Maya Myth Moment–The Aztec Calendar Stone Is Not The Maya Calendar

Nov 21, 2012 by

Over on our special project site, The Wonders Expedition, we’ve begun the series–Maya Myth Moment–that we’ve developed in conjunction with our author, Dr. Mark Van Stone, one of the most renowned Maya Scholars in the world, to do a daily debunking of Maya Myth from Nov. 21 thru Dec. 21, 2012.

The Maya Myth Moment

The Maya Myth Moment from TheWondersExpedition.com is a daily update from Nov. 21 – Dec. 21, 2012 designed to debunk much of the nonsense circulating about the ancient Maya.

Dr. Van Stone has worked with us throughout the year 2012 to produce his first book for iPad2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.

We invite you to wormhole on over to The Wonders Expedition and check out our first video on the Aztec Calendar Stone. While you’re there, also sign up to receive the daily updates we’re going to send out for the Maya Myth Moment.

It’s going to be a good and educational series, and was designed to help knock down some of the major nonsense that’s going to get stirred up in the 30 days remaining before Dec. 21, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Thanksgiving Wishes

Nov 20, 2012 by

My Thanksgiving Wishes

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?  

“Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

You may recognize those lines from Clarence Oddbody in It’s A Wonderful Life. I add them to the post today to say thank you to each and everyone of you for your years of friendship, trust and amazing memories.

No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends

No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends

Some of you I’m closer to than others, but understand, equally, we’re all as important as the other to the whole.

Thanksgiving Wishes

If you’re hurting this holiday season from the trials of life, whether they be financial, marital, physical, mental, or those caused by the actions of others, please know I’m praying for you and hoping you shall soon enjoy better, happier days.

If the strain of the holidays gets to be too much, please ask someone for help instead of keeping it bottled up inside. Counselors are ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Many have sliding scales for those who can’t afford full-priced help, but desperately need it.

A local minister can be of help, too.

And ultimately, there’s the gift of prayer.

Believe me, I have been weathering some awful storms in my life the past few years. Many of those hard times have been chronicled here. Others are kept locked in the painful chambers of my heart.  Time has done marvels in healing me. God has done much to heal me.  I have taken my own steps.  But ultimately, I have been largely healed by the support of some amazing friends who didn’t judge, who didn’t mock me, and who were there when I needed them.

The purpose of this post isn’t to name them. It’s to thank them in a special tribute this pre-Thanksgiving Eve.  God bless you my many friends.  And thank you.

 

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What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving?

Nov 19, 2012 by

What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving?

Got your turkey out of the freezer yet and into the fridge so it can start thawing? That’s probably not where you thought this post was going from the lead, but I’m throwing it in for free.

As you begin to make preparations for Thursday’s holiday here in America, I want to ask you about your meaning of Thanksgiving?

In years past, in many ways for me, it has been a gateway holiday, kinda like a gateway drug.  It gets you started, but very soon you need more to get to the good stuff–the granddaddy of them all, Christmas.

First Thanksgivings

I remember being in Northern Michigan, with snow on the ground, and mom having cooked the meal.  I can’t recall if dad was home that year or Arc Light in B-52s. Little else about it do I remember.

I remember being in kindergarten and living in Northern Indiana at my grandparent’s house while dad was in Vietnam a second time circa 1970 or ’71. I remember making a pilgrim’s belt out of construction paper and seemingly a black hat, too. I remember our kindergarten field trip where they took us to a turkey farm.  I don’t remember the meals. (Though my mom has shared a story with me about how there were conflicts between the Sheptak and Claxton meals in regard to how large or small the celery was cut for the stuffing….)

But that’s about it. After that, Thanksgiving largely turned into a day that opened the doorway to the Christmas season.

Later Years

When I began putting up Christmas trees and decorating for myself, it became a tradition that the tree would be up before Thanksgiving. That way we got to celebrate the Big Deal twice, as it were. The thankfulness part largely got lost, it was just something we did to eat a big meal and be ready for Christmas and all. Then we’d watch the Cowboys football game. And later still in life, came a friend whose family would be up for the Black Friday sales–something I’ve never seemed to have the extra dollars to go partake in, let alone, the interest.

Then Came The Second Divorce

In my second marriage, Christmas and Thanksgiving became harder holidays to enjoy. My second wife really didn’t like much of either day. Her dad would come into town from Washington state and stay a few days. That brought stress upon the house because somehow we all had to present more of what we weren’t than what we were or something, I still don’t comprehend nor ever will.  There were always mean verbal words that were exchanged for reasons I still don’t understand, doors slamming, and extra naps. The best part was time sitting with my out-of-town mother-in-law who took it all in stride, was patient, caring, and actually fun to be around. I miss her.

Throughout the months of November and December I would be trying to excite the kids about the holiday season, while my ex was trying to get them to think about something else.

We had the house decorated from top to bottom, inside and out.  It was a very happy time for me, in spite of all the undertow.

When I moved out in 2010, I lost a  lot of my accumulated Christmas fare. With the agony that came from a second failed marriage, and subsequent things I’ve learned since, it got hard to enjoy what has always been my favorite time of the year.

Thanksgiving 2012

Time, they say, heals all wounds. I don’t know about them being completely healed, but this year, for certain, I’m doing all I can to see Thanksgiving and the holidays in a new light. One which I’ve lost touch with, and maybe never really quite understood.

The Meaning of Thanksgiving--Count Your Many Blessings

The Meaning of Thanksgiving–Do you ever Count Your Many Blessings?

Yesterday I went back to church for the first time in months. And like often happens, when you sit there in church and you hear a message, somehow it seems like God was waiting for you to be there in that perfect spot to share with you just the very words you needed to hear.

All weekend long, I spent cleaning up the apartment here and getting ready for Thanksgiving. And yes, I put two trees up Saturday night, put out my animated, mechanical Santa and Mrs. Claus and began to settle back into life and my “home,” as I have not been able to do since before I met my second wife, before we got married, before my world got majorly turned upside down.

So yes, the potential is there to make Thanksgiving 2012 a “going through the motions event,” but there’s more afoot here this year.

Count Your Many Blessings

We didn’t sing Count Your Many Blessings yesterday in church, but this weekend I hanged a sign from my mom above the door that says THANKFUL, and in cursive over that, is Count Your Many Blessings. I’ve been singing the song over and over in my head all weekend. If you don’t know the song, here are the lyrics:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Over the past three years, I’ve let the weight of all that was wrong, all the wrongs that had been done to me, all the misfortune, all the sadness, all of what was wrong in the world, become the overwhelming force in my life. Last year, we didn’t even put up a tree here in the apartment–well, we put up the Charlie Brown Tree–and of course, a lot of that had to do with the fact that we were supposed to be getting back the house–one we found had been trashed, appliances removed and the mortgage hadn’t been paid on since July of 2010.

This year, I’m rising above all that.

I have so many things in life to be thankful for. Things that in many ways I’d lost sight of.

I have my three, beautiful and very intelligent daughters, whom I love beyond words. Each amazes me daily with their many special talents, insights and inner strength. Because of decisions I have made, my girls have had a tough road at times.  But through it all, they have grown stronger and are more prepared for the hardships that this life can cast upon us than I was in so many ways.

Albeit my weight is still an issue that brings me down and troubles me daily. Going swimming five days a week for the past three months hasn’t seemed to help; it’s just made me hungrier!  But I have good health in spite of it all. I can get up daily. I can walk. I can run.  I can work out and I can be productive. I can also eat less and healthier.  It’s my choice. It’s something I must own up to and I must face.

I have some of the greatest friends I could ever have hoped for, many of them scattered around the globe.  Some are closer than others, and that’s okay.  Each has just the right impact on my life.

The list goes on.

This Thanksgiving

My girls are coming Thursday and we’re going to spend the day cooking. We’ve got a great big turkey in the freezer right now and it’s about to make the drop into the fridge to start thawing. We’re going to have healthy and unhealthy snacks during the day and we’re going to have a fancy meal together Thursday afternoon. Every year while chopping onions and celery for stuffing, I tell myself that next year we’re all going to be in NYC for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Though I was told by a friend the other week the best vantage point for that remains on my living room TV set. Maybe next year, we’ll see.

And no matter what’s happening outside of my home, no matter how much I owe to this or to that, how much I have been hurt by this person’s actions or that, how much I wish there was snow on the ground or my family or dearest friends were closer, I’m going to be counting my many blessings this holiday season.

God has given us so much to be thankful for, and really, only a few years to enjoy it down here. The promise of Heaven afterward is something I’ve often lost site of these past few years.

So what is your meaning of Thanksgiving?

What do you have to be thankful for?

 

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Books For iPad–Should We Even Be Calling Them “Books”

Nov 19, 2012 by

Books for iPad–Redefining the Word “Book”

Something needs to be done about what we call books for iPad.

Books For iPad--Should we even be calling them "Books?"

Books For iPad–Should we even be calling them “Books?”

Apple says, “iBooks should be used to refer only to the application and is always plural. Do not use the word iBook to refer to a publication or to the general category of ebooks. Instead, say your publication is a book available on the iBookstore.”

According to the Google Keyword Tool, the term “iBook” generates 1.22 million global monthly searches on the Internet. The term “iBooks” generates 1 million global monthly searches. To those who have signed end user licensing agreements, Apple says not to use “iBook” in marketing literature. But Web searchers are using it in their Google searches, so if you don’t use it on your Web pages, you’re reducing your chances for even being found via on-page content.

Not having an Apple-sanctioned, Apple-approved brand name for books for the iPad is hurting business for those in the publishing industry who focus on this type of book.

In my opinion, Apple needs to come up with a brand name we can use, or stop prohibiting publishers who have signed end user agreements with them from using iBook and iBooks without fear of retribution.

This Is Not My Grandma’s Louis L’Amour Type Of Book

This is not a book in the traditional sense. Yes, it’s got words in it and you can take a traditional book and put it into the software and ergo, it’s a book, but when was the last time you read a book with two hours of video in it?

We shouldn’t even be calling these creations “books.”

There should be some new term created for what these actually are because they’re not normal books.

Part of the frustration I have as a publisher and marketer of these books is that I call somebody and say, “Hey, I want to talk to you about the book we’ve made for the iPad.” What comes to their mind is the traditional book. They’re thinking about something you can thumb thru like a magazine.

“When I do interviews, if I can help it, I’m going to that station or I’m going to find that reporter so I can put an iPad in their hands and I’m going to say, ‘Here is my book. Here is what it can do. And here, let me show you the Rio Azul Mask in 3D where you can turn it.  Here, not me, you, turn it.’ And when you do that, their eyeballs pop. And it’s magic and they’re going, ‘Holy Cow!’ Because they’ve never seen anything like it because this isn’t a book. This isn’t like a normal book.”

Apple’s marketing dollars are spent on hardware, not on software and not on the products one can make using their software to use on the hardware.  This is making it harder to exist in this space, but it’s also freeing up the opportunity to share the message of what these books can be, should be and how they can be built.

Simply put, this is not the kind of book my grandmother would have sat and read. This is not a Louis L’Amour western. And given his imagination, I really wonder what he would be doing with this vast accomplishment in technology.

What Do You Think?

So what do you think?  Is there a better term we could be using to describe books for iPad?

 

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My Lincoln Movie Review–Worthy of praise. Not for the ’47 percent’

Nov 16, 2012 by

My Lincoln Movie Review

I just returned from the movie theater and feel obliged to share a few words about the Stephen Spielberg‘s Lincoln, of which I just spent the past 2.5 hours watching, enjoying and now sharing that it is indeed, worthy of praise.

Lincoln Movie Review

My Lincoln Movie Review–Worthy of Praise, will be lost on the “47 percent.”

Lincoln long has been one of my favorite presidents. Never will the barber my mom used to take us to on Route 51 in Hobart, IN, circa 1970 likely ever forget, nor shall my mother, the moment I asked if he could fashion my hair in such a way as to make the part go in the other direction so it would mirror that of our nation’s 16th president. (I was five at the time.)

In the 1990s, Gov. Fob James of Alabama, whom I had the privilege of working with, was a student of Lincoln and his ways.  Gov. James even used the theme of “A New Birth Of Freedom” from the Gettysburg Address, as the theme for his 1994 inaugural.

I say all that to suggest I know a little about Mr. Lincoln.

Lincoln–The Movie

Or so I thought until I saw him personified in this movie.

We never shall know how Mr. Lincoln’s voice truly sounded, but after seeing this movie, I should like for it to never have sounded any different than that of Daniel Day-Lewis‘. And to the credit of Spielberg, this isn’t one of those movies of the Civil War era where Hollywood theatrics have damaged the flow of the film with bad ridiculous Southern enunciation, and obviously glued on beards and such as that awful Gettysburg film Turner Productions did back in the 1990s.

No, this is the real deal.

Day-Lewis brings Lincoln back to life in a way that probably hasn’t been done since he walked this earth among our forefathers.  From the iconic hat where it is suggested Lincoln kept notes for speeches, to the tall stature, to the stoic poses and even sleeping in his chair while considering a message to telegraph to Gen. U.S. Grant, you feel like you’re getting to know the depth and weight of the troubles this president knew as he worked so hard to hold this nation together.

From the moment this film begins, you feel like you are in DC in the midst of Lincoln’s second term.

Sally Field plays Mary Lincoln so very well. She looks like every photo I’ve ever seen of her.  There’s one scene where she and Tommy Lee Jones go back and forth where I began to wonder what it was about, but it was to help add some strength to the story of the role this First Lady played in our nation’s history as well.

Jared Harris from Mad Men fame leaves me thinking I am watching Gen. Grant as he meets with the president, and as he bids farewell to Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

The lighting, costuming, and mood are all right.

Go See This Film

  • If you’re a history buff.
  • If you want to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the spirit of what this nation was intended to be, and seems to have drifted so far afoul from.
  • If you want a taste for lobbying in the 1860s to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, around which most of the plot of the movie centers.
  • If you want to have a taste for what this country once endured so that we might all be here to celebrate it today.

This film isn’t going to keep up with Twilight Breaking Dawn, or the new Bond movie at the box office. No, those are films for the “47 percent.” This is a film for those who have a more mature understanding of what the American Dream once was; something worth fighting for, something worth risking everything to save it all. Teens won’t sit through this movie, and most likely, your date won’t either.  This is a movie where you need to take your brain, your love for America, and be proud to walk out of the theater at the end celebrating a the new birth of freedom we all were given because of a president like Abe Lincoln.

 

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iBooks 3 Adds Social Media

Nov 16, 2012 by

iBooks 3 books for iPad now includes a powerful Social Media component that allows a reader to share content with others via Twitter, Facebook, Message, and Email.

iBooks 3 Social Media tools

iBooks 3 Social Media tools

From an educational standpoint, this is significant.

The new “share” function from highlighting allows for the exchange of text within a book via Mail, Message, Twitter, Facebook or allows a reader to copy for pasting elsewhere. Because of this, the world’s classroom just got a lot bigger. And with the release of the iPad mini, it’s going to grow even faster.

As we’ve mentioned before, a superintendent with $1 million to spend on hardware before the iPad mini, could spend those funds and purchase 2,000 iPads. Because the iPad mini is priced lower, a superintendent can now buy 3,000 iPad mini units for roughly the same $1 million.  Apple‘s strategy clearly was to offer a lower-priced unit that could be smaller in size and not compromise usability–after all, elementary and middle school kid fingers are smaller, so it was a perfect fit.  And think about this, what demographic has the most growth potential in the use of social media?

Social Media In An iBooks 3 Book For iPad

We’ve said it before on this site, but it is worth repeating.  The Social Media component in a book for iPad means a reader now can ask a classmate, parent, teacher or maybe even the book’s author a question about something within the book. Think about the power of that development? Think about being a student and you get to a part in a book you don’t understand and you leave a note for a classmate, the teacher or even the author and ask for further explanation!  That’s mind boggling compared to what happened in education just 10-15 years ago, let alone a month ago before this capability was introduced.

Using the iBooks 3 Social Media Tools

As you might expect, using the iBooks 3 Social Media tools is easy.  A reader just highlights a portion of text they want to share by rubbing their finger over it. Up will pop a dialogue box to color it with a virtual highlighter or underline it, and then the reader has the option to click a MORE button that will lead to a SHARE button.  From there, up pops various Social Media icons.  From there, the reader picks which one to use and goes through necessary logins and addressing and sends the information along with any messages intended.

It’s that easy.  It’s that powerful.  It’s going to change how learning is done in the worldwide classroom.  And just think, if you don’t have an iPad or iPad mini, you’re missing it.

ClaxtonCreative.com

Thank you for reading our series of posts, What Apple Isn’t Saying About Books For iPad.  You’re welcome to download a free copy of it for your iPad or iPad Mini, or you can download a free .PDF version of the book so you can read more about these powerful developments in books for iPad. Our company is located in Dallas, Texas, USA, and we are a designer and publisher of these special books for iPad. Yes, the iBooks Author software is available free to use. And nowadays, most people can get their hands on a copy of Photoshop, but that doesn’t make a person an expert at Photoshop.  Likewise, we have found throughout 2012, that making books for iPad isn’t just something one plops down and does. There are tricks to the process.  An entirely different way of thinking is necessary in designing such a book.  This isn’t like a traditional book, and it’s not even like one you’d write for a Kindle or Nook.

That is why we continually offer our services and encourage you, our readers, who may be considering making a book for iPad, to contact us and let’s talk about how to build it for you.  You can reach us today by calling 972-863-8784 or by using the book submission form at the top of this page. Thank you.  More posts coming Monday!

 

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Books for iPad–Apple’s Push Into Education With Study Cards

Nov 15, 2012 by

Books for iPad–Apple’s Push Into Education With Study Cards

If you’re still walking around thinking that the iPad mini is something to go after the Kindle or Nook, maybe this will finally cure you of that misconception.  With the Study Card feature that now works in iBooks 2 and iBooks 3 for iPad and iPad mini, this clearly, maybe more so than anything else, marks the way for Apple’s big push into the education arena.

Study Cards for Books for iPad clearly mark Apple’s keen interest in the educational arena for iPad and iPad mini.

Now, within books for iPad made with iBooks Author, there is the inclusion of what Apple is calling “Study Cards.” This is probably one of the most un-marketed features of these books for iPad, but it is truly a helpful aspect.

Within each book for iPad, there now is the  “My Notes” section of the book, which includes a chapter-by-chapter listing of all notes taken within the book by a reader. That may not seem like a big deal, as surely, when you make a note in a book, you’d presume it’d go somewhere.  But it’s what happens to them that’s cool.  I should also point out that “My Notes” can be formatted within a book’s text in traditional highlighter colors.

Study Cards

As a book is being built with iBooks Author, the publisher/author has the ability to create an extensive glossary of key terms or words used throughout the work.  Those all populate in the glossary section, but it’s when the book is done, that they reappear in the “Study Cards” that can be generated from the notes made by the reader as well as through glossary terms within each chapter. Glossary terms also may include options for illustrations and index links to every use of the word in the text throughout the book.

Let me explain in simpler terms. If you’re reading a book for class, you come along a section you would have highlighted with a Sharpie in a traditional offline book, you can still highlight it in the same way.  Just rub your finger across the text in question, a dialogue box pops up and you can choose the color you want the text highlighted in.  But on that same menu bar is an option for making a note. When clicked, the on-screen keyboard pops up and the opportunity exists for the reader to add a commentary like, “I NEED TO REMEMBER THIS! THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST!”

When the reader is ready to review, they can follow to the My Notes section of the book and find all the notes and highlights they kept throughout their reading.  But they can also turn those notes into study cards that are going to feature their notes, as well as glossary terms so that as they are studying, they can be quizzing themselves about the definition of terms within each chapter.

And that, friends, is powerful when it comes to self-paced learning, and in Apple’s foray into the education arena with books for iPad and iPad mini.

 

 

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