Got Social?

iPad – Day 2

Has my world changed?  Well, yes and no.

I think this is going to do exactly what I expected and wanted it to do.

I’m not writing these blogs to try to convince anyone to get or try an iPad.  However, please don’t be such harsh critics, some of you, until you actually work with one.  I’m not saying its going to be for everyone.  Its a tool.  It serves a purpose.  If you have not call for this particular tool, nothing I can say will changed your mind – nor would I try to.  If you need a saw, my telling you have great a screwdriver could do the job is not going to make the screwdriver as good at the job as a saw.

I’m writing this because I want to share with you what I’m going through.  Perhaps one or two of you will be able to make a better decision from what I’m learning.

I brought the iPad to an Easter gathering today.  Everyone was, of course, interested in seeing it.  Two other guys there said right away, after holding it, turning it on, playing with it a bit, that they were going to buy it.  Boys and their toys – so that does not surprise me.

I was able to go through all the pictures I took in Brasil with my mom, who had only seem them on the small camera screen before.  Have them to flick our way through, on a nice screen, with an amazing resolution, was a great experience.

Many people have made hay about this being a consumer’s item and not a producer’s one – in other words, there is no creativity, just consumption.  Right.  And.  Thats the point of the tool, at least at this point in time.  It took a while for cut/copy/paste to come to the iPhone, so I’m guessing there will be great things added over time.  And if any of those things are deal breakers for you, then wait.  That only makes sense.

Right now, as I write this blog, I have it sitting next to me slideshowing through my pictures from iPhoto.  I’ve not toyed around with how to set this up, but I can tell you it is nice to see many of this pictures dissolve in and then give way to another.

I know I said it yesterday, but I’m going to say it again today.  Get yourself the Apple iPad cover, if you get an iPad.  Its classy looking, sleek, nothing fancy, and converts to a stand that tilts the unit on a good angle for typing.

Today I started to move around some of my icons on my desktop.  As I mentioned, I was able to quickly move all my applications from my iPhone to the iPad.  When they first showed up, however, they had been reorganized alphabetically.  Actually, thats no big deal.  Some of the apps I use on my iPhone I won’t use on the iPad.  Some apps that have a lower profile in my iPhone use will get more use on the iPad, so I’m going to have to make decisions on which to put where.  For now, I’m waiting to see which I use most.  I did, however, run into a wierd problem tonight.  I was trying to move a desktop icon to a different screen (to the right) and it won’t let me move it.  I’m not sure why some can and some cannot be moved.

I used Skype to be part of a conference call.  It is one of those apps that are really iPhone apps but have been scaled to the iPad, but not customized to it yet.  I’m sure they will come out with an update soon enough.  So, even through there was plenty of screen real estate, I could not do many of the things that can be done on the full version but not on the iPhone version – like initiating a conference all.  Once I was invited it, it works like a charm.

I am NOT writing this blog from it.  I could, but I’ve chosen not to.  I have a laptop hooked up to a second much bigger monitor and that has a keyboard.  As easy as it is to use the iPad and its keyboard, why use that when I have a full keyboard and computer right in front of me.

If you have any burning questions about the Ipad, post your thoughts in any of the comments fields.  I’ll try to find the answer.

Happy Birthday – to both me and the iPad

I mus apologize.  I first wrote this yesterday but posted it into the wrong blog.  I am reposting it here, with my regrets for the delay.

*****

Today is my birthday, which only some of you knew, but it is also the release day for Apple’s iPad, which I’d be surprised if any of you didn’t know! :-) Sensing a bit of destiny there, I reserved one and picked it up this morning at the Apple Store in the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ.

It was a great experience to be part of a product launch, especially one that could potentially have a great impact on the industry. Apple has a pretty amazing record, in this regard. The iPod and iPhone both revolutionized industries. Yes, they’ve also had one or two forgettable moments, but recently they’ve been on a pretty good streak.

Kudos, in a huge way, to the incredible staff at the Garden State Plaza Apple Store. These guys were having fun, they were enjoying putting this item into people’s almost as much as the people enjoyed getting them. I said almost.

It’s going to take a while to really know if this is going to work and how well but the initial response is positive.

I like the form factor. It is easy to hold, at least for me – some with small hands might think otherwise. Take a net book and remove the bottom keyboard part. Now, all you have is the screen. That’s about the size of the iPad. I am far happier carrying around half the size and weight of my net book! Which was already nicely portable. Starting Monday I will take it to school and see if it works for me.

The interface is totally Mac – clean, simple, easy to use, and very familiar.

I am using it right now to write this blog entry. When all my iPhone apps downloaded quickly once I connected, my WordPress app came with it. When i first went to use it it prompted me to update my iphone version, but that took all of two seconds and then I was off and running, using a familiar, but much more usable version of what I was doing on my iPhone. I’d say I’m more likely to do a blog entry using the iPad then the iPhone. It is so much easier to type on the iPad.

Speaking of typing, I’m amazed at how well this keyboard works. Some of the nuances will take a little getting used to, but I’m flying along pretty good here.

I was impressed with the photo framing feature. It turns this into that digital frame I’ve just not bought for myself because i couldn’t understand why the charge so darn much for them.

More later.

NZVWG Visit – Additional ways to configure

As a few folks have tried getting ready for tomorrow (I’ve done so myself and it works quite well, best to cut/paste the long entry in #4 though), two of the folks on the VWER Planning Committee have also written up alternate directions.

For those of you using Mac, try these:

The instructions they give basically enable you to create an alternate icon for SecondLife which obeys some particular command-line parameters to use a particular server and location. Mac applications icons don’t point to command lines – except for applications which are an AppleScript. Here are the instructions to create an AppleScript, adapted from http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Client_parameters#Command_line:

1. In /Applications/AppleScript open Script Editor.

2. Open a new document and paste the following text into it:

do shell script “”/Applications/Second Life.app/Contents/MacOS/Second Life” -set SystemLanguage en-us -loginuri http://130.216.248.197:8002/ -loginpagehttp://nzvwg.org/opensim/loginScreen.php

3. Once you’re happy with the parameters, click “Compile”
4. Choose File > Save As
5. Save the script as an “Application” (not Script), and select “Run Only” (may be “Execute” on OS X.4 Tiger). I named mine “New Zealand Grid” and put it on the Desktop to make it easy to find.
6. Double-click the application you’ve compiled to launch the Viewer with the specified parameters.
NOTE: If the Viewer launches then immediately quits, open it normally since there is likely an update available: download it and your script will work again.

For those of you using PC, this may be simpler:

1. Download RealXten viewer (http://www.realxtend.org/)
2. Open viewer and enter you name and password
3. On the right hand side you will be asked where you want to connect to.
Here you will just enter the login uri for  Auckland NZVWG Portal

Auto Sign In

Thanks to John from the CHSS Tech Team for providing me the instructions on how to set up our Faculty Resource Room computers to automatically sign in to the Faculty desktop.  Here are the rough instructions, I’m putting them here so I can search this blog in the future and find them if I need – hopefully, it might be of some use to others also.

Go to START—>RUN and then enter

control userpasswords2

When the pop-up opens, uncheck the box at the top that says “user must enter name and password”

When you hit APPLY it will provide a sign in window, where you can enter the user name and password of the account you want to automatically sign in when the computer starts up.

Of course, this is for computers that have more than one user profile.

Hey Ya, You Make My Dreams Come True

Ok, so you really must be wondering what the title of this blog is about.

Last night, on the Rachel Maddow show, I watched segment she did about Rolland Burris, the now famous Senator from Illinois, who was awarded President Obama’s seat in Congress.  He actually did a quite original reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas, changing the words to reflect the current silliness in the Senate, thanks to “our friends on the right”.

This was a light covering to allow Rachel to cover this lip-dub-off that is going on between two schools in Seattle.

Here is the link to Maddow’s piece from last night

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#34557327

Here’s the deal, the first one, Shorecrest, is really quite good – and shot all in one take, which is quite an accomplishment.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPTd8MgAeqI]

They challenged their crosstown rivals, Shorewood, to top it, and for my money, Shorewood blew them out.  Here’s that video, but keep one thing in mind – this entire video WAS SHOT BACKWARDS!!!  Yes, shot backwards – thats how they got the objects to fly BACK into people’s hands.  And its AMAZING to see that even the lip sync is done pretty close to right BACKWARDS!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7TI-AJi2O8]

So, here is my point in bringing this up, aside from wanted to share both of these awesome videos with you.  This is what our kids can do if we provide them with the learning objective and let them create and construct the learning.  You might say, “please – what kind of learning in going on making a lip-dub video.”

Think of what had to happen in order for this video to take place.   These had to be very carefully planned out, orchestrated, organized, there are plenty of real-life, real-world skills on display in both of these efforts.   Maddow’s blog (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34511834/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/)goes through some of the highlights of the videos and also some of the detail on what went into making them.  Especially interesting is the details on how the backwards video idea person made this happen, including how he made sure the lip sync worked right – BACKWARD.

Did I mention this was all show in reverse.  Watching it, I’m even having trouble wrapping my head around this.  Kudos Shorecrest and Shorewood.  Sorry, Crest, Wood has my vote at the moment.  :-)

iPhone OS 3.0

Today is a pretty big day for iPhone users (and those iTouch users who are willing to fork over $10). Today, we get an OS upgrade. Unlike our iTouch brothers and sisters, iPhone users will not have to pay for this upgrade.

There are a lot of nice features in this upgrade and I’m looking forward to downloading it once I get home (I neglected to bring my cable with me to work). For additional information on this, there are a wide variety of places you can look on the web. Here is one: http://mashable.com/2009/06/17/iphone-30-guide/

First important note: many of the new features you see as part of the new iPhone 3Gs are actually part of the OS and not just the new phone, so even original iPhone users like me can get these new features.
Second important note: those who upgraded from their original iPhone to a 3G had their phone exchange “subsidized”, meaning, you got the phone for a discounted price. Those same people are going to have to pay a LOT of money to upgrade to the 3Gs, if they want to. Apple explained to me that AT&T is not willing to subsidize a second upgrade. That said, those of us who have never had our iPhone upgrade subsidized can get the 3G for $99 or the 3Gs for their $199 and $299 discounted prices. If you want to know what you can get the new phone for, go to http://www.apple.com/iphone and act as if you are applying for the upgrade. At one point it will tell you what the upgraded equipment will cost, and you will have a chance to quit out without committing.

The big feature in the new OS (not the new phone) for me is the cut, copy, and paste. This has been missing for far too long and I’m glad it’s finally here. It’ll make working on and with the device so much easier.

The other big thing, for people like me who fat-finger things all the time, is that in a few apps the keyboard will go landscape now. This is a big help when trying to type quickly and accurately. It’s hard enough fighting that auto correct. I wish they would reverse the auto correct set up. Now, if you want to accept the change you ignore the pop up and hit the X if you want to skip the suggestion. It should be the other way around, click to accept and ignore to leave unchanged.

They have FINALLY added a universal search. So, instead of having to search through each app separately, you can look for something in universal search, which they call Spotlight, just like on the regular Mac OS. You can also customize what comes up in search and what order they come up in.

It looks as if I’ll finally be able to synch my Google calendar with my iCal. There were sketchy details so I’ll have to give it a try. It’ll be nice not to have to hit the web to see my schedule, especially when I am in one of wonderful AT&T’s “dark” areas or when I don’t want to wait for the slowed down 2G network. (Yes, I will be upgrading to the 3Gs soon).

Don’t like what you’re listening to – no worry, give your phone a good shake it will shuffle things up.

Lastly, for those who have MobileMe service, you will be able to locate your phone via MobileMe (using the GPS feature), you can also send your phone messages, or in a worst case scenario, you will be able to send a remote wipe command and clean the unit completely.

Check up the update. If you feel so inclined, feel free to share you iPhone, iTouch, 2G, 3G, or 3Gs stories below.

SnapSession: Web based chat rooms

I’m not sure how many of you know about the web site http://www.go2web20.net but its a great site to visit to find out what is going on in the world of Web 2.0 applications. Its also a great place to go to find solutions to problems. I recently had a faculty member who was putting together a hybrid class and everything was working out except she wanted a place where she could interact with the students real time, without much difficulty, downloads, etc…I popped on to go2web20.net and found those two room, showed her how to find them herself, and she was off happy as a clam.

I decided to go back and kick the tires on both of them when I had a chance, and now I have the chance. I’d like to start by thanking all the folks who popped in to help test the chat rooms. I put notices out to my social networks vie Ping.fm and we got quite a few takers (thanks everyone!)

The two programs are http://www.chatmaker.com and http://www.tinychat.com. I’ll start off with Chat Maker because everyone agreed they liked TinyChat the best.

When you first get to the web page for Chatmaker the thing I liked about it (over TinyChat) was that you get to pick the name of the room, so you could customize the URL for whatever the reason is you are meeting. Unfortunately, for me, that is where the preferences overTinyChat end.

When I first got into the room my name was listed as “Laura”. This was easy enough to change, I just clicked on LAURA and changed it to my own name. I dropped a note to Ping.fm (which notifies all my social networks) that I had opened the room and a flood of “guests###” started showing up. Big dislike #1, you can sign in without selecting a name to sign in as. I asked all of the guests to identify themselves, but only a few did. We never did find out who the other people were or even how they found out about the room.

When you type a URL into the chat room, Chatmaker does not automatically change it to a hyperlink. You can enter the HTML for a URL, and it will show up as a hyperlink then, but that seemed to be the only HTML it accepted (thanks toMilos for checking that)

The other VERY noticeable difference between Chatmaker and TinyChat is that Chatmaker had a banner with adds on the top. This was very distracting and could. potentially, become embarrassing depending on what ads show up.

Since I’ve been spending more time saying what one did not have that the other did, perhaps it might be best just to move on to TinyChat.

TinyChat, like ChatMaker, is a no-frills chat room. It is very basic and VERY easy to set up. You point your web browser to http://www.tinychat.com and when the page opens you click CREATE ROOM. At this point it tells you your chat room is ready and gives you a URL. It also gives you an opportunity to notify Twitter,Facebook, and Myspace. Be forewarned, although I did not do this via the TinyChat integration, someone I know did and said it kept posting to his Twitter account while he was signed in and he found that a bit annoying. I posted the URL to Ping.fm, which notified all my social networks, so that did not happen to me.

At the bottom of that page is says “Ok, I’m ready to join my chat” and when you click on that, it asks you what nickname you want to use (it also gives you another chance to authenticate via Twitter, see warning above). To me, here is one of the major pluses over Chatmaker – at this point, it forces the guest to enter some type of name here and so you don’t get the huge backup of numbered “guests”. Yes, it is true, you have no way of knowing is “Jane” is really “Jane”, just because that is what she wrote in the name field. That said, it is far better to have achat room full of individually named people, no matter what names they have chosen, than to have a room full of “guest3894″, “guest934″, etc….

Once you enter your nickname and click GO, you are now in the chat room. In the main window is a list of those chatting and/or those entering/leaving the room. For example…

(13:49) ** Lucas joined the room
(13:49) Lucas: Much cleaner…
(13:49) ** mczart joined the room
(13:50) ** Milos joined the room
(13:50) AJ: hi everyone
(13:50) AJ: yeah – I like this one better
(13:50) AJ: no add
(13:50) Milos: http://www.tinychat.com/1ero6p
(13:50) mczart: I’m back
(13:50) AJ: http://www-sorry-afk.com
(13:50) AJ: and does html
(13:50) AJ: good

All the way to the right of the screen is a list of the “active users” with how many are signed in at the top. To the left of the users name is a symbol, most often the flag of the country the person is in. This information must be pulled from the IP address the guest is connecting through, since I hadn’t given the application any more information than my name. Those who have Twitter accounts, and came in via Twitter, have the Twitter “T” as their symbol. Those were the only two icons we saw, country flag and the Twitter “T”.

As you can see, the chat is time stamped, so you can see exactly when someone entered and exited and also how long the session was. There is an option at the very bottom of the web page window that allows you to turn this off.

Next to the “hide timestamps” click is a “download log” click. This did not work for us. All it did was download a ‘txt file which was empty. What I used the /txt file for was to copy/paste the chat it – so, in essence, I DID use that file for the log, albeit it did not work the way it was advertised.

Also at the bottom of the window is a way to share the chat room with the three social networks previously mentioned. I did test this, at least with Twitter and Facebook. Although I have a MySpace page, I really have no friends there so I didn’t test it out. With Twitter is posted a note saying “join me…..blah blah blah” and give a URL for the chatroom. For Facebook it used the colorful chat bubble logo they use, so it was interesting and potentially attractive to others in your network – an attention getter.

I did experience “chat lag” once or twice, which I didn’t see in ChatMaker. This could very well have been because I tested TinyChat MUCH longer than ChatMaker, so it may just not have happened during the ChatMaker test. It was not a very long delay, a few seconds, and it only happened two or three times, but if there is a conversation flow going on, a chat delayed for 3 seconds can move a comment out of the flow. Suffice it to say I did not really see this as a problem and it could easily have been a network thing instead of an application thing.

Unlike ChatMaker, there are NO ADS in TinyChat and that is one of the other big things I liked better. The ads in ChatMaker were distracting, visually, and could potentially be embarrassing depending on the content of the ad. The flip to this is that ChatMaker is generating revenue, we don’t know how TinyChat is generating revenue to keep the rooms open” and free”, so that might be a concern moving forward.

TinyChat converted the url to a hyperlink on its own, but it does not accept any HTML code. Chatmaker did accept a few HTML codes but it didn’t make the link automatically and I think that is much more important since even the average user could enter a URL from time to time but many morepeople would not know how to do that using HTML code.

At one point I had clicked on another tab to go answer an email and when someone entered my TinyChat room and posted something, the tab for that began to blink and let me know how many chats had been posted. So I was able to effectively multitask without having to babysit the chat room. This is particularly useful if one were to use this for office hours or some other reason where you would not need to be “in” the room at all times.

Lastly, it is possible to do private chats by clicking on the persons name from the active users list. It is not possible to chat with more than one privately at a time and you need to click that persons name again to switch out of private chat to get back to the main chat room. That persons name will appear in the start of your chat box, which is how you know you are private chatting, and the chat line is highlighted in the main chat window to let you know the whole room did not see it.

(13:53) AJ: and being able to pick the name of your room
(13:53) AJ: but the URL on this one is shorter
(13:53) enza ? AJ: are you seeing this private chat?
(13:53) mczart: both don’t show a contact for help with tech issues such as the download
(13:54) AJ ? enza: yeah, been playing with it a bit already. Effective
(13:54) mczart: unless it is meant not to have one
(13:54) AJ: free web 2.0 stuff often does not

It was a bit confusing at first but useful once I knew how it worked. I did not see an FAQ or Help section anyplace, so there would have been no way of knowing about this functionality.

Overall, TinyChat is a very good, lightweight chat room utility with many applications. If one is looking for an easy free tool to use, as long as this one is available, and another one does not come along, I can’t see why anyone would use ChatMaker over TinyChat.

More soon.

Help Comparing Netbook Models

(the following was also posted to the SLED list.  I will [hopefully] add any helpful info posted there into comments here)

Sorry to repost a similar message, and thanks to the folks who responded to me off list, but things have gotten a bit more complicated.

I’m a Mac user, so my exposure to the PC side of things is quite limited.  So I’m inquiring with my colleagues for assistance.

I’m looking for a small “netbook” type computer to drag back and forth into the City with me for classes and also to take to conferences, etc..  I don’t expect it will be my primary machine (given I’m a Mac user) but I do need something reliable.  The prices are such now that it almost doesn’t make sense NOT to buy one.  I”ll need it for email, documents (word, excel, etc..), probably also some simple web work, spss, things like that.  The one big exception to the “simple” stuff, is that I need it to run SL.

I originally started looking at the Acer, since a friend has one and its not bad (although I fat finger things all the time).  Now, some kind folks have added a few models to the mix and I wanted to know what others who might have had experience with some of this might think.

Just as an FYI – I want the unit to be small and portable – not looking for a 14+” replacement [snicker - no comments], I”m also looking to keep it under $500, preferably closer to the $350-400 I’ve seen for each of the models below.

The four models are (alphabetically):
Acer Aspire One 10.1
Asus EEE 1000HE
Dell Mini 9
Lenovo S10

Anything you can add to my information base on these would be greatly appreciated.

p.s. – rumor has it that Mac is coming out with a netbook over the summer, anyone else hear that or know more?

.swf to .mov

I have a problem and I’m hoping someone out there in the ether can help. I have these files, machinima, I filmed using Jing and saved up on Screencast. I download the files and the format is .swf. What I want/need is something I can bring into iMovie to be edited and end up looking something like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6C3M_2ugio

I did find a free tool but as you can see it overlays its logo intermittently across the screen.

We do have Adobe Flash on the computer I am using, and one would think it would be easy enough to open a flash file (swf) and do a save ad, but the save options (other than save all) are grayed out. I searched the help within Adobe Flash, which yielded nothing. I’ve also searched via Google and, even though I specify Mac, I get a ton of tools that are Windows only.

There has GOT to be a way to do this – without having a logo float across the screen. The application was $100 to get a version that does not float the logo and its just not worth it for such a short time limited use (plus our budget is busted anyway).

Anyone else have any other ideas?

Renaud leave Cisco

I received an announcement in SL for a Metanomics event today (6/30) with Christian Renaud, who announced on Friday that he’ll be leaving Cisco. Renaud has been a leader in the VE field for the work he’s done at Cisco and, apparently, he’s heading off to do his own thing.

The quote they used in the promo was a bit odd to me.
“From the heart of Cisco’s incubator for emerging virtual technologies, we’ll explore Renaud’s experience, and you’ll find out why he believes that “Second Life and its walled/closed ilk will fade into the sunset in the next 24-36 months.”"

I’m not sure its a very bold thing to say that SL and other closed environments will fade in the next 2-3 years! 24-36 months doesn’t sound so long, but it IS a long time. Think back 24-36 months – had most of you reading this even HEARD of Second Life? I know I hadn’t. Now, say that SL will be on a serious downslide this time next year, that might be considered out there, but 2-3 years?

I argue, almost ANYTHING can happen in 2-3 years.

Unfortunate I have previous plans at the time this takes place. Hopefully some of my colleagues will be there (cough cough Fleep cough cough) and perhaps they will write about it.