December 6th is sold out, but Hour of Code isn’t
This Saturday (December 6th) is waitlisted. Expect a few spaces to open up, but not a lot. If you sign your child up for the waiting list, remember to sign up for an adult ticket for yourself.
Hour of Code (December 13) isn’t a regular CoderDojo. We’ll be offering a handful of existing Code.org tutorials ranging from beginner through experienced, and everyone’s going to be in one ginormous area.
Teens who are advanced enough to be coming for one-on-one mentoring won’t get mentoring this day, but could BE mentors for younger kids on beginner projects. If your teen wants to be an Hour of Code mentor, sign them up for a volunteer ticket instead of a student ticket.
Could your kid win a Sphero?
CoderDojo’s international organization is doing a worldwide competition to win 5 Spheros. To see a video of this cool rolling robot and apply to win, visit: https://coderdojo.com/news/2014/11/17/coderdojo-competition-time-win-a-sphero-2-0/
Laptop Buying Guide
If you’re thinking about buying your child a new laptop for the holidays, here are a few things to help you pick.
Primary Cost Influencers: Nowadays you can get a hefty processor and decent amount of RAM in a $300-400 machine. What you’ll pay more for… discrete graphics (GeForce, Radeon for better 3D performance), SSD drives (super fast hard drive with no moving parts and lower power consumption), high-resolution screens (the entry-level 1366×768 is fine for a laptop up to 15″, but you can get 3200×1800 on a 13″ screen), lower weight, higher battery life.
Processors: We recommend Core i5 4200 family (4200U, 4210U) and Core i7 4500 family (4500U and 4510U) processors for the best combination of power, price, and battery life. You can go up from there, but you’ll usually pay a 2-3% bump in system cost for every 1% in speed you gain.
RAM: 4 gigs minimum, 8 preferred, more if you can afford/find it.
Hard Drive: Solid State drives (SSD) have no moving parts, use less battery, and are blazing fast… but they’re expensive. If you’re going to go SSD, 128 GB should be your minimum entry point. Avoid paying extra for hybrid drives (a large mechanical drive paired with a much smaller SSD). They’re not bad, but not as fast as people hope.
Test the keyboard!: One of the biggest gotchas you’ll encounter in laptops is all the contortionist tricks manufacturers will go through to fit all the functionality they want in the space of a laptop keyboard. Some keyboards will lose a row, have an odd layout, just be uncomfortable, or LOUD. Try out the keyboard if at all possible.
Do Macs get viruses?: Yes. Now that Mac has picked up market share and Mac users tend to be more affluent, viruses have started popping up in the wild. If you get a Mac, make sure you read up on protecting it.
What about running OS X on a non-Apple laptop?: We do not recommend trying to Hackintosh your laptop. But if you don’t want to listen to us, perhaps you can find what you’re looking for at Insanely Mac.
We *still* need some A/V volunteers
Next year we want to start videotaping one or more of our classrooms on a regular basis. We need some volunteers who can help get the classes shot, edited, and posted to YouTube. If you’ve got the skills and/or equipment, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org