Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This is The Reason You're Not Sleeping at Night

by Alex Szymanski

Ever feel like no matter how long you lie in bed you can't fall asleep? It's probably because of the phone in your hand. Studies show that the blue light emitted from our cell phones and tablets is in fact quite harmful when it comes to our sleep cycles, according to a study from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. With the rise of tablets as the leading reading platform, the number of people beginning to experience the phenomenon is rising every day. This effect is caused by the blue color itself. Blue light travels at about the 460nm range of the light spectrum and this wave triggers centers in the brain the stop the production of melatonin which makes us want to sleep. There are several ways you can prevent this: 

1) You could swear off the electronics and stick to books and warm milk before bed or 
2) you could download an app on your phone to filter out the blue light waves.
In this digital age it's hard to unplug so I decided to go with the latter option. I choose the app Twilight, by the Urbandroid Team. This application changes the color filter of the screen you your device to a red hue in order to filter out the potentially harmful blue light wavelengths.


Unfiltered Filtered

This app is not intrusive, helpful, and easy to navigate and use. On top of that it's free. I would really recommend this app to anyone that wants to get a better sleep at night, so everyone.

Works Cited
"Evening Use of Light-emitting EReaders Negatively Affects Sleep, Circadian Timing, and Next- morning Alertness." Evening Use of Light-emitting EReaders Negatively Affects Sleep, Circadian Timing, and Next-morning Alertness. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Hill, Simon. "Is Blue Light Keeping You up at Night? We Ask the Experts." Digital Trends. Digital Trends, 25 July 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Rainie, Lee, and Andrew Perrin. "Slightly Fewer Americans Are Reading Print Books, New Survey Finds." FactTank. PewResearchCenter, 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2016.

Benefits of Maker Spaces

by Rusat Latulippe

Maker Spaces have been around for several years and they are places that offer tools, resources, and networking opportunities for people who want to go beyond just learning about technology and create it.  These are places where makers, as people in the culture call themselves, get together to create and build.

Many schools have joined the creative movement and started to put maker spaces into their schools.  It's an unbelievable opportunity that allows students, rather than speak their mind, to show it. By providing students with an in-school makerspace not only gives students a new way to be creative but it also allows them to experiment with programmable robots, new printing technology( like the Silhouette) ,and 3D printing.

A maker space differs immensely from all of those other school facilities like a computer lab or the photography room. It combines all the methods of learning and it really increases student's creativity.

From my research I have found that other schools are more organize with their maker spaces. After walking in every G period and finding the room slightly messy can be a little frustrating. I have concluded that implementing a new organization policy would really be beneficial for all of the Hack Shackers.

Silhouette CAMEO

By Nathan Limric

Silhouette CAMEO devices are gaining popularity recently, especially among hard core crafters. You can outline and cut out almost anything with the Silhouette printer, whether it be your own design or a picture from online. People use the printers for anything from creative wedding invitations to labeling. The printer can be bought for only $270, with such a low price it's no wonder that they are gaining popularity. 

Here at the school students use the Silhouette cutter to make personalized designs. In the Hack Shack we use the Silhouette printer to create signs. Also in the Hack Shack we have a multitude of different papers to print your designs on. Students can print out individual letters on different sheets of paper to create engaging and fun poster titles. Not only does text created with the Silhouette printer look fun it also looks neat, which can be a big part of some project grades. 

With so many different uses the Silhouette printer is a great purchase for your home and even greater in the Hack Shack.

Blog Post

Learning The 3D Printer
by Nathan Limric

I learned how to use the 3D printer this week. I had learned how to use sketchup in years past and had had things printed for me but had never done it myself. Now that I am an employee of the hack shack I decided to give it a go. I designed my print in Google Sketchup and saved it as an skp file, which is the default. Then I moved my file onto the flash drive and tried to print it, it didn't work, I had the wrong file type. After some research I discovered the file I needed was a stl file. So I went back to Sketch Up and tried to export my file as an stl, with no luck. So back to Google I went. After more research I found that I needed to add a plug in onto Sketchup. To do this I went to window, then preferences, then extension and clicked install extension. I selected the converter file I had downloaded from online and uploaded it. Then I went to file and yay! The converter was there! I saved my print as an stl then imported it to the Maker Bot software and then exported it from there as a Maker Bot file. Finally with the correct file on the flash drive I was able to print.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Rise of Social Media

by Jason Boryszewski

Social media and technology are all around us.  Nearly every student at ORHS carries around a smartphone that connects them to social media at every waking moment.  According to a 2010 study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average 8-18 year old spends more than seven and a half hours a day consuming media, whether that be on a computer, television, or cell phone.  This is a lot of time when you consider that an average student sleeps a similar amount of time.  If two thirds of a person's day is already consumed by media and sleep, it is difficult to fit the remaining parts of their life in that last eight hours. 

Social media itself is still becoming more and more common.  Between 2010 and 2013 the percentage of internet users who had at least one social media profile grew from 62% to 73%.  The percentage of people aged 18-29 who have a social media profile was 90% in 2013(pewinternet.org).  Social media has become a big part of our society.  Individuals not only have their own social media profiles, but businesses and organizations are spending an increasing amount of time on social media networking and advertising.  With social media being so new and fast growing, it is difficult to tell exactly what the benefits and harms of social media are.  

Personally, I am one of the few who shy away from social media.  I text and Snapchat my friends and others who I am close with, but my facebook has been deactivated for a couple years and I have no instagram, twitter, tumblr or really any other social media profile.  It works for me, but people are free to do what they want with their own time.  I don't feel the need to share my life with everyone around me.  I like to have the ability to choose with who and what I share about myself.  The vast majority of interactions through social media aren't very meaningful and I don't really need that.  The time that I would otherwise spend on my phone I try to spend reading.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love to just sit on the couch with my phone but I try to moderate the amount of time I spend doing that.  If I'm spending time with someone or am out doing something my phone stays in my pocket the majority of the time.

Since social media and smartphones are so new, we need to be aware how these technologies are affecting people, especially the younger generations who have spent their whole lives with technology.  Some people have problems limiting the time they spend with technology.  Older generations worry that young people are forgetting how to interact with one another because they are spend so much time interacting through social media.  For the average teenager this isn't true, but for the few who take their obsession to an extreme level it is.  No interaction through social media will be the same as having a conversation with the person face to face.  Many people, not just teenagers, feel anxiety when they are separated from their cell phone.  Being attached to any object this much is bad.  The screen itself also has an effect on your sleep pattern.  The blue light from your cell phone screen signals to your brain that it is daytime, so using your phone before bed can increase the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep.  I have an app on my phone that changes the brightness and warmth of the screen based on the time of the day to help solve this problem.

Despite its drawbacks, social media certainly has it's benefits.  Organizations can use social to great benefit.  Everyone knew about Kony 2012.  Despite the fact that the organization behind the Kony movement proved to be less than credible, it showed that social media has a huge potential to raise awareness about issues.  Social media allows you to have connections with people you otherwise would not be able to.  You can instantly connect to a person who is three thousand miles away from you.  It's a powerful thing.  Social media and technology, just like anything, are best in moderation.  We as a society need to pay attention to the effect social media has on us.  


Pew Research Center. "Social Networking Fact Sheet." Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, 2013. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.

Ahuja, Masuma. "Teens Are Spending More Time Consuming Media, on Mobile Devices." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.