Keirsten Heckel

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June 5 , 2017

Squirrels Summer 2017 Reading List

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The school year is over, vacations are on the horizon and oh yeah, ISTE is this month! After the seemingly endless hours of grading papers and preparing lesson plans, summer is the perfect time for educators to relish in the successes of the school year and rejuvenate for the next. So we ask - what better way to do this than with a good book in hand?

To help you find the perfect summer book, members of the Squirrels team share their recommendations below.

 Becky Shiring
Director of Professional Development and Continued Learning

“The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” by George Plimpton
A hilarious book that stemmed from an April Fools’ Day joke article in Sports Illustrated about a baseball player that can throw 168 mph. What more do you need?

“Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World” by Bruce Schneier
This book is a totally shocking look into how governments and corporations collect data on us every day. Most people are apathetic about privacy issues, but this book will change your mind.

“Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell
This is an epic book that beautifully weaves through time. Mitchell has an amazing ability to write with a different voice through each period of time. 

“The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why” by Amanda Ripley
This book totally changed the way I look at the situations I'm in. It basically says that people survive because they practice what to do in emergencies. Also, always look for the exit when you enter a new room!

Jessica Chevalier
Director of Business Intelligence

“Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia” by Elizabeth Gilbert
It's a great reminder that we learn a lot about ourselves when we step out of our comfort zones. 

Joseph McCulty
Business Analyst 

“Sula” by Toni Morrison
"Sula" is close to "Sulu" and Toni Morrison kind of looks like Uhura. The book itself is decent, but sadly not about Star Trek. 

Connal Kelly
Account Executive 

“The Good Girl” by Mary Kubica
Thriller that keeps you turning the page!

Alissa McGill
Developer Relations Engineer

“Mistress of Dragons” by Margaret Weis
Unique and epic fantasy. Written by one of the authors of the Dragonlance books. It is like Eragon but with more grit and adult themes.

Aaron Rinier

Director of Customer Support

“Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
I really enjoyed reading about Kennedy's time in WW2 in the Navy, and how it influenced the rest of his life. There are a lot of interesting facts about him that I was never taught in school.  Very easy to read also.

Stephen Gerstacker
Senior Developer 

“Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A. Heinlein
This book is an interesting reflection on the current political and cultural climate that we're experiencing today. 

Ashley Swinehart
Jr. Front End Web Developer

“Filters Against Folly: How To Survive Despite Economists, Ecologists, and the Merely Eloquent” by Garret Hardin
This book tells you how to think and make decisions through these 'filters' in judgment which must be considered. It's a timeless reference for problem solving.

Mike Bruin
Technical Support Rep

“The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism” by Naoki Higashida
I like this book because it is a quick but vivid and fascinating look into the mind of a special needs child.

Keirsten Heckel
Communications Strategist

“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
I love any book with elements of suspense and emotion. The Girl on the Train leaves you questioning whether to empathize with the main character or feel sorry for her, while uncovering a mystery that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Llaran Smiles
QA Analyst

“The Last of the Renshai” by Mickey Zucker Reichert
This is the first book of an often overlooked fantasy trilogy. It’s very well written with a compelling story.

Emily Carle Hafer
Alpha Squirrels Program Manager

“Along Came a Leader: A Guide to Personal and Professional Leadership” by Kelly Croy
Written by one of our Alpha Squirrels, Kelly Croy's “Along Came a Leader” transcends educational leadership. It's a must read for educators, but the lessons, humor, and insight can be applied in any situation.

“#FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment With Technology” by Monica Burns
Written by one of our Alpha Squirrels, #FormativeTech tackles two major topics in education: assessment and technology. It can be daunting to connect the two, but Monica does so in a way that is easy to understand and practical. Plenty of "try on Monday" tips for all educators!

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
“A Wrinkle in Time” is a classic YA novel for all ages that dives into the world of science and fantasy. Bonus: it will be released as a movie in 2018, so you can get a jump start on the story now!

“Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty
If you heard the hype around the HBO mini-series of the same name, you need to take the time to read this book. Moriarty knows how to add twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged until the very end.

Jon Bishop
Creative Director of Marketing

“The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger” by Stephen King
The movie is coming out this summer (ft. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey), but it seems to just borrow from King's self-described magnum opus series "The Dark Tower." If you like westerns, horror and sci-fi, it's a great read. Even more, the series connects pillars of King's canon–like IT, The Stand, Salem's Lot and Hearts in Atlantis.

 

If you have any recommendations for us, feel free to leave them in the comments below. 

We want to wish all educators a happy, relaxing and safe summer! Happy reading!

May 26 , 2017

Cord Cutter’s Guide: How to Stream and Mirror the Indianapolis 500

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means it’s time for family, food and (hopefully) good weather, but for some, it’s time to watch cars go around a 2.5-mile track 200 times. Coverage of the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 begins Sunday, May 28th at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.

Billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500 (also known as the Indy 500) is one of the most popular automobile races of all time. Millions of people tune in to watch the Indy 500 broadcast, while more than 250,000 people travel to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to experience it firsthand. 

Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, Alexander Rossi and more are ready to put the pedal to the metal and take on the 500 miles/200 laps/805km. So the question is, if they’re ready, are you?

Here are a few streaming (and mirroring) solutions to get you prepared for the big race.

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IndyCar Race Control is the best (and free!) option for cord cutters, and it gives viewers live scoring and updates throughout the day. No cable subscription required.

 

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Sling TV is one of the best ways for cord cutters to stream live TV without a cable subscription. Subscribers can choose the Broadcast Extra package ($5/mo.) on top of their Sling Orange package ($20/mo.) to have access to ABC. However, if you only want to use Sling TV for the Indy 500, you can try Sling TV free for seven days.

You can also use your Sling TV Orange account to watch the Indy 500 on WatchESPN. All you need to do is go to www.espn.com/watch and log in with your Sling TV credentials.

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One of the newest solutions for cord cutters is DirecTV NOW by AT&T. This online streaming service offers more than 60 TV channels, including ABC, for $35/mo. without a contract. You can also try it free for seven days. The service is available on most streaming devices including computers and mobile devices. 

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Good news, PlayStation owners! You can watch your favorite driver right from your gaming console. PlayStation Vue offers a large package of channels including ABC, which is what you need to watch the Indy 500. The package starts at $29.99/mo. and does not require a contract. This service is compatible with PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. Try it free!

Note: Channel availability, pricing and supported devices are subject to change and may vary by location. 

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SN Now is a live streaming service that allows viewers to watch coverage of all Verizon IndyCar series races, including the Indy 500. You can purchase this service for $24.99/mo., however, if you already subscribe to Sportsnet, SN Now is available at no additional cost.

Indy 500 viewing pro tip:

Finding ways to stream live TV is only half the battle for cord cutters. After all, nobody wants to watch the last lap of the historic Indy 500 with a roomful of people crowded around a tiny computer screen. Download AirParrot 2 on your Mac or PC to wirelessly mirror that live broadcast from your computer directly to an Apple TV or Chromecast.

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Enter http://racecontrol.indycar.com in your Chrome or Firefox browser, or log in to your Sling TV, DirecTV NOW or SN Now account to stream the event. Then open AirParrot and select your browser as the “From” option. Select your Apple TV or Chromecast as the “To” option. This will allow you to experience all the action on the big screen.

Learn more about the AirParrot 2 desktop mirroring/streaming app.

May 9 , 2017

Why We Appreciate Teachers on National Teachers’ Day

"The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth." - Dan Rather

Teachers are introduced in our lives at an early age to help guide us as we grow and mature. The countless teachers we are exposed to in our lifetime shapes our minds and helps us discover our passions, strengths and weaknesses. Their professional efforts change the world by creating the presidents, doctors, lawyers, policemen and engineers of tomorrow. They teach us not only about important subjects, but about life lessons that help us understand the world. Most of all, they inspire us to follow our dreams and to never give up. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you to the teachers that have helped us, to the teachers that are helping the future and to the teachers that we are lucky enough to work with every day.

This National Teachers’ Day, members of the Squirrels team reflect on the teachers that have had a positive impact on their lives. 

Emily Carle Hafer, Alpha Squirrels Program Manager: 

“I have a love of reading today because of the positive learning environment provided for me in elementary school. I remember my teacher, Miss Ruth, reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” out loud to the class, which turned me into a Harry Potter fan for life and a fervent reader. Outside of our read-aloud time, I was picking up every book I could, which I still do today!”

Becky Shiring, Director of Professional Development and Continued Learning: 

“Hands down, the teacher that had the largest impact on my life was Rick Tubman, my high school field hockey coach. He wasn’t my teacher in the traditional sense, but he was also an elementary educator. When I expressed an interest in becoming a teacher, he let me volunteer in his 5th grade class. He knew how to find the strength in every player and every student and then use that strength to help them excel. He helped even the most timid students and players believe in themselves. He inspired teamwork and empowered others to become leaders themselves, which is what true leadership is. I learned about the type of leader and teacher I wanted to be from Mr. Tubman. It’s no surprise that he’s a school principal now.” 

Alissa McGill, Developer Relations Engineer:

“To Ms. Filliez for teaching me to pay attention to detail by mercilessly taking off points for misspelling French words and missing accent marks in her class. To Ms. Filliez for teaching me creativity with projects that required us to put on fashion shows, present mock weather forecasts and write and illustrate our own storybooks. To Ms. Filliez for rewarding good grades on exams with free homework passes and challenging us not to use them even after we had worked so hard to earn them. To you Ms. Filliez, a teacher whom I will remember long after I have forgotten how to speak French.”

Joe McCulty, Business Analyst:

“The teacher who has most positively impacted my life was Sue Bugansky, my Spanish teacher of three years. In addition to teaching me Spanish, I also learned more about the English language from her than any other teacher. Beyond that, she gave me my first real glimpse of the world beyond the familiar bubble of my rural high school. Part of that comes with the territory - it is a foreign language - but Señora B was particularly suited for this task. She has seen so much and experienced so much of the world. Hearing stories, seeing pictures and holding souvenirs from the person teaching you makes a huge impression.

I’m not the only one who has been impacted by her. All her students were automatically members of Spanish Club. She would have the senior students organize events at one of the nearby Mexican restaurants every couple of weeks. Spanish Club was a great boon to students who didn’t normally sign up for extracurricular activities. Señora B has since retired, but the Spanish Club tradition lives on. A good group of her former students still calls her up to plan new events, including paella days! She’s pretty much the coolest.”

Happy National Teachers' Day to all the teachers of the world! You make learning fun and that’s a reason to celebrate you every day. 

April 6 , 2017

How to Live Stream Android, iPad and iPhone Games to Twitch Using Reflector

Social video platform services such as YouTube Gaming, Hitbox.tv and Twitch offer gamers an opportunity to turn their recreational hobby into an interactive gaming experience that others can enjoy. Streaming services are about more than just technology – they’re about cultivating and empowering a community of fans and gamers.

Live streaming is a popular way for enthusiasts to stream gameplay through a social network that connects friends and fans over a shared love of games. It’s more than just a spectator experience. Users can use audio and chat to enable streamers and their audiences to interact in real time. 

Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, has arguably become the dominate live-game streaming platform. It last reported 100 million active users. Users can stream gameplay from iOS, Android, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, Fire TV and Nvidia Shield devices. The best part? It’s free to participate on either side of the stream.

So how do you stream Android, iPad and iPhone games to Twitch? What software do you need? And how can our Reflector software help?

  1. Create a Twitch Account

To start streaming, you need to sign up for the streaming service, Twitch. On the top right of the Twitch website, select “Sign Up” to create your account. Don’t worry, it’s free!Step 1B.png

After creating your Twitch account, visit your Twitch dashboard page and click on the “Stream Key” tab. Click the “Show Key” button. Save the key, as you will need it later.

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Note: DO NOT share this key with anyone. Access to this key will allow anyone to stream on your channel.

  1. Download and Install Open Broadcasting Software (OBS)

Now that you have a Twitch account, you will need to download and install OBS (also free) to share your gaming with the world. This software is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Below is a quick reference to a few of the interface elements we will touch on:

Scenes – This is where you can manage all the different scenes you want to stream or record. A scene is what gets transmitted in your video feed.

Source – A source is where you choose where your stream comes from. For example, a “Game Capture” source will take a direct feed from a game window.

Status – At the bottom of the window, there is a status bar that shows you how long your stream has been running, how many frames have been dropped, the stream’s frame rate and the upload rate.

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  1. Stream Mobile Games to Twitch
  1. To start, open Reflector 2 to wirelessly mirror your device screen to your computer instead of using a cable. Connect your mobile device to Reflector using its native AirPlay or Cast technology. We recommend mirroring your device screen to Reflector first.
  2. Open OBS and sign in to your Twitch account.
  3. Right click the “Scenes” box in the lower left hand corner of OBS and click “Add.” You can name the scene whatever you like.Step 3BC.png
  4. Right click on the Source box and select “Add” just like you did with the scene.
  5. Select “Window Capture” from the list of choices and name it whatever you like.
  6. Select “[Reflector 2]” with the corresponding name of your device in the properties box.
  7. Click “Ok” and your device screen will appear in the OBS stream window.

Remember your stream key from Twitch? You will use that to link your Twitch account to your OBS software.

  1. Click on the “Settings” in bottom right of the OBS.
  2. Select the “Stream” tab.Step 3K.png
  3. Copy and paste your key into the “Stream Key” box.
  4. Make sure Twitch is selected in the “Service” box and “Streaming Services” is selected in “Stream Type.”
  5. Close the settings and click “Start Streaming” in the bottom right hand corner of your OBS software.Step 3L.png
  6. What you see in the OBS window should be the same image that appears in your “Video Preview” on your Twitch dashboard page and on your channel homepage.

Note: It may take a few minutes to connect depending on your network conditions.

  1. Record and Upload Mobile Gameplay to Twitch

Live streaming not for you? You can record and upload your mobile gameplay videos, too.

  1. Follow the same instructions listed above and click “Start Recording” instead of “Start Streaming” in OBS.
  2. To change the recording path, or where your recording saves, go to “Settings” in OBS and select the “Output” tab.Step 4B.png
  3. Under “Recording” you can browse your computer to select a destination to save your videos.
  4. Head back to your Twitch account.
  5. Under “Video Manager,” select the “Upload” tab across the top. From there you can either:
    1. Drag and drop your file, or
    2. click the “Upload” button in the top right hand corner.'Step 4D.png

Now you’re ready to share your gaming skills with your Twitch audience! Get the Reflector screen-mirroring software to begin live streaming your iOS or Android devices to Twitch. 

April 6 , 2017

Cord Cutter’s Guide: How to Stream and Mirror the 2017 Masters For Easy Viewing

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Early April signals one thing for golf fans around the world – the Masters. It’s the Super Bowl of golf.  

This tournament is one of four major championships in professional golf and is played annually at the Augusta National Golf Club. Only the best of the best get to play on this historical course, including Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

How to watch the Masters without cable 

Let’s be honest, our lives are busy and you won’t be able to catch every Masters shot on TV, or maybe you don't have cable to begin with. Here’s how you can stream the tournament for free online and feel like you’re on the green at Augusta National.

Masters.com

Masters.com will allow viewers to see live feeds in 4K from the range, practice facilities, Amen Corner (holes 11, 12 and 13), the 15th and 16th hole and several featured groups. It’s completely free and no account is required. Coverage will start on Monday, April 3, and conclude on Sunday, April 9.

Below is the full live streaming schedule on Masters.com.

Thursday, April 6

Honorary starters: 7:45 –  8:30 a.m.
On the range: 8:30 – 11 a.m.
Featured groups: 9:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Amen Corner: 10:45 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holes 15 and 16: 11:45 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Broadcast: 3 – 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 7

On the range: 8:30 – 11 a.m.
Featured groups: 9:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Amen Corner: 10:45 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holes 15 and 16: 11:45 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Broadcast: 3 – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 8

Featured groups: 10:15 a.m. – 7 p.m.
On the range: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Amen Corner: 11:45 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holes 15 and 16: 12:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Broadcast: 3 – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 9

Featured groups: 10:15 a.m. – 7 p.m.
On the range: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Amen Corner: 11:45 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holes 15 and 16: 12:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Broadcast: 3 – 7:30 p.m.
Green jacket ceremony: 7 p.m. 

Masters viewing pro tip:

Nobody wants to watch the final putt of the 18th hole around a tiny computer screen. Download AirParrot 2 on your Mac or PC to wirelessly mirror that live broadcast from your computer directly to an Apple TV or Chromecast.

Enter Masters.com in the Chrome or Firefox browser to stream the event. Then open AirParrot on your computer and select your browser as the “From” option. Select your Apple TV or Chromecast as the “To” option. This will wirelessly present the Masters from yoru computer to your TV and allow you to experience all the action on the big screen. 

The image below was taken from the AirParrot menu and shows you how to do this. You simply select your browser or application. Then select where to send it.

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Learn more about the AirParrot 2 desktop mirroring/streaming app.

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. Our excitement and passion lies in creating high-qualty, budget-friendly software that can be used to enhance the devices already found in today's home and work environments. Follow our blog for all the latest product releases, #TeamSquirrels news and industry insight!