Category Archives: Internet
OK – the iPad is amazing. I can totally justify it as an information consuming device. But I’m in Higher Education so it needs to be somewhat of a creation device and flexible sharing device. Initially I was stuck in the my old file based operating system box. How do a print? How do I upload an assignment to Moodle? How do I save my work?
I woke up at 4:00 am – OMG – the operating system is the Internet. http://www.iwork.com is one of the most well thought out web file sharing platforms I have ever used. I was trying to figure out how I was going to upload a file to our Web storage service based on Xythos. No – now I realize Xythos has to figure out how to let me upload from an URL rather then assuming it is coming from the old file system based OS. The URL is now truly the file. This is just an example for interacting with the current file based OS world. You really do have incredible sharing and interaction with the iPad Internet based operating system.
Here is a document produced on Pages by my recent college graduated daughter minutes after she touched the iPad for the first time. I intentionally let her first try it with the wireless keyboard.
Here is a presentation created by same daughter shortly there after, first time she had ever used Keynote and done entirely on iPad in a half hour.
Disclosure: I do not know why my daughter immediately gravitated to these two tests. She is not tech savvy and the rest of her iPad time she was on FaceBook not realizing that there are some Flash limitations via the browser. I do thank her for how she helped me understand this though.
Email is the communicator which is a natural, that initially bothered me since email tends to carry a bad taste due to years of misuse. But this iWork.com tool is a good solution and I’m sure it will evolve. We will probably see options for easily integrating this into Google Apps, etc. But the playing field is clear and it is and it is the Internet. And yes the optimal environment is an iPhone for total mobility, an iPad for primary consuming device and the Mac for creation and master organization. And yes this is expensive and probably considered unnecessarily extravagant. And that is true. I guess I equate it to why some people shop at Saks when you can get almost the same products at KMart. And you know what, you can’t justify it, but consider who shops at Saks and who do you really want to be?
OK – Good Night and Happy Easter
What a great day at home observing Good Friday which is a vacation day for us. It is raining with no chance of improved weather so I’m catching up on all sorts of correspondence and web surfing. Oh, yes and my dog is at my feet. So what about this iPad? Yes, I’m very excited about picking one up tomorrow morning. I held off for a week on the iPhone and I do remember being in line to buy Windows 95 way back when, so choosing to go to the store is as much about the task as it is the experience. I am really interested in the type of crowd that will be there. I will probably do a post based on observations and feedback. So what about this iPad.
If you know of me and George Fox University you may understand that our decision to offer the iPad as an option to the MacBook for incoming students was a simple decision influenced by the changing technology landscape. The fact that we were first has generated a lot of publicity which has spawned a number of commentaries and interviews. An interesting forum, not so much for promoting our decision to offer iPads, but more for the stage to talk about the future of academic computing. Most Higher Ed CIOs do not enter into these conversations, and those that do tend to have focused agendas, I tend to be more speculative. And if I look back on my career it is my track record. But I also look back and realize that I have always been right and I think that is because I have always been able to view my job from the outside. I have been in Higher Ed for half of my career and time spent with HP and various other jobs even as a chemist has helped keep me on the edge. That said let’s recap: “So what about this iPad”
We do not need to spend time addressing what the Apple iPad has or does not have. It has all that most of us need to function very effectively in this Internet driven world and it optimizes those features at the expense of the less important. The biggest issue for many is that it is no longer a Microsoft driven world, so get over it. A common evaluation: “The iPad is designed more for consumers rather then creators”. Yes, but the creators it is not designed for is a very small percent. I think this is again more about accepting our changing role as technology users. This is an issue for the geek who defines their worth from their computing prowess and many more of us who want to believe we are of that level as well. Nope, being Web 2.0 savvy does not classify us as power users and it is OK to have a base computer for those times when we do need to power create.
How does this translate to higher education? Our students are primarily information consumers and the reason the iPad is the perfect tool is that the Internet is the primary information provider. This has been creeping up on us but it has been easy to ignore or control. Our students typically bring their laptop to class and we have gotten past the apprehension that it will be misused. It has been easy to observe the value of Internet assisted collaboration in our online courses. Now we have to acknowledge and adapt to that value in the classroom. The professor becomes a mentor for all of this information rather then the deliverer. Faculty can deal with this and can thrive, they just don’t like the work it will require for them to transition. I believe the iPad will be the device that will define this transition.
After my initial observation of Apple’s new iPad I do believe it will change how we define a student computer. Here at George Fox University we have a more unique opportunity to represent this since through our Computers Across Curriculum, CAC, (undergrad laptop program) we have defined a student computer for the last 20 years. Generally that definition has been based on various software requirements set forth by our curriculum. But that type of justification was based on applications that resided on the computer that produced output such as documents or spreadsheets held hostage by proprietary formats or feature sets. The iPad can change that. The iPad is not dominated by an operating system or major applications. No it is dominated by user design for the most flexible and effective interaction with the Internet. It is a device that was designed for our computing preferences rather then to determine our computing practice.
I do see our university replacing our CAC laptop computer with this new iPad as our recommended educational computing device. That may mean that we leave some needs on the table, students may need another computer or we may need to reinvest in some public computing. But the resource that we can make available to our students with this iPad probably equates more closely to the computing world they live in. Writing will transition from print to electronic publishing and maybe accounting will be more about teaching spreadsheet concepts and less about teaching Excel. So I’m feeling good about embracing this iPad. I believe higher education will be the benefactor of a much needed change in computing strategy.
In my last post I tossed out the option for Telcos to consider getting into identity management as a service to their customers. After a number of water cooler discussions about the possibilities it does seem to make a whole lot of sense. However, when was the last time we equated Telcos with having any sense? The concept would center on Telcos facilitating authentication through a mobile device. This is not a new idea; people with mobile devices are probably the same people with credit cards so why not use mobile devices as credit transactors.
How would this work? Bill Gates almost controlled the world with his goal to capture a fraction of a cent for every e-commerce transaction carried out with the help of Microsoft software. Unfortunately for Bill he did not equate the importance of controlling access to the Internet in the e-commerce process. The credit card business is based on a service fee of 2-3% of every transaction. That represents a significant cost of doing business. I would assume maybe 1% is needed to cover losses due to fraud. So why can’t the Telcos offer an authentication service to the credit card industry that justifies say 1% that is built on real authentication confirmed through their mobile networks. We’ll let the experts work out the economics, but the technology is already in place. Mobile devices are sophisticated enough to create any authentication scheme we want. We just need an authoritative confirmation from the network. And what better way to build that kind of trust then through a strong Telco customer relationship. Providing identity services that would justify a customer for life and allow for unlimited marketing possibilities. Of course all the customers want is an iPhone and with a Telco business model based on customer services the Telcos would not be opposed to standardizing on the network and device.
A year ago we had excess Internet bandwidth for our traditional campus of 1700 undergraduates. But since the beginning of fall semester we have seen this bandwidth rapidly be consumed. For a few years now we have been predicting that increased access to video would become a problem. And it has contributed, in the form of real-time “experience now” applications. This real–time entertainment traffic (streaming audio & video, peercasting, place-shifting, flash video) has jumped from 12.6 to 26.6 % of Internet traffic since last year (Sandvine). But it is not necessarily just the YouTube effect, which does account for 5% of all Internet traffic. And for our university it is not influenced by the predominate percentage of Internet pornography thanks to filtering. No, the problem for us is the improved access to Internet TV and the growth of online entertainment through gaming consoles.
We don’t have cable TV for our students, there was never a huge demand for it. But with this age of TV & movies on demand, our students are definitely investing more of their time for Internet entertainment. The Sandvine report identifies that mature broadband markets have embraced on-demand entertainment while emerging markets still rely on P2P. College students are mature broadband users who are taking advantage of the much improved on demand entertainment delivery systems being deployed by the TV networks, Netflix, Hulu and Boxee. Of course I’m sure they are also devouring the PBS and National Geographic videos.
What is surprising is how quickly the demand has been increasing and I think that is due to a new commitment from the entertainment providers. They have finally embraced the Internet model with more sophisticated buffered players that provide acceptable quality even on a congested Internet. The battle is definitely on with the TV networks. Check them out, I would give ABC and Fox the lead and I would guess that the Hulu concept will be happy with a secondary role. The advertisers are shifting to Internet entertainment as well. So good luck Cable, maybe it is finally time for a new model of cable channel on demand.
Sandvine Report: On-Demand Is In Demand
Internet traffic report identifies real-time applications as key driver in consumer data consumption
In my last post I mention how we have abandoned our Jabber server since GTalk gives us all that we need. I am even happier now knowing that we may actually be laying the groundwork for how we will all “Wave“ to each other. The problem is with stability which is really the main issue. Most of the solutions/clients we currently use tend to fall short of that desired stability and I would assume they are based on a more traditional transactional handshake. I can’t imagine the complexity of managing Wave transactions. Wave is an ambitious realtime OS but it has to account for every conceivable interruption as well as interpretation of user status. But you know what, it is so impressive that Google is even trying to do this. It gives me great confidence in what they assume the Internet will be capable of.
If you hold a position as the head of IT for an organization you can surely relate to the requests for advice concerning technology trends that come from your friends and coworkers. In the past it might have been; should I upgrade to the next version of Windows, or go with DSL or cable modems. Recently more questions arise about digital entertain and should I switch to the latest greatest broadband driven provider. Instead of offering advice I thought I would offer speculation. It seems to me that it is time for the next killer digital application that I will refer to as the Video Entertainment Portal. I define that as a digital aggregator for all video entertainment accessible via the Internet.
Here are the factors that I believe drive this opportunity. First Cable TV is obsolete and over priced. They will not be able to adapt to the transition of entertainment on demand. Second DVR has got to be getting the attention of the commercial advertising market. I will intentionally go perform some household chore for 15 minutes and then start watching a TV show so that I can skip the commercials thanks to the DVR. Third, most everything you want to watch is available somewhere on the Internet. Fourth, video on demand is more affordable. Netflix iTunes continues to pioneer this.
So what is this Digital Entertainment Portal? It is hardware and software. It is hardware in the form of Apple’s iTV except open. It is software in the tradition of any good Internet Portal except that it is integrated with a remote control device as in the tradition of the TV remote. What it does is allow you to aggregate all of the possible sources for Internet Video. It handles issues of subscriptions so NetFlix and iTunes can expand their reach. And it acts as a DVR for the remaining live TV shows. But most of all it guarantees some level of advertising eye contact. This ensures that the content producers still have a way to generate revenue. The trade off is that we still have to sit through commercials, but not as many, but the return for the advertiser is a higher qualified viewing hit rate.
So when do we see this product and what will it look like. Today it could be a new Apple Mini with someone creating this super Internet Portal Package. Or it could be a black box computer running Linux with a portal package. Outside shots could make it an Xbox or PlayStation, but that market doesn’t want to promote other forms of entertainment. What do you think it will be? I just know that I am ready to invest in a computer that I believe has the greatest opportunity to become that device. And you know what, it may also have a HD DVD or Blu Ray player, but it does not have to.
It is great to have High School and College age children to help you understand how the world is changing. We know that Social Networking has exploded both for good and bad. Video distribution via many large sites like YouTube is leading the way. Here is a simple example:
My high school daughter is writing a term paper on Ted Bundy. She has guidelines for types of resources, some web content and other options like videos, books, interviews, etc. Of course teenagers think video so I tell her about a good movie I remember that Mark Harmon was in, “The Perfect Stranger, 1986”. (Feel Old Yet) So what is the preferred means of acquiring an older film today? Something like NetFlix or Blockbuster. Unfortunately the 1986 version is no longer available and the 2004 version is not acceptable for viewing by my teenage daughter. And the books that we requested from the local library have not come in. And of course the draft is due tomorrow.
So last night my daughter tells me that she loves YouTube now, and this statement means something since she does not typically waste a lot of time watching YouTube junk. She loves it now because she was able to watch the A&E documentary on Ted Bundy, the final scene from the 2004 movie which had the important information, a live interview of Ted Bundy along with many other great interviews, etc. She has been able to accomplish a significant academic task thanks to YouTube. Think about what this really means….
Follow-up: my daughter got an A+ on the paper