Monday, February 28, 2011

10 Petabytes Visualized

Online storage service just passed the 10 petabyte mark. Interesting visualization - that's a lot of data!
10 petabytes - visualized:
While l see us constantly adding storage for our online backup service, it was one of those moments that made me think, “Wow, that’s a lot of storage.” Ten petabytes is roughly double the entire archive of the Internet.
We tried to visualize what 10 petabytes of storage looks like. Here are three takes on it:
#1: 10 Petabytes in Backblaze Storage Pods
10 petabytes 1
#2: 10 Petabytes in Pixels by Drive Size Used
10 petabytes 2
#3: 10 Petabytes of Drives Stacked Vertically (my favorite)

10 petabytes 3

Friday, February 25, 2011

Argon - Augmented Reality Browser

iPhone users get access to Argon augmented reality browser

Very interesting idea. Imagine a history course - take a field trip to a historic site, and pan the phone around to have relevant information overlaid on the phone. What about environmental science or nursing?

I think augmented reality will be huge in education!

An iPhone version of the augmented reality Argon browser, which lets users scan places and objects with the phone’s video camera and see Web content overlaid on the screen, is now available.

An Argon user standing in a city park can pan the iPhone video camera and see overlays of geo-tagged Flickr images, Twitter posts and other Web content that is relevant to whatever is being viewed, including information about businesses and products.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Apple's Page Detailing Thunderbolt

Apple - Thunderbolt: Next-generation high-speed I/O technology


Encryption 101

Great introduction to the basics of encryption from Mike Chapple. Click to read article:
Encryption provides the ability to use mathematical algorithms to protect the confidentiality and integrity of information transmitted via insecure means or stored in an insecure location. While the detailed mathematics underlying encryption may be intimidating, the basic concepts are quite accessible, and all technology professionals should have at least a basic understanding of how encryption provides these security benefits.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Japan, the iPad Is the New Bookshelf

In Cramped Japan, the iPad Is the Home Library:

Japan's famously small living spaces—the country's average home size is half that of the U.S.—make it a natural market for such space-saving innovations as digital books. Japanese have taken to tablet computers, especially Apple's (AAPL) market-leading iPad. While the iPad has opened the doors for e-books, the publishing industry has been slow to walk through them and still offers few Japanese-language editions. A cottage industry of pulp-to-PDF scanning startups are filling the void and now offer to digitize books for a modest fee.

Is the Battle for Tablet Mindshare Already Over?

“It’s HP’s iPad.” – Apple’s total dominance in mind share:

The Touchpad isn’t HP’s tablet in most people’s minds.  It’s HP’s iPad! This is one of those rare situations in which a company’s brand or product brand is so dominant that it is associated with  an entire category of products. I’ve seen both the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom referred to in this manner and now I’ve caught my self doing it too, this time in reference to the Touchpad, despite having gone to  the trouble, in the past, to explain to several relatives that a Galaxy Tab is not an iPad.

Regardless of what anybody else does in the tablet segment over the course of this year, it seems pretty clear that Apple has already won the battle for consumer mind share

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Technology Trends in Higher Ed

Interesting list -lots of interest in Tablets/iPad and virtualization. Missing from the list? E-books and Opencourseware.

The 2011 IT Agenda in Higher Ed: 3 Perspectives:

  • virtual desktops
  • better network security
  • beefier Internet bandwidth
  • business process improvements
  • lecture capture
  • iPads and other portable devices in both online and offline learning
  • tablet technologies in the classroom
  • Android tablets as tools for students and educators
  • virtual labs and other Web-based classroom support tools

Disrupting College

Everyone should read Clayton Christensen's
Disrupting College: How Disruptive Innovation Can Deliver Quality and Affordability to Postsecondary Education.
Download the full report (pdf)
Download the executive sumary (pdf)
Download the report to mobile devices and e-readers from Scribd

Disrupting College:
America is in crisis. Employers say paradoxically they cannot find the right people to fill jobs even though the country is facing its highest unemployment rates in a generation. Competition with a rising China and India and their vast populations lend urgency to the need for the country as a whole to do a better job of educating its citizens.

The institutions to which the country would turn to help tackle this challenge—its colleges and universities—are facing a crisis of their own. There is a rising chorus of doubts about how much the institutions of higher education that have been such a part of the country’s past successes can be a part of the answer. Graduation rates have stagnated despite a long track record of serving increasing numbers of students over the past half century. None of America’s higher education institutions have ever served a large percentage of our citizens—many from low-income, African-American, and Hispanic families. The institutions are now increasingly beset by financial difficulties, and the recent financial meltdown is but a shadow of what is to come. The further looming state budget crises spell difficult times for many colleges and universities. And there is a growing acknowledgement that many American universities’ prestige came not from being the best at educating, but from being the best at research and from being selective and accepting the best and brightest—which all institutions have mimicked.

Our country’s dominant higher education policies have focused on expanding access for more than half a century—allowing more students to afford higher education. Yet changing circumstances mandate that we shift the focus of higher education policy away from how to enable more students to afford higher education to how we can make a quality postsecondary education affordable.

Augmented Reality in Education

Augmented Reality Field Trips & the 150th Anniversary of the U.S. Civil War:

A more valuable field trip" - that's the argument that Pennsylvania high school social studies teacher Jeff Mummert makes, pointing to the increasing accessibility of both mobile and augmented reality technologies as ways to "offer deeply interactive projects for students and the general public."

To that end, Mummert has created the Civil War Augmented Reality Project (which recently evolved to become HistoriQuest). Aimed at giving both students and the general public a richer experience, the Civil War Augmented Reality Project wants to build apps that will use augmented reality to connect primary documents and photographs to local historic points of interest.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple, Batteries, and Moore's Law

Batteries seem to be the one area of technology that has been immune to Moore's Law. The only company that has really seemed to be innovating in this area is Apple - with long life batteries in iPads, and MacBooks. Some would even say the iPhone 4 has a fairly substantial battery life - at least compared to other similar smartphones.

Here's another peak at Apple trying to improve battery life without increasing the size of the battery - remember, the iPad - internally - is mosty battery.
Apple looking to increase battery life with dense lithium cells:
Apple is investigating techniques to increase the energy capacity of rechargeable lithium battery cells without increasing the size of the battery, allowing longer battery life in future devices.

The proposed invention is detailed in a new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week and discovered by AppleInsider. The filing, titled "Increasing Energy Density in Rechargeable Lithium Battery Cells," describes charging a battery using a "multi-step constant-current constant-voltage (CC-CV) charging technique."

The CC-CV charging technique would allow the thickness of the anode active material inside a battery cell to be increased in both "volumetric and gravimetric energy density." But while the density of the power capacity would be increased, the size of the battery, as well as its maximum charging time and minimum life cycle, would remain unchanged.

Interesting Development in WiFi - Full-Duplex Radio

Researchers Muffle Radio Noise to Make WiFi Breakthrough:
A team of Stanford researchers have come up with "full duplex" radios that can talk and listen at the same time -- a feat that enables communications simultaneity over WiFi networks. Cutting through existing WiFi congestion could double network speeds and capacities, encourage ambitious new projects -- such as citywide WiFi -- and even help prevent plane crashes.
so-called "full duplex" radios that can send and receive signals at the same time. Twice as fast as existing radio devices, the new technology promises less congested, more efficient networks.
The basic premise:
"What if radios could do the same thing our brains do when we listen and talk simultaneously: screen out the sound of our own voice?"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

Another MacBook Air competitor that is ...

RIP: HP Retires the Envy 13:

Joining the Dell Adamo in the annals of lightweight laptop history—and unsuccessful MacBook Air competitors—is the HP Envy 13, whose smooth lines and all-metal, svelte shape weren't enough to keep HP from canning it for good this week.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things That Are Banned in School

Great Google Docs presentation from Lisa Nielsen.

The Innovative Educator: Banned in School:

An essential element for 21st century learning is thinking outside the ban, however, many schools fail to do this banning the very items that are crucial to success in the world. When viewing this compilation of items banned in school it is clear we are not preparing students for success in the world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Daily, QWiki, and Khan Academy - Re-Imagining Education

Marco Arment's take on The Daily, a custom daily news app for the iPad. Think about the bolded portion below in the context of education. Isn't what we're doing in our classrooms and our institutions "old-world" learning? Instead of the "old-world" model of courses and programs, what about focusing on smaller units - maybe learning objects, and tying these learning objects to specific competencies? What to see what I'm talking about - check out Khan Academy and QWiki. - Why The Daily Is So Yesterday:
Bundling a bunch of stuff I don’t care about with the few pieces I want to read is the old-world model, when custom-targeted or on-demand news for each reader was infeasible. But in this century, I can go to a handful of websites whenever I want news, view the handful of stories that interest me, then move on. Flipping through a bunch of uninteresting-to-us content and ads was an annoyance of the old world, like blow-ins3, that we tolerated because we had to — but now, we don’t.

These old-world annoyances would be easier to ignore if the content was great, but it’s not. It’s acceptable, for what it is: a very lightweight rundown of the previous day’s most mass-marketable news, with one or two editorials that usually leave me wanting more depth.

Daniel Eran Dilger on the Microsoft-Nokia "Partnership"

Ouch - I wonder who's the ugly man and who's the insane woman?

Zune 2: How Microsoft will slaughter Windows Phone 7 using Nokia:

It’s like a very ugly man who needs a green card marrying an insane woman turning 40 and still hoping for a baby. Neither can really walk out on the deal, and yet neither can really say they are happy about it either. The best they can say is that they’re not giving it away for free and will never be alone

Monday, February 14, 2011

More on The Khan Academy

I couldn't agree more! Give this article a read!
Yes, The Khan Academy IS the Future of Education (video):
I’m just going to come out and say it: the Khan Academy is the best thing that has happened to education since Socrates.

Electronista Not Wowed by Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1

Hands on: Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1:
The Tab 10.1 is built around a larger screen than its predecessor, stretching from a seven-inch panel to a 10.1-inch spread that inspires the name. The shift essentially brings the device into direct competition with the iPad; the first-generation Tab arguably fell into a separate category for mid-size devices. Our experience with the original Tab felt closer to a smartphone than a tablet, but the larger model overcomes those objections.


We liked the Tab 10.1, but the device did not have any spectacular features to set it apart from the rest of the crowd. Users can generally expect quite a few tablets to arrive this year with the same OS and similar screen sizes, screen resolutions and camera configurations. A few of the current unknowns -- price, battery life and launch timing -- may be the factors that make or break the Tab 10.1.

Digital Vision in a Bubblesheet World

Great slidecast - slideshare with audio - from Wesley Fryer.

View more webinars from Wesley Fryer.

Photo by COCOEN daily photos

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Podcast: Anonymous, Jester, Stuxnet and Q!

Gordon Snyder, Sam Bowne and I discuss how a man tracked down Anonymous and paid a heavy price, Stuxnet, The Jester and how U.S. Chamber lobbyists solicited and used hackers.

Anonymous, Barr, Stuxnet and Soliciting Hackers


How one man tracked down Anonymous—and paid a heavy price

US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents

US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Firm To Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children

How Do Nokia Employees Feel About the Microsoft Deal?

Not happy!

Nokia workers walk out to protest Microsoft deal:
More than 1,000 Nokia employees have walked out of the company’s offices to protest the just-announced deal between Microsoft and the mobile handset giant, according to a report in Finnish newspaper Helsingin Santomat.

Great Analysis of Recent Announcements from Microsoft, HP and Nokia

Changing places: Microsoft trades HP for Nokia:
But now we have a complete reversal of roles: The abandonment of platform independence by a mobile giant at precisely the same time as the acquisition of platform resolve by an IT giant. 

It seems almost poetic. And that should be a clue. Whenever you see poetry, you need not look far for some truth. 
These chess moves are taking place in the context of a greater game: the collision and disruption of IT and Telecom. It’s not surprising that massive market forces are causing incumbents to react. HP, Microsoft and Nokia are in the throes of fundamental disruption. Even if these moves may not be all in the same direction, they each react in ways that make sense to them. 

It’s also very likely that all the moves are for naught. Incumbents rarely win with reactions. Let’s not forget that the entrants came with different business models. Apple and Google are not making money in the ways of Nokia and HP (who are channel dependent) or Microsoft (who is license dependent). The reaction must itself be asymmetric. So far it’s not clear where the asymmetry lies.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What to Do When Snow Closes the College?

One faculty member's solution is Facebook.

Facebook class

Campus Overload - When snow hit, one American U class moved to Facebook:

That's when I remembered our class Facebook page. I posted an update on the page and told the students I would only cancel if the university canceled. That way I did not have to reply to every single panicky request.

So how did it work?

At 4 p.m. I alerted students that I would post a "creative challenge" at 5 p.m. I also sent e-mail alerts and posted an announcement on the traditional teaching site.

Their assignment: Students would use the cultural assignments that were due for that night's class to re-design a brochure for a digital storytelling summer camp for teens to better appeal to diverse ethnic communities. I had planned to do this in class, with students working in groups.

Then I realized I didn't know how to upload the brochure they needed for the assignment.

I clicked every which way I could think of. Right. Left. Center. Drag. Scroll. Then I remembered "visual" - photo - jpg. How to convert pdf to jpg. Digital speak. Google it.

It worked.

At 5 p.m., I posted the "Creative Challenge." To keep the spirit light, I switched it from a "must do" assignment to a "try to" effort.

"Class" began as scheduled at 5:30. Students were online. They were posting. They were into the assignment.

I was giving feedback, posting my comments. No, wait. I wasn't posting comments. I was writing them, but no one could see them. Then, I accidentally hit the "return" key. My posts were up and I was back in business.

A good idea? She thinks so -

So the next time it snows, I won't be ice fishing; I'll be Facebook fishing.

MRIs? There's an App for That!

FDA approves iPad, iPhone radiology app for mobile diagnoses:

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first diagnostic radiology app for use in viewing medical images to make diagnoses using Apple's iPad and iPhone, a title that won the Apple Design Award for "Best iPhone Healthcare & Fitness Application" in 2008.

The announcement, made earlier today, gives a green light for Mobile MIM, an iOS app component of secure medical imaging product sold by the Cleveland-based MIM Software.

The FDA said the app "is not intended to replace full workstations and is indicated for use only when there is no access to a workstation," but William Maisel, MD, MPH, the chief scientist and deputy director for science in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, noted that "this important mobile technology provides physicians with the ability to immediately view images and make diagnoses without having to be back at the workstation or wait for film."

The Mobile MIM app allows radiological images to be securely delivered to mobile doctors using an iPad or iPhone, enabling them to view images and make medical diagnoses "based on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine technology, such as positron emission tomography (PET)."

The app "allows the physician to measure distance on the image and image intensity values and display measurement lines, annotations and regions of interest," the report stated.


Walmart to Sell Verizon iPhones

Big news for iPhone distribution!

Walmart confirms it will have Verizon iPhones on launch day:
Walmart confirmed on Wednesday that it would have Verizon iPhones on launch day, February 10. It promised that "select" stores would have the CDMA version. It doesn't plan to discount the device significantly if at all from official pricing and will have the 16GB iPhone 4 for $199 and 32GB for $299

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Qwiki: The Future of Education?

I've posted before about Qwiki - I think it has great potential. Here's  16-year old students' take on Qwiki. Great stuff!
Qwiki: The Future of Education:
Another startup that I am loving right now is Qwiki. It’s come under a lot of pressure recently, with people saying it doesn’t do anything useful and can be easily replicated. Qwiki is built on the premise that information should be presented in an experience. And what that experience allows is for us to consume information on any topic in an interactive, engaging way. 

Where is consuming information in an interactive and engaging way most important? School. 

I’ve encouraged some of my teachers to use Qwiki in the classroom, and the results were quite incredible. For example, my history class was learning about the origins of World War II, and someone asked where exactly the Rhineland was. My teacher went to a map on the wall, but I suggested he try out Qwiki. He typed it in, and in about a minute everybody in the classroom had a better idea of where the Rhineland is and what its significance was than my teacher could have ever explained (and he’s a good teacher).

Windows Phone 7

Pretty positive review of Windows Phone 7 from Fred Wilson A VC: Windows Phone 7 First Impressions - only a couple issues he raises:
- The explorer browser is a disappointment. It is not nearly as good as the Android and Safari browsers. And I hear we are getting a full Chrome browser in the Honeycomb version of Android. Microsoft needs to up its mobile browser game if it wants Windows Phone 7 to be competitive with iOS and Android.

- Windows Phone 7 offers gmail support in the mail app. But I have a hard time using any mail app other than the gmail app on Android which fully supports priority inbox and a host of other power user features. This for me is a very big deal. For others, maybe not so much.
In the end, the strong Facebook, Xbox integration make it a good option - for his son.

The bottom line is I don't think this phone is for me, but it has a bunch of features that make it a compelling phone. I think I am going to give it to my son. Facebook and Xbox are his two most important networks and this phone apparently supports both of them very well.

Pent Up Demand for Verizon iPhone?

Seems like it. The pre-orders sold out in 2 hours on day one.
Survey: 44% of Verizon Android users likely to switch to iPhone on Day One:
The key findings:

  • Among Android owners, 44% are either very likely (19%) or somewhat likely (25%) to buy an iPhone on Feb. 10.
  • Among RIM owners, 66% are very likely (32%) or somewhat likely (34%) to switch on Day One.
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of the Android and RIM switchers say they'd be willing to stand in line to get one of the first Verizon iPhones.
  • Owners of AT&T (T) iPhones are less likely to switch (8% very likely, 18% somewhat) but the switchers are more likely (29%) than RIM or Android owners to stand in line that first day. Perhaps they have more practice queuing up for an iPhone.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Verizon iPhone Versus AT & T

I'm not troubled by the lack of global roaming, but I often use my iPhone with a headset, while checking e-mail, web, apps, etc. I'm assuming this is a nonissue with a wifi connection - data over wifi; voice over CDMA.

The Verizon iPhone Experience May Not Be What You Are Expecting:

GSM has several advantages over CDMA– namely the ability to provide simultaneous data and voice connections plus international availability. For many users the lack of international support for CDMA won’t be a big issue but the lack of simultaneous data and cellular connections could be a big problem.

Verizon iPhone users will now have to make a choice – voice or data. Using your voice connection means no Internet connection and no app usage for anything that requires a data connection, ouch! Want to look up the address of the restaurant you and your friend are talking about?

The ChromeOS Netbook

Matt Mastracci's impressions of the ChromeOS netbook after 1 week.

A week with a ChromeOS netbook:
The first thing you notice when starting the netbook up is that it’s fast. Pushing the power button to the firstboot or login screen is a matter of seconds. It’s the same while signing out or powering down. Oh, and the power button functions as a signout key as well. Hold it for a few seconds and it signs you out. Keep it held down a few more seconds and it powers down.
There aren’t a lot of surprises on this box. It’s basically a giant battery strapped to the Chrome browser. The battery is pretty amazing. Popping the power cord out yielded a runtime of just under eight hours when I first got the machine. A few discharge/charge cycles later and it’s sitting at more than eight hours.
Overall, the hardware is pretty decent. It’s an Atom N445 processor with 2GB RAM. It has 16GB of onboard solid-state storage. For comparison, the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 I just bought had a similar processor, but half the memory and way more storage (albeit spinning bits instead). The screen is really great and the keyboard is very comfortable to use.
The Chrome browser runs fairly well on this hardware given the size of its CPU. It’s definitely not as slick as Chrome on my Macbook. It can start to feel a bit sluggish when you end up with a number of tabs open. Sites that use position:fixed or background-attachment:fixed are terribly slow to scroll as well. I imagine that future versions of the OS will bring hardware-accelerated compositing to scrolling.
The netbook supports multiple users, but it can’t support more than one user logged in at a time. That’s likely to avoid having more than one user hogging the limited resources of the box. I’d really love to see something along the lines of tab hibernation used, instead of forcing one user to log out to let another log in. Once a user signs out, the state of their session should be persisted to disk locally and restored after they log in again.
I’ve been trying to get used to a world without any apps beyond the browser. It’s tough. I set up Guacamole to get access to a Linux desktop where I could run a bunch of applications that I need access to. As a developer, I can’t really live without a few desktop apps. If there were a way for me to get access to the applications on my desktop remotely, I’d be bringing this netbook everywhere instead of lugging around the much heavier Macbook Pro.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the ChromeOS netbook. It feels designed, not just made. I’m confident that a lot of the issues I’ve seen can be fixed in software updates. There are probably a lot of people that could make a switch full-time to this netbook. I’m not one of those right now, but I’d love to use something small like this for more of my computing needs.

Everything is a Remix - Part II

Great video from Kirby Ferguson. Makes me think about academia and how much original work is actually being done.

Let's embrace the remix!

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.
An exploration of the remix techniques involved in producing films. Part Two of a four-part series.

An additional supplement to this video can be seen here:

To support this series please visit:

Everything is a Remix

Great video from Kirby Ferguson - stay tuned for part II.

Everything is a Remix from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.
Remixing is a folk art but the techniques involved — collecting material, combining it, transforming it — are the same ones used at any level of creation. You could even say that everything is a remix.
To support this series please visit

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Vote on Your Favorite Superbowl Commercials ...

... on Facebook

Facebook Will Allow Users to Watch and Vote on Super Bowl Commercials:

Facebook will allow users to watch and vote on the commercials from this year’s Super Bowl as soon as they air. The commercials will appear on the Facebook Replay tab of the Sports on Facebook Page, which will become available at 2pm PST February 6th, an hour before kick-off.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Is This a Common Story?

I'm graduating with a Computer Science degree but I don't feel like I know how to program:

I'm graduating with a Computer Science degree but I see websites like Stack Overflow and search engines like Google and don't know where I'd even begin to write something like that. During one summer I did have the opportunity to work as a iPhone developer, but I felt like I was mostly gluing together libraries that other people had written with little understanding of the mechanics happening beneath the hood.

I'm trying to improve my knowledge by studying algorithms, but it is a long and painful process. I find algorithms difficult and at the rate I am learning a decade will have passed before I will master the material in the book. Given my current situation, I've spent a month looking for work but my skills (C, Python, Objective-C) are relatively shallow and are not so desirable in the local market, where C#, Java, and web development are much higher in demand. That is not to say that C and Python opportunities do not exist but they tend to demand 3+ years of experience I do not have. My GPA is OK (3.0) but it's not high enough to apply to the large companies like IBM or return for graduate studies.

Basically I'm graduating with a Computer Science degree but I don't feel like I've learned how to program. I thought that joining a company and programming full-time would give me a chance to develop my skills and learn from those more experienced than myself, but I'm struggling to find work and am starting to get really frustrated.


The A2 Pen

Apen A2 DetailPage 09

I like!

Welcome to

Introducing the new A2 Smart Pen, Revolutionizing the way you Write! Record everything you write while you are writing without connecting to a computer. Imports all visual notes into your computer as easy as 1-2-3. Now you can save, find, and share instantly only in seconds. Connect aPen A2 to your computer, your handwriting displays on computer screen, real-time. You can write on images, JPEG, MS Office applications, Outlook and share with everyone.

Video of ICANN IPv4 Ceremony

Wow they actually had a ceremony for the final 5 blocks of IPv4 - I guess it is a big deal.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Great Grant Opportunity for College Computer Science Programs

Official Google Blog: Supporting computer science education with CS4HS
For the fourth consecutive year, we’re funding CS4HS to invest in the next generation of computer scientists and engineers. CS4HS is a workshop for high school and middle school computer science teachers that introduces new and emerging concepts in computing and provides tips, tools and guidance on how to teach them. The ultimate goals are to “train the trainer,” develop a thriving community of high school CS teachers and spread the word about the awe and beauty of computing.

In 2011 we’re expanding the program considerably and hope to double the number of schools we funded in 2010. If you’re a university, community college, or technical School in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East or Africa and are interested in hosting a workshop at your institution, please visit to submit an application for grant funding. Applications will be accepted between January 18, 2011 and February 18, 2011.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Zaggmate iPad Case Review

Ipad zaggmate 8Gordon Snyder sent over a link for this Zaggmate iPad case. Here's
Michael Gray's Zaggmate Ipad Case Review:
I’ll admit that when I first saw the Zaggmate mentioned, I was stoked. An iPad case with hard body aluminum case and built in wireless keyboard…
Overall, he seems pleased with the case,
The product was really easy to set up. Give it a quick charge via USB cable, pair it up with your iPad via bluetooth, and you’re good to go in a few minutes. When used as a case, it gives solid protection and fits snugly around the iPad. It’s a little tough taking it on and off the first few times but, once you get the feel for how much pressure you can use and it gets a little loosened up, it’s no problem at all. You flip up the stand in the base and insert the iPad. Whether inserted horizontally or vertically, it didn’t matter: the stand was sturdy and stable either way.
Gray ultimately passes on it, because the keyboard feel too cramped for his hands.
So while I think this was a really good idea for a product, ultimately it just wasn’t for me. If you are someone who has small hands or doesn’t mind using a small keyboard, it may work for you. Otherwise, you’re probably better off passing on this item.
For someone like me - small hands - this might be a good combination of protection and convenience.

The Verizon iPhone 4

The embargo is over, so the Verizon iPhone reviews are showing up. Although I'm sure the "gadget" blogs will do a fine job, I encourage you to read John Gruber's The Verizon iPhone 4 review. Very well written, thoughtful review.

Key points
  • call quality AND signal are markedly better on Verizon iPhone versus AT&T iPhone
  • upload and download speeds better on AT&T
  • wi-fi hotspot works well and is a great feature to have
  • Gruber explains how the "no simultaneous voice and data" works

I think they're gonna a sell a ton of these!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Professor Encourages his Class to go a Week Without Cellphones

Gasp! I don't think I could do it - much less my students.
Thoreau's Cellphone Experiment :
I took their smartphones, and the world continued to spin. I took their BlackBerries, and that did not lead to chaos. If I could have, I would have taken their Internet access, too, just to see the looks on their faces.
Their most common response? Fear. Initially, most of them worried that they would miss something: a family emergency, a party, a job offer, a friend who "really needed" them. Many were anxious they would be stuck somewhere on the road, having had an accident. Some surmised that they wouldn't be able to call someone if they were robbed or, worse, raped. In short, most of them thought little good could come of an experiment meant to liberate them from the incessant presence of other people.
The reluctance to give up their phones (many students didn't participate) derived from a sense that they would either be absent when something happened to someone they knew, or that they would be present, sans phone, when something terrible happened to themselves. "I'm not sure how people made it through the weekends without cellphones," one student wrote.
It did no good for me to explain that there was a time, not long ago, when none of us had cellphones, yet we still traveled hither and yon, we missed friends at parties, and our cars broke down—a lot more frequently than they do now. And when our cars broke down, we figured things out as we went along—you know, practiced a little self-reliance.
In a burst of honesty, a student wrote: "My expectation as well as fear about giving up my phone was that I would not have anyone to talk to. I had imagined myself just being all alone for the entire weekend. I was basically afraid of being alone." She experienced a "feeling of emptiness. I felt like I lost a friend."

The Future of Place-Based Learning

Begs the question - How much of our resources should be focused on building our traditional infrastructures (classrooms, offices, etc) versus digital infrastructure (networks, bandwidth, mobile, LMS, video, etc)?
Bill Gates Says Tech Is The Key to Driving Down College Costs:
Bill Gates says tech is the key to bring college costs down as it lessens the importance of “place-based” learning. He shares that “Five years from now, on the Web for free, you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.”

Great Motivational Video for IT/ICT Students

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Recommendations for Online Learning

Why do students choose online learning? The highlighted portion below says it all:
  • flexible,
  • accessible,
  • work-based skills,
  • can fit around family commitments
Interesting recommendations as well. Use technology to enhance student choice - what could that mean? Maybe the ability to begin and finish a course on their own timetable; maybe more classes available online. And the others? Investment, partnerships, scaling, branding - sounds a lot like terms you might hear a business throw around. If we're serious about online education and want to compete the the University of Phoenix's of the world, maybe we need to approach online learning as a business.

British Report Calls for Greater Use of Online Learning to Meet Growing Demand:
The report says that courses offered by those programs are "flexible, accessible, provide practical work-based skills, and can fit around work and family commitments which prevent students from attending a traditionally delivered course."

The report outlines six recommendations for future success, including the use of technology that enhances student choice, greater investment to enable the development of partnerships to achieve "scale and brand in online learning," and the acquisition of "more and better market intelligence about international demand and competition."

Failure in Education

Failure is one of the least understood concepts in education. We learn from failure! In fact, in Engineering we study failures - there's an entire branch of Engineering called Failure Analysis. Unfortunately, we haven't figured out a way to embed the fail-learn-fail-learn cycle into traditional education. In schools, failure is a bad thing; it's something to be discouraged and avoided.
Startup Quote

Dealing With Information Overload

Here's what Paul Kedrosky does.
C-Beams Glittering Near Tannhauser Gate:
  • I guard my calendar jealously. I refuse to lose my day to prescheduled meetings, phone calls, etc. Sometimes I block large chunks, but mostly I just avoid synchronous activities that require me to be in a particular place at a particular time for preset duration.
  • I slot things. I used to dive into email all day long, but now I mostly do it in three burts: One is first thing in the morning, another is just before lunch, and another is at the end of the day. I also live by "inbox zero" every day, so everything is gone every day. I'm contemplating taking things down to two email slots a day. As  related aside, Google's Priority Inbox has helped me immensely, now that it's tuned to me. It not only elevated things I should respond to, but it also downgrades things I don't need to -- most of which I now junk.
  • My bigger attention fragmenter is twitter. I leave it on more than I should, mostly as a kind of information ambience about what is going on. I do, however, turn it off when I'm working on anything requiring sustained attention, like writing an article or paper, or doing some analysis. I throw things out on Twitter on a regular basis, even if some of it is automated, and I respond to many replies, but I'm trying to keep it from ruling me,
  • I do most of the writing on this site, or over at Bloomberg, first thing in the morning, or late in the day. I leave the middle of the day for things requiring sustained attention, plus whatever calls and other things I agreed to do.
  • I read more. I force myself to read long form, especially fiction, doubly so for more difficult fiction. Things that require sustained attention, a plot that must be followed, etc., are lovely for defragging my fragmented attention.
  • I respond to zero calls that I wasn't expecting. If my phone rings and it isn't on my calendar, I don't answer. It's that simple.
  • I use Google Voice, which turns my voicemails into emails. My voicemail message also warns people not to leave me voicemail messages, which helps keep down the din.


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