YouTube – A Vision of Students Today

YouTube – A Vision of Students Today is another video from the Digital Ethnography folks at Kansas State. (Remember Your Moment of Inspiration?) This one has students holding up pages or laptops with messages about students, the web and learning. The script is on the Mediated Cultures site. I love the creativity of how they are using video in class and for class. It feels participatory – by students, for students, and about students. Digital Ethnography indeed.

Thanks to Johanna for pointing this out to me.

Zonbu: cares about the planet too

Image of Zonbu BoxZonbu is a environmental personal computer with some interesting features. It runs a version of Linux and comes with bundled applications. You buy it with a monthly plan that gives you off-site storage and maintenance. It has no hard-drive, just a flash card for local storage. All of this means it is extremely energy efficient (consumes as much as a light bulb) and that it is easy to run. They also promise to take it back and disassemble it for recycling.As interesting as the green aspect of Zonbu is, I’m also struck by their service model. You buy it for $99 (without keyboard or monitor) and then pay $13 a month or more for the storage and support. You don’t get root access and they manage the computer for you. It comes with all the basic applications. As some commentators have put it – the Zonbu makes for a good second home computer for the family (at least those who don’t want to run PC games.)

Guy sent me this after reading my Blog Action Day grumbling. Community Funding


Cofundos is a neat idea, that probably won’t work, for bringing people who want programming done together with those who might contribute code. The idea is that projects get proposed, discussed, and bid on. People who want something done bid money to get it done. If there are enough people bidding small amounts there might be enough to entice developers. Evenutally developers are selected. It doesn’t look like any projects have gotten to that point.

The model is worth following. It could be a way to fund academic projects in a community, but I worry that the amounts would never be enough and programmers donating their time wouldn’t want to be constratined by such a process.

Building understanding: Our best investment for the future

Chad Gaffield, the President of SSHRC wrote an Op-Ed piece for the National Post on how, Building understanding: Our best investment for the future. Here is a quote related to information technology.

Canada’s new science and technology strategy, Mobilizing Science and Technology to Canada’s Advantage, promises to help us meet this challenge. We need more than ever the highly trained, creative and innovative individuals who can contribute in diverse ways across the public and private sectors.

He also has an Op-Ed in the Hill Times (PDF) about “Forging a new kind of literacy” that mentions InterPARES, CRKN/Synergies, and the History of the Book project. It is good to see digital humanities projects getting such attention.

Put PowerPoint on your iPod – Engadget

I was asking myself how if I could use a PDA or iPod for presentations instead of a laptop and came across some articles like HOW-TO: Put PowerPoint on your iPod Photo from Engadget. The idea is that you export your presentation as a series of photos which can then be played out as video to a monitor or video project. (Note that they don’t go out as data.)

Image of Projector and PalmI was wondering about this reading about the now discontinued Margi Presenter-To-Go that works with the Palm line. They provide cables and stuff so you can run a data projector from a Palm PDA with enough memory. Alas they have given up on this. Will an iPod Touch version come along?

iKaraoke from Griffin

Image of iKaraoke and iPodIn the category of cool technology for your iPod has to be the Griffin Technology: iKaraoke. This microphone and iPod connector can be used to sing along to your favorite tunes. It apparantly “isolates the lead vocal track, then fades it, giving your voice room to make that favorite tune yours.”

Even better, they have software, the TunePrompter, that you can download and use to create a video with the lyrics syncronized to the tune. The free (and beta) software then creates a video for uploading to the iPod to work with the iKaraoke.

Screen from TunePrompter

Very neat, even if I hate karaoke.

The LongPen

LongPen LogoThe Globe and Mail has a story about Margaret Atwood’s LongPen technology, Border no barrier for Black’s autograph pen. I remain convinced this is a really stupid idea, but I have the feeling no one else does. Exactly why would someone want to not get their book signed by telepresence. The videoconferencing with the author may be a draw, but the remote signing? The answer, according to the site is that,

According to fans, this is a more intimate experience than a traditional signing, as you are looking directly into the face of the fan, as opposed to briefly looking up from your chair when signing in person. The video conferencing also makes it easier for the fan to be expressive about your work, as the technological distance makes them less nervous.

Atwood must really hate book signing tours.

Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day LogoJohnny Rogers reminded me that today is Blog Action Day when we are supposed to blog about the environment. I wish this wasn’t such a depressing subject, but my understanding is that this is the big frog in warming water problem that everyone knows about but noone will do anything about. The problem goes something like this:
We can have clean energy (coal with scrubbers) or we can have energy that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases (nuclear) but we don’t seem to be able to have both in the quantities we need. The amount of energy we need is growing with countries like India and China adding plants at a rate that will wipe out any improvements in North America and Europe. (See New Coal Plants Bury ‘Kyoto’.) Running out of oil may not cure us because there is lots of coal (under Alberta among other places) that can be converted into energy or oil. Biofuels won’t solve much as there just isn’t enough biomass unless we clear cut in a way that doesn’t replenish the soil. Solar and the other forms don’t seem viable replacements yet.

What is depressing is the politics (everyone agrees it is a problem, but no politician is willing to risk drastic solutions) and the the economics (to cut back on greenhouse gases significantly may mean serious economic disadvantage that is not sustainable politically.) In short we are watching ourselves warm the planet. Time to buy beachfront property in Winnipeg.

Which brings me back to Blog Action Day. What will BAD do to change this tragedy? How can the blogosphere contribute, or will it just give the wealthy (who can afford to have blogs) a “feel good” way of doing nothing other than vent? The only way to really change the outcome may be to relinquish the high-tech life style that includes blogging. Look at the energy consumption table for computers – Barrie Hydro estimates that two computers left on at night waste $100.00 per year. Now look at some of the highlights of Computers and the Environment. Computers are part of the problem.