CES 2012

For those interested in the latest and greatest gadgets and computer technology coming out this year, check out the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 – jan 10-13. Many cool devices will be shown….one of which I am looking forward to seeing is a quad core phone. I would also like to see phones with 10+mp which would not be surprising as 12+ ones have been released overseas.

Here is the link to CES 2012: http://www.cesweb.org/

10 things your IT wants you to know….

Thought this was pretty funny:

1. Don’t argue with me.
2. If you say you’re an idiot for doing something, I’ll likely agree.
3. Don’t lie about what you did, we’ll find out anyway.
4. IT might be awesome and powerful, but even we have limitations.
5. Don’t cry wolf.
6. It’s pretty likely you don’t have the most important job.
7. Like an elevator button, we won’t come to you faster if you keep pushing ours.
8. Email me, we’ve got 5 devices that tell us when we get a new email.  However, many of us still only have one that tells us when you left a voicemail.
9. Don’t cry.
10. We can do most, if not more than the things you think we can do, but we don’t because we don’t really care.

Here is a link to the article with descriptions of each point on the list

MIT expanding open courseware

MIT is going to be expanding open courseware by actually offering certificates from it. However there is a catch, or two:) The certificates will not be from MIT, rather a non-profit organization, and it will cost money.

My thoughts on this concept: Great in theory but this is going to go nowhere. People do NOT have the motivation or time to do things like this. Online courses in general have high drop out rates due to lack of motivation. So my question to MIT, what are you going to do differently here? Why should I take one of these courses and complete it? I just do NOT see the motivation but that does not mean it’s not there, I just might not have read it or maybe it’s still in development.

Link to article

Google App Inventor moving to MIT Media Lab

For those wondering about this transition, here is a link to some good info from MIT.

Here is some of the main info:

When will the Google App Inventor service shut down?

Google support of App Inventor will end on December 31, 2011.

When will the public MIT App Inventor service be available?

We MIT anticipate the public instance of App Inventor will be available for the general public to access some time in the first quarter of 2012.

Will my current App Inventor projects transfer automatically to the MIT service?

No, legally Google is not allowed to give your project data to MIT. You will need to download your projects to your computer and upload them to the MIT service when it becomes available.

What do I need to do to preserve my projects when the Google service shuts down?

You will need to download your projects to your computer. The “Download all projects” button will create a zip file of all your projects. Unzipping that will produce a folder with all your projects (each project itself is a zip file) and you can upload them individually to a new App Inventor service when it becomes available.

Link to the rest:

 App Inventor transition to MIT


Are we overestimating technology use in younger generations?

For this piece, I am speaking about the current undergraduate – 18-22 year old in college, and not computer science majors. My experience is mostly with education and communication majors. Having taught at two different universities in the last several years, and teaching many technology classes, I have had a lot of experience with students of this age their perceptions and experience with technology. So…

I think we believe these students are inundated with technology, are experts, and all have new iPhones. What I am finding in my classes is quite the opposite. Here are my observations:

The students are not inundated with technology in their classes. In fact, many come to my technology classes with a little anxiety because they are going to have to use the computer in new ways. What I find is that many of my students are comfortable using Word and Powerpoint. They can check email and do basic web searches using Google. When I ask who has heard of Google Docs, maybe 1% of the class raises their hands. And this isnt just Google Docs, this goes for many Web 2.0 technologies with the exception of Facebook. Do these students all have new iPhones? I find that in general, less than 50% of my students have smartphones.  In fact, some have hand me down smart phones from their parents. None have ipads but a few have used them because their parents might have one. All of my students have laptops. None have standard desktops. This is not surprising as the cost of laptops has decreased a lot in the last few years. A portion do have Macs which are more expensive.

So what does this all mean? I believe it means that these students are not using every new gadget that comes out. They do not have the money to buy the latest smart phones. And they are not tech experts, in fact, they are just as nervous about new technology as older generations in my opinion. Now will this change? I believe so. I have observed the current elementary/middle school students doing significantly more with technology in the classroom. So I believe in the next 5-10 years the undergrads will be much more technology driven than the current generation.

Having said all of that, there are the students that remind me of myself. They make it a priority to have the latest and greatest. They can recite every popular web 2.0 technology and read blogs such as mashable daily. But these are not the norm. These are the techies:)

HTML5: When will it be ready for prime time?

At this point, HTML5 is not ready to be used, which is why pretty much everyone is NOT using it. I recently did a test of a few of the major HTML5 tags, such as the video tag, one that will be most common, and it failed on more than 50% of the browsers I tested it on. I tested this on firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari for the mac and pc. Then on mobile devices including ipad, iphone, and android froyo. You can test the page yourself by clicking this link. Check to see where it works and does not.

So at this point, I would strongly recommend NOT using HTML5 until is becomes more standardized. Its just full of too many holes. As new browsers get released these holes may become larger or smaller so you really need to just pay attention. W3C has said the standards would be ready by 2014 and you currently can ‘trick’ all browsers into working but honestly I am not going to write code for every browser possibility. That is not the point of HTML5 and if that is the case I might as well use a plug in.

Anyone interested in learning html5 should check out: http://www.w3schools.com/html5/default.asp

And anyone interested in learning more about why HTML5 is not ready for prime time should check out this link. This site describes why youtube is continuing to use flash player and not HTML5: http://www.streaminglearningcenter.com/articles/what-is-html5.html

Apple’s Siri vs Google’s Android Voice Control

Apple’s new iPhone 4s introduced voice to phone communication. At first I was not too impressed with this feature as I have a droid 1 that has had voice to phone communication since 2009. However, after reading about SIRI I realized this was a significant step up from Google’s voice commands but in the end would not be a significant deal breaker for me to switch to iPhone.

What can they both do:

text message
Find location on map
Make phone calls
Play music
Web searches
Open the browser

Now where is the difference? The major difference is that Google voice relies on commands like ‘call john smith on cell’. Whereas SIRI relies on natural language such as ‘call my mother on her cell phone’ You can also ask SIRI questions like ‘what are my meetings for the day’ and SIRI will know to look at your calendar. This would be important for people who cannot remember or do not want to remember the commands. This introduction in AI is a significant step in voice communication with the phone and Apple has a slight advantage. However, I should point out that Android does have 3rd party apps that are supposed to do the same thing as SIRI.

A difference in favor of Android is that SIRI does not give text to speech voice directions like Google voice does. You need a 3rd party app for apple to do that. In light of that, there are rumors that Apple will soon have a good GPS system just like android does.

So overall is SIRI a deal breaker? I think it depends what you want. It seems like either way you can make each phone function the same using 3rd party apps (GPS apps for apple, AI apps for android).

I guess the main question is, are you going to talk to your phone?

Here is a good source with more explanation: http://gigaom.com/mobile/speech-smack-down-siri-vs-android-voice-actions/

AECT 2011

Gearing up for the AECT conference this week. I will have 3 presentations, a roundtable, and a panel discussion – talk about busy! I will be posting conference updates here in the comments section of this post. My presentations will also be posted to this blog (see placeholders on blog).

Hope to see you in Jacksonville!