Tag: mobile (page 2 of 2)

Hands-on with the Dell Streak.

So yes, I bought it, took it back and bought it again. But I’m keeping my Dell Streak now. It’s great. And this is my last post on mobile phones – well, this month anyway… ­čśÇ

Usually new mobile phones are known about well in advance of their launch. Everything from specs to early reviews are made available in order to create a buzz around the product.┬áFor example, a couple of years ago I was sent an LG Shine and encouraged (although not instructed) to take photos of it and blog about it. With the Dell Streak, however, apart from a great video at jkkmobile I stumbled across on the night before it was released in the UK, I’d heard nothing about it!

Full specs of the device can be found here, but the highlights are that it’s an Android tablet/smartphone hybrid with a 5″ screen. Yes,┬áfive inch! :-p

Let’s just get past the two (related) questions I’ve been asked most frequently over the last couple of weeks:

  1. Is it too big?
  2. Don’t you feel a bit stupid putting it to your ear to, you know, make phone calls?

My responses:

  1. It’s certainly on the upper limit of what counts as a phone size wise. Some, undoubtedly, will find it too big. But given that I tended to use my iPhone more for Twitter and other internet based activities than for phone calls, I don’t!
  2. It’s not Dom Joly size and I don’t really suffer from self esteem issues anyway. As for people who think that phones should only be able to make phone calls, get back in your cave please… ­čśë

Things I really like:

  • The whole experience and speed of the device makes it ├╝ber-slick
  • Spotify, Dropbox and other official apps are better (to my mind) than their iPhone counterparts
  • The size of the screen makes everything… just better
  • It’s really quite thin
  • Several virtual desktops means you can organize your stuff
  • I don’t have to jail break it to set it up the way I want it
  • Widgets provide real-time updates
  • The camera is legendary and the in-phone editing functions are actually useful
  • It’s got a ‘gorilla glass’ screen – check out this video showing it being torture-tested!

Things I’m not so keen on:

  • The placement of headphone socket
  • Volume buttons alter up or down depending on orientation (confusing!)
  • You can’t delete things (e.g. emails) by swiping
  • It’s not running the latest version of Android (v1.6)
  • Proprietary power/ sync cable
  • Current lack of third party support (eg cases, speakers, other add ons)
  • The quality of sound recording when shooting video isn’t gerat

Stuff other reviews might not tell you:

  • As with the iPhone, music stops playing when you remove the headphones
  • Sometimes tasks don’t shut by themselves and drain your battery (a force close app is pretty much essential)
  • It’s not really possible to use the Streak with one hand whilst walking for texting, etc.
  • With Android apps you’ve got 24 hours to get a refund if you don’t like it or it didn’t perform as you expected
  • The power cable is similar to the iPhone’s in that the USB end plugs into the power cable

10 apps that are awesome on the Streak:

  1. Dropbox
  2. Fring (for Skype & instant messaging apps)
  3. Google Listen (podcasts through Google Reader)
  4. Handcent SMS (iPhone-like text messages)
  5. Opera Mini (web browser)
  6. Profiles (change between ‘Normal’, ‘Night’, ‘Outdoor’, etc.)
  7. Quick Addroid (add stuff to your Google Calendar quickly)
  8. Realplayer
  9. SlideScreen (really classy home screen replacement)
  10. Spotify

I’m happy to answer any questions you’ve got – including making another video, so ask away! ­čÖé

Weeknote #5

This week I have been mostly…

Planning for planning

I was asked to help put together the agenda for our upcoming quarterly planning meeting. This will be my first experience of the two-day events. I’ve proposed session titles including really bad puns – e.g. ‘Getting JISC-y with it’ and ‘Plone Ranger’ (Plone powers our website…)

Being trained

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. A friend of a friend, Ben Mawhinney, came to give us some training on Google Analytics at my invitation on Friday. It was really kind of him to share what he knows and help us to better focus on our core audience!

Making the most of my flexi-time

With the sunny weather and spending all week in the office, I’ve been leaving at 15.30 and using up some of my flexi-time. What. A. Great. System!

Getting the go-ahead

My proposal for a review of mobile and wireless technologies was accepted, so I’ll be spending from next week until about the end of October on a review which will inform an upcoming JISC publication.

Returning my Dell Streak

It would appear that for everyone who knows me (however slightly) my decision to return the Dell Streak on Friday after a week was entirely predictable. What can I say? I’m a sucker for well-designed tools that increase my productivity. Like the iPhone 4…

Porn in every school? or Why filtering will soon be irrelevant.

The world is a scary place. It’s seemed to become even more so in the past 16 months with the arrival in the world of my one-and-only son, Ben. Young people need protecting from the dangers and perils that we, as adults, either know to avoid or can take somewhat in our stride.

It’s the same online. There’s websites and links I know not to click on as my home Internet connection is unfiltered. At school, however, I’m subject to the same restrictions as pupils, which is annoying. I’m a responsible adult and can navigate to relevant parts of websites for lesson preparation and delivery. There’s no good reason for my having the same level of restricted access as pupils.

I had a discussion a month or two back in which my interlocutor, sounding reasonable at the time, said that wireless Internet access should be opened up to students. It’s filtered, so there shouldn’t be a problem. That’ll be why I keep seeing pupils trying to hide that they’re on Bebo via the newest proxy server to have sprung up, yes? Unless you have a whitelisting system, where the Internet is blocked except for those that are put onto a list, then filtering via blacklisting will never be 100% effective.

But pupils accessing Bebo via a proxy server through the school network is small potatoes compared with what’s about to happen. Here’s the five steps:

  1. Schools allow students to bring in mobile devices that can connect to the Internet, realising that having policies which ban them whilst some teachers promoting their use is problematic.
  2. The cat-and-mouse game of students trying to access blocked sites and administrators blocking them continues.
  3. In the wider world, unlimited mobile broadband data plans become commonplace.
  4. Students from wealthier families start being able to connect to whatever they want, bypassing the school network.
  5. A trickledown and pester-power effect begins; soon most students can access the Internet in this way.

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This is going to cause a HUGE problem. Why? Schools haven’t realised that the only way to have students behaving responsibly online is to teach them how to do so from an early age. We’re going to see reactionary administrators floundering in an attempt try to claw by some type of control, when all along we should have been educating pupils instead of blocking them… :-s

We need to start planning for this eventuality NOW.

Image credit: based on iPorn by jasonEscapist @ Flickr

Mobile-phone based interactive whiteboards using WiiMotes?

Is this all we’ll need in the future for interactive presentations?

Excited blog posts and Twitter-comments have been flying back-and-forth across the edublogosphere this week. Why? Because it’s now possible to build a cheap interactive whiteboard using the controller from a Nintendo Wii.

I first came across the idea via Mr Platts’ blog which links to the video by Johnny Chung Lee below. Since then, CoolCatTeacher Vicki Davis has done her usual high-quality synthesis job on what’s out there. As she’s a bit of a beacon, the comments section looks like it’s going to be useful.

What I think everyone’s missed, however, is the fact that mobile phones are due to have projectors built into them in the very near future. This would be an awesome system. You could roll up to do an interactive presentation with nothing but a mobile phone, WiiMote and IR pen. Even better, buy several of the latter and students could use their own phones to do the projecting! I really do think someone needs to set up a web store selling those custom-built infra-red pens. I’d buy one. ­čśÇ

Further Reading:

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