Tableau 8.2 for OS X

Tableau will ship their 8.2 update supporting OS X on June 19 with a big release party in San Francisco. The emerging BI tool is getting a great UI on a great computer.Tableau for OS X

Tableau for OS X

Internet2: Arthron – A Tool for Video Streaming Remote Management in Artistic Performances Experiences

Arthron was concept for experiences in the domain of Art and Technology. Arthron facilities include its simple user interface and the manipulation of different media sources. Users can remotely add, remove and configure the presentation format as well as schedule the media streaming during an artistic performance.
Arthron is composed by six components described as follow. The Articulator is responsible for the remote management. This component concentrates a great part of the Arthron functionalities, such as stream scheduling (manual or automatic), network monitoring and measurement, remote configuration of other modules, access control, web page automatic generation for online publication, video effects, and communication tools. The Encoder is responsible for capturing and encoding (when necessary) of media source, which can be external (DV or HDV camera, DVD) or internal (a local file). The Decoder’s main functionality is to decode and display the media stream in a specific device (monitor, projector, etc). The Reflector is responsible for the replication and redistribution of media streaming over the network.

The VideoServer component is able to transcoding media streaming that will be published online. This component is also responsible for working with flv, ogg and h264 formats. The MapManager controls and displays the interactive map of Arthron components. MapManager offers to users an overview of the geographical distributed locations of Arthron components.

How Professors use Technology

Are teachers actually using new, advanced technologies in teaching?  The answer may surprise you and shock all those tech jockeys in both K12 and HigherEd that the chalkboard is dead.

Only 13 percent of the professors surveyed said they used blogs in teaching; 12 percent had tried videoconferencing; and 13 percent gave interactive quizzes using “clickers,” or TV-remotelike devices that let students respond and get feedback instantaneously. The one technology that most teachers use regularly—course-management systems—focuses mostly on housekeeping tasks like handing out assignments or keeping track of student grades.

faculty_usageThe survey, answered by 4,600 professors nationwide and did not ask about PowerPoint, which anecdotal evidence suggests is ubiquitous as a replacement for overhead and slide projectors.

Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium, held in San Jose, by the Sloan Consortium.
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Wired magazine for tablets

wired_miniWired Magazine has arrived for the iPad.  Initial reports indicate each issue is ~500MB and will be $4.99/episode app via iTunes.  Wired will be shipping additional tablet formats in the coming weeks.

As initial reports are indicate this is a new, in depth re-birth of magazines for the digital world.  By exploiting the iPad’s technologies the premier issue is loaded with interactive multimedia extras simply not available in print.

So now comes the business end of the release:  $5 an for each app issue while you can get a full year print subscription for just $10.
–Since I have a print subscription — can get all my back issues on the iPad?  Doubt it.  Lets not be foolish – publishers are setting elegant revenue models for their print to iPad app conversions…..

Wired’s internal review (duh) – Wall Street Journal review – Business Insider review – Gizmodo review

Tags: iPad, publishing, design, trends,

A Google fail

Google’s much talked about community fiber project has been initially addressed at their Official blog.  Yet much to my surprise (Is it just me — think about it) they posted all the cities who applied in a static graphic — but not an interactive Google Map!
Please tell me that a data driven company like Google does not have an interactive map regarding all cities that applied for their fiber project!  James Kelly, Google Project Manager — are you listening?

Link to Google’s Official Blog post about the community fiber project:

Whats new is now old

Microsoft’s Photosynth was a hit at TED last year and looked to be really promising regardless of running only on XP SP2 and Vista (shame on you Microsoft) but the same team along with the University of Washington has moved forward with new photo, video and VR technologies:

This should be a very interesting mashup of multiple media formats.  Great work and a wonderful tool for education.

Tags: Photosynth, photo, virtual reality, panaoramic, globalization, trends

Smartboards are just plain dumb

While leading a college IT team at a private college in Wisconsin I painfully learned Smartboards are just plain dumb.  Our Provost was interested to explore funding Smartboards in eight classrooms.  In securing a full “kick-the-tires” evaluation over two weeks from Smart Technologies’ regional reseller — our college took a full, no-holes barred test drive.  The reseller delivered the smartboards right to our doorstep.


Smart Technologies a Canadian company manufactures a series of interactive whiteboards targeted for the education and healthcare markets.  They have a large marketshare in K12 school districts yet a very small share in Higher Education.
SMART Technologies has a simple marketing message: SMART Boards represent the latest advanced in high-tech classrooms.  And by the looks of sales in K12 they believe they get access to state-of-the-art technology to teach more effectively. Students “feel” more engaged with high-tech gadgets.  Parents believe their children are recieving a better, quality education because their school has expensive smart boards installed.

Their products like other manufacturers permit anyone (holding a custom pen with touch recognition) to control/interact with an application’s software menus and windows. This will enable some level of handwriting recognition. Depending upon the type of camera configured, projection can be front or rear facing.  The important feature is the ability to capture digital ink — or handwriting recognition. It’s the “smart” part of their product — as their trademark would imply.  But for the prices that range from ($3,000 to $12,000) you should be getting 110% of your school’s investment. Right?

I have witnessed shifts towards “smartclassrooms” in K12 and Higher Education around the Midwest for almost 20 years.  If you have not personally configured and kicked the tires of a SMART Board PLEASE make sure someone on your IT Staff has this experience. The results should fundamentally change your view of smartboards and ’emerging’ technologies in the classroom.

Just one very important observation before jumping into my experience: In today’s branded world of smartphones, smartcars and even smart appliances, SMART Technologies holds the trademark to the word “Smart” and believe me …. there is marketing power when holding this trademark when selling technology products.

Okay….call them whatever you want: smartboard, digital whiteboards or even toss in the term “interactive” into the mix.  What should shock you is the degree of software compatibility for the price schools pay for these boards.

My goal was simple: obtain a solid understanding of this technology to justify our Provost’s initiative.  I kept a close eye on the purchase, installation, design and (most importantly) delivering empowering training to faculty and staff.   In order for me to meet these objectives the following three tasks were outlined for the Provost:

1. Tour a successful university installation with a team from our college
2. Confirm reseller demo on campus in-front of key decision makers
3. Successfully test drive all campus site licensed software

I was fortunate to secure a tour of Marquette University’s SmartClassrooms with their Associate Vice President for Educational Technology.  Joining me was our Director of Instructional Technology, Dean of Continuing Education and two members of my IT support team.

Several installations around Marquette’s campus successfully demonstrate a range interactive smart boards.  Marquette’s total costs for installing a “smartclassroom” cost about $40,000 per classroom.  The highlight of our visit was a behind the scenes tour of their smartclassroom in the new Raynor Library.

However SMART Technologies was not well liked by staff responsible for maintaing classroom technology.  As a result our group walked away realizing Smart’s products were not the right solution. Their reputation was poor, the total cost of ownership and training were much higher than anticipated and most importantly their product did not work as advertised.

In order to fully utilize a SMART board’s touch pen you must install or program custom code for ALL applications to be used on their SMART boards.  Yes, your school needs special code-modified versions of EVERY software application installed on every machine that will be connect to their SMART board.  Our college provides faculty with laptops and have laptops on mobile carts.  Our existing fresh out-of-the-box site licensed software from Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and every other vendor on the planet DOES NOT recognize SMART’s pen!  That’s a big problem.
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