Tag Archives: AV-1

My First Month with the iPad

This week, AV-1er Hal Meeks shares his first month with an iPad.

I was fortunate enough be given an iPad through work. It was easy to justify based on what I do for a living. The reality was that I was prepared to buy one for myself, so I am sitting on the money to do just that at a later date. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you my initial observations…

oooh, baby!

iPad as computing appliance
The iPad represents the shift from computer platform to computing appliance. There are many examples of this now, but the iPad represents the most blatant.

The Tivo is a computing appliance in that it runs an operating system, has a processor, RAM and storage, and a modest amount of third-party support. However, unlike a personal computer, it is a “closed” environment that not just anyone can write for.

Video game systems, to some extent, represent the same idea. It is possible to hack these to run third-party applications, but it’s really not the intended use. It seems to me that the iPad represents a further shift in this idea, whether someone agrees with it or not.

Flash: conspicuously absent
Flash Flash is the most hotly contested. It is a disservice to not support embedded flash applications in the browser. There are legitimate technical reasons to exclude flash, but at the end of the day I would have included Flash application support in the browser, but not necessarily for stand-alone apps. As for flash as a video player – I think that bird has flown. The HTML video tag has too many benefits to not adopt it. The “which format” issue will sort itself out – I root for the open source alternatives – but the pragmatist in me says that h264 will win – hardware acceleration, better tools, more content.

Battery life = game-changer
Battery life can be a deciding factor for many who consider buying a tablet. I am watching my battery go down on my MacBook right now, but on the iPad the battery life is so phenomenal that I don’t even think to check it.

Some apps really shine
Music apps such as Megasynth, Bebot work fantastically. Megasynth has made the leap from novelty to near-killer app. Where will it go once MIDI support is enabled, who knows? I can’t wait to see what kinds of graphic applications show up on the device!

The looming tablet-fest
It will take about a year before the other manufacturers begin to ship truly competitive products to the iPad. HP’s purchases of Palm and WebOS hold some promise.

Price at cost of power
Asus T91 review at CNet Most of the tablets out now are using hardware that is not nearly as power-efficient as the iPad. These toy tablets are little more than netbooks in a different form factor. Price will affect rate of adoption. As with netbooks, there is definitely a price/performance tipping point. The $150 netbooks aren’t selling because they are too underpowered for what people want them for. A $200 tablet versus a $350 tablet may be a world of difference. Apple figured this out.

How about you?
Have you evaluated the iPad? Have you fallen under its spell? What is your perspective on this frenzy? Chime in in the comments section below or on the AV-1 Forum.

This report was reposted with permission from the blog hal meeks made it up.

by Hal MeeksFollow me on Twitter
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Brilliant Learning Space Mash-up: Norlin Commons @ CU Boulder

Boulder, CO. Interesting things were happening at the University of Colorado at Boulder ("CU Boulder"). ITS and the university libraries partnered for an ambitious project: The Norlin Commons, which opened ahead of schedule in July. The good folks at CU Boulder rolled out the welcome mat to show our EDUCAUSE contingent around.

Guests and Tour Guides We met an energetic team of librarians, technologists and planners eager to discuss the fruits of their collective. For nearly half a decade they worked to a) identify key aspects of the current state of student resources within their domain (the Norlin Library); b) articulate the outcomes they wanted students to experience in some future incarnation of the library; c) partner with professional planners and designers to assist with due diligence and to translate their goals into an actionable plan; d) use that plan to seek funding support among their chief constituents (the students themselves).

The result is the Norlin Commons, a splendid mash-up of "mixed-use" and "flexible" zones, where services and beverages intersect at a place where students naturally congregate to get work done, unwind and refuel.

Continue reading Brilliant Learning Space Mash-up: Norlin Commons @ CU Boulder

What’s So Great About ‘Good Enough’ Tech?


In September's Wired magazine, senior editor Robert Capps (rcapps [at] wired [dot] com) observes that the MP3 audio format prevails despite the advent of digital audio algorithms that offer greater sonic resolution with comparably small file sizes. Capps speculates that the incremental gain in fidelity, as delivered by newer digital formats, offers insufficient advantage to prize the lossy, old format from the clutches of mobile audio listeners. In short, MP3 may be mediocre (Bob used a harsher word that, coincidentally rhymes with his last name) but for the majority of listeners-to-go, it is mighty good enough.

In MP3s, Capps finds the perfect metaphor to shed light on an often-overlooked phenomenon at the intersection of Good-Better-Best Street and Better-Faster-Cheaper Boulevard. There is mounting evidence to predict that, when presented with an array of sparkly tech-choices, portable music listeners tend to favor, as Bob puts it, "flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished." In short, "having it here and now is more important than having it perfect."

A note to our Type-A readers: In future articles, AV-1 explores how this phenomenon relates to classrooms, but for now, feel free to share your comments and observations (below or on the AV-1 List).

Among the numerous examples offered, these three stand out as most relevant for our purposes: Flip Ultra, Skype, and Netbooks.

Continue reading What’s So Great About ‘Good Enough’ Tech?