Editorial: How Much Would You Pay to Get Facebook Friends’ Attention?

Facebook announced this past Wednesday that they were testing a new feature in the U.S. called ‘Promoted Posts”. Apparently, they have been running this test in New Zealand since May. Below, is a quote from their announcement:

Every day, news feed delivers your posts to your friends. Sometimes a particular friend might not notice your post, especially if a lot of their friends have been posting recently and your story isn’t near the top of their feed.

That being said, what Facebook is proposing with these “promoted posts” is to allow you to pay a dollar amount to have your posts get noticed by more of your friends. Below, you can see an example of a promoted post on Facebook’s newsroom article. In this instance, a couple wanted to make sure everyone knew about their recent engagement. By clicking the “promote” button, they were given the option to pay a little extra to reach a wider audience of friends. When you do this, your Facebook post will have the words “sponsored” at the bottom of it. You also have the ability to check how much extra reach the paid ad is giving you as opposed to just regular newsfeed views.

Promoted Post
Courtesy Facebook.com

Pictured below, you can see the options that are available to you when you hit the promote button. Notice the price. For $7 you can make sure your friends know about that big party you’re having, or big charity fundraiser. So I have to ask the question, “How much are you willing to pay to get your friend’s attention on Facebook?”


Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term “jumping the shark”, it stems from an episode of the American hit TV show Happy Days, where the show’s main character, the Fonz, jumped over a confined shark tank on water skis. Since that time the term has been used in the entertainment industry to note the point where a TV series uses a gimmick that blatantly shows desperation and an almost certain soon-to-be demise for that show. Ever since Facebook went public, it seems like they have used every gimmick in the book to try to force revenue out of its users. In my humble opinion, things like this come across as acts of desperation and I believe are really unnecessary for Facebook to do.

I will not go so far as to say that Facebook has jumped the shark. One reason I say this is because of their recent announcement that they have reached the 1 billion monthly active user base. However, I will say that Facebook needs to get out of desperation mode and reach out for some better leadership at the top. One of the things I hate about companies that go public is that they so often they forget who got them where they are and who will take them where they want to go. There is no doubt in my mind that this newest offering will generate some money for Facebook, but seriously, isn’t $7 a little steep for a personal post? I personally loved a statement one of my friends posted about this new feature, which I believe says it all: (I will keep him anonymous to protect his identity)

Great feature. Thrilled to pay money to tell people what I had for lunch (bologna sandwich). [dripping with sarcasm] :)

I believe that statement not only drips with sarcasm, it drips with a lot of truth. Facebook better learn to listen to its user base. Business 101 says come up with a product that people want at a price the market can bear. $7 is an awful high price for something that used to work for free!

Know Your Users

Mr. Zuckerberg, you came up with a fantastic idea and history says it was almost an accident of being in the right place at the right time with the right idea. People really do want to connect. Personally, I believe that I am a product of every encounter with every friend, family member, and acquaintance I have ever known. That is why I have so many “friends” on Facebook. Not that I am extremely close to every one of them, but they have all left some mark on the pages of my life’s book. For me, Facebook is all about people. So I make this plea to the decision makers at Facebook, get to know your people. Make an attempt to connect with this giant user base you have at your disposal and figure out a way to make some money without marginalizing them. Consider the Timeline fiasco. Personally, I like the Timeline feature of Facebook, but the way Facebook implemented this new feature was asinine. To this day, I still hear people complaining about the Timeline feature. Why? I believe it was because they felt slighted. Here they had to relearn how to use this chronological mess where everything looked different and not to forget the privacy issues that were exposed by the little live feed on the right side of the screen. In a business that was created on connecting people, Facebook seems completely incapable or unwilling to do the same.

Opinion: Goodbye September, You Sucked!

Here I sit at my PC at the end of September 2012 and wonder where all the time went. Looking back on this past month, “lackluster” is the only thing I can come up with to describe it. Maybe I am just a little extra grumpy today and if that is the case, please accept my apologies up front. However, I can’t help but look at this past month and not wonder what good came from it. My colleagues and I have conversed back and forth several times about how dry the news cycles seem to be in regards to the tech industry. Not that there isn’t any news, but most of it lacks any pizzazz or appeal for our audience. This could be the result of an abysmal global economy. However, I believe there is a greater underlying issue and the wretched economy is merely a symptom of that issue. The issue I speak of is the severe lack of INNOVATION! Google search defines innovate:

 Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

We’ve had no shortage of press releases from high tech vendors touting their innovation, but I ask you, which of those supposed innovations has made you want to dump out your pocketbook and go shopping? To be honest, this reality isn’t all bad, that is if you have the ability to think creatively and the guts to take a risk in this market.

Exhibit A

In my case against the tech industry, let me introduce exhibit A, Apple. Go to Apple’s website, http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/, and see “what’s new”. Notice, I went ahead and put the entire URL there because I want you to see that Apple literally put the words “whats-new” in the link. Now glance down the page and tell me what is the first thing you see listed. Here’s what I see, “Maps Take a Whole New Turn”. Seriously I don’t even know where to begin here. Let’s start with their original logic. You’re telling me that with all the genius that resides in the headquarters of Apple, the most innovative new thing they could add to their IOS was a map? Please let me jump off the couch, go trade in my iPhone 4S, which by the way, many AT&T users have found that their upgrades aren’t available for upgrade to the iPhone 5 yet, and shell out massive dough for an upgrade. Of course, if you have the iPhone 4S, you can upgrade its IOS to 6 for free, but then you’ll probably end up like my boss who came to me freaking out because he no longer has Google Maps anymore. But Apple gave you a map, right? Yeah and unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you know by now that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, had to write a public apology for the horrid piece of work their map turned out to be. Now, to my second question. Why in the world is that stupid map still listed as your number one addition on your IOS 6 “what’s new” page? Unfortunately, the lack of innovation doesn’t stop there. Siri gets some tweaks by adding additional languages and letting you ask for sports scores. Facebook is much more integrated into IOS 6. Yet with all these lackluster features, people are flocking to get their iPhone 5’s. This to me, is beyond all logic and speaks volumes about the cult that is Apple. Now there are some who believe Apple is going to pull us out of the recession. Folks I don’t know if you realize that kicking out Google Maps and YouTube from Apple makes them more of a closed system. A closed system stands to help no one besides the ones inside that closed system.

Google Celebrates Its Official 14th Birthday

Google Birthday Cake

Happy birthday Google!! Today, when you visit the search giant’s website, you will be greeted with a huge chocolate cake glowing with 14 candles on top. You may recall I wrote an article a few weeks ago titled “Google Celebrates Its 14th Birthday“. Despite what my friends may say, I am not crazy. Google’s birthday is not today, though today is the day they chose to put the cake on their page.  I find it funny how some sources are saying Google’s birthday is September 7th, but if you go to Google and type the search query “when was Google founded”, you will get the result September 4th. Anyway, for some reason Google started putting their birthday logo on their main page on September 27th instead of their real birthday.

Below, you can see the result of the animated cake after everyone has scarfed down their favorite piece! You will notice that the candles are neatly arranged at the bottom of the cake to tally up to 14. Of course, what’s left of the cake spells out the name Google.Cake Eaten

Google has become such a part of our lives, I don’t think many of us realize what life was like before it. How did we ever reach our vacation destinations without Google maps? How many unanswered questions would there be if Google weren’t around to answer them instantly from our smart phones? It’s hard to believe how much has changed in 14 years. It is so easy to take for granted the genius idea the founders of Google had when they developed this search engine. Here’s to many more birthdays for Google and the hope that it will live up to its unofficial slogan, “Don’t Be Evil”.

Dry-run Experiments Push Us Closer to Nuclear Fusion Power

Beryllium Liner
Sandia researcher, Ryan McBride, observes central beryllium liner to be imploded by the powerful magnetic field generated by Sandia’s Z machine (Photo by Randy Montoya/Sandia National Laboratories)

It is the holy grail of many physicists. Nuclear fusion, the process of fusing two atomic nuclei together to form a single heavier nucleus, could turn the energy industry on its head. You see nuclear fusion everyday. Just look up at that bright ball of fiery gas in the sky and you’ll see what I mean. The process that occurs everyday on the sun is called nuclear fusion and its by-product is enormous energy. The problem with trying to replicate the process here on earth is that we haven’t been able to reach the “break even” point, which is the point where the amount of energy produced by the reaction exceeds the amount of energy it takes to start it. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have succeeded in a dry-run experiment that draws us one step closer to nuclear fusion power.

Pictured above, a cylindrical tube called a “liner” is subjected to intense electromagnetic pressure by the labs “Z” machine thereby causing it to implode. The process is called MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion). The tube is intended to eventually be filled with nuclear fuel called deuterium (AKA heavy hydrogen). In theory, if the liner can maintain its cylindrical integrity while being crushed by the incredible magnetic pressure, it should essentially squeeze these deuterium atoms in a manner that would create a fusion reaction. The problem is to find the sweet spot to make this happen. If the liner is too thick, then it will take too much energy to produce the reaction. If it is too thin, then the liner will be ripped to shreds before the reaction can take place. The cylindrical beryllium liners fared pretty well in the recent experiments. Researchers plan to perform a couple more MagLIF concepts in experiments this December, which will incorporate lasers to preheat the core fuel to put more energy into the experiment prior to the magnetic pulses, and additional coils at the top and bottom of the liner to keep possible fuel elements from leaking out. They hope to test the full concept by the end of 2013.

For more information, visit Sandia National Laboratories website at http://www.sandia.gov.


Microsoft YouthSpark to Connect 300 Million Youth to Opportunity

Microsoft launched a massive campaign today to empower, educate, and provide opportunities for millions of young people on a global scale. As part of its campaign to be a good global citizen, Microsoft has introduced a new program called YouthSpark. The program will cooperate with businesses, governments, and nonprofits to create opportunities for young people worldwide.

YouthSpark Logo

In a live event hosted online today, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, talked about the initiative. Ballmer said, “Through Microsoft YouthSpark we are making a commitment to help 300 million young people around the world achieve their dreams by focusing our citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. We believe that working with our partners we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that.” Noting the global economic downturn and lack of trained workforce Brad Smith, Executive Vice President of Microsoft said, “Our next generation of citizenship will focus on the next generation of people. The global unemployment rate for workers younger than 25 is 12.7 percent, which is double the rate for the world as a whole. This is indicative of a growing opportunity divide between young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. We must work together to close the opportunity divide for youth and help secure the future of this generation and the future of our global economy.”

Microsoft plans to partner with nonprofits worldwide including GlobalGiving Foundation, TakingITGlobal, Telecentre.org Foundation and the International Youth Foundation, as well as regional nonprofits such as Silatech in the Middle East, The Trust for Americas in Latin America, AIESEC International in Europe, and the ASEAN Foundation in Asia. In the U.S. it plans to work with 5 charities including Boys & Girls Clubs of AmericaCity YearJunior Achievement USANetwork for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Year Up Inc. YouthSpark will offer students and teachers access to Office 365 for Education and Skype in the classroom, as well as other tools for teachers. To be honest, the programs they outlined today are so vast, it is truly hard to take it all in. On top of all the previous things mentioned, YouthSpark will also be offering the following:

• Partners in Learning. A professional development program for government officials, school leaders and educators to help them with new approaches to teaching and learning, using technology to help students develop 21st century skills.

• Microsoft IT Academy. A career-ready education program available to all accredited academic institutions, providing students with 21st century technology.

• DreamSpark. Free access to Microsoft designer and developer tools for students and educators, helping advance key technical skills during the high school and college years, a critical time in a student’s development.

• Imagine Cup. The world’s premier youth technology competition, which challenges students to apply their knowledge and passion to develop technical solutions for social impact, to develop engaging games, and to demonstrate innovation that can benefit others, local communities and the world.

• Students to Business. A program that matches university students with jobs or internships in the technology industry.

• BizSpark. A software startup program, providing young entrepreneurs with access to Microsoft software development tools and connections with key industry players, including investors, to help them start a new business.

Microsoft is also focusing on other citizenship efforts. Here are 3 initiatives they outlined in their press release today:

• Give for Youth, a global microgiving marketplace focused on raising funds for nonprofits that support youth causes around the world.

• Microsoft YouthSpark Hub, an online space where people can explore and access all the youth services, programs and resources provided by Microsoft and its nonprofit partners.

• Microsoft Innovate for Good, a global online community enabling youth to collaborate, inspire and support one another while using technology to make a difference in their communities.

Microsoft has definitely taken on a huge undertaking with these programs. Hopefully, word will spread and those who could benefit the most from this program will find the resource best suited for them. If you or someone you know would like more information, visit Microsoft’s website at http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/youthspark/.

Giant Roman-Era Mosaic Discovered in Turkey

Crews from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, have unearthed a gorgeous Roman mosaic in the ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragum on the southern Turkish coast. This massive 1,600 square foot work of art is a testament to the craftsmanship of the era and the vast reach of the Roman empire at the time.

Mosaic View from Above
View of the mosaic from above. (Credit: Michael Hoff, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Michael Hoff, Hixson-Lied professor of art history at UNL was the director of the excavation. Hoff believes it to be the largest mosaic to be found in this area and explains the finds impact on the history of the region by saying, “We were surprised to have found a mosaic of such size and of such caliber in this region – it’s an area that had usually been off the radar screens of most ancient historians and archeologists, and suddenly this mosaic comes into view and causes us to change our focus about what we think (the region) was like in antiquity.”

The project at Antiochia ad Cragum began in 2001, when Hoff and other researchers discovered small mosaic tiles that had been dug up by a farmer. The find was brought to the attention of the archeological museum in Alanya. Last year the museum asked Hoff to clear the mosaic and help preserve it as a tourist spot and for academic purposes. Hoff directed students from both UNL and Atatürk University in Ezrurum, Turkey.

The mosaic was part of a Roman bath which was a very common feature in Roman antiquity. “This would have been a very formal associated pavement attached to the bath,” Hoff said. “This is a gorgeous mosaic, and its size is unprecedented”. In fact, it is so large, that the team estimates they have only uncovered 40% of it.  Pictured below, you can see a close up view of the bath that was excavated at the site.

Roman Bath
The Roman bath uncovered during the summer. (Credit – Office of University Communications University of Nebraska–Lincoln)

A find like this must make someone like Hoff feel like a kid in a candy store. In a UNL press release, you can almost feel the enthusiasm jump off the page when you read:

“As an archaeologist, I am always excited to make new discoveries. The fact that this discovery is so large and also not completely uncovered makes it doubly exciting,” he said. “I am already looking forward to next year, though I just returned from Turkey.”

For more information, and to see more incredible pictures, please visit UNL’s website at http://go.unl.edu/d0g.

Opinion: Google Hammers the Final Nail in XP’s Coffin

Windows XP has had a good run. It was released on October 25, 2001. Oddly enough, Microsoft plans to unveil Windows 8 on that same date here in a few short weeks. There is no question that Windows XP was a raging success. Compared to earlier versions of Windows, XP was simply a much more stable workhorse. It kind of reminds me of the old Volkswagen Beetles. Those old 60’s and 70’s models are still running the roads today. Though Windows 7 very recently took the top spot away, XP was certainly a testament to a well designed and flexible system. Did it have flaws? Of course it did, but it worked and quite frankly, I believe it worked pretty darn well. Unfortunately, there is a time and a season for everything under the sun and XP, I am sad to say, has run its course. If you’re like me, you’re probably not completely happy about this because from a business productivity standpoint, Windows 7 just doesn’t offer that much more than XP did. Windows 8 is probably going to be a lot of fun for tablet users, but I don’t see it doing for business what XP did. However, 11 years is a long time for a car to run and 11 years is an awful long time for an OS to run. That has been a major problem for Microsoft whose Windows 7 OS, until recently, was essentially competing against its older brother XP. Why is this a problem? First of all, Microsoft exists to make money. Second, you can’t exist as a business with no cash flow. Now I do realize that Microsoft has other products, but they have lost significant revenue over the years due to the fact that they just couldn’t get users to switch from XP.


Google Driving the Nail

All this being said you would think that Microsoft would be the one pounding the final nail in Windows XP’s coffin. The first major sign that XP started dying on the vine was when Internet Explorer 9 was released but wasn’t supported on Windows XP. As it stands however, Microsoft does intend to support Windows XP until April of 2014. Just don’t expect anything significant to be developed for it. The odd news however, is that a recent announcement by Google may be the final nail in the coffin for XP. Here’s a tidbit from their recent blog post:

Internet Explorer 10 launches on 10/26/2012, and as a result, we will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 8 shortly afterwards, on 11/15/2012. After this date users accessing Google Apps services using Internet Explorer 8 will see a message recommending that they upgrade their browser.

This is truly an interesting move on Google’s part and the timing may really play in Microsoft’s favor. Don’t get me wrong, Google is no doubt being opportunistic here. They began the aforementioned blog post with the bragging point that Google Chrome browser automatically updates itself to the most recent version so you never have to worry about things like this. Their timing is impeccable. As any successful business person knows, timing is everything. Now this policy is not something new. Google posted the following in June of last year:

As of August 1st, we will discontinue support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, and Safari 3. In these older browsers you may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites, and eventually these apps may stop working entirely.

With this information in mind, I am not going to sit here and accuse Google of some evil scheme, nor am I saying that they are in cahoots with Microsoft by trying to force XP users to make the switch. However, the unintended consequence of this may just be that users will finally clue in that it is time to say goodbye to XP.

Is That Drink Container Making Your Children Obese?

A study published in the September 19th edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association has raised concerns about a commonly used chemical, bisphenol A(BPA), and its link to obesity in children and teens.

soda can

BPA is an organic compound that is used in the manufacturing of everything from polymers and epoxies, to plastic bottles and aluminum cans. It’s been used in manufacturing since the 60’s. There are many concerns that BPA has negative effects on the endocrine system by essentially disrupting human metabolism. Other studies have associated BPA exposure to cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and infertility. It appears that the most significant current use of BPA is in aluminum cans as an anitseptic. The FDA continues to study BPA, but has not called for an outright ban. However, it has banned its use in sippy cups and baby bottles.

A study done by  New York University School of Medicine has shown “significant association” between obesity in children and teens with higher levels of urinary BPA. According to their press release, “This is the first association of an environmental chemical in childhood obesity in a large, nationally representative sample,” said lead investigator Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine. “Our findings further demonstrate the need for a broader paradigm in the way we think about the obesity epidemic. Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity certainly contribute to increased fat mass, but the story clearly doesn’t end there.”

This was one of the most comprehensive studies done on the subject of BPA in children and teens and its correlation to obesity. It controlled for numerous factors such as, race/ethnicity, age, caregiver education, poverty to income ratio, sex, serum cotinine level, caloric intake, television watching, and urinary creatinine level. What the researchers found is that those who had the highest levels of urinary BPA were 2.6 times more likely to be obese than those with the lowest levels of BPA. They even took the testing a bit further to see if there may be other sources of BPA such as sunscreens and soaps. These proved to be insignificant sources.

“Most people agree the majority of BPA exposure in the United States comes from aluminum cans,” Dr. Trasande said. “This data adds to already existing concerns about BPA and further supports the call to limit exposure of BPA in this country, especially in children. Removing it from aluminum cans is probably one of the best ways we can limit exposure. There are alternatives that manufacturers can use to line aluminum cans.”

To read FDA statements regarding BPA, visit their website at http://www.fda.gov or download a PDF regarding the subject at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM297971.pdf.

Bing Commemorates Constitution Day

Microsoft’s premiere search engine, Bing, celebrates the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution with a beautiful graphic of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

Bing Ellis Island
Screenshot of Bing’s Ellis Island Tribute

225 years ago today, our founding fathers ratified the U.S. Constitution. It was the end result of a laborious process taken on by brave and pioneering men, who tirelessly argued in favor and against each other until they were able to pen document to “form a more perfect union”. The U.S. Constitution was created to replace its weaker predecessor, the Articles of the Confederation, which failed to provide for many things like an executive or judicial branch of government. In May 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened to essentially edit the Articles, but it became abundantly clear that a new document needed to be drawn. This was no easy task. There were many who didn’t believe the federal government should have power over the states. In fact, Rhode Island didn’t even send representatives to the convention because of their opposition. In the end, a great compromise prevailed and a framework for liberty and freedom was penned that has stood strong these 225 years.

The U.S. has endured many trials since those days. As a mingling of people and cultures from all over the world, it truly is amazing what the U.S. has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. While mistakes have been made along the way, such as the participation of many in our nation in slave trading, there have also been redeeming acts performed along the way, such as many who fought and died so that the slaves could be set free. It seems appropriate that Bing would picture Ellis Island, which stood for so long as the representation of the open door America had for the immigrants of the world. How many brave souls walked through those doors, being from a foreign land, and having no idea what was in store for them.

In 2004, Senator Robert Byrd created a bill to make Constitution Day a national observance. He said, “”Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world.” The law requires the teaching of the Constitution in all federally funded schools and agencies. He recognized that all citizens need to be informed about the Constitution. Below, I have included the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It is my sincere hope that we Americans can someday live up to the standard set forth in the Constitution and that we can someday return to the spirit of mutual respect and compromise that was so evident among the founding fathers of this nation. If you would like to learn more about the U.S. Constitution, check out these resources:

You can also visit Bing’s page, which is full of informational tidbits at http://bing.com.

Scribble Press Review

Scribble Press is an iPad app that lets you create and illustrate stories and share them with others. It is an award winning app and I can see why. There’s a lot of fun to be had by both young and old. If you’re a parent, teacher, or homeschooling, this is a must-have app for iPad.

Scribble Press Screen
Start Screen for Scribble Press

Inspiring the Story Teller

I installed Scribble Press on my iPad recently and was amazed how quickly my seven year old picked up on how to use it. It took her about 5 minutes to figure out how to start using the built-in story templates and create her first story. That’s when I knew this FREE app had a lot to offer. Scribble Press is really about empowering the creative mind and giving them all the tools needed to create a story from start to finish. For the beginner, there are story templates that your children can pick from, such as “My Babysitter Is a Zombie”. The story pages are outlined in advance. All the child has to do is fill in some of the blanks with names and such. It doesn’t take long however, for your child to graduate from the templates to creating full-blown stories of their own. The other day my daughter read me a story she created that literally made me laugh out loud. How cool is that?!?

Illustrating Made Easy

The illustrating tools are incredible in Scribble Press. Your child can go to the marker wall, pictured below, and choose from an enormous amount of brilliant colors and different types of media. They can use markers, crayons, stamps, and much more. Not only can your child tell a story, but they can express their inner artist. If you’re a teacher, or homeschooling, I could see this being a great tool for inter-discipline teaching by combining language arts and visual art concepts. You might even use this app for team building by having one child write the story and another child illustrate the story.

Illustration Tools
Illustration Tools

The newest version of Scribble Press also lets you create graphics without having to write a story. This is pretty nice because, as you can see in the first picture above, there is a little shopping cart where you can purchase a hard copy book as well as, other nifty products with your illustrations on them.

Pros: Scribble Press makes story creation fun. The newest version allows multiple account creation on one iPad so you can set up separate profiles for multiple people. The story templates are there to inspire the young writer, but it is advanced enough to let them create stories from scratch. There are lots of illustrating tools and they can share their work with parental approval.

Cons: At the moment I don’t really have any to report. This is simply one of the best apps I have seen. Some may view the fact that additional templates cost money as a negative, but they’re not that expensive.

Scribble Press, in my opinion, is a 5 star program, and I would recommend it as an educational tool for anyone trying to teach children to write. Quite frankly, it’s fun for adults too. For more information, visit their page in the iTunes store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scribble-press/id487300076?mt=8.