Category Archives: stuff

Stephen Fry talks EeePC

Seems I am not the only one enamoured with Asus’ tiny little linux based UMPC.Stephen Fry talks EeePC

The Asus EEE PC perched on my knee combines GNU software with a Linux kernel powered by an Intel Celeron Mobile Processor to produce a very extraordinary little laptop. It weighs less than a kilogram, starts up from cold in about 12 seconds and shuts down in five. It has no internal hard disk and no CD drive. It offers 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage and a seven-inch display; wireless, dial-out modem and ethernet adaptors are available for networking and internet connections, three USB ports, mini-jack sockets for headphones and microphone, a VGA out, an SD card slot and a built-in webcam. All for about £200 – less than the price of a show, dinner and taxi for two in London’s West End.

So is Stephen Fry.

Asus Eee PC arrives

I have been wondering how good the Asus Eee PC is. The small linux UMPC is certainly creating waves in the tech world as well as the MoLeNET community.

Asus Eee PC arrives

Lilian (one of the MoLeNET mentors) demonstrated one at the MoLeNET Online Conference last Friday and I was quite intrigued.

So you can imagine my surprise when the one I had ordered arrived today.

It was interesting to see how this small UMPC was going to work out.

It booted up fine and after a minimal setup process was ready to work. Already loaded with internet, office, media and other applications it is ready to go.

I tried a few things such as running a PowerPoint presentation and playing a video file.

It handled the few things I tried with ease.

I still need to try the internet applications, so it will be interesting to see how the Eee PC can be used to access our college VLE and other online services.

New Mobile Browser

There’s a new browser for mobile devices providing a desktop experience on your windows mobile smartphone or PDA. Symbian and other platform editions are on their way.New Mobile Browser

The makers claim that it is the first mobile browser fully compatible with technologies such as asynchronous Javascript and XML (AJAX), Java, and embedded Flash.

Currently it’s a free download for US users only. Update now active in the UK too.

More info at:
http://www.skyfire.com/

From Handheld Learning

“you feel that all digital resources must be universally accessible to everyone”

Do you have staff in your institution who feel that

“all digital resources must be universally accessible to everyone”

or are they a little more enlightened?

A podcast is perfectly accessible to a visually impaired learner and completely pointless for a hearing impaired learner.

Accessibility only exists at the point of delivery. There can not be a universal accessibly digital resource, can there?

Digital resources by their very nature are often more accessible than a non-digital resource. An e-book can be read out to a visually impaired learner, whilst a real book can also be read out, but this for most books requires a real person to do it, which at 2am can often be difficult for some learners to find when they have an essay deadline!

Brian Kelly on his excellent UK Web Focus Blog has a great post on how one disabled learner is using Second Life and how it is improving access for her.

Well worth a read. “you feel that all digital resources must be universally accessible to everyone”

Blu-ray “wins” the HD format war

Well if you read the BBC technology blog you will see that they are seeing the end of the HD (High Definition) format war and Blu-ray has won!

The HD DVD camp turned a crisis into a disaster when it cancelled its scheduled press conference at the show and then – perhaps unsurprisingly – cancelled all media interviews at the show. It’s left observers with the impression that the HD DVD group is in disarray and on the verge of collapse.

Where as Blu-ray

Blu-ray, on the other hand, is only to eager to parade spokespeople talking up its own format.

The BBC blog seems to indicate that the reason for the victory was the Sony PS3.

Blu-ray “wins” the HD format war

The PS3 comes with a Blu-ray player as standard unlike the xBox whose HD DVD drive was an additional extra and it was getting that Blu-ray player into people’s homes via the PS3 which has allowed Blu-ray to if not win the war certainly make that last march to victory.

I suspect if Apple release new Macs at MacWorld Expo with Blu-ray drives then this will be the final blow to HD DVD and Blu-ray will be declared the victor of the HD format war.

Then us consumers (and therefore our learners) can go out and buy the Blu-ray player knowing we are not buying the HD Betamax or MiniDisc.

It might be worthwhile looking at your institution, what is its plans for HD? Think about your institutional policy in relation to VHS video tapes and DVDs.

HD does allow for amazingly high quality video and also makes it much easier to watch video on a computer down to the fact that (LCD) computer monitors are generally a much higher resolution than your standard television or DVD resolution.

Photo source.

I just want to do my stuff…

So there I was looking at my new Samsung Q1 Ultra and seeing how the graphics were working, working on a document and looking at a few things online, when I got called away. Knew I was only going to be a few minutes to just placed the Q1 on the desk and left.

I just want to do my stuff…

I came back to find that Windows Vista had decided (in my absence) to update Windows, restart, lose my wireless connection and then admit that it had lost the document I was working on and would I like to create a new one!

I do find this very frustrating, if I wanted the Q1 to run itself I would leave it switched on and never use it, however I want to use the Q1 to do stuff, create stuff, read stuff, reflect on stuff. I don’t want the Q1 to try and be nice and update itself in the middle of me doing stuff. I want to retain my wireless connection so I don’t lose my blog entry, or lose the thread of the online discussion I am involved in.

I don’t want software to continually nag me that I haven’t either set it up or registered it, or run it for a while, and I don’t want the software to do it in the middle of me doing stuff.

I don’t want the Q1 to download huge updates whilst I am trying to do stuff online, downloading will slow my internet connection, download updates while I am doing other non-online stuff such as making a cup of tea.

Please just let me do my stuff, don’t do your stuff and pretend mine isn’t important!

I just want to do my stuff…

If you don’t mind can you leave my wireless on please!

I have been playing about with evaluating a Samsung Q1 Ultra over the last couple of weeks. I was trying out Internet Explorer and was surprised to find that the Q1 was not connected to my wireless network. After some investigation I found out was disappointed to find that Windows Vista decided that the best thing it could do was disable the wireless adapter as it had a found a problem with it.

Initially the problem I was having was that the device failed to connect to my wireless network, which surprised me, as I hadn’t really done very much with the Q1 except switch it on! I hadn’t installed any software (or even uninstalled software).

The wireless was on according to the Samsung software, but as far as Windows Vista was concerned there were no networks to connect to.

Very strange, after checking device manager (something I doubt any general user would do) I found that Vista had disabled the wireless adapter because it had found a problem with it. It didn’t tell me what the problem was, but was willing to go online to find a solution (well I would have gone online, but the wireless wasn’t working was it).

There didn’t seem to be any way of re-enabling the wireless adapter. I could have uninstalled it, but I wondered if Vista would let me reinstall the wireless adapter, I was pretty sure it might have got pretty obnoxious about it.

In the end I went with a system restore, something I do like about XP and Vista and restored the Q1 to this morning’s configuration which I know was working, and is working now.

I wonder if it was a Windows Update that caused the problem, I am not totally sure of the cause.

And a day later…

Windows Vista did it again…

Annoying to say the least. Windows Vista on my Q1 Ultra discovered a (so-called) problem with the wireless adapter on the Q1 and decided (without telling me) to disable the wireless and not allow me to renable it at all (well not easily).

In the end I decided against doing a system restore (like what I did before) as obviously some kind of Windows update was causing the problem. This time I removed the adapter from Device Manager and rebooted the Q1 and let Windows reinstall the drivers, which it did without finding anything wrong!

Then it disabled the adapter once more!

If you don't mind can you leave my wireless on please!

I wouldn’t mind so much, but this is a new Q1 and I haven’t done anything except install updates…

Finally a solution which seems to be working, change the drivers for the wireless adapter, I am using version 7.4.2.15 of the Atheros Communications driver which I believe is different to the supplied Windows Vista driver.

Hopefully this will keep the wireless adapter enabled, the Q1 Ultra connected to the internet and me happy.

Turn off your e-mail and get some work done…

Does e-mail improve the way you work, or is it something that gets in the way of your work?

I have been using the e-mail guidelines form Merlin Mann which I mentioned at the beginning of the month and at this point I have no e-mail in my inbox.

Too much e-mail can impact on the day to day things you need to do as part of your job.

There are other ways of dealing with e-mail, one of which that some companies are doing is to ban e-mail for the day.

The BBC reports on how companies like Intel are having e-mail free days.

With inboxes bulging with messages and many workers dreading the daily deluge of e-mail, some companies are taking drastic action. Intel has become the latest in an increasingly long line of companies to launch a so-called ‘no e-mail day’. On Fridays, 150 of its engineers revert to more old-fashioned means of communication. In actual fact e-mail isn’t strictly forbidden but engineers are encouraged to talk to each other face to face or pick up the phone rather than rely on e-mail. In Intel’s case the push to look again at the culture of e-mail followed a comment from chief executive Paul Otellini criticising engineers “who sit two cubicles apart sending an e-mail rather than get up and talk”.

This is quite a drastic way of encouraging employees to talk, but ask yourself this, have you ever used e-mail back and forth to ask and answer questions with someone who was at their desk and therefore could have answered the phone?

Have you ever sent an e-mail rather than pick up the phone or walk over for a chat?

Do you ever exit Outlook (or your e-mail client) or is it always running all day?

Do you use e-mail or does e-mail use you?