Friday, May 22, 2009

Vimeo.com for high quality HD videos

It was one of those Friday's and while doing some follow up reading and video research of Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis's 21st Century Learners - namely the HD video snippets posted to Vimeo . wiki. I began to wander as one does around the product at Vimeo.com. I alighted on this time lapse piece by Ross Ching and wow, you have to watch it as full screen HD, I must admit it hit the spot at 1.30 on a Friday afternoon - I now invite you to do the same full screen HD with the audio turned up ( I hope that your bandwidth holds up as it will be worth it.

Death Cab for Cutie - Little Bribes from Ross Ching on Vimeo.


The next and totally unrelated vimeo video is a speech made by Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner on 9th May, this shows a relaxed intelligent President making jokes at his own - and it must be said GeorgeW and Dick Cheney's expense!..... definitely worth a watch.

The President Gets Laughs at the White House Correspondents' Dinner from White House on Vimeo.


Dragging myself back to academic pursuits it was Ray Jones's video below which deflected me to the Vimeo

21st Century Learners Workshop - Qatar Academy-Part I from Ray Jones on Vimeo.


Prior to this I had been following the excellent YouTube videos of the Flat Classroom Conference from back in January they are fascinating, showing cross cultural collaboration in action.

What it shows is how pupils respond to being introduced to their peers in other countries and cultures..... they can certainly show the older generation the meaning of being a global citizen ( Thank you Julie and Vicki)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Royalty Free music for podcasting

As I look at returning to podcasting in the near future I have been looking around again for free music- The feeling of a need to return to podcasting has been fuelled in large part by an experience about a week ago when my boss was trying out firstly Garageband on his MacBook as means of recording an audio history project for his family. As I have found in the past considering Apple's usual wonderful user interfaces, Garageband does not have the user appeal for some of us - and an alternative was needed, a program which looks easy to use!
I suggested downloading trusty Audacity ( well of course, what did you expect me to suggest?)
Having downloaded Audacity I began to show how easy it was to use it. Importing tracks and editing began the creative juices flowing again..... the upshot is that I am intent on returning The Podfather to the airwaves ( obviously now in search of a new audience!)
The next issue for me is to look for royalty free music loops ( darn Garageband!) to jazz up the new project. Having in the past used royalty free music loops possibly in an incorrect way ( the maverick side of me I am afraid!) I am determined not to follow this track this time around this is where the following two suggested sites may come in handy for me -
Firstly - Partners in Rhyme - the site below only asks for the inclusion of a code snippet in your blog or podcast notes, following which they will send downloading instructions

Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects Download the music and sound effects you need for your multimedia project today at Partners In Rhyme.


Secondly we have Templatewise


Again you have a code snippet to add giving the link back to the site and the artist. With Templatewise you can download a zip file containing the track plus a licence file which includes the code which then must be added to your blog or podcast notes.
I feel sure that there will be others that you folks out there will know of.... I wait in anticipation for some other suggestions

** Additional note on Audacity - try out Audacity Extra (audacity-extra provides diverse GUI plug ins to customize the open source sound editor Audacity. It includes a vowel-sound target-practice display for language learners and an analog waveform data logger for embedded systems.)**



Podcast episode ( in production!) - the use of Voki ( Voki still lives!) and Voicethread ( not exactly alphabetical!)

Get a Voki now!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Diigo Tags 05/16/2009


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Diigo Tags 05/15/2009

  • The purposes of the project are set out in the Call to Action issued by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft at the Learning and Technology World Forum in London on 13 January 2009. A briefer statement is provided in the Policy Brief. The purposes of the project are to:

    Mobilize international educational, political and business communities to make the transformation of educational assessment and, hence, instructional practice a global priority.
    Specify in measurable terms high-priority understanding and skills needed by productive and creative workers and citizens of the 21st Century.
    Identify methodological and technological barriers to ICT-based assessment.
    Develop and pilot new assessment methodologies.
    Examine and recommend innovative ICT-enabled, classroom-based learning environments and formative assessments that support the development of 21st Century skills.

    tags: 21st Century skills

  • An open sim version of Second Life - you may call it Second Life 'lite'

    tags: virtual worlds

  • The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

    tags: 21st century skills

  • We are always looking for what next especially in the computing and ICT area. There is a minefield still to be sorted out around who teaches young people and adults the basic skill set they need to be digital citizens.

    tags: Joe Wilson

  • What are the skills that will be required for 2020?

    tags: Joe Wilson


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Paul's random Diigo bookmarks

  • The purposes of the project are set out in the Call to Action issued by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft at the Learning and Technology World Forum in London on 13 January 2009. A briefer statement is provided in the Policy Brief. The purposes of the project are to:Mobilize international educational, political and business communities to make the transformation of educational assessment and, hence, instructional practice a global priority.Specify in measurable terms high-priority understanding and skills needed by productive and creative workers and citizens of the 21st Century.Identify methodological and technological barriers to ICT-based assessment.Develop and pilot new assessment methodologies.Examine and recommend innovative ICT-enabled, classroom-based learning environments and formative assessments that support the development of 21st Century skills.

    tags: 21st Century skills

  • An open sim version of Second Life - you may call it Second Life 'lite'

    tags: virtual worlds

  • We are always looking for what next especially in the computing and ICT area. There is a minefield still to be sorted out around who teaches young people and adults the basic skill set they need to be digital citizens.

    tags: Joe Wilson

  • What are the skills that will be required for 2020?

    tags: Joe Wilson


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Yay Android 1.5 released for the G1


My software upgrade to Android 1.5 duly arrived this morning - however it took a while for the G1 to get used to its new toys.... some apps are now decidedly flaky still at present however I expect this to change as the apps get their Android 1.5 upgrades also. Many of the new features put the G1 ahead of the iphone at least until version 3.0 of the iphone software appears later in 2009. Here from PC World and the Android Developers forum is the run down on the punch that the G1 now has under the bonnet

Android 1.5 Platform Highlights (PC World.com )
April 2009

Based on a branch of the Android Open Source Project code-named "cupcake," version 1.5 aims to smooth many of the rough edges in Android's inaugural release. The update not only polishes existing functionality, but also includes major additions like support for stereo Bluetooth using the A2DP profile, an on-screen software keyboard, and video recording and playback.

The Android 1.5 update clearly positions the platform as a solid competitor to Apple's iPhone. Though some of the new features--video playback and an on-screen keyboard, for example--are capabilities the iPhone has sported since launch, others, such as stereo Bluetooth, are due to arrive on Apple's platform in the 3.0 upgrade due in the summer of 2009. But some, such as video recording ( with the ability to upload to Youtube or send as an email attachment( see below including my rather basic date error! - also apologies for the unshaven look - I have been on leave this week!)
and the ability for users to add third-party keyboards, are capabilities that Apple has made no mention of adding to its device.

In addition to beefing up what Android can do, it appears that Google has spent some time correcting many of Android 1.0's niggling deficiencies. For example, Android now supports rotating the screen into landscape mode using an accelerometer (the G1 only flipped its screen into landscape when you slid the screen out to reveal the device's physical keyboard). Google also says it has added a layer of polish to many of the included applications and has fixed some performance issues, such as the atrociously slow camera load-time and slow scrolling in the Web browser. There are also under-the-hood improvements, like the latest versions of WebKit and JavaScript engine Squirrelfish, and an updated Linux kernel at the heart of the OS.

Google warns that the SDK is not yet finalized and that APIs could still be subject to change, so developers shouldn't release applications for distribution on 1.5 as of yet; the company says that the final release is due in May 2009 in the UK  ( it arrived Friday 8th May in the UK)

The increased functionality and polish offered by Android 1.5 could turn it into a serious competitor for the iPhone, especially if it ends up being released prior to the iPhone OS 3.0 update, which is expected sometime this summer. The release of another major iPhone competitor, the Palm Pre, is also due sometime in the next few months, suggesting that this summer could be a very contentious time for the smart phone market, indeed.

Here is the stuff that matters ( courtesy of Android developers)

Android 1.5 Platform Highlights

April 2009

The Android 1.5 platform introduces many new features for users and developers. The list below provides an overview of the changes.

User Interface Refinements

  • System-wide:
    • Refinement of all core UI elements
    • Animated window transitions (off by default)
    • Accelerometer-based application rotations
  • UI polish for:
    • In-call experience
    • Contacts, Call log, and Favorites
    • SMS & MMS
    • Browser
    • Gmail
    • Calendar
    • Email
    • Camera & Gallery
    • Application management

Performance Improvements

  • Faster Camera start-up and image capture
  • Much faster acquisition of GPS location (powered by SUPL AGPS)
  • Smoother page scrolling in Browser
  • Speedier GMail conversation list scrolling

New Features

  • On-screen soft keyboard
    • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
    • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
    • User dictionary for custom words
  • Home screen
    • Widgets
      • Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
    • Live folders
  • Camera & Gallery
    • Video recording
    • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats)
  • Bluetooth 
    • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
    • Auto-pairing
    • Improved handsfree experience
  • Browser
    • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
    • Copy 'n paste in browser
    • Search within a page
    • User-selectable text-encoding
    • UI changes include:
      • Unified Go and Search box
      • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
  • Contacts
    • Shows user picture for Favorites
    • Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
    • One-touch access to a contact card from call log event
  • System
    • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
    • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
    • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
  • Google applications (not available in the Android 1.5 System Image that is included in the Android SDK)
    • View Google Talk friends' status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
    • Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
    • Upload videos to Youtube
    • Upload photos on Picasa

New APIs and Manifest Elements

  • UI framework
  • AppWidget framework
  • Media framework
    • Raw audio recording and playback APIs
    • Interactive MIDI playback engine
    • Video Recording APIs for developers (3GP format).
    • Video and photo sharing Intents
    • Media search Intent
  • Input Method framework
  • Application-defined hardware requirements

    Applications can now use a new element in their manifest files,  to indicate to the Android system what hardware features they require in order to function properly. For example, an application might use the element to specify that it requires a physical keyboard or a particular navigation device, such as a trackball. Prior to installing the application, the Android system checks the attributes defined for the  element and allows the installation to continue only if the required hardware is present.

  • Speech recognition framework
    • Support for using speech recognition libraries via Intent. See RecognizerIntent.
  • Miscellaneous API additions
    • LocationManager - Applications can get location change updates via Intent
    • WebView - Touch start/end/move/cancel DOM event support
    • Redesigned Sensor Manager APIs
    • GLSurfaceView - convenience framework for creating OpenGL applications
    • Broadcast Intent for app update install succeeded - for smoother app upgrade experience.



It looks as if at last the G1 may now have the armoury it needs to make a stronger case aginst the current iphone. For me though there is still one more brick to put in place and that is a Flash player for the G1 - Engadget reports that a compnay called BSquare has a Flash Player which may eventually bring me the BBC iplayer on the G1 ( it's all I ask!)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The world's first email or twitter user circa 1536?

                                                 The @ Book
Post from The New York Times news blog 4th May 2009
It would appear from the New York Times 'TheLede' Blog that the first time that the now ubiquitous @ sign appeared in writing was in a letter written written on 4th May 1536 by a Florentine merchant by the name of Francesco Lapi. Francesco used the @ as a symbol for the ancient measure of weight or volume 'the amphora'. The Spanish word for amphora is arroba and the @ sign is still known as the arroba on a Spanish keyboard.
The @ stayed relatively little used on keyboards until 1971 when Ray Tomlinson decided to use it in the first ever email address his reasoning being:
'I chose to append an at sign and the host name to the user’s (login) name. I am frequently asked why I chose the at sign, but the at sign just makes sense. The purpose of the at sign (in English) was to indicate a unit price (for example, 10 items @ $1.95). I used the at sign to indicate that the user was “at” some other host rather than being local.' 

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