Saturday, April 18, 2009

Silicon Valley: Images Coming Soon!

Wow! Did you get a chance to read the blog entries from the ITA Silicon Valley Trip?


I want you to know that images are coming to those posts soon! I, for one, can't wait to see them!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Silicon Valley: A Day Spent on Sightseeing and Shopping

The morning of Thursday, April 9, 2009 brought about the San Francisco Trolley tour and the trip to Fisherman’s Wharf. Although San Francisco spans only 49 square miles, it has 43 hills where Californians put them to use and built hundreds of houses (at unbelievable angles) and roads on hills and flatlands alike. Because of these hills, our tour of San Francisco had its ups and downs (very steep ones!).

We woke up as early as 6:00A.M. to pack and load our luggage. After loading, we drove to Fisherman’s Wharf to start our tour. On this tour, we visited the Presidio, a base that the Spanish in North America established to protect against attacks, the Exploratorium or science museum, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, the Presidio serves as a park consisting of wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas like the Exploratorium and cemetery. A large pond with a fountain and a variety trees encompassed the Exploratorium while a giant willow tree and an excess amount of water complimented and attracted birds as well as tourists. After leaving the Exploratorium, we headed towards our next destination: the Golden Gate Bridge.

Along the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, Allen, the tour guide, described the scenic vistas as we drove pass them. For example, we saw the first cemetery dedicated to fallen soldiers including many Medal of Honor recipients. Similarly, Fort Point, located near the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge, served the United States’ government as well. As a defense mechanism to the U.S., Fort Point had protected the San Francisco harbor from attacks during the Civil War and Post-Civil War eras.

Many of these historical sites have laid a path to the exquisite Golden Gate Bridge which has a ferrous coating that gives off a red tint. The completion of the bridge in 1937 made an impact on the world simply because it surpassed 8 other bridges, and established itself as the longest for a couple of years. From the time of its construction, 8 bridges outstripped the Golden Gate in length.

After visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Allen took us on a non-stop tour while informing us about the history. At the end of the trip, we discovered that the Chinatown in San Francisco, the oldest in the U.S., had many cheap sales ($1 T-shirts!) which drove in herds of tourists. The bright colors and lively people ranged in many shades and shapes. These tourists filled the 11 blocks by 4 blocks Chinatown which consists of the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Immediately after driving by Chinatown, we entered Little Italy, or North Beach. The name derives from the large amount of Italians who immigrated to the U.S. from penal colonies. When the drive bys by the cultural towns ended, we headed towards the hills of San Francisco for a glimpse of the rich and famous. We drove by the house in which directors filmed Mrs. Doubtfire and Princess Diaries, and saw buildings owned by models and actors. The tour ended with a drive by Union Square where upscale boutiques, tourist trinket shops, art galleries, and salons made up the majority of the buildings.
When the Trolley tour ended, we went to have lunch and some shopping time at Pier 39, which featured two levels of dining, shopping, and entertainment on the San Francisco Bay, and has over 110 shops, specifically souvenirs. Pier 39 is known for their stree performers hwo are world-wide famous magicians, jugglers, comedians, and mimes. The entertainment shows are free to audiences.

Aquarium of the Bay is another big entertainment of San Francisco. The Aquarium is filled with marine animals of the San Francisco Bay: Lila, the seven-gill shark, sea stars, sting rays, and more. We were able to touch the sea stars, sting rays, and tiger sharks.

The sea lions out on the West Marina of Pier 39 are a huge attraction of Fisherman’s Wharf. These sea lions started out with about 10-50 of them, but with the help of the protected environment, the numbers grew and became a part of Pier 39’s docks.

Pier 39 has recently acquired the newly arrived San Francisco Carousel from Italy. The carousel images consist of the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, Chinatown, and Alcatraz. It is a popular entertainment for all ages.

Pier 39 is famous for their all souvenir shops of clothes, accessories, and food. Many of us got to taste some amazing food from Wipeout Bar and Grill which has sandwiches, burgers, nachos, pizzas, salads, and more.

After dinner, we headed towards our last destination before our flight tomorrow: the Comfort Inn and Suites.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Silicon Valley: Trip Blog

Today was unexpected, in the world of business, i find that like all business, only one intent, profit, but my ignorant aspect was reverted, i now know that Businesses can intertwine with kindness, pleasure, and social-welfare. Businesses, profit, money, greed, charity, philanthropy should not be a obligated chore, as if they have to, to advance their image, gaining publicity. Ignorance is bliss, Cisco displayed more of a philosophical aspect, but im sure Apple, and Google have theirs as well, my judgment, bias as it was, decided to favor Cisco over them, it still does, but now i believe that all business have a deeper pursuit, than profit. Cisco is a good corporation.

Human Touch, Connecting lives, and communication. Cisco provides us that opportunity in wireless networking.Cisco's products unite their partners, investors, and their co-workers, and families globally. I feel that Cisco will contribute to the advancement of "Human Touch", through their products, such as the "Telepresence", a product which can allow all users to digitally view each other, and hold conversations,meetings, and brief speeches, as if they were actually there. The Camera, used in broadcasting the users, well built, can even zoom into a motherboard, and perceive the tiny text defining the parts, some of us had to squint to see the labels, machine 1, man 0. jk
And models come in sets of 3's so the meeting can hold more than one person,. They're ticket at around +$5000. "Telepresence" can take some stress of the economy's struggle for gas, no strong need for transportation. Cisco does not allow its employees to travel, at all, they are strict on their policy, and it encourages the use of their "telepresence". Schools will be revolutionized, classes can be held whenever, wherever, the weather, the health condition, well maybe... "Telepresence" will change our social lives.

The IP Phone, was just amazing, the concept complex, the uses, simple. Users can choose different views on Game Events, order food, refreshments. I was Impressed by Cisco's products, and presentation, the presentation, much more appealing to the others, superior in fact.
The HQ, as futuristic as it was, it still had the modern 2000's feel, to it. Cisco focused on both business, and philosophy, which i admired, allowing both an average joe, and an average businessman could, and can.

-Lejia, and Tenzin..

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Silicon Valley: Google and Apple

On April 7th, we visited the headquarters of Apple Computers and Google.
We started the day off with a late breakfast at the hotel. We then drove to Apple Headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop. We were given individualized name badges, and taken on a tour through the campus.
We then went to a conference room to talk with a group of Apple employees, where they discussed perks of their job at Apple. One thing I learned there was that nobody outside of the design team knows what product Apple is working on. Nobody else knows until the CEO announces it. One exception to this was the iPhone, where they had an exact date set for release, and each employee received one as a gift. The reason Apple doesn't usually announce release dates for items is business related. Nobody would buy an 8GB iPod Touch if they knew a 16GB one would be released next week for the same price.
After listening to the employees about thier jobs, we performed out presentation about ITA to them. It was easy, because Apple was a very friendly environment. After that, we had lunch at Caffe Macs, the restaurant on campus. They had a variety of food, from burgers to burritos. We then went back to our vans and drove to Google.
When we first arrived at Google, we were introduced to Avelia Stewart, our host. The first place we went was to a lobby, where we got personalized name tags (again), and were allowed to have a small snack. There was also a large display of everything that was being searched on Google at that moment. We were then introduced to our tour guide, who taught us about what it was like to work at Google, and products that they work with. While on the tour, we noticed the large amount of food available everywhere on campus. And it was all free!
We also visited a wall where there were pictures of all these famous people who have visited Google, all of them were in a picture with Mike, a Google employee, who tries to get a picture with everyone important who visits the campus. As we continued our tour, we noticed all the different facilities that Google has, such as gyms, pools, and lunchrooms. We also had a meeting with several Google employees who talked about what they do. We then presented to them about ITA, then answered some questions that they had. As we left, we were given Google gift bags and t-shirts, a welcome gift.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Silicon Valley: HP & Stanford

So we finally had the chance to see the site where Hewlett-Packard began. We took pictures of the garage and it was real great. I was very fascinated by seeing the exact site where such an industry took place. It's amazing how two people with a little imagination can turn out to be so successful. After many photos by the HP Garage, we took a tour of Stanford University. There was so much artwork around the campus. We saw many statues and paintings. The scenery of the campus also was lovely. I never seen a campus with that like peach feel color with different shades of red plates for its roof. It is a lot smaller compared to University of Wisconsin-Madison, but they have a lot more on display to see around the school. I personally liked this campus more overall because I know I'll rarely see snow around. After the tour, we saw a snippet on how much robots have changed the world. It's crazy to think of how much the world has evolved since the creation of the first robot. I hope to see some robots on the streets in the decades to come. Overall, today was great. We saw where the beginning of a currently billionaire industry began and had the chance of touring one of the prestigious colleges in the nation deemed "The Havard of the West".

Pari & Quentin

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Silicon Valley: Trip Blog by Jasmine & PaYing

Sunday April 5th 2009

Our morning started at the Comfort Inn & Suites for breakfast. After breakfast we made our way to the Tech Museum of Innovation. We then had a chance to look at a lot of exhibits. For example, we made our own roller coaster on the computer then we used our ticket to save our design and then scanned the ticket onto the simulator and were able to see our design in action. We enjoyed lunch in the museum and then got tickets to see "The Magic of Flight" in the IMAX Dome Theater. Afterwards we left the museum and went to our hotel for the next three days Mariana's Inn where some of us swam in the pool and played Marco Polo and others layed by the pool and relaxed under the sun. Later we went to Dave and Buster's for dinner. D & B is like a grown up Chuck E Cheese minus the pizza. Our food was delicious. After dinner we played in the giant arcade. PaYing played the "spin and win" game and one the first try won 20 tickets then the second try she won 1,000 bonus tickets. It was really fun and we had a great time.

After playing in the arcade we left and drove to Walgreen's to pick up snacks and whatever else we wanted. We left and came back to the hotel and had a group meeting to plan/discuss our presentation at Apple. We were paired up with people that were the same year or section that we had been assigned to. For example: brief ITA info (section 1) was presented by Kalia and Cristina, freshman year (section 2) was presented by Ivan and David, sophomore year (section 3) was presented by Tenzin and Lejia, junior year (section 4) was presented by Pari and PaYing and finally senior year (section 5) was presented by Jasmine and Quentin.

We learned a lot today and also had lots of fun. Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and please check this page again for more updates/blogs.

-PaYing & Jasmine

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Silicon Valley: Here we come baby!

Well it has finally arrived! The ITA trip to Silicon Valley begins today.

As the students and their families arrived for our departure from East High School, there were huge smiles, some nervousness and some looks of not really knowing what to expect on our first big trip. But as the students and their families started to look through the wonderfully prepared trip binders (thanks Alison and Erica), the agenda for the week became much clearer. And yes, after seeing the weeks agenda and the assignments due some of the grins did go away.

The ride to Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport was the bomb (I think the kids today still use that?). We rode in the comfort of a limo bus with DVD player (thanks Kalia for sharing Twlight (I can’t wait to see the end) and very comfy leather seats. If the ride to Milwaukee is any indication, this should be a fun trip.

While all of the students and Erica make it through security without any problems. I have to sadly report that today I was “that guy”. You know “that guy” that holds up the security line. That guy who has to go through the metal detector several times before getting clearance. Well, today was my day! I forgot my I-pod, that I had some change in my pocket and my trusty cell phone. I finally made it through and none of the other passengers seemed too annoyed with me. The students were wonderful, playing cards and chilling out as we waited to board our plane.

As we neared the departure time for our flight to Minneapolis there seems to be some anxiousness. When I heard “ Northwest flight 357 is boarding”, it really hit me that we were on our way to San Francisco!

Our flight to Minneapolis was ok for the most part; however the landing was horrible. It was like being on Tilt- a- Whirl (poor PaYing-her first flight). But we all survived.

The best part of Minnesota was being able to grab a good cup of coffee from Caribou Coffee. By the way…. the airport is truly like being in a mall.

A funny thing happened to us on our way to terminal for our flight to San Francisco, We were stuck on the tram. The Minneapolis airport has this wonderful tram service (think Disney world) that moves you through the airport. Thankfully we were only stuck for about five minutes. Too bad the sun wasn’t out today!

On-ward to San Francisco. Our trip into the bay area was very nice and smooth. One of the best flights that I have been on in quite some time.

Well, it’s end of the night (well at least it is in Madison) and we’re all checked in our hotel for the evening. And other than getting lost on the way to the hotel, Day 1 has been a huge success!

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Site Update: The Permit Updater!

“Hey Pacal, can you enter all these scores into the Google Spreadsheet and then enter it into the Excel Spreadsheet and then when you are done can you put all that same data into the website?”

“Sure thing boss,” said Pacal, with a slight cough.
“Oh yeah, and that is just for Acid, but can you also do this with the Microsoft Word and Illustrator scores?”
“Sure thing boss, I'll have that done by, oh, this summer.”
“Well, actually I'll have Kevin enter the scores into the Google Spreadsheet but you can put it into the other two places... Ha! Just kidding, you only need to enter the scores into one place now! And the students can see it immediately,” said A.J., triumphantly as the image of Drew at a computer crossed his mind.

Hi, my name is Daniel, and as your trusty guide into the world of new site updates, I have something new and great to show you! The whole thing is pretty self explanatory and idiot proof, not implying that you are one, but we can go through how it works nonetheless.

Before you can start, remeber you have to log in, either from Login link at the ITA site, or from here
Both will prompt the user for a password so, make sure you are confident when typing, the site may no let you in, sensing your nervous attitude. I'm just joking however, just don't forget your password okay?

The first thing you should notice is that, when you click on the link marked Enter BTW & RT Scores, you will see that the permit score column is missing! This is because there is a separate data entry system for Permit scores and all student attempts.
This can be accessed by clicking on the link marked
Input/Edit Permit Scores
in the ITA ToolBox

To use Input/Edit Permit Scores, must first log in as always into You can then access it by first going to the ITA ToolBox drop-down menu. Then select "Input/Edit Permit Scores." (If you look at the top of the the screen you will see an address bar.)

If the address bar at the top says
Scores, you are in the right place!

You will notice a few things once you have picked the class (first drop down menu) and unit plan (second drop down menu) and pressed the SELECT button, the first thing you will notice is three columns. Student, Date, and Attempt, each column is quite self explanatory. When typing in the date, make sure to follow the correct format,
Please take the time to read the instructions at the top. Once you have entered the score in the ATTEMPT 1 box of the same row as the particular student you can go ahead and save the score. If you find that the student has already taken the test once, you can add another attempt by clicking the SAVE SCORES AND ADD ATTEMPT button.

If the column turns yellow, don't freak out, this means that you typed in an invalid input. You will be prompted to change them, so its okay. Not everyone is perfect, or have degrees in math.

DO NOT DO THIS. Here is an example of a poor score entry. Even though it will allow you to do so, you must never enter a score in the second attempt slot if the first attempt slot for a particular student is blank. If you do this, you will rip a hole in the space and time continuum, causing an imbalance in the tapestry of the universe. No it actually nothing will happen, but, this is still a big deal.
Think logically here:
How can
Test Peter possibly have an Atempt 2 score for a test if it is his first time taking it?!

Some useful tips for entering data:

  • you can use the TAB key to jump horizontally from box to box.
  • You can also triple click to highlight the contents of the entire box.
  • Also the Copy:CTRL+C and Paste:CTRL+V combos work well when you are working with repetitive information, such as dates for an attempt.
  • Watch out for differing dates for different attempts, as make-up tests might not line up with the whole class for each attempt.
  • Use the scores and layout to find out what students still need to take a first or second attempt in the class!

The Enter BTW & RT Scores, as great as it is, is only a temporary placement. Eventually, there will be in existence a separate data entry system for the BTW sores and the Road Test scores. Good God is this possible? Yes my friend, it is. And as your trusty tour guide, I will be there to help you when that time comes! Until then, happy score entering!