Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Palm's New Device: Folio

Palm hosted a video webcast to announce the Folio, a smartphone companion device. It is too early to tell if it will have any uses for education. Here is Palm’s webpage on its
capabilities (click on Experience Folio

Other info about the device:

Powered by ScribeFire.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dell Pushing Linux?

Dell recently announced the sale of low-cost Linux computers pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux:
Dell launches Linux PCs

On Thursday, Dell announced three low-cost Linux systems: a basic model, Inspiron E1505n, with few frills, for $539 (£271); a more powerful Dimension E520n, for $599 (£301); and a top-of-the-range XPS 410n for $849 (£427). The base system has no internet connection other than wireless, 512KB of memory, an 80GB drive and a 15.4-inch display.The other two systems both have 250GB drives, 1GB of memory and 10/100 Ethernet connections. The chief difference is that the cheaper system has a 17-inch display, and the larger has a 19-inch display.
Earlier Dell had announced that Michael Dell used several Linux boxes for his own personal use:
Michael's Computers
Clearly Dell is beyond just testing the waters and is actively promoting the use of Linux. While it is tempting to assume this move is Dell's way of taking a "jab" at Microsoft, analysts at Dell must see some indicators that there is significant and growing market demand for this kind of system.

For years, even the Linux proponents have acknowledged that the average computer user could not put up with Linux's idiosyncrasies. But the buzz recently over Ubuntu's easy-to-setup and easy-to-use interface questions that line of thinking. It is becoming incumbent on educational technology directors to renew their familiarity with the capabilities of this technology. Our previous perceptions about Linux may not apply anymore as the improvements to Linux quickly make those perceptions obsolete.

While most schools certainly are not ready to drop their current systems and jump completely to Linux, public education at a minimum should set up some test machines to see how these systems could work in a school-network environment. Their potential to eventually become the most cost-effective solution for schools cannot not be ignored, especially schools on budgets as tight as South Dakota's districts. Linux is really not a niche product anymore.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fascinating new tech on the horizon

Even if you primarily use a PC, following the new technologies released by Apple computer is important since many of their designs impact the entire technology community. The Macintosh community is notorious for rumor-mongering, and right now is no exception. The low-key laptop upgrades could happen as early as Tuesday,
Think Secret - Laptop updates slated to arrive sooner than expected
but there is much talk of a future ultraportable with no optical drive or hard drive (instead, a 30GB flash drive) coming some time in the near future.
AppleInsider | Next 'MacBook' update a yawner; Ultra-portable to get 13-inch display
Usually tight-lipped on future releases, Steven Jobs also revealed recently that Macintosh computers will soon sport LED backlight monitors (speculated to be a part of a new model of iMac and later laptops). Apple has also filed a patent that some speculate will be incorporated into an innovative dual touch surface iPod and/or iPhone:
Apple invents novel back-to-front iPod control | Reg Hardware
PC Pro: News: Apple patent filing details double-sided iPod
This fascinating technology, which allows the user to touch the back side of a screen to move objects on the viewing screen, is worth watching.

There has also been some speculation about the reason for the delay of Apple's latest operating system, Leopard, from June to October. Many, including myself, believe Apple's stated reason--that they focused the developers' efforts to the iPhone--is unlikely, leading to speculation as to the real reason for the delay. While there have been several theories bantered about, the most intriguing comes from an article describing a complete revamp of the user interface, essentially eliminating overlapping windows (note the small "w" in windows). While I do not necessarily buy into the author's implication that it will hugely impact Microsoft, this is a potential trend that could have some sway on the rest of the technology world:
Leopard's secret: the end of windows?
Apple is a company that specializes in great user interfaces, so why shouldn't Leopard itself gain some of the experience gleaned from Apple's consumer electronics successes of the last seven years?

The trend we're identifying here has been underway for a while. Think about it: how many of Apple's new applications actually use traditional, overlapping windows for anything other than a frame around a unique interface? Garageband doesn't. iTunes barely does except for video. All the Pro Apps like Final Cut, Motion, Aperture, and the like all trend toward paned, not overlapping window, interfaces. And new products like the iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV don't use windows at all, relying instead on vastly simplified buttons and interfaces. Further, consumers are gaining experience with interfaces that rely on transparent panes instead of windows on new HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies. Between transparent overlays and Apple's Spaces feature to allow multiple virtual screens, Apple has eliminated many of the needs for overlapping windows cluttering up desktops. And just as Apple first recognized that computers no longer needed floppy disks any more, ridding consumers of overlapping windows may be the first step in a radical simplification of user experiences again.

Such a radical new "feature" in Leopard would more than justify Apple's efforts to rush developers into learning about the new APIs and preparing them to make some serious changes to their applications...One more thing: doing away with overlapping windows in most of the OS would give Apple a marketing bludgeon to use against Microsoft. In the marketplace of ideas, it would paint Microsoft's six-years-in-the-making Vista as a completely old school effort. It would take Microsoft's best-known and recognized brand -- Windows -- and make it appear as tired as DOS.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

TechLearning Article: The One-to-One Tsunami

Here is an interesting article about 1-2-1 initiatives from Technology & Learning:

Techlearning : The One-to-One Tsunami - April 20, 2007
From computer access to software quality to Internet connectivity to high speed to wireless, the digital divide's newest defining characteristic is 24/7 access to a personal computing device. So if you are not at least beginning to consider one-to-one for your school or district, you're heading for the wrong side of the divide.
. . .
with the new layer of state and federal reporting demands instituted by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, technology funds in districts across the country were being siphoned off for the data management systems just needed to keep up. For a time, one-to-one seemed put on hold in favor of administrative uses of technology for schools.

But laptop, table, and other one-to-one programs did not go away. In fact, the past few years have seen a major resurgence of the trend, with a wave of national reports and studies, the founding of the One-to-One Institute, mainstream media announcements of high-profile district-vendor partnerships, and a plethora of public, private, and statewide initiatives.
Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Rarity: Positive News About Student Use of MySpace

Here is an interesting study about teen use of MySpace that runs counter to many perceptions. "The media and many parents have demonized MySpace, but we found that an overwhelming majority of adolescents are using the site responsibly."
I believe this research emphasizes the need for educators to do more with educating students on the proper use of internet tools, including social networking.

eSchoolNews describes this study in their article

Powered by ScribeFire.