The New Google Nexus 7

The New Google Nexus 7 Android Tablet – July 2012

Google has just released a tablet by Asus, that it helped design:   the Nexus 7 with Android 4.1 operating system, Nvidia Quad core Tegra 3 processor and 12 core GPU.  The tablet is priced at $199 for the eight (8) gig model; $249 for the 16 gig model and has a seven inch screen with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution.  It provides a seven inch screen area and weighs just 12 ounces.

The Nexus tablet has support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro USB port and NFC (New Field Communication); NFC allows the tablet to support mobile transactions such as credit card payments, transportation, ticketing, physical access, etc.  This is the really cool part of this new device.  It runs faster than the Kindle with its Nvidia Quad core Tegra 3 processor and has  battery life of some nine (9) hours of video playback and 300 hours on standby (beats the iPad).     Some of the negatives are:  no cellular connection, or micro SD card slot; and no rear camera.    The memory is not expandable.

The Nexus 7 provides Google Chrome and integrates the Goggle Service apps:   Google Play, Music, Book, Maps, Gmail, Google Plus, etc.   The devices includes some artificial intelligence features  and is able to answer some questions as well as Google Now ability to present relevant information to you such as schedule and location.    It is lacking in applications and has fewer choices for music, movies, or TV shows than the iPad.   However, this tablet is a good choice for the budget conscious consumers who want a tablet that is lightweight, easy to carry and use and who like Google applications, cloud services and content.

The mobile markets have been primarily driven by consumers and this is one that will please many buyers.  In the market,  Microsoft is now promising a new release of the Surface tablet running the new Office 15 in the cloud and a full blown version of MS 8 so the tablet will operate like a real laptop.  If the pricing is right, corporate markets will want to take a serious look.   Also,  Apple is rumored to be coming out with the mini iPad with a 7.85 screen size and lower price tag.

M. Ash 07/16/2012

Yikes !!! What to do when you Drop your iPhone in Water

Water, coffee, coke and other liquids are not good for iPhones or iPods, laptops, or any electronic devices.  These are delicate and expensive devices.   The corrosive effect of water on the device is not good and water and liquids can short out electrical circuits.  Therefore, the best position to take is to protect your phone.   Keep your soft drinks and coffee cups away from your electronic devices; do not use your cell phone in the rain.    If you know you are hitting the beaches, purchase a waterproof case for your phone.  If you work in an environment which is hot, cold or wet; invest in a protective cell phone case.

Per the Apple web site, if the iPhone or iPod has been damaged by liquid, the Apple one year limited warranty or Apple Care Protection Plan (APP) is voided.  However, you can receive a refurbished replacement phone for $199.00 with a 90 day warranty.

How does Apple know that your phone has been dropped in water?     IPhone models and iPod models that were built after 2006 have built-in liquid  contact Indicators that will show whether the device has been in contact with water or liquid containing water.  In fact, most cell phones and electronic devices have indicators for contact with water.     IPhone and iPod products are equipped with liquid contact Indicators in the bottom of the headphone jack. iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and later models also have an indicator on the bottom of the dock-connector housing. If you bring phone to the Apple store, this is the first thing they will check; the indicator is very clear that the phone has been submerged in liquid.    The indicator is not designed to be triggered by humidity and temperature changes.

You can recover your phone if you act quickly and follow some simple steps.

  1. The first step is to remove the device from water.  Do not turn the phone on as the water will cause the electrical components to short out.    Remove the SIM card if possible.
  2. If you have compressed air, blow the parts and the phone dry as you can but be careful not to blow the moisture further in the device.  Also, try a lint free cloth/paper towel and remove as much moisture as you can.
  3. Put the device in a large Ziploc bag filled with dry rice.  The rice acts as a desiccant to remove water from the air and aids in drying your device out quicker.    You can expect to leave the phone overnight or a couple of days in the Ziploc depending on how much moisture is in your phone.

If time is of an essence,  you need a working cell phone  and the above process did not work, or you don’t have the $199 dollars to replace your phone,  there are also second party cell phone ‘ hospitals’  which  provide low cost, on the spot recovery services for  damaged phones, e.g., cracked screens, water damage, phones which do not charge, etc.  The advertised cost of one cell phone hospital to fix a phone with water damage is about $50.00.   This of course voids your Apple warranty, but dropping the phone in water already has.    Remember when you do laundry; always check your shirt pockets and pants for your phone before throwing your clothes in the wash.    Good luck in keeping your cell phone safe and operating.

M.Ash  07/12/12

To use Bb, or not to use Bb

In her blog post ‘Google Apps for Education: When Will It Replace the LMS?’Posted on April 26, 2012, Audrey Watters enthusiastically rings the death knell for Blackboard.  She points to CSU’s lackluster use of Blackboard(Bb) as an example of extreme wastefulness.  Most the Bb tools used have free or open source software counterparts. While Bb tools could be replaced, more creativity, effort, motivation and desire must accompany the use of tools not out of the box.

If an LMS like Bb wasn’t available and supported, would there be an online element in as many classes? As plodding as it sounds having most everyone on the same page is easier. Support can be done by many people throughout the college. As it is we send students here and there to get answers . can you imagine the run-around and the new blame game? Training can be more comprehensive.  We do not do a bang up job with one option for online issues as it is. Do you really think we can do train and support disparate solutions as well as we ought?

Having a common challenge is uniting. Bb offers common challenges. Your office neighbor can offer solutions and commiserate with you.

Google Drive

Courtesy -

First of all I must I admit that I am a big Google fan.  Yes, I know they spy on you and you are absolutely correct that are growing very big and have their tentacles in a number of things and true like sky net in Terminator they will take over this planet and enslave the human race but while this goes on in the background I just wanted to tell you about a new cloud based service called the Google Drive…

A little history, before Google actually came up with the G-drive many applications were created that used your Gmail account space as an online storage but not to much success.  Actually it was a pitiful attempt but nonetheless a worthy cause.

Google’s entire business is based on offering the best cloud services around, so the fact that the company didn’t offer a true cloud-based storage service up until now is downright odd. Certainly, you could store files in Google docs or Gmail, but without a proper desktop component to sync with them, neither was especially efficient. But with the introduction of Google Drive, the search giant has managed to give its users a place to keep their files and more, turning Drive into one of the top cloud-based storage solutions virtually overnight.

The setup is super simple and pretty much functions like the popular cloud based services like Dropbox and Sugarsync.  Google actually gives you 5 GB of space and from what I hear your Google docs do not count against that space.  Currently G-drive is available for PC’s, Mac’s, Android and iPhone are soon to follow.  The cool deal with G-drive is that you can share files and have multiple people edit them.  Truly a collaborative tool!!  Ofcourse you can buy more space by upgrading to 25GB where you mat 2.49 a month or $30/year.  Not too bad right.  Exactly and Google is trying to get you from being a free user to a paid subscriber.  As an incentive it will bump your email account with 25GB of space.

Courtesy - Computer World

The interface is pretty simple and well integrated with your online Google docs account.  One of the service’s biggest advantages is its ability to recognize and open more than 30 file types, including HD video files of up to 10GB in size and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (PSD) files. Don’t have either program installed on your desktop? No problem, Google Drive’s preview mode allows you to open and preview those files without issue.  One of Google Drive’s more useful features is its ability to interface with apps from the Chrome Web Store.

Google Drive has what it takes to take on Dropbox, Box, Skydrive and other cloud services.  For users and businesses heavily tied to Google Docs, Google Drive will likely make more sense.  So go ahead and give it a try.  You know you already use gmail so chances are that this may be something you may actually like.

World of Tomorrow

I recently read a review about a book titled:   “Physics of the Future” by Michio Kaku, Ph.D., released in February of 2012.   Kaku is a professor of physics at the City College of New York.    The book interested me because the author makes prophesies about technology and he is also a theoretical physicist.    What captured me was his comment:  “Human are born with the curiosity of scientists but switch to investment banking.”  I started scanning his articles and web site for more information and found that he has written a series of books:   “Parallel Worlds” and “Einstein’s Cosmos.”  The Discovery Channel will be producing a ten series program on his bestselling book “Physics of the Future” and he has appeared in BBC series on:  “In Search of Time.”    

 Some of Dr.  Kaku’s  predictions:    

We will have driverless cars, Internet glasses (glasses/lenses which allow you to download from the internet), universal translators, synthetic organs, robot surgeons, and the resurrection of extinct life forms, designer children, space tourism, and a manned mission to Mars.  As we are aware, every 18 months computer power doubles (Moore’s Law)    in eight years, according to Professor Kaku, the cost of one chip will be a penny.  Instead of having one chip in our computer, we will have millions of chips in our cars, appliances, clothes.     

 Does most of this sound familiar?  Use of hand held language translators is advertised by the cell phone companies. Robotic surgery and driverless cars already exist in some form.   Many of these developments are already in the works and can be developed from existing research and technology.  Professor Kaku is drawing on current research and our future is there if we can reach it.    He believes human beings want to understand the sciences and technology but then we hit the years where the lack of good teachers and no inspiration turns people to banking.  How can education help students to want to learn? Many students are intimidated by science and technology.    His biggest concern is that the U.S. will fall behind these technical changes and lose our technological edge.   Even though our high schools graduate students lacking in math and science skills, by the time they hit college, then that’s when they begin to accelerate.    Our students are our future.    Scientists and engineers can change the world. 

M.Ash 4/27/12


Jing is powerful little desktop application that copies and pastes parts of screen into image or video. I use it to provide swift, specific support.

It is often said  ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’  Using Jing, I can use less text if I use pictures.  Pictures can offer reassurance that everyone is looking at the same thing.  It is easier to help remotely if we are at the same place.

Jing is the Chinese word for ‘essence.’ Being allowed to capture a portion of the screens and the five minute video limitation, it captures the essence of the solution provided.   Instead of showing a generic video that offers some support and a lot of extraneous information, Jing allows me to capture portions of the screen for quick, explicit directions.  The Jing sunburst sits on desktop ready to use with the click of my mouse.

Try Jing!

by keningilbert on May 14, 2010

Inside look at how the iPad is made – Marketplace

Most of us just cannot get enough of Apple products.  I must admit they are sleek, trendy, appealing and super cool.  Ever wonder how these devices are made?

We all know that these products are made in China, and Foxconn has been all over the news for bit now, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we could get a glimpse of the inner workings of this factory.

Thanks to Rob Schmitz from American Public Media’s Marketplace, we can all take a peek at the iPad production line.  The hope is to educate user on the reality of Foxconn Longhua facilty.

Lets take a look, shall we…


iBook Author

Apple iBooksRecently at Apple’s education-themed event at the Guggenhiem Museum in New York City, Apple unveiled iBooks Author, a OS X application for creating digital books, available in Apple’s App store to download for free. The idea behind iBooks Author is teachers and other educators should be equipped with tools that empower them to create and distribute their own digital materials to the masses..

Traditional non-digital books are materials that one uses to gain some knowledge and then apply this knowledge to lead a better, more productive life.  In short, many believe that if you go to school, graduate and get a job, you will have all the required tools for leading a happy life.  The cost of text books, however, is exorbitant and since many students struggle to afford them, text books purchases often represent an obstacle on the road to success.

iBooks Author strives to be to the book industry what iTunes is to the music industry.  In 2001, when it was first introduced, iTunes immediately began reshaping the music industry through the iTunes “jukebox” software that lets users create and manage their own music library on their Mac.  Today, iTunes accounts for 70 % of all digital song sales in America.  In essence, Apple took a simple concept whereby people were given the choice to download a single song for merely 99 cents, rather than downloading the entire album at a higher cost.  Initially, most music labels saw this delivery method as a threat, but contrary to popular belief, the iTunes delivery method caused music piracy diminished.

iBooks Author hopes to attain similar success, by staying focused and keeping the process simple through, for example,  the use of drag and drop features not only for videos, but for photos and documents too.  Moving beyond the main text, authors can also use iBooks Author to arrange glossaries by highlighting and clicking words, and clicking again to add a definition.  In addition, authors can use iBooks Author to publish straight to Apple’s App store. Apple is hoping that the iBooks Author app will turn educators in authors, the same way that iMovie and Garageband turned amateur into video and audio editors.

 iBooks Author is an amazing program that enables anyone to quickly create a polished interactive e-book.  By using iBooks Author, in conjunction with the iPad, teachers can engage in many new and meaningful academic activities with their students, as long as they all own iPads, of course.

From EdTech to Learning: How to Make Effective IT Decisions for Educators

Education technologists walk a very fine line between being traditional IT Administrators and Academic Enablers, in any school-based setting. EdTech-ers, as I will call them henceforth, are charged with balancing the needs of their learning environments from an IT organization perspective, and creating spaces where technology can be utilized as a learning tool. Beyond deploying computers, ensuring that there is a network that is robust and stable, supporting users, and even integrating things like SMART boards into classrooms- we have to navigate our way out of Technology and into Education in order to make all of these initiatives effective.

As excited as us EdTech-ers may be to bring the latest technology to faculty, staff and students- these stakeholders are often equally as frustrated with us for introducing new and often foreign instruments and processes into their world. The key then becomes looking at the way we work and the way “they” teach and learn. We cannot make informed technology decisions- no matter how fabulous the product- without understanding how faculty and staff use technology; and further, how students learn. In addition, as we begin to explore these areas, we have to also realize that there is no one way to do things. Of course there are best practices- and as technologists we often get caught up in these, as well as ITIL, etc. However most of what will be most valuable to us will be derived from asking the following question:

“What do you need?”

This applies to each of the key players in our EdTech world: do you need a way to integrate more multimedia into your classes? Do you know how to do this? Do you utilize your tablet when you prepare your lessons, or do you use a laptop? What is the percentage of students who own personal computers? Are there more students that own smartphones than laptops? Will it help you (faculty) to be able to have multiple users interact with materials at one time?

The answers to questions like the ones above will save you a lot of time and energy. It will allow us EdTech-ers key insight into our users and turn everyone into learners. Further, it will facilitate an environment where we become Learning Enablers. Faculty and staff will be more embracing when we introduce our new, fancy techy tools, and be better prepared to use them in a way that is meaningful to our students. This in turn, creates better outcomes for our students because we will address their needs in new, more effective ways.

I know its hard to resist that new touchpad All-In-One, or the shiny new tablet that, in oureyes would be absolutely PERFECT for our faculty/students. Yes, we need to keep up with the trends and make recommendations and proposals for integrating the latest and greatest tools at our learning institutions. But first we must ask what our stakeholders need- then, and most importantly- we must listen.

Collaboration with the CIOs at other city agencies to identify technology purchasing synergies has begun

This month, CIO Stevens, in collaboration with the City’s CIO Jason Dahon and CIOs at other city agencies, participated in the kick-off meeting for this initiative. Coordination across city agencies to identify technology products and services will produce overall better purchasing results. Future coordination meetings will focus on collaboration, and data gathering and analysis