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    e-Book Readers, are they the future?

    October 27th, 2009

    On Ollie Bray’s blog a comment was made on Ollie’s post about e-Books.

    Neil commenting on the blog said:

    I don’t think e-book readers will cut it. They will please a few – gadgeteers and the followers of Oprah (or would that be Jonathan Ross over here?) – but I think they will only be a niche product. After all, you can already read e-books on many phones, netbooks and PCs, so why would you want a specialist device?

    Which would you rather spend on – a class set of Kindles (at £175 each) or a set of iPods touches (@£149)? No-brainer really. ANd you are never going to get a head to spend that kind of money twice.

    I do agree that in terms of functionality that the iPod touch (currently) is superior to the Kindle, but you do need to ask what functionality are you looking for when purchasing a device.

    I am going to disagree with  Neil about the e-Book, personally I think they are going to be one of the next big technologies.

    Many negative things were said about early mp3 players and notably the iPod. If you go back to 2001 the following comments were made which are not exactly positive about Apple’s music player.

    The iPod does cost considerably more than the nearest competitor with a portable hard drive…

    …analyst Tim Deal dinged the $399 price as “a little high.”

    “I question the company’s ability to sell into a tight consumer market right now at the iPod’s current price.”

    “Apple lacks the richness of Sony’s product offering. And introducing new consumer products right now is risky, especially if they cannot be priced attractively,”

    Stephen Baker said that the iPod will likely stand out for its large storage capacity but predicted that the device may have trouble digging out a niche in the market.

    The iPod has “good features, but this is a pretty competitive category,” Baker said. “The question is whether people want that robust of a feature set with that high of a price.”

    Look where the iPod is now!

    Let’s take Niel’s comment:

    After all, you can already read e-books on many phones, netbooks and PCs, so why would you want a specialist device?

    If you rewrite this as

    After all, you can already listen to mp3s on many phones, netbooks and PCs, so why would you want a specialist device?

    That’s what many people said about the iPod and the early mp3 players.

    e-Book readers are supplementary to netbooks, iPhones, iPods and PCs, not replacements.

    They also have one big advantage over those devices for e-Books and that is battery life.

    I have to charge my iPhone on a daily basis, I charge my e-Book reader once a week.

    For me the Kindle and Sony Reader are generation one devices, and as the technology matures and changes I expect to see better and smarter products.

    The rumours are that Apple and Microsoft will both release an e-Book Reader type product in the next twelve months. These devices will certainly raise the profile of e-Books and the market for devices to read them.


    It’s only rock and roll, but we (still) like it

    September 4th, 2009

    As I have mentioned before, on September 9th, Apple are running a music style event called It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.

    appleevent090909

    It’s quite normal for Apple to make an announcement at this time of year. In 2007 Apple for example announced the iPod touch. I said before that:

    According to the rumour sites, there are good indications that we will see new iPods with cameras.

    Will we see the rumoured Apple Tablet?

    I think it is a strong possibility, but there are other rumours which state we won’t see it until the first quarter of 2010. I wonder if Apple will announce it, so that developers can develop Apps for it in the same way that they did for the iPhone.

    Reading Ollie Bray’s blog he brings to the rumour table, the social side of iTunes.

    Again the rumor mills suggest a number of new features of iTunes 9 of which I think the most likely are the introduction of social networking tools or someone else’s social networking tools (eg: Facebook). This will allow you to share your playlists with your friends. If you think about it this makes a lot of sense – Apple knows that the future of the web is social.

    I would agree that this is a strong possibility, think about how iPhoto ’09 now has Flickr and Facebook intergration, how easy it is to upload videos from the iPhone 3GS or iMovie to YouTube. It makes sense to add a social element to iTunes.

    Some say that we may see the Beatles, possibly.

    Whatever happens it will be interesting and fun to see what happens at the event. The Apple event takes place at 6pm BST on the 9th September, which is the same night as the ALT-C Gala Dinner, I suspect that many with iPhones at that dinner will be closely looking at their iPhones to see what new things are announced.


    Apple iPod Event

    August 31st, 2009

    On September 9th, Apple are running a music style event called It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.

    appleevent090909

    It’s quite normal for Apple to make an announcement at this time of year. In 2007 Apple for example announced the iPod touch.

    So what will be announced?

    According to the rumour sites, there are good indications that we will see new iPods with cameras.

    Will we see the rumoured Apple Tablet?

    I think it is a strong possibility, but there are other rumours which state we won’t see it until the first quarter of 2010. I wonder if Apple will announce it, so that developers can develop Apps for it in the same way that they did for the iPhone.

    Personally I think the proposed Mac Tablet has a lot of potential for learners and learning, especially if it has a battery which lasts all day.

    The Apple event takes place at 6pm BST on the 9th September, which is the same night as the ALT-C Gala Dinner, I suspect that many with iPhones at that dinner will be closely looking at their iPhones to see what new things are announced.


    Using an iPod to improve performance in sports

    March 2nd, 2009

    In my college we have been using PSPs with cameras and video cameras to analyse performance by learners in Sports Studies, it would appear that we’re not the only ones using mobile technologies to improve performance in sports, it would appeat that Ben Foster of Manchester United is doing the same.

    ben-foster-001

    From the Guardian

    Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Ben Foster as an England first-choice goalkeeper in waiting after the youngster’s fine penalty shoot-out save from Jamie O’Hara proved pivotal in Manchester United claiming the Carling Cup to complete the second leg of what would be an unprecedented haul of the three major domestic trophies, the Champions League and the World Club Championship.

    Foster, who had spent the moments before the penalties watching footage of Tottenham Hotspur’s players taking recent penalties on an iPod…

    The article continues…

    “I did a bit of research for the penalties,” said the 25-year-old. “We tried to find out everything we could about Spurs beforehand and, just before the shoot-out, I was looking at a video on an iPod with Eric Steele, our goalkeeping coach, and Edwin. It’s a new innovation he’s brought in since coming to the club…

    Via Andy Turner on the ILT Champions Mailing List.


    In at number two…

    February 19th, 2009

    Those of you who read the blog of a regular basis will know that as well as the blog I also (with a group of e-learning friends) record a podcast.

    You can listen to the podcast on the blog, there is a simple Flash based player, so you don’t need to download it to listen to it.

    You can download the mp3 file from the blog which then allows you to transfer it to a mp3 player, an iPod, burn it to CD, listen to it on your computer, or on your phone.

    You can also subscribe to the podcast, either through the blog RSS feed (which incorporates all the blog postings and media files uploaded) or through the podcast RSS feed. You can subscribe via applications such as iTunes, Juice or your browser.

    Finally you can subscribe to the podcast through the Apple iTunes Store. I submitted the podcast to the iTunes Store last October to the Educational Technology Podcasts section of the store.

    It is proving reasonably popular and the podcast is generally always in the top twenty, quite pleased though today to see it is in at number two!

    In at number two...

    Now if you go and look I suspect we may have dropped a fair few places, the top podcasts list does change on a daily basis dependent on how many subscribers you have and how many new people subscribe.

    I am working on a workflow document which describes the process I use for recording the podcast, it is currently a work in progress but you can view it here.

    Apart from an (extra long) break over Christmas I am tying to post the podcast on a weekly basis, every Sunday. Always interested to hear about topics people would like us to talk about.