Monday, October 31, 2011

Gear Trains

Ann Marie Thomas with a nice explanation of gear trains. Great illustration that you don't have to go high tech - a chalkboard and a simple handheld video camera is all you need.

Disrupting the Textbook Market

Jeffrey Young details Steve Jobs' plans for the textbook market. It's a shame he'll never get an opportunity – I love love to see this market disrupted like the other markets Apple has disrupted. Steve Jobs Had Hopes of Disrupting Textbook Market:

The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had discussed plans to shake up the textbook industry, including an effort that would have included free textbooks with iPads, according to a biography released this week.

“Jobs had his sights set on textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform,” says a passage in the new book, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. It notes that Jobs said he had met with several major textbook publishers, including Pearson. It appears that his primary focus was on the K-12 textbook market. “The process by which states certify textbooks is corrupt,” Mr. Jobs is quoted as saying. “But if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”

Mr. Jobs was less keen on the power of his products to change other aspects of education, according to the book. Rupert Murdoch said that during a dinner he had with Mr. Jobs recently, the Apple co-founder was “somewhat dismissive” of technology’s ability to transform education.

Several colleges, meanwhile, have embraced the iPad tablet computer, starting pilot projects to use them in teaching.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Time to start that book you've thinking of.

Jason Snell Write a novel in 30 days with NaNoWriMo:

November 1 marks the first day of National Novel Writing Month. It’s a fantastic event where regular people are encouraged to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

If you always wished you could find the time to write a novel, maybe November is the right month to finally make that dream a reality.

A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs

very moving

A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Is Kindle Fire Worth It?

Wade Williams wonders if the Kindle Fire is Still Worth it With No Ice Cream?. In particular, he cites the forked version of Android, the lack of the newest version - Ice Cream Sandwich, and the separate Amazon Android store. I think the price ($199), who it's from (Amazon), and the Amazon content ecosystem (apps, movies, music, and of course books) will make Kindle Fire a very, very popular holiday gift. Google should be worried.
Since Amazon announced their Kindle Fire Device, to be released November 5th, I've been wanting to pre-order it. It seemed like a no brainer at first: A tablet that runs android, for much much less than the Apple iPad.

The Amazon Silk browser stores highly used content in the cloud and pre-loads it to your device when you hit a page -- In other words, it guesses what you're going to click on next, so when you hit a webpage, the Fire is working in the background to load what you're most likely next clicks will be, which results in a lightning fast experience for most users. Sounds great!

But upon further investigation, it turns out that what has happened is that Amaon has forked android in a totally different direction ... which makes me a little concerned.


So the question becomes, is the Kindle Fire still worth it? I want access to Android Apps, but what I'm really interested in is a cheap tablet that I can use to hit Google Reader and other sites -- I sit infront of a computer long enough during the day that I want a different experience when I'm casually browsing the web.

But is the Kindle Fire taking us in a different, bastardized direction?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Purdue University Says Goodbye to BlackBerries

From Jim Dalrymple Purdue University gives BlackBerry the boot:

Purdue University:

Purdue University has continued to see a decline in BlackBerry devices using its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) since Jan. 1, 2011, and, after Dec. 31, 2012, will no longer support Exchange synchronization with BlackBerry devices.

The combination of a 33-percent decrease in BES use, a subsequent increase in per-unit cost and a proliferation of the use of non-BlackBerry devices influenced the decision.

“Allowing a full two-year cycle prior to discontinuation offers the maximum opportunity for personal BlackBerry users to replace their devices through individual cellular service providers,” says Mike Rubesch, ITaP executive director of systems and operations.

If a faculty or staff member currently uses a University-provided BlackBerry for campus business, the University will replace the device with a non-BlackBerry device as it comes up for renewal.

Where Should I Buy My E-Books?

Marco Arment does an Informal e-reader library comparison

Since the iPad first launched, I've found greater availability and lower cost for Amazon versus iBooks e-books, maybe that's beginning to change.

In the past, I’ve always recommended the Kindle over other e-ink readers, and buying Kindle books instead of iBooks on iOS, because Amazon had the biggest library of relevant titles and strongest content ecosystem.

But Amazon’s advantage is no longer as clear in my casual searching.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lotus Glass Paves Way for Higher Resolution Displays

Casey Johnston reporting Corning's new Lotus Glass promises higher-resolution displays, more

Corning, the developers of Gorilla Glass, announced the launch of a new display material named Lotus Glass for use with LCD and OLED screens today in a press release. The company says Lotus Glass has more "thermal and dimensional stability," which will allow it to better withstand the process of attaching high-resolution displays and implementing “tighter design rules.”

LCD glass substrates can require intense heating and cooling cycles to create screens, particularly for higher-resolution displays, Corning says. Lotus Glass has a higher annealing point than Gorilla Glass, meaning more heat is required for the material to relax internal stresses and forces.

According to Corning, Lotus Glass will allow for screens with “higher resolution and faster response times.”

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Focus on the Student (Customer)

Great advice for higher ed – rather than focusing on enrollment growth (code for revenue) focus on students, adding value and the student experience and the growth will follow.

Also, don't be afraid to cannibalize or disrupt your own business - rather you than someone else.

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma:

James Allworth:

They can do it because Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority. When you do this, the fear of cannibalization or disruption of one’s self just melts away. In fact, when your mission is based around creating customer value, around creating great products, cannibalization and disruption aren’t “bad things” to be avoided. They’re things you actually strive for — because they let you improve the outcome for your customer.

(Via Daring Fireball)

Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Sources

Richard Byrne on an interesting assignment he gives his students –

Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Sources Comparison:

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a Tweet that my students were working on a comparison of Wikipedia articles to articles in their textbooks. Judging by the reTweets and replies to my message, a lot of people were interested in the activity. What I left out of my Tweet was the third part of the assignment in which my students had to locate and use primary source documents to gain more insight into the various topics. You can find the outline of the assignment here.

There were two purposes to this assignment. First to dispel the myths that Wikipedia is unreliable and that textbooks are gospel truth. The second purpose was for students to see the value of primary source documents for gaining insights into historical events and or people. Both goals were met. The topics my students were investigating were the Sand Creek Massacre, the Battle of Little Bighorn, and the Fort Laramie Treaties. The vast majority of my students reported that they found the textbook easier to use for finding the "main points," but that the Wikipedia articles had the same information. They also reported that the Wikipedia articles had more depth of information.

Where Wikipedia shone was in getting students started on their searches for primary source documents. As you'll see in the outline, I asked my students to use the links at the end of each Wikipedia article to further investigate each topic and locate primary source documents. What I did not include in the outline is that I also allowed students to simply search the web on their own to find primary source documents. As I expected, most of them came to the realization that a lot what they were finding through their own searches was already listed in the links at the end of the Wikipedia articles. At the end of the activity every student was able to identify and add new information to their knowledge base using the primary source documents they located.

I welcome your questions and feedback. And if you found the outline useful, by all means please feel free to reuse it in your classrooms.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Your Surgeon a Gamer?

Great piece from Robert T. Gonzalez.  I'm in the middle of reading Bilton's book - great read for anyone in education, anyone with kids, and and anyone with any interest in where we're headed!

Is your surgeon a gamer? He probably should be.:

For years, the US Department of Health and Human Services has distributed brochures like this one to people who are considering surgery. The packets are full of things you need to know and questions you should ask your surgeon before going under the knife.

And while these pamphlets are certainly thorough and informative, you'll notice that they make no mention of asking your surgeon if he or she plays (or used to play) video games. But recent research suggests that they probably should.

The folks over at BoingBoing recently posted an excerpt from a book by Nick Bilton —lead technology writer for the New York Times Bits Blog—titled I Live in the Future and Here's How it Works . In a chapter titled "Why Surgeons Play Video Games," Bilton presents some of the latest research on the link between surgical skill and gaming experience:

A few years ago, researchers quizzed more than thirty surgeons and surgical residents on their video game habits, identifying those who played video games frequently, those who played less frequently, and those who hardly played at all [the research paper in question can be found here]. Then they put all the surgeons through a laparoscopic surgery simulator, in which thin instruments akin to extremely long chopsticks are inserted into one or more small incisions through the skin along with a small camera that is inserted into an additional small opening. Minimally invasive surgery like this frequently is used for gallbladder removal, gynecologic procedures, and other procedures that once involved major cutting and stitching and could require hours on an operating table. [Featured here is the video from a laparoscopic appendectomy that illustrates the kind of coordination and spatial awareness required for laparoscopic procedures. Just a heads up: this clip is not for the squeamish.]

The researchers found that surgeons or residents who used to be avid video game players had significantly better laparoscopic skills than did those who'd never played. On average, the serious game players were 33 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer errors than their colleagues who didn't have prior video game experience.

The more video games the surgeons had played in the past, the better their numbers.

Good News for Solar Energy

Kees Van Der Leun observes Solar PV rapidly becoming the cheapest option to generate electricity:

For a long time, the holy grail of solar photovoltaics (PV) has been "grid parity," the point at which it would be as cheap to generate one's own solar electricity as it is to buy electricity from the grid. And that is indeed an important market milestone, being achieved now in many places around the world. But recently it has become clear that PV is set to go beyond grid parity and become the cheapest way to generate electricity.

Jonathan Ive on Steve Jobs

The next time you're sharing ideas on your campus or in your community, think about this portion:

[ideas] begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished

From Philip Elmer-Dewitt Jonathan Ive on Steve Jobs and the fragility of ideas:

But for me the most touching part was Jony Ive's brief remarks -- in particular the things he had to say about Steve Jobs and the fragility of ideas:

Steve used to say to me -- and he used to say this a lot -- "Hey Jony, here's a dopey idea."

And sometimes they were. Really dopey. Sometimes they were truly dreadful. But sometimes they took the air from the room and they left us both completely silent. Bold, crazy, magnificent ideas. Or quiet simple ones, which in their subtlety, their detail, they were utterly profound.

And just as Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.

Monday, October 24, 2011

ASP.NET Sites Vulnerable to SQL injection

SQL injection hack opens 180K sites:

A new, prepackaged set of SQL injection techniques are circling the Internet, injecting malicious JavaScript into sites that run on ASP.NET with code that allows attackers to open a door on the sites and slip in malware or other exploits that they can use to take over or sabotage the site.

According to Alex Rothacker, director of security research for Application Security, Inc.'s Team Shatter, which lists SQL injections with data-base access components the No. 2 security risk.

So far, 180,000 sites have had been penetrated by the new attack, which differs from existing SQL injections like the ones that cracked Sony 17 or 18 times because it attacks not one site at a time, but dozens.

Once they're cracked, the infected sites start serving copies of the malware to their visitors, extending the attack even further.

The attacks started Oct. 9, according to web security provider Armorize, which also found only six of 43 virus detectors can pick up the malicious code.

The attack injects malicious JavaScript code into ASP.NET sites that store HTML content in SQL Server databases – content that acts as a cache to make subsequent visits to that page far quicker because the main page is coming out of a local database rather than through the Internet, according to Rothacker, whose analysis ran in HelpNet Security

When a visitor hits the site, the pages link the browser to a site called, which runs a script that infects it with botnet-control code that gives the botnet owner control to run code or make changes on the newly zombified machine.

How 18th-Century Copiale Cipher Was Cracked

John Markoff reporting for the NY Times – How 18th-Century Copiale Cipher Was Cracked:


It has been more than six decades since Warren Weaver, a pioneer in automated language translation, suggested applying code-breaking techniques to the challenge of interpreting a foreign language.

In an oft-cited letter in 1947 to the mathematician Norbert Weiner, he wrote: “One naturally wonders if the problem of translation could conceivably be treated as a problem in cryptography. When I look at an article in Russian, I say: ‘This is really written in English, but it has been coded in some strange symbols. I will now proceed to decode.’ ”

That insight led to a generation of statistics-based language programs like Google Translate — and, not so incidentally, to new tools for breaking codes that go back to the Middle Ages.

Now a team of Swedish and American linguists has applied statistics-based translation techniques to crack one of the most stubborn of codes: the Copiale Cipher, a hand-lettered 105-page manuscript that appears to date from the late 18th century. They described their work at a meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in Portland, Ore.

Discovered in an academic archive in the former East Germany, the elaborately bound volume of gold and green brocade paper holds 75,000 characters, a perplexing mix of mysterious symbols and Roman letters. The name comes from one of only two non-coded inscriptions in the document.

Kevin Knight, a computer scientist at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California, collaborated with Beata Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University in Sweden to decipher the first 16 pages. They turn out to be a detailed description of a ritual from a secret society that apparently had a fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology.

Dan Frommer on Netflix's Woes

Netflix loses 800k subscribers and another 20% in stock price:

Netflix’s nightmare Q3 is in the books. And shares are getting hammered after-hours — down more than 20% — as the company says it expects to lose more U.S. streaming subscribers next quarter because of its price increases and DVD split-up. Including tonight’s action, Netflix shares have now lost more than 2/3 their value since mid-July, which is pretty crazy. Many details in Netflix’s letter to shareholders (PDF).

Student Success: The True Price of Expensive Textbooks

Tanya Roscorla details a Psychology Professors' discovery of the true cost expensive textbooks. A third of the class doesn't buy the book, searches Google for answers to the take-home midterm, copied and pasted, got the answer wrong – and failed the mid-term.

U. of Cincinnati Searches for Affordable Psychology eTextbooks:

In an advanced University of Cincinnati class, associate professor of psychology Charles Ginn assigned a take-home midterm.

Two questions on the test asked students to relate the material they studied to their lives. The third question was objective.

In PowerPoints, Ginn clearly covered what they needed to know to answer the question. And he told them what page they needed to study in the textbook.

But 30 percent of the students gave the same wrong answer that had nothing to do with the coursework. Ginn asked the class what happened. A student cautiously raised his hand. "I googled," he said.

They copied and pasted an answer without reading it because they couldn't afford expensive textbooks. As a result, they got an "F" on the midterm. And Ginn started thinking about textbooks.

At the University of Cincinnati, Ginn is leading a team this fall that's searching for more cost-effective textbooks for "Introduction to Psychology" courses.



Yet Again the Year of Linux on the Desktop?

At least in corporate environments. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports that Ubuntu Linux will try for the business desktop. Unfortunately, I think this is wishful thinking, as were all the previous predictions that "this year will be the year of Linux on the desktop." If Ubuntu thinks extending the support and maintenance from three years to five years will make the difference, they don't know end users. While IT managers and CIOs might see the benefit, end users want an OS that's comfortable and familiar. And CIOs don't want to have constantly answer the questions "where's my word?" "where's my outlook?" "where's my start button?"

I use the Linux desktop at work, but I’m in a tiny minority. Most people use Windows. Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, plans on getting at least some Windows users to switch though with its next long term support (LTS) release.

Canonical has announced that it would be extending the support and maintenance period for the April 2012 LTS Ubuntu Linux release for desktop users from three years to five years. The move comes in response to what the company claims is “increasing demand for Ubuntu desktops in corporate environments where longer maintenance periods are the norm. It brings the desktop product into line with Ubuntu Server which continues with five years of support for LTS releases.”

In a blog posting, Ubuntu’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, expanded on this. “We need to do justice to the fact that 12.04 LTS will be the preferred desktop for many of the world’s biggest Linux desktop deployments, in some cases exceeding half a million desktops in a single institution. So 12.04 is also an opportunity to ensure that our desktop is manageable at scale, that it can be locked down in the ways institutions need, and that it can be upgraded from 10.04 LTS smoothly as promised. Support for multiple monitors will improve, since that’s a common workplace requirement.”

That desktop, by the by, is going to stay Unity. There will be no return to a GNOME 2.x style desktop, never mind GNOME 3.x. According to Shuttleworth, “The nail-biting transitions to Unity and Gnome 3 are behind us, so this cycle is an opportunity to put perfection front and center. … That’s an opportunity to work through the whole desktop interface and make sure we’re using exactly the right weight in each place, bringing the work we’ve been doing for several cycles fully into focus.”

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Missouri Facebook Ban Repealed

Missouri Repeals Law Banning Teacher-Student Facebook Friendship:

Remember back in July when the state of Missouri enacted legislation making Facebook friendship between teachers and students— as well as any sort of social networking — illegal?

After teachers complained the ban was unconstitutional and interfered with education, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon altered the state policy in a new bill signed Friday. The initial state senate bill, which has come to be known as the “Facebook Law,” is no longer in effect,reportsThe Kansas City Star.

Instead, all Missouri school districts will have until March 2012 to create their own social networking policies.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wireless: Running Out of Bandwidth

Lowell McAdam at the NY Times argues that Wireless Spectrum Should Be Reallocated:

At a time of slow economic growth and declining competitiveness, wireless technology remains a shining example of innovation. In the last 10 years, wireless communications companies in the United States have invested hundreds of billions of dollars and unleashed a torrent of new products.

Demand for faster speeds and more applications is growing at a tremendous rate. But without prompt government action, the lifeblood of this innovative sector of the economy is at risk of being choked off.

At issue is the allocation of wireless spectrum, the crucial “real estate” upon which wireless networks are built. A number of wireless companies — large and small, urban and rural — as well as companies like TV networks, cable companies and the government hold spectrum licenses, and have enough spectrum to meet today’s consumer demand. But many other companies depend on spectrum, too: mobile device manufacturers, software and application designers and content creators — all of which make products and services that require fast wireless networks that can connect them to consumers.

The Yankee Group, a research firm, estimates that by 2015 consumer use of wireless applications and services will be almost 60 times today’s volume. And a recent analysis found that the nation’s biggest wireless carriers controlled only about half of the spectrum available for wireless services. [emphasis added - MQ]

Even with technological advances, a severe spectrum crunch looms over the next decade. Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has rightly pointed out that substantial amounts of new spectrum are needed to drive the continued growth of the wireless industry.

Cheaper Sensor Chips Soon?

Stacey Higginbotham reporting


New printed chip could spark cheaper sensor networks:

Thin Film Electronics ASA, a maker of disposable memory used in toys, has developed a way to add computing to its circuits through a partnership with Xerox PARC. This means it can offer thin, disposable tracking tags for a few cents apiece


Siri Goes Shopping

Great tip from Erica Sadun
Creating a shopping list with Reminders and Siri:
Cliff Joyce of Pure Blend Software introduced me to my favorite way of putting together shopping lists in Siri. 
Start in the Reminders application and create a new list. To do this, tap the Lists but-ton at the top-left corner of the application. It looks like three lines on top of each other. Then tap Edit > Create New List ... and enter the name Groceries. Click Done. Once you have added a new list, you can refer to that list in Siri.

After creating the list, you can add items to it with simple requests whenever you think of something new you need to buy. Tell Siri "Add eggs to my Groceries list".
Siri asks you to confirm the new item. Just say Yes, and Siri adds it for you. 
When you're at the market, just check off the items as you buy them. Couldn't be easier. 
One more thing? If you're on a diet, this is an excellent way to keep logging what you eat, a little at a time.

Use Smartphone Microphones to "Hear" Keystrokes and Steal Passwords

Graham Cluley on iPhone spyware can snoop on desktop typing

A team of researchers at Georgia Tech have demonstrated how they were able to spy on what was typed on a regular desktop computer's keyboard via the accelerometers of a smartphone placed nearby.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Siri Threat to Google and Microsoft

Kit Eaton on Why Google And Microsoft Are Bad-Mouthing Apple's Chatty Siri

Lee and Rubin must be nervous.

Siri As Search Diversion

One thing Siri does that may have both Google and Microsoft quaking in their boots is to act as a first sift "layer" for users trying to query the internet for information. When you speak to Siri the data gets whizzed off by Apple to its cloud servers, where the speech is processed and then interpreted--a process that, we imagine, involves trying to see if the query is answerable via a fact-based query to Wolfram Alpha ("how far away is the moon?") or a review-based query via Yelp ("is there a romantic restaurant nearby?").

Search in its most simple Internet-based results comes after this layer, because--as we all know--it's often a case of having to scan search results to try to find the data you're looking for, and that's just the way the Net works.

Siri could gum up Google and Bing (and Yahoo) ad revenue.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Venn Piagram

Math + Food = I love it!

The Venn Piagram:

Venn piagram

Get it? It's a Venn diagram made of actual pies. That's why it's called a Venn piagram. [via]

(Via FlowingData)

When to Experiment, When to Play It Safe



Is OpenCourseWare A Threat to the College Classroom?

Infographic: Will OpenCourseWare Replace The College Classroom?:

With tuition costs and student debt on the rise, a new model is on the rise: OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW refers to online course materials that have been created by universities and shared freely with the world via the internet. The MIT OpenCourseWare, established in 2002, was one of the pioneers of the system and to date nearly 100 million students access its online courses, with barely 1 percent of the students coming from MIT itself.

Open Education
Created by: Online College Classes

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazon Shifts Kindle to HTML5-Powered File Format

Disappointed they didn't include the HTML5 audio or video tags.
From Devin Coldewey –  Amazon Throws A Minor Curveball With HTML5-Powered Kindle Format 8:
Amazon has announced an update to the Kindle file format integrating many HTML5 tags and CSS attributes. Many expected a concession by Amazon in the form of an EPUB-compatible upgrade, and this comes as a slight surprise — but it’s a natural evolution of the format, really, and of course everyone is already familiar with the toolset.
In a way this makes Kindle formatted books nothing more than extremely long webpages, but that’s really a matter of perspective. Flexible layouts and well-known rules for handling text, fonts, images, and so on mean that the file format is adaptable to many devices, zoom levels, resolutions, and so on.
The full list of new tags and such can be found here; there’s no video or audio tag, tellingly, but apart from that it seems a fairly normal collection of HTML elements and CSS stuff.

Berners-Lee on Steve Jobs

Berners-Lee says Jobs made computing 'usable rather than infuriating':

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has praised Steve Jobs for helping devise the machine that he used to write the software.

Berners-Lee wrote the code for the web while working at the physics research institute Cern in 1991, using a NeXT Computer - the company set up by Jobs after he was ejected from Apple in 1985.

In a post on his personal blog entitled "Steve Jobs and the actually usable computer", Berners-Lee - whom nobody would be likely to call naive or inexperienced with computers - says that "A big thing Steve Jobs did for the world was to insist that computers could be usable rather than totally infuriating".

QR Codes in the College Classroom

50 Great Ways to Use QR Codes in the College Classroom

Here are the top 5!

  1. Vcards– On your syllabus and any other documents that need (or could benefit from) your contact information, add a QR code so students and colleagues can quickly upload your information to their contact list.
  2. Office availability– Put a QR code on your office name plate to link to your onlinecalendar for availability and contact information.
  3. Connect on social media– Add a QR code to your contact information, and you can make it easy for people to automatically connect with you on social networks.
  4. Mobile class newsletters– Keep students updated on what’s happening in class with a QR linked mobile class newsletter.
  5. Polls and feedback– Using QR codes, you can ask students to vote on choices or give feedback.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Educators on the Future of of Mobile Learning

Some of these are pretty far out there; almost ridiculous – maybe educators are NOT the best people to predict the future of technology.

Visions of Mobile Learning:

Many years down the road, I envision a device that isn't mobile per se, but located in every classroom. I'll call it the iDesk. Imagine a glass-top student desk that is like a larger version of an iPad--a touchscreen computer desk connected via WiFi to a school's network. Using cloud computing, students would sit down and log into their desks, where they can respond to teacher prompts, complete and submit work, and connect with other students--all without needing additional computers or mobile devices. As smartphones evolve more into full-function computers, students' mobile devices can be linked to the iDesk. An expensive proposition, and this future is many years away, but that is my vision.

Kyle Ross
Assistant principal, education services
Chaparral High School
Scottsdale, AZ

The ideal mobile learning device resembles a credit card after being folded four times.  Unfolded, the top half serves as the screen, the bottom half as the keyboard. It is made of a pliable titanium fabric. A projector function allows for increased screen size on any surface. The battery lasts 24 hours and [the device] is able to receive wireless signals from anywhere. It connects to the internet wirelessly using any network and can "talk" to any device either wirelessly or via USB connection. The device will be used as a phone, television, PDA, computer, and textbook. 
Kipp Rogers
Education speaker, author ofMobile Learning Devices(Solution Tree)
Director of secondary education,York County School Division
Yorktown, VA

Imagine a personal learning environment in the palm of your hand. A solar cell embedded into the cover of the device ensures always-on status and easy transition to various learning environments. A durable clamshell case opens to expose dual touchscreens. Exchangeable hardware modules such as GPS and LED projector provide functionality that benefits students with special needs and will facilitate augmented reality as students explore their world in an amazing way. Built-in cameras allow for videoconferencing and collaboration between students and subject matter experts. Memory card slots and WiFi/WiMax access will support cloud-based file sharing or management.  
Alan Landever
Director, technology services
Fort Leavenworth USD 207
Fort Leavenworth, KS

Future mobile devices will be interactive with a three-dimensional touchscreen that projects the screen into the air in front of the user for manipulation. These devices will run on a cloud with applications and data stored entirely there. Small in size, measuring only 6 inches by 10 inches and approximately 1 inch thick, these devices will have both WiFi and 4G access, with inherent 16 MB per month included with purchase. One USB port will be included, as well as a headphone jack, HDMI, VGA, and speaker as side features.
Steve Ryan
Instructional technology coordinator, social studies teacher
Butler School District 53
Oak Brook, IL

The device will fit in a pocket and have multiple inputs to cover any need. It will bear Swiss army knife functionality and have connectivity that works 24/7/365 anywhere, so that it facilitates ease of search and output. It will have very long battery life, be safe for the environment and the end user, and will be so intuitive it will require little to no training. It will be used for everything, including learning. It will be affordable and paid for by each individual with the option to upgrade as needed, when needed, and will be virtually indestructible.
Sally Bair
Hegins, PA

The "Ubique" mobile device is credit card-sized, waterproof, shock-resistant, and indestructible, with long battery life and solar power capability. It will operate all programs, regardless of operating system, and will connect to the internet anywhere on Earth via providers working under a global service umbrella. Service providers and product manufacturers will provide the device and service free to students and educational institutions in exchange for tax benefits and concessions. In addition to operating standard learning programs, "Ubique" will monitor physical health status and warn users of potential health issues through various input capabilities, such as blood pressure, blood, and diet.
Rhonda Leduc
Graduate student
University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, IL

It will have to be durable, rugged, and portable with about a 5- to 7-inch screen, forward and backward cameras, flash memory, and AV in/out with adapters for various display systems. Keyboards will be optional for ADA compliance, but voice recognition applications like Dragon Go will be the primary source of data input. Students will become more skilled in oral speaking skills as an indirect result of using voice-recognition software. WiFi connections will be funded through grants and discounted rates by major carriers.
Dennis Imoto
Hawaii Technology Academy
Waipahu, HI

I imagine a tablet-sized device that will be easily manageable and functional, but with a double screen, as if it were a notebook. The screens will also function as solar cells to charge the battery. It should be compatible with every platform for functionality, and it must support any application (no compatibility issues). Students can use the device on or off campus. It will connect through the internet, Bluetooth, or G3S. Students will pay a technology or lease fee.
Inputs: touchscreen, built-in camera, built-in microphone, USB port, SIM card reader
Outputs: USB, speakers, video and audio outputs
Gabriela Cabrera
Elementary coordinator
Thomas Jefferson Institute
Mexico City

For K-12 education, the device needs to address the day-to-day stresses of kid use, and the cost needs to come down significantly. The device should be compact and rugged, have extended battery life, be always connected, support adaptive input that is UDL-friendly (touch, keyboards, switches, voice, able to project or expand the screen, etc.), and cost under $100 and under $75 for annual connectivity. I'm 100-percent confident that we will get there on the device, and 75-percent confident we will get there on the price.
Lee Wilson
President and CEO
PCI Education
San Antonio

It will be an off-the-shelf smartphone. No change. Mobile learning will be a universally ported app that runs on phones, set-top boxes, PCs, pads, video walls, smart TVs. It will be interactive, multimedia, web-enabled, real-time, self-paced, and scored in real time. It will tie back to a cloud that has archived, certified, curated, cleared-for-use content (like The app and the content will be free, at least for K-12, because, for children everywhere, we need it to be universally accessible.
Scott McNealy
Former CEO and co-founder, Sun Microsystems
Current board chairman,Curriki
Cupertino, CA

A mobile learning student will be assigned an activity, presented customized information through multimedia sources, and be delivered immediate feedback. The teacher will act as a project manager. For example, a student will receive information about different soil elements through a video, take samples through peripherals attached to a device, and receive immediate feedback delivered through apps. In the admin app, a teacher might review student feedback, assess results, and determine the best learning for the student. Students will be clustered by skill/task reinforcement. Globally, access to mobile devices will create affordable, content-rich, on-the-go classrooms, leading to accessibility of education in third-world countries. 
Karen Sorensen
Senior education consultant and partner
21st Century Education

Smartphones will become learning devices. These devices accomplish tasks like obtaining measurements more efficiently than humans, so utilizing the device to calculate area or volume will replace learning to derive these manually. Research methodologies will be taught, but traditional research projects will be replaced by multimedia compilations that resemble documentary films. Online/device-based tutorials will be utilized more than traditional teachers in classrooms that require buildings and maintenance, offsetting device and communication costs. Students who test well or require job-specific knowledge in subjects like math, science, or technology will receive more traditional training, allowing the system to be built and maintained.
Mark Pettit
Systems administrator
Brophy College Preparatory

The mobile learning device of the future won't be a separate piece of equipment. Rather, mobile learning in the future will be an active part of the student's world. Smartphones, televisions, tablets, in-car telematics and even household appliances will always be connected to the student's academic life. Everything the student does, and everywhere the student interacts, will become a learning opportunity. The only examples given to a student will be real-world examples, because they will always be plugged in, always learning. The future of learning isn't bound to a mobile device; the future of learning is mobile.
Caleb Jones
Student experience advocate
Florida Virtual School
Orlando, FL

The learning device of the future is not a device: It is the network; specifically, wireless networks. The FCC recently green-lighted the E-Rate Deployed Ubiquitously (EDU) 2011 Pilot Program. With EDU2011, the FCC authorized up to $10 million for E-Rate Funding Year 2011 for a pilot program in order for the FCC to assess "the merits and challenges of wireless off-premises connectivity services." The FCC is looking at how they can support wireless connectivity services for anytime-anywhere learning via mobile devices. In the future, more funding for these wireless networks may come from the E-Rate program.
John Harrington
Funds for Learning
Edmond, OK

Mobility has already changed the way we connect with information, resources, and each other. The question now is how schools and districts can best leverage mobile devices--whatever those devices may be--to instantly enhance all aspects of the educational experience and make learning more personal. Mobile technology customizes the learning experience to better fit students' preferred mode, media, and pace of learning. It helps students connect with courses, content, and each other. It helps share insight on academic progress between teachers, students, and parents, and allows students to create content for assignments directly from devices and more. The future of mobile learning is already here--it's just a matter of activating it.
Patrick Devlin
Vice president of sales
Blackboard Mobile
Washington, DC

No PowerPoint

… is better than bad powerpoint.

Stephen J. Gill on How to Use PowerPoint:

Having viewed many TED presentations, I had the mistaken belief that leaders were finally learning how to use PowerPoint (and other presentation tools) effectively. Recently, however, I’ve attended presentations by very smart people (doctors, lawyers, CPAs, professors, etc.), who are leaders in their organizations, who insist on putting as many words and numbers on a slide as possible. Because I want to hear what they have to say, I don’t read the slides. And, besides, I can’t read and understand that fast. Their slides become a distraction rather than a tool in helping me draw meaning from what they are saying. It would be better if they didn’t use PowerPoint at all.


Let me repeat the suggestions from Eleni Kalakos:

  1. Use very few slides.
  2. Use very little text.
  3. Use big, legible fonts and striking colors.
  4. Use one striking visual instead of text.
  5. Practice the presentation aloud - with props and technology - until it becomes second nature.
  6. Bring back-up notes on paper in case the technology goes kerflooey.
  7. Use one big, bold bar graph or pie chart instead of a slide full of numbers.
  8. Use the "B" key on the computer to temporarily blank out the screen to assure complete attention when making a crucial point.
  9. Ask for guidance and direction from a professional coach.
  10. Always - and above all - connect deeply with the audience, one human being to another.

Garr Reynolds also offers some excellent suggestions in his blog post, Top Ten Slide Tips.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The iOS 5 Update and ISP Traffic

From Erica Ogg - Wow!


What the iOS 5 update did to ISP traffic:

The uptake of iOS 5 among Apple customers last week was fast and far-reaching, which is of course good news for Apple. But what did that look like to the ISPs who provide the bandwidth for Apple customers to update? One of them,, an independent ISP in the San Francisco Bay Area, justreleased this chart, which sheds light on the huge bump in traffic an iOS update can bring.

Here’s what the company said about the chart on its blog:

The answer is that yes, there is a substantial increase in traffic the day after the update was released. We host the Apple update content locally on AkamaiCDN servers in our datacenter, so this doesn’t affect our network edge, but you can see the bump in traffic from the CDN cluster itself here.

Last Wednesday Apple released the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 5. Apple confirmed that 25 million users had already upgraded to iOS 5 by Monday. Localytics then reported Monday that one in three devices that could be upgraded to iOS 5 were, within five days of the OS’s release.

Mary Meeker’s 2011 Presentation On Internet Trends

Mary Meeker's presentations are always among the most insightful you'll see.

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)

Mary Meeker’s 2011 Presentation On Internet Trends [Slides]:

1. Globality – We Aren’t In Kansas Anymore…

Meeker revealed that 81% of users of the top ten global internet properties are outside the USA, which makes global markets a force to be reckoned with.

2. Mobile – Early Innings Growth, Still…

iPhones, iPods and iPads have revolutionized the market. But Android tablets and phones, at a different price point, are not to be underestimated.

3. User Interface – Text/Graphical/ Touch / Sound / Move

“Sound is going to be bigger than video. Record is the new Qwerty,” say SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung.

4. Commerce – Fast / Easy / Fun / Savings = More Important Than Ever…

The ability to click and buy on a mobile device is making a huge difference in mobile commerce. “It’s now an expectation that if you see it on your screen, you can click and buy it,” says Meeker.

5. Advertising – Lookin’ Good…

Look at Google’s click growth for an indicator of advertising health: 23% of clicks on ads is a good sign Meeker says.

6. Content Creation – Changed Forever

Meeker refers to Joanne Bradford from DemandMedia doing a better job at talking about content creation.

7. Technology / Mobile Leadership – Americans Should Be Proud

64% of smartphones have U.S.A. OSes (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) versus 5% 5 years ago.

8. Mega-Trend of 21st Century = Empowerment of People via Connected Mobile Devices

“The ability to get realtime fast and broad information flow is only going to get greater,” says Meeker.

9. Authentic Identity – The Good / Bad / Ugly. But Mostly Good?

“One of the biggest topics of the next ten years,” Meeker says.

10. Economy – Lots of Uncertainty

Despite lots of indicators of uncertainty, “We’ve had a good two weeks.”

11. USA Inc. – Pay Attention!

The US ranks 10th on a list of country by debt. Greece, by comparison, ranks number 3.


Test for Your Computer and Connection for IPv6

at Google


Stuxnet Variants Found in Europe

Scary stuff from David Strom

New Stuxnet Variants Are Found in Europe:

The same Symantec team that cracked Stuxnet has found new variations on the same theme in packet captures from European networks. They published a blog entry and a full report that analyzes what the impacts of the virus would be, since the exploit isn't quite a finished product yet, and not all pieces of the exploit have been recovered. It is well worth careful reading.

The team calls what they found Duqu, and it is quite a vile and complex piece of work, as you can see from just one of its components diagrammed by Symantec. They state that its creators must have had access to the Stuxnet source code, not just the binary files. They theorize that its purpose is to find weaknesses in particular industrial process control equipment, although they have not found any specific code to tie it to a particular piece of hardware. The reason they propose this is because the code has been found in organizations that have been involved in the manufacture of industrial control systems. "The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility," say the report.

Included in the exploit are the following items:

  • Keystroke recorder to pick off any passwords,
  • remote access Trojan to gain control over any PCs that could be connected to the control equipment, 
  • Misleading digital signatures: The exploit contains a valid digital signature on one of the driver files, once again calling the need for better signature notaries.

Significant Updates to Google Docs Presentations

With New Google Docs Presentations, Why Use PowerPoint?:

Google Docs takes another bite out of expensive Microsoft Office software today with a complete do-over of Presentations. Google Docs slideshows can now be edited live and simultaneously with a team. It enables viewing of revision history, so any team member can go back and see changes made by others. The update also features live chat alongside the editing tools.

In addition to the collaboration features, Docs has added new transitions, animations and themes, with which PowerPoint users have been fluffing up their posts for years


Tweeting from the Library

Lisa Nielsen with a great post about Tweeting in the Library

Using Twitter right from your cell phone enables librarians to provide the entire school community with a window into their library. Tracy Karas a Librarian in New York City uses her phone to Tweet updates about new books that have come in, to celebrate student successes, to provide reminders about upcoming events and more. All these Tweets are embedded directly on herlibrary page from the school’s website.


Turn Your Laptop into a Portable Whiteboard ...

… or how to deface your MacBook Air in 3 easy steps!


Add a whiteboard to your laptop:

Joel Evanswrote in to let us know about his experience trying out the DrawTop, a cheap way to turn your laptop into a portable whiteboard:

The DrawTop is an innovative creation that turns the top of your laptop (a previously unused space) into a whiteboard.

When I first heard about it (I work with its creator, Ryan Mitchell) I figured it was more gimmicky and wasn’t really something that I’d use for an extended amount of time. However, after just one day of having it on my 11″ MacBook Air, I’m finding it to be very useful, and I’m also getting a lot of people telling me how innovative it is.

The DrawTop itself comes with a kit that includes four Expo dry erase markers of different colors, a microfiber erase cloth, and adhesive velcro dots, for attaching your markers to the laptop, if desired.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Draw Working Circuits – Really!

This is very cool!

Drawing Circuits in Conductive Ink:

Materials researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have developed a highly conductive silver ink. In this video, Analisa Russo, a graduate student in the research group of Professor Jennifer Lewis shows exactly how to make this amazing ink, which could be used for a wide variety of hobby projects and in advanced electronics hardware.

iPad as a Learning Tool

From Lisa Nielsen – iPad Literacy Program Increases Reading & Writing Ability:

Footsteps2Brilliance (F2B) is an impressive educational game platform that supports students in prek - 3rd grade in learning to read and write. Their Academic Language Program for Students (ALPS) teaches young children the 1,000 key words they will need to develop a powerful reading and writing vocabulary through animated ebooks and games.

Ben Brooks Reviews Instapaper 4.0

I can't express how much I agree with his assessment - really a fantastic update for one of my most used iPad and iPhone apps!

∞ An Instapaper 4.0 Review with Some Insight from Marco Arment:

Instapaper has now gone version 4 and Marco Arment has been kind enough to let me test out this new version. I can say that this new version is, without a doubt, fantastic.

Our Kids are Wired Differently

Elizabeth Murphy in Booting Down on how students use technology. A few of the pieces I find interesting:

  1. library as refuge – I still think we need to re-think how are libraries are structured and setup
  2. students have figured out how to use these devices, technology and social media to study and work – unfortunately, in the classroom, it's like getting on a plane: "turn all your devices off and get ready for takeoff" – we need to learn from this generation of students and figure out how to integrate technology into the teaching and learning.
  3. I'm really fascinated by the idea of rewards and incentives – finish reading the chapter and I get to spend some time on Facebook. I'm not sure how we integrate that into the classroom – get an 80% or better on this week's quiz and you get a five-minute Facebook break? Not sure about this one – what do you think?

Walk through any campus library and you see students hunkered down in their preferred corner or comfy chair with their laptops and cell phones in hand to aid in the process of cramming for their next exam. But are they studying or goofing off? Are they capable of actually staying on (work-related) task?

While these students are tech-savvy and have plenty of gizmos, they may not be as distracted by these technologies as some may think, according to a University of Washington study,"Balancing Act: How College Students Manage Technology While in the Library during Crunch Time,"by Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg. The study reveals that students are taking to the library as a place of refuge -- and their laptops and cell phones aren’t necessarily the peskydistractionssomeassumethem to be.

“It’s not a multitasking study,” said Head, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Information School. “It’s a study about how students are managing the ubiquitous technology in their lives.”

Thestudyincludes interviews with 560 students at 10 different institutions — ranging from four-year universities to community colleges — who were studying in their libraries for final exams last spring. Results showed that students take a “less is more” approach when exam pressure starts bearing down. Students use technology to help them study and to communicate with others, the report found. And students are using the library less for its traditional resources — books, journals, etc. — and more as a place to get away from the hectic world around them.

But the study suggests students actually study — and not just update Facebook pages, instant message and play their favorite Pandora stations.

The study’s key findings included:

  • 85 percent only had 1 or 2 information technology (IT) devices running when interviewed
  • 61 percent only had 1 or 2 websites open and in use, most of which were being used for course work
  • 81 percent checked for new messages such as email messages or Facebook
  • 65 percent said they used social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to coordinate study sessions or group work.

Many of the students said they used incentive benchmarks while working on their work. For example, one student said if she read 25 pages of her materials, she would give herself a short Facebook break.

“It belies conventional wisdom that all students are always on; that they are jumping from gaming and then a sports site or the YouTube videos about cats,” Head said. “That’s not happening when times are most intense, and that’s interesting because it makes us question assumptions a lot of faculty have and a lot of parents have about students and their technology use.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

OpenClass: Free LMS – What's the Business Model?

Joshua Kim's thoughts Pearson's OpenClass Free LMS::

I am very excited about OpenClass, as an enterprise class free LMS has thepotentialto shake-up the marketplace in the way that Google accomplished with Apps for Education. I stresspotential, however, as Pearson has a number of challenging tasks ahead if OpenClass is to live up to its potential to disrupt the LMS market.

4 Initial Challenges:

1 - Convince The Community That OpenClass Is Enterprise Class LMS and a True Competitor for Existing Platforms:

2 - Articulate The Business Model of Offering a Free LMS:

3 - Execute Flawlessly With The Initial OpenClass Pilot Participants:

4 - Bring Pearson OpenClass Skeptics and Critics Into an Open Conversation:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Steve Jobs Advice to Educators

Another great tidbit from Jim Gianopulos.

A Studio Chief Pens Revealing First-Person Steve Jobs Remembrance:

I last spoke to Steve a few weeks ago when he called a couple of days after he had resigned from Apple. I had sent him an e-mail congratulating him for finally quitting his day job. He sounded frail but was still energetic and had lots of new ideas and plans. We talked for a while about politics, music, our families and, of course, business. At one point, he said: "Hey, do me a favor, will you? Don't let what happened to the music business happen to yours -- keep coming up with better ways to provide people with your content."[Emphasis added - MQ]

While this advice is focused on the movie business, it applies just as easily to higher education. The shift in how we teach and how students learn is already underway. How many of us are going to get left behind?

(Via daring fireball)

Instructor of Stuttering Student Defends Conduct

An updated on the instructor versus the stuttering student – Instructor of Stuttering Student Defends Conduct:

The instructor at the County College of Morris whose treatment of a student with a stutter was the subject of a front page article inThe New York Timessays that her treatment of the student has been portrayed unfairly.The original article-- which became the subject of much discussion -- said that the instructor told the student not to speak in class, and refused to call on him when his hand was up throughout a class session. In a new article, the instructor, Elizabeth Snyder, said she asked the student to limit his in-class questions because he was trying to respond throughout class. "He seemed to want to answer every question," she said, and "you’d have to take into consideration the amount of time he takes to get the answer out." Snyder said that "there was never any intent to stop him from speaking." On the day of the class session discussed in the original article, she said, she was trying to cover a lot of material in a limited amount of time, and that she did not call on any other students. Philip Garber, the student who stutters, said that she did call on other students.

Since the article has appeared, Snyder said that she has received many nasty and threatening e-mail messages, and that she feels her reputation has been destroyed. In May, Snyder was named "educator of the year" by the college’s Educational Opportunity Fund for her work with financially and academically disadvantaged students. She did not comment for the original article, but in an interview for the second article, told theTimesthat "I’ve been an advocate for kids my entire life. But people’s rush to judgment on this, it feels like it’s pretty much destroyed my life."

Steve Jobs on Presenting

Jim Gianopulos remembers Jobs advice when Gianopulos observed "I don't know how you do it, walking back and forth out there for an hour with no notes or teleprompter in front of all those people."

"It's easy, you just imagine you have a few friends sitting around your living room and you're telling them what's new."

(via A Studio Chief Pens Revealing First-Person Steve Jobs Remembrance)

Selling Ourselves, Selling Our Students

At colleges and universities, do we run the risk of shifting from education as product and student as consumer to student as product and corporations as customers?

Students go to the bookstore and by the books for their first semester and they're inundated with flyers for credit cards. I've always been trouble by the number of credit card come-ons we subject young college students to. We should be helping to teach them fiscal responsibility, rather than encouraging them to incur credit card debt before they've even started their college careers - much less gainful employment.

This kids comments are a little over the top, but I think he has the right to criticize this relationship.

After Insulting College's Ties to Debit Cards, Student Kicked Out:

Students havenot made secrettheir distaste for Higher One, the company with whichmany colleges workto issue loan refunds via debit card. At issue are the fees and charges for using the card, which sometimes doubles as a student ID, and the company's and colleges' marketing (which tends to result in students sticking with the card). Nonetheless, a student at Catawba Valley Community College who complained on Facebook about the relationship between the two entities was apparently barred from campus for two semesters because of his comments. Besidescriticizing the partnershipon the North Carolina college's own Facebook page, he also posted, "Did anyone else get a bunch of credit card spam in their CVCC inbox today? So, did CVCC sell our names to banks, or did Higher One? I think we should register CVCC's address with every porn site known to man. Anyone know any good viruses to send them?" According to anotice of suspensionfrom the college, the student's comment violateda policyagainst "commission of any other offense which, in the opinion of the administration or faculty, may be contrary to the best interest of the CVCC community." The student has sought help from theFoundation for Individual Rights in Educationin his appeal for reinstatement.

Kids, In My Day We Listened to Music on Grooved Disks ...

… called "records" and I walked to school – uphill both ways!

From Michael Leddy - Zenith All-Speed Record Changer:

Ad for Zenith turntable from Life magazine

[Life, August 28, 1950. Click for a larger view.]

There’s something poignant about the prepared-for-all-eventualities mindset that this turntable is meant to satisfy:
First and only changer that plays any speed record now made or yet to come, 10 R.P.M. to 85 . . . with two simple controls a six-year-old can operate.

Record lovers— here is the changer that sets you free forever from the nightmare of speeds, sizes, attachments and adjustments!

Zenith engineers, who revolutionized record reproduction with the world-famous Cobra® Tone Arm, have now brought you an automatic changer — the new “Cobra-Matic” — so unbelievably simple that you simply won’t believe it until you operate it yourself!

You touch one control knob — and set it for any size record — 7, 10 or 12 inch! You touch the other control knob — and set it for any speed! Yes, for 33 1/3, 45, 78, or any speed from 10 R.P.M. to 85 that the modern world may dream up! You can play them all — with one marvelous new Super-Cobra Tone Arm — not even a needle to adjust, not even one single attachment to fuss with!


Friday, October 14, 2011

I So Want This App ...

… but I don't think Apple will ever approve it. One of the downside to the app store.


iPad WiFi Survey App Update #2:

iPad WiFi Survey App FAQ

Q: Is this app real?

A: Yes, 100% real and working but not available on app store.

Q: When will app be available on app store?

A: Not sure, we have submitted a version to app store and are waiting for approval.

OpenClass: Google Launches a Free LMS

Josh Fischman reporting – Pearson and Google Jump Into Learning Management With a New, Free System:

One of the world’s biggest education publishers has joined with one of the most dominant and iconic software companies on the planet to bring colleges a new—and free—learning-management system with the hopes of upending services that affect just about every instructor, student, and college in the country.

Today Pearson, the publishing and learning technology group, has joined the software giant Google to launch OpenClass, a free LMS that combines standard course-management tools with advanced social networking and community-building, and an open architecture that allows instructors to import whatever material they want, from e-books to YouTube videos. The program will launch through Google Apps for Education, a very popular e-mail, calendar, and document-sharing service that has more than 1,000 higher-education customers, and it will be hosted by Pearson with the intent of freeing institutions from the burden of providing resources to run it. It enters a market that has been dominated by costly institution-anchored services like Blackboard, and open-source but labor-intensive systems like Moodle.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Flash Developer on Flash and the iPad

An Adobe Flash developer on why the iPad can't use Flash [2010]:

I’m biased. I’m a full-time Flash developer and I’d love to get paid to make Flash sites for iPad. I want that to make sense—but it doesn’t. Flash on the iPad will not (and should not) happen—and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about:

Current Flash sites could never be made [to] work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware.

That’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem.

History of Digital Storage

Great infographic on digital storage.
The History of Digital Storage [INFOGRAPHIC]:
The whirring hard drives that once occupied entire university labs held but a fraction of the data we carry in our pockets every day — and that’s only 50 years of progress.
Today, as we move further into the cloud, and witness the latest and greatest pocket media devices, we thought it fitting to take a look back at how far we’ve come on our quest to store as much information in as little space as possible.

The iPhone 4S

John Gruber's review of ★ The iPhone 4S:

This is the easiest product review I’ve ever written. The iPhone 4S is exactly what Apple says it is: just like the iPhone 4, but noticeably faster, with a significantly improved camera, and an impressive new voice-driven feature called Siri.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An iOS Developer on Windows 7 Phone

John Nye offers up an interesting description.

Windows Mobile From an iOS developers point of view:

My overall impression is that Windows 7 Phone Mobile Edition is the bastard child of iOS and Android, with some wayward Microsoft genetic engineering thrown into the mix. It doesn’t sound that enticing, but to my surprise it works.

RFID Encryption Cracked

German researchers crack RFID encryption:

The physical security of your company and its data just got less secure if your company is one of millions that use a particular kind of smart card designed to give commuters, corporate wage slaves and security specialists quick passage through, security gates and sown the invisible elevator that takes them to the secret headquarters underneath the streets of Cardiff.

A team of German scientistshave demonstrated a hack that lets them make a perfect clone of the kind of magnetic security cardused to give workers in corporate or government buildings –including NASA– and as a daily ticket replacement on busses and subways. The same team broke a previous version of contactless-ID cards fromMifarein2008, prompting the company toupgrade its security, creating a card able to be programmed only once and which contained a unique identifying number that could be checked against the programmed content on the card for extra security.

Higher-functioning cards have come processing capablity, including the ability to create random identifying numbers to help prevent copies,128-bit key encryption, support for AES encryption and a series of other extra features.


Researchers David Oswald and Christof Paar atRuhr University in Germany, who worked on the crack of the KeeLoq remote keyless entry system in 2008, used side-channel analysis for both cracks. The technique relies on use of a probe and oscilloscope to record the card's broadcasts while it's being read by and RFID reader.

It takes about seven hours to crack the security on one card and get its 112-bit encryption key, the researchers said. It only works if you've already spent months profiling the card's architecture, behavior and responses. Cracking time could be cut to as little as three hours, Paar and Oswald said.

The weak point for the MF31CD40 – and many of NXD's other cards – is that it does little or nothing to resist being recorded, prodded and poked by crackers.

The EV1 upgrade to that card has an on-chip backup management systems,an authentication mechanism that uses three separate authentication methods, encryption based on the 3DES hardware encryption that meets security requirements for most U.S. government agencies, but is compatible with existing systems designed to read the card using Near Field Communications (NFC) radio systems.

That probably means it does not yet contain any countermeasures able to stave off determined crackers poking it to see how it reacts.[emphasis added – MQ]


MacBook Air vs Lenovo Thinkpad X1

Christian Stefanescu compares the MacBook Air vs the Lenovo Thinkpad X1. His #1 priority seems to be running Linux for development purposes, which is more difficult on a MBA - short of that, the MBA wins.

With maximum specs on both, the MacBook Air is less expensive than the Lenovo X1, but it can only have 4GB of RAM and it does not seem to be a pleasant environment for running Linux natively, or as a dual-boot option. It trumps in display resolution, considerably lower weight, longer battery life, bigger hard-drive space and clever solutions like the power plug or the OS restore system on an USB stick instead of a hidden partition.

The Lenovo X1 comes out as the more expensive laptop, which might suprise some people. The upgrades for RAM and SSD bring the price up a lot, though and I deem it possible to get it below 2000€ by either staying with 4GB of RAM and/or the stock 128GB SSD or buying third-party components. The Lenovo also has the better Linux experience (in theory), the faster processor, better video output connectivity and generally better upgrade options (for instance: battery).

I guess it's up to your priorities, if you have to choose between these two portables. Subjectively, I think the MacBook Air wins this comparison. The only reasons to pick the X1 would be Linux compatibility, extended battery life [with an extra battery!] or 8GB of RAM.

Monday, October 10, 2011

That Doesn't Even Begin to Cover It

Chris Rawson reporting – Official cause of death for Steve Jobs released:

Steve Jobs's occupation on his death certificate was listed as "entrepreneur." That doesn't even begin to cover it.

Don't Let Your Competitors Cannibalize Your Business ...

… cannibalize it yourself.

Clay Christensen on Steve Jobs & the trouble with venture capital:

How much wisdom can one glean from a 20-minute chat withProfessor Clay Christensen? I would say — if one keeps his mouth shut and asks the right questions — a lot. Here are notable highlights from my chat with the famousHarvard Business School professor, founder of the Innosight Institute and author of such best selling books asThe Innovator’s DilemmaandDisrupting Class.

Jobs at hand

Steve Jobs and the company he co-founded just might be one of the few companies to look the innovator’s dilemma right in the eye and stare it into submission. Jobs’Apple decided that it was better to cannibalizeitself rather than have others do it. And so, the briskly selling iPod was replaced by the iPhone, and the iPad became the new low-end computer. When I asked Professor Christensen what made Jobs special, he said, “Jobs never said he understood the customer, but instead he tried to learn what they are trying to do, and that was his genius.”


Class Participation?

um - sorry, that's too disruptive.

Richard Pérez-Peña reporting for the NY Times Professor’s Response to a Stutterer - Don’t Speak:

As his history class at the County College of Morris here discussed exploration of the New World, Philip Garber Jr. raised his hand, hoping to ask why China’s 15th-century explorers, who traveled as far as Africa, had not also reached North America.

He kept his hand aloft for much of the 75-minute session, but the professor did not call on him. She had already told him not to speak in class.

Philip, a precocious and confident 16-year-old who is taking two college classes this semester, has a lot to say but also a profound stutter that makes talking difficult, and talking quickly impossible. After the first couple of class sessions, in which he participated actively, the professor, an adjunct named Elizabeth Snyder, sent him an e-mail asking that he pose questions before or after class, “so we do not infringe on other students time.” As for questions she asks in class, Ms. Snyder suggested, “I believe it would be better for everyone if you kept a sheet of paper on your desk and wrote down the answers.”

Later, he said, she told him, “Your speaking is disruptive.”


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