An Interesting Dilemma

Currently my Computer Technician class is working on a Dell Poweredge 2800 server and we have hit a wall.  We have replaced the motherboard, the riser card, the RAM, the processors, and every major component that is available and still this thing will not even post.  If there are any Dell technicians out there who would like to look like real heroes to a group of High School kids, I offer ydellou this opportunity.  We need a suggestion.  When the switch is activated we get fans and LEDs for power.  We get no video output at all.  I have even installed a PCI video card just in case it was the on board video that had gone out; nothing.  Any suggestions that you might offer will be gratefully received and considered.  Successful tactics might warrant a thank you card from a grateful instructor and a great group of kids.  Let us hear from you.

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Search Engine Tips and Tricks

Here is a lesson I presented to my classes on Internet Search Engine Techniques.  Most of the information came from About.com

Here is a short lesson I presented to my class on Search Engine Techniques.  Most of this information was gathered up on About.com and from other sources.

Three Tips for Getting More Precise Hits (Boolean Search Criteria)

  1. Use AND. Sometimes you may need to use more than one keyword when searching, without making a phrase. (Ex. Batman AND Robin)
  2. Use OR. Let’s say you perform a search using two keywords. (Ex. Superman OR Kryptonite)
  3. Use NOT. Sometimes by typing one keyword, you’ll get many results that have nothing to do with your topic. (Ex. Star Wars NOT Jar Jar)

These are the three best ways to get the results you want but very few people use them.  Everyone has experienced Search Engine Frustration.  You type in key words and then get hundreds of returns that have nothing to do with what you are trying to find.  The following is a short lesson how to optimize your searching and get the results you really want.  Here are 10 ways to find what you are looking for.

  1.  Use quotations marks when you are looking for specific quotes or phrases.
  2. Search within a specific web site using Google Site Search
  3. Use the INURL Syntax to search within URLs and addresses.
  4. Use basic math to search on the web.
  5. Use the Google Cheat Sheet.
  6. Search within specific domain prefixes
  7. Use Google to search for the weather.
  8. Use specific search engines for different purposes.
  9. Use Online Dictionaries.
  10. The final entry is using Tool bars.  These can be useful if you find yourself searching for the same types of things over and over.  The problem with search bars is that they take up space on your browser page and they are often tied to trojans or other malware.  I don’t recommend search bars but they can be useful if you understand the risks.

Using the links above, answer the following questions in the Homework section of your notebook.  Create a page and title it Ten Tips to Better Searching.  Paste the questions in and answer them in your own words.

  1.  What can you use to make sure that the search engine returns only pages with your search terms in exact order?
  2. What would you use if you wanted to search within our hs.whitesboroisd.org site for all things related to football? (hint: site:URL “keyphrase”)
  3.  How would you enter a search for all the web addresses that contained the word “bearcat”? (hint: inUrl: “keyword”)
  4. How can you search for references to Captain America and omit references to his shield?
  5. Use Google as a calculator to add 12456 + 8894837.
  6. What search term would you enter to search all the .gov sites for references to law enforcement? (hint site: .prefix “search terms”)
  7. What is the forcast for 3/22/2015 according to weather underground?
  8. List three book search engines.
  9. What is the format for getting a definition for a word on Google or Bing?  What is it on Yahoo?

Weather or Not…(I know I know…Not very original)

I had mention once before that a weather station was an excellent addition to a Computer Science classroom, not only for the interest it generates, but also for a source of data to practice formatting and manipulating.  I recently purchased an Ambient Weather Observer 1400 IP to fulfill this purpose.  It allows me to upload data to wunderground.com  Click the link.  That is my personal weather station data uploaded every few seconds.  Weather Underground has an interesting take on crowd-sourcing that other agencies of this type should look at.  They get their weather data, in part, from hundreds of thousands of private weather stations across the country.  All these data points added together ideally should make for a very accurate forecast.  My computer science class will be able to create an application that downloads XML data from the web site and imports it into a SQL Server for further review.  We hope to develop our own model for prediction as soon as we get enough data points to start looking at the numbers statistically.