Making a playlist from mp3 songs on a Samsung Galaxy

I will be in the upcoming Lion’s Club Show. We were given the cuts of all the songs we are singing as mp3 files in a shared Google folder. I wanted to be able to make a playlist of all the songs, so that I could listen to them and practice in the car (or while I am doing things around the house) and not have to click on each song to play them. I googled how to do that, and couldn’t figure it out. After talking it through with our Dance Captain, Jen Finger, I was able to get it to work.

Here’s what I did on My Samsung Galaxy 10 (these are not the same steps you would take on an iphone, or with itunes):

1. Go to the list of mp3 tracks, in this case, the ones I wanted to add were in Google Drive.
2. Click on the 3 dots on the right of the track you want to put in your playlist.







3. Check the button that says “Available Offline” and “Download”. I’m not sure if it would still work if you didn’t click “Available Offline” or not, but it was suggested, and overall, it worked, so I included it in the steps I did. I would recommend downloading all the songs you want in your playlist before moving on to the next step.










4. Open the Play Music app. This was an app that was already on my phone when I got it. It is a google-based app, so it may be found with those, or in your app list. The app asked me to subscribe when I first opened it. I clicked “no thanks.”


5. Click on the word “Songs”. You may need to scroll to the right a bit. The songs you just downloaded should show up on your song list.

6. Click on the 3 dots to the right of the song you want to put in your playlist.


7. Click on “Add to playlist”


8. Another pop up box will let you choose the playlist you want to put the song in.

9. Click on New Playlist at the bottom of the window.


10. Add the title you want for your new playlist. Then click “Create Playlist.”


11. Go back to the song list, and click on the 3 dots again.

12. Click add to playlist, and choose the one you just created.

Once you are done adding all the songs, your playlist should be built, and you should be able to listen to them like any other playlist. Scroll back over to Playlist to the far left at the top of the Home screen, and click on the playlist.

I hope this helps! Good luck making your own playlist from mp3 files. Please let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.

Photowalk Notes – finally

In early October, I was in Seattle with my husband. While I was there, and he was off doing MVP stuff, I went on a photowalk. I blogged about it already, but didn’t include all my notes from Pat Wright’s (@sqlasylum) session on taking photos before hand. I’m finally getting around to including those. I will do my best to translate my notes into a coherent post. I hope that anyone else who was there (or knows a thing or two about photography) will correct any mistakes I make.

One of my favorite quotes from the day was “The best camera is the one you have.” What this means, is that if you only have your cell phone camera with you, then that’s the best one you have. If you only have a point and shoot, then that’s the best you have. If a fancy schmancy camera is what you have, then that’s the best you have. Any or all of these is better than no camera at all.

When you are taking a picture, hold the camera as firm as possible. Many people make the mistake of holding the camera with one hand, or just use a couple fingers to hold the camera steady. Try to use both hands to support the camera without letting a finger end up in front of the lens or flash. If you keep both feet planted on the ground, lean back a bit, and hold the camera close to you (rather than holding it out at an arms’ length), you will have the most stable position you can create. Of course, a tripod or other way to stabilize your camera is best.

Camera Modes
Most of the time, leaving your camera on auto is the best choice, especially when you are just getting started. Features such as white balance will have the best results if left on auto. White balance can make people look orange if adjusted incorrectly. If you are using your cell phone to take pictures, you will get best results if you don’t zoom your camera. Don’t forget to let your phone or camera auto focus.

On a point and shoot camera (also known as a “drunk and shoot”), there is often the option to push the button halfway down. Doing this will allow the camera to automatically focus. You also need to keep in mind that your camera needs a point of reference to be able to use auto focus. Your camera will have a difficult time focusing on solid colors (especially white, black and blue). If you want your camera to be able to focus on a certain object, center your camera on that thing, push the button half way down, then move your camera to get the shot you are looking for. The object it focused on will remain in focus. Sometimes, a photographer may want to create “boca” – an effect where the central object in the photo is in focus, and the background is blurry. This can be best created using a long lens.

Become familiar with the different modes on your camera. I can speak from experience that buying a camera before a trip, and not becoming familiar with it first, is going to lead to disappointing pictures. Take some time to play with different modes on your camera. One of the great things about digital photos, is that you can play around with your camera without wasting film. You can delete the pictures that don’t work out, and not feel guilty.

If the camera thinks you might need flash, you probably do. There are times though, that flash is pointless, such as during fireworks, or taking pictures of things in the distance. Your flash is typically only good for about 30 ft. When you use digital zoom, you need lots of light. There are tricks that professional and amateur photographers like to use, and that is to use a beer cozy to create a “snoot”. Yes, I said a beer can cozy! You can put it over the flash, and use the other end to direct the light. He did a demonstration of how light reflects off everything around you. Focusing your flash can help eliminate glare and/or colors getting washed out. For outdoor pictures, sun and overcast skies are best. Clouds can act as a natural soft light filter.

If you are noticing shadows in the background, move further away from the object of your photo. You can also use a Voice Activated Light (VAL) activator. This would be another person helping direct the light behind the subject of your photo. Stand close to the back lighting too. This will eliminate the shadows in the background, and/or make sure the lighting is the best it can be.

Shutter Speed
I never really understood what shutter speed was. I now understand it to be related to the distance away your subject is from you. The distance you are zoomed to should match the shutter speed, or your photos will end up blurry. If there is movement you are trying to capture, you need to use a higher shutter speed. The higher the speed, the darker your picture will get. To get the best quality photos (with movement), you need to use a higher shutter speed, and make sure you have lots of light. It’s a good idea to use a shutter speed of at least 200 to get a shot with decent lighting and good focus.

For most people, a 6 mp camera will be sufficient for your needs. You will be able to get a decent 8×10 size picture from it. If you want to blow up a photo larger, than a higher definition camera may be needed. There was a group discussion on the firmware that comes in different models of cameras. The consensus seemed to be that Kodak firmware is not great. It’s ok, but Nikon seemed to be the preferred camera of the group.

After we got through this information, Pat gave us time to experiment with our cameras before we headed out to take pictures of the city. My friend Jes (@grrl_geek) acted as a model for experimenting with portraits. Shortly after, she suckered me into posing with her. We had a TON of fun, and I learned a lot!

Dancin’ up a Storm – Kinect Rocks!

About 6 months ago, Jason Strate sent me a video showing the newest thing in Video Game Technology – Project Natal. I thought it was kind of a cool idea, but wasn’t really excited about it. Part of the reason, was because it was on the XBox platform.

I love my Wii. I grew up with Nintendo. Wii was the first game system my kids ever had. We have family bowling tournaments, or all play Band Hero together. When we play many of the games, it feels like we’re getting somewhat of a workout. Getting exercise while we play is a bonus in the winter months (especially weeks like this last one, where wind chills never got above zero!).

The kids trying out the Kinect for Xbox 360, at the State Fair

Fast forward to the MN State Fair last summer. Project Natal had since been renamed Kinect. They had a couple of booths to allow people to play. Jason and I, and our 5 kids, all piled into the booth to play. It was kind of cool, but I still wasn’t convinced I HAD to have one. Still didn’t have an XBox 360, wasn’t really interested in getting one… Jason and the kids, however, couldn’t wait!

After spending more and more time with Jason and his kids, my kids (especially Michael, my 5 year old) REALLY wanted an Xbox 360. Santa brought one to our house. It has quickly replaced the Wii as my kids’ favorite game system. We have over 15 games for the Wii, and only 3 for the Xbox, but that doesn’t matter to them! We still play our Band/Guitar Hero, DJ Hero, and bowling on the Wii, but the Xbox 360 is quickly taking over.

Santa brought a Kinect to Jason’s house. After trying a few games on it, I am finally convinced. I am admittedly, a bit out of shape. I find myself a bit winded after almost every game on it! It’s a heck of a lot of fun playing the tubing game on Kinect Adventures; boxing, volleyball, and bowling are a lot of fun on the Sports game too. My favorite, though, has to be Dance Central!! I had read some reviews on it that made it seem like it might be too hard. Being a dancer most of my life, and a “Club Chick” in a past life, I LOVE this game!! It is a little bit like DDR (that’s Dance Dance Revolution for those of you who don’t know) in that it tells you which moves are coming up. I always found DDR a bit challenging. In my experience, the mat moves too much, adding to the frustration level. In Dance Central, YOU are the controller. No mat to bunch up. You use your entire body instead of just your feet. It almost feels like you are at the club, joining in a flash mob dance. It is VERY fun! The music is great too. Mostly current music, with moves that are not outdated either! For anyone who likes to dance, I would recommend getting this game!!!

Do Girls WANT to be a Data Diva?

A few days ago, Datachick, Karen Lopez (blog|twitter) wrote about Computer Engineer Barbie and a game on Mattel’s website called “Data Diva.” Having a 9 year old daughter, I thought I’d have her check it out. It sounded like something she might be into (seeing as how she is obsessed with the virtual world games like Webkinz). Jason Strate (@StrateSQL) offered the suggestion that I blog about it. Great idea!! Here’s what we found out.

The intro to the game says “You can be a computer engineer. Help Barbie program a robot puppy to do cute tricks.” I was hopeful that there might be some beginner programming skills she could learn through the game. We clicked the “next” button to start the game. The first page asked for a code to unlock stuff. I”m guessing the code comes with the Computer Engineer Barbie. Maybe the game gets cooler or more interesting if you have the codes?

From that page, we clicked on “play.” We were brought to a page with a cute puppy and instructions on how to play. The heading was, “Computer Engineers use a special language called ‘code’ to make programs work.” Underneath, there was a grid of 1s and 0s. I thought maybe it was going to somehow teach my daughter binary (in which case, I should play too, so I can understand my fiancée and my brother when they type binary messages to each other). Instead, the game ended up being more like a game of Bejeweled, or Cash Cow (not sure the real name of that game). You just move columns and rows to line up 3 or more of a certain color box that can have either 0’s or 1’s. When you do, the puppy on the screen moves in different ways. After only one game (you are given a time limit), Grace was bored with it. She exited the game, and saw that there is a Wedding Stylist game. She was much more interested in playing that!

A while back, I wrote about other programs out there to teach children about programming. While some of them, such as the Alice Program may not have had great graphics, at least it taught real programming! Nice try, Mattel… Maybe a younger girl would like “Data Diva”, but I didn’t feel like it quite lived up to the promise it showed.

On a side note, I have to give props to Mattel for their efforts in giving Barbie traditionally male roles such as a computer engineer. They want to inspire girls with their multi-tasking Barbies with the hottest technical gadgets such as a laptop and iphone. Even grown up girls get excited by the find of Barbie in their own profession. I know WAY back in the day when I worked at Pizza Hut, I was thrilled to find Pizza Hut Employee Barbie. A friend of mine, Jes Borland (twitter|blog), a DBA, pretty much counted down the days until her computer engineer Barbie showed up!! They know what they’re doing over there.

Encourage Girls for the Future…

This past weekend, I attended another SQL Saturday, this time, in Iowa City. Jason (Twitter|blog) told me there was going to be a Women in Technology panel over lunch. After talking to Jes Borland (Twitter|blog) and Wendy Pastrick (Twitter|blog) about the topic, “Empowering the Next Generation”, I wanted to check it out. Being the awesome people they are, they invited me to sit in!

The speakers, Jes, Wendy, and Kathi Kellenberger (Twitter|blog), talked about encouraging children (girls especially) towards math and science, engineering and computers. They talked about stereotypes with women in the field of Technology. One of the women in the room commented that if she wants her ideas heard at work, she needs to ask a man to say it for her. Another woman commented that she if she said something in a meeting, it would be as if nothing was said. If a man said exactly the same thing, people would say it was a great idea. My first thought was that they might have been somehow enabling the people they work with. I can’t imagine that kind of work environment!! Kathi mentioned how lucky she felt to have never really experienced this. She mentioned showing off her awesome skills and demanding the respect she deserved (OK, she might not have said it quite that way, but the idea was there).

The panel talked about the struggles some girls have being the minority interested in science, math, or computer classes. There was talk about all-girls’ schools and whether or not those girls had an advantage… Overall, it comes down to support – parents need to be supportive and encouraging when their daughters are struggling with being one of the only girls interested in math or science. Jes likened it to being the geeky, unathletic kid, being picked last for “the team.” That was often her experience in math and science classes in high school, and computer classes in college. Luckily, she had some great teachers who encouraged her, as did her Mom. Another way we can help our “smart” children not feel left out, is to encourage them to talk to their friends. They may have friends interested in the same things, but because they don’t talk about it, they don’t even know. If they can find friends who will take classes with them, it might be more fun!

An easy way we can encourage kids towards technology, is simply by exposing them to it. Allow children to play video games, both on gaming systems, and on the computer. Give them access to MP3 players, ipods, etc… Then, as they are enjoying it, ask them, “Do you know how it works? Do you want to know?” There are many programs available for children (especially girls) that encourage them to check out technology or related fields. Some programs mentioned were: Microsoft’s Digigirlz Program, Robotics Competitions, Women Soar , Girls in Technology, etc. that encourage children in engineering, programming, etc. Kendra Little (Twitter |blog) mentioned that Seattle has a program called IGNITE, there are 6 states with IGNITE chapters – I bet other areas have similar programs for girls too! In later conversation with some of the SQL Geeks (as I am lovingly calling all my new friends in the SQL Community), Alice was mentioned as a program to introduce students to the programming world, using creativity and storytelling to make programming fun. Once they have gotten comfortable with programming with Alice, they will be more ready for other programming platforms such as Java.

Think about the stereotype of a “Computer Guy”…. some geeky guy, sitting in a cubicle, glued to his computer, not talking to anyone, not even the people right next to him (thanks for the visual, Wendy). Really… who wants to be THAT guy? The reality is, that may be true for some people, but there can be a lot of interaction too… girls need to see that they can have social interactions, use their creativity, AND be able to work on computers!

Michelle Ufford (Twitter), part of the team who put together the SQL Saturday event, talked about online games as a great way to to appeal to both the technology and social interests of children. Note: as a parent, PLEASE be aware of what your children are playing! Be mindful of whether or not the game content is age appropriate. If you are allowing your children to play 1st person shooter games (like Halo), have a conversation with your children about what’s real and what’s not. Talk about how real people do not come back to life. I know, it seems obvious to us, but children, especially under age 7 or 8, often have a hard time determining between reality and fantasy! I was talking to an older man at breakfast at the hotel on Saturday. He was talking about games like Halo, and how realistic they are. He served in Vietnam, and said that though these games seem very real, the people come back to life once they are shot down… He said to me, “I assure you, with that much blood and guts in front of your face, it’s not fun and games! No wonder kids are killing people, they are confused…” We just have to remember, as parents, and as teachers, it is our responsibility to talk with our kids about the things we are exposing them to!

My daughter, Grace, 9, set up a Twitter account so she could follow Justin Beiber. Her very first tweet was about how annoying her brother is. Immediately, she and I had a conversation about what is appropriate to post online. She is not allowed to put anything negative about another person on the internet. She also wanted to start a blog about dance. Her dad is concerned about her having too much online exposure. He’s afraid that she will post something that will later come back to haunt her as she’s getting ready to apply for college in 9 years. I think that fact that she wants to actively use technology is awesome! I may try to set her up with a blog that I moderate, so I can control what she is able to post…

The world is continually growing more and more technologic. Let’s encourage our kids to use it, and use it in a positive way!!

Technology and Children

I am currently taking an online course called “Accommodating All Learners.” The focus is on dapting curriculum to Today’s students. One topic that has been interesting to me, is the topic of technology. We have had several articles to read on the subject that have really got me thinking and reflecting…

When I was in Elementary School, we looked forward to going to the Computer Lab, once every couple weeks or so. We couldn’t wait to play “Oregon Trail” or “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”! I don’t remember having any lessons in keyboarding until 8th or 9th grade or so. I don’t even think we had a mouse on our computers back then. Maybe we did, but I don’t remember. I remember taking a class in 9th grade on “Computer Animation” (or something like that). It was done on an old Apple Computer. Basically, we had to program it in DOS to move a certain number of pixels… Very poor graphics, basic language, but we thought we were cool that we could do even that! Of course, none of that class has stuck with me since then, except that I sat by Paul Reidel and we goofed around most of the class!!

Growing up with a Mom who was a Computer Consultant (Systems Analyst to be exact), I was around computers most of my life. I was one of few people that had one at home, but it seemed too complicated to use. It was really just there for my Mom to dial into work, or do work at home, and save it onto her big floppy discs. My Nintendo on the other hand… well, let’s just say, I was pretty good at working it! I could play Legends of Zelda pretty well, and my brother and I could beat Final Fantasy II several times over! We’d spend HOURS playing Nintendo!

I was at the beginning of the technology generation. We had no idea that just a few short years down the road, computers would be such a key part of daily life! It wasn’t until late high school that we had even heard of the internet. It certainly wasn’t available to just anyone! Our research projects meant hours in the library, searching books for just the right information… then, sorting through all our notes, to put it together..

When I was in college, things started changing. My Mom had given me her old notebook computer to use. I remember sitting at Century College, working on papers (with a bad power supply, so I had to save often, just in case). I could also take notes on my computer, though, I didn’t do that much. Research papers became slightly easier, since we could use the internet as a resource. We also could type our notes, so moving around the information we had was so much easier. No more copying and re-copying information! We were limited on how many internet sources we could use. The reality is that there wasn’t nearly as much out there as there is now! With the introduction of AOL, the internet became more available (at least to me)! I loved the social networking available via AOL Chat. Not surprisingly, I became kind of addicted to chatting online, and searching the internet for random things! Things seemed to be exploding technologically, and I loved it! I thought maybe a career in computers would be great for me; that is, until I took a DBA class, and HATED it! It was then I was reminded of my love of teaching!

Today’s youth wouldn’t even know what to do with themselves if it weren’t for technology! Grace, my 9 year old, has been using the computer to play games since she was about 3-4. Michael, my almost 5 year old, has been playing on the computer for about a year. He’s been playing on sites such as and for as long! He knows which icon to click, how to find the game he wants, and can play them with relatively little help! Grace is learning her way around the internet, can play games, and can even use Word to type letters to her friends! She’s even sent emails, and Tweets to Justin Beiber (the love of her life)! It amazes me that my children can work a computer so well! I, myself, use the computer daily to keep in touch with the outside world… I check my email and Facebook daily.

Children these days not only know their way around a computer at a young age, but also have significant access to them. Computers are available in the schools/classrooms, in most homes, at the library… pretty much everywhere. Children are getting cell phones at younger ages, many of which are “smartphones” that give them instant access to the internet. With even the most basic phones, kids can stay connected to their friends via text messaging. Kids who don’t have phones, can even communicate with their friends through their DS’s…

One of the articles I had to read for my class was all about how teachers should try to find a way to take advantage of the technology kids’ currently have, and use it in their classroom. You can read the article by Marc Prensky, called Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants if you’d like! It’s very interesting… I can see both sides of the debate of allowing students to bring their technology into the classroom. It would be difficult to keep students from using their phones/ other technology for chatting, etc. To keep their focus in the classroom might prove a challenge. On the other hand, if students are expected to sit in a classroom environment that feels completely different from the rest of their world, are they really going to be that successful???

As a preschool teacher, I would not have phones, etc in my classroom. That said, a few years’ back, I asked to have a computer in my classroom with internet access. We had a computer with games, but we were limited by the number of discs we had. By having access to the internet, we were not only able to open up the number of games children could play, but could also have resources galore at our fingertips. I often pulled up pictures, maps, or other useful information that applied to our lessons. We also could find games that directly applied to our topics. What a great tool the internet has become, not only for adults, but for young children too!

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