Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Up in the Joli clouds!

We do not need to look far for a good implementation of a "Chromebook"-like system.

Jolycloud, a France-based company founded by Tariq Krim in 2008, has what seems a great Chromium implementation. Described as a personal desktop in the cloud, the product allows netbooks and old laptops to function fast and trouble free.

I downloaded the programme to my PC, copied it over on to a memory stick, then ran that on my Acer Aspire netbook. Loaded on to this was Windows XP, which always performed sluggishly and poorly.

Joli OS ran trouble free and FAST! The desktop was simple and easy to navigate. It partitioned the netbook nicely and the on-board systems (sound, wireless, etc) worked without attention - just needed to log-on. You do need to create an account with Joli so that you are able to work from any Joli OS computer - hot desking!

Chromebooks are already in schools

This video is from the "Knowledge is Power Program" school in Los Angeles where they have been using Chromebooks. From what I have read these are not the Chromebooks which will be rolled out on June 15th, however, this school has been using the concept for some time.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Chromebook leaves us Googled

This has really made us think. As a school preparing its capital purchases for the next school year, where the likely cost per laptop is $1,200 plus our MS Campus agreement cost, the announcement by Google of Chromebook being available from June 15th, has caused me to take stock. 
We have been a Google Apps for Ed school since 2007 and from that time our ways  of working have changed significantly. We now collaborate, mail, website and store with GApps.
Conclusion - should we be more in the cloud?
Will the completely different concept (fast browser only computer allowing individual logins and up to 8 hours of battery life) be useful for our students? Will it be able to replace standard laptops?
The two Chromebooks of interest are as follows (both Wifi not 3G):
Samsung Series 5: $429 or $20 per user per month for 36 months;
Acer Chromebook: $349 or as above.
(But isn't it always the case - do we buy in NOW or wait until the bugs are ironed out?)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Broadband usage chart

We have not hit our 30 Mbits max yet on our broadband usage. This is what the data says this morning:

I wonder what the user experience is like?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Upgrading to 30 Megabits/second - what should we expect?

We now have a 30 Megabit/sec connection at school and are monitoring its progress. It is on a 1 to 3 compression (shared service with two others) and this is what Fernando, our Systems Manager, has to say about what to expect:


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Al Gore's "Our Choice" App - the interactive book of the future?

E-readers have taken the traditional book and, well, displayed them. The computing power in the reader is used only to display, and the discussion is about how good this display is.
The new i-Pad and i-Phone/Touch App from Al Gore "Our Choice" seeks to put across the Global Warming arguments in an interesting and captivating way. Rodale, Melcher Media and Push Pop Press are credited with creating the App. It is certainly captivating and teaches powerfully.
Navigation through the book is done in the i-Pad way - sliding pages across with one finger, pinching out to expand photographs or videos, pinching in to put them away on the page, or simply touching to expand.
The photography is stunning, sharp and clear in the i-Pad display. The audio is sometimes out of sync with the video and clipped at the beginning of a piece. Is this just a problem with the original digital film editing or is it an inherent i-Pad problem?
Besides the navigation interactivity, it has a nice feature involving the built-in microphone - blowing into it generates wind power and thus electricity in one of the embedded objects.
On pages showing a photograph with an audio commentary, there is a circular audio guage which shows how much time is left - a useful feature.
Verdict? Excellent as a learning tool, captivating and engaging. This has to be the way that text books go in the future, with embedded learning objects.
Mike Matas talking about this book on TED: