Posts tagged: Apple

The iPad and the Internet of Things

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By , December 13, 2010 1:34 pm

I guess I should really start to reconsider my islate tag now, especially in light of all the slates now being unified under iOS. But that is some admin for me and not really the topic of the post today. The idea that I want to get out there is about the iPad and how, over the last few months, it has really changed the way that my family and I look at media within the house, especially since the 4.2 update and the addition of Air Play.

For the last several months, my wife and I have been talking about what we use and don’t use around the house. One of them certainly seems to be all the extra channels on cable. Yeah, maybe once a month we’ll watch hockey or I’ll have the news on in the morning, but outside of that, all we watch is Treehouse (a children’s channel). That combined with the fact that we have the majority of the other content that we watch on some manner of media or another, suggests that we could cut broadcast out and not really notice that it is missing. So that is exactly what we have done for the past few weeks. The result? Nobody has noticed anything different. The biggest enabler for this seamless transition? The iPad. It is the hub for our streaming radio, and last night after finding the Global TV app and finally installing Air Play Server on my old G5, it can now also be the hub for our video consumption as well. It is still one of the things that Bug loves, and now that the sound can be put through the house speakers, I’m sure her Baby Piano melodies are only going to become that much more engaging.

iOS, and the iPad in particular, has connected the data rich environment that was once limited to the den or office to the rest of the home, and done so in a manner that the entire family can access. Granted, this is all still at the consumption side of the spectrum when it comes to working with computers and devices. But what it does do (or at least suggest) for my daughter, is that data and connectivity can be connected to the greater environment. Being 1, she doesn’t appreciate that, but by the time she’s old enough to see how the entire system is working, hopefully she won’t have to as she will have had truly grown up with an Internet of Things with the iPad (or similar device) being the enabling gateway. And before you leap from your desk, or bed or wherever you are, remember that early computing started as a predominantly consumption driven paradigm.

Are the telcos missing the point?

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By , May 4, 2010 8:22 am

In a story from TheĀ Guardian, it looks like UK telcos (and that means others world wide are likely watching) are preparing to launch their own app store. They want in on the cash that seems to be flowing to Apple and Google. But something tells me that they are missing the point – much like they are still concerned about minutes of voice communication – the telcos are a utility, not content creators (at least on this part of the equation). This would be like the water company wanting into the soup business as well as the sippy cup cartel because well; they deliver water for use in those applications don’t they?

I know Apple isn’t going to let it’s store go down without a fight, and Google likely doesn’t care – it will still have it’s stock OS that the power user can install and get access to the Google Market. Google even allows other markets already, so what is the big deal? The deal might be for developers – if they can submit to one clearing house that then feeds the various App Stores, then the telcos might have hit on something. They are still a utility, they don’t really get in the way and in some way, they take a cut… but then what happens to all those free apps?

This should be an interestingĀ developmentĀ to watch over the next few months.

A year after the invasion/revolution

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By , April 14, 2010 10:20 am

A year ago I blogged about Rogers bringing Android handsets into Canada and I was wondering about Rogers/Google pushing out ads over the OS and the cost of the handsets. A year on, it seems that my fears of ads being pushed out over the OS were a bit unfounded (for the moment) on the part of Android/Google – that “honor” goes to Apple and iPhone4 – and the fretting about < - it is at this point, about 9:15am April 13th, that I was told that I am being laid off - >< - Resume April 14th -> the cost of handsets being about the same as those from other providers.

Well, the handsets are certainly expensive if you want to keep up with the last and greatest, but if you are willing to wait for handsets that are a few months old, thanks to the currently fragmented state of Android, you can get some nice deals on unlocked handsets. Having the Google flagship Nexus One available cheaper than what the carriers are offering their flagship devices (locked). Having Wind Mobile offer data only plans hasn’t hurt things either.

All this change has made the idea of ubiquitous computing (together with rocket/net sticks and 3G netbooks) move from the geek space to the sheik space quiet readily. In another year, this might be so common, to the point where people will start seeing what mobile data can do for them in their everyday lives and once that happens, maybe we’ll actually start seeing “smart” use of mobile technology in Higher Ed and in Div IV.

The iPad – not a netbook, not an iPhone, not a…

By , January 27, 2010 12:56 pm

Well not anything other than a big hand held game console. Apple had tried before with the Pippin, but for the life of me, and without productivity apps, this is a consumption device. Granted, productivity apps can come through the cloud, but right now, this device is just a client. You might be able to manipulate some content, but not really create it.

Sure it’s also an eBook reader, but I don’t think people are going to pay $1000 for that (I don’t know the price on the device right now, the keynote is in the background), I don’t know if people are going to pay that much for a “take it anywhere” game console.

Sure it’s cool, but I don’t think I’m really sold yet. Now if it is less than the KindleDX, then I might certainly go for it (not having to pay for the 3G connection will help the price). But I guess I’ll have to see it myself to make the call.


I guess I spoke too soon, there is iWork for the iPad.

The price starts at $499 for a wifi version (plus $150 if you want a 3G) – So it’s not that bad, better value than a Kindle right now. Maybe this is the dawn of the smartbook.

Hackintoshes are kinda legal

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By , December 2, 2009 10:39 am

Well it seems after settling with Pystar, it seems that Apple is not really that annoyed with geeks who would want to try to install OSX on their own onto machines that are not from Apple. Afterall, the company did start in a garage, so it would only make sense that efforts to maintain good karma would allow tinkering geeks to continue to install as they desire. But we all know that this is likely not the case as it might be easier to go after individual “violators”. But that being said, it does suggest, as Salon reads between the lines:

It looks like it wouldn’t necessarily stop Psystar from selling its Mac clones. Instead, the company would be limited to selling its “Open” line of computers without OS X preinstalled, and that responsibility would lie instead with customers. Apparently that’s a compromise Apple is willing to live with, and with good reason, since the Mac maker would have to go after many other clone makers if it wasn’t.

So if you have the time to dig through config files to get your dream machine Mac together, it looks like it has got a little easier. But If you don’t have the time and appreciate the design, buying a genuine Mac might very well be the way to go.

It’s about the apps…

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By , November 30, 2009 11:07 am

Many people have been noticing for a while now that the mobile telcos have been promoting the apps that run on their phones as opposed to the OS, or even the specific device. I have no doubt, this was inspired by Apple, and the App Store, but it seems to have spread rather handily to non iPhone carriers as well. With this in mind, I think we have started to see an age of mobile computing that really doesn’t care about the OS that is running the phone as long as there are a collection of apps that will allow the user to get the work that they consider “mission critical” to get done, done. People also don’t want to have to bother with the OS at all when they are using a phone. Form factor also comes into play, as some people like the keyboard and others don’t, but the long and the short of it is that if you want to be able to get to your Facebook on the go in addition to being able to use star charts, you have X number of choices. As you increase the length of the wish list, the number of devices that you would find acceptable drop, assuming you are equally comfortable in any environment.

This last point is important, as if you are not comfortable in the the interface presented on say the Blackberry, and prefer the iPhone app, well then you are likely going to pick an iPhone (or iPod) when it comes time to get a phone. If one of the compromises that you are not willing to make when mobile is the use of physical keys, then you might be forced back the ‘berry, but you might then also consider one of the Android or Symbian phones out there. These sorts of compromises are expected when looking at the smaller form factors, but as the form factor gets larger, people are willing to compromise less and arguably, the definition of mission critical application also changes.

Moving into the netbook space and beyond, you might start looking at being able to do more than initiate and respond to messages. You might want to be able to create and edit, with some degree of sophistication, content. Both MacOS and Windows based laptops provide this functionality, but with different amount of babysitting on the part of the user. The MacOS and Win7 provide “just works” level of operation, while XP, Vista and *nix systems will suffer some with respect to usability. This need to babysit the OS detracts from being able to use the apps that one wants to be able to get to for their work. As the machine gets bigger, physical and connectivity compromises change, but there will always be the need to give and take with respect to something.

Nothing I’ve said here should be rocket science to anyone, so why take the time to write this up? Well, this weekend I got thinking about ChromeOS and what it will take for it to really take off with the non geek crowd. It will be the apps. There are already ‘net based versions of Photoshop and Office and I can’t imagine that with those two suites moving to online offerings, that others won’t follow. Right now, those apps will work on a range of browsers, making compromises for all manner of browser based issues. But if that ‘net app is accessed through Chrome, some of those compromises will likely be mitigated as they would be able to have access to many more resources than they currently can. So if Chrome rolls out with a suite of apps from Microsoft, Adobe and Apple (I really hope Apple is thinking about doing something with respect to a ‘net based Aperture for Chrome), things might just take off, solving another problem users of netbooks and larger systems. That being what the heck should they buy?

This question is what crystallized this post for me yesterday while watching the game with my brothers. Apple has really helped users simplify the purchasing process by presenting the basics – size and price (and charging a pretty penny for this simplification). Windows systems on the other hand are just as complex a buying experience as ever, in large part due to the selection that serves to drive prices down to loss leading levels. So how should someone looking to buy a computer make the choice these days? It should not matter what the hardware is or what the OS is. Google’s move into the OS market might help this out however. If ChromeBooks start coming out next year, the hardware will really become irrelevant. It won’t matter if you get one built by Acer, Asus or AnyOneElse. With Chromium, it won’t even matter if the hardware is Apple, once you boot and login, you have access to what really matters, the apps that you use to get things done.

Stalled install

By , September 2, 2009 7:35 pm

Well, trying to install 10.6 on my 2006 17″ Macbook Pro resulted in this black – well almost black screen. It seems that the backlight just didn’t want to come on, so using a flashlight to see what was on the screen, I was able to get things going (as I thumb this out). So after two upgrades, I suggest you backup, have a flashlight handy and disconnect everything (network, external drives etc) before running 10.6.

Update – after finding the cursor, I clicked continue and the system bumped along its merry way. The login screen was also all the way dark, but a quick tap of the brightness control fixed that for me. Everything seems hunk dory now… especially with Aperture and iMovie up and running much snappier than before.
Screen shot 2009-09-02 at 8.52.35 PM

Fruit is in the trees – the Apple tablet in Education

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By , July 27, 2009 12:34 pm

Christopher Dawson over at ZD Education posted today about the rumoured Apple table, he’s not the only, first or last individual to do so I would imagine. But his take on it is that it will be a non starter in Education without textbook publishers onboard to provide app versions of their content.

It seems to me that Dawson has missed part of the boat… he wants “smart” local content and he wants a reasonable price. He is saying that it is easy enough to use a $200 netbook to go after PDFs and presumably other “old skool” materials that could be based online in Flashy/AJAXy/Wavey sites that could be used anywhere. On cost, I don’t know what reality has Apple Inc making anything available at a non premium price.

The part of the boat that he does get is that the “laptop walls” may very well dissapear. Students, not school boards will be the first to bring these devices to the classroom, and if the devices prove themselves like Macbooks have in laptop initiatives in schools, schoolboards will follow. With the “textbook fees” that many students get assessed, combined with other school supplies coming out to more than a netbook, I can see many schools thinking about dumping other supplied in favour of a netbook, but that is another arguement.

After all is said and done, regardless of what the cost on the Apple device will be and how much like either the laptop or phone it is, it will be treated by many as yet another client device to hook into web services. Schools, at least in higher ed are developing an increasing array of content for the web that can be delivered in a device agnostic manner, so the thought that Apple’s tablet “needs” textbooks as local apps is a bit odd. And if the idea of “smart textbooks” was really what the publishers were after, they would have jumped on Surface and other MS tablet interfaces first – waiting for Apple and it’s cadre of design highlights seems to be odd. Perhaps one could see it as a sign of success, the publishing world is waiting on Apple to make it’s stylish and late entrance so that the party can really get started.

As I finish this off, I see that Bill Mackenty has also put up a few thoughts on this.

4 years, 1774 posts… and it keeps going

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By , May 29, 2009 9:06 am

Today my blogging effort – in any serious form turns 4. Four years has certainly seen quite a bit of change for me personally and professionally and it has seen all manner of change for technology and well some of it has made it’s way to the classroom in either k-12 or higher ed.

So with this in mind, I thought it might be interesting to see what I was posting about on my previous blogversaries.

May 2005 was when I moved off the SpyMac (yeah, remember when they were relevant and a real site, not some sort of frankensite with the old forums in the back?) and onto Blogger. My motivation for this was an AMTEC conference in Calgary and a presentation from Rob Wall. I was talking about the need for techs and admins to also know about the learning process – especially since so many of them are being tasked with supporting ed-tech in k-20. I would also argue that it is very useful for EdTechers to know about the tech and admin side, enough so that they are able to ask for what they want or need. I also posted “Back Light” as my very first “POW”. Other things going on were the advent of perpendicular recording (which I finally got on on my systems in December) and the increasing uptake of RSS.

Fast forward a year and I was talking about how podcasts can increase meaningful contact time, how I was planning to run a half marathon in 2008 (that didn’t come to pass due to injury, so I went to Vegas for a baby-moon instead) after clocking an amazing 45min time for 10km – my new goal is to do this by 2011 (babies have a funny way of re-ordering life). Other news had the Oilers in the playoffs and Boot Camp being tested on the Mac. Those were indeed heady days. As 2007 came, social networks were items of interest as were “just enough” uses of technology (nee Hole in the Wall) and alternative interfaces. Last year ePortfolios, cyberbullying and txting had their portions of my interest.

It seems that my thoughts have migrated from looking only at those technologies that can be or are being used in the classroom, to those that can make things more convenient for an information workflow in one’s personal life and then, by osmosis, find their way into the classroom or lecture theater. I’ve also toned down the Mac fan-boy element in favour of system that get things done (which is still 99.999% of the time Mac ;)) and those things that are just cool and no longer teathered to the desktop – nee phones. Over the last year, with over 4000 posts to Twitter, I’ve also noticed myself blogging less, but I think the value of the posts has increased for me. Many times I’d put up a short post because the act of writing helped me remember. Now I do the same thing with Twitter.

I would not even want to try to guess where things are going to be in another 4 years, but hopefully this blog will still be around. Next year I’m looking forward to seeing how Google’s Wave is going to change things for social networks – powerful real time messaging and collaboration makes me think that it will be able to one up Facebook in terms of being able to share images, exchange documents and send messages. It will also be flexibile enough to pull in much of what might come out over the next while as well. It should be interesting.

So long Safari

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By , February 25, 2009 11:56 am

Well, I mentioned in my quick review yesterday that Safari 4 didn’t play nice with WP. And it seems that was an understatement. It seems not to play at all. It doesn’t autosave, it doens’t run any javascript, nothing. So I don’t think I’m even going to be using it until an update comes out. No Cooliris, no WordPress, no love. Sorry Apple.

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