STEAM/STEM Night

Zachary's school recently hosted STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) night which brought out a ton of families and a lot of great projects. Minecraft was clearly a theme this year as we saw a lot of projects that leveraged it in some fashion but we also saw multiple confetti canons, a really neat volcano, a physics project with a focus on athletics, some coding projects, and even a series of experiments of the effects of different liquids on teeth.

Naturally being the geeks that we are, Zachary and I went the 'Technology' route and built a website using Squarespace. Our family is a huge fan of the Timberwolves so we set off to build a Timberwolves themed website with photos, charts, historical facts, and more. It gave me the opportunity to share some web design/development concepts with Zachary while also providing him with a great opportunity to use the internet to do some research. He used a variety of sources for the historical facts, the chart/graph data, and other content. It served as a good preview of what research papers will be like in middle school next year.

Zachary presenting his project to a group of students. 

All-in-all, the school did a great job of providing equal parts education and entertainment all while promoting the STEM/STEAM initiative.

iPhone 5 Review

iPhone 5 BoxOne year ago today, I posted a review of Apple's iOS 5.0 and now a year later I am back w/ a review of the iPhone 5 running iOS 6.0.

After spending a week with the iPhone 5 I have really grown to love it. I upgraded from an iPhone 4 (not 4S) so the number of things to be excited about are many. There are countless other reviews of this device around the web so rather than recapping all of the features and functionality I am going to talk about the things that I like and use the most.

Since I haven't owned a 4S I was really excited to give Siri a test drive. Ironically my parents just moved to a new part of the state so I have had plenty of opportunities to find new things and get directions. While there are some shortcomings and oddities I am generally impressed with Siri. The functionality and range of things that you can do with it (her?) are really impressive. I have composed text messages, made calls, found hamburgers, launched applications and even asked for movie reviews. I know I am late to the party on this one but Siri is pretty awesome.

I was equally excited for the camera in the iPhone 5 and I am not at all disappointed. It takes amazingly crisp photos and it does so incredibly fast. The iPhone 4 always had a bit of a delay between each shot but that is not the case what-so-ever with the iPhone 5. I am able to take photos at a very rapid pace which is incredibly nice for action shots. One other thing that is greatly improved with the camera is the low-light functionality. Situations in which my iPhone 4 camera would have been worthless, the iPhone 5 camera performs wonderfully. For someone like me who takes A LOT of photos, the iPhone 5 is the ultimate smart phone.

In addition to Siri and the camera, I was really looking forward to LTE functionality on AT&T's network. I know a lot of people say that it is overrated and that the speed differential is not that great but they are wrong. In places where I was pulling down 1Mbps I am now getting upwards of 30Mbps. Where my upstream was previously ~1Mbps, it is now 11Mbps. Sharing to Instagram and refreshing Twitter/Facebook is almost instantaneous. Websites load quicker, streaming services work better and all-in-all the phone is far more attractive as an internet device.

iPhone 5 Incipio Case Aside from the phone I also want to talk about cases. I tried a few of them before settling on the Incipio FREQUENCY impact resistant case (pictured above). While I wouldn't recommend throwing the phone across the room in this case, it still provides enough protection to give me peace of mind without being bulky and getting in the way. I highly recommend this product.

I'd love to hear what others think about the latest incarnation of the iPhone so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!