School’s out Friday

Having been a Mac user for the past four years, I’ve almost forgotten what it was like using a PC with Windows installed. This clever video demonstrating what the Google Glass experience might be like if the Windows operating system powered them brings it all back!

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll find some time to write this weekend.  My head is full of information concerning Network security, firewalls, fibre connections and cloud storage. These are things that I was aware of when I was the Head of Library, but now they consume me as Director of ICT and eLearning. I’ve been on one giant learning curve since the start of this year and the time for writing or anything much else has disappeared. To be honest, I miss writing. It allows me to share what I’m learning, but the act of writing also helps consolidate my thinking. We’ll see if the weekend affords me time to get back here.

Enjoy what comes your way this weekend. Melbourne could do with some sun – I hope there’s some wherever you reside. 🙂

School’s out Friday

This is the second time I’ve posted a Halloween video from Matthew Weathers, a Maths Lecturer at Biola University in California. As one of the comments on YouTube says about him, “You are seriously the coolest teacher in the planet.” Halloween’s approaching pretty fast; Matthew better start planning if he’s going to come up with something to rival this!

It’s school holidays here in Victoria, and I’ve had a bit of a lazy week. Not that I’m complaining. Lazy beats frantically busy right now! One thing I have been able to do is to keep up with my Twitter and Google+ stream, and there have been some interesting announcements over the past week. Things are firing up in the Tablet market with the release of the Kindle Fire. It’s a Kindle for movies, music, apps, games, reading & more. The price point, US $199, might just make it a serious contender up against the iPad 2.

It’s powered by a Cloud Accelerated browser they are calling Amazon Silk. What they are doing is utilising the Amazon cloud to provide a faster user experience and to enable streaming for your content. Rather than me try to explain what that means, take a look at the experts from Amazon explaining it below.

It’s release date in the US is November the 15th, and as yet, there seems to be no information about when we might be able to obtain it here in Australia. If they’re smart, they’ll make sure it’s available prior to Christmas. I could see quite a few Yuletide stockings being filled with one of these.

Enjoy the weekend. AFL Grand Final day here in Melbourne tomorrow. I’m gunning for Geelong – go Cats!

 

Explaining Evernote

Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

I’ve had an Evernote account for some time now, and really think it is one of the best organisational tools available. I love that it exists as an account I can access from any computer, anywhere. I love the desktop version that sits on my Mac. I love the web clipper add on that I use with my Firefox browser. I especially love the Evernote apps I have downloaded to my iPhone and iPad that enable me to get access to what is stored on Evernote and also enable me to add to the account easily. I love that everything syncs so quickly, and that I can use it without an internet connection knowing that it will sync once an internet connection has been established.

I created this screencast recently about Evernote and thought some of you who know nothing about it might benefit from watching it. It is by no means an exhaustive account of what it can do, because truly, I know I haven’t explored everything it is capable of doing. I ran a Staff PD about Evernote and Dropbox after school last week, and people who came were very impressed with the potential it has for education, and their own personal management of data. I would love to see us introduce Evernote to all of our students, and start them really thinking about how they can use it to manage class projects, or save data from whiteboards or even their handwritten notes. It is part of my plan to try and get this happening at my school, and staff members who attended tonight’s session seemed to be in agreement that this would be a positive thing.

One thing that people are wary of is storing their data in the cloud (on an organisation’s servers). There has to be a certain comfort level you have with releasing your data to someone else to store it for you, and people do get concerned that other people (hackers) might be able to access their documents or notes. Dropbox has been under fire in the past week, for a bug in their system that caused a security glitch that allowed people to log into any Dropbox account by typing in any password at all for a period of four hours. Even prior to this unfortunate ‘glitch’ Dropbox have been criticised about their levels of data security.

I think we all have to be mindful that when you host your data elsewhere, and for free, you have to accept that with convenience comes some cost. That cost may be that companies hosting your data could give some of it to Government agencies if it’s requested. It may be that you leave yourself open to hackers who seem intent of late to usurp the claims made by cloud storage companies that data is safe. I certainly love the convenience of being able to access data across multiple devices, but I’m certainly not going to be storing any sensitive documentation there that I wouldn’t want anyone else accessing.

This is part of the game that is the World Wide Web now. Know the rules before you start playing is as good advice as any I’m guessing.