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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Celtx

Did you know there are rules for screenwriting? Actual rules. And when you don’t follow the rules, you get beaten with a yardstick — or ignored by Hollywood. Whichever hurts worse. Now that I fancy myself a screenwriter, I’ve hired an assistant to help me follow the rules. OK, “hired” is perhaps too strong a word; “downloaded” may be more accurate.

Celtx is a terrific little piece of software, absolutely free, that will write scripts, storyboard scenes and sequences, sketch setups, develop characters, breakdown & tag elements, schedule productions, and prepare and circulate informative reports for cast and crew. (Yeah, I plagiarized that description from Celtx’ website. Ssshhhh.) In between screenplays, it also writes comic books. Not kidding.

Now if Charlie Sheen could just download an assistant to help him follow the rules, all would be well in Hollywood.

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Noupe.comMany decades ago, we spent a long weekend in a Lotus 1-2-3 workshop. By Saturday night we were experts on everything spreadsheet.

Now we’re wishing for a weekend seminar on Photoshop…but the local community college is putting all its continuing ed energy into…no kidding…Introduction to Facebook! Become a Mystery Shopper! Cupid’s Cuisine! Sigh.

lynda.comSo we’re finding ourselves having to create our own weekend Photoshop workshops. Fortunately, these workshops are free, and allow us to attend class in our underpants. For print tutorials, we’ve become quite fond of Noupe, and for video tutorials, we’re growing even more enamoured of Lynda. Both resources provide intensive, Adobe-in-a-Can delivery of knowledge by folks who seem pretty knowledgable about their product. Time to dive in now. We won’t come up for air until we’re experts!

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Weather UndergroundEver wonder where the weatherman gets his information? “Yesterday’s low was xx degrees, two degrees below our record, set back in 1948, of xx+2 degrees.” I mean, you can’t just know this stuff, right?

Turns out, you can. Courtesy of Weather Underground, the free weather resource that predicts tomorrow’s climate, and records yesterday’s. After typing in your zip code — sorry, people of Mozambique and Madagascar; your weather isn’t good enough to track — scroll down to the History & Almanac heading, and read up on hour-by-hour weather, any day in history. Assuming, that is, that history started in 1931.

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We’re taking an online computer art class. Not that we’re any good, mind you. But learning Photoshop and Illustrator has been quite an adventure. Now that we’re hooked, we’re looking around for all the tips and tricks we can lay hands on. That’s how we ran across this tremendous resource: PsDesigning. It’s a collection of very well done Photoshop tutorials with illustrated, multi-step instructions for creating beautiful posters, icons, and web graphics. We’re sorta hooked!

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Family Home Evening

Family Home Evening

Hope your holidays were lovely and memorable.

It’s Monday, and we try to make all of our Mondays lovely and memorable by observing a tradition of our own: Family Home Evening.

Oh, yes, our family nights are¬†often messy and disorganized, and all too often they devolve into a morass of movies and munchies, but we’re all in the same room, and that has to count for something, right?

Here’s the planner I use to try to impose at least a modicum of organization on our family nights: fhe.lds.org. The site suggests activities and lesson topics, artwork and an actual fill-in-the-blanks planner for organizing family home evenings.

Share some FHE tips of your own by clicking the Comments link, and I promise not to put you in charge of conducting the opening song.

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Stock.XCHNGIt’s time for the biennial — okay, bi-decadal — update of our primary website, so I’ve been out hunting for artwork. Lo and behold: I stumbled into a third of a million images, all legit, and all free, at Stock.xchng, a free stock photo gallery.

Just goes to show: People are pretty darned cool. Oh, and generous. This is just a great time to be alive. Merry Christmas, fellow web builders!

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The OWL at Purdue

Online Writing Lab

It’s finals week for the college kids, and they’re frantically dashing off papers and sitting exams. Mom’s helping the essay writers, natch’, by being harder on them than their own English professors would be. And I’m insisting that their papers reflect perfect MLA style.

My go-to place for online MLA style arguments: The MLA style guide page from the OWL at Purdue. It’s just one of dozens of OWL writing resources that every parent of a high school- or college-aged student should have available.

Honestly, how often do we get to prove we’re smarter than our teenagers?

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