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    SlideShare moves to HTML5

    October 3rd, 2011

    In an not an unexpected move, SlideShare, the presentation hosting service has moved from Flash to HTML5.

    When SlideShare launched it used Flash to create an online slideshow of your presentation slides. It is a service I have been using now for over three years and have found it a useful place to put presentations, but then to also embed them into the blog or the VLE.

    However as it was Flash based there were issues when people viewed them on a mobile device such as the iPhone or the iPad. They did fix this for viewing a SlideShare presentation on the SlideShare website and released an API. Last year I reviewed the Slide by Slide app for the iPad and was not impressed. However this wasn’t an official iPad app one that merely used the SlideShare API.

    Even though you could view the presentation on the website on the iPad when the SlideShare presentation was embedded into a website, all you got was a blank space.

    So it’s interesting to hear that SlideShare are losing the Flash and moving to HTML5.

    • Your slides will display flawlessly on an iPhone, iPad, Android and any other mobile platform. You can send a link to friends and colleagues, and they can view it on the go regardless of what device they are using.
    • Your slides will now load 30% faster. On the web, faster is better.
    • Your slides will be a part of the web. No plugins or downloads are required to view them.

    They are certainly convinced that mobile is the way a lot of people will view presentations on the web.


    e-Learning Stuff Podcast #055: Gordon’s alive…

    July 25th, 2010

    We’re talking about Flash this week and the impact that devices like the iPad will have on existing educational resources, development of new resources, tools and importantly the impact on learners and learning.

    With James Clay, Dave Foord, Rob Englebright and Ron Mitchell.

    This is the fifty fifth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Gordon’s alive…

    Audio MP3

    Download the podcast in mp3 format: Gordon’s alive…

    Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

    Shownotes

    Photo source.


    Froyo’ing – These are the droids you are looking for…

    May 24th, 2010

    Google last week announced the release of Android 2.2.

    Unlike other phones I could mention, even though the update was announced my Google Nexus One said “it was up to date”. You have to wait until the phone provider sends out the update.

    In my case that’s Google…

    Waiting…

    Certainly won’t be waiting as long as Motorola Droid users who had to wait six months for 2.1, but still waiting…

    Then on Saturday night I noticed a post on Lifehacker.

    Want to try out the neat new stuff in Android 2.2, a.k.a. FroYo, but haven’t lucked into an update notification yet? Follow these instructions to download a 2.2 update, install it, and get Flash up and running.

    I downloaded the zip file and following these instructions updated my  Nexus One on Sunday morning.

    The first thing I wanted to do was try out the Flash player… specifically I wanted to see how BBC iPlayer would perform. My first site was BBC News and I was very pleased with how the live stream of BBC News worked on the Nexus One.

    Very similar experience to the EyeTV App on the iPhone, but obviously streaming from the internet and no need for the Mac to be on. I then tried to watch a programme from the archive, the film Brazil as it happens and… well the site asked if I was old enough! And trying to zoom into the checkbox was not particularly easy. However it did work!

    As did Doctor Who!

    Android 2.2 does off a little more than just allow you to view Flash on the web.

    Android now has Exchange support, this is a feature I have found very useful on the iPhone. Despite what you may think of Exchange, it is a service that many organisations and institutions use, so by having support on Android, it allows for Enterprise deployment of phones like the Nexus One.

    You can also now use the Flash when shooting video, great for when there is little or no natural light.

    The Nexus One with Android 2.2 can now be used as a portable WiFi hotspot. This is something I have been doing for some time with Joikuspot on the Nokia N95 and was one of the main things I missed from the Nexus One, missing it no longer.

    This is also something that is missing from the iPhone and technically it would be able to do it…

    The key improvement though of 2.2 is improved performance and I certainly have found my Nexus One to be a little more zippy and faster than before.

    I would never recommend bypassing the traditional upgrade process, but when the update does come I would recommend upgrading.


    I am not that bothered as Steve Jobs talks about Flash

    May 1st, 2010

    In one of those rare moments Steve has posted his thoughts on Flash to the Apple website.

    I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

    Steve in his thoughts extols the virtues of HTML5 as a way of creating interactive websites and for online video.

    Now I am no technical expert on Flash or HTML5 and therefore can only really comment from a personal perspective about which is better for the web and devices.

    So it looks as though if you want an iPhone or an iPad you are going to have to get use to not having Flash. Having said that, if Apple and Steve decide not to use Flash on the iPhone, it’s not as though there aren’t other phones available. Likewise even though we have the iPad, if you read blogs you will know that there are many other tablets and slates available.

    These devices offer more functionality than the iPad with USB ports and cameras, and these devices will support Flash if that’s want you want.

    However it would appear from Twitter and blogs that people don’t want any old slate that has Flash, they specifically want an iPad with Flash.

    Why?

    Well the reason in my opinion is that people like the iPhone and the iPad not because of the hardware, but for the user interface and the usability of the device.

    Even though the iPad has no camera, no USB, no SD card reader,; that’s not the reason that Apple have sold over a million of the devices, it’s in my opinion a combination of the “image” of the device, the availability and ease of access to thousands of Apps, and in my opinion the way the user interface “just works”.

    Microsoft made Windows XP Tablet PC Edition nine years ago. A wonderful concept slightly ruined by the user interface. It was very difficult to use a GUI that required a mouse and keyboard when using a pen. I am sure if Microsoft had known what we know now, then Windows XP Tablet PC Edition would have had a very different interface. Look at what Microsoft have said about their phone OS.

    The new Microsoft OS for the phone is a very different affair to what we had with Windows Mobile – which again was trying to be a desktop version of Windows on a touch screen. Though lots of people liked their PDAs, compared to the user experience on the iPhone it was always something of a challenge and not something that would appeal or sell to the general public. I think that may change with Windows Phone 7.

    As I am talking about Microsoft, I was disappointed to see that they have canned their Courier project which isn’t too surprising, as I thought it had potential.

    I am not disappointed to see that HP have abandoned their Windows 7 based Slate.

    The device was first seen as CES 2010 when it was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and was supposed to go on sale in the middle of 2010.

    It would appear that HP are not happy with using Windows 7 as the OS for their Slate.

    However they HP don’t appear to be abandoning the form factor and have been looking at Android. HP’s purchase of Palm also gives them WebOS which was applauded on the Palm Pre even though it did not sell well.

    I expect we will see either an WebOS Slate from HP or even an Android version! Regardless of which OS HP use, both will (according to Adobe) have Flash. So if you are looking for a tablet that has Flash you can either buy a Windows Tablet now, or wait a few months for an Android or WebOS Tablet.

    So back to the iPad and the lack of Flash.

    So what about Flash, how essential is that then really?

    In terms of non-educational use of the web, Flash is predominantly used for video. Prior to YouTube, most people used Flash for splash screens, animation and the odd game. Today though Flash powered video is a key part of how people use the web.

    Social networking sites, okay Facebook, also use Flash extensively for simple online games.

    So what about educational use, as many educators have complained about the lack of Flash on the iPhone and iPods?

    Well, yes there are lots of Flash based quizzes, diagrams and activities. Simple Flash games (and complicated Flash games) also have their place in education. It is these that just won’t play on the iPhone and iPad.

    If these were created in-house then I also suspect that the in-house Flash developers are unlikely to have the necessary HTML5 skills to create new versions.

    Most Flash games I have seen have actually been created using tools that then create Flash based quizzes using simple text input that any practitioner could utilise without needing to know Flash.

    Now at this point I could argue that such activities and games can be created for the iPad (and are been by developers) however I don’t think this is an argument about whether we as educators demand Flash on a specific device.

    Ten years ago, no one was using Flash for education or video. Things change and will continue to change.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what we think about this in our role as educators, practitioners and learning technologists. The real decision about this will be made by our learners and if we are sensible we will change how we do things in order to meet the needs of our learners. If our learners decide that they want to buy and use the iPad, then I believe as educators we should ensure that any learning content we provide should work on the iPad. I don’t see how we can dictate what devices learners should be buying. I also don’t think it is sustainable for educational institutions to be buying mobile devices for all learners just so that they can have a device that plays Flash!

    If HTML5 is the future of the web, then we need to start preparing for that future and not try and fight it, as we have no chance of winning! Why, because the people we are fighting are not Apple or Adobe, they are our learners. They will make the choice, not us.

    Technology changes, we need to have the culture and flexibility to accommodate those changes in order to provide the best enhanced and improved learning experience for our learners.


    The Top Ten Blog Posts of 2009

    January 1st, 2010

    These are the top ten posts from this blog (according to the stats) in terms of views. In reverse order…

    10. Sony eBook Reader – First Impressions

    Back in March I got my hands on a Sony eBook Reader and posted my first impressions. Since then I have found the eBook Reader to be a very useful device. So much so that in October I wrote e-Book Readers, are they the future? and in November I wrote So do you like books, or do you like reading? I also gave the Keynote at the JISC Collections AGM in which I discussed the future of e-Books.

    9. It’s all about the coffee…

    Twitter has been the service of 2009 and this was the blog posting of my presentation on Twitter that I delivered at the Handheld Learning Conference 2009 in October.

    Of course really Twitter is all about the coffee. It’s the coffee you drink with colleagues during a break, where you discuss work, but also your commute, TV, films, the weather. It’s the coffee you drink whilst browsing the web and posting links of interesting web site to your blog or in an e-mail. It’s the coffee you drink in a coffee shop, reading the paper or a book. It’s the coffee you drink with fellow delegates during a break or at lunch at a conference. Where you discuss the keynotes, the presentations, the workshops, where you are going next, your hotel, the food, the coffee, what you do, where you’re going, what gadgets you have in your bag.

    8. Sanyo CA9 Video Camera

    This post from April was a repost of a blog entry that  first appeared on the Shiny Project Blog. The Sanyo CA9 Video Camera was one of the devices we had purchased as part of our MoLeNET project and these were my initial thoughts about this small handheld video camera. The camera proved to be a huge success in the college causing major cultural shifts in the way that practitioners and learners used video. Nice thing about the camera was that it was waterproof.

    7. The VLE is Dead

    This was the PR post for the VLE is Dead Symposium at ALT-C 2009. Just a trailer…

    6. No Flash player on the Google G1

    There is no Flash player for the iPhone and at its release there was no Flash player for the Google G1 either.

    5. It’s not dead… yet…

    This was posted before the ALT-C VLE is Dead debate. This was my response to various posts made by others on the death of VLEs.

    4. G2 Google Phone

    This posting is this high due to a high Google search ranking I expect… Not a huge amount of content, just some thoughts and a link on the then new G2 Google phone.

    3. Ten things people say about using Twitter, but really they shouldn’t

    One of two Twitter “ten things” posts I made in 2009. One of the things that does annoy me about Twitter is the way in which people like to dictate to you how it should be used and how you should use it. This is the top ten things you should never say about using Twitter.

    2. The VLE is Dead – The Movie

    We filmed the VLE is Dead debate at ALT-C 2009 and this was uploaded within 12 hours… I served something like 40GB of video in the first week of this post going live.

    1. Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die…

    Though Twitter has been the service of 2009, one day it will die… These were my ten reasons why it will die… one day….

    It is a fact known to all that use Web 2.0 tools and services that one day they will no longer be flavour of the month, or will be swamped by spam, cons and hustlers. We have just seen the death of Geocities and services such as Friendster and Friends Reunited are not once what they were. The same will, one day happen to Twitter!

    So there are my top ten blog posts of 2009 according to the number of visitors.