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

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!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our thoughts go out to those in Boston

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by the horrible attack at the Boston Marathon.

We can think of no direct way to help yet, but will be looking to work to support appropriate charities and victims as details emerge.  If you have ideas on how we can help, please contact us.

In the mean time, we are changing our avatar to the image at the right.  We've placed it in the public domain, and you are welcome to use it yourself to show your support.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Maintenance & Upgrade Sunday Night 11pm-4am EDT

It looks like it's going to be a late night!
UPDATE (2:32): Ok, so Mail is a pain - but it seems to be working well now.  That's 100% functionality (as far as we can tell!)  Please let us know about any failures you see, as well as anywhere you see performance improvements - if you're looking for an example, make a big Bingo Game (like > 20 cards!)  I'm taking down the warning, and calling it soup! :-)

 UPDATE (1:18): One minor hiccup just fixed - we didn't have all the fonts available, so some materials generated in the last few minutes may have used different default fonts - not a biggie, and it's fixed.

UPDATE (12:53): Well, we JUST missed our 1 hour goal.. but the site 99% up and running on the new equipment and everything looks good!  Please make sure you let us know of any issues you see.  The only remaining piece of functionality is the "Photos By Email" feature that will take a bit more time (but we'll have it working sometime tonight).

UPDATE (12:37): The new environment is up and running with all the current data and we're just running through some final tests before we enable it to the general public. 

UPDATE (11:45): We've taken down the site temporarily to get a clean migration.  Thanks for the patience, and we'll keep you up-to-date.

LessonPix has been growing tremendously since the start of this school year, with thousands of new members, group licenses for school districts, private SLP practices and universities, and lots of folks who just found us on the internet.  Thank you all for sharing what you love about the site and helping us keep this tool affordable and effective by telling your friends!

We're very proud of the fact that we've been able to be a 24x7 operation, supporting folks on every continent with no downtime since Sept. 17, 2011.

That said, it's been quite a while since we did any major hardware upgrades and frankly, we're overdue.  So, we're about to cut over to a new environment that promises to be more scalable, faster, and be able to handle the new features that are just around the corner.

The switch will happen tonight between 11pm and 4am EDT, and while we hope this will take only about an hour of actual downtime, we want to plan for the worst and keep you all updated.

If you're in Australia or New Zealand (and a surprising number of you are!) I apologize in advance for any inconvenience as this will fall during your school day.

While the site is down, the main page will redirect here and I will update this post throughout the process.  Feel free to contact us at support@lessonpix.com or post in the comments below.

Thanks, and I look forward to providing you with even better service over the coming years!

Bill