Ozobot Evo Tryazon Party

My little was super excited to help unpack the Ozobots when they arrived.

Last year when I asked my kids what they wanted to do over the summer I was expecting some of their answers like swimming and playing at the park, but I was not expecting my son to say ‘robotics’.  I was caught off guard and not sure what to do.  Thankfully our local library is amazing and we signed up for Scratch programing and robotics summer classes.  Then one of my friends also mentioned Ozobot to me.  It took a couple posts on the web for me to realize Ozobot might be the perfect little robot for my son who was interested in robotics.  I really wanted to see this cubic inch robot in action.  Last year I applied to host a Tryazon back to school Ozobot party, but wasn’t picked.  We hung out at the Barnes and Noble Maker event for almost two hours hoping to see Ozobot, but it wasn’t brought out for show while we were there.  I liked the Ozobot and Tryazon Facebook pages.  I talked with other friends who wondered what this little bot might be like.  Then at the end of January, Tryazon announced an Ozobot Evo party opportunity.  I was super excited to enter for a chance to host an Ozobot party.  I marked the day party hosts were being selected on my calendar.  I constantly refreshed my email account that day and might have exclaimed out loud when my email arrived saying I was chosen to host an Ozobot Evo party!

Applying 1/4″ colored dot stickers to the masking tape track.

I searched the web to see what other people had tried with Ozobot.  I really liked the Techagekids post about LEGO meets Ozobot.  Their tape track and LEGO buildings for Ozobot were so cool!  I had a 2×3′ white board in the garage that I could use for an Ozobot track.  I searched on Amazon and found 1/4″ black masking tape I used to make the path.  I also found 1/4″ colored dot stickers by Avery to use for Ozobot color codes.  My kids stuck codes where ever they wanted to on the track layout.

I taped a large chunk of white roll paper to the floor.  We colored large dots to play OzoLaunch on the paper and several black dots for calibrating.  I set out Ozobot markers and Crayola markers so the kids could experiment drawing their own paths for Ozobot to follow.  I had extra sheets of white paper for kids who wanted to work on their own piece of paper too.  The colored dot stickers came in handy for kids who had drawn their track and wanted to add codes after the fact.

My kids both have old phones they are allowed to use.  We loaded the Ozobot Evo app onto them so we could use the remote control feature, play OzoLaunch, and run OzoBlockly programs.

I even cut out a bunch of Ozobot ‘hats’ for kids to decorate if they wanted to.  Several kids were into this, but most of them were keen on all the other activities.  I had a roll of raffle tickets the kids wrote their names on to be entered for a chance to win their own Ozobot.  I got to give away 2 Ozobots and keep one for my kiddos!

24 kids and 10 adults stopped by to meet Ozobot.  This group photo captured the high point in attendance.

I had so many kids and friends I wanted to invite to check out Ozobot.  I ended up having an open house, drop by when you can, style party from 12:30-4:00.  It worked well.  We had a steady stream of kids and parents stop by.  Everyone got to spend a good amount of hands on time with an Ozobot.  The only down side was after the first hour and half or so the bots needed to charge!  The second half of the party I had two Ozobots running while one charged and we rotated out as we could.

I enjoyed getting to try the Ozobot Evo and showing it to as many people as we could.  The bot’s expressive noises are cute.  The kids enjoyed drawing their own tracks for Ozobot and watching the bot follow their designs.  Sometimes the Ozobots get confused when there are several on and being remote controlled.  You can end up with one device controlling all three.

It took one of the kids to figure out how to get OzoBlockly to work with Evo.  You have to switch the toggle in the upper left from Bit to Evo.  I was so excited to get started, I didn’t read the online start up screen completely.  The kids enjoyed coming up with their own commands for Ozobot Evo to follow.  They even liked sending “boop beep boop” messages in OzoChat.

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Shutterfly House Party

Shutterfly Auto Color Correct Off

Turn off Shutterfly's Automatic Color Correct

Last November I was selected to host a Shutterfly House Party.  I love Shutterfly so it was exciting to share that love with my friends.  It turns out most of my friends love Shutterfly too!  It was fun to spend an afternoon with my friends at the “LAN Party for housewives” and make Shutterfly photo books.  It was great to hear about how each person had used Shutterfly and I learned how to keep Shutterfly from auto correcting photos.   Shutterfly automatically correcting the color in my prints was one of my main complaints and I learned how to get around it!

  1. After you upload your photos, select All.
  2. Under the Edit menu choose “Apply Effect.”
  3. On the right in that little box there is a tiny check box for “Don’t apply automatic corrections to picture.”  Check that box.
  4. Then, click the link above the check box that says “Apply this effect to selected pictures.”

Tada!  Now Shutterfly will leave your carefully edited photos alone.

WordPress Wonder

I figured if I’m going to have a blog, even if I don’t update it often, I should keep my WordPress up to date.  My previous version was so out of date I couldn’t use the “easy upgrade” button and I had to create a new database.  But the upgrade was still ridiculously easy.  After I exported my current WordPress files I deleted my old files, installed the latest version, and imported my XML. WordPress has an amazingly easy installation.  The WordPress documentation is incredible.  WordPress can handle the content for Posts & Pages.  It can run your whole site.  There is no reason for me to build websites from scratch anymore. I’m starting to feel like my skill set is obsolete, but knowledge of valid HTML and CSS comes in handy when you want to customize a WordPress installation.

Opening Windows

No. I will not open those documents in a new browser window. That breaks the back button, which is the most used button in the browser.

She asked again.

I was getting ready to jet off a similar reply. In my mind I had started composing a line about the increasing use of pop up blockers. Then, for some reason I did a search and came across several pages that made me think.

  • Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005 » – useit.com
    “In particular, don’t open pages in new windows (except for PDF files and such).”
  • Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents » – useit.com
    “When using PC-native file formats such as PDF or spreadsheets, users feel like they’re interacting with a PC application. Because users are no longer browsing a website, they shouldn’t be given a browser UI.”
  • Offerring PDFs that download » – Stüvel.eu
    “The ideal way for offering PDF files would be just that: ask the user to either save it, or view it in their native PDF viewer.” Stüvel’s example links work in FF, but not in IE6. I haven’t had a chance to test them in IE7.

She had been asking for pdf & doc files to be opened in their own windows. Firefox opens Microsoft Office documents in their native applications by default, but pdf files have always been stuck in a browser window. IE still thinks it knows how to open every type of document, but can’t even manage to open Microsoft documents properly.

Instead of responding, I’m thinking. I like that FF opens documents in their native application. Would I like pdf files to open in Adobe?

Interesting GCN articles

Folk Music

When searching for “The Ladybug Picnic” I came across Elizabeth Mitchell’s website, youaremyflower.org.  Take a moment to listen to some of her posted songs. Her music has a wonderful quality to it.  She has released several albums, but my favorite is You Are My Sunshine.  It has some great songs from my childhood, The Ladybug Picnic, Crawdad, and Froggy went a Courting.  I’m going to have to invest in my own copies.