I hope your summer (those of you in the Northern hemisphere) is going well, and in the upper Midwest, we still have a few more weeks of vacation. Nothing is more disturbing than reading, “As summer draws to a close” articles when there is still summer left to be lived! That said, we have relatives in Georgia whose children go back to school next week (they also get out of school quite a few weeks before we do), so some of you will be back to the whiteboard in no time at all.
Yesterday, two things happened with Apple. First, its valuation reaching one trillion dollars, at least for a period of time. Second, they announced that they would be ending the app referral program. Some websites derive all of their income from app recommendations; for others, like techinmusiced.com, there was never any major flow of income from app referrals, but when someone would click a referral link, some money would flow back this direction (7% of the purchase price). It is an odd juxtaposition for a company to hit one trillion in valuation, and then decide to announce the termination of a referral program on the same day.
If you have ever bought an app through a referral code, THANK YOU. Admittedly, this will make blogging quicker, as well as editing my eBook. Amazon still has a referral program, so if I see interesting things, I will definitely use Amazon referral codes–and I always try to announce when I use referral codes.
Regarding finances and techinmusiced.com, as well as the Music Education Technology Podcast, ukestuff.info, and YouTube.com/ukuleletenor, all of my resources have been provided free, with the exception of the eBooks available in the iBook Store and in the Google Play store. Those books are due for an update, which I am working on. However, when I am finished, I will be publishing the book and using it as a reward for Patreon, to anyone that pledges the minimum of $1 a month. At that time, I will be pulling all of my eBooks out of the iBook Store and the Google Play store. Should anyone need multiple copies of the book (e.g. a college class), please contact me and we can work something out. Incidentally, the latest version of Pages finally creates ePub files, so I’ll be taking all three of my existing ePubs (made in iBooks Author) and merging the content into one updated book. And on a positive note, I won’t have to worry about making any referral links (Every cloud has a silver lining).
The idea behind Patreon is persistent support over time, particularly when other modes of support and sponsorship are so “flaky.” At the same time, I don’t want my Patreon to be a place where people have to pay to receive resources–so there is a balance of some kind to be reached, and right now I’m pretty comfortable where I am at.
I recently published my first “reward” via Patreon, the first installment of my video ukulele method. I will be adding more materials over time, and if you are interested in supporting me, please click on the link at the bottom of this post. I have been working on branding a little bit, and when it comes to technology in music education, I’m finding that my mission seems to be the desire to educate music educators about what is available. As we talk about on the MET Podcast, many technology solutions are being treated as “old news,” yet very few people tried or even knew about what those solutions could do. Even the Chromebook, the most recent “fad” in education, seems to be losing steam in terms of educational technology (in fact, the entire field seems to be on a downswing). That said, technology can make your life so much better as a teacher, and it can be used to help your students learn. I’ll keep doing my best to bring that technology forward.
In other news, it has been a pretty quiet summer for me. My oldest son graduated from high school, and our other two boys have been busy with summer activities. My youngest son learned how to ride a bike in a day, as well as how to swim (without sinking). My wife and I were able to take a trip to Memphis, which is an awesome city when it comes to music–and we were also able to sit in on the Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob weekly meeting at Central BBQ. If you play ukulele, and are in Memphis on a Tuesday night, I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been making a ton of ukulele resources, and am currently building my first cigar box ukulele. Last week, Paul Shimmons (the co-host of the MET Podcast) traveled through Minnesota and we were able to visit in person for a while at the Mall of America. We did not record anything as we did when I was in Grand Rapids two years ago, but we did spend a healthy amount of time at the Apple Store (my 10 year old was there taking an Apple Camp class on movie making with the Clips app).
On a personal technology note, I have been struggling with the idea of buying a new MacBook or not. The MacBook Air and MacBook are both outdated and in need of a refresh; the MacBook Pros without touch bars are known to have keyboard issues, and a new Touchbar MacBook Pro (recently updated) with the configuration I think is smartest for longevity comes in at just over $3000 (including tax). My 2008 MacBook works (in fact, I’m working on a video/post that will show it…check for it that post tonight or tomorrow). I just find myself reluctant to put $3000 into that machine, or $1000 less for something that may be outdated in 4 years. I’d sure like to get another ten years out of a MacBook…
I also broke my iPad Pro screen a second time. I don’t know how it happened this time (one of my boys may actually be at fault–it was “whole” when I went to bed one evening and broken when I used it the next day). I have Apple Care (HIGHLY ENCOURAGED) and decided to buy an Otter Box to protect my iPad. I’ll replace the screen the second time next June, right before the Apple Care expires (they replace the screen or device twice, no questions asked, for $45 each time. This beats a bill of $1000 for a new one).
And the other exciting news is that my school opens a new building this fall. I’ll be sure to write about the technology in the school later this year, as things have changed since the initial planning…and there will be surprises in the fall. The boundaries have changed to accommodate the larger and newer school, so we will have a slightly different clientele. As I teach middle school, we also have another change as we have required music in grades 6-8, and a decision was made last year to let music be a true elective in eighth grade. These changes should have a very positive impact on the school climate, and in all of the “elective” classes.
To everyone as the school year approaches: I wish you the very best. Take care of yourselves. I have some lifestyle changes that I need to make (I’m sure you do, too!), and certainly each day will bring troubles of its own. However, before the joys and challenges of the next school year begin–I hope this is the best year yet, for both you and me!