PK 2012 year end review

First Things First

Last year the world lost Steve Jobs. This year Stephen Covey passed away. I have long been a fan of his views of life management. If you have not read his work, you should.  First Things First, while relatively less famous, is a much more important book than the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

I do try to balance my life across the different roles I have and leveraging the interdependence between them. Here is a short summary for 2012.

Back to School (again)

Sharpen the saw is an important and often neglected part of  one's life. Working with different startups with the latest web technology requires some level of learning. Heading back to school part time however made it official. The process actually started at the end of 2011. I decided to apply to the MIT advanced study program, designed to let working professionals take graduate courses at MIT part time. Application forms, transcripts, letters of recommendation. Remember those?

The MIT "kids" are great. They are intelligent, creative, attack everything with a passion. It is very refreshing to be able to work with them. Since my part time MBA experience was pretty much show up for lectures in the evening, this is the first time I have a view into normal college life in the U.S. It is very different from the more structured style at Imperial. Think of this as long term planning so that I understand college life for my kids when they get there.

Work Life

We have continued to work on new and old projects at Imperial. We have done more work with Wordpress integration, as well as entering into the IOS world. There are a few exciting new projects that I wish can be finished soon so that we can talk about them in public, but that's the down side of operating in the start up world.


I talked about this each year . Move away from the city? More living space, saving money from switching to a public school, clean air and backyard. This year we did it. An offer for our loft got the process started. I left the loft in Boston and moved back to Lexington.

The moving process was difficult. I moved six times in my adult life prior. I thought I have this down to a science (link). But that was before children. We had 100 boxes of stuff packed, about three times more than what I had before. I took the opportunity to donate, sell and discard most of my own belongings. I like to think we have a minimum amount of toys for the kids, but still it took up a lot of space.

The process was difficult because, for three months I could not find a single house to move to in Lexington. A lot of people are doing the suburban migration. Lexington is one of the hottest market. Houses were either too small and too old, or too large and expensive. We were close to panicking, but the end result is great. It was real serendipity how I found our new home, materials for another blog post.

Our new home fits us wonderfully. Walking distance to all things Lexington Center, open floor plan, 11 foot ceilings, walls of windows, We basically brought our loft and city living to Lexington.

New Communities

Luck would have it, The town of Lexington runs a Lexington Citizen Academy in the Fall of each year where interested residents can attend. For one night a week, in eight weeks I learned about all operations of the town. I now have a much better understanding on how Lexington operates, and I am continued to be impressed with the town. One of the reason for Lexington to run the "academy" is to recruit new volunteers. I joined the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Lexington Library as the library is working on its strategic plans for the future.

New School

A major reason for moving is the public school system. So far our experience has been great. We have dedicated teachers, modern facilities, a strong PTO. Of course I am working on starting a Scratch Club. Meanwhile I am running the Science and Math clubs with a few other like minded parents. More importantly, the kids are loving their new schools and new friends. Going to a neighborhood school we runs into other families more often in after school activities, something that is new to us coming from the Boston private school scene.

Martial Arts

The suburb move is the catalyst for so many things. A wonderful Martial Arts teacher happened to start a new school in Lexington soon after we moved into town. Now not only the kids can start on their martial arts practice, I can add to my regular Tai Chi practice. Sword and Bagua are just a few of the new things that I get to restart.

Other Notables

The Dalia Lama was in Boston, and I got to attend one of his talks! While he was at least 100 feet away (we were in one of the largest conference space at a Boston hotel) and we were mostly watching him on two giant projection screen, you could feel his presence. He speaks with both authority and a genuine child like sense of compassion and openest that is amazing. I am certainly inspired by him and try to carry his philosophy with me as we cross over to year 2013.

The power and confusion of online communities

A firestorm is brewing over this NYTimes op ed article, by Bill Lichtenstein about his daughter, a kindergartener being locked in a closet standing in her own pee in Lexington, MA.  I am a parent and have my own children in the Lexington Public School system. I participate in multiple online parent communities as well as the Lexington online communities. There are, as expected, a lot of "I am shocked" discussions. There are a few "let's wait for the facts" postings in the minority. I am not here to comment about what happened at that time, but to comment about how these online communities have responded. As comments are commented upon, the details of what we know from the article are slowly diluted and changed. Blog posts about the article started to be referenced as additional sources. Law and regulations around these issues are being discussed and I have no way to know whether those are correct.

From reading the article, I have many questions:

  • Was the child attending a Lexington Public Elementary School? Likely but the article never said that.
  • Was the child in a regular class or in a special ed class? We do not know.
  • Were other school families notified? Seems so.
  • Was there a settlement? Seems yes.
  • Were the schools allowed to respond in the public? Not sure.
  • Where people involved fired/disciplined/or more? Not sure.

So I am writing this post with the sole purpose to ask everyone to read the original article very carefully, picked out the facts as mentioned from the article first.

As a final note -- have you noticed the graphics used in the article? Do you think it accurately reflect the situation? Is there a window in the door? Would a five years old be that tall? Would a closet lit by a lightbulb be pitch dark?

Family living, South End vs Lexington

Now that we moved, I have started blogging at the Lexington Patch. This article talks about my initial observation about what has changed from living in the South End to living in Lexington. One additional point about our move -- our new place is very close to Lexington Center. So everything is within walking distance, exactly like the South End. While we miss the Chinese supermarkets and Peters Park, we still get the benefits of having everything else very close by. If we have to get into a car to drive 5 minutes to get to anything, we may feel a little differently.


Flower thief caught

I planted some nice petunias along our driveway in the new house. One day later all the flowers were gone or broken off. Neighborhood kids? I don't think so. Today I caught the thief red handed. Not only he munched away most of the flowers, he is sunning himself two feet away. He did not even move when I got this close to take the picture.

Nice Folks, Mean Folks Part Two

In my previous post, I described the nice things that happened this morning. This post tells you about the not so nice people I encountered today. Remember my "dumber than a dumbbell" post last year? I thought that is behind me but I thought wrong. My Tai Chi student has signed up for some program at the Boston Sports Club that gives her a lot of coupons for "free friends visit". So she has been using them on and off to get me into the club to do the Tai Chi class. Since she has been away for almost two months we actually have not been going for awhile. Today, only our second time since the beginning of Summer, a BCS staff stopped us at the entrance.

"You can't use that coupon, it is for new visitors only", she waved that in front of my friends face. My friend explained that she was told that she could. In fact, the only reason she signed up for the special program is to get those coupons to use for the Tai Chi classes. "No you cannot, see what it says here" the lady pointed at this little postage stamp sized coupon again.

The conversation went downhill from there. I explain to the lady that I am truly puzzled why she explicitly go out of her way to annoy my friend and myself. I told her the additional irony -- I just received a flying from (a different location up the street) BCS offering corporate membership at my office. And her attitude turns me off Boston Sports Club completely.

I really try to understand this lady's mental process (or the lack of). What does she think she is doing? Is she profiting from this or being hurt by this. Today we paid the extra $15 guest fee. So Town Sports made $15. Hurrah! But would we ever go back again? Highly unlikely. So there is no future $15. My friend currently has a family membership. She is so annoyed that she wants to quit now. So that are more hundred of dollars of annual due lost. Why?

You think the lost of one membership is not a big deal. But this is a tight neighborhood. This is my second blog posts that I am writing on this topic. Will this in anyway be positive PR for Boston Sports Club? Or negative?

I quickly checked their yelp listing here. Here are some juicy excerpts:

  • "Staff, including the General Mgr. in particular, often looks like they would rather be anywhere else.  Can't say I blame them, but it's called "acting", I do it at my job all the time."
  • "The hairdryer holders in the women's locker rooms are all broken so the hairdryers just lay on the shelves leaving no room for toiletries etc. Towels are thin with wear. The staff, both front desk and trainers, are indifferent. Asking a question generates attitude - especially the trainers."
  • "The 1-star is for the woman who handles the memberships at this location. Every time I talk to her, she gives me incorrect information. She seems so vibrant, confident and well-versed that you want to believe her - sadly it's a facade."
  • "The staff always says "Have a good workout" even though they clearly don't mean it and don't care."

Enough said.

Nice Folks, Mean Folks

Two things happened today within 10 minutes of each other. Once involved a Boston Police officer. One involve a neighborhood health club manager. If you guessed the nice folk is the Boston Police officer, you are correct. I parked my car on the street early in the morning today right next to my loft and my office. I did not see a poorly taped sign that says temporary no parking. (I still cannot read it). Late morning I got a phone call from an unknown number. This is what happened:

The police officer, instead of towing my car away because turned out that they are doing construction around my parking spot, looked up the registration. He then walked around the block to my building. Fortunately he miss read the loft unit number and knocked on my old neighbors door. They answered the door and rightfully was surprised that a police is at the door. The nice police officer explained that, instead of towing my car, he just want the owner to move it. Once my neighbor realized what is going on, he called me on the phone. I ran downstairs, moved the car and waved a quick thank you to the officer standing next to the construction site.

There is a bit of luck involved here, with the police officer knocked on the wrong door, and that my neighbor was home. But clearly he could have just towed my car. Instead, he and my neighbor saved me a lot of brief and money.

The mean folks tale is here in a different blog post.

My Educational Game Design class made Lifehacker

LifeHacker wrote a piece on Plan Your Free Online Education at Lifehacker U: Summer Semester 2012. The Educational game design class that I am taking at MIT is listed as one of the course! Now they are linking to the free open courseware version which is three years old. This is the link to the actual class. Hopefully our projects will be posted on the class website soon for the world to see! If you want to find out more about the class experience, I wrote about it here, on our work with Portal 2.

Back to Lexington

In the PK's tradition of making important announcements on April's First, it is now semi-public knowledge that I am giving up the city living and heading back to the burbs. At this point I only wished I kept my last house in Lexington. Instead it is now a delicately timed project of selling, renting and buying, in some order between Boston and Lexington. I know I am really going to miss living in the South End. At this point the kiddos are half complaining about leaving "the best house ever". But then they have never had a backyard, nor a private driveway, nor a school that actually has a playground and ball field attached. The pros and cons have already been analyzed in this other blog post. I won't repeat it here. But it is a large part a financial decision. Having stared at risk assessments for over a year while developing WealthMate, the financial implications are getting to me. Also, it seems that, while we are still in the East coast, why not give the kids a bit of the typical American suburban life experience.

Group Class Project and a Portal Weighted Companion Cube

It has been many years since I have to do a group project in school. It was always painful doing group projects in the MBA days. Working students schedule differs from full time students. Expectation is different. For this Games for Education class, there are four group projects. Yes -- FOUR! For the first project, we are to design a curriculum around the game Portal 2. Our project ended up pretty good. And I was pleasantly surprised how well the group project dynamics worked out. The working notes and final paper were written collaboratively using Google docs. Wished we had Google docs back in the MBA days?


I do not know what is the expectation of the professor in terms of the projects. Looking at our own project, and the other three projects in the class, I think everyone could have done a little more. All the concepts are good but the presentation, and in our case our paper, could be better. I wonder if this is because this particular course can be part of a student's HASS requirement -- Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. So in most case it is not a major for a student? Personally I wish I had something like this when I was at Imperial. It would have given me a great introduction to the real world. But in this case the students maybe viewing this as a lighter class? Or that because it is much less of an engineering class, and everyone else is more used to engineering class work.

Portal Cube

Because our project is on the game Portal 2, I have decided to locate a 3D printed portal cube for use in the presentation. We use the cube as a focus device -- whomever has the cube can talk during audience participation. It was a big hit. How I got the cube made? I found a local person on Etsy that print and sell them. He was nice enough to rush me a cube, and I met him literally on the street to pick up the cube before class. If you need anything printed, check him out!

First Week of School

With great anticipation I arrived 5 minutes early for first day of class. First surprise? most people arrived late. Seats quickly ran out as the room was small. Second surprise: lack of laptops. I realized I had the professional meetup/seminar mindset when everyone is typing away, taking notes, back channeling or something else. The professor handed out a color printed copy of the course schedule printed from moodle. There were only four laptops I can see amongst 30+ people. As with must classes, first 30 minutes is spent on housekeeping. Then we broke into small groups to do some brainstorming work. Instinctively I took over as facilitator for the group. Then I realized, on average, the students are a lot less aggressive and participatory then, say even the typical MBA case based classroom. I also forgot that this is a joined class, with a mix of undergrads and grad students. For some of them this maybe their second semester of school. One clear thing is that everyone is pretty bright. Since the course is in Game design for education, we talk a lot about games of all types. And clearly they know games and I learned a thing or two from them in that domain.

Second class - as the class is overbooked, the professor filtered the class down to 20 by second class. It is now more manageable space wise. Still better than meeting in a basement classroom. Now the class is going, it hits me. There are a lot of reading to be done per class. Not to mentioned because this class is very much project based, I see scheduling time with my group a challenge. Until then, it is still a fun, fun class!

Back to school, MIT Advanced Study Program

 It has been a long while since I was in school. The part time MBA at Boston University seems like a decade ago (it was). Why am I putting myself through this again? And at a place where most people are smarter than me? I believe, after spending so much time in the industry, I am dying for some academia work. While I am here in Boston, isn't the Institute the place to be?


Wednesday was orientation. The ASP office staff couldn't be nicer. They really offer a support system so that us adult students, some doing this part time, can survive the hard work. There are luncheons and dinners socials, copy machines and even office space. Full timers get their own cube. Part timers share. Part of the support reason I think is that many of the students are from overseas. With the eight of us newbies that showed up at orientation, exactly half are from overseas.

Doing Things Differently

MIT does everything differently. January each year is IAP time. So the Spring term starts in February. All the ASP students (or Fellows, as we are called) will return Monday during the day to register for classes with the adviser Dawna. She has been working at MIT for a long time and she is super helpful, super nice and knows pretty much everything. Then class starts the next day. And would you believe it that this is the first year that class registration is partially done online? Last term it was filling in paper forms and walking them between buildings.

While we are on the subject of buildings, of course buildings on campus are numbered, sequentially, from the time they were built. Since building names (as most other college will use) are also just symbolic references, why not numbers? It's shorter. And yes, departments are also numbered, but you know that already.

New and Old Tech

A good part of orientation is spent on IT -- MIT runs a open network. This means that the entire MIT network (MITNet) is not behind any firewall. In a way their solution is good. It is very hard to maintain a central firewall system that works for such a large technology focus university. Instead, MIT uses Kerberos as a way to authenticate each access device to each server. Setting up the all so important Kerberos username and installing all the certificates is not easy if you are not a techie. So Kirky spent a good amount of time explaining the ins and outs of all the IT setup so that we can all get connected.

Getting IDs

Then we are off to get our IDs. I got my student ID at the basement of the Straton center, then back to the ASP lounge and use their computer to get my online ID assigned. Apparently the ID system is a batch process so the user ID will not be fully activated until the next day. Later in the evenings I seems to be able to generate my Kerberos certificates at least. So all is good, now wait for registration day.


PK 2011 year end review

I am writing my 2011 year end review in January 2012. A little bit of catching up eh? It was quite a year.

January - Get Healthy

I tried this one year ago but gave up. This time I stuck with it -- Couch to 5K.  What helped? An iPhone app of course. I started in mid January. Done in end of march. Thanks to Nike+ shoes with sensor, I also have a complete history of the progress. I am not a jock. Running is really a fight against determination. At this level no skill is required. Just determination. What kept me from doing this before was the time commitment. As someone who micro manage my own time to squeeze productive time from myself in minutes increment, taking time "off" from the work day, one and a half hour at a time seems unthinkable, before. Now? I am still not 100% committed, but when I run, I do feel the benefits. I slacked off towards the end of the year. As I am writing this In January, I have restarted running regularly again. Mind you, at my last time I am doing a little Short of 5K in 30 minutes. But I will Keep it going.

By the way, Adam Lisagor made a very cool video for this app. Check it out. He also did a video for the book Being Geek. Both are worth watching.

Community Service

This year I have double, tripled or quadrupled  my community work. There is the park across the street, and the local library. Being on the board of both friend's group kept me pretty busy, but it is great to work with a bunch of people who really care about the neighborhood. For the park, I help organized several events. One of them, a community gardening day co-sponsored by the Boston Park's department and Mrs Myers (the organic soap people) got my kids pictures in the local paper. That was not my intend, but they were mighty proud, especially as it was on fathers day. The unfortunate side effect is this fuel M's natural fame seeking tendencies. Now when we go to any of these events she'll ask whether we will end up in the Newspaper again!

A lot of the library's work is about fund raising. We did a paper mailing campaign this year. I do not remember the last time I labeled and stamped so many envelopes. You would think a paper mailing campaign would not work in 2011? It did. We raised quite a bit of money from that. Now you can argue that the public library crowd are more paper centric then most. Perhaps that is true.

Esplanade Playspace

A group of parents, event more determined than me, managed to build a brand new playground on the esplanade. This is no small feat. It says a lot about the calibre of families involved. For the non Boston reader, this is next to the hatch shell where the famous annual Boston Pops fourth of July music and fireworks is held each year. As the key organizers are parents from my kids' school, I offered to help with all the web and online communications. On a relative scale my contribution is small, but it did take a lot of time over the year. The playground opened just before it turned cold. Now the kids go there for recess most days. If you have a chance, go visit it. It really is am amazing playground, I'd say, objectively speaking, the best in Boston to date. M and G rightfully are pretty proud of our involvement also.

Civic Duty

Ask me how I spent my birthday... I spent it with fifteen new friends in a locked room: A Jury room to be exact. I got called and selected as a Jury on a very involved criminal case downtown. It took almost three weeks: 8:30 to 4:30 every weekday. While I don't want to talk too much the case, it was an eye opener. I learnt that:

  • it is possible for my clients to have me take a 3 weeks mini vacation (although I spend a lot of late nights catching up)
  • the police and state prosecution's work is very hard
  • the jury system works (at least in this case)
  • and I now know a lot about guns, anatomy with respect to wounds, and urban crime issues.
  • what happen in a CSI type TV shows, which I dislike strongly to start, take place in more like 1 year in real live

City Politics

I have never been very interested in Politics. When I don't like something somewhere, I tend to just move. Perhaps it is getting older. Perhaps it is having more responsibilities in general. Perhaps it is having children. I now care a great deal about the local politics, especially the politics in the City of Boston. This is where I live, where I work, and were my children go to school. Almost by chanced, I met Suzanne Lee over the summer. I ended up working on her team on her bid for a City Council seat. We lost by 87 votes. It was that close. And that is why local politics matter. I am ready for the next election in two years. I do not like to loose.

Steve Jobs

Spending my birthday in jury room is nothing compare to the sad news that Mr. Jobs has passed away. Having your hero died on a major birthday of yours is a wake up call. I has been a big fan of his before it was chic to like him. I attended his NeXt unveiling at the Boston Symphony hall October 1988, about 23 years ago. They gave out a wide format poster of the NeXt system that I kept, in it's tube, for many years. In fact I may still have it in storage. I do not remember. I thought of trying to get it autographed at the event but decided against it. I wish I did. I also purchased "Steve Jobs: The Journey Is the Reward", an early autobiography of him way back then. Even then I had to purchased it used because, well I guess he wasn't that famous. But I really agree with his style and ideal, his understanding of design and connections, his uncompromising desire to make a dent in the world.

I have a lot to say about Steve Jobs and I won't do it here. I selected these two pictures of him from many that I think it's fitting to remember him by.

Work Life

Given that much going on you may think that I have retired. On the contrary, this year has been a great year for work also. We really have gain a lot of momentum with our development framework and processes. We worked on a few larger projects and hope to do more next year. This year the Django world definitely have matured a lot and have gain popularity in the start-up world. While Rails may still have more perceived used, the Django population is gaining grounds. What get's thrown in the mix of course is iOS. By next year we may have to get into iOS work whether we like it or not. The latest iOS, XCode and objective-C changes did make iOS development a bit easier.

We also moved office, again! The move was unplanned. The old building and landlord decided to up the rent drastically, and at the same time we didn't really need that much space. As luck would have it, a space that I know of became available. We did loose our Table Tennis table, but I cut my commute down to 45 seconds. Seriously 45 seconds between the two buildings. The new office is also much nicer in quality. Less industrial loft, more glass walls.

Family Life

I have a feeling that I am going to say the same thing every year from this point on. This year, both G and M grown a lot in every way. M particularly has finally gotten a lot more independent. She is even sleeping in her own bed now. It does seem ridiculous that it took so long to get this done, especially comparing to G. But the end result is stunningly good. Towards the end of the year, she has even decided to get rid of the "I am a boy" look. Now she is equally comfortable in the tom boy look and the pink sporty look. While princess dresses are still out, we are at a good balance. G's thinking process has continue to grow. Because of the Scratch club I get to see him interact in school a lot with other students and teachers. He is still on the timid side but he is getting a little better. He has taken up with Chess and he is getting good at it. For the first time, I found him a library book about chess and he actually read through the book and learnt a few things from it.

Looking at both of them with books, it really reaffirms the importance of reading for children. Every so often I remind them -- do you remember a few years ago you cannot read? Think of all this fun you are having now! Partly because public libraries has started to lend Kindle e-books, I got them their own Kindles for Christmas. Now they will have books available to them all the time.

I knew of this great Maker run Summer camp for awhile, but only this year they are (barely) old enough to attend. They had a ball! Geo caching, fishing, making things with LED's and PVC pipes, cooking and soldering. While I taught G soldering just earlier in the year, now they both can do it after I gave M some additional instruction after the camp. Someone said soldering is the gateway skill to engineering. I completely agree. I do not remember whether I started building circuitry only because I see my Dad doing it, or my Dad encouraged me to start. Either way I think I started a little later than M and G. Not much, but a little later.


2011 has been a very eventful year. There are more things then what I can fit into this already long post. Happy 2012 to everyone!

Spin out on 93, live tweeting a car accident

First real mini snow storm in Boston. 8:30 am on a Saturday and I am on my way to a tech seminar. Going 50 mph and traffic was light. Must have hit a patch of ice. The car's skid warning sounded. Yeah I know! Trying to steer out of the spin, but the rear end is coming around. I caught enough of it to not tuned 180, but the driver side still hit the guard rail. It's one of those helpless moments! Insurance, miss the seminar, flashing through my head.

That thought quickly gave way to more immediate attention once the car ended up facing the wrong way on the fast side of the highway with cars coming at me. I backed the car up onto the median strip. At this point there is really nothing between me and on coming traffic. What to do?

I called 911 which got routed to the state police. They said to stay in the car. I am only about 200 yards from an exit, which will help them find me. A tow truck was called. As I am contemplating what to do another truck spun out at the same spot, luckily he stopped before hitting anything, especially not me.

10 minutes later a plow truck comes by. Wished he would be 10 minutes early, but at least he stopped and see if I am ok. Another few minutes later an SUV pulled up. I saw the driver took some pictures with a camera from his car. Turned out he is a state police, maybe on his way to work? He has built in flashers in his car. He put on his bright fluorescent vest and turned on his flashers. Stopped traffic and help me pulled to the safer side of the highway. I told him I already called it in, and he left. He was nice and helpful.

Another 15 minutes later a cruiser pulled up. He wonder if he needed to file a report on any guardrail damage and I told him I don't think there are any. He looked over, and said ok. I think their hands are pretty full at this point. Much later yet another cruise pulled up and traded places with him. So what to do? Start tweeting!

Almost an hour later the tow truck arrived. He asked me where I need to go? And he dropped me at the commuter rail station. So here I am, waiting for the next train, an hour away.

What to do? Write this blog post, on my iPad, post via tethering via the iPhone...

Post Accident Update

A few things that I learnt:

  • because I called the police, and they call a tow truck, it is considered a "police tow" and at least in this case the tow yard wanted me to physically go to them to sign a form before they will release the car to my repair shop.
  • Since I have AAA -- perhaps I should have called them (still trying to figure this out).

Good deal on iPad and iPhone compatible headphones, Sennheiser HD218i

Sale alert! Sennheisers are coming up with new models, and their HD218i headphones with three button Apple remote with mic headphones are on sale in many places. The "i" version used to fetch a sometimes $50 premium. Now they can be had for $39. They are great headphones for used in the office with your macs and iPads / iPhones. Or bring them with you to Starbucks as you sip expensive coffee while using their free wifi. The volume and mic control lets you adjust the volume, and use Skype. These are closed headphones which mean they do not leak sound, which is particularly important in an office environment. Sound quality? They are going to be a step up from your standard ebuds. From an audiophile point of view, they are at the lowest bearable end which is a good thing. I bought two, adding to my collections of Grado RS1 and RS2.

Memorializing 11/11/11 using Apple Products

At 10:59 this morning my kids decided they want to do something special at 11:11:11 11/11/11. 12 minutes later a non cropped version of this picture showed up on our facebook wall. How do I do it?

  1. Find a free clock app for the iPad and install it
  2. switch on our Apple TV feeding into our main TV
  3. run the Clock app and turn on AirPlay Mirroring
  4. get the kids positioned
  5. take a few pictures using the iPhone4S
  6. Once we have the right picture,
  7. go to the iPad photo stream which has already pulled down the picture from the iPhone
  8. do a quick crop and enhancement (our loft is too sunny and it messes up the contrast)
  9. run the Facebook app on the iPad to post the picture

All in 12 minutes. Thank you Steve!