Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moore's Law Smashed?

Intel details their upcoming processors.

Intel reveals skinny Ivy Bridge 'Ultrabooks,' Moore's Law-defying Atoms
reduced power consumption and sleek designs in 2012.

[a] new class of PC, dubbed "Ultrabooks," will make up 40-percent of the market by the end of 2012. These machines, powered by the 22nm Ivy Bridge, will be less than 0.8-inches thick and start at under $1,000

going forward, the Atom line [will] be getting a die shrink every year, as opposed to every two. The upcoming, 32nm Cedar Trail will usher in the new Moore's Law-smashing era with promises of a 10 hour battery life and weeks of standby, and will be succeeded by 22nm and 14nm models.

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Pages, Numbers and Keynote Updated for iPhone and iPod Touch

Now a universal app!

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QR Codes

Nice presentation (below) on QR codes. Here's a QR code for my blog, created using Delivr.

And here are two good resources on QR codes:
NYTimes: Q&A: Make a Quick QR Code
How To Create Your Own QR Code

"Fixing a modern motherboard isn't trivial, but it isn't impossible"

Diomidis Spinellis details how he fixed his laptops' motherboard. Wow - more patience than I have ...

Ten Lessons I Learned from Fixing my Laptop's Motherboard

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Android, Open?

Not so much ...

Google Is At It Again: Pulls A Bunch Of Gaming Apps From The Android Market

Google is at it again.

After it's controversial move in pulling the music service Grooveshark from the Android Market, it has now removed a group of gaming apps too.

The apps were designed to emulate popular gaming systems such as Game Boy, PlayStation, and Super Nintendo, allowing users to play classic games on their phones or tablets.

Google removed all these emulators from the Android Market over the weekend without warning its developer.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

More on Facebook - Stats, Charts, and Graphs

Nice Presentation on Facebook

Re-Thinking Your Next CV

The CV or curriculum vitae is the academics version of a resume. Whether you're in academia, industry, or looking for your first job, this presentation provides some good advice for building an online CV or an online presence. My favorite pieces:
  • A blog to share your thoughts
  • Linkedin to connect
  • Facebook to engage
  • And connect them!
Other important points:
  • Design the CV - i.e. give it some thought, don't just throw it together
  • You can still you "old" media
  • Include a video - great advice!
  • Show off your skills!

The Origins of Snake Oil

Bannack Days 2008 snake oil
Interesting story ...
How Snake Oil Got a Bad Rap (Hint: It Wasn’t The Snakes’ Fault):
These days, “snake oil” is synonymous with quackery, the phoniest of phony medicines. A “snake oil salesman” promises you the world, takes your money, and is long gone by the time you realize the product in your hands is completely worthless.

But get this: The original snake oil actually worked.


In the 1860s, Chinese laborers immigrated to the United States to work on the Transcontinental Railroad. At night, they would rub their sore, tired muscles with ointment made from Chinese water snake (Enhydris chinensis), an ancient Chinese remedy they shared with their American co-workers.

Photo by virtualreality - http://flic.kr/p/59UuF3

Friday, May 27, 2011

Demo of Windows Phone Mango

Excellent demo of the recently announced update to Windows Phone 7. Particularly impressive is the strong integration between Bing search and other apps on the phone. Seems like Microsoft is getting a ahead of Google in this regard.

via DaringFireball

E-Readers and Accessibility

Education Department Clarifies E-Reader Accessibility Rules

The U.S. Department of Education today released a new guide to laws and rules colleges must follow to ensure e-reading devices and other emerging technologies are accessible to all students. It focuses on students with vision problems, a group whose access issues have triggered official complaints against colleges. The document, in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions,” was published in response to the department’s “Dear Colleague” letter to college presidents on the subject last June.

If colleges use e-readers, or other emerging technologies, blind students “must be afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted students,” according to the department.

The department doesn’t discourage the use of emerging technologies but indicates that colleges should assess whether a new technology is accessible, or could be modified to be accessible, before using it.

Colleges can offer alternative versions of a text or technology to students with disabilities, as long as the alternative is “equally effective and equally integrated.”

This means that offering an e-text on a tablet device, such as the iPad, that has more options for the visually impaired, could be an effective alternative to an e-reader version.

An audio book might not do the trick, though.

Christopher Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, explains that the requirements of equal effectiveness and integration mean that an alternative text needs to offer all the capabilities of a traditional or e-text. This includes the ability to navigate to a particular section or page, an audio explanation or larger-font version of tables and charts, and, for e-textbooks, equivalent alternatives to interactive features, such as quizzes and note-taking tools.

“The blind student needs to be able to do all the other things that students do,” he says.

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An E-Book Convert

A Book Lover Switches To The Kindle

While I love physical books, the benefits of ebooks trump the physical:
  • Bring my entire library anywhere.
  • Easier access to highlighted content and notes.
  • Impossible to lose the book.
  • It doesn’t require a bookshelf. Having moved about once a year in the last four years, I find my large book and especially DVD collection a burden.
  • Easier access to, ahem, bathroom reading material. Pulling up a book on my iPod touch is simple and enjoyable in short bursts.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Free iPad Dictionary

Merriam-Webster Dictionary now available on iPad for free

Available here. Ad supported, and built-in voice search.

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What's Bitcoin and Why Should I Care?

MIT's Technology Review magazine has a nice overview of bitcoin. Seems to be using public-key encryption to exchange digital currency.

What Bitcoin Is, and Why It Matters

Nakamoto wanted people to be able to exchange money electronically securely without the need for a third party, such as a bank or a company like PayPal. He based Bitcoin on cryptographic techniques that allow you to be sure the money you receive is genuine, even if you don't trust the sender.
Wikipedia screenshot from Discover app by Cooliris

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Using WiFi to Record Student Attendance

I can see why colleges would want to do this, but it does open up a large can of worms - privacy, user-tracking, etc.

Wi-Fi Attendance

plans at De Montfort University may give students pause for thought about the virtues of an ever-present Internet connection: the institution is considering using its network to monitor attendance via electronic chips in students' ID cards.

Other universities have introduced electronic attendance monitoring, but an automated system using Wi-Fi would be unusual, and the National Union of Students warned that members would "balk at the prospect of being treated like inmates under surveillance."

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Discover - A Great Front End for Wikipedia

I was looking for a new iPad app for exploring Wikipedia and came across Discover - a great front end for Wikipedia from Cooliris. Scroll to the bottom for a video demonstrating Discover.

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IPTV Trial at MIT

Comcast goes through MIT to test IPTV system

Comcast revealed Wednesday that it was testing a TV-over-IP system for its network. A dry run on MIT’s grounds in the fall would prove it can deliver its regular TV service using Internet protocol in a way that would simplify delivering it beyond TV sets. The move as cast by the Wall Street Journal would simplify watching real-time broadcasts on tablets like the iPad, Xbox 360s, and other devices that Comcast can’t normally reach.

Learn more about IPTV

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Touchscreens and E-readers

Most have responded positively to the release of touchscreen e-readers from Kobo and Barnes and Noble. Here's a dissenting view from Matt Burns. I doubt that Burns has actually used a touchscreen e-reader and I think he underestimates the benefits that a touchscreen would provide to reading. To most, I think the benefits of a touchscreen far outweigh any negatives.

Amazon, Please Do Not Make The Kindle Touchscreen

The beauty of e-ink screens is text looks fantastic. It looks just like text — or it’s the closest thing to paper print as technology gave us yet and the latest Pearl screen is awesome. But I don’t want to touch it. I don’t want to wipe my screen or worry in any fashion about the screen. True, e-ink screens aren’t LCD screens. They don’t have a glossy overlay that naturally sucks the oil out of my fat fingers. E-ink screens are generally finger-friendly. Still, why do I want to control the device with the screen?

In many ways this is BlackBerry versus iPhone. Touchscreen versus keypad. But it’s not the QWERTY keypad that I necessarily I care about. It’s the thought processes involved that are naturally inherent with touchscreens. They need to be cared for differently. Suddenly a screen protector is a must-have accessory. You’re going to be touching and prodding it after all.

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California, Community Colleges, and Tuition

I have friends at California community colleges that have had their (the colleges) summer offerings canceled because they lose money running the classes. The low tuition really is unsustainable and if they're losing students to non-profits, that's a real problem! If your college has a strong slate of online offerings this summer, you should be marketing in California.

Low tuition, long wait lists

California’s community colleges charge the lowest tuition in the nation, but can’t afford to provide enough classes for students. The Legislature may let colleges charge more for some classes. Why not let colleges charge a sustainable tuition for all classes? Students are willing to pay more: They’re turning to the much costlier for-profit sector, which has no wait lists.

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An Electronic Textbook With Lifetime Updates for $49

I think it's a great idea, particularly for technical fields where the content is updated regularly.

Would You Like A $49 Electronic College Textbook With Lifetime Updates?

Nature, the folks who brought you the free life sciences learning community Scitable, are today announcing “Principles of Biology”, a college level electronic textbook. Building upon the cross-platform success of Scitable, the new textbook offers a variety of fully interactive features, including quizzes and assessments, an online gradebook for instructors, and more. Perhaps most notable in this era of nickel-and-dime upgrades and in-app purchases is that this text will be continually updated with top-notch content from Nature’s editing team at no additional cost to anyone who has purchased a copy. “Our interactive textbooks, since they are “born digital”, are designed to capitalize to the maximum degree on the progressive possibilities which digital media opens up for the education space: new distribution models, new learning models, new pricing models. Our textbooks are designed to make students active rather than passive learners throughout the learning process,” says Vikram Savkar, SVP & Publishing Director at Nature Publishing Group.

Many of my college texts costs substantially more than $50 used, and they were used for only a couple of classes. Since I graduated college, I haven’t cracked a single one of the (few) textbooks I kept. I brought this point up to Savkar, and his response was illuminating.

Isn’t that because you can’t easily search a textbook? It’s quite time consuming to dig through your old boxes, dust off a book from ten years ago, and flip through a few hundred pages to find the tidbit you were looking for (only to discover that it’s now out of date). What if searching your old textbooks were as easy as typing a term into Google? And if you had the confidence that someone behind the scenes was keeping them up to date and rigorously high quality? I think you’d find that you would refer to many of your textbooks over time. You’d hear a news story about genomics, for example, but no longer remember exactly what it is, do a quick search on your Nature platform, and within a half an hour be back up to speed.

Savkar went on to highlight medical students, graduate students, and similar people who need to refer back to their textbooks on an on-going basis for several years. “I believe we’re moving into an age when textbooks can be lifelong tools, rather than short-lived supplies for one college class,” Savkar said.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's a 4-Year Degree Worth?

Depends on the major, although increasingly a degree is not worth nearly as much as it costs.

Students should choose a career they are passionate about, but it is important to open their eyes to the earning potential of various careers. Unfortunately, by the time most students have figured this out, they've already lost interest in math and science - critical foundations for higher paying careers.

College Students Deserve to Know What Degrees Will Pay

The typical lifetime earnings of engineering and computer science majors business are 50 percent higher than those of humanities majors, according to an analysis by researchers at Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce.

From the Washington Post:

a four-year degree, which is a $100,000 to $200,000 investment at many private and public schools, is a black hole of data.

It's becoming a black hole of cash, too. The price of a post-secondary education is rising even faster than health care costs. Four-year college student graduate with an average of $25,000 in loan debt ... and those are the success stories, since fewer than 60 percent of four-year college students graduate in six years, anyway.

Better data wouldn't cure education inflation, but it would be a good start. The government should require every college to post a standard fact sheet about its degrees, along the lines of Harvard University education economist Bridget Terry Long's paper. The fact sheet could include total cost of attendance (median and average), loan default rate by degree, six-year graduation rate, employment rate and median salary twelve months after graduation, and alumni satisfaction rate.

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A Nice IPv6 Primer

An IPv6 primer for humans: the Internet’s Next Big Thing

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Flash on Tablets

Still not ready for primetime?

Flash still not on the iPad -- and that's a good thing

I’ve been trying to find Flash games that will run on my tablet, and having very little luck so far. Now, let’s get the caveats out of the way: I only have this one Android tablet to test on and maybe the Acer just stinks at Flash (though I doubt it given how similar it is to the Xoom and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in terms of internals) and maybe Honeycomb 3.1 will fix some of the stuff I’m about to gripe about. That out of the way, let’s get to the griping…

The first problem is performance. Flash on this tablet is a dog. It struggles to run high-def Flash video and can’t smoothly scroll a game as simple as Farmville. The tablet is no slouch in terms of performance otherwise, so I’m laying the blame here at Adobe’s feet. Presumably, Adobe can fix this as it continues to optimize Flash for the Tegra 2 (and other tablet) chipsets, but for now the combination of dual-core tablets and Android Honeycomb 3.0 just doesn’t have the horsepower to run Flash well.

Assuming we can get performance taken care of, the next problem is input. As I tested various games I’d run into problems as seemingly simple as a help screen that ended with “Press [Space] to continue….” and I couldn’t find a way to invoke the Android virtual keyboard to get access to the space bar, nor would any kind of tapping get me past it. Lots of games use keystrokes to move characters and those of course won’t work either. I suppose I could plug a keyboard into the Acer (hooray for that full-sized USB port) but that seems to defeat the purpose of playing on a tablet.

Even games that were built around point and click proved problematic at times. Clicking by tapping mostly worked fine, but when a game wanted me to hold the mouse button down and drag (to pan around a map, for instance) I’d be in trouble again. Sometimes it would work, but other times I’d end up scrolling the entire Web page instead of whatever was supposed to scroll inside the Flash app. There’s also the issue of clustered controls that are easy to target with a precise mouse cursor aren’t as easy to hit reliably with a big fat finger. Too often I’d trigger the control next to the one I really wanted to activate.

And the last problem I had was with the size of Flash apps. The Acer has a screen resolution of 1280x800. Some Flash games I ran into didn’t quite fit into those dimensions (the x800 aspect), which surprised me considering how many people still run their systems at 1024x768, but I guess those people just get used to scrolling the page up and down slightly.

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Mike Rowe on the Need for Skilled Tradespeople

Great point Rowe makes!

Dirty Jobs creator on the need for skilled tradespeople in America

Mike Rowe, creator of the TV show "Dirty Jobs," testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the de-skilling of America, and the way in which skilled manual labor has been undervalued and derided in the USA to its detriment:

A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn't a lack of funds. It wasn't a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.

In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We've elevated the importance of "higher education" to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled "alternative." Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as "vocational consolation prizes," best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of "shovel ready" jobs for a society that doesn't encourage people to pick up a shovel.

In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a "good job" into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber -- if you can find one -- is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we'll all be in need of both.

I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they're in short supply because we don't acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Is Second Life Dead as a Platform?

Samuel Bierwagen thinks so and makes a compelling cases as to why.

the failure of second life

In July of 2005, when I created my account, Second Life was the cool new thing. Moving between regions was kinda wonky, loading textures and objects was slow, and it was pretty ugly when compared to other games of the time; but it was generally assumed that these were teething issues, which would be quickly sorted out as new versions of the software were released.

In the meantime, the hardware and the networks have improved:

The processor's an easy six times faster, there's eight times as much memory, the internet pipe is 12 times wider, and the video card is, well, it's real quick.

and the results in Second Life?

Moving between regions is still kinda wonky, loading textures and objects is slow, and it's still pretty ugly... when compared to games made in 2005. Second Life has gained features, many of them, but it has improved not at all. Its problems are profound and architectural, and won't be solved by any minor patch, but rather, a complete redesign.

Bierwagen concludes,

Second Life as a game concept, sounds good, but was made with no thought of the fact that all the game assets are on the wrong side of a narrow, high-latency bus.

Second Life attempted to emulate Real Life in design. This was laudable, but misguided. Perhaps that's not the right word. Incorrect? Wrong? Colossally wrong?

It's been eight years, now, since Second Life launched. It hasn't come close to living up to its promise. My wild ass guess is that their asset servers will have sustain two hundred megabits a second to the customer in order to make Second Life even vaguely playable.[1] That's for SL's current, not great, graphics, nor a terribly inspiring draw distance, maybe 300 metres.

Not only would this require better internet service than pretty much anybody, outside of South Korea, has; it would take an absolutely massive investment in data centers all around the world. It only takes 40 megabits to stream high quality 1080p video. Sustaining five times that bandwidth, and maintaining consistency across all the caches would be a real trick.

I doubt Second Life will ever do it.

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Will You Be Buying a Chromebook?

Joshua Kim's 5 Reasons Why I'll Order a Chromebook on 6/15/11, and my comments/thoughts on each.

1. Going Mobile - Kim plans on getting a 3G model so he can be constantly connected to access an LMS and e-mail. He thinks the MacBook Pro is too bulky. As it exists today, going totally in the cloud is limited, by apps and functionality. There are also some LMSs that don't yet support the Chrome browser.

2. Backup Machine - here he argues that the Chromebook is cheap enough to serve as a backup machine. But isn't the same true of any of the small netbooks that have been available for 3 years? And what's the point of a backup machine if all your data is in the cloud?

3. Student Thinking - using the machine will help him determine if this makes sense for students. Maybe the college should buy 20 and have students use them?

4. Future Scoping - Kim thinks that the Chromebook model (apps in the cloud) will win out and this is a way to "live in the future." I'm not convinced and neither is Google - can you say Android?

5. Google Engagement - he hasn't been able to get Google more involved in education, so maybe using a Chromebook will do it? Bizarre

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Out With the Old ... In With the New

Jim Stover - dean of academic affairs and an English teacher - describing how he used to teach and how he expects to teach with the iPad. Hopefully the publishers can keep up!

Baylor To Require Students To Use The IPad In 2012:
“I am personally excited about the iPad initiative,” said Mr. Stover, who is returning full time to the classroom next year. "I started teaching when we made copies with ditto machines and listened to Shakespeare's plays on records. The resources now available to us will be extraordinary and will become more extraordinary every year as publishers develop interactive books. We will be watching videos from great Shakespearean productions as we read the text."

iPads - Schools Jumping Head First into the 21st Century

A private school in Chattanooga, Tennessee goes all in on iPads.

Baylor To Require Students To Use The IPad In 2012:
Baylor School has announced that all students will be required to purchase or lease an iPad beginning in the fall of 2012.

As the first phase of the iPad initiative the school has already purchased 110 of the tablets for teachers, librarians and academic support staff so they can begin preparing for the introduction of the devices to students next year. Professional development throughout the coming year will focus on effective use of the iPad in the classroom.


School officials said the primary reason for creating a 1:1 tablet environment is to provide all students access to extraordinary resources in every classroom and at home.

“We are deliberately taking a year to refine how teachers will use the iPads with other media and teaching methods,” said Baylor Headmaster Scott Wilson. “The iPad is just one tool we will use to enhance the learning experience for our students, but we are convinced that it could potentially transform our classrooms in terms of engagement, creativity, collaboration, research and how we support varied learning styles.”


Baylor junior Zach Watson began using his iPad in December and uses it primarily to keep his assignments organized, take notes in a variety of ways, write papers and read e-books. He said, “It has been a tremendous help in many aspects, especially regarding its convenience and the weight of my backpack, which used to weigh 20 pounds or more because of the textbooks. The iPad has been a valuable tool, and I look forward to further implementing it into my learning.”
Some key consequences of the move to iPads -
Because of the iPad’s functionality and availability of e-texts, apps, cloud computing and information sharing, Baylor’s long-term institutional goals will eventually include the reduction of computers on campus and other devices such as LabQuests, SmartBoards and the required use of handheld graphing calculators. Academic departments are being asked to reduce photocopying expenses by 50 percent beginning 2012-13, and parents will see significant savings in textbook purchases in the future.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Teaching Students Why We Need Math

Great idea for a site!

When Will I Use Math?

There is a new online initiative called We Use Math, which is meant to address and answer one of the most common questions that high school students have: when am I ever going to use math in the real world?

The idea behind this project is to motivate students to pursue mathematics-based careers, by helping them understand just how much math actually influences and shapes society. “We Use Math” is extremely well done, and I highly encourage you to check it out and pass it along – especially to any students you know.

Here's a link to a video explaining the initiative.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Google Speeds Up SSL

Impressive that it only requires client-side changes.

Eureka! Google breakthrough makes SSL less painful

Google researchers say they've devised a way to significantly reduce the time it takes websites to establish encrypted connections with end-user browsers, a breakthrough that could make it less painful for many services to offer the security feature.

What's more, the technique known as False Start requires that only simple changes be made to a user's browser and appears to work with 99 percent of active sites that offer SSL, or secure sockets layer, protection.

"We implemented SSL False Start in Chrome 9, and the results are stunning, yielding a significant decrease in overall SSL connection setup times," Google software engineer Mike Belshe wrote in a blog post published Wednesday. "SSL False Start reduces the latency of a SSL handshake by 30%. That is a big number."

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E-Books and Amazon

Nik Gregory provides some insightful analysis of the recent news that Amazon's Kindle e-book sales have surpassed print books.

Of Amazon and eBooks, again

a full and comprehensive book pricing breakdown; what you need to know: 10% of cover price covers printing, 10% goes to the distributor and a whopping 40% is taken by the retailer, which is why Walmart manages to sell big titles at 30% and sometimes even 37% off and still make money.

Now onto the news. Amazon’s present claim is grossly misleading, eBook sales still only attribute to around 9% of the total publishing market. Total Book sales for January 2011 was at $805.7 million, and eBooks were only $69.9 million of that.

What’s actually going on?

Mass Market Paperbacks and Trade Paperback sales have been losing ground, notably Mass Markets as this is the key area where eBooks are cannibalizing the market. Why? Because eBooks are the new mass market books. They have virtually zero expenses for editorial work as this has already been done in more expensive editions. They’re released cheap and you’ll likely see the ebook copy only about 10% less than the paperback. Why? As I said, 10% of the cover price goes to printing. The 10% for distribution is still in the midst with Amazon charging kickbacks to the seller.

Hardbacks quite interestingly are still going strong, they have yet to see a true loss in sales. This may be because publishers are recognizing them for what they truly are – luxury items. They’re coming in limited editions, and I don’t doubt it’ll be long before they’re coming in boxed sets with extras and short stories, author commentary and such attached to justify a $50 cover price.

What is truly great news for the publishing industry is this: Mass Market and Trade paperback sales aren’t just disappearing into eBooks. It appears that on the whole, a portion of eBook sales are complimenting the industry, meaning eBooks might actually be increasing the amount of money people are spending on reading (which will mean in about a decade we might have some awesome book->movie adaptations going again).

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Adobe is Number One ...

... in PC vulnerabilities. And number two and number three.

Adobe dominates Kaspersky Lab's top ten PC vulnerabilites list

Being number one is usually an honor, but not when it comes to Kaspersky Lab's top ten PC vulnerabilities list. Unfortunately for the software giant, Adobe took top dishonors for Q1 this year, pulling in five total spots on the list, including the top three.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

How To Secure a Linux Server

From the NSA!



Doctors Prefer iPads

75 Percent of Physicians Prefer Apple iPad, iPhone: Survey
A new survey by Manhattan Research reveals that 75 percent of physicians in the United States have purchased an Apple mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone or iPod.

The firm has completed its "Taking the Pulse U.S. 11.0" survey, an annual report that examines how physicians are using technology. It studies physicians' use of the Web, mobile devices and other technology tools.

For the survey, Manhattan Research interviewed 2,041 U.S. doctors in the first quarter of 2011 on the phone or online. The company organized data among specialists such as primary care physicians, cardiologists, oncologists and pediatricians. Researchers used back-end software to avoid overlap and ensure unique responses.

Announced on May 4, the study found that the iPhone was doctors' favored smartphone platform.

Of physicians the research firm interviewed, 81 percent were using smartphones, the company reports.

30 percent of doctors are now using iPads to access EHRs (electronic health records), view radiology images and communicate with patients. An additional 28 percent of doctors plan to buy an iPad within the next six months, Manhattan Research reports.
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Professors and Facebook

How Are Teachers & College Professors Using Facebook?:
a new survey shows that teachers might rival their younger counterparts when it comes to social media use. Nearly all professors are active on social media, and 80% of them use it as a teaching tool. Check out the infographic below to learn how college faculty are using social media both personally and professionally.
Reading professors like an open facebook, or how teachers use social media
Courtesy of: Schools.com

The History of Networks

Great infographic. Click the link for the full image.
Infographic: The History of Networks:

History of network infographic trimmed

Kids, You Thought Your Parents Music Old ...

Great addition to the Library of Congress's ongoing efforts to digitize their collections.

National Jukebox now online, serving up hits from the early 1900s
The LOC's just released online National Jukebox offers cutting-edge material for sure, but circa 1901 through 1925: 10,000 ready-to-audit recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Facebook and College Admissions

Visuals : Facebook and College Admissions:
more than 80% of college admissions officers report using Facebook as part of their recruiting process.

Are admissions officers really looking at the Facebook profiles of prospective students? And if so, are they making admissions decisions based on these profiles? Below is an infographic that highlights the answers to these questions and more—which might surprise you.
Reading students like an open facebook, or how social media is reshaping college admissions
Courtesy of: Schools.com

via bitrebels

YouTube Channels for Learning Linux

4 YouTube Channels Linux Enthusiasts Should Follow:

Using Facebook to Boost Learning

I personally think Facebook will be (or should be) our next LMS. Why would we adopt a separate platform (Blackboard, Angel, Canvas, Moodle, etc) to engage students when they're already waiting for us in Facebook?

Using Facebook to Get Better Grades?:
A new international study suggests online social networking sites like Facebook can not only help students get into the academic and social swing of things in college — it can also boost learning.

Researchers in China and Hong Kong said the finding that such sites can benefit learning and academics is a novel one, and underscores the need for academic institutions to be creative and resourceful in how they utilize social networking sites.


Educationally, students reported that Facebook allowed them to connect with faculty and other students, extending beyond friendship/social relationships.

U.S. Navy Launches Massively Multiplayer Game

Wannabe SEALs Help U.S. Navy Hunt Pirates In Massively Multiplayer Game | Fast Company:
The United States Navy has begun crowdsourcing ideas for fighting Somali pirates ... through a new video game project. The game platform, called MMOWGLI (Massive Multiplayer Online WarGame Leveraging the Internet--not a reference to Jungle Book), is the product of years of research, will include more than 1,000 military and civilian players, and is planned for launch on May 16. It marks the first major effort by the American military to integrate both crowdsourcing and gamification into traditional military wargames.

MMOWGLI was developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in order to test the feasibility of using massively multiplayer online games along the lines of Warcraft and Guild Wars to help solve difficult strategic problems. The MMOWGLI game launching in May will focus exclusively on combating Somalian piracy, but the gaming platform is open enough that it can be adapted to other military hotspots.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Google's Chromebook in Education

Joshua Kim has some suggestions for making the Chromebook more attractive to the education market. Interestingly, his biggest point is to create or buy (he suggest Canvas) a Google LMS that supports offline access.

Google's Chromebook LMS Limitation - Technology and Learning:
The Chromebook requires a Google LMS (learning management system) if Google hopes to significantly displace Microsoft or Apple in higher ed.

I say "Google LMS", because I don't believe that existing LMS's, in conjunction with the current Chromebook applications, offers students enough capabilities to ditch their MacBooks or Windows laptops. The Chromebook will ship with offline versions of GMail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar - but the lack of an offline and fully integrated LMS will limit higher ed adoption.

This is what I'd do if I ran the Education Group at Google (do they have such a group? Who runs it?):
  • Figure out the best way to create a Google LMS. Maybe this is a build from scratch project. Perhaps buying an existing platform makes sense. Instructure's Canvas LMS might be very appealing. The Google LMS will need full offline capabilities, synching when connected.
  • Fully integrate this new Google LMS into the Google Apps suite (including YouTube).
  • Beef up some of the Google Apps for education. I'd start with Google Presentation, building in voice-over recording and presentation capabilities for rapid authoring.
  • Partner with the Open Education providers, like M.I.T. and Carnegie Mellon, to develop a suite of world-class courses available for free educational use in the new Google LMS.
  • Build the Google LMS from the ground-up to work with mobile (Android) as well as through the browser.
Simple, right?

Q: Did Microsoft Buy Skype to Block Google?

A: Probably.

Q: Did they buy Skype to enter the telecom market and siphon market share and market cap from the telcos?

A: I hope not. As far as I'm concerned telcom - as it has existed - is a dying industry. Carriers are imposing caps and overage fees to hold on to whatever profits they can. Buying Skype assumes that cellphone and smartphones are for voice call - not anymore. Today telephony is about data, texting, and apps.

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » Why Microsoft bought Skype - Cringely on technology:
Ballmer and his company are at a tipping-point and he knows it. Microsoft is still big and powerful and rich, but no longer is it the biggest, most powerful, and richest. It is no coincidence that Department of Justice oversight of Microsoft’s anti-trust consent decree ended this week, because Redmond is nowhere near the threat to competitors that it used to be. The company can go from here either up or down and Ballmer’s fear is that the direction will be down, down, down. Microsoft will still make plenty of money but that might be from milking declining markets.

Ballmer needs a new market to milk.

Maybe that new market is telecom. Here is where I might write a paragraph about the Microsoft vision of unified communication where they’ll suck market share and market cap from the old telcos. That’s happening already and if someone is going to benefit, why not Microsoft? But I’m not writing that paragraph because I don’t think Ballmer or Microsoft are actually that smart. They have lost confidence. Microsoft no longer believes it controls or even can control the game. Worse still, they don’t have confidence that they even know the rules. So they’ve adopted a defensive posture and this Skype acquisition is more of a block than anything else.

Microsoft bought Skype to keep Google from buying Skype.

Awareness of Mobile Doesn't Equal Use

Interesting survey results. Most small-to medium businesses have an awareness of mobile or see its' future potential, but few are actually using mobile.

Unfortunately, I think most colleges and universities fall into the awareness and future categories.

If your organization/institution thinks the potential of mobile is two years away, you may have already lost.


From SMB’s Know Mobile but Don’t Use Mobile

Monday, May 16, 2011

Genius Bar - Where've I Heard that Before?

Stepping up to the Genius Bar:
the college bookstore of the future is going to look a lot like an Apple Store
Hmmm .... sounds very familiar

From February, 2010: Frequently Asked Q: Course Concierge - What if Every College Had a Genius Bar?:
This is a great idea! It reminds me of the Apple Genius Bar
and from June 2007: Frequently Asked Q: 10 Things We Can Learn From Apple:
Don't even get me started on the Genius Bar - What if every college had a Genius Bar?

Our Future's So Bright ...

Don't for a minute think that our future is bleak and that our best days are behind us. Our kids are still the best and brightest in the world. That's not to say that our education system doesn't have problems - it does, but our best, are the best!

Hope for American Science:

Congratulations to Matthew Feddersen (left) and Blake Marggraff (second from left), both 18 years old, of Lafayette, California, on taking first prize in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair yesterday.

Top 3 Winners ISEF 2011 thumb 1250x748 51046 thumb 560x335 51047

Their project, described at the Intel site, involves a potentially more effective and less expensive cancer therapy. The winners receive a $75,000 prize and the Gordon Moore Award, named for one of the founders of Intel. Teams from China, India, South Korea, Thailand, and the U.S. were among the finalists in 17 different science and engineering categories.

Steve Jobs' 2005 Commencement Address

I've read this many times and even watched the video. If you've haven't read these remarks, you should - and share with your friends and family.

Text of Steve Jobs' Commencement address (2005):

You've got to find what you love,'

Samsung's MacBook Air Competitor

11.6″ Samsung Series 9 now shipping in the US $1,160:

the 11.6″ Samsung Series 9 (NP900X1A) has now started shipping in the US, at Tigerdirect and Circuit City priced at $1,159.99. With its 0.62 – 0.65″ thinness, 2.31 lbs weight and a price tag of over $1,000 it’s as close as a competitor you’re going to get to the recent 11.6″ MacBook Air.
Samsung series 9 11 6
For that price, you get an 11.6″ 1366 x 768 (340 nits brightness) display, Intel Core i3-380UM (1.33GHz) processor with Intel HD 3000 graphics, 64GB SSD, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, Bluetooth, b/g/n WiFi, 1.3MP camera, 4-cell battery and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Ports include micro HDMI, 1x USB 2.0 (sleep & charge), 1x USB 3.0, LAN (via dongle) and card reader (MicroSD?). There’s also a backlit keyboard.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Value of Career & Technical Education

Why Career & Technical Education Should Be a Priority for the U.S.:
Today’s vocational programs, often referred to as “Career and Technical Education” or CTE, have seen significant gains. The programs start with a specific career focus, such as health sciences, business, or technology. CTE programs provide students with preparation to take careers in specific fields or to continue advanced study in post-secondary programs. The courses are often project-based with outcomes aligning to skills needed for the workplace, not a multiple choice test. Students still memorize content, and they often take college preparatory courses. However, the rationale for this material is connected to the context of their courses.


The contrast between programs focused on testing and others like CTE that bring a more solid context to learning is clear. In many cases, program content is similar. However, immersing students in a specific career provides a stronger context for learning. Students can connect the rationale for learning new content to a career skill or objective. Instead of being viewed as a distraction, technology becomes a critical tool to give students 21st Century skills in creativity, critical thinking, and communications.

For our students’ success and for the future of the U.S. economy, we need to retire outdated notions of vocational programs. Cutting CTE programs that keep students engaged in school, while providing vital 21st Century skills, isn’t sound financial planning for our schools, students, or our economy. CTE has proven successful at engaging students in learning by putting subject content into a real-world context — and we need to continue to fully fund these essential programs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Modern Classroom Described

Why Career & Technical Education Should Be a Priority for the U.S.:

For today’s students, the experience of going to school can feel like flying in an airplane, minus the excitement of travel. Students enter a world cut off from their own where they are asked to turn off all electronic devices. They can feel trapped, simply staring straight ahead for hours. Without a clear sense of where they are going, many U.S. students simply opt to get off the plane.

Life in the Cloud Doesn't Come Without Risks

Some cautionary words regarding Google's just announced Music Beta service.

Editorial: Engadget on Google Music and Movies for Android:

It's already slightly disturbing to access the web version of Android Market and see every device I've reviewed pop up, now every one of my many ill-judged musical choices must be known to Google too? Let's not kid ourselves, all those sales Apple makes on iTunes aren't going unrecorded either, but Google is unique in the vastness of data it can source and accumulate about us as individuals. It's all done with our best interests in mind, we're told, but I urge caution when hitching a ride on the cloud of convenience -- data is the information age's currency and Google Music is shaping up to be yet another massive aggregator of it for Mountain View.

An Early Positive Review of Google's Music Beta

It's early, and the review does say "could be a major hit," but a great cloud-based music service would be great for everyone - competitors, including Apple, would have to up their game.

Hands-On With Google Music Beta on the Web:

After testing it for a little bit, it quickly becomes clear that this could be a major hit for Google. Indeed, among today’s music locker services like Amazon’s Cloud Drive and MP3tunes, Google’s efforts come the closest to recreating the convenience of Lala, the service that Apple bought last year and promptly shut down.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Overpaid by 4.5 Billion? Ouch

Microsoft said tricked into overbidding for Skype by $4.5b:

Microsoft's $8.5 billion purchase of Skype may have been the result of it being fooled into paying more. Multiple tips claimed Tuesday that Google was bidding but had stopped at $4 billion, less than half what Microsoft paid. TechCrunch was told that Facebook had never been in competition and, while not intentional, ended up convincing Microsoft it had to bid more to stay in the running.

TechShop: Manufacturing Incubator

I was up late last night working and I saw this story on CBS news about TechShop. Sort of an incubator for manufacturing. Great idea!

More on Microsoft's Skype Acquisition

Interesting analysis from Om Malik. I'm skeptical, but time will tell.

Why Microsoft is Buying Skype for $8.5 Billion: Tech News and Analysis:
It won’t surprise me if Microsoft comes in for major heat on this decision to buy Skype — and the software company could always botch this purchase, as it often does when it buys a company. The Skype team is also full of hired guns who are likely to move on to the next opportunity rather than dealing with the famed Microsoft bureaucracy.

I also don’t believe that Facebook and Google were serious buyers. Google, with its Google Voice offering, doesn’t really need Skype. In essence, I feel that Microsoft was bidding against itself. Even then, I personally think this is a bet worth taking, especially for a company that has been left out in the cold for so long.

  • Skype gives Microsoft a  boost in the enterprise collaboration market, thanks to Skype’s voice, video and sharing capabilities, especially when competing with Cisco and Google.
  • It gives Microsoft a working relationship with carriers, many of them looking to partner with Skype as they start to transition to LTE-based networks.
  • It would give them a must-have application/service that can help with the adoption of the future versions of Windows Mobile operating system.
  • However, the biggest reason for Microsoft to buy Skype is Windows Phone 7 (Mobile OS) and Nokia. The software giant needs a competitive offering to Google Voice and Apple’s emerging communication platform, Facetime.

Is Skype Worth 8.5 Billion?

Seems like this is a done deal. Ebay only paid $2.6 Billion for Skype in 2005. I can't imagine that they've tripled in value since then. I'm not sure what they plan to do with Skype. Here's a good rundown of past Microsoft acquisitions.

Microsoft to Acquire Skype - WSJ.com:
Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Internet phone company Skype Technologies SA for $8.5 billion in cash—the most aggressive move yet by Microsoft to play in the increasingly converged worlds of communication, information and entertainment.

"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in a statement announcing the deal Tuesday. "Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world."

Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype Chief Executive Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Mr. Ballmer.

Monday, May 09, 2011

More Technological Obsolescence

Technically, I don't "need" any of these things. They're just conveniences we've grown accustomed to living in a modern society.

I agree with numbers 2, 3, 4, and 6. The replacements? Mobile phone, netflix, video-on-demand, hulu, pandora, laptop/tablet/smartphone. Unfortunately, I still watch TV and still get service through a provider. And most troubling e-mail is still the required communications hub - I'm not sure how we break from e-mail.

I would also add the VCR to the list, as it's been replaced by DVR, but maybe that's old news.

7 things you don't need anymore:
  1. Television
  2. Telephone land line
  3. DVD Player
  4. Physical music collection and dedicated player
  5. Cable or satellite TV
  6. Desktop computer
  7. Email

Accountability: The Difference Between A Vice President And A Janitor

Great leadership advice Steve Jobs gives all of his new VPs.
Steve Jobs On The Difference Between A Vice President And A Janitor:
the "Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President."

Jobs tells the VP that if the garbage in his office is not being emptied regularly for some reason, he would ask the janitor what the problem is. The janitor could reasonably respond by saying, "Well, the lock on the door was changed, and I couldn't get a key."

An irritation for Jobs, for an understandable excuse for why the janitor couldn't do his job. As a janitor, he's allowed to have excuses.

"When you're the janitor, reasons matter," Jobs tells newly minted VPs, according to Lashinsky.

"Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering," says Jobs, adding, that Rubicon is "crossed when you become a VP."

In other words, you have no excuse for failure. You are now responsible for any mistakes that happen, and it doesn't matter what you say.

Palimpsest for iPad - Pandora for News

Palimpsest for iPad - Discover New and Interesting Articles


Friday, May 06, 2011

Newsletter 2.0


Interesting concept - an online newspaper or newsletter created by combining the information shared by the people you follow on twitter. Lot's of possibilities for this type of service (available for free at paper.li) - you could pull info from your full twitter feed, from a particular hashtag (for example a conference), or from a particular list you've created.

Let's say you're attending a 3-day conference in Rhode Island. You could create a custom newsletter that shares the information from that conference - sort of a daily summary of the conference. Consider also that you're interested in network security - you could create a newsletter/newspaper based on a list of security experts that you follow - great weekly and daily reading assignments for your students!


The SYWTT Daily

Wall Street Journal on Augmented Reality

Would love to see some examples of augemnted reality (AR) in education, but this is a good primer on AR.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Kids Don't Want Kindles - They Want iPads

A nice companion piece to my post Students Not So Hot on Kindle, where I pointed out:
A stunning 60% stopped using the devices. Maybe a more generic devices - like a tablet - would be more integrated into their lives than a single purpose Kindle. That could be an iPad, an android tablet or even the Nook e-reader or rumored Amazon tablet.
Shocker! College kids like having iPads in the classroom:
E-readers may not be good enough for Princeton's hallowed halls, but students and professors at Oklahoma State University seem to have fallen head over heels for their iPads. Last fall, the school introduced the tablets in a handful of lecture halls and classrooms, as part of its iPad Pilot Program. Teachers involved in the study said they benefited from all the educational software available on Apple's App Store, while students appreciated not having to spend their life savings on traditional textbooks. At the end of the pilot program, a full 75-percent of collegians said the iPad "greatly enhanced" their classroom experience
Opinion was noticeably more divided, however, on the device's value as an e-reader. Some enjoyed having all their books in one place, whereas others were a bit disappointed with the experience, saying they didn't use it to read as often as they expected to.

Scribe - Annotate the Web

Interesting tool for students and teachers.

First look: Scrible, cool new web research, curation, collection tool

Just released today, Scrible (spelled weird), caught my eye at yesterday’s Founder Conference in Mountain View, so I pulled CEO Victor Karkar aside into a noisy cafe to see more.

What does this do? Well, it lets you markup the web. But you really need to see this one. When I first heard Victor describe it I almost wrote it off. I’m glad I didn’t.

See, we often have times when we need Scrible. Here’s some:


3. Student research. Looking through the web and online books for information to use in a paper like my son often does for his high school classes? Well, he can pull out quotes and other information, mark them up, and save them into Scrible. After his research is done he can export all these quotes to a document.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Students Not So Hot on Kindle

A stunning 60% stopped using the devices. Maybe a more generic devices - like a tablet - would be more integrated into their lives than a single purpose Kindle. That could be an iPad, an android tablet or even the Nook e-reader or rumored Amazon tablet.

Mixed Reviews in Study of Kindle Use

A study of student use of the Kindle DX at the University of Washington gave the device decidedly mixed reviews, The Seattle Times reported. The study involved first-year graduate students in computer science and engineering -- students who are presumably comfortable with digital information. But seven months into the study, 60 percent of the students had stopped regularly using their Kindles for academic reading. Although the Kindle has note-taking capability, the study found many students preferred to use paper to take notes on what they read on their Kindles.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Publishers - Adapt or Die

Another data point in the ongoing shift to e-books. Publishers need to figure this out quickly. If not, they'll be left with an old business model that is dead and a new business model that doesn't work. As for writers and content creators, what's the incentive to work with a publisher? The ease of digital publishing is going drive more and more writers away from traditional publishers - unless they can develop a compelling reason for them so stay. This could also serve as an opportunity for the formation of small digital publishing houses.

Suddenly, eBook Sales Are Huge

For huge publishing house Hachette, which publishes the Twilight series among others, ebook revenue is up in a big way – about 88% year over year.

It now accounts for approximately 22% of Hatchette's revenue in the United States and 5% in the United Kingdom, according to a release by Lagardere, the big French media conglomerate that owns Hachette.

For a big publisher, ebook revenue is now over 20% of revenue. That's a huge milestone.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Learning Pashto? There's An iPad For That

We need more apps like this in higher ed. Available in early May.

No Signal in Afghanistan? University's iPad Language App Will Still Work:
U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan frequently have trouble talking with local residents, who speak Pashto, which has 44 letters and its own unique calligraphy. Now there’s a free iPad app that provides a tutorial, and it will work even in remote areas because the entire program resides on the tablet computer.


Users can watch and listen to video recordings of Pashto speakers pronouncing each letter. It also has animations of Pashto calligraphy. Users can practice by tracing the letters on the screen, using a finger as a stylus. Difficulty writing with a finger has been acontinuing criticism of the iPad, but Mr. Karimov says his group has tested the app with students, who all seemed to find it easy to use.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Is Adobe Flash Still Relevant?

Interesting post from ZDNet's Jason Perlow. One year after Steve Jobs' Thoughts on Flash, Perlow concedes that most mobile devices don't have the horsepower to successfully run Flash. A notable exception is Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet, which Perlow claims runs Flash and Air surprisingly well.

The problem - says Perlow - is not with Adobe, but instead "can be traced to the lack of openness Google [and Apple] has had with Adobe in being able to effectively develop an efficient plug-in for their platform." So it's not Adobe's fault that Flash is buggy, it's the fault of Apple and Google. I'm not buying it!

As far as the need for Flash, Perlow observes that:
There are a few sites that use SWF-only players and that will not work, but they are becoming fewer and far between because they don’t want to keep such an important platform as iOS from being able to view videos. And overall when browsing on my Android phone, I find more HTM5-based video content than I do Flash.
One year after iPad: Is Adobe Flash still relevant?:
One year after Thoughts on Flash, and the Flash-less iPad is selling like hotcakes. Android is a smartphone smash pretty much without Flash, and as a tablet player, its got big half-bakedness concerns to contend with on Honeycomb let alone worry about Flash stability and performance at this juncture.

I’m not convinced that Flash compatibility on our smartphone and tablet platforms, let alone on the desktop web is something that we really need to be concerned about going forward. Most of us seem to be getting along without it just fine.

And that should worry Adobe a great deal.

How To Fix RIM's PlayBook

Based on what I've read, I'm not sure this would be enough to fix the PlayBook.

The PlayBook Will Suck Until RIM Fixes These 4 Things:
There's still a lot the PlayBook needs before it can go toe-to-toe with the iPad 2.

4. More Convenience.
3. A MUCH Better Browser.
2. More Apps. SO MANY More Apps.
1. Play or Book, Pick ONE.

Download 3-months-worth of HD Video in 1 Second

109 terabits per second - Wow!

World record: 109 terabits per second over single optical fibre

When the first commercial fiber-optic communications system was developed in 1975, it operated at a bit rate of 45 Mbps. Today, we have speeds of 109Tb per second which is drastically improved. New Scientist said that the route between New York and Washington D.C., which is one of the highest trafficked routes in the world, outputs “a few terabits per second.” So, relatively speaking, having a way to deliver 100 terabits per second is quite desirable for the future of data communications.

The 109 terabit per second speed was achieved by the National Institute of Information and Communications in Tokyo. The group developed a fibre that uses seven “light-guiding cores,” instead of the normal single core. Each core was able to carry 15.6 terabits per second, which totaled 109 terabits combined.

The second record-setter came from NEC’s Dayou Qian, who achieved 101.7 terabits per second. His method did not use more cores, but instead created the pulse sent down the line from 370 separate lasers. Each laser contained a small packet of information, but combined to form a massive amount of data transfer. He used 165 kilometers of fibre to demonstrate this super-fast transfer rate.

Five Free Kindle Digital Vooks

I'm not a big fan of calling them e-books, but I'm not sure Vook (a book with video) is any better. These only work on iPads and iPhones for now.

Got iOS? Get Five Free Vook Digital Books!:
Today’s Kindle Nation Daily brings this post: KND Kindle Free Book Alert, Monday, May 2: OVER 60 BRAND NEW FREEBIES THIS MORNING!

And there are a bunch of free Vook digital books there. But not all of them are true Vooks — a mixture of text and audio/video. Only five are.

Here are the direct links (although you’re cheating yourself by not looking at all the other great freebies in the KND post):

Western Civilization 101: The Animated TextVook [52.6 MB]
American Revolution 101: The Animated TextVook [27.6 MB]
Civil War 101: The Animated TextVook [27.5 MB]
Ancient Greece 101: The Animated TextVook [42.8 MB]
World War I 101: The Animated TextVook [58.4 MB]

Vooks only work with iOS right now. Amazon hasn’t updated their software for desktops or Android to read (play?) them.

However: Grab these anyway. You don’t have to download them now. Just take ownership of them. They will remain on Amazon’s servers as your property in your account until the time comes when you can actually read them on something other than an iOS device.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Nice Overview of the PlayStation Network Attack

Key points from the Sony Conference

Protecting Your Digital Data

Steve Branigan - a member of my advisory committee, an adjunct professor in my program, and a security expert - gives his take and personal experience with the recent attack on the Sony PlayStation Network. A critical point he makes - do not use the same username and password on all of your social networking sites - if any one of these accounts is compromised, all of your accounts are compromised.

how safe is your digital data? « Trends in high tech security:
The recent hack of the Sony network has exposed user information on approximately 77 million accounts.  The attack, according to an article in the The Telegraph, has potentially exposed passwords and credit card numbers.  If this is true, this is “not good”, since it would imply that the passwords and the credit card numbers were not encrypted when they were stored in Sony’s network.

I registered for the Sony network, so apparently my credentials were among the ones stolen during this attack. At the end of this posting is the email message that I received from Sony about the incident. (I have removed some information that is not important for this posting.) The posting recommends changing the account password once the Sony network has been reactivated.

The Sony network required an email address and a password for a user to log into their network. An email address along with a password is used for authentication to other networks, such as LinkedIN or Facebook. Thus, it is possible that some of the accounts compromised in the Sony network attack can be used to hijack non Sony accounts. The below email message from Sony would be better if it recommended that users change all accounts using the same email address and/or the same password used in the Sony network.

What can users do? When registering for networks such as Sony’s, Amazon’s or others, be sure the email adress and password used for authenticiation on one site is not used for authentication on other sites. This means that a user needs to  ensure that the userid/password used to log into Facebook is not the same as the userid/password used to log into the Sony network. This will limit the potential risk if one network is compromised For example, my amazon ID is not at risk from this attack since I user different account information for the Amazon and Sony networks.

An Era of Broadband Caps

Very sad that in an era of user generated content, online video, smartphones, tablets, 3G and 4G speeds the carriers - both mobile and fixed - are moving toward data caps. This time in history - more than any other period - requires unlimited data caps. Unfortunately, it seems that either:
  1. the carrier networks are choking on the increased traffic,
  2. the carriers are unsatisfied with the flat revenue from unlimited plans, or
  3. a combination of 1 and 2
Shed a Tear: The Age of Broadband Caps Begins Monday:
AT&T will begin restricting more than 16 million broadband users based on the amount of data they use in a month. The No. 2 carrier's entry into the broadband-cap club means that a majority of U.S. broadband users will now be subject to limits on how much they can do online or risk extra charges as ugly as video store late fees. AT&T's new limits - 150 GB for DSL subscribers and 250 GB for UVerse users (a mix of fiber and DSL) - come as users are increasingly turning to online video such as Hulu and Netflix on-demand streaming service instead of paying for cable. With the change, AT&T joins Comcast and numerous small ISPs in putting a price on a fixed amount of internet usage. It's a complete abandonment of the unlimited plans which turned the internet into a global behemoth


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