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Please visit Dr. Carol J.V. Fisher's Homepage (link at left) to learn what this site has to offer.
Watch the "Welcome" video to get started—hope to see you back here soon!
CAROL'S BLOGBlog is short for weblog (weBLOG).
Check here to see the latest information about my site (and, occasionally, about my life in general).
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This always happens. Where does December go?
I have accomplished some stuff this month (besides tutoring):
Changed to a new whiteboard for my online tutoring:
Dabbleboard has multiple whiteboard pages, and it's easy to insert graphs and save drawings for later reference.
I'm also trying out a Guestbook; I'll pay to get rid of the annoying advertisements
if people seem to like this way of letting me know how they're using my site.
Bought iWorks—"Numbers" is an incredible spreadsheet!
The video tutorials are excellent.
We returned two of our fostered kittens (Epsilon and Mr. Besitos); Julia kept Mr. Nels.
It was really, really hard to say good-bye.
Brushing up on some higher-level calculus topics for more advanced tutoring.
Just about finished my own "tutorial" on "Switching between Two Views" on the iPod Touch.
App work has been tough—there are so many holiday-time "distractions" that I often go several days without doing app stuff,
and then it takes a bunch of hours to get myself back to where I was.
Three steps forward, two steps back...
Finally: lots of baking, time at Nielsen Lane, sewing projects, singing, shopping, wrapping...
Merry Christmas... Happy Holidays... everyone!
I hope you all find lots of time to spend with those you love.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Caroling at the Monterey Store with Karl. It was cold!
The electricity went out, so we were singing by moonlight and flashlights and (inside) candles.
Most exciting—I learned about OpenVES.org, a project to create a virtual educational space.
It is incredibly thoughtfully designed, from both pedagogical and technological standpoints. Check it out!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Have been doing lots of online tutoring; it's great fun!
Such a WIDE variety of questions should keep me sharp!
THE VMWARE FUSION SAGA
Have had this constant VMWare Fusion annoyance: I need my screen resolution to be a certain setting for a program I use.
VMWare will NOT "hold" this setting—everytime I go in, I have to Start-Control Panel-Appearance and Themes-Display-Settings tab-set to 1024 by 768-click APPLY-click YES-it switches it back to 1024 by 703 (arrggghh)-set to 1024 by 768 again-click APPLY-click YES-and then FINALLY it takes it (for this session only).
Since this was geting old, I decided to try and remedy the situation. So started 7.5 hours of anxiety, frustration, problems...
all to get me back to where I started (and the problem still isn't resolved).
So, here's the short version of the story:
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Finished my newest web exercise: Mental Math: Addition.
I haven't written a new web exercise in a long time, so this one took me considerably longer than usual!
I've got it functional in IE, Firefox, and Safari; but, in the final exercise, the "focus" doesn't move to the "new problem" button in Safari—just can't figure this out. Works fine in Firefox and IE.
Also, I had to change my "onblur()" to "onchange()" to get the final exercise to work properly in Safari. Weird.
Just posted a new service: Custom Web Exercises. Check it out!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
JUST HIT 100,000 on my site meter! Woo hoo!
November 22, 2009, 7:25 PM EST.
Actually SAW 99,999. Couldn't catch 100,000... couldn't refresh the page fast enough.
But, I did see 100,001!!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Created a page with Summary Statistics for my web site.
Moved my Testimonials to more prominent locations (at least for a while).
Decided that I'm going to get back to creating new web exercises, to fill out and complete my offerings.
This will allow me to have something to "show" for all my work these days (since the app stuff isn't going to "produce" much for a while yet).
I'm currently working on a "mental math" web exercise—should be up soon!
I also just purchased Pixelmator image-editing software for my graphics needs, and I'm LOVING it.
(Actually, Karl bought it for me, in partial thanks for all the work I'm doing getting his website up-and-running.)
I found a $10-off coupon at Retail-Me-Not;
I've got to remember to always check for online coupons before buying anything!
There's a superb set of Pixelmator video tutorials here (go from the bottom up).
Monday, November 16, 2009
Moved Twitter to a less prominent location.
My blog (this page) was suffering, because I was posting everything on Twitter/Facebook and not putting it here.
I like to use this blog as a "diary" of sorts of my work, so I really want to keep it current.
I'm expanding my math offerings with this new page: Dr. Fisher's Math-on-the-Web Solutions.
Making good progress on my iPhone Development book!
Keeping busy with trips to the airport and back (my daughter Julia is traveling a lot)
and taking care of the three kittens that we're fostering: Mr. Nells, Mr. Besito, and Epsilon.
Monday, November 2, 2009
My "$3 Math Solution" is up-and-running. Try it out!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Never made it over to Mom and Dad's today. (I usually head over there every Sunday to clean, and to keep my Dad company while Mom is at church.) Here's what happened.
Left early. Picked up the "Marathon Mouse" video I had ordered for Dad. Stopped at the Monterey dump. Glorious day—the perfect opportunity to use my GPS to take the "shortest" (as opposed to "fastest") route to Lenox. No snow yet; not mud season. Of course, the GPS promptly cautions me that "shortest may not be fastest" (by the way, I LOVE my GPS, since I'm one of those people who gets lost in a parking lot).
Start off, musing about how gorgeous these back roads are, what a wonderful idea of mine this is. I'm on back roads I don't think I've ever traveled before. (Out, alone, in the middle of nowhere. BTW, I'm one of the few people left in the U.S. who doesn't own a cell phone, since there's no service in Monterey.)
Okay, BIG "puddle" in the road ahead. Covers the entire road. Being a totally cautious person, I stop the car, get out, get a large stick from the side of the road, and feel how deep it is. Hmmm... some deep sections on the right, seems not-so-bad on the left. Walk to the left of the road on the left... seems firm. So, I decide to get past by going off the road a bit on the left, using the less-deep left-hand side.
Boy am I wrong. Front left tire almost completely disappeared in mud. No going forward. Try reverse—move a smidgeon, not much. Get out, survey the situation. I think the closest house is about 1 mile back... I could walk there and call AAA. Hardly any traffic on this road... I could be waiting a LONG time for someone to come. So, what-the-heck, I'll try the "rocking the car" bit. Forward, reverse, forward, reverse... UNBELIEVABLY, after about 5 minutes of this, I get a REALLY good rock going, and am able to get out backwards. Spend about 5 minutes using tissues in my car to clear the mud off the windshield to the point where I can see a bit. My entire hood is CAKED in mud.
Re-trace. The GPS is saying, every couple minutes, to "turn around" (since I am about 10 miles into my "shortest" trip at that point). I turn it off.
So, I'll go through Gt. Barrington. I recall there's a car wash there I've always wanted to try anyways. My front left tire sounds HORRIBLE—the scraping noises are intense. Brakes seem okay, so I cautiously proceed to the car wash.
Decide on the $10 super-wash, with under-carriage and a double pass. Windows rolled up, start in, wondering how far I'm supposed to go. A "voice" from the money-taking-machine is saying something that I can't hear, so I roll down my window. At that moment, a GIGANTIC burst of water comes rushing thru the window, wetting me, my entire front inside windshield, steering wheel, dashboard... Well, at least I know what the voice was saying. "Be sure to close your windows."
So, I sit there while it does its work outside, and I use the tissues again to wipe off myself and the inside windshield so I can see.
Finished. Certainly looks better, but still a bunch of mud on the hood. Didn't nearly get everything from underneath. Start driving, and the scraping is still horrible, so I decide I need to head home (which is closer from here), hook up my hose (that had been drained for the winter) and clean beneath the car (and get dry clothes).
Called Dad to say I wasn't going to make it today. Sorry. Cleaned the car. Sounded fine going into the car port, so I hope I got it all.
Think I'll stick to the route through Lee in the future. (There's a bit more to the story, but it's not for general consumption!)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
WHOA. Just came across a WEALTH of stats I didn't know my server provided.
Here are the current October 2009 stats for my site:
23,660 unique visitors; 21,321 of these bookmarked/"favorited" me
30.7% came from direct links/bookmarks/favorite lists; 61.6% from search engines
82.2% Windows, 14.4% Mac
58.5% IE, 22.7% Firefox, 10.7% Safari
top search phrase: "function notation" (with 4.1% of search phrases)
I also just created a "favorites icon" that will appear next to my URL,
and will be used when someone bookmarks one of my pages.
I used my "Seashore" graphics editor to create a 16 pixel by 16 pixel piece of my "logo".
Then, I uploaded it to www.favicon.cc and put a 1-pixel border in color #CCCC99 (my website background color).
Saved the colored icon to my desktop.
Then I uploaded it to the root directory of my servervoila! It looks great!!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Big week. Working on Karl's website—it's just about ready to go live.
Now that I've got sitemeters on all my math pages, my 7-day average is 821 hits/day... I'm pleased with this.
There's a regular weekly cycle: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are my peak days, with usually over 1000 hits/day.
Dying down on Friday and Saturday, then picking up again on Sunday and Monday.
It's fun to look at this weekly pattern in sitemeter.
With Apple's help, I now have the ability to test my apps on my own iPod Touch, without any memory errors... yeh!!!
(I used up my first "technical incident" to get here.)
Making good progress on my "Beginning iPhone 3 Development" book, and loving it.
Really enjoying my Twitter feed.
Lots of former students are "friending" me on Facebook, and it's wonderful to hear from them.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Had over 1000 hits yesterday! Cool!
I joined Facebook today... now the dilemma... post on my blog? On Twitter? On Facebook? All three?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Finished updating Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II.
AppleScript was an incredible time-saver.
Now, I have common headers/footers, that can be changed by uploading just ONE file.
Also, I now have site meters on every page, so I'm getting a much better sense of just how many visitors I get to my site.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
FINALLY got my provisioning certificate figured out, so that I can test my apps on my own iPod Touch.
It was a bit tricky... didn't initially work. I actually don't know what I finally did (maybe it just needed to rest)... but now it's working!
I've displayed "Hello World!" (well... Hello iPhone) on my very own iPod Touch!!
Woo hoo!! I'm on my way!!
Finished AppleScript 1-2-3 by Sal Soghoian and Bill Cheeseman—great book!
My newest book (ordered way back in January), iPhone SDK Development by Bill Dudney and Chris Adamson, just arrived.
So, my next two projects... hone my AppleScript skills by writing scripts to help me efficiently update my web site, and read my two SDK books in parallel.
Monday, October 5, 2009
I just enrolled in the Apple Developer Standard Program ($99, individual) so that I can test my apps on an actual iPod, and sell them in the App Store.
I read (in several places) that it can take a while to get approval, so (just in case) thought I'd get this done now.
I'm trying Twitter as a way to communicate with visitors to my website.
First few hours, I've had three "followers" come to me; two advertising, one with "adult" content.
I've finished my Objective-C book, and am on page 549 of the AppleScript 1-2-3 book.
A thought occurred to me the other day—maybe I can offer a "Create-A-Question" where, for a relatively small fee (maybe $10???)
I'd take a math question and "randomize" it to give students infinite practice.
This would be perfect for when students are saying "I need more practice problems!"
I'd reserve the right to put it up on my website (in an appropriate place).
I'd love to generate some income this way, and improve this site for everybody at the same time.
So... go send me a tweet (should this be capitalized?) to let me know what you think!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Weird. My "Google Friend Connect" has disappeared in the Safari browser; there's just a ghost outline there.
Still working fine in other browsers.
It's a sign... well, it was a fun experiment!
(Other "solutions" require renaming files... say, using php and renaming with an extension of "php"...
which would break links for all my users. So, I won't go this route.)
So, I'm experimenting with this approach:
In my common header, I want links to:
my Ask-A-Question, my videos, the Google search tool, and a cell that cycles between Google AdSense/selling my books/other.
One problem I'm discovering is this:
So, I've got to solve this problem before I go live.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I've finished updating the Geometry multi-section quiz; many sections were missing.
This is in preparation for the next video, "Geometry and GeoGebra".
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I'm experimenting with "Google Friend Connect" to try and create a community of math teachers and learners for this website.
Right now, I'm the only member!
This is a "beta" project for Google.
What's cool is that people can use their existing logins from other popular places,
so they might not have to create a new login.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I've gotten a couple more movies up on my site:
The Big "P" and "T" and Philosophy, Interactive Slide Show, and the Purple "Cat" Book.
I've also made hard-copies of my books available through my web site: Dr. Fisher's Books.
Plus, I'm throughly enjoying learning AppleScript!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I've gotten tutoring flyers created for two target audiences:
senior citizens who would like to keep their mind sharp by learning something new, and students.
Still haven't gotten my new AppleScript book, but it should be here soon...
then, I'll finish getting advertising and sitemeters up on the remainder of my site.
(For the last week, I've averaged 178 hits/day... whoa!)
I've finished the "Learn C on the Mac" book, by Dave Mark; it's a good book.
Had a massive tag sale for Labor Day weekend; went well.
With my daughter Julia moving in, a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff had to move out!
It was a fantastic opportunity to go through every cabinet, drawer, shelf, storage space...
We got a beautiful wooden yard chair and swing, half-price, and I just finished weather-protecting them. They look great!
Also, my daughter Julia and I just canned ten quarts of bartlett pears last night... yum!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
By putting "sitemeter" on ALL of my pages, I'm getting a much better sense of the number of visitors to my site.
I've only gotten thru Section 12 of my Algebra I curriculum, but already it "appears" that my visitors have increased dramatically:
I had been averaging about 30/day, but yesterday I had 177 visitors!
The "visit length" is unfortunately not reliable information.
I get many "1 page, 0 seconds" visitors, who are referred from one of my own pages.
In this situation, they must have bookmarked my page, so they come here directly (i.e., not from a search engine).
If these people stay on this entering page—no matter what length of time—and then CLOSE the page (as opposed to leaving via a link), then it registers as 0 seconds.
(I've done many experiments to verify this fact.)
Similarly, if someone comes from a search engine, finds what they want, stay on the page and read (even for hours) and then CLOSE the page, it registers as 0 seconds.
So, "0 seconds" is actually (very likely) a GOOD indicator!
On the contrary, if someone comes from a search engine, glances at the page, decides it's not what they want, and then goes back to the search engine...
this type of "transaction" will register as a few seconds.
So, an entry like "1 page, 16 seconds" is likely meaningful, whereas "1 page, 0 seconds" is not!
It's a very tedious process, going through ALL my files to update header/footer info.
I was hoping that I would be able to easily just LOAD IN a file, so that I could maintain a single header file and load it into each of my pages.
Then, by changing this SINGLE header file, the changes would be reflected on all my hundreds of pages.
This would be extremely easy to do with PHP... but, unfortunately, this would require me to change all my filenames to have a ".php" extension.
For all my users who have bookmarked my pages, this would be disastrous—the links would fail.
So, I'm not willing to do this.
I've decided that "AppleScript" is probably PERFECT for automating the repetitive stuff that I'm doing.
So, I've just bought a book on AppleScript, and I'll be reading it with an eye towards writing a macro to do all my search/replace through my hundreds of files.
Oh boy, more stuff to learn! My head is FULL of new info these days!
This will also be extremely useful in the future, as I want to adjust the header to reflect links to my math apps up at the App Store!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
A somewhat sad day... I've had to put advertising on my site, to create some revenue.
Leaving it to "donations" just isn't working.
For now, I'll stick with text ads, just one per page, and see how much money that can generate.
Hopefully, people won't find it too distracting.
I'm also getting a common header and footer for most of my pages, so every page will have a "site meter" and every page will have links to my online tutoring.
This will hopefully give me a more accurate sense of the number of visitors to my site.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
My newest book arrived the other day—"Learn C on the Mac".
It's a very quick read for me at this point—I'm enjoying it, and picking up some good advice and foundational knowledge.
I've also put two movies up, to introduce users to my website.
My hits have increased a lot since, so I'm suspecting these movies are helping people get a sense of what my site can do for them.
However, I've gotten feedback from several people that it would be better to have more movies, each shorter in length (say, 2 to 3 minutes), focusing on a particular topic.
Also, some people want the physical size of the movie to be bigger.
So, I'll be taking these two longer movies and breaking them into pieces, hopefully over the next few days.
Then, there are a lot more movies I want to put up, to thoroughly introduce everything my site has to offer.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I'm having a wonderful time learning Objective-C and how to develop apps for the iPod Touch/iPhone!
I've taken advantage of a fantastic online resource from Stanford University:
"Stanford Engineering Everywhere" offers ten courses from Stanford's School of Engineering,
including their three-course introductory sequence in Computer Science. It's absolutely free.
I've finished the first course (28 lectures), CS106A: Introduction to Computer Science—Programming Methodology, taught by Mehran Sahami—amazing!!
I purposefully ignored the Java-specific parts, since my current focus is Objective-C, and I don't want to confuse the syntaxes.
However, the conceptual framework he offers for programming concepts is incredibly valuable.
I just got Learn Objective-C on the Mac by Mark Dalrymple and Scott Knaster, and I know from just the first few pages that it's going to be a superb book.
I'm also reading Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK by Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche (APress);
it's the best introduction to apps programming that I've found.
This journey into apps programming has been—for me—very unusual.
I tried to jump right into XCode and Cocoa Touch and apps programming, without even any prior object-oriented programming experience.
Really really hard. Depressing. I was completely overwhelmed. Everything felt fuzzy.
Then, I backed down to learning Objective-C, while still playing with the SDK from Apple and trying to make my way through apps-programming books.
Things started to make a lot more sense.
To continue my top-down trajectory, I just purchased Learn C on the Mac by Dave Mark (Apress 2009).
I'll learn this, simultaneously with Objective-C, simultaneously with apps programming.
Although I've traditionally been a bottom-up learner, I'm actually having a lot of fun with this new approach.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Okay, the bad news first.
I've spent many days creating a template to see if I'm going to be able to expand the browser audience for my web site.
It still remains that I can't seem to do what I need to do in any environment other than a PC + Internet Explorer + MathPlayer.
I was hoping that if I upgraded to XHTML in an xml document, then I could then take advantage of the built-in MathML and SVG capabilities in some other browsers,
but other problems (largely involving the floating frames I use for the randomly-generated practice) are still causing difficulties.
You can take a look at the XHTML with MathML and SVG Template to see what works, and what doesn't, in Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
You can't view it with Internet Explorer, though—the xml page won't display at all in IE!
The good news from all of this is that I'm going to have a lot more time to focus on learning how to write math apps for the iPod Touch/iPhone.
I've just about finished Kochan's "Programming in Objective-C 2.0"; looks like "iPhone SDK Application Development" by Jonathan Zdziarski is now going to be accessible to me.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I haven't had a new entry in a long time.
June was very busy with the end of the school year...
since I'm trying to transition into paying the bills with math-on-the-web stuff and math apps for the iPod Touch/iPhone,
this may mark the end of my (in-person) teaching career.
I've completely transitioned my working life over to the MacBook Pro;
I'll still use my PC to check web pages in various browsers.
(I may discover that "PC on a PC" looks a bit different from "PC on a MAC".)
It took me a while to research and get tools to replace what I was using on the PC
(e.g., BBEdit for coding web pages and Fetch to upload files).
Change takes time, but I am absolutely thrilled with my new MAC working environment.
I've now discarded my Franklin Daily Planner, which served me well for more than a decade,
and have transitioned all my to-dos, contacts, appointments, grocery lists (and so on) to a variety of apps on my iPod Touch.
Since I'll be programming for the iTouch, I want to be using it all the time, so I know what I like and what I don't like.
I'm about halfway through "Programming in Objective-C 2.0" by Stephen G. Kochan, and loving every minute of it.
Finally, a book that doesn't assume a prior familiarity with object-oriented programming!
It really is quite different from procedural programming (which is where my prior experience lies),
and it has taken me longer than anticipated to get into the new mindset... but I'm getting there.
I'm also (finally!) beginning the process of again assessing if I'll be able to update my web site so that it will be accessible to more browsers.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I'm working out my own online tutoring:
chat room through ParaChat; Scriblink for the online whiteboard; appointment-scheduling through GenBook; surveys using SurveyMonkey.
I got the MAC version of Messenger so I can be alerted instantly when a new appointment comes in.
All these things are definitely making my site more personalized. Students have commented: "This is really fun!"
My brother-in-law introduced me to an absolutely incredible site: WolframAlpha; it's a computational knowledge base for math.
It is UNBELIEVABLE. You've GOT to check it out!
I've finished my "Switching to the MAC" book by David Pogue, and also "iPod: the Missing Manual".
My app books still aren't published, so I'm reading some online tutorials on OOP (Object Oriented Programming)
Other life stuff: my daughter's car-port is done, and she'll be home in June!! I'm buying eight cubic yards of topsoil for all our lawn and gardening needs.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The online tutoring at ziizoo.com just wasn't working out.
Instead, I've purchased my own private chat room through parachat.com.
This way, I can chat with my site users in real time, and even set up online tutoring.
I'll probably be subscribing to Scriblink for my online whiteboard needs.
Anyways, I'm having lots of fun playing with all this new stuff!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I'm on vacation! Woo hoo!
I'm adding more "Mudd Math Fun Facts" links to my Algebra I course.
I'm trying out online tutoring at ziizoo.com. While I'm new at this, I'm charging $15/hour.
People can get the first 30 minutes free. No credit card information needs to be put in until the free minutes are used up.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Just got wireless printing working at home with my new MAC (with the help of Apple's excellent tech support;
I ended up buying a 3-year AppleCare plan). Yeh!
I've bought a WACOM writing tablet to facilitate online math tutoring... it's great.
My daughter and I have been successful with audio/video chat... it's wonderful.
I've ordered BBEDIT to use for my HTML etc. coding on the MAC.
I bought a 1 TB external hard drive, and have TIME MACHINE set up and working on my MAC.
So... making lots of progress with my transition to the MAC, and still loving every minute of it.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I am being blown away by my new MAC and iPod Touch.
(We've been "bonding" for about 1.5 months now... but the chemistry was evident the first day.)
I'm reading David Pogue's "Switching to the Mac, Leopard Edition" cover-to-cover—it's an AMAZING book.
I have several books on order about writing iPod apps, but they're not released yet.
I haven't been doing much with my web site, since my energies have been directed towards getting up-to-speed in my new MAC life.
But, I'm in HEAVEN.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Happy New Year, everyone!
Well, I have a new direction in life.
I've purchased a 15" MACBook Pro 2.4 GHz computer and an iPod Touch,
and I'm going to start learning how to create (math) applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
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