Sunday, November 16, 2008

iPhone - Part II (Apps)

The iPhoneImage via WikipediaIt has been nearly six weeks since I provided my initial blog/thoughts on the iPhone. I still believe this device to be the premier device available to provide communication, messaging, 3G quality (in applicable areas) and its main advantage - the apps. Here are a few apps that I use on a daily basis and could not survive without (all of these apps are FREE):

  • Ping Lite - Pint Lite allows you to Ping, Telnet and Traceroute IP addresses within your network. I have found this app extremely beneficial while at the office or at a school and needing to quickly test whether an IP is online.
  • Twitterific - This is the ultimate mobile Twitter app in my opinion. It is easy to use, allows you to post your location, pics and quickly view tweets from your favorite tweeterites.
  • AirMe - Do you use Flickr? If so - this app is a must for you. AirMe allows you to take pictures within its app and if you approve of the pic - automatically upload the pic to your Flickr photostream.
  • AroundMe - This app is a must for trying to find restaurants, pubs, hotels, gas stations, etc. if you are in your own town or traveling. I have used AroundMe in Nashville, Louisville, Frankfort, Seattle and even in the small towns of Western KY.
  • Fring - Fring allows you IM with your contacts from Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, and many more. The ultimate app for those who IM on a regular basis and have multiple contact lists.
  • GasBag - GasBag provides real-time data on the gas stations around your location with the cheapeast gas prices. This app relies on its users to update cheaper gas prices when they find them.
  • i.TV - Put in your zip code and cable/satellite provider and you can view television listings from your iPhone. This app has promised the ability to view tv shows in the near future - keep your eyes on this one.
  • Facebook / MySpace - I am constantly trying to keep both of my social networking sites up to date, while staying in touch with friends and family. These apps allow me to do that - no matter where I am. Facebook gets the nod for ease of use and display of information.
I still wish the iPhone had the ability for MMS messaging. That is my only complaint at this point - nearly four months as a satisfied iPhone user.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Articles and Video

Here are a couple of interesting Ed Tech articles I came across today:

T+L To Educators: Embrace Change

Six Money Saving Secrets To Help Save Your Tech Budget

Also - our district recently put together a public relations video for the purpose of teacher recruitment. Our high school media teacher and his students did an outstanding job of taking the idea and making it real.

Click here to view the video.

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Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Dell Inspiron Mini 9Image by sugree via FlickrA few months ago I had the opportunity to view HP's Mini Device (HP 2133). My review was fair, but probably not favorable for the device. This week I have had the chance to look over Dell's version - the Inspiron Mini 9. Here are my thoughts:

  • The Atom Processor is far superior to HP's processor. Standard - 1GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state HD provide sufficient computing power for this device. I was able to run multiple applications without any noticeable glitches.
  • The fact that the device basically has no moving parts internally - means it is more durable, gives off little to no heat and provides a more durable device.
  • I do like that the Dell device gives you the option to include a web cam. I see students being able to use this feature for online collaboration and communication.
  • The keyboard is still too small for my initial liking, but it is probably something that I would grow accustomed to using.
Overall I have found this device to be superior to its HP counterpart. I believe these devices are a step in the right direction for school districts who wish to provide their students portable devices for the purpose of research, communication, collaboration and basic word processing - at a price point that doesn't break the bank.

We are continuing to evaluate the device at a district level - testing is being done not only by our technicians, but their children are testing it as well. We also plan to "pass it around" a couple of our middle schools, allowing both teachers and students the opportunity to use the device in a "real world" setting.

Should all of our testing continue to be positive, we will make plans to purchase the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and implement in our schools after Christmas break.


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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Articles of Interest

fog & cloudImage by Grant MacDonald via FlickrIt's Election Day...and in a few short hours our country will have a new leader. honor of election day here are some reads in regards to educational technology and politics.

McCain and Obama Share Basic Views on Ed. Tech.

Obama calls for Ed-Tech Investment

Obama to name CTO

No matter which man is elected president - I hope and pray that he is a man of his word, defends our country with integrity, begins rebuilding our economy and is remembered for the great things he did - not the mistakes he made.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Microsoft's Live@edu

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBaseI have the privilege of serving on our state's Active Directory / Exchange Advisory committee. This committee is made up of CIOs, state level networking team members and state level customer service managers. The charge of the committee is to evaluate and recommend a new solution for Kentucky's K-12 Exchange enviroment. (Along with where AD falls into the conversation.)

While I cannot get into details of our discussions and share information from our meetings - I can mention (because it is not a big secret) that we are currently evaluating Microsoft's Live@edu solution. I must admit that I was the first person who was skeptical of a hosted email solution. What we would do if our Internet pipe was lost? How would we retreive backups? What sort of redundant solution was in place? Those were all questions going through my head when I first learned this was a possible solution.

However, in the past week I have not only viewed a demonstration of the Live@edu solution and all its tools, applications and capabilities, but also been able to test it out myself. Here is my two cents on the solution:

  • Hosted email is not something our state should fear. Each user will be presented with a 10GB mailbox (possibly a bit overkill). Hardware issues in our district will no longer be an issue. Redundacny, 24x7 service and access to backups (better than our current solution) are all upgrades from our current enviornment.
  • Each user will be presented with a 5GB "Skydrive". This skydrive will allow users to post documents, images, etc. to a web folder and be able to access from anywhere in the world.
  • Users will have access to a collaborative workspace where they can blog, communicate and share ideas with other users from across the state - and beyond.
While I am still in the evaluation phase of this application - I have yet to find anything that makes me turn the other way. I believe this solution, if chosen by our committee, will provide the necessary tools for our faculty, staff and students to communication, share and live in a 21st century, digital society.

Click here to read more about Microsoft's Live@edu solution.

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Interesting Read

NCAA logoImage via WikipediaThis post strays somewhat from my usual ramblings, but I came across the article on eSchool News, so I figured I would let it slide.

As an avid sports enthusiast - I found this article extremely interesting. The article is entitled "Officials huddle on use of athletes' images". It discusses whether video game manufacturers should be able to use the likeness of college athletes in their games.

The most valid point in the article was stated by Jeremy Bloom, a former college football player and current Olympic snow skier, he said, "The No. 1 monopoly in the United States right now is the NCAA. College athletics is not amateur anymore."

You can click here to read the article in its entirety.

I personally agree with Mr. Bloom's point. Colleges and universities makes millions of NCAA tournaments, conference tournaments, regular season games, TV deals, etc. While there may be some athletes-students who get paid under the table a majority of the student-athletes never see a penny in college. And in fact, are unable to get a job - thus they must nickel and dime their way through college.

Student athletes should be compensated for their contributions to the university. Be it through the millions made off video games, endorsements, television/radio/shoe deals or simply the gate admissions from a 100,000 seat stadium.


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