Blackboard, A College Student’s Best Friend

Blackboard is a college student’s best friend. If you’re in college and you don’t know what I’m talking about, I feel for you. Blackboard is the best thing to happen in keeping up to date with assignments and grades.

For all of you who don’t know about Blackboard, it is a website which professors can use to post anything they want from class schedule changes, to upcoming assignments you need to prepare for. They also can post your grades online in this secure environment. My teachers only posted grades from my tests and online projects. I loved this feature because I would then communicate with my teacher, if I didn’t do so well. I would ask questions and find out what I needed to work on, and they could help me without ever having to meet up after class.

Another useful feature of Blackboard is that it has integrated email. This is useful if you don’t know your teacher’s school email address.  You can just use Blackboard and they will get the message in their in box. Also you can communicate with all the other students from the class to start study groups or ask questions for peer assistance.

I found Blackboard to be very useful and wished more of my teachers used it because it got a little bit annoying when some teachers would be so kind as to post things online and others did not. So, if you forgot something you could always just check online. But with the old fashioned teachers you don’t have this luxury, you have to go ask them next time you have class, and if it just wasn’t your day perhaps next class is when the assignment was due. Yikes!


Grand Theft Auto 4, Is It Appropriate For Kids?

Grand Theft Auto 4 is a fun game if you’re the right age. Most parents care if their children are playing games with violence, sex, cursing, and drugs so I feel it is good idea to let people know that Grand Theft Auto 4 has all of these aspects.

These aspects do not occasionally pop up, but are present at all times in the game – they are inescapable. In the game, you are a Russian mobster that has many jobs, from selling drugs to being a hit man. Your player does refuse to use drugs when presented, but he does sell drugs to others. When you are walking the streets you can kill any civilian or steal any car. The game also encourages you to kill police officers.

Grand Theft Auto 4 also allows you to get drunk, fall over, and have all the effects of real drinking including the ability to drive while drunk. As in real life, the effects of drinking impair your driving skills. You automatically swerve and hit people walking on the sidewalks.

I do not feel that video games affect children’s actions adversely although some people may disagree, as when I was a child I would play games with these themes. I never had the impulse to go kill anyone or do drugs. But, I do understand that if a parent feels that a game will influence their child they should know about the game before they buy it or allow it to be played.

I would strongly caution parents to play this game before their children do just to be sure that they know what is going on first.


How to Show an Excerpt in WordPress Versus the Full Blog Post

Some blogs like to just show an excerpt of the post and then a link at the bottom of the blog post to view or read more. So how are they doing that? It’s easy!

First write your full blog post in the WordPress control panel or migrate from Word if that is what you do. At the place where you want you post to break, just put your cursor there. Then click the HTML tab at the top right of your blog post panel, just above the font control and hyperlink insertion menu.

Then where your cursor is located just paste in this code:


When you go back to the Visual tab, to view your post, you will now see a dotted line where your post is to break. When you publish your blog WordPress will automatically add a link to read more and then take the reader to the exact section of the post on the new page.

Cool huh? A neat trick to use the excerpt function.

Okay now why don’t I use this on my own blog? Well I have found that typically the reader will not click in to read more on most blogs, they will simply read the next post and not click in unless they are REALLY interested in what you have written. So I do not use this feature on my own blog as I want to encourage readers to review my full content with minimal action on their part.

Why would a blog want to use this feature? Some blogs have so much content on the home page that to “look” less intimidating they will use the excerpt format. Sometimes to have a less cluttered look, and sometimes so they can get more content on the home page.


What I Like About Xbox Live

Xbox live is something most every Xbox and Xbox 360 owner has or if they don’t should have. It’s a fun way to meet new people and show your skills in specific games online. It allows you to compete with others, and prove you are the best. Everyone loves a little competition, right?

I happen to love playing Halo 2 online and when I’m at my friend’s place I play Halo 3. I love the competitive nature of the game and the “trash talking” that takes place before and after a game. You can hear some pretty outlandish things! People are always trying to come up with a logical reason for why they lost that excludes the other opponent simply being a better player.

Xbox Live has many features for you to enjoy including the microphone so you can talk to other players. Xbox Live for old Xbox is different than Xbox Live for the 360. The old Xbox Live is much simpler but has less features.

Xbox Live for 360 has options including a new point system called Microsoft points. These points can be bought with money and allow you to make new gamer tags and download new demos for up and coming games. Also all games for Xbox 360 are Live compatible unlike the old Xbox. This means you can talk with friends and receive messages on the game, even if you are unable to play the game online.


Google Maps Adds Route Images

Image of Google Maps showing an intersection photo.
Image of Google Maps showing an intersection photo.

Well, Google Maps have outdone themselves this time. First, their maps were so accurate and useful and now they even have on-site pictures of any turn’s you think you might miss.

The images are perfect and allow you to get a clear picture of the turns that are key in your route with interactive arrows. Also the map has an interactive 360 degree rotator cam. You just click on the compass and move the arrow around to see all angles of the turn. So if you need to look for the turn that has a BP gas station now you’ll know before you even get in your car!

I am a very visual person, so being able to see the surrounding of an important turn in my route helps me to find the location better. I have no idea how Google is getting these pictures, because when you rotate the picture you realize it’s in the middle of the street. There are no traffic cameras in the street that Google could possible use.

Now you have to wonder, is a Google Maps “spy van” driving around your neighborhood taking pictures of your roads. Hmm I’m not sure, but whatever they are doing I like it. It is very useful and it helped us get from our home to Post Home of Marjorie Merriweather in Washington DC.

If you would like to take a look I’ve added the two locations at the end if you would like to take a look at the directions yourself.
2254 Ravenna Ct Waldorf MD 20603
4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 (Hillwood Museum & Gardens) (202) 686-5807


On Vacation

Wishing You a Happy New Year!
Wishing You a Happy New Year!

I’m taking a vacation next week and Chris Harper will be posting for me all next week on my blog. Chris is my college aged son who is home for the holidays from Frostburg State University.

Be gentle with him as he is a new blogger, but I’ve helped him to choose the topics that he will be writing on this next week. I think that you will like them.

If you can think of a topic also that you think he would find interesting, just click comments below and leave a note and I’ll pass the topics on to him.

I hope that you’ve had a wonderful family holiday, shared gifts with family and friends, and eaten enough to blow your diet.

As I will be back online after the New Year, I want to take this time to thank each one of you for reading my blog this year and pass on my wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!