes, wireless keyboards and mice can also be important in making your system family friendly. Consider connecting your HTPC to a NAS home file server using a gigabit router and wired connections. All in all, there’s definitely a learning curve to the technical aspects of building a HTPC and setting up the software so everything works properly.
December 25, 2014 By Sarah Millin 2 Comments Recently I’ve received questions from clients about those high tech fitness bands so I decided to get a Fitbit Charge to try it out. Fitness bands are wearable technology that measure different types of exercise and synchronize the data with various devices.
The Fitbit Charge measures steps, stairs, miles, calories burned, hours of sleep, active minutes and it comes with an LCD display. Easy for the average user to get set up, just go to the setup page on the Fitbit web site to get started.
Next you get asked, poked and prodded about sharing your data with friends and social media. Even though the little lcd display gives you a daily total of most of what it measures, you need to synchronize the device where the data gets stored on Fitbit’s U.S. The band synchronizes via a very small receiver that plugs into a USB port (USB 2 or 3 work, I tested both types of ports).
You can customize the Fitbit dashboard thankfully and get rid of their upselling tiles and share this info with friends and Facebook crap. Another curiosity, but a good curiosity, is that it measures walking up hills as doing flights of stairs.
Besides the privacy concerns, it’s not a bad little device if you want to track your daily running around exercise.

Still actively using it have fototrgen it’s there most of the time now (I clip it onto my tshirt collar). Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
They may not have much description to go along with each rule, but it’s a great starting point. Honestly, it’s more important than working quietly or (heaven forbid!) not changing settings on a computer.
If we are trying to protect instructional time and take advantage of the visual cues in a classroom, then moving an entire class from one part of a school to another in order to access devices, is an outdated practice.
I understand where you are coming from, but for example, at my school, we do still have a lab, which is the central classroom around which 4 other classrooms are positioned, with glass walls in between, so students can move freely into the lab whenever they need to check something out. If you are looking for a HTPC with a small form factor, check out the Lenovo Q190 series starting at $299.
Building on the base hardware in the ZBOX, the user can add their own choice of hard drive, RAM and operating system.
The components within my home theater are a point of presentation for me when I have friends over and the HTPC is always a topic of conversation when I’m zipping through XBMC searching for something to watch. Silverstone, Moneual Labs and Thermaltake all manufacture large ATX cases that look very similar to a standard surround sound receiver.
A heavier case is often a better choice than a lightweight case in order to cut down on vibration and noise when the fans are running. Be aware that additional wattage usually requires additional cooling and can create more noise within your home theater.
Before you purchase an additional hard drive, evaluate the size of your current video library. If you still haven’t cut the cord and completely ended your relationship with your cable company, consider the Ceton InfiniTV 4. Linux paired with OpenOLEC is a fantastic HTPC solution in certain situations, but it doesn’t play Netflix easily due to the Silverlight plugin (that could change as Netflix shifts to HTML5), setting up Blu-ray playback is complicated and gaming can be an issue.
Windows 7 includes native DVD playback and live TV recording while the application that replaced Windows Media Center in Windows 8 has become somewhat crippled without paying for Windows Pro Pack.
Specifically, boot times are significantly better when paired with a SSD drive and the Metro-style interface for video apps is relatively easy to navigate with a remote.
It offers an incredible number of custom options, has a thriving, enthusiastic community and provides excellent functionality for the HTPC owner. While the software takes inventory of your media, you can use the software’s data scraping tool to pair information about a movie or television show with the appropriate cover art, plot summary and other details relevant to the content. This can be take a bit of time if you have a huge library of files, but the payoff in XMBC is absolutely fantastic. You can also customize these graphics one at a time, but that requires lots of additional time and effort. If you have multiple XBMC installations on computers around your home, you can even sync media playback in order to pick up where you left off on a movie or television show. While a fancy HTPC case might be fun to show off to family and friends, going with a cheaper case and investing in a NAS box will provide more functionality for the home.
Be sure to do your research before jumping in, and talk with the other members of your household to see what their needs are before investing in the hardware. Also the silent alarm feature which Fitbit promotes for getting up early for exercise without disturbing anyone with a loud alarm, I immediately thought of as perfect for business folks who have early morning meetings. Most of my work day is spent in a right handed world working with right handed mouse setups but in the privacy of my own home I am a left handed person.
I’m not a big fitness person and I have been consistently getting only a good 4 days before having to charge the band. And I found when I was in Mexico and went to the fitbit web site it defaulted to Spanish until I logged in.
I tested this by making sure I took the elevator only today (normally I always take the stairs) and the band registered I did 14 floors from walking up a big hill in the west end. It can be okay to do group work or to have some collaborative project-based learning in the lab. Most of the technical stuff can be accomplished using preventive software or parental controls (like on an iPad). Respect for others and their work environment is part of that and these lab rules reflect that respect not only for others but themselves. Teachers team teach and can easily see what is happening throughout the whole pod of classrooms and the lab. This can often be a more effective solution than the Q190 since you can go with a small SSD drive and Windows 7 or Linux rather than being locked into a standard hard drive and Windows 8.

If you’re considering a Linux build to utilize OpenOLEC, consider these build options put together by the folks in the XBMC forums. While more expensive than smaller cases, this style can include a digital touchscreen display, a large audio knob for the volume and a variety of programmable buttons.
Larger cases are easier to cool as well, thus allowing for additional hard drives and other components down the line. It’s an extremely solid pick for a budget build and it will save you money by eliminating the graphics card. I won’t delve into the plethora of options for graphics cards for a gaming build, but you should check out our How to Build Your Own Steam Box guide for more information on the topic. It may be a better idea to go with a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system over adding a few hard drives to the system, thus allowing anyone on your home’s network to have access to the media. You will need to obtain a CableCard from your cable company, and that can be a hassle due to poor technical support. For an external solution, check out the SiliconDust lineup of set-top boxes that can be paired with a HTPC setup. I prefer sticking with Windows 7 and using a combination of Windows Media Center and XBMC to watch stored media as well as live television. It’s also completely free, however donating to the developers is definitely encouraged. Be sure to check out the huge collection of user-generated themes for XBMC that can give your home theater display a unique look and make it easy for anyone in the household to locate and play media. When set up correctly, XBMC can provide a home theater experience that is unmatched when compared to set-top boxes and gaming consoles. That being said, adding a HTPC into your home theater is a fantastic way to catalog and access stored media, record high definition television programming and streamline the viewing experience of digital content. The more expensive ones have displays, measure your heart rate and hours of sleep, silent alarms and synchronize with more devices and even show who’s calling you if your phone is nearby. Doesn’t work on my 2 year old Samsung phone but I really don’t care, the display is better and bigger on my phone anyway. If some day being left handed gets made illegal or an insurance issue, I’m better off being closeted about it with Fitbit. Mostly I’m struggling with changing my habits now to get more activity into my schedule to change those graphs. This is for security too – so we can know that all devices are locked up at the end of the day in the central room. We are going to walk you though a number of hardware and software options ranging from simple to complex. Mini-ITX and Micro ATX are popular choices among HTPC enthusiasts that want to make a minimal impact on their home theaters; popular brands include Lian Li and nMEdiaPC.
Be aware that larger fans for an ATX case will usually generate more noise than fans within a Micro ATX case, so look for case fans that are specifically marketed as silent. Personally, I’m a fan of the AMD A6-5400K due to low power requirements, speedy performance and solid video playback. However, your cable company will be making significantly less money off you each month since you can turn in your cable boxes. I couldn’t find in the documentation anywhere if and how the data is encrypted when you synchronize but it uses a very short range. To give you a quick idea of what I mean, digital citizenship means you should be aware that your information is public, everything you do online is public, and that you will be held accountable for any action you take.
If you are looking for something truly unique to attract attention, nMEDIAPC makes a fantastic wooden PC case that looks like an old-timey radio that would have been used many decades ago. However, digital video content is so prevalent these days that an optical drive may not even been needed.
If you need more information on the Windows installation process or increasing performance, check out our How to Install Windows 7 guide, Windows 8 Guide and our How to Speed up Windows 7 or 8 guide.
So this poster works well for our setting, as at lunchtime the lab is open and a staff member is on duty and consistently reminding students of the rules – which is not hard, but I thank the person who made this visual. Computer labs can be a hotbed of activity or they can be something that resembles a graveyard.
If you go the Intel route, the 55W i3 Ivy Bridge with HD 4000 is a solid pick for a low-impact HTPC.

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