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January 31, 2006

Reminder: Art Science Happy Hour this Thursday

Are you interested in the intersection of Art, Science, and Technology? Are you concerned about science and arts education in today's schools? Looking for a way to make a difference? Join us for the first GalaxyGoo Happy Hour of 2006, on Thursday January 26th.

This will be an informal gathering.

When: 5-7pm, Thursday January 26th, 2006
Where: Bliss Bar (on 24th street, between Noe and Castro) in San Francisco

An RSVP is not required, but if you let us know you're coming I'll know to bring enough chocolate.

This event is listed on Upcoming .org.

January 25, 2006

New date for happy hour

Unfortunately, I've just come down with a bad cold. So, we're rescheduling the Happy Hour for next week.

January 17, 2006

Speaking at FITC

I've been asked to speak at FITC 2006 Toronto - The Design & Technology Festival. I accepted the invitation. So, it looks like I'm heading to Toronto in late April. I was planning to take a break from tech conferences this year, but just couldn't resist FITC.

January 14, 2006

And the name of the book is...

Special Edition Using Macromedia Studio 8, by Sean Nicholson. I'm amazed that I only now remembered to post the title. While my name isn't on the front cover, it is printed just below Sean's on the title page, and on the back cover :-) Sean was also very kind, and mentioned me in his acknowledgements.

There's a possibility that the publisher will post one of my chapters online. I'm still not sure which one to ask for, though. The chapters I'm considering are "Introduction to Action Script", "ActionScripting for Motion Graphics", and "Introduction to Class-based Programming in Flash". I'm leaning toward "Introduction to Class-based Programming in Flash". Let me know if you have thoughts on which would be most useful to the Flash community. By the way, the files for the tutorial chapter (building an XML-based slide show) can be downloaded on the publisher's page for the book. Look for "The example files developed for Chapter 16".

Since I was a "contributing author" and not "co-author", I didn't get to write any acknowledgements for the book. So, I'd like to do a little of that here. First of all, I need to thank my husband and children for putting up with me while writing the chapters, and for being so supportive and understanding...and for eating so many take-out dinners. MD Dundon was my tech editor, and I couldn't have gotten through it with out her. There were something like 7 editors on this book, and MD really helped me figure things out, when I'd get confused. Frances Segal, my intern at the time, was wonderfully patient with me and the crazy schedule.

Writing the Flash chapters of this book was an amazing learning experience. I had to start at the very beginning, and give the reader a footing in drawing on the stage with the toolbox and frame-by-frame animations and tweening. From there, the reader works from simple ActionScripting to working with external data and then Class-based coding. And of course, we had to fit in audio and video. I especially enjoyed writing about the new Flash 8 video encoder and the FLVPlayback component. Cool stuff! There wasn't a lot of room to cover things in as much detail as I'd have liked to. Everything had to be boiled down to their simplest essence. I also didn't get to spend much time on the new features in Flash8, although I did slip in a coded filter for the tutorial on coding a slide show.

Do I plan to write another book? Yes! In fact, I'm looking for the right publisher for my next book. It's much more fun to write a book at one's own pace than under tight deadlines. :-)

January 13, 2006

Ramblings on Science Literacy

Did you know that the editors of Scientific American blog? Today, I came accross a great post by David Biello, where he writes hisConfessions of a Teenage Science Illiterate. It's a short and very well written piece.

He talks a little about the successes and failures of his teachers, erupting volcano models won over hamburger trajectories, and even talks about is major studies change from Chemistry to English.

While he confesses to gaps in his science literacy (who doesn't have gaps!?), he expresses his frustration with people who choose to "ignore or misinterpret scientific findings".

His closing paragraph sums up why science literacy is so important:

Perhaps if more people understood just some of such basic principles of science, we would be ready to make informed decisions about the medical potential of stem cells, global warming and other vast science-based conundrums facing the U.S. and the rest of the world today. At the very least, we should educate our children to understand them, since they will have to deal with the consequences of the decisions that are made today in an apparent fog of ignorance.

I would add that we need to educate our adults, too. It's never too late to learn, and while our focus may be on educating the next generation, we must also hold our own generation to the responsibility of science literacy.

A family centered approach might include trips to science museums and family science experiments and other activities. Build a volcano in your kitchen! Travel the path of discovery as a family.

January 12, 2006

Art, Science, & Education Informal Gathering

Are you interested in the intersection of Art, Science, and Technology? Are you concerned about science and arts education in today's schools? Looking for a way to make a difference? Join us for the first GalaxyGoo Happy Hour of 2006, on Thursday January 26th.

This will be an informal gathering.

When: 5-7pm, Thursday January 26th, 2006
Where: Bliss Bar (on 24th street, between Noe and Castro) in San Francisco

An RSVP is not required, but if you're interested in coming to the event or have any questions, please use our contact form.

This event is listed on Upcoming .org.

Need to Make Things Move?

Just saw today, that Keith Peters' fantastic book, ActionScript Animation: Making Things Move, is sold out. Wow! Congratulations Keith!

It just so happens that we were about to list a signed copy of the book in our MissionFish/Ebay auctions. So, if you've just got to have a copy, and you'd like to support our programs at the same time, the timing couldn't be better. The listing is scheduled to go live tonight at 9pm, Pacific.

Legal note: GalaxyGoo is a registered charity in the State of California. This is not a solicitation for donations outside of California.

January 11, 2006

Support GalaxyGoo

GalaxyGoo develops and distributes educational software, free of charge, to teachers, students and the general public. We do this to further our mission to increase Science Literacy. Help support our educational projects, by bidding on items donated to GalaxyGoo and are up for auction on our MissionFish: Nonprofit Homepage. Currently listed, with two days left, is a one hour with a scanning Electron Microscope and resulting image on disk.

Keep an eye out for further listings, including a signed copy of Keith Peters' Foundation Actionscript Animation: Making Things Move!

January 09, 2006

Newsletter Delivery: Paper Wins Over Online?

Kim Klein, of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal reports that her subscribers overwhelmingly prefer paper to online delivery of their newsletter. She also suggests that organizations consider a balance between paper and online media. Grassroots Fundraising Journal - Dear Kim Q&A Column

My own thoughts on this subject are in agreement about finding the balance that works best for your own organization. We're still figuring out what that balance is for GalaxyGoo. So far, we've always published online, and only print when we have special events.

We are still planning on publishing a printed GalaxyGoo newsletter, and if all goes well, we will be opening subscriptions this year.