Internet capabilities improved throughout the school

  Recently, the Internet capabilities have been upgraded to provide for the growing amount of technological devices entering the building each.

  New wifi access points have been put up on all three levels of the high school and in the auditorium. There has been an upgrade in the routers due to a lack of access, and modems will be installed in the near future to quicken Internet access, according to high school principal Patricia Puglisi.

  Puglisi said these changes are crucial for improving Internet capabilities that students and faculty need access to on a daily basis.

  “The building was originally designed for about 30 devices per floor. This only took into account laptop carts because people did not carry cell phones like they are currently. Now, this limit has been expanded, and the ultimate goal is to support three devices per person,” Puglisi said.

  Puglisi also said network administrator Stephen Kwiatek is working on a three to five year plan with the technical taskforce to focus on other upgrades and allow people to use more devices in school.

  Kwiatek said he has been working in areas throughout the school to find “bottlenecks” that cause slow network traffic and little to no connectivity.

  “To fix this problem, we purchased new access points for the high school wing, which can handle four times the amount of connections compared to the originals on each floor. Our next step was to upgrade the Guest Wi-Fi firewall, and this has a faster CPU and more memory to increase the speed of the network,” he said.

  A change has been made in website filters as well. According to Kwiatek, the new and upgraded web filtering services have better filtering options in comparison to the old system so as not to hinder classroom lessons.

  “Based on all of these upgrades, there should be a significant increase in the performance of the network. Adjustments will be made periodically to keep up with technological change, so expect other upgrades to be completed soon,” Kwiatek said.

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December WebSurfer

Ba Ba Dum revolutionizes the way we are able to learn new languages. With five interactive games covering 1500 different words in 15 languages, a basic vocabulary could be built in several minutes. The website starts you out on a quite simplistic game, spitting out a random term with four pictures to choose from in the four boxes on the screen. Choose correctly, and a thumbs-up image will appear, and a thumbs-down icon will appear for a wrong answer. I chose a harder game to test, and one such game displays the letters of the term scattered in a line with a picture above, and you must know the term and be able to spell it correctly, testing not only familiarity but ability to write it out. This website is no Rosetta Stone, but it builds an elaborate enough vocabulary to identify various objects in the language of your choosing.

Let’s Travel Somewhere brings you to any random place in the world through Instagram pictures. The website has a “Fresh” button which displays the most recent and popular photos from places all around the globe. Located at the top of the page alongside the “Fresh” button is the “Destination” button, which allows you to view photos by continent, then more specifically by country or region. For example, I dove into the Italian countryside and saw some beautiful rolling hills and mountains, along with a quaint house and classic blue car. Whatever you wish to view in the world, you can travel there sitting behind your computer.

GeoGuessr quizzes you on world geography, providing a view on Google maps that allows you to move around and guess that exact location. Your score is determined by the proximity of your answer to the correct location. For example, I was given a view of a desolate road with surrounding grasslands and a small hut with what appeared to be farm animals. My guess was a town in South Africa, but the correct location was the countryside of Sao Paolo, Brazil, earning me a measly score of 37 points. Whether for pleasure or for building knowledge, GeoGuessr is an entertaining site to test out.

 

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April WebSurfer

Graph TV is a brand new website perfect for when you’re trying to decide what TV show to start on Netflix, On Demand, or just on network TV. The homepage simply features the title of the website in big letters and a search bar. Type in whatever TV show you wish to find reviews on, and it will display a graph of assorted ratings. It takes the average ratings by episode from users on IMDB and plots the points based on the highest and lowest ratings out of 10. Breaking Bad on AMC, for example, ranges from about an 8.25 out of 10 all the way to a perfect 10/10. GraphTV gives you the feedback you’re looking for with just a quick search and a click.

Silk Interactive fully satisfies the artistic desire users crave while browsing the Internet. Start by dragging your mouse in any pattern you choose, and release the mouse. Click on the Controls button to change the color and blend multiple colors together. There is also a setting to change the symmetry for each line, so the drawing can either be abstract or with a symmetrical form. Draw as few lines as possible, or layer them on until they’re indistinguishable from each other. Either way, it’s a blank canvas waiting to be drawn on.

2048 started the craze that is sweeping the nation, or at least our school. Now popular on the App Store, 2048 is an addicting puzzle game that can take up numerous hours of your day. The object of the game is to combine like numbers, and the board usually starts off with either a set of 2s, a set of 4s, or a combination of the two. Eventually, the numbers increase on the number line – 2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512,1024, and finally ending with 2048. The player must be mindful of the board so it doesn’t fill up, leaving no more possible combinations. It is a game of strategy that is quite easy to get lost in.

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March WebSurfer

SoundCloud gives every music lover what he or she wants. It provides music available to stream and play unlimited times for free and the ability to create playlists of your favorite songs. If the artist allows it, there may be the option to download the song or buy from iTunes directly linked to the window. You can explore by genre depending on what music preferences you have – from folk to hip hop. EDM (electronic dance music) is especially prominent on the website as of late, so if you’re a fan of that, this is a great website to check out because of its wide assortment of subgenres.

Redbubble is a canvas for all of your brightest ideas. It is a diverse place and the biggest marketplace on the Internet for pieces of art and intricate designs. When you contribute designs and upload them to the website, people can look at and buy them for the price you set depending on the product. Once a sale is made, you get a significant portion of the profits from the item. A variety of products is available for purchase – from photo prints and posters to stickers and iPhone cases along with most types of standard clothing items.

First We Feast provides an assortment of articles solely dedicated to the culinary arts. Their articles are divided up in to six categories: Latest, Eat, Drink, Travel, Laugh, Features. The Features and Latest are the ones that make their way to the front page. Each article gives an interesting summary of current food news. One such piece of breaking news is the announcement by Taco Bell to sell Waffle Tacos nationwide, which yielded an insane reaction from people all over Twitter. This website is perfect for all food fanatics.

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December Websurfer

Staggering Beauty is a game involving a wiggly stick figure that dances as you move your mouse back and forth. Starting off with a black figure on a white background, it unexpectedly transitions to both a fluorescent figure and background filled with lightning storms while these colors flash in a mesmerizing pattern.

Once the trippy visuals are activated, fast-paced electronic notes play, making the experience even more hypnotizing. It goes back and forth between these two color schemes based on how much and how fast you move the mouse. Move with caution.

“You Had One Job!” is a site recognized by Time Magazine for its true comedy found in everyday life. It holds an enormous collection of pictures that show the hilarity in stupid mistakes that people have made. The title of the website describes perfectly the ridiculous lack of attention it took to make these mistakes. From misprinting shoe brands to doors being installed on an unbelievable slant, these images are sure to make the most unamused person laugh.

The list of pictures could entertain for hours. If you’re feeling bad, just know that you probably haven’t made a mistake that is nearly as bad as any of these.

Incredibox allows the user to create complex sounds with the simple click and drag motion. This website was created about four years ago, but recently, they have made a third version and the beats, melodies, and sound effects are even better than before.

There is still access to all three versions, but with each new version, additions and changes are made to how each sound combines with one another. You drag a musical clip onto the DJ table and he is immediately suited up in the proper attire to match the era of music. The objective of the website is to create sounds, and you can download your wonderful creations. Most of the music is club-like or techno, but some clips work well a capella. The resulting sounds on the DJ table will work perfectly together, regardless of the combination.

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Would it be beneficial to have an extended day and no homework?

While school takes up a significant chunk of the average student’s day, homework is just as much of a burden as the actual school day. A longer school day and no homework would be more beneficial as opposed to the current setup because it allows students more free time away from school work.

Playing sports is a key factor that contributes to this issue. Many students are three season athletes, which adds at least another hour and a half to tack on to the day before students even start homework.

By this time, it’s around 4:30. Then, it’s on to homework. Other extracurricular activities can interfere as well. Most of the time, I have a snack after practice and need to shower, so now it’s even later to start homework. Given the amount of homework, it’s a struggle to be motivated to get through every assignment and get a good night’s sleep.

Having no homework after school will free up time to relax and unwind. Just an hour or two added on to the school day would allow students to work on homework in groups or ask the teacher for assistance with complicated questions.

A study done by Harvard Education Grad School cites examples of why too much homework or any homework at all is harmful to students. One principal of a school district in Gaithersburg, MD, cut homework out and just assigned reading for the children. They could read on their own or with an adult. This allowed the students to enjoy themselves and learn at the same time, according to the study.

As far as sports go, integrating sports into the day could be up to the discretion of the school. Even if practice is after the school day has ended, students wouldn’t have to worry about the stresses that come with homework. A lack of stress will most likely result in a better night’s sleep because students won’t have to fret about not finishing homework before midnight.

All students can relate to the discontent they feel about homework and the amount that is given…unless one finds happiness in a massive after school workload. Overall, a longer school day and no homework would be beneficial because students would have less stress and have an easier job of balancing their schedules.

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February Websurfer

MyFridgeFood is a recipe search engine. You type all of the ingredients that are floating around your kitchen based on the choices they give you, and the site processes the limitless combinations of recipes you can create. It is a fairly new site, so there are some kinks still being worked out such as the lack of pictures for most recipes, but they should be finished up quite soon because more people are viewing the site.

The fun doesn’t stop there! To save your recipes, create an account on myfridgefood.com so you can bookmark recipes. Contribute to the website by submitting your own recipes and blogging about them. Remember this site for when you’re hungry and nothing in your fridge looks enjoyable.

5-Second Films is a site devoted to, well, five-second films. The films are funny clips of complete randomness, from the chain reaction when slipping on a banana peel to spin-offs of super heroes such as “Captain Mass Transit.” You can probably watch about 12 of these hilarious short films in the time it takes to read this summary about the site.

5-Second Films is quite popular on the Internet, and Time Magazine rated it #6 on their 50 Best Websites of 2013. They have a store full of various 5-Second Films merchandise, signifying the popularity of the webseries. The advertisements of the products are comical and show the products utilized in extreme circumstances. For the videos, the website is definitely worth checking out.

This Is My Jam revolutionizes the way to find new music. It’s a simple concept: share the music you’ve been listening to lately, and follow your friends from Facebook or Twitter to see what they’re listening to at the moment. You can sign up on the site itself if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, but it makes it harder to find users to connect with.

Even without formally signing up, there is always the possibility to explore “jams” and see what the general viewing population of the site is listening to. It’s a helpful, new way to branch out and find new music.

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Web Surfer: Complex Magazine and Interactive Videos

By Connor Senay                                                                                                                                                                                            Complex.com, the website for a popular magazine that talks about shoes, music, and everything else under the sun is worth checking out.

Complex Magazine was started in 2002 by Marc Ecko. Its “complicated” but easy to browse website covers a variety of topics ranging from music reviews to releases of new sneakers, helpful tips in life, controversial moments in sports and music history, and much more.

The articles are opinionated, but they give good reason about their opinions on the topic (such as in music reviews). A good audience for this website would be high school kids or anyone who is extremely bored and is stuck searching online for something to do.

It gives helpful advice about life in general, and its vast amount of articles and lists could entertain someone for hours on end.

Lately, there has been a general concept of interactive videos that has been popping up in a few noteworthy places on the web by music artists over the last few years. One band in particular, Arcade Fire, has put up three websites that house visually stimulating and psychedelic videos to promote their albums.

Their newest and most noteworthy video, on justareflektor.com, is a promotion of the recently released album and song named “Reflektor.” The video shows an African woman in a village living life and then struggling against a group of criminals in her neighborhood. You interact by moving your mouse to focus on certain parts on the screen and adjust the direction of the reflecting light, which makes you feel like you are a part of the video.

The previous two videos on beonlineb.com (an anagram for “Neon Bible”) and thewildernessdowntown.com (referencing a line from their song “We Used to Wait”) were released a few years ago, but the recent one has brought more focus to them as it has been released in succession with their new album. Each video uses interaction from the audience completely differently. It makes a normal video all the more captivating.

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