Archive for April, 2010

An IPAD priced Netbook/Tablet (eReader)

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Classmate is being targeted at the K-12 market, but as a portable wireless, eReader and note taker, it could be a useful Higher Ed student device. classmate pc

 If you can turn it into a tablet by twisting and folding back the screen.  To use the tablet you have to use a stylus not your fingers.  It uses Windows XP and has all the external ports a reasonable machine should have. 

It’s designed to be lugged around, it even has it’s own handle.  The screen and keyboard are water resistant and you can drop it from 60cm without breaking it.

classmate pc2

It looks a bit twee, but when it’s closed it has flat surfaces on both sides just begging  for whatever sticker might be required to make it socially accceptable.

Being a dropable, dual keyboard/tablet device it’s a bit heavier and chunkier than the IPAD. 

Intel’s latest Classmate: Who needs an iPad?
http://education.zdnet.com/?p=3845&tag=col1;post-3845

Intel Convertible Classmate PC Hands On: You Know, For Kids
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/04/intel-convertible-classmate-pc-hands-on-you-know-for-kids/

IPhone ambivalence

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Let me start be saying I’m talking about the workplace (not the leisure/lifestyle market) and my approach to software is generally to find the best free or open source solution as these are easier implement with academics.

Recently my HP IPAQ died and I picked up an IPhone (I know, I’m late the party).   The IPhone is a fantastic phone/media player combination, a passable wireless device and very (very) simple games player.  The third party Apps give it a range of other abilities, but it is not a business smart phone and it is not a PDA replacement. 

From a work point of view it has some glaring limitations.  I was expecting to experience the famed Apple ease of use (promised by the Apple Fan Boys) instead I keep having to cobble together third party work arounds to make it do things which any other PDA (or equivalently priced Smart phone) would do as a matter of course.       

It’s like buying a car that looks like an upmarket 4 wheel drive, is marketed like an upmarket 4WD and is priced like an upmarket 4WD, but the 4 wheel drive part is actually an option that you have to buy from a range of other blokes who have bodgied (approved) kits together with varying degrees of success.  This also applies to the air conditioning, the window winders and the speedo.  Oh, and manufacturer of this expensive pseudo 4WD takes 30% of the sales for all these add-ons.  You can almost see Bill Gates shaking his head trying to figure out how Jobs pulled it off (look into my eyes, look into my eyes, not around my eyes).

A few people have talked about the Iphone as an eReader and I think it does a reasonable job, once you download the two or three (or four) third party apps required to down load the files  then transfer them onto the device.  I think  IPhones and Android phones will kill off eReaders like the Kindle, Nook and Sony, not because they are better eReaders, but because they are much more convenient.  You don’t have to deal with a second device.  Having said that, it’s still not the right eReader for students.   

Does the IPhone have a place in Higher Ed?
Yes.  But no more than any other Internet enabled device or phone or media player.  
You can do a lot with Apps but you would need the time and money to develop two apps, one for the IPhone and a generic one for everyone else.  That sounds more like a labour of love than an organisational strategy.

Do I like the IPhone?  It’s very slick, but as a work machine it’s a case of form over function.

Has the IPhone changed the way I work?  Yes, it’s now more important to take a pen and paper to meetings, but on the up side I now have more ways to entertain myself on the train home. 

‘Nuff said.