Josh Leffler

Back To School!

Back to school is a happy time for some and an unhappy time for others. Personally, I love it.   For some reason, having new school supplies feels really good. Then, walking in on the first day and meeting your teachers is just so much fun.   But for me, the most exciting thing this year is that it’s my first year of middle school. That means new buildings, routines, directions, and all that new stuff.   It also means more freedom, both a good and a scary thing. It means getting to school earlier, and leaving later. It pretty much means an overhaul of what school has been like for the past four years.   When you think about the school year, you can realize it’s kind of a cycle: New teachers, new classroom, new everything You get familiar with everyone and everything, and it becomes a community You leave at the time when you are completely settled Repeat   During each day, I don’t really notice the cycle though.  I’m too busy learning new ideas and skills that help me now and later in life.   Many kids will say they don’t enjoy school; yes, they would rather be home playing video games or playing in a pool, but, honestly, I think that –deep down– they enjoy it.   I’m really lucky that, at my school, everyone...

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Progress of Technology

If you read my column a couple of weeks ago, you’ll remember that I talked about the history of the personal computer, extending back into the 1970’s. But I’m only 10, so most of the things I talked about, I wasn’t around for. In fact, virtually the only computers I can remember are today’s powerful, intuitive machines.   So when I learned that, for instance, the original Macintosh had an eight-megahertz processor (hertz is the measure of how fast a processor is), I was blown away that, once upon a time, technology was like that. When you compare that to today’s machines with 2.7 gigahertz processors, you can see the progress.   Progress. There’s good and bad progress, there’s happy and sad progress, there’s all kinds of progress.   Now, what is bad and sad progress? It’s an interesting question. I guess that it could be considered as when new things turn out to have a negative effect. The people who created the invention are sad, and the users of the invention witness bad effects.   There is good and happy progress too. The people who developed X-Rays and MRIs must be so proud of the lives that their invention is saving. Another example: as I said above, the progress from yesterday’s technology to today’s is very good – it’s allowing so many more people to accomplish so many...

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Hello! I'm Not Two Years Old!

Think back to when you were a kid, maybe ten years old or so. You went on a field trip, you went to someone’s house, it doesn’t matter where. But, when you met a new person, did he or she ever talk to you in a way that made you think, “This person obviously thinks I’m two!”? Well, it’s happened to me plenty of times, and I’m sure it happens to other kids too.   Now, I do recognize that kids my age are in that weird “tween” zone between kid and teen, and that it’s hard to figure out exactly how to talk to us. (Sidetracking a little, there used to be a technology director at our school who always called me “Bud,” and, after that, almost everyone called me “Bud.” I figured out it must be some kind of thing where he wasn’t quite sure what to call tween boys.) Still, there are a lot of us tweens out and about so after a while, you should start to develop a sense of how to talk to us, shouldn’t you?   Here’s an example that makes me wince: I went on a field trip a couple months ago and had a guide, who was clearly an expert on the subject but was not all that talented at speaking. At lunch time, we got a, “Okay, everyone. Let’s...

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Looking Back at the History of the Personal Computer

When we look back to the first personal computer – the Apple I – we do not see today’s machines. What we see is the beginning of the first great age of computers. The Apple I sparked other companies to start producing personal computers. For instance, Microsoft licensed a copy of its Windows operating system to IBM, which made the IBM PC. Then, you look at today and see iMacs, MacBooks, and PCs. How did we get from there to here? Way back in the 1970’s, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) started Apple Computer, Inc. The company produced...

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High Score! My Take on Video Games

Video games. Those are the two favorite words of most kids. Your kids seemingly can sit in front of a Wii, Xbox, Nintendo DS, and so on, for the whole day. Now think back to the days when your weekends were spent with your nose in a book, at a soda fountain with your friends, or playing various sports. Compare the two pictures in your head. You’re both having the same amount of fun, so what is different? Well, from personal experience, I can tell you (and I bet you’ve seen this too) that gamers are less social, don’t have as good manners, and in general are less fun to be around. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t play games on my iPad – I most certainly do, and I’m sure most of you have a fun game that you like to play on your iPhone, iPad, Android, whatever. I’m talking about kids who come home after school and instantly sit down in front of their device. Kids for whom you must enforce homework. Kids for whom you must encourage to read books. Books especially. Everyone has a favorite book, one that, once you start reading, you can’t keep your nose out of. They are great pleasures and everyone should get to experience that. Video games, while fun and entertaining, can sometimes block out other fun things like...

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iPad 3rd Generation

Hi there! I’m Josh Leffler – the son of the person who writes the $avvy $pender column and the person who co-owns 1360/97.9 WCHL and I’m 10 years old and, at this time, am going into fifth grade. I love sushi, Apple Inc., and Chapel Hill.   I’m a big technology fan, so I’ll be writing about it a lot. But I’ll also be more general, for instance covering things like movies, books, events, etc. I’m also open for suggestions for topics, and you can post those in the comments, and I’ll consider them for a future topic....

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