Sunday, February 9, 2014

At 15

I am not going to lie, I am proud of my kids...I think they are awesome.  They can both infuriate and amaze me every single day.  I would not trade them for anything.

One of my beautiful children has a birthday today.  Below is a poem she wrote.

At 15
Morning breezes blowing through my hair
Window down with my parents right there
On my way to prison school
To meet all the hateful fools
Deciding which ones will play
Deciding which ones will go away
I try to focus on my hard school work
But usually can’t because of a jerk
Off to art and music class with all my friends
The only classes I wish would never end
The joy of music flowing through my ears
Brings along smiles, laughs, memories and cheers
Learning a new beautiful song
Trying intently play along
Challenges with finding new ways to draw
Trying to perfect a painting without a flaw
The pencil dances along various lines
Creating a masterpiece of brand new kinds
Finally packing up and walking home
Imagining my own world where I can roam
Cars honk, People shout
Sirens wail all about
Even though some people are mean
It's still a joy to be fifteen
--Ellie Bolt 2014
What can I say?  I love it.  I hope she keeps working on it and continues to improve.  Happy birthday Ellie....

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cutting The Cord -- Update January 2014

It has been a few months since cutting the cable TV cord.  In this post I will update what we have encountered so far.

If you read the last post (here), you are probably aware that we got rid of cable TV a few months ago.  I really thought the kids were going to have a tough time with it.  To my surprise, they have not had any issues at all.  They have become much more adjusted to going out and finding their entertainment online and not just mindlessly flipping through channels.  They are on YouTube learning how to do new things such as making rubber band bracelets.  They are on NFL.COM watching weekly reports. Of course, they continue to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. With those options, they are not missing their latest shows. I am so proud of them for learning new ways to entertain themselves.

If you read the last post about future bandwidth concerns (here), you would know that we were way over the supposed limit of 250GB.  I am happy to say that we have not received any letters or any communication from Comcast about our bandwidth usage.  I assume that one day it will be coming, but it has not yet.

Since my last post, I made a few adjustments. On my streaming devices, Netflix has two options for login.  Everyone can login as me or login as "Kids". Basically this just shows the stuff that is watched most by both users.  I noticed on that I could change my streaming settings based on the login.  I set the kids login to stream at a slightly lower quality than what it was a month ago.  The difference was dramatic!.  We have even had several snow days and "freezing" days off of school. Below is our bandwidth usage  for January according to Comcast:

Comcast January 2014

What does this tell us?  First, my kids are huge bandwidth hogs!!!  I guess I have about 3 times as many kids as a "normal" family, so I should get three times the allotted bandwidth.  Come on Comcast, how about raising a large family's bandwidth limit???  Since I have three times the kids, maybe I should be allotted 750 GB?  Sounds good to me!  What it really tells me is that adjusting the Netflix quality setting for the kids login drastically reduced our bandwidth. It was almost 400 GB the month before and we are under our limit with this test.  Is this necessary?  Not yet, but I know what I can do if it does become necessary.

So what lies next?  We can build several projects from this cutting the cord subject.  I plan on monitoring my own bandwidth stats and comparing them to Comcast.  I may use my new Raspberry Pi for this, I am not sure yet.  I am also still working on the Geek's Garage post about setting up all of this in technical detail, but honestly, that is a lower priority right now unless I get some requests. Maybe I will compile a link list of what I used.  I am not sure.  There are so many other things we are going to work on.  The kids are asking if we can get back into learning Python.  We are also going to be taking a look at learning HTML5 and using the LAMP system on the Pi.  Our nerdery will be taking on new levels!  I have also been reading a lot about how kids learn and how schools affect them. I am so fascinated with this subject right now and reading all kinds of things about it.  I will post on it at a later date.  Of course, we continue to play in our BFL every weekend. #whywelovefootball

The Big Game is on as I finish typing this....Omaha, Omaha....Go Peyton!

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