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A digital game plan for education is sorely needed
March 5, 2014 | 11:15 am

digital game plan for educationIn today's Morning Links, there was a wonderful article from The Digital Shift, which reported on a recent conference at which educators and school administrators explored technology. The comments from participants highlighted many of the issues I myself have written about on this blog before: the lack of forethought and planning in rolling out technology programs, the lack of teacher training and the need to prepare future educators before they hit the classroom. From the article: “It’s imperative that we rethink professional development,” says Linda Clark, superintendent for the Meridian Joint School District No. 2 in Idaho. “Many of us were...

The Advantage of the Walled Garden
February 4, 2014 | 12:00 pm

walled gardenThis article from GoodeReader, via today's Morning Links, highlights an important advantage to the walled garden approach: stability. The issue is that with the reliance on other products, company’s services can be eliminated or changed at the whim of product changes beyond your control. In this case, Adobe will be changing the way they handle DRM, and any device vendor who does not issue a firmware update once the change rolls out will leave their customers with crippled devices that can't read Adobe-encrypted books. Given that Amazon is the only major vendor that doesn't sell encrypted epub, that is potentially...

My Technology Wish List
January 20, 2014 | 2:35 pm

technology wish listAn article in today's Morning Links has GigaOM's Mark Crump explaining why 2014 will be the "year of the iPad" for him. It basically comes down to this: the iPad can't do every computing task he wants to do. But it can do all the ones he needs to do on the go. So he's getting a desktop for the tasks where he truly needs a full computer, and using the iPad as his portable machine. I'm almost there with him. I currently have an aging Macbook and two iPads, and I'd like to streamline that down to one machine and...

Is the ‘thrill of ebooks’ gone? A NYT letter writer weighs in
January 20, 2014 | 12:51 pm

thrill of ebooks Fred Fenton is a retired Episcopal priest who lives in Concord, California and follows technology news on a daily basis. In a letter to the editor published in the New York Times last December, he wrote that a Times article headlined "Booksellers Wary About Holiday Sales" had noted that ''e-book sales [were] down without citing what [was] perhaps the major reason for the decline." "Digital sales were attractive to readers like me when most new titles were available for $9.99 or less," Fenton told the Times in his letter (which did not appear in the print edition of the paper but...

Students today and their fancy, new-fangled technology
January 19, 2014 | 4:34 am

chalkboard (Found via Women Rock Science.)...

When texting in Japan, do as the Japanese do
January 17, 2014 | 4:38 pm

textingTexting slang is not just the homegrown "argot" of English-speaking nations, of course, and as social media platforms expand worldwide, new slang expressions are coming to the fore in Asian nations as well, as Japanese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese netizens claim their own cool words for communicating in short bursts of camaraderie. And for Japanese geeks and social media fans, where sending text messages in various Japanese character systems  is the norm, more and more English words are creeping in, and fitting in. Although they are written using Japanese either kanji or hiragana or katakana. Case in point is the use of a...

Kobo Glo: A Port After the Storm
December 24, 2013 | 10:15 am

Kobo GloI'm sitting in a coffee shop right now, typing this on my phone (which is sharing a power bar with six other phones) and enjoying my first hot drink since Saturday. We have had no power since then and this toasted s'mores hot chocolate is the first thing I have eaten that's not a peanut butter sandwich. I don't know why the coffee shop has power and we, a few blocks away, don't. But this little store has been a lifeline today for people in the area---hot food and drink, the sharing of news and gossip about the storm we had...

Do You Have Gadget Regret?
November 19, 2013 | 5:18 pm

gadget regretThe iPad Air has me regretting my Mini a little. When I got the Mini, I was in search of the lightest and smallest Apple tablet I could get. Now that the Air is out though, I am reconsidering. A full-size tablet, but with the Mini's weight? That is compelling to me. I am not in such a hurry to jump ship though, because experience has taught me that something better will come along someday, and I have made the mistake too often of adopting early and then being sorry later. The iPad is the perfect example. When the Mini came out,...

In tech-savvy Philippines, ‘digital humanitarians’ playing big role in disaster response and recovery
November 15, 2013 | 10:42 am

disaster recoveryThe Philippines is a tech-savvy country and is one of the top global providers of Information Techology (IT)-BPO services in Asia. In Manila, everyone has a cellphone and text messaging is part of daily life. And yet when Super Typhoon Haiyian (Yolanda) hit the island nation this month, technology was at first unable to stem to force of destruction or lend a hand at first in the initial stages of recovery. For a while, the communications systems and wired world of everydayFilipinos failed. As the days passed, and systems were back online, Google Person Finder was able to assist in helping local people find loved ones...

Something To Remember As We Read This Blog
November 13, 2013 | 12:46 pm

technologyI had a bit of a technology shock the other day. I was telling the Beloved about Kindle Match, the latest customer-grabber from Amazon, where you can get ebook copies of some of your past purchases on the cheap, and instead of debating with interest as he usually does, he shrugged and went back to his baseball podcast. 'I don't have an Amazon account,' he told me. I was stunned. Okay, so he was late to the ebook game---he didn't get an ebook reader until he started dating me (indeed the purchase of this reader was our first date!) But surely,...

Living off the wired grid and still enjoying a connected life
November 8, 2013 | 2:21 pm

living off the gridI have never owned a computer, or a laptop or a notebook or an iPad or an iPhone or smartphone, and the only technology I have in my apartment is a TV set. Yes, I am a news junkie and I like my CNN and I like my MTV and I like all my local TV channels in Taiwan, too, even though I cannot  understand a word of what the newscasters are saying in Mandarin. But back to those things that connect us. I have never owned any kind of computer and never will. For the past two years, ever since...

The constant din is other people at breakfast checking their messages
November 7, 2013 | 4:28 pm

living with technologyIn an interview a few years ago, the British writer George Steiner spoke about "the constant din" that surrounds us 24/7 now in this postmodern high-tech world we have created. He was speaking of the need to find silence from time to time, to get away from the constant din of life and find a sane way of living with technology. And Time magazine essayist Pico Iyer later dipped into the subject and wrote a splendid op-ed in the New York Times titled "The Joy of Quiet." Steiner was asked by a young woman in the interview: "You have argued that...