Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Posting

Very light blog posting for now. Enjoy the holidays and we'll chat in 2009!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

TNT Leverages Apple's Final Cut Studio

I always find it interesting when I run across articles showcasing high-end, quality work that uses the exact same software available to me. I generally think of those companies achieving their results by using fully custom software, not the out of the box kind. Well, TNT's new show "Leverage" relies on Apple software for their post-production work.

From Dean Devlin, the show's Executive Producer:

"We do the entire show in Final Cut Studio. We shoot on the Red One camera, bring it back on hard drives, and put it in our Xsan. Then every department here pulls off those servers whether it's for digital effects, sound effects, sound mixing, picture editing, color correction, everything. And it never leaves our building. This is all able to happen because of Final Cut Studio."

Pretty neat. And available at your nearest Apple store -- talent not included.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo Friday

December 12th is National Poinsettia Day

Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico being appointed by President John Quincy Adams in the 1820's. At the time of his appointment, Mexico was involved in a civil war. Because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico. During his stay in Mexico he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Poinsett had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States.

The Poinsettia Pages
University of Illinois Extension

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NFL Meets 3D Technology.


Last Thursday's NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers was the NFL's first foray into 3-D broadcasting, compliments of the camera technology from 3ality Digital LLC, the Burbank-based company that put on the show for the NFL. Some kinks were discovered, e.g., satellite glitches blacked out a portion of the game, a quick camera movement or a refocusing was a bit too quick for 3-D and had viewers pulling off their glasses. But overall, the audience was mostly in awe of a spectacle that in some instances gave the feeling of being on the field, especially for the opening coin toss and an interception by Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper.

For me, it's bad enough watching the Bears fumble in 2-D; I'm not sure I really want to see it in 3-D. However, if you want to try out the experience yourself, Fox Sports plans to broadcast college football's BCS National Championship game to 150 digital movie theaters in 3-D in January. While Chicago does have movie theaters than can show 3-D broadcasts, it remains to be seen if we're one of the cities for the BCS game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Forget - NIU Visit This Week

On Thursday December 11, 2008 (between 4-6pm before the tutoring/mentoring session) a representative from Northern Illinois University will be visiting Cabrini Connections to provide a variety of information about the university, financial aid assistance, athletics, and any and all questions that the group may have.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Big Picture

The Boston Globe's online edition, boston.com, has a section called The Big Picture, which is found under the News tab and is a photo blog run by their web developer Alan Taylor. To paraphrase Mr. Taylor, inspiration for The Big Picture comes from the rich imagery found in such publications as the old Life Magazine and National Geographic and the stories those photo essays would underscore. Its intent is to highlight high-quality and amazing photos with a focus on current events.

Their recent photo essay is on space, courtesy of the Hubble Telescope. From Mr. Taylor:

As we head into the traditional western Holiday Season, I'd like to present this Hubble Space Telescope imagery Advent Calendar. Every day, for the next 25 days, a new photo will be revealed here from the amazing Hubble Space Telescope. As I take this chance to share these images of our amazing Universe with you, I wish for a Happy Holiday to all those who will celebrate, and for Peace on Earth to everyone.

Here's the view from December 5th along with a partial description:
View from Hubble Telescope

"... the sharpest view ever taken of the Orion Nebula - a picture book of star formation with massive young stars that are shaping the nebula and pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars ..."

And if you want to see how the image fits into the universe, The Big Picture provides us with a link to Google Sky.

Bookmark The Big Picture to see some
amazing photos.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tech Talk

Sun Microsystems released JavaFX 1.0 last week, which is Sun's first Java release to include standardized, cross-platform audio and video playback code. This release is comprised of a new software foundation, designed to run graphically rich Internet applications, and a new programming language called JavaFX Script that's intended to be easier to use than traditional Java. The development kit currently consists of the base run-time, a NetBeans/Eclipse plug-in and a set of artifact exporters for Adobe CS 3&4.

While Java paved the way in 1995 and Sun spent much of its energy adapting Java for servers, a host of other software options for building rich Internet applications sprang up in the meantime. JavaFX is Sun's bid to take on Adobe Systems' Flash and AIR and Microsoft's newer arrival, Silverlight, along with JavaScript and its more sophisticated cousin Ajax. From the JavaFX site, here is a gallery of sample code and projects.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Photo Friday

Changing Weather
Chicago, Illinois
Watching the clouds build up over Lake Michigan

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NIU Visit on December 11th

We are continuing our efforts to get our students excited and exposed to post high school educational opportunities! As a result we will be hosting a in-house college visit from Northern Illinois University.

On Thursday December 11, 2008 (between 4-6pm) a representative from Northern Illinois University will be visiting Cabrini Connections to provide a variety of information about the university, financial aid assistance, athletics, and any and all questions that the group may have.

This opportunity is taking place on Thursday before the tutoring/mentoring session but it is open to any and all students, volunteers, and staff who would like to attend. This is another great opportunity for the Cabrini Connections’ program, so please attend and be prepared with questions!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Congrats Sean Mayfield!

Tech Club's own Sean Mayfield was elected by a group of his peers to be on the Youth Leadership Council.

Great job, Sean!!

For details on the election and the other student representatives, I'll send you over to Chris' post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Staying awake at night concerned that asteroids might be hurtling towards the Earth, obliterating life as we know it? Well, fear no more. Thanks to the smart folks at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy and MIT's Lincoln Lab, Pan-STARRS is looking out for us.

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is the world's largest digital camera, and it's to be used to keep an eye out for asteroids heading towards Earth. This 1400 megapixel camera sits atop Mount Haleakala in Maui Island, Hawaii, and will scan the skies looking for rogue objects approaching Earth at a trajectory that's a little too close for comfort.

Finding moving objects isn't the only objective of this project: another focus is its ability to map very large areas of sky to great sensitivity thus producing the deepest and most complete survey of the Solar System so far.

Again, to all Tech Club denizens and others who have an interest in science, astronomy, or space exploration, here's another example of how your passion can translate into a career. Not only are people needed to think of and design these types of tests, but computer programmers are also needed to develop the software necessary to run the instruments to perform the scientists' tests.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Only Three More Weeks!

Just a reminder that we have only three weeks left in the fall session of Tech Club. In December, we'll be meeting on:

  • December 2nd
  • December 9th
  • December 16th

and then that's it for the fall session. Of course we'll resume in 2009 in our usual Tuesday night slot, and I hope to see some more of you sign up for the spring session! I think technology is a lot of fun but if we need a break from learning, we can always persuade Steve to bring in his Xbox.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Photo Friday

Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL
To everyone spending time traveling this weekend:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Solar Cemetery

From the BBC, I've learned that the Spanish city of Santa Coloma de Gramanet, near Barcelona, has definitely found an unusual place to generate renewable energy; to wit: the local cemetery. Like many European cities, the cemetery at Santa Coloma de Gramanet has mausoleums, and their nice wide roofs were a perfect spot for solar panels since they were one of the few open, sunny places in the crowded city.

To date, 462 solar panels have been installed over some of the cemetery's mausoleums. It's projected that these panels will create enough energy each year to supply the needs of 60 homes and keep about 62 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year. Very green, very nice. The current installation covers less than 5% of the cemetery's total surface area, and there are plans to install more solar panels.

This is another in the continuing posts on interesting ways to apply technology. But before you think this is just some crazy European thinking, let me remind you that the Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America plan will help create five million new jobs (that's 5,000,000):
  • by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. (change.gov).

This is expanding a whole new area for applying technology. Think about it. And then think about which classes you'll sign up for in school.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NASA's Juno Mission

Attention all fans of science and technology: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced on Monday that they're moving forward with a mission to conduct an in-depth study of Jupiter. That's right -- space exploration!

From the NASA news release:

Called Juno, the mission will be the first in which a spacecraft is placed in a highly elliptical polar orbit around the giant planet to understand its formation, evolution and structure. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our early solar system.

Why Jupiter? Again, from the news release:

Understanding the formation of Jupiter is essential to understanding the processes that led to the development of the rest of our solar system and what the conditions were that led to Earth and humankind.

The Juno mission is a part of NASA's New Frontiers Program and is actually the second spacecraft designed under that program. The first was the Pluto New Horizons mission, launched in January 2006 and scheduled to reach Pluto's moon Charon in 2015. Juno is scheduled to launch in August 2011 and will reach Jupiter in 2016.

So, to all who have an interest in technology and/or science, here is an example of how following your interest can lead to a fascinating career. Oh and by the way, software programmers are needed to get these spacecrafts launched and ready to perform the tests needed by the scientists.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Tech Club on November 25th

Just a reminder, there will be no clubs or tutoring/mentoring sessions during the week of Thanksgiving. Both clubs and tutoring/mentoring sessions will resume during the week of December 1st.

If you have any questions about the schedule please call the office at 312-492-9614.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Friday

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken
~ Robert Frost

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Web 2.0 Government?

Continuing with the openness started by his internet-fueled candidacy, President-Elect Barack Obama will be posting his weekly address as a YouTube video on his Change.gov site.

As a Tech Club, we applaud the use of technology as a tool to making government transparent and furthering Mr. Obama's platform of government openness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Music Mashup

Continuing my previous post on the Audacity of Sound, today in Tech Club we started into our exploration of sound -- integrating different elements to create something new. Our base layer is an mp3 song, to which we'll apply the different tools Audacity offers: speed up some parts, shorten others, fade in and out, etc.

We'll then bring in a couple of sound files (car crashes and screams seemed to be the most popular) and weave them in and out of the music in our base layer. Steve told us about a great site to find free sound sample. At the Find Sounds site, you enter your search terms, say, car crashes, and they'll search the Web for sound effects and musical instrument samples that match your search. All you have to do is download them to your computer and import them into Audacity.

Remember, Audacity is a free, open-source audio editor and recorder. Try it, along with some sounds from the Find Sounds site, and see what you can create.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Final Frontier -- Yet Again

star trek logo
Slated for a summer 2009 release is the latest in the Star Trek franchise, this one produced by J. J. Abrams ("Lost", "Alias", "Mission Impossible III") with screenwriting by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ("Transformers", "MI:III").

Regardless of whether you're a friend or foe of the Star Trek movies, check out the movie's official site for some great graphics, navigation and flow in their flash movie.

Also, note that the site is hooking into existing community sites (facebook and myspace), along with social bookmarketing sites such as delicious and reddit, as a way to get out the advance word about their movie.

Oh and if you really must, here's the trailer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fun with Words

Tag cloud of this blog, compliments of Wordle.

From their site:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide [editor: either text that you enter or text from a blog if you provide the url ]. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

You can change the layout, colors or the font. Have fun playing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Photo Fridays

Chicago El

Did you know that Google Maps is the engine behind the CTA's trip planner?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tech Talk

Google Flu Trends
It's getting cold here in Chicago which means two things are right around the corner: winter and flu season. But what if we could predict outbreaks of the flu? Think of what you could do with that information: avoid traveling there during that timeframe; reroute medicine to those areas; plan on having hospitals at full staffing; maybe even plan your sick days.

Crazy tech talk, right? Well, not really. It seems that Google has come up with such a tool: Google Flu Trends. This clever tool aggregates the terms used in searches to track outbreaks of the flu and seemingly can spot disease trends up to 2 weeks before the Centers for Disease Control data can.

Here's an explanation from the New York Times:

What if Google knew before anyone else that a fast-spreading flu outbreak was putting you at heightened risk of getting sick? And what if it could alert you, your doctor and your local public health officials before the muscle aches and chills kicked in? That, in essence, is the promise of Google Flu Trends, a new Web tool... unveiled on Tuesday, right at the start of flu season in the US. Google Flu Trends is based on the simple idea that people who are feeling sick will tend to turn to the Web for information, typing things like 'flu symptoms; or 'muscle aches' into Google. The service tracks such queries and charts their ebb and flow, broken down by regions and states."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Get Out the Vote!

We have an upcoming election here at Cabrini Connections. Fourteen students have thrown their hat in the ring and announced their candidacy for the “Cabrini Connections Youth Leadership Council”. Here's our general election schedule:

Up this week: each of the 14 students will have 2 minutes to pitch their ideas and convince tutors and fellow students why they deserve their vote for one of the 6 available spots on the Youth Leadership Council.

Next week: Cabrini Connections is hosting a town-hall style debate, where the candidates will field questions from tutors and students via a moderator pertaining to what ideas and leadership they will bring to the council.

Elections will be held on Nov 19th and 20th to determine which 3 students from each tutoring night will make up the council for the remainder of the 2008-2009 academic year.

Your vote will directly impact you because students elected to the Leadership Council have a voice in determining things like: house rules, snacks and field trips. So, take a page from President-Elect Barack Obama's campaign and participate: listen to what the candidates have to say, participate in the town hall and make sure you vote.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photo Fridays

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Emulator: that which imitates

Tuesday was a quiet day at Tech Club this week -- some students weren't able to get here because their moms were busy voting (our sincere thanks to everyone who made the time to vote) so rather than get too far ahead with learning Audacity, we had a play day.

Sean took center stage and showed me the Gameboy emulators that are available online. For those of you not familiar with emulators, here's a good tech definition from wikipedia:

An emulator duplicates (provides an emulation of) the functions of one system using a different system, so that the second system behaves like (and appears to be) the first system.

In other words, running the Gameboy emulator on your computer makes it behave like a Gameboy and allows you to play the Nintendo games.

Where I work, we use emulators to develop software because it's easier to write the code and test it on your computer, rather than writing the code and then transferring it to another device, such an iPhone. I didn't realize, though, that Gameboy had an emulator so thanks, Sean, for sharing!

Monday, November 3, 2008

College Visit on Friday, November 7th

The next College Visit organized by Cabrini Connections is scheduled for this coming Friday, Nov 7th. Students will be visiting Chicago State University and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

From the Cabrini Connections blog:

During our College visit series we are trying to expose students to the wide variety of schools in the Chicagoland area, everything from 2 year community colleges to elite schools such as Northwestern and The University of Chicago. The idea is to expose not only our Juniors and Seniors to various schools but also our underclassmen, so that they might be better able to visualize themselves at College in a few years and have something to strive for during their High School years.

If you didn't attend, be sure to read about the Westwood College visit, and don't forget to sign up for this Friday's visit.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Audacity of Sound

Now that we've recovered from the Haunted House, Tech Club is picking up where we left off with our exploration of digital audio. Our tool of choice is Audacity, a free, open-source audio editor and recorder. We downloaded version 1.2.6a, which is a stable release, and at this time opted not to use version 1.3.6 Beta. We did debate the pros and cons a bit, but decided our mission was to first learn the software; later on we may opt to be Beta testers.

We'll see you on Tuesday!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Photo Fridays

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reminder: No Tech Club On 10/28

No Clubs this week:
During Halloween week, the arts and tech and writing clubs will not be meeting. Sessions will resume the following week.

Hallow-wicked Week
As we get closer to Halloween, we would like to remind all mentors and mentees that we will be having a change in schedule. The tutoring/mentoring days will remain in tact but we will be having some fun by sharing some treats, listening to the Halloween essay winners, celebrating our October birthdays, and ending the week with a trip to a Chicagoland Haunted House!!! Be Ready, Be Aware, Be There!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Photo Fridays

Adaptive Reuse

Look closely at the railing -- bowling pins and billiard balls

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sound: Vibrations That Travel Through the Air

This week was our first foray into audio. Using the Web, we worked together to find an audio application that had the features our students wanted (cut, copy, splice and mix sounds) but still fit into our budget (free).

Our research led us to Audacity, which is a free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. Sounds perfect! (as bad puns go). Time ran out before we could do anything more than download and play around with the application, but it looks like it'll be a lot of fun and I'll keep you posted as to our progress.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blog Action Day focuses on Poverty, and mentoring

Last Thursday almost 11,000 bloggers posted articles about poverty. The accumulative weight of this was intended to build much larger public attention for this issue.

I've done a google search and located many blogs focused on mentoring. I encourage you to take some time to read some of these, so you expand your own network of ideas that you can use as a volunteer, leader, donor or student in Cabrini Connections.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Photo Fridays

Reflected Sunset

Chicago, IL

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 17th is Martini Madness!!

Cabrini Connections’ Third Annual Martini Madness event is this Friday, October 17th. This is a fun networking event that also raises important dollars for our programs.

If you've registered to attend, but have not sent your payment, or if you just want to send a donation, please use the PayPal form. You can either pay with a credit card or use your PayPal account.

There are Raffle Prizes so for all the details on Martini Madness, visit the Cabrini Connections site.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photos to Audio

Sorry for the lack of posts; my work life is determined to interfere with my Tech Club life! I'll blame it on the planets. :)

Well Tech Club has just finished week 3 and thanks to input from Sean and George, we'll now be adding audio to the curriculum. We'll be editing and mixing songs, marking sections to repeat, creating effect changes, etc. Should be fun! I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Photo Fridays

Biltmore Estate

Asheville, N.C.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tech Club Starts Next Week

We are very excited about starting a new year of Tech Club next week. Vjeko, Cabrini Connections new eLearning and Tech Coordinator, has made sure the computer lab is all setup with the software we'll be using this fall; Steve and I have been refining the details of our planned activities (it will be fun!); and we already have students who've signed up.

It's not too late to join Tech Club, though, because we still have some slots open. The details:

meeting time: We meet every Tuesday from 6-7 pm
start date: fall session starts on September 30th
projects: Fall '08 Projects

Call 312-492-9614 to join.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Photo Fridays

Chicago Sunrise

hello world

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome Back!

A big welcome back to all returning students and a very warm welcome to students who are new to Cabrini Connections this year. We're glad to have you and hope you have a wonderful and productive year.

In addition to tutoring, Cabrini Connections offers a couple of clubs you can join: an Art Club, a Writing Group and our new and improved Tech Club (my personal favorite).

These clubs are a great way to try out different things just to see if you like doing them. To sign up for a club, contact us at 312-492-9614, or send an email to tutormentor2@earthlink.net.

Tech Club meets every Tuesday from 6-7 pm starting on September 30th. I hope to see you there!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tech Club Starts on September 30th

Starting on September 30th when we kick off our fall '08 session, Tech Club will be meeting on Tuesdays evenings from 6-7 pm.

Students or Parents, if you missed signing up for Tech Club at Student Orientation, call Cabrini Connections at 312-492-9614 and let them know you're interested.

Chicago Tech World, interested in donating some of your time or knowledge? Contact Cabrini Connections to lend us a hand. We all benefit by increasing computer literacy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Photo Fridays

Chicago Air & Water Show 2008

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings ...
High Flight
~ John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How We Create Photo Fridays

Digital Photography -- one of the many activities in the Fall Session

This activity is where you'll learn to create fabulous photos to post on MySpace, Facebook, online albums or even Photo Friday's feature on Tech Club's blog.

Volunteers and Alumni - interested in learning Photoshop? We welcome your participation.

Fall session starts on September 30th; call Cabrini Connections at 312-492-9614 to sign-up for Tech Club.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why You Should be in Tech Club

Tech Club meets on Tuesdays from 6-7 pm starting on September 30th.

Here's some of the fun stuff we'll be doing this fall in Tech Club:
  • Learn how to use a digital camera
  • Create an online photo album
  • Edit photos with a computer
  • Create e-cards using your edited photos
  • Create a movie poster
  • Blog about what you’re doing
I know what you're thinking -- sounds like a lot of fun but what will we actually learn. Glad you asked! Participating in Tech Club on a weekly basis means you'll:
  • Build-up computer confidence
  • Develop skills that'll be useful for both homework and in the working world
  • Become very comfortable with a world that is increasingly technical.
Can't wait, right? Well, be sure to sign-up at one of the Student Orientations or by calling Cabrini Connections at 312-492-9614.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Student Orientation/Open House

Missed last Saturday's Welcome Back Brunch? Well, Student Orientation/Open House will be held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. When you stop by one of these sessions for tutoring information, you'll get a chance to learn about the different clubs Cabrini Connections offers -- including our own Tech Club.

Here are the Open House details:
  • Wednesday, September 10th at 6:00 p.m.
    (if you plan on attending the Wednesday tutoring session during the year)


  • Thursday, September 11th at 6:00 p.m.
    (if you plan on attending the Thursday tutoring session during the year)
Parents are invited! We'll see you then.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Learn about Tech Club

On Saturday, September 6th, Cabrini Connections will be hosting our Welcome Back Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This is a Kickoff to the 2008-2009 program where parents and students can come hear about the new and exciting programs being offered this fall, including Tech Club. Interact with other members of the program, and just have a good time.

See you there!

Tech Club - Fall Session

Friday, August 1, 2008

Photo Fridays

Ice Sculpture - Zoo Lights '07

here's some cool ice for a hot weekend

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Call Now!

Think the Fall Session of the Tech Club is going to be kind of neat but want to know more? Or, want to be the first in line to sign-up? All you have to do is:

Call Cabrini Connections at 312-492-9614 for info

There now, that was easy -- wasn't it? Look forward to seeing you in the fall!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Adjustment Layers Rock!

Have a digital photo that you want to manipulate but don't want to destroy the original? You could accomplish this by making a copy of the original and working on that. Or, you can use Adjustment Layers in Photoshop.

Adjustment Layers allow you to apply various types of adjustments to the original photo sitting on a layer below your new Adjustment Layer without directly changing the original photo. It's kind of like looking at the world through a pair of sunglasses. The world takes on the hue of your sunglasses (green, brown, blue, gray) but the original world itself hasn't changed -- only how you're seeing it. Same thing with Adjustment Layers.

For example, let's take a photo

And add an Adjustment Layer of Hue/Saturation and set Saturation to -100 (remove all the color) -- I now have a black and white photo.

But I do miss the color and here's where I stepped away from Adjustment Layer and added in some other cool tricks. First I copied the original photo onto another layer *above* the Adjustment Layers. I then reduced the Opacity for that layer (made it see-through) so the black and white photo is also visible:

The color is subtle; maybe too subtle. So I again copied the original photo onto another layer, placed that layer above all other and deleted everything in the photo *except* the pink flowers:

I think I may have ended up close to the beginning, but it's a start. :) Here's my layer palette showing the different layers mentioned above:

Now, flowers may not be your thing, but this will give you a taste of the cool stuff we'll be doing with digital photos this fall.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Photo Fridays

Blue Ridge Mountains at Sunrise
(Asheville, North Carolina)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fall Session Preview

Thinking of signing up for Tech Club? Well, here's a sneak peak at what we're offering for the Fall '08 Session:

Fall Session:
  1. If you don't already know, learn how to use a digital camera and take a photo tour of the area

  2. Learn what makes a good photograph; then, retake area photos using your new knowledge about photography

  3. Digitally edit your photos. We'll get into:

    • Photoshop tools (magic wand, marquee, cloning tool, etc.) and how they're used

    • applying filters, such as distort, sketch, artistic, noise and seeing how they change your photo

    • using adjustments to experiment with color balance, brightness, contrast, etc.

    • changing your photo from color to black and white and how to create an old-fashioned brown-tinted photo

  4. If time allows, we'll start learning about animation or we may save that for the spring session

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photo Fridays

Chicago Full Moon

Tech Tuesdays -- Summer Edition

It's summertime and you're taking advantage of the long days and open beaches. What fun!! But please don't forget about Tech Tuesdays.

Our summer session is setup to accommodate the casual visit. Stop by weekly and build on what you're learning each week, or sign up for a week here and there, just to keep your toe in the technology water (so to speak). Even just the causal day or two will give you a heads up of what we'll be doing come this fall.

So sure, we'd love it if you could come every week, because the program does build on what you learned the previous week, but we get it. After all, they aren't called the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer for nothing!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's All About the Tools

We started playing around with manipulating our digital photos via Photoshop. First stop, a discussion about the various tools at our disposal, what they do and how they can be used.

As you can see from the toolbar at the left, there's a lot of stuff to learn: magic wands to select areas; cloning tools that act just like a stamp; cropping, dodging, burning; adding text. Oh and then we also threw in a bit about layer and the history list. Phew! That's a lot, but this is just the start.

Next up will be taking some of the knowledge we just learned and see what we can do to one of our photos -- the good, the bad and yes, even the ugly. I have a feeling both CTL + Z and the history list will be our friends.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Stay Tuned ....

Team Tech Club will be getting into manipulating digital photos this week. Using the photos from last week, we're going to start to explore all the different ways they can be modified -- cropping, distorting, duo-tone. You name it, we'll try it! Every filter and feature available and all in the name of (a) learning some pretty cool software and (b) having some fun.

My previous post showed Sean's and Anthony's photos sans effects; upcoming posts will show you what they'll accomplishing using the "digital dark room". As the title says, Stay Tuned ....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Photo Mania

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July!

I wanted to share some pictures Sean and Anthony took at last Tuesday's Tech Club. We started off with a talk about what goes into making a good photograph -- things like the rule of thirds, identifying the photo's subject, composition, etc. With camera in hand, Sean and Anthony then took to the streets looking for photos of the urban landscape, but this time with more of a photographer's eye.

I think they absorbed the lesson well -- what do you think?

Anthony's Photo

Sean's Photo:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Photo Fridays

Double Rainbow over Chicago
(compliments of Mother Nature and last Sunday's storms)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tech Club - Summer '08

Tech Club will be having a fun time this summer getting into digital photography, manipulating the photos via Photoshop and then (if we have time) creating some Flash animation using your altered photos. It's an ambitious mix of creativity and technology, but I think we're up to the challenge!

Details will follow in later posts, but stop by Tuesday nights (6p-7p) so you can be a part of it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Volunteers. Strategic Planning

As we enter the summer we're trying to recruit new volunteers to serve as project managers for tech club and the video club.

These clubs are part of an overall technology strategy for Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. You can review the strategy on our technology wiki.

We'd like to find volunteers who will set up a wiki or other form of collaborative planning group for the tech club, and for the video group, so that this can be a central meeting place, history, and planning location for volunteers and students who don't have much time to meet face to face.

Tech club volunteers are meeting on Tuesday evening. IYP does not have a specific meeting date/time but we do have one group finishing up a documentary of Cabrini Green and another volunteer building an library of past videos.

If you're interested in being part of this, just email tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tech club!!

Today was a very confusing but interesting day. We did homework and played a game on the computer. It waz awsome. Ashaunti did science Homework! Melissa did Math Homework. And Ofcourse the best Jon'nita did a Typing test on the computer. I got a score of 89569!!! wooooow go Jon'nita!!!!!!!! Keep up the good work Students!! Talk to you next week bye!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

tech club!!!!

well today we had a mini birthday party for Ashaunti! her birthday was april 26! and we talked about a colloge we were going to do showin anti-violence! it wasnt all that great though but trust it could get better!!!!lolz!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Today during tech club we walked to a park and took pictures and discussed different things on antivolience and we are going to finish up on it next week and we're also going to draw pictures and write poems to include in the collage

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Whatz up?!?!?!? 4/8/08*****

Today duribg tech club all of us students just talked about what role we wanted to take for the Chicago Voices Against Violence 2008 Campaign. There was also two fun new cool member who just joined Tech Club their names are Tashara Thomas and Steve. He creates video games!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

tech club!!!!!!!!!!!!! April 1st

Today in tech club we (Ashaunti, Jon'nita, Melissa,and Kristin) started a book club. And the book(s) we are reading are Blueford high series, Brothers in Arms!!!!!!!! Plus it seems like a very good book and everyone is very interested!*!*!*! Deral is designing a logo saying "BOSS" and it looks really great!*!*!*!*!*!* Good job Deral!!!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tables in web page design

It's an exciting time for us as our Technology Club membership grows. Two new students, Deral Willis, Jr. and Antonio Hillard
have joined our ever growing group of young technologists.

In the coming weeks each student will learn the basics of web design and web page layout. These intermediary steps will assist them as they begin to learn to work with more technologically advanced web tools.

This Tuesday we will begin working with "Tables" in webpages as a way of formatting a page to give a specific layout. "Using tables for layout is probably one of the most controversial subjects in web design. There are many people who believe that fixing the layout the way a table does shouldn't be done. I, on the other hand, love the ability it gives a designer to control where things will appear on a page."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

New members and Masking effects

We have ongoing efforts to encourage the CC students to join Tech Club, in that regard we are poised to teach the youth and the volunteers how to create Webpages using Frontpage or Dreamweaver, manipulate graphics using Photoshop and Fireworks and how to create animated graphics using Flash.

I created an example Flash movie using the mask effect to show how to remove unwanted background images from a picture. In the Flash movie I used images of our newest Tech Club members, Melissa, Jon' Nita and Ashaunti.

When creating a mask you have to place a graphic of any shape over an image, when you set up the mask it reveals only the portoion of the back image that is beneath the graphic. As you can see in the above example I used the Pen Tool to create a graphic in the shape of the students outline. I once again encourage any student or volunteer who wants to expand their computer skills and learn graphic and webpage manipulation to join us on Tuesdays between 6:00-7:00pm for Tech Club.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The do-it-yourself mentality is one of the things that built this country, and it is most certainly still deeply embedded into the fabric of American sensibilities. FedEx was dreamed up by a college kid. Apple Computer started out as a pet project of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs that they birthed in Jobs’ garage, and Google was founded in a dorm room by a couple of grad students from Stanford University. The list of spunky and successful startups goes on and on. Do-it-yourself projects (DIY for short) have been brewing in garages, basements, and college dorm rooms for years. It was inevitable that these ideas found their way onto Web sites dedicated to DIY projects of all types, and the sites feed the growing legions of people searching the Internet for answers on how to do everything from knitting to building a computer to home remodeling. There is even a man whose DIY project is being considered the first cure for cancer.
There is a bevy of interesting, wildly entertaining, and even mischievous Web sites out there that offer articles, instructions, and video of DIY projects. Have you ever wondered how to make your own solar-powered bicycle? Or wanted some creative ideas for entertaining kids at a party? Or tried to figure out how to fix your car without sending it to a repair shop? The answers are out there. Here are a few I've come across...

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Tech Club in 2008

As we begin the new year our challenge is to continue to movitate our youth to access and utilize the Internet and it's various technologies to enrich their lives, education and communication. We are interested in growing our Technology Club membership by March to about 8 students. As mentioned in my previous post we interested in students who want to learn web design, graphic design and/or Flash Animation amongst other projects. We've currently have two exchanges students from Korea, Jaekyu Lee and Geunjae Lee working with Cabrini Connections who want to get involved with the youth and show them some of the Flash and graphic design skills... We will have links to some of there work up soon! They are currently working on a Webquest that will allow students to explore interesting information about Korea.