Monday, January 24, 2011

Aerial News Drones

It's only a matter of time before they are over most of the country. Think of them as the news helicopters of the 21st century.

Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement: "PatPending writes 'Aerial drones are now used by the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado; the Miami-Dade County, Florida, Police Department; and the Department of Homeland Security. But what about privacy concerns? 'Drones raise the prospect of much more pervasive surveillance,' said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. 'We are not against them, absolutely. They can be a valuable tool in certain kinds of operations. But what we don't want to see is their pervasive use to watch over the American people.''

Friday, January 7, 2011

Walt Mossberg Says Colleges Will Deal With a Deluge of Tablets

Walt Mossberg Says Colleges Will Deal With a Deluge of Tablets: "
Las Vegas—In his keynote address at the Higher Ed Tech Summit, Walt Mossberg, the influential technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, told an audience of higher-education officials and company executives that their future held many tablet computers. And not just the iPad, but some of the 70 or so new tablet devices that have been announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

Speaking yesterday, Mr. Mossberg noted that CES this year should be renamed “TES” because there were so many of the things. (There was Motorola’s new Xoom, for instance, and Dell’s Streak 7, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Hybrid—a laptop with a detachable tablet—and devices from Samsung, Toshiba, Motion …)

And tablets will matter in higher education, Mr. Mossberg said, because students will bring them to campus, and colleges and—in particular—publishers will need to meet their needs. “The actual users, like students and faculty, will barge in,” he said.

Books should cost less, and they should be digital, Mr. Mossberg said. He is a trustee of Brandeis University, and “I vote on cost-cutting at every meeting. So the idea of having to spend a fortune on books is just primitive.” Course materials, including books, are less expensive in digital form, and tablets make them easy to use. “The multi-touch tablet computer has a serious chance of challenging the mouse-based interface, which has been around since the 1960s and came to fruition in the 1970s,” Mr. Mossberg said.

The technology columnist pointed out that the other major trend that will affect colleges is cloud computing, or the use of Internet-based software. Now, it may seem this news is less than surprising, as software companies have been beating this drum loudly for years. Still, colleges have not been listening. The latest Campus Computing Project survey, completed in the fall of 2010, reported that only 15 percent of campuses have a strategic plan to address cloud computing. So perhaps the reminder from the Brandeis trustee was timely.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ten most significant gadgets of 2010

No big surprises here. IPad is #1 and it just makes me want a Kindle even more. Actually, I like the Nook Color for its ability to run Andriod, but that's another story.

Ten most significant gadgets of 2010: "When this year began, we were feverishly speculating about an Apple tablet, looking forward to 3-D TV sets, and optimistically waiting for the end of the cable companies' cruel grip on our wallets.