Saturday, May 3, 2014

Please excuse the interruption

We've got a critical patch we need to apply tonight.  It should not impact our servers for longer than a half hour at a time, but we may have 3-4 different outages.

Please forgive us and we will update this when we're back up.

UPDATE 2: Well, it looks like the site is up and running on the new servers just fine!  If you see any trouble, please let us know at support@lessonpix.com  or in the comments here.  Some folks might have issues with emailing in their photos for the next few hours as DNS propagates changes.  Let us know if you see anything odd.

Good Night!

UPDATE: as you may have noticed, we were down for about an hour earlier and we've been down another 1/2 hour so far.  I apologize for the underestimate, but I didn't quite appreciate how much our data has grown!  We have 150,000 new materials created this year!

So, we're still doing the migration: everything is going well, just slowly.  Nothing to worry about, but it will be another hour including testing.

Thanks for the patience.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

#SLPVendors Unite! Still Partyin' with the #SLPeeps


Still Partyin' After All These Years

In 2012, right after LessonPix really took off, I was delighted to work with some of the best vendors in the speech and language area.  They were all active on Twitter, engaged with the #SLPeeps group and generally were loved and valued by their customers.

It was right before the ASHA National Convention, and we wanted some reason to drive traffic to our booths.  Something people would look for, be a part of, and generally have fun with.

A couple of blog posts (and lots of Tweets) later, we had a group of 16 vendors that you could feel proud to patronize (and in our case partner with).

Lori and I generated Bingo Cards complete with QR Codes and Pediastaff made their #SLPeeps booth headquarters for "Party With The #SLPeeps!"

It was an amazing thing to walk in our first ASHA convention and have a dozen people in the empty exhibit hall that you already "knew", who were happy you were there, interested in your product and happy to send (non-competing) traffic to your booth.  It was one of the best experiences I've had since starting LessonPix.

We didn't do that at ASHA 2013, mainly because it was a ton of work (and I'm not good at recruiting or delegating!) and it was really missed.  I'm pretty sure we'll do it this year, especially since ASHA is in our neighborhood and we'll be hosting an off-site.

So, what's new? Where's the Party?

Well, LessonPix and Tactus Therapy Solutions  have teamed up to create Soundable™: a sound-based social word game, much like Scrabble® or Words With Friends®, but using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).  It will be released over the next week or two as our gift to the SLP community for Better Speech and Hearing Month (#BHSM).

This is a great way to learn the IPA, and it's a lot of fun!  In fact, my 15 year old daughter has completely taught herself the IPA using this game (she uses it for her Italian opera practice).  It's amazing!

More importantly for those same great #SLPVendors, it's a great way to get your products put in front of hundreds (if not thousands) of SLPs and other Speech Professionals.  You see, the app is 100% free, supported by ads, and we're choosing to set aside dedicated space in the rotation for SLP vendors we know and love.

Sure, you'll see lots of ads for LessonPix and Tactus Therapy Solutions: that's the primary driver for the game--to get our names associated with a) Great IPA-Based tools like the Soundfinder and b) Great apps like the whole Tactus Therapy suite.  But there's plenty of room for more ads and they will be much more compelling if there's a selection of ads from vendors they know and trust!

At this point, we're prepping for launch, and we're ready to start setting up the ads.  We've got room for banner ads at the bottom and interstitial ads that fill the screen when you start and leave the game.

So, if you were a part of that great #SLPVendors group, you can expect to hear from me soon!  And if you're working with a great vendor who takes care of their customers and would like to put their products in front of an engaged set of current and future speech professionals, please reach out to me (quickly) at bill@lessonpix.com or info@soundablegame.com

Bill

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Please excuse the interruption!

Lessonpix.com will be down for a few hours while perform some much needed maintenance.  We try very hard to avoid this type of outage, but we  need to update some server hardware as well as upgrade our system to ensure we are not impacted by the heartbleed bug.

I realize that this is an inconvenience for our users (especially if you've just signed up) and I assure you this is a rare occurrence. In fact our last total outage has been over a year ago. 

I will update this post as the progress continues.  

UPDATE 1: we are about 35% of the way through the upgrade with no major issues. 

UPDATE 2: well there have been a few kinks in the update and we expect to be down for a while longer. Again we apologize and I'll give details on our changes when it's done

FINAL UPDATE: We're happy to say that LessonPix.com is back up and running.  If you have any troubles, please contact us at support@lessonpix.com  We will post an update to the blog explaining the changes that were made (and unfortunately, those yet to come) tomorrow or Monday.

Enjoy your Easter!
Bill

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Low-tech Communication Board Help Needed!

WOW, it's been way too long since we've posted!  I'm sorry and will get back on track!

As I've learned at ATIA, lots of SLPs and AT Specialists use our Picture Card template to make low-tech communication boards.  It makes sense: you can quickly layout from 1-48 cards on a page and it's quick and easy.

But it kinda stinks!  The pages are portrait, not landscape, there's not enough room between the cells, there's no way to spread across two pages or use legal paper, etc.

So, we're hoping the folks in the #SLPeeps and #ATChat communities can help us build a great new template set just for communication boards!  Tell us what you use today, what's great about it, what stinks, how you lay things out, and we'll try very hard to make our Material Wizard generate them quickly and easily (and of course, affordably!).

I (Bill) will be doing this work this week, and here's what I know so far:

  1. Thanks to @atklingensmith and @SLP_Echo I know that background-colors are a MUST
  2. @PrAACticalAAC taught me that I need the colors for the Fitzgerald and Goossens color coding schemes
  3. Many #SLPeeps tell me that there's not enough space between the cells and some want rounded corners on the cells (but I don't know if that's good or bad or a personal choice!)
  4. We need a version that easily will convert into book form (space for binding on left/right/top/bottom
  5. This 2008 AAC Institute Article gives me some great guidelines but doesn't show me what people are needing in practice.
So, I would LOVE some help here, #SLPeeps and #ATChat folks: you've got my full attention, and I'll make it do what you ask (within reason, of course).

Tell me what you're looking for in terms of low-tech communication boards?  Post pictures of your favorite layouts and tell me how they could be even better!  

You can leave comments below, or just share them via Twitter and include @LessonPix in the post - I'll see them!

Thanks everyone, and I can't wait to see what you suggest!

Bill Binko
LessonPix.com

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Announcing the winners of the #SLPTunes Uncommon Christmas Music Contest!

We have our Winners!

The #SLPeeps on Twitter and Facebook have dug deep and pulled out the old vinyl to get our best Uncommon Christmas Music… and we have our winners!

@SLPTanya's BNL submission came in first
@GrayMatterTX tied with @emilywailes for second with Sufjan's Christmas album and David Bowie/Bing Crosby respectively.

The entire collection can be viewed below with great YouTube videos to accompany them!

You can also listen to the #SLPTunes Pandora Channel to get not just these tunes, but other "inspired" by them!  Click Here to listen!

What did they win?

Well, @SLPTanya will have first choice, then @EmilyWailes (since she submitted early!) and then @GrayMatterTX.  They get to choose from…
  1.  A one-year LessonPix Gift Certificate (also good at renewal!)
  2. Their choice of any Tactus Therapy Solutions TherAppy Apps!
  3. A set of Lively Letters Mini Cards and matching CD from Reading With TLC!
Winners, please contact me on Twitter (@LessonPix) to claim your prizes!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Uncommon Holiday Music with the #SLPeeps

It's that time of year--time for Holiday Music on every channel, in every store and stuck in your head. But if you're anything like us, there are tunes that nobody knows that are your favorites… and now you get to share them!

It's time for….

The #SLPeeps Uncommon Holiday Music Contest!

Here's how it works… 
  1. Pick your favorite Uncommon Holiday Music - you can enter up to three times and it doesn't matter whether it's a song, album, video - as long as it's Holiday Music
  2. Post it to Twitter using the hashtag #SLPTunes on Google Moderator or post it in the comments below.  Make sure to provide a way for us to hear/see it!  Links to YouTube, iTunes, or the tool of your choice are great as well as a way to identify you (if you want a prize!).
  3. Every day, we'll add the new submissions to the Moderator page and remind folks to vote for their favorites.
  4. This Sunday (Dec. 8) evening, we'll tally the votes and the top winners will get prizes!  
UPDATE: We have more prizes!  Our top three winners will get one of:
  • A one-year Lessonpix.com membership
  • Their choice of any Tactus Therapy Solutions Apps
  • A Reading With TLC gift pack of one Lively Letters CD and a set of Mini cards
If you're a vendor and want to donate a prize, contact us here or at @LessonPix on Twitter

What counts as Uncommon Christmas Music?

The #1 rule is,  it can't be boring!  If we've all heard it, it's OUT!  

Also, it should be something that's publicly available--your kid's Christmas show might be great, but we can't add it to our Playlist for Christmas Future.

Finally, keep it clean… not squeaky clean, just PG-rated or better.  Chances are good that some of these will be played in classrooms! :-)

Any questions? Leave them in the classroom or on Twitter!

Enjoy!
Bill

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The #SLPeeps Top 10 SLP Gifts

What does your SLP really want this year?

The answer may surprise you: it did me!  We wanted to build the semi-official Top 10 SLP Gift List, so we put the question to the #SLPeeps on Twitter.  We used Google Moderate to let them add their own ideas and vote on their favorites. 

Drumroll, Please!
After a week of "moderating" (fermenting? festering?), 22 #SLPeeps suggested 27 ideas and cast 111 votes to choose their favorites.

Many thanks to those who participated and gave us the very original ideas!  We've combined a couple of very similar suggestions, done the number crunching, and we have winners!

So, at long last, here's this year's Top 10 SLP Gifts for the Holiday Season!

Monday, September 16, 2013

#SayARR! with LessonPix this International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

It's Pirate Time again!

ARRR! 'Tis Pirate Time Agin!

Last year we had a ball with Cap'n Slappy and his crew bringing International Talk Like A Pirate day to the classroom and therapy setting.

In fact, Last Year's Post is still one of our most popular and has great ideas for bringing fun and excitement to your classroom and therapy. If you haven't already: check out all the pirate ideas!

We've added even more Pirate plunder in the past year, with great Pirate Symbols a new Treasure Map material and a whole article just full of  Pirate Ideas!

This year, we're holding a Sharing & Photo Contest to celebrate the day!

How it Works - #SayARR!

First, we want to get a bunch of pre-made Pirate Materials out there for free!

So, if you're already a LessonPix member, share your best Pirate-Themed materials to the Sharing Center and let us know via the comments below, Twitter or Facebook and we'll mark them as Free Samples so that everyone can enjoy them (even if they're not a paid member).

We'll tag them as TLAPD (Talk Like A Pirate Day) so everyone can find them! Click the image of the map to see the latest submissions.

Second, we want to see you all having fun with your kiddos on Pirate Day!  So, take a picture on Thursday of you and your students having a ball with your Pirate theme and post them to Twitter with the hashtag "#SayARR" or share them with us on our Facebook Page.  We'll review & discuss them and one lucky winner will win a 1 year subscription to LessonPix (or a renewal if they're already a member)!

We'll choose a winner over the weekend and announce them on Monday, September 23 here and on Twitter and Facebook.

So get your materials cranked out and shoot some great pix - most importantly, Have Fun!