Daylight saving time: Its changing its time

You think that the technology free for all about Y2K was bad just prepare yourself for the new dates for Daylight Savings Time to be implemented. And, it changes every year. The Republican congress and president passed a law that extends Daylight Savings Time by a month starting in 2007 when it beings the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November. This is supposed to save energy, but that is questionable.

Here are valuable sights that explain the program and how to help your computer cope.

By the way for quality computers that have been programed to avoid this mess and have US based customer service go to

The computer mess changing Daylight Savings Time is going to make.,1759,2098954,00.asp

How to adjust your computer

It may not be automatic as government has changed the dates.

Time zone changes for your computer

Time zone lessons and a quiz

About Daylight Saving Time

History of day with nice table of times changes that effect both Europe and the US. Note that the time of the change is changing dramatically over the next few years.

Government site that explains energy savings

Sites that explain the negatives of Daylight Savings Time

Table of time changes by country

Huge and sophisticated time change link

More technology links

Technology organizations and grants

Free software and lessons.

BMW M6 Convertible:

Is it Technology Overkill?

For more reviews go to

For discounts on new computers, technology supplies, and servers built to your specifications with USA tech support go to

Call us spoiled, but when we get into an $115,000 BMW convertible with a growling V10 engine and 500 horsepower encased in an attention getting body and shod with huge tires we would like to be able to drive it as we see fit. Unfortunately, we never could figure out the infamous SMG transmission, which does the shifting, and thinking for you despite a multitude of available personal settings. Here is what we highly recommend. Buy this car when it comes with a manual transmission and see if you are able to order it without the iDrive, too. In other words, this world class BMW is an example of technology overkill best left to passively driven sedans and tipsy SUVs. The M6 is a driver’s car of the first order. Let the driver prevail. BMWs are meant to be driven and this one spent too much time thinking.

No question this is an exotic convertible that is capable of staying with the best of its competition. It is certainly priced better than the smoother Bentley, but is dearer than the Mercedes CLK AMG 6.3. Does it drive better than those? Well, in an all out race it would be our first choice. But around town the Mercedes wins and when it comes time to draw attention the Bentley takes the honors. The M just looks too much like the standard 6 Series, which isn’t at all bad, but for the tens of thousands more you are charged you should get some recognition on the open road.

The brakes are awesome, the cockpit comfortable and well though out except for the iDrive being too close to your elbow and a cupholder that needs to be stuck into the center console area. Gas mileage was worse than the V 12 Bentley as we were lucky to get 14 mph. Of course, there is a $3000 gas-guzzler tax on the M.

If you drive hard the SMG transmisson works well. You can shift for yourself using tabs in back of the steering wheel or just leave it in drive. Either way the shifts and engine retardation is difficult to modulate and wearisome in heavy traffic. Even with the torque rich V10, which is much smoother than that in the Viper, the electrohydraulic shifts are never achieved quickly. The transmission has so many features that it even blips the throttle on downshits without your input. We have read sarcastic comments from other drivers/owners who claim that the SMG is terrific and so we urge you to temper our review by driving one yourself. Personally, we’ll wait for the stick shift.

BMW has seen fit to enable you to turn off the stability control so you may burn up the expensive tires faster. Yes, you can easily drift the BMW with the DSC turned off, but this is a $115,000 car that weighs close to 4000 pounds and despite the terrific and well weighted steering, you can’t flirt with the laws of physics without consequences. We did notice a little side stepping motion when quickly cornering over rough pavement. Again, this is a big car with a lot of weight to control and so such actions are not unexpected.

Is the M6 convertible better than the more expensive Porsche Turbo convertible? Yes, the Porsches are hard to drive and don’t even think about those maintenance costs that the BMW dealership provide free for three years. Porsche has been making a lot of money from its product line and so there is an abundance of people out there willing to pay the piper, but for our taste the BMW is a better vehicle and nearly as fast. By the way, we just saw a Mitsubishi Evo humiliate a Porsche Cayman and it reminded us of the mastery required to drive a Porsche well. The BMW does not require that degree of talent and it is so much easier to drive in traffic.

Is the M6 better than the Bentley or Mercedes? No, but it could be with a standard transmission. You put a six-speed manual in the M and you are going to have the best luxury convertible regardless of cost for those who want to drive fast and still have ample luxury. It would be a win-win-win situation with that last win being on the street or track.

The M, which stands for Motorsport, brings with it better performing engines, a sporty and very well tuned suspension that you can regulate from hard to medium to soft settings–and you are really going to notice the difference. The engine is a 5.0-liter all-aluminum V10 producing 500 horsepower at a very high 7,750-rpm with 383 pound-feet of torque. This is an engine that loves to be used and thus the poor gas mileage figures. The exhaust note is unique, just as the Viper, and not nearly as throaty as the Mercedes V8 AMG or the husky Bentley’s.

On the street the suspension is incredible. We left the electronically adjustable suspension in the comfort mode for daily driving, but in the mountains we stepped up the stiffness with the sportier setting and were quickly rewarded as the nearly two ton convertible carved corners with ease. On the other hand, if you opt for the more sporty settings the car loses it nice guy image and starts to hug the road and every imperfection with fendish delight.

The 19-inch double-spoke wheels with 255/40 tires in front and 285/35 tires in back are what immediately draws your attention when looking at the M convertible. The understated body kit has a very low front air dam that is going to scrape most driveway entrances unless you are careful. There is also a rear diffuser that is demur. This car is virtually identical to the untampered with 6 Series at first glance. We would have preferred a bit more recognition for its potential abilities.

Mom’s view: Did I mention I hated the transmission, but loved the car? If not here it is, this is one muscle bound vehicle that keeps its shirt on and lets its muscles show by its actions, not by its looks. It is clean looking, gathers gawkers by the dozens, and has a fine interior that doesn’t shout rac ecar. The leather is well done, the sport seats have a 14-way power adjustments with lumbar support and a pull out thigh support, and seat heaters, one touch power windows, a navigation system that offers real-time traffic updates, a somewhat complicated dual-zone automatic climate control that requires you to use the iDrive for outlet settings, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system, Bluetooth wireless, and a steering wheel that can be adjusted to tilt and telescopes as well. Very comfortable to ride in but more fun to drive.

The interior colors are quite bland, but go with the understated nature of the M Class. The adaptive xenon headlights are superior, but the stars of this car are the convertible top and the mysterious Power button that sits in the center console. If you go into the iDrive you can select the power options you want. If you go the P500 Sport mode you are opening up all 500 horsepower and a much more responsive throttle input reaction. The top is easy to operate. You just depress a small button under the center control stack and the top automatically raises and lowers and that includes the windows as well. The glass rear window can be left in place to use as a windblocked reducing the turbuleness in the cockpit when the top is down. It is very unique and does work while still giving you the ability to haul four passengers. The Mercedes has a portable windblocker that makes use of the rear area difficult if not impossible to access.

The top does take up a significant part of the trunk space, which isn’t all that great to begin with. The BMW M6 has 12.6 cubic feet of storage and 10.6 with the top down. Although this isn’t much, it is greater than most of the competition and shows how versatile this luxury speedster is despite its high performance.

Safetywise the M6 has the necessary, but defeatable, stability control with a “M” mode that lets you play longer and traction control, antilock brakes, front airbags, a rollover protection system, and front and rear parking sensors. The greatest safety feature it offers is its train stopping brakes and handling.

Overall, this bad boy is a well mannered reminder of what happens when you stuff a big engine into a tidy chassis with the help of some quality engineering friends. Unfortunately, that computer guy just won’t quite with the artifical intelligence tinkering. Above all ladies, if you use the more competition suspension setting think sports bra. I don’t think I have to say more about that.

Dad’s view: We didn’t put many miles on the BMW M6 convertible despite its obvious attractions. The transmission took the edge off every trip and only when we were alone or traveling in the mountains did the excellence of this convertible show its merit. There can be no doubt that this is the best convertible for performance enthusiasts for the price, The Porsche turbo might be a little faster, but just a little gravel on the road would equalize that and the BMW is much less expensive, has more room, and is easier to drive.

The engine is very demur considering its heritage. Taken from the engine building lessons from F1 competiton, the V10 really revs freely and with variable valve timing and a separate throttle butterfly for each cylinder the torque is almost linear. A remarable 8,250-rpm redline is easy to reach that you’ll find yourself thinking you are driving a four cylinder so quickly does that high number appear on the tachometer. The seven-speed automatic Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) can be shifted by using paddles or the nicely illuminated console-mounted shifter. The gear you are in is displayed crisply near the speedometer and it truly is needed because with so much power it is difficult to feel the differences between fourth and sixth, for example, in daily driving. You can program the transmission using the iDrive, but we never could get it to suit us. If you have a heavy foot don’t worry about it. This is one car that loves to be pushed. By the way, expect to pay a the pumps for this privledge as it can give you 12 mpg when provoked. When driven modestly, and why would you do so with this M, you can get over 20 mpg on premium. Fiture getting to 60 mph in about five seconds unless you spend countless hours perfecting your launch techniques. And mom always told us that practice makes perfect. In a quarter mile you are going to be doing over 115 mph as the big engine starts to reach its fun zone. Top speed is limited to 155. It is nearly as quick as the M6 coupe, which is a few hundred pounds heavier.

Young not working woman’s view: Let’s see; an Ivy League degree, masters in business management and information services, and I am still looking for a job in Tucson. With that in mind this car simply didn’t catch my interest. It was too potent for in town fun and attracted too much attention on the open road. Fast, yes, fun, well, all convertibles have a degree of fun built in, but city friendly, no. I loved its looks and would find the V8 version more to my liking. The price was also an obstacle. Personally, the BMW 3 Series convertible would be much better and with that double turbocharged engine its as quick as I would need. This M6 is the wrong guy at the wrong time. Its younger brother appeals to me more and I love that family tree. If I don’t get a job soon maybe the new 1 Series will be my suitor.

Young working/attending college male’s view: The iDrive screens are slow to react to input, the stereo loses reception at the drop of a hill, and this car’s interior can get hot in a hurry. The voice commands work fairly well, the Bluetooth is excellent, and the seats are acommodating. This car is a babe magnet of the first order. It is not really fast unless you decide to shift for yourself, but why bother. In most cases there isn’t many places you can exercise the magic 100 horsepower power button anyway, so relax and enjoy the attention. With little spare money this car was out of my range, but the free service for three years was a great incentive. Imagine what you would save over the Mercedes or Porsche during that time period. I also feel that the resale is going to be very good All in all, this BMW M6 convertible is a car to aspire to and one that only a few lucky owners will ever command. As for me, I am waiting for the new BMW 1 to arrive and with that big six cylinder optional engine and a price tag perhaps around $30,000 I am going to have a great time. Meanwhile, if you want a good deal on custom made servers and/or computers my company offers competitive rates and person costumer service in English.

Family conference: The M6 could be a daily driver or a weekend warrior, but unless you can conquer the transmission it is going to be frustrating. We found it extremely well sorted out with brakes and suspension, and ride quality first rate. The chassis is firm and the handling masterful. The engine does suck gas, but it is a V10 and that tempting power button near the radio constantly nags you with its 100 extra horsepower ready to romp. This is a real car in need of a real driver. No pretenders need apply. With a stick shift, this is an outstanding convertible with looks that both men and women can admire. And, you can get all of this in the form of a four-seater convertible to boot. As it now stands BMW stalwarts and F1 wantabes suit its mood best.

For a list of all vehicle websites go to

Bookmark Sites

National Teachers Hall of Fame

For more free educational resources go to

Bookmarks are an extremely effective way to differentiate learning, keep all students active, and provide parents with quality help sites to involve them in the teaching process. Basically, you sign up for one of the free services and place all the Internet sites that might have value to your lesson on the bookmark site. The student can access this site from anywhere in the world and uses the data to add depth to the lesson, do online tests, get homework help, or even have material translated.

You need to get a bookmark site for your class and in it include the state standards for the parents to read as well as good issues that can educate them on how to help their children. Current events can also be placed on the bookmark site as well as sites that show the child how to take notes, do bibliographic data, and even find videos to show complex information that reinforces your classroom lessons.

Here are some bookmark sites that you can explore and sign up for without charge.

Free bookmark manager links

Google bookmark site

Yahoo bookmark manager

Social bookmark listing and more

Please note that social bookmarks may not meet your classroom criteria.


Read about its limits first

A blog about sophisticated bookmark managers that can be used in a variety of ways.

Nice summary of bookmark sites

PC World article on popular sites,128248-page,4-c,sites/article.html

How parents should deal with


National Motivational Speaker

Internet safety site.

Protect yourself on the Internet

For quality educational resources go to

Internet Security Sites including identity theft

Teaching kids to drive the net


One of the great uncertainties of parenting in this digital age is the importance and possible dangers of MySpace, Second Life, Facebook, and YouTube and other such sites to children and young adults. Because of the vast differences in these sites and what they offer I am going to restrict myself to providing some common sense ideas to helping understand this problem there needs to be a review of just what MySpace is about and what causes concerns. Second Life is exciting and inviting places where students can create an alter ego that inhabit an imaginary world in 3D. You Tube has videos of an incredible variety of which some are adult only. The latter two have different online concerns and security. There is also the Facebook where is more like MySpace but with yet another set of security concerns for a parent. It is highly recommended that you spend time researching all of these. As most of the Internet and publications in general, the vast majority are excellent and a great source of information and enjoyment. However, there are others that might be objectionable and even dangerous. It is very important that you decide now which ones these could be and act accordingly. Don’t throw away the Internet and what it can provide out of fear and ignorance.


First, there are as many as a quarter million individuals signing up daily for MySpace and even though the rules stipulate you must be at least 14 years of age there really is no way to check for accuracy. However, MySpace does try to monitor this and removes thousands of sites they find that are questionable for one reason or another. It is estimated that there are over 50 million teenagers online at just that one site so this is a huge task.

Parents do have control over their children’s site if they know there is a site. If a parent does find their underage child has a space they can email the company at with the information including the web address and member’s name and the company has stated that it will be removed. If the youth is over 14 the parent can only do what good parents have always done and that is communicate with their child. If a parent wants to remove the posting of an older teenager they must get the username and password and delete the material from within the account setting section. Before this is done it is highly recommended that the parent understand that everything on MySpace is not evil. On the other hand many times it opens up the age-old question between a right to privacy and the fact that the adolescent might be communicating with strangers. Strangers may be carrying on a conversation for many months to obtain the information they want or to overcome initial resistance to a future meeting. They have the time and they are counting on a busy parent not to have it.

A parent must monitor a child’s Internet activities. Using the computers history setting is one form. I also recommend checking the cookies to see where they have been as many sites place these on a computer. Use the find feature and type in “cookies” to reveal where users have been. Most youngsters have no idea about cookies and they exist even if the memory or history is destroyed. If you find the cookies section is empty you have to take a more active roll in monitoring. That includes keeping the computer to a more public place such as the living room or kitchen. The computer should never be located where a youth can use it without people constantly walking by.

MySpace has been quoted as indicating that profiles of those from 14 to 16 are closed. This essentially means that the youth must okay any viewer of his or her site. This is a valuable tool and the parent should check to see who is allowed to post on the site. Again, MySpace is a place where socialization takes place. Is it better than at someone else’s home without supervision? Most definitely. Is it better than at your home when you are present? Certainly not.

MySpace is being active, too. They have software that is said to remove thousands of improper postings every week and have hired a safety expert. Unfortunately, the fact that the software apparently found such items is even more evidence of the need for a proactive parent.

Hate Groups

It must be strongly understood that although there has been a great deal of concern about sexual predators there is also a very grave danger of children learning about hate groups and getting involved in such brainwashing sites. The majority of children are too wary to succumb to meeting strangers, but being told that certain people or religions are evil can result in a lifetime of hate. Plotting attacks with a friend is a terrorist threat. Having a child read racist, anti-Semitic, and other types of articles without an adult can cause a young mind to be turned. Here is a list of hate sites that have been posted. You need to make sure your child does not visit them without your supervision.

Active Hate Groups according to the SPL

Hate on the Internet

Help Identify Propaganda

Tips for Parents

Here are some other important methods to help safeguard your child. Ask to see their site and to be taught what is on it, who uses it and why. In this way you are asking to be taught and this sharing is better than taking a policing action. Also, have your child look at the sites of their friends to make sure there isn’t any personal information there.

Next, make certain that names, address and phone numbers are never posed. Using password-protected information is the key. Everything that is posted is capable of being seen by teachers, administrators, and schoolmates. I have personally scene comments about my teaching posted on sites and confronted the surprised students about what they hoped to accomplish by such actions. Something youths feel that MySpace is really there space and not open to the general public. In a few years their views might change and what they have posted been printed out and kept much to their chagrin.

To find your child’s space you can type in their name at MySpace. However, most use a nickname and so you may have to search for that or the names of their friends. You should also check the name of their school and the names of their friends. If you do find one of your child’s friends there you can backtrack to your child’s space by using the friend’s list at that site if a comment has been posted.

It is always best to ask the youth and remember that there can be more than one MySpace account for each person.

Lessons to teach

A youth who knows a parent is checking their site is less likely to make a rash decision and can even be a help to others whose parents aren’t aware of possible concerns. Regardless, all children need to be taught Internet safety and the first lesson is that nothing is private.

The second lesson is to keep all personal information off the Internet.

Thirdly, giving information to a friend means that it can be spread around the world without any control. One unguarded computer at a friend’s house is an invitation to steal all the data on that unit.

Next, a parent should approve posting personal photos. Tell your child that there is no need to show strangers what you look like and friends already know. Photos of your house can be easily traced to, yep, your house. Likewise, photos of your school can be used to find out where and when they are away from adult supervision.

Never meeting a stranger goes without saying, but to some children those people they chat with online are not strangers. Sometimes a child might do this out of spite, so it is important that the parent know who is being contacted and why.

A child should be told that any threat made over the Internet harassment and be obliged to be reported to the authorities. In fact, such threats may even be considered a terrorist threat.

Finally, make sure that there is no money being paid for any service and that the child is taught that Social Security numbers and credit card numbers are private.


MySpace need not be considered evil. It is the pool hall of its day. There are both good and bad elements there and so trust and oversight are what is needed. An unsupervised child on the Internet is potential problem. Parents need be vigilant, but they also must tread that difficult line between privacy and responsibility.

This is a listing of some sites that might be of value. And, there are other sites that offer similar features such as the Face Book so it pays to stay involved with your child because you aren’t going to find it easy to stay ahead of them in this age of technology.

Acronyms used for Internet communication such as those on MySpace

Bob Rankin’s article on blocking MySpace at home

And his other advise about dealing with MySpace

FBI Guide to Internet Safety

Large safety Internet group

MySpace child safety expert hired,1759,1948704,00.asp

To remove your child’s profile from MySpace

MySpace Safety Tips for Parents

Using Robots in the Classroom

By  Alan Haskvitz, national inservice presenter

I have put together a variety of lessons and resources that are free about using robots in the classroom. They are located here due to space limitations

Included are a beginners guide, a collection of successful education units with robots, how to build your own robot, the science fiction hall of fame, a webquest,  and robots in literature. The walking stick robot is an excellent first project.

Also try science links

REC Science.

Free Software for Teachers

I have an extensive list of companies that offer free software to educators. In addition, there is information on legal and ethics information about using such software, download sites, and subject specific sites.

They are all located here:

There are additional links here

There is also a search engine at that site for more resources.


Podcasting for Beginners and Educators and Grant Seekers

By Alan Haskvitz, national inservice presenter

Click on this link to go to the topics listed below. No ads, no pop-ups, no gimmicks.

Exploiting the Educational Potential of Podcasting

A step by step guide to setting up podcasts

A podcasting directory

Sample podcasts from schools

Lessons plans

Podcasting for teachers

Grants for podcasting

Podcasting links

Podcasting in Education from Apple

Software for podcasting…much of it free.

How to use Garage Band

And many more.

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