Only Half USA Children Raised by Biological Parents

I was reading: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/only-half-of-us-children-are-being-raised-by-their-married-parents-25600

 

Since I’ve spent the last 7 years of my life dedicated to helping improve outcomes for students placed in a school setting with devices, I’ve become more acutely aware of the larger societal shifts which are making it difficult for children to overcome the hurdles being thrown in their way by the culture in the USA.

There’s plenty of evidence backing up the concept that the environment most likely to help a child grow into a successful adult overwhelmingly points to a household with a married biological mother & father.  That doesn’t mean other household environments can’t raise good children, it just means the odds are best in this setting.

As an overall culture, it should be a major disappointment to us then to find out that half of all children in our country are in a less than optimal home setting by the time they graduate high school.  With an all-time low in married adults, it appears that we’re heading towards even lower percentages of children growing up in a home with their parents.

What are the implications of this going to be down the road?  Will other home settings, schools and/or other community organizations be able to adapt and fill in whatever it is that’s missing from the home?

Tent Camping Reviews

My family has really started to love getting the tent out and camping together.  So much so that I thought a nice post to remind me of what we’ve liked and didn’t like.  I have a family with 5 small kids, oldest is only born in 2008, so we’re more into quiet wooded sights, beginner level hiking, and good sites to see etc…

Unfortunately, the majority of campers or camping these days refers to people that want electric sites for their RV or we’ve even seen people with window unit air conditioners for there tent!  That’s not us; when we go camping, we like the old-fashioned non-electric site and a tent.  We even sleep on the ground!   The camp chef grill is the one major luxury that we take along every time.

Missouri Tent Camping

  • Knob Knoster State Park *****  Stayed there 2 nights in summer 2016.  They have nice wooded sites, pretty good hiking trails, and a nature center with nightly shows that the kids really liked.  We really enjoyed this one and would go back.
  • Lewis & Clark State Park **  Stayed there for 2 nights in summer 2017.  We were really disappointed by the campgrounds here which weren’t really “out in nature” much.  One side was right behind residential fencing between people’s backyards.  The pros were that there was a nice playground, a pretty good beginner hiking trail within walking distance, and the lake is right there.

Iowa Tent Camping

  • Palisades-Kepler State Park *****  Stayed there one night summer of 2018 and we wished we could have stayed longer.  The drop-in process was easy, the campsites were wooded with quite a few non-electric off to themselves.  An easy hike led to a great spot on the river nearby.

Illinois Tent Camping

  • Pere Marquette State Park *****  Went through St. Charles MO and took the Grafton Ferry in summer of 2018.  We really liked this park.  It has an older separate section away from all the RVs for the tent camping and the Lodge is within walking distance.
  • Illini State Park **** This was a nice park with a nice variety of sites.  We stayed there in summer of 2018 in a really wooded site instead of staying by the river or a little more out in the open.

Wisconsin Tent Camping

  • Pike Lake State Park **** We stayed here in summer of 2018.  We really liked the nearby lake for it’s nice swimming area.  The one piece we didn’t like was the check-in process or vehicle fees that go with the Wisconsin state parks.
  • Apostle Islands Area Campground **** We stayed here two nights in summer of 2018.  The best part of this campground is the location.  It’s proximity to the Apostle Islands and Bayfield were perfect.  The tent sites were off and away from the RVs which we also like.  The restrooms and showers should be in a little better shape but all-in-all, this was a good place for us.

imovie not exporting video to file (error 10004)

I was running into this issue and most of the help I found on the internet was either too time consuming or didn’t work. In this case, I eventually found the answer on an apple forum. In the past I’ve had bad luck finding such information later on so I figure’d I’d save it off on my small corner of the web.

Here are the symptoms I was experiencing:
– I had recorded a video with a different piece of software and imported to iMovie
– I added voice over & edited the video and all seemed well
– Went to export to a file and immediately it throws the error 10004 before the pie starts to fill up at all

Thanks to Bruno’s review I was able to easily resolve the issue. If only that were the first advice that I’d seen….

Anyhow, just delete the first second of the video clip and add a freeze frame if necessary to make up for it.

Then exporting works fine for me. Hooray!

Troubling Post about Parents and Kids Having Phones

If you are thinking about whether or not to get your child a phone and let them spend time on facebook, snapchat, twitter, etc…  You really need to read this article:  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Below are a few quotes that really jumped out at me.

The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.

There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness.

The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression. Eighth-graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 percent, while those who play sports, go to religious services, or even do homework more than the average teen cut their risk significantly.

 

Teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35 percent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, such as making a suicide plan.

 

Children who use a media device right before bed are more likely to sleep less than they should, more likely to sleep poorly, and more than twice as likely to be sleepy during the day.

And What to Do

The article suggests that the executives in silicon valley that bring us the devices and social media services that are behind all of this are unlikely to allow the amount of use that’s associated with the troublesome increases in unhappiness, loneliness, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Even Steve Jobs limited his kids’ use of the devices he brought into the world.

 

Download Latest iTunes Reviews with a Quick Python Script

Ever wanted to be able to download the latest itunes reviews for your app to display on your website, understand & analyze user requests better, or just have a copy for yourself?

I was trying to do just that and was happy to find that itunes support RSS feeds for every app in iTunes using the app id.

It’s super simple once you know the format to start fetching your reviews and doing whatever you want with them programmatically.

How to Download Latest iTunes Reviews

1.  Find your app’s id by looking at the url to your app on itunes.

2.  Construct the url to your RSS feed by replacing the <id> with your id (just the number part).

https://itunes.apple.com/rss/customerreviews/id=<app-id-goes-here>/json

3.  Start writing code to do whatever you want with reviews

A Quick Python Demo

This sample is pretty simple but quickly shows what is possible by printing out the rating and review for the most recent reviews of the app.

import json
import requests

resp = requests.get('https://itunes.apple.com/rss/customerreviews/id=<app-id-goes-here>/json')
itunesrssjson = json.loads( resp.content)

for entry in itunesrssjson['feed']['entry']:
 print "{1}".format( entry.get("im:rating").get("label"), \
                     entry.get('content').get('label'))

Let’s say you only want to look at 5 star reviews.  Just add a quick little if statement in there.

for entry in itunesrssjson['feed']['entry']:
 if entry.get('content') and entry.get("im:rating").get("label") in ["5"]:
   print "{1}".format( entry.get("im:rating").get("label"), \
                       entry.get('content').get('label'))

 

That’s it!  Use or learn some python skills to sort, filter, fetch additional reviews and more.  Or you can always use whatever language you’re best at.

Have fun getting your reviews the quick and easy way.

8 Ways to Make your First Semester of College Successful

With the fall semester quickly approaching, it’s time for you to start thinking about what can be done to make your first semester of college successful. While the transition from high school to college may seem intimidating to some, there are several things you can do to ease this process (and hopefully ace your classes too).

1. Use a planner.

In high school it may have been possible for you to keep track of all your obligations in your head (and in some cases, with the help of your parents), but that time in your life has unfortunately come to an end. Between academic and social commitments, your bound to forget one thing or another if you solely rely on your mind to keep it all straight. My advice? Find a planner that works for you (whether you prefer paper or online) and use it religiously. Color code it. Highlight it. Love it. Take it with you everywhere. That planner will become your key to success. I actually use a combination of paper and online, as I have a Lilly Pulitzer planner for my social commitments (sorority, job, mentorship program, etc) and use the MyHomework application for my assignments and due dates.

2. Get resourceful on campus

Many incoming college freshmen tend to overlook the academic resources that are provided by their university. Many campuses offer some sort of help center or “Student Success Center” (http://success.missouri.edu) as it’s called at the University of Missouri. These wonderful places are usually filled with knowledgable and experienced tutors who are actually paid to help you be successful. Make them earn it and take advantage of this opportunity.

3. Get resourceful off campus

While your campus most likely offers on site tutors, there’s also a plethora of academic aid awaiting you on the web. A personal favorite of mine is Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) which provides students with free video tutorials on various subjects across the academic spectrum. I personally don’t know how I would’ve survived micro and macro economics without it. Other good online resources to check out? UDemy and Coursera are two other great options for online academic help. They both offer a pretty decent selection of free courses that could give you further instruction and help you be more successful in your classes.

4. Listen to your professor

If your professor advises you to read your textbook, you should probably read it. It will usually enhance what you’ve learned in class and strengthen your odds of acing the exams (assuming that’s your goal). Better yet, he or she might even tell you that the text book isn’t necessary for the class. Because of this, it also might be beneficial to wait to receive your class syllabi before purchasing your textbooks. Another note on textbooks: never buy them from the university book store. They are always overpriced. Chegg.com and Amazon.com are two reliable sites that I’ve used to find much more affordable text books – both excellent alternatives to the book store.

5. Do your research ahead of time

It’s incredible what you can uncover about your courses on the internet. Through websites like Ratemyprofessor.com and university sponsored websites, students can get a taste of what exactly they’re getting themselves into before class even begins. This can be helpful because it allows you to figure out which classes will require the most time and effort. Researching professors and course loads online is also exceptionally helpful when trying to design your class schedule each semester.

6. Get to know your professors

Getting to know your professors is not only important because it can help your grade if you’re on the fence between a B and an A, but it also can help you with networking later on down the road. In a couple years, you will panic much less when you find out you need a letter of recommendation for an internship if you’ve already taken the time to build relationships with your past professors. Start now. Find out what their office hours are each week and be a regular. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

7. Make friends

This sounds like silly advice for collegiate academic success, but struggling through class assignments can be much more bearable with the company of other classmates. You might be thinking “well obviously I’ll make friends in class” but many students tend to go to class (especially in the large lecture halls) without speaking to anyone at all. Get there a little bit early and strike up a conversation with those around you. Study groups are great. Not to mention, it’s way more fun than studying alone.

8. Study on the go

Between sorority events and business school obligations, I found myself having very little time to just be able to sit down and study. My favorite trick? Save your documents or study guides to your myHomework app and pull them up at any time to study discreetly. I did this countless times throughout freshman year and it may just have saved my biology grade. For more serious studying, you could create new materials with StudyBlue or Quizlet.

 

Guest Author:

Katelyn Entzeroth – University of Missouri- @katentz

Salesforce Error: “Mismatched integration value and ISO code for field: Country Code,”

I was trying to import a .csv of Lead data into salesforce today.  Salesforce’s import tool is terrible and you have to use something from the AppExchange to get error messages.  You’ve probably already discovered that if you’re reading this post.

Anyways, I found that the issue with trying to import any data with a country outside of the United States was because the Country and State Picklists had the United States set to the default country.  I changed that default to “none” and the exact same import file ran flawlessly.

I hope this saves someone else some time someday.

One Man Conference Marketing Journey

I showed up at ISTE13, one of the biggest edtech conferences of the year, Sunday night with a great plan on how to make the most of my conference.

I had a couple of meetings setup, a few other individuals I was going to seek out, and I was also going to be distributing some content intended to get teachers to take a closer look at our products.  This post is about the process I went through in making my handouts work well.

I was armed with a few hundred Teachers.io pens and a thousand myHomework stickers to try and make an impact on upwards of 15,000 people.  Not a small task by any measure given I was going to be spending most of my time trying to network.

Attempt 1: I started out with the easiest thing possible and just started throwing small amounts of stickers and pens out on high traffic areas.  I would then wait for a few minutes and watch the behavior of the people picking up the items.  The pens were the first to go.  Too often, one person would take every pen on the table without even looking at the brand.  Even if I spread the pens out across the table with lots of spacing, they had that swipe down.  The one positive is that I quickly identified which tables were places people were stopping to look at material vs. just stashing straight in the conference bag.

Attempt 2:  Start conversations and get permission.  These conversations were invaluable but would take as long as 15 or 20 minutes and would end with me asking if they wanted my handout.  Every time they said they did.  However, while both I and the teacher/parent would learn a lot about each other, it wasn’t a very scalable approach to getting our name out.

Attempt 3: I tried walking up to people and giving them a 20 second overview of what we did and then seeing if they wanted the pen or stickers.  A few were receptive, many were not happy that I’d interrupted their silent walk.

Attempt 4:  Try to attract walkers from a high traffic area to come to me by being a little bit like a ballgame vendor.  A few would come over, but without a bigger act ( all I had was a bag on my shoulder with some pens and stickers), most were too busy to notice or were wishing that idiot would stop shouting.

Attempt 5:  Redesign the handout and place it in the high traffic areas mentioned in Attempt 1.  I attached a pen to a few stickers.   I put some down and watched.  Sometimes, the interaction was much more thoughtful and other times it was not.  Some took as long as a minute to decide whether or not to take it.  But why?

I thought about it and realized that when the pen was hiding the word “homework” was when they were having fun discovering the meaning of the handout.  So when a person could clearly see “I NEVER FORGET my” and had to move the pen to see the word homework, was when the interaction was most thoughtful.  I put some down carefully making sure the word homework was covered to test my hypothesis and watched.   Nearly every encounter took at least ten seconds.  And perhaps, even best, was that the pen hoarders were thwarted and would just take one pen leaving the stickers on the table.  I spent the last day and half loading the best tables with these handouts and 

End ranking of my attempts:

  1. Attempt 5: On pure handout, even though on the face of it the pen + stickers cost more, it was most effective for the time spent
  2. Attempt 2: Most effective was a personal conversation closed with any item to remember me
  3. Attempt 3: Walking up to people, giving them the 30 second pitch and asking them if they wanted the pen + stickers
  4. Attempt 4: Shouting the pitch to try and attract an audience and then give away stuff and answer questions
  5. Attempt 1: Just putting stickers separate from pens resulted mainly in conference hoarders just taking tons of pens or stickers

One other note:  Teachers at this conference strongly preferred a pen to a  sticker and either a pen or a sticker to any type of informational flyer.

The Art of the Sale

I was at the Kauffman foundation a few weeks back to hear Philip Delves Broughton present on sales and touch on his book, “The Art of the Sale”.  Beforehand, I had never heard of the book. After meeting Broughton and listening to his demeanor, I knew it was a book I had to read.  He wasn’t a salesman, but had been through business school and was never put through any academic sales training.

My small company, instin, is right now at a position where it needs sales more than ever so this has been a timely read.  I’m pretty much a sales rookie in terms of experience but I have grown up with a father as a salesman and read quite of bit of sales literature.

I found this book to be quite informative and a welcome change from the other sales books I’ve read.  Most other books focus on selling as a means to get rich.  From the onset, Broughton establishes his purpose for researching and writing to be to discover what really drives great salesmen.  And while he finds examples of both those who are fooling themselves in order to sell a product they don’t care deeply about (i.e. life insurance reps), there are many more examples of those who are out there selling in order to help the client.

Since sales is a necessary part of any economy and in some ways every single life, deciding how and why we sale is integral in determining whether or not we’ll be successful.  In my situation, I am selling advertising to students so that we can continue to offer great products directly for students and now teachers without sacrificing any of the user experience.

All in all I found this a great read and would recommend it to others.  The only part of the book I disliked was when Broughton tried to explain or break down a few of the success stories scientifically.

I’ve Never Been Fired From a Job I Cared About

I had a nice conversation the other day with one of my friends who is also an entrepreneur out on his own.  We were talking about the ins and outs of managing a team and what style has or hasn’t worked for either of us.  We also touched on how hard it can be to tell somebody they’re fired.  We’re not all Donald Trump.

Anyhow, in the midst of the conversation, one line popped out of my mouth that I thought I’d share – “I’ve Never Been Fired From a Job I Cared About”

Sometimes poor performance is a plea to get tossed.  Or other times the person is just in a job that doesn’t fit their talent.  In the end, many times firing really is the right thing to do for both parties.