Thursday, December 23, 2010

So what do you think of the iPad 1?

I have to refer to the current iPad as the iPad 1, since the version 2.0 will be out early in the second quarter of 2011. I have been playing with the the iPad 1 for a bit. It has some very cool features, but I don't think it's a real computer. It seems to be more of an entertainment machine. A nice entertainment machine, but is probably a very high end toy. I cannot imagine doing any serious work on it. The virtual keyboard is weak, like all virtual keyboards. I really like the "instant on" boot up!

I know that Mac loyalists(or maybe they are the Mac infatuated) will disagree, but really. I like being able to watch movies on the iPad (after downloading the free Netflix app). The display is very nice. I don't like that anything done in Flash does not work on the iPad. They do provide a delivered YouTube app to help get around this a little. Maybe this will improve in the future. Flash is everywhere, so this is a major flaw.

I think the associated audio is pretty good, as long as you are using good headphones or ear buds. Like all tablets and netbooks, the native audio is not good. I guess this goes with the territory.

There is only one interface port. Yes, one. The standard iPod type plug port. No standard USB interface. No network connection port. No camera, at least on the low end model.

I like the apps that come with the basic model (WiFi, $500), but you need an app for everything. You need to search for cool and useful free apps and pay for the others. Apple is great at keeping you on the hook. Mo money. I do like my iPod. I am sure you like your iPod, but it is a money pit. Anything to stay legal, I guess.

I can get used to Safari. I have used many browsers and this is just another flavor, but not bad. Nothing good, bad or otherwise to say about this.

I hear the new iPad will be lighter and have a number of improvements. Can't wait to see how it develops. I guess the real question is do I need a second or third device. I have a laptop, a netbook, and a SMART phone. So do I need this? I am not sure. The new world of tablets is just opening up. I would like to try the Samsung Galaxy to see if the tablet and the phone can live comfortably on the same device.

I am going to hold judgement on the iPad until I see the next version. Would I pay $500 for this version? Nope. How about you?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Digital Arts: Second Life for the Creative Arts

Let me start by saying that the creative are not dead, nor have they been. The second life that I am referring to is not the virtual world second life, although this is pretty cool. You can learn more about this at . Create an avatar and find or create yourself.

I am talking about the creative arts of film (documentary an entertainment) design, drawing, animation, web design, creative writing, music composition and recording, and broadcasting. The list could go on, but you get the picture. The big game changer for these disciplines has been that they are are almost 100% digital today. This means that the product is either entirely produced on a computer, is usually refined on a computer, and probably ends up on a computer when it is distributed.

Talk to a student in communications, art, music, english, or film today an you will find that they spend a great deal of time either in a computer lab, editing suite, or studio. This change was brought about largely by the Internet, although some may disagree. What it has done is take creative work off paper or tape and made digital. The finished work can be shared on social networking sites, personal resume pages, or anywhere other web venue. Distribution is easier and lets the every student publish their work. As an example, my last blog entry (although hardly viral) was read by almost 800 people with no marketing.

So what does mean for students? The creative opportunity is certainly there, as it has been. They can now show their work at little or no cost. The can collaborate with students at their campus or students/friends from anywhere in the world. They are also developing skills which are immediately applicable to the real world. Newspapers, television stations, advertising, and even political campaigns have moved to the web. They all have a message. They are all expressing that message using digital media, but are drawing from the skills of digital filmmakers, musicians, artists, web designers and others with digital skills. At last, an answer to the question "what can you do with a degree in ...." . Take a look at this rather busy page and think about how many messages are presented and what digital technologies are being used, Pepto.

This is all so new that even he students often don't connect what they are doing with the real world. I urge them to look at the web sites they visit, the movies they see, and the newspapers the read. All are actively using creating digital content. Many of the traditonal delivery systems are gone or are leaving the scene at a rapid rate. All are potential employers. There is a whole new world opened to these creative students. The really good news is that you can get in on the ground floor of this renaissance. It's there today. Investigate and pay attention.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A really great success story

About 2 1/2 years ago an early 30 something guy appeared at my door. He had a maturity and confidence that only come with life experience. He told me that he had heard that we were developing a new digital media center and wanted to know more about it. I was (and still am) happy to talk about one of the most exciting technology/creativity projects that the university has ever undertaken. It has turned into the Integrated Media Center, also known as GullWorks studios.

This man had a great story. He left college about 10 years earlier and had spent the time learning to become an audio engineer, musician, performer, roady, a husband, a father, and who knows what else. With passion and a coolness he told me his story. He then asked how he could become involved in what we were doing. I told him that this was all new territory. The idea was to build state of the art digital studios where students interested in film making, broadcast, music recording, digital photography, new media and music could collaborate and create. This is still a bit of a work in progress, but the progress and enthusiasm of the students has made it an exciting ride.

Jesse, the hero of this story, decided that in his early 30's he wanted to become a part of it. He wanted to come back to school and get his degree. He wanted to broaden his skills to include film, digital photography, new media and other areas. He was also willing to help us open the recording studio and develop an open recording opportunity for student musicians from across the campus.

Jesse could not land on a major, with so many interests, so he created his own in Interdisciplinary Studies. He held many roles as a student, mentor to younger students, audio engineer and tutor. Old enough to be a professor, but stuck in the "tween" role with many titles. By the way, during his 2 1/2 year journey he added another little girl to his young family.

It was really fun watching Jesse discover new passions as he took each creative course. His passion just keeps growing and is evident in the quality of the work he produces. One such work landed the subject on the Oprah Winfrey show, you can see it on YouTube at this link.

There are a few great lessons from this story:

If you are passionate enough you can do anything

The creative arts and technology can start a fire that leads to great things

In good soil, growth is inevitable and fun to watch

Jesse, Jesse Campbell, is a heroic character. He graduates in December 2010 at 30 something. He over came personal challenges, exemplified the art of deferred gratification, worked very hard, and with the support of his wife and family made his dream come true. He made his mark at Salisbury and had a positive impact on many young students. A really great success story. Congratulations Jesse.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Technologies we need to be thinking about

There are so many technologies being talked about right now, its hard to zero in on what to do next. Here a few that I am thinking about a great deal these days:

Collaboration Tools - There are many of these and collaboration means different things to different people. They seem to fall into two groups, project orientated coll abortion (text, power point, computer programs, wikis ...) and video. Tools like Google Apps and Adobe Buzzwords are pretty good at this. They are also free. These are great for students, faculty and researchers to work together over the web without regard to time or distance. These tools pretty new in higher education, but coming on fast. Video tools are surfacing as a great way to bring guest lecturers into a typical class. These tools range from high cost codec based systems (Polycom, Tandberg) to the low end (and free Skype or MSN video). There are in between products as well which cost less than the high end tools, but may still be out of reach for students, unless the campus purchases a license. Although you might want to check out Dim Dim.

Mobile Apps - Of course everyone is hearing about the iPhone Apps, but similar tools are available on for Android and Blackberry. There has been a notable increase in the number SMART phones owned by students. The number has jumped four fold 2009. SU, and other campuses, need to be thinking about how to leverage these phones to distribute news, academic web content, and administrative services. These apps are about relationship maintaining as well as services. The need for these apps is already here, but by 2012 any campus without a mobile presence will look out of step. Interesting stat "A total of 234 million people age 13 and older in the U.S. used mobile devices in December 2009."(wikipedia). Yes, in one month.

Cloud applications- these are services that do not reside on the campus. The content actually "lives" on external servers. SU recently moved all student email and most student data storage to the cloud with Live@EDU. Campuses need to get out of the email business and along with data storage. Large external providers can provide these services cheaper and better than campuses can. More applications will move to the cloud to reduce costs for campuses and enable tech staff to focus on applications which need to be run from the campus. I doubt most campuses will be moving their registration, financials or admissions systems to the cloud soon. Of course within 3-4 years, this could be a different story. Data centers are very expensive and yet every college has one.

Social Media - Most campuses do not have a social media strategy. the use of Facebook, Twitter, wikis and blogs are either not on the radar or just experiments with no strategic purpose. This will change over the next 2-3 years. A social media strategy will become as essential as a web presence was 5 years ago. Most campuses do not see this coming. Some interesting social media stats from Wikipedia:

- Social networking now accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the US.

- Twitter processed more than one billion tweets in December 2009 and averages almost 40 million tweets per day.

- Over 25% of U.S. Internet page views occurred at one of the top social networking sites in December 2009, up from 13.8% a year before.

- Australia has some of the highest social media usage statistics in the world. In terms of Facebook use Australia ranks highest with almost 9 hours per month from over 9 million users

Time to focus on some new strategies and projects.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

SU technology survey results for spring 2010

We do a student technology survey each spring to determine which technologies student are using and how they are using them. The results are based on over 800 responses. Here are some highlights.

•Students are feeling pretty confident with their personal technology skills. Less than 7% feel that they are weak in this area.

•97% have high speed Internet access in their residence. This includes on and off campus students.

•99.4% own cell phones and of these 25% are smart phones (Blackberry, iPhone, Android, etc.). The percentage of SMART phones has doubled in a year. They are using the phones for much more than making calls. Over 99% use text messaging.

•99.6% of students own a computer. Of these 88% are laptops. We have seen the number of Mac laptops double in the past three years

•91% own a portable music/audio device

•About 48% admit to regularly or occasionally downloading music illegally. This is strongly discouraged and the campus is working with the RIAA to educate students in this regard.

•76% say that SU email is the best way to contact them, while only .4% prefer paper mail. Just over 61% identify SU email as their primary email account.

•86% use SU computer labs to do homework or school related assignments every week.

•93% use MyClasses in at least one class (campus web based learning system)

•About 30% used “Clicker” student response devices in class.

•Less than 10% are dissatisfied with technology on campus.

•Although are just moving students to the “Cloud” email system with email for life and few have very much information on the project. Over 52% like the idea of having and SU email account for life.

•92% use FaceBook.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Virus protection -- yes you must have it

By this time many new students have already purchased that new laptop for school in the fall. Only a few weeks left to go. I would like to talk a little about virus and spyware protection.

Most new laptops will come with a 6 month "free" virus protection software package. These are great, but only for a short time. After the first months, you will have to either buy a commercial production or subscribe to a service. What you should not do is nothing at all. Your computer will become infected or innvested with spyware in no time. You will get frustrated by the slow performance or worse, "the blue screen of death".

We used to provide virus protection software free, but now Microsoft does it for us. We now ecommend that students, faculty and staff install Microsoft Security Essentials. This free product will do the job and its free. It will also update itself 1-2 times a week. We suggest that you download it, install it, and then uninstall the virus protection that was deliveried with your computer. Find it at .

BTW, you should also visit to buy your Microsoft software. The university has amazing pricing at this site. Just log on with your SU network userid and password.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring 2010 Tech Survey - Freshmen

This post is so fresh, it's not even off the presses. We started our annual technology survey last night. The web based survey asks students to tell us what they use and want in terms of campus technology. This helps with planning and managing services. The survey was opened at 5PM last night over 450 students have responded by 11AM this morning. About 100 are current freshmen. Here is what we have learned about this years freshmen so far:

-Virtually all have computers. Over 91% of these are laptops.
-The most often purchased laptops are Dell (35%), HP (24%), and Mac (18.4%)
-Over 99% of the freshmen have cell phones and 22% of these are Smart phones
-So far 100% of freshmen have access to high speed Internet in their residence
-We asked about TVs: 64% have flat screen digital TVs and most others have tube TVs
-Over 97% own a digital music player. Three quarters of these are iPods.

I always tell students and parents not to buy a computer with much software. We have great(!!) prices on Microsoft and Adobe products. Stayed tuned for more results.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Teen Film and Acting Camp on campus

Salisbury University is offering a new program for teens who are interested in film making or acting for film. The program is sort of a very focused Film/Acting Camp. It will be offered July 11-24 on the SU campus. It is a residential program and will be a very hands on program for both aspiring producers and actors.

You can learn more at: . The program will be taught by SU faculty. We will be bringing in independent film makers and other professionals. What a great chance to live on a college campus for two weeks, meet friends with similar interests, and learn about your passion. Lots of high tech cool studios on campus. See more at: .

Saturday, April 3, 2010

April Fools. I don't think so.

Yesterday was Good Friday. A holy day for the Christian Church and a holiday for many high school students. I know that there were MANY tours going on yesterday. Group after group made their way across the campus. I would imagine that many of these were fall 2011 candidates. We held the Campus Day for fall 2010 admits just a week or so ago. These are students who have been offered admission. They or may not have committed to coming to our campus.

We go all out on this spring campus day for new admits. Faculty offered "mini-classes", staff answered questions, and students and parents toured all over the campus getting one last look. We offered "action tours" in the media area. Our campus has some amazing digital studios for students in almost any academic area. We tend to focus classes in the studios on the music, communications and art departments. We have a huge HD video studio, a smaller standard definition video studio, a large recording studio, and lots of audio and video edit suites. All of these special spaces can been see from observation window, even when classes are in session. We had class going on in one studio and the SU TV Club working on a project in the other.

We love to see parents and students peek into the studios and smile. Yes, they are that cool. We really try and promote digital content creation across the curriculum. Many disciplines now use video in their classes. Social Work, English, Business/Marketing, Nursing, Physical Education, Education, ... you get the idea. I am sure that the rapid growth of the Internet and social media has a great deal to do with this. I just like the smiles and the excitement.

Students are coming into an exciting time in higher education. They bring their "technological fearlessness" to the campus. We encourage them to experiment and express themselves. When you look at a college for next year, or the year after, take a special look at what the school can offer in the area of digital content creation. regardless of your major, this is an exciting environment to spend time in and to pick up some Web 2.0 skills.

Let me offer a closing shameless plug for a special summer program that we are offering for young film makers and spiring actors. This two week residntial program will offered July 11-24. Take a look at and enjoy the spring. I will write more about this next time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Spring! - What's next in campus technology

This topic is certainly a moving target. Students have acquired many of the tools and gadgets that they seem to need at the moment. Laptops, iPods, digital TVs, gaming systems, cell phones, and maybe even the iTouch. Lately we have been hearing more about tablets, since Apple came out with the iPad. This is an interesting little tool. It's very hard to say whether it will appeal to the college market. My initial thought is no. Tablets computers have been around for years and have never really caught on. Apple has actually made two other attempts at this market. My hunch is that it will be seen as a larger iTouch and even though the starting price ($495) is not bad, the question is "do you really need it". It comes out in April. Time will tell.

A few other things that are happening on campus, or will happen soon, include: class capture software/hardware to record class lectures; collaboration software to work in groups out of class; applications which bring student services software to the mobile phone; and perhaps even doing Flip camera recordings of classes or lessons.

Over the next few years we expect to allow faculty to record there lectures as they are giving them and then making these available on the web. This will allow students to see the lecture again or for students who miss the class to view them later. These will not replace class attendance, but will be a great aid to people like me who could have benefited by listening that lecture again. It has been used in Nursing and Respiratory Therapy for the past two years.

Collaboration software is something that is used in the business world more and more. It saves time and money. I have been using web based video conferencing software for years. This comes in many flavors and can range from a higher end codec system to Skype. There are so many tools to choose from that finding 1-2 for the university to support will be a challenge. WebEx, Adobe Connect, Dim Dim, Go to Meeting, Microsoft Live Meeting and the list goes on. Our faculty are talking about wanting to get students used to using the collaboration tools that they will use in the "real world". We have some of these now, but more is on the way.

Mobile applications for all sorts of academic activities are also on the way. Specifically, we need to be able allow students to use their smart phones to access their class web sites and the campus student information system. At this time, relatively few students own SMART phones, like iPhones or Blackberries, but this will change as these become the entry level models for most cell plans. Students will want to hear or view lectures, drop and add classes, participate in a chat with their teachers or classmates for a particular class or even check their grades.

Flipping your class may just be the next big thing. We already see students using the small digital video cameras to record music lessons and other small group classes. How long before students are recording all of their lectures or research projects. There are other brands out there, but the small digital video camera which produce "YouTube" like quality are handy and can support learning.

The academic environement is certainly changing rapidly. I remember when wireless network access and web registration were cutting edge. That was about seven years ago.