Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Great Online Resource to Learn How To Draw

It started with my oldest daughter asking how she could learn to draw "really real".  I tried checking out some "how to draw" books at the library, some were better than others, but overall both of my kids had problems following the instructions even in the most simple books where the new lines were a different color. I had to specifically point out each new line to them.  This became tedious when helping one child, and impossible when both were wanting to draw.

Next I went to the internet to see what was recommended.  I found numerous posts recommending Mark Kistler's site, especially among homeschoolers.  There are plenty of free videos on the site, and they are perfect for kids.  The marshmallow lessons are fun for all three of us, and are simple enough that my youngest daughter could do them when she was just three years old.  My five year old was able to do the slightly harder Online Video academy videos, and both kids liked the School of Imagination, step by step animated lessons.  

The lessons are perfect because they can pause the videos when they need to, and his dialog, pace, and drawings are great for people of all ages.  It took us a few months but we went through all the free videos, had checked out all his videos of his PBS show from the library, but the kids wanted more.  Unfortunately the subscription for his lessons are a bit pricey at $100 a year.  But I finally decided the cost was worth it and was going to buy it as a birthday present, but lucked out even more when I found a discount coupon on the internet. 

I highly recommend these videos and they are a great representation of when tech makes learning easier.

Drawings by Selena age 6

Drawing by Allie age 4

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My mistake equals free apps for you

Kids Pattern Recognition's update in the App Store is live and is now working! 

Unfortunately I made a big mistake and released an app that
wasn't functional.  I can't believe it happened to me.  Over a week ago I updated all my apps on Apple to remove affiliate links because they probably violate COPPA.  I tested all the apps on my devices and simulators and they all worked.  I uploaded them to Apple and they were reviewed and approved.  A week went by and everything seemed good, but then I got an email from a customer who had bought the app and said it would not open.  I panicked because the app was due to go free in a few hours and would be heavily promoted and the last thing I want is for thousands of people to download a bum app.  Apparently there was a bug in the release version I sent to Apple that was not a problem in the debug versions I was testing.  While I was frantically trying to pinpoint the bug I was seriously doubting my sanity in having started this business, as my husband was not home, and thus not only was I trying to deal with this crisis, but I had to feed and put my two kids to bed.

But all is as well as it can be at the moment because I have fixed the problem and have submitted the update to Apple, and even requested an expedited review.  Even so it will probably be at least a couple days before it is live, so for all you lucky people not only will Kids Pattern Recognition be free Friday and Saturday, but Kids Sequences, Counting and Patterns will be too, and it will be the app promoted for App Friday. Granted you won't actually be able to play Kids Pattern Recognition till the update is out, but you can pick it up for free now, and enjoy Sequences and Counting in the meantime. 

App Friday Will Be Exciting Tomorrow

Kids Pattern Recognition will be set free for the first time ever. :) If you haven't already liked App Friday's facebook page, go and do so now.

Monday, July 1, 2013

COPPA - Child Online Privacy Protection Act

Over the past few months I have been working with a group of people to organize an effort to educate developers and parents on privacy and technology.  The result of our collaboration is Moms With Apps a part of ACT 4 Apps. The group's official launch is today, to coincide with the deadline for the new COPPA regulations the federal government instantiated going into effect.

As typical of many bureaucratic efforts COPPA shines in some ways and is lackluster in others, whereas Moms With Apps makes a call to developers to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.  It's main efforts are for clear disclosure.  Please keep an eye out for the MOMs with apps logo and support the developers that are a part of this group as it filled with high quality developers.