Mandatory Touch Typing in Schools

typwritter
Today’s generation is immersed in computer technology and will almost undoubtedly need to use a keyboard. So why not make touch typing a mandatory subject in school right up there with reading, writing, and arithmetic. That is being suggested in an article in the Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/debates/6139246/Why-arent-children-taught-to-touch-type-at-school.html. There arguments for both for and against this idea. It can be argued that touch typing is as essential in the digital age as reading and writing. On the other hand, you can still get around a keyboard without knowing touch typing. I myself am more of a hunt-and-pecker than a touch typer and I am able to do my system admin job just fine. How essential is touch typing for living? It can be argued that it is a skill as necessary as being able to dress oneself or eat with utensils. Schools do not have mandatory subject in how to eat with a fork and a knife or getting dressed but somehow children learn how to do this. Grade school teachers may assist in some of these essential skills, such as tying shoes and zipping zippers, but skills that are essential for daily life may not need to be mandatory subject.

It is my opinion however that touch typing is inefficient. The QWERTY keyboard that we have become accustomed to was created when old fashioned typewriters were used. all been using for decades was developed to actually slow you down.

“The QWERTY keyboard layout was devised and created in the early 1870s by Christopher Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer who lived in Milwaukee.

With the assistance of his friends Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule he built an early writing machine for which a patent application was filed in October 1867. His “Type Writer” had its printing point located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator. Consequently, the tendency of the typebars to clash and jam if struck in rapid succession was especially serious, because the typist could only discover the mishap by raising the carriage to inspect what he had typed.
Sholes struggled for the next six years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine’s alphabetical key arrangement in an effort to reduce the frequency of typebar clashes. Eventually he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard.” (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTY)

I’m waiting for someone to come up with a better layout that won’t cause carpal tunnel syndrome and will allow for even more words per minute than with the QWERTY keyboard layout.
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Worst McDonald’s Happy Meal Toy EVER

Worst Happy Meal Toy EVER

I found this McDonald’s Happy Meal toy when I was clean up my son’s room and I was like WTF! I think it is supposed to be the jellyfish from the Finding Nemo movie but something is very very wrong about this toy. I can’t decide which is worse the face or the very falic shape. Didn’t someone at McDonald’s have to approve this?

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Be Your Own Online Backup Service

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Many people already know the importance of backup. Your data can become corrupted; your hard drive could crash; you could have accidentally deleted a file. If you’re not, start doing it before it’s too late.   There are many ways to backup your data such as burning to DVD or copying files to a USB external drive.  These methods are fine but they have a few disadvantages. First of all these methods rely on  physical hardware, which typically reside near the computer being backed up. This hardware can fail as well.  If for instance your house were to catch fire then your data and the backups are in jeopardy. You could leave a copy of your backups at a friend’s house or a safety deposit box and at least you would have secured the backup media in case of a disaster. But that still requires you to physically bring the media to another location.

Enter the online backups. Companies like Mozy and Carbonite provide online backups over the internet. The tutorial here will help you setup your own online backup to another server over the internet so your data will be easily recoverable in the event of a disaster.

You need a:

  • FTP Server ( Filezilla Server for Windows Users)
  • Server or workstation with internet access
  • Enough storage to hold your data
  • Areca Backup ( Open Source backup software)
  • Domain or DynDNS address
  • Reasonably fast Internet Connection (Cable / DSL / FiOS)

Set up:

Install the FTP server:
FTP is a cross platform application that is easy to setup and manage and is a standard protocol used heavily on the internet for transferring data.
Create directory where you want to backup your data to on a large enough hard drive on a server or workstation.

  • Run the Filezilla Server setup
  • Create an FTP user account / Password

ftp1

Set a password for the user

ftp2

Add a home directory. This will be where the data backup are stored.

ftp3

Verify FTP works by using an FTP client to connect to the FTP server using the account that was just setup to confirm that FTP and the user account is working properly.

Setup Port forwarding:

  • DynDNS
  • Router Port forward 21
  • Test Connectivity from remote
  • Verify FTP works

Get a dynamic DNS Name if you don’t have a static IP.

  1. Now to get to your computer you can use the IP the ISP has assigned you. Problem: Your ISP will more than likely use DHCP to assign you an IP so at any given time you may not know your current IP. Solution: Dynamic DNS! Go to http://dyndns.org or http://tzo.com or http://deerfield.com or any other dynamic DNS site. In this example, I use DynDNS.org.
  2. Sign up for an account (free) and create a host name that you will use to reference you computer. Ex. homepc.homeip.net (one of the several subnets available).Create a new host entry under Host Services. The site will automatically detect the IP that you are currently accessing the site from so sign in from the place you want to connect to. I.e. your house.

DynDNS

This will maintain your current IP info as a global internet address. When every your IP changes you will need to login into DynDNS and update the IP registed. Newer routers have a Dynamic DNS feature which will let you automatically update DynDNS whenever your IP changes. The other option is to use a DNS Update client that automatically updates your register IP from your PC. These clients are available on the DynDNS site.

EXTERN_0001

Set up your firewall

For this example I am using a Linksys router. If you are using a software firewall like Zone Alarm or anther hardware firewall / router please consult your user manual.

  1. Login to your router (usually http://192.168.1.1). Click on Applications & Gaming under the Port Range Forward.

On older an older Linksys it would be under Advanced tab then the Forwarding tab. You will see a similar page.

Router_setup

  1. In the application box put FTP. Put 21 in both the Start and End box. Choose Both for the protocol. For the IP address enter the IP of the computer that you will be using for the FTP Server.
  2. To check if the port is now open go to go to http://www.grc.com and click on the Shields Up link or click https://grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2 . This will let you scan your router/firewall port from an external source.
  3. When you get to the Shields Up page, enter 21 in the box and click “User Specified Custom Port Probe. You will also see some other options such as Scan Common Ports and All Service Ports feel free to experiment.

GRC

If the ports show up as Stealth then either you mis-configured your router or your ISP is blocking these ports. In most cases, you will see the ports listed as Closed.

If you see ports listed as OPEN this means some service / application responded to the port probe request! You will see how this work later.

grc2

Areca Backup Setup

Areca is an open source backup program for windows and linux that allows to easily backup and restore your data. The reason I choose Areca is because it provides the ability to not only backup to local networks but over FTP. Install this software on the computer you want to backup.

  • Install Areca Backup

1. Edit – New Group

arc1

2. Edit.. New Target…

In the Main section, enter a target name. Choose FTP / FTPS Repository. Leave all other options default. Then click the Select button next to the FTP / FTPS Repository

arc2

3. Enter the DynDSN name you choose earlier in this article and enter it in the Remote Host field. Leave the port 21. Enter a backlash (/) for the Remote directory, unless you want the backups to be stored in another directory.
Note: If your ISP blocks incoming port 21 you may need to change the port.

arc3

4. Under the Source tab, choose the Directory button

arc4

Test Backup

arc6

Final Notes:

The reason I used Areca is because it can be configured to use FTP.  FTP is well known, and you can setup a folder structure to organize different backups.  It can also be setup to use FTPS for secure connection. Using the concepts outlined, you could setup another software to backup over the internet.
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