Talk to your PSP

January 31, 2008

Want to look weird using your PSP as a phone?

Talk to your PSP

Well now you can with firmware 3.90 which adds Skype functionality to the PSP (2000 series only). You can download Firmware 3.90 via the network update, but you will need to have wireless access to access the internet.

Thanks PSPFanboy.

Federated Access Management

January 25, 2008

Despite certain difficulties, this JISC animation does give an excellent overview of what is Federated Access Management.

Well worth watching if you were confused over what access management is all about.

Asus release Eee-PC in Japan with Windows XP

January 24, 2008

A lot of MoLeNET projects seem to be looking at the Eee-PC, a small linux based UMPC which though full of features such as wifi, SD card slot and camera, is relatively cheap at around £200.

Asus release Eee-PC in Japan with Windows XP

Interestingly for a flash based device it is possible to run Windows XP on it and the manufacturer has released the Eee-PC in Japan running Windows XP.

Read more at Engadget.

Go to the naughty step…

January 23, 2008

Let me ask the question, who is to blame?Go to the naughty step

The JISC statement says:

Eduserv had asked JISC for a non-negotiable price for the provision of the Gateway Services significantly above what the JISC Board believed could be justified as a balanced or fair expenditure within the JISC services budget and as a value for money option for the education community as a whole.

The Eduserv statement says:

The non-negotiable offer we received from the JISC did not approach the projected full economic cost of the service in 2008/2009 or provide a sustainable basis for the future.

So who is to blame?

Who was not willing to negotiate?

Both these statements relate to the provision of a gateway to allow access to Athens resources from an institution that uses Federated Access Management.

On the JISC-Shibboleth mailing list there has been a fair bit of discussion about this and from my perspective the problem is as follows.

Basically it looks like if you use Athens only authenticated resources then you will need (as an institution) subscribe to OpenAthens.

If you are subscribing to OpenAthens then you will be able to access Federated Access resources through the OpenAthens Gateway.

If you use Federated Access Management then you can access Federated Access resources.

However there is no Gateway for Federated Access Management users to access Athens resources, so you will need to also have OpenAthens as well.

If as an institution you have not moved along the Federated Access Management route, the question has to be asked should you bother?

If you don’t bother then should publishers bother moving along the Federated Access Management route if institutions need to have OpenAthens alongside Federated Access Management.

A Roberts on the list says

Am I the only one that feels like they are witnessing a school playground argument?

No you’re not the only one.

At the end of the day, it is the learner who will suffer from this argument, not really anyone else, it’s learners who will suffer.

There are two organisations which need to be on the naughty step and think things over.

Sharing my presentation

January 22, 2008

Today I have been at a JISC workshop on repurposing resources at which I gave a ten minute presentation on the institutional perspective on repurposing resources.Sharing my presentation

This gave me an opportunity to share my presentation with others.

Now I know I could just upload my PowerPoint presentation, but that means people need to download and open it. Problems arise as I used Apple’s Keynote presentation software and not everyone has that. Yes I can export to PowerPoint, but that is not always perfect, more so if you use some of the more advanced features of Keynote.

So I decided to use a feature of Keynote which is to send to Youtube.

This works quite well, though some institutions ban YouTube so less useful there then.

I also used Slideshare and uploaded my presentation there as well, though I had to export as PowerPoint first.

On both presentations there is (virtually) no audio, which to be honest the presentation does need. I think I prefer the YouTube version as it captures the transitions from Keynote which Slideshare doesn’t.

Another option would be to use Google’s Presentation.

Better late than never…

January 21, 2008

Well Bill Thompson has finally joined the 3G mobile internet generation as he talks about in his column on the BBC News site.Better late than never

Regular columnist Bill Thompson is enjoying the new freedom offered by his laptop and 3G connection working together.

For example in the article he says

And it can’t be long before someone realises that the external dongle isn’t really needed, and offers a laptop with a built-in 3G modem and a slot for a SIM card.

Oh those have been available for a year or two now! They might even make PC Card, oh they already do. Oh I know how about use a bluetooth connection to a 3G mobile phone instead and use that as a modem, oh that’s old news as that can be done already.

For someone who is so tech savvy I am surprised that he hadn’t joined the party when 3G when it was first released about four years ago. I double checked the date on the article and it is January 21st 2008 as I thought it might just be an old article.

What’s next?

Bill Thompson finds a quaint way to buy and sell stuff through a site called eBay.

Bill Thompson discovers that you no longer need to visit a bookstore to buy books, a web based retailer called Amazon is able to send you books that you order online.

Bill Thompson finds that he is no longer tied to his house to make phone calls, with what is called a mobile phone he can not only make but also receive calls while outside and on the move.

Bill enjoy your new freedom with 3G, for having had a 3G connection for a long time, it is vital to the way I use the net and work, oh and apologies for my sarcastic rant.

“internet plagiarism is a serious problem” says 58% of teachers

January 18, 2008

According to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, 58% of sixth form teachers believe that “internet plagiarism is a serious problem”.

The BBC reports that:

More than half of teachers believe internet plagiarism is a serious problem among sixth-form students, a teaching union survey suggests.

The 58% of 278 teachers who identified it as a problem said they thought 25% of work returned by pupils included material copied from internet sites.

If as reported by the BBC:

One teacher said a piece of work they saw still contained website adverts.

You have to ask who is at fault here?

Did the learner understand what was required of them?

Did they know they were plagiarising, or did the learner think that it was “okay”?

What internet research skills (if any) had the institution taught the students?

If an institution has a problem with internet plagiarism what policies and tools do they have and use in order to not just detect plagiarism, but also prevent it from happening in the first place.

It’s not as though you can use the excuse I don’t have the time, not when there are such excellent resources such as Intute’s Virtual Training Suite (VTS) available.

People talk of digial natives , but as was borne out in a recent JISC survey, though we may have learners who are digital natives, they may not have the research skills to use the internet effectively to support their learning.

Plagiarism is of course not a new thing, I was told about plagarism when I was at sixth form (and University) and that was a fair few years ago now.

I remember when I was teaching (in the pre-internet days) and a student submitted an assignment which in the main consisted of pages photocopied from a book.

Yes I know you might laugh, but the reality was that the student had no concept of how to research and analyse a topic – they had missed that study skills lesson.

The moral of this whole sorry story of plagarism from the internet, is that use tools such as the VTS to allow learners how to learn to use the internet effectively to support their learning and use tools such as Turnitin to detect plagiarism.

iPod touch, new features…

January 17, 2008

The new upgrades to the iPod touch do make it much more useful to learners who want to use it to “learn while mobile”.

It’s the best email you’ve ever seen on a handheld device. View rich HTML email with graphics and photos displayed inline, as well as PDF and Microsoft Word and Excel attachments.

Whether it’s the best is down to personal opinion…

However now that it can receive and send e-mail (outside webmail) and view Word and Excel attachments (no mention of PowerPoint) and PDFs (okay save that presentation as a PDF) means that it is now possible to read more stuff on the iPod touch then you could before.

I quite like the idea of the Maps feature, whether it will actually work in practice is a different story.

As you can e-mail notes this means that learners will be able to send their tutors answers to questions, etc…

iPod touch, new features...

Currently downloading and installing the 165MB software update and then I might buy and install the new apps.

New Apple products announced

January 16, 2008

Those who know me will know that I am a bit of a fan of Apple products, not exclusively, but I do like good design and stylish kit.

Yesterday in San Francisco at MacWorld Expo, Apple announced some new products and upgrades for the iPod touch and iPhone.

Key new product announced at the keynote was the MacBook Air, a small light MacBook.

New Apple products announced

I do like small computers, great fan of the 10″ Sony VAIO laptops, however this is slightly bigger than I would like, and I can’t see how that would survive travelling by air or train.

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s very stylish, well designed, but doesn’t meet my needs for a small portable computer for use at conferences, on the train and in coffee shops.

No rumoured touchscreen, nor a Blu-ray drive either (actually no optical drive, though cleverly you can use your other Mac’s drive wirelessly, which is a very clever piece of software and something I would like to use with Windows UMPCs).

There was also upgrades for the iPhone and iPod touch announced which provide additional applications, annoyingly free on the iPhone and a £12.99 upgrade for the iPod touch.


Probably worth it for the e-mail and notes applications which make the iPod touch a more interactive device.

Also announced was a new Airport Extreme base station which comes with a 500GB or 1TB drive for Time Machine backups.

On the Americans get the opportunity to rent films, here in the UK we don’t.

Android will make Jaiku win over Twitter

January 15, 2008

Excellent blog article on though Twitter is winning the battle in the numbers game, Jaiku will win the war once Android starts shipping.

What if Google where to build Jaiku into Android as the standard phone Address Book? As soon as Android devices started to ship, Jaiku (whatever form it takes in the future) would gain hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of users rapidly.

Read the full blog entry, makes for interesting reading.

Personally I much prefer Jaiku over Twitter, the RSS and the comments allow for me a much deeper richer experience, more importantly as well it allows for interactivity much more easily than Twitter. This for me is why Jaiku has more potential for e-learning than Twitter.

However, ever since Google bought Jaiku, sign-ups have been restricted, let me know if you want an invite, and there have been quite a few 504 errors with Jaiku slow and unresponsive at times.

Hopefully with a day off tomorrow for Jaiku (what am I going to do) Jaiku will get even better and more reliable.

Follow me on Jaiku, though as you might expect I am also on Twitter.

In case you were wondering, android is an open source mobile phone platform.

Android will make Jaiku win over Twitter