Monthly Archive for February, 2006

Live from Apple’s Special Event: Dual core mac mini New Frontrow iPod HiFi

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Via 9Rules member and buddy, Paul Stamatiou

New Frontrow!!
Shared Photos
Share Music
Uses Bonjour technology, which allows devices to find themselves automatically over a network.

Dual core mac mini!!
– Based on Intel
– Single and dual-processor chip versions
– 2.5x – 3.2x faster
– Same exact form factor (Wow!)
– The redesigned Mac mini features gigabit Ethernet, a total of four USB 2.0 ports, analog and SPDIF audio outputs and more.
– The mini’s have 5.1 sound (might not be Dolby though, Apple has no license for that)
– Media from any other mac or windows computer running iTunes will be piped over to the Mac mini hooked up to your television set.

Mac mini’s standard features:
Tiger iLife ’06, Apple Remote Front Row, Airport Extreme Bluetooth, DVI Video Out, USB, FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet.

1.5ghz Core Solo 667 mhz fsb, 512mb memory, integrated graphics 60GB drive, combo drive
– $599

Second model with Core Duo – 1.67, 80GB drive SuperDrive
– $799

iPod hifi / boombox
“Looks like a center channel speaker with iPod dock on top.”

Today’s Links: For those who don’t get that “Less = More”…

What if Microsoft redesigned the iPod's packaging?
Thanks to Jim (ETC) for letting me know…

FluWiki is brilliant, but be careful as always…

FluWiki is brilliant!

In our fearful times of global epidemic, the Flu Wiki comes just in time to save the day. The major proponent of fear is the lack of knowledge, and having a place where people can instantly contribute the latest news on flu developments give us an incredible chance of survival. The wiki’s been a popular hit with up to 5,000 hits per day, and to prevent future downtime, Flu Wiki has received sponsorship by their web host, TextDrive.

While I admire the brilliance of Flu Wiki’s creator, Melanie Mattson, also a 52-year-old writer who specializes in risk communication, I also realize that the battle isn’t just against Flu alone.

The issues of displacing trust and running against political agenda are matters they face everyday. Melanie and her anonymous Flu Wiki contributors sometimes make recommendations that run against those sanctioned by the Bush administration (See related Wired article). Now comes the question of who’s more right: Flu Wiki or the U.S. Govt?

Ultimately, Flu Wiki looks incredibly useful, but as always, take anyone’s advice with a grain of salt.

UPDATE: DemfromCT sent me some useful Fluwiki links which shows how experts collaborate on preparation recommendations for the possible pandemic. The consensus seems pretty worrying, so read on.

Intro to Wiki Workshop @ ETC (2pm today)

Using Wiki in Education

In the third installment of my ongoing Web 2.0 series, I’ll be running the “Introduction to Wiki” workshop at ETC today.

I’ll be dissecting the interactive anatomy of Wikipedia, suggesting educational applications of wikis, showing example of cutting edge wikis and rounding off the 2hr session with a hands-on with Wikispaces. After testing numerous wiki farms, here are some reasons why I’m recommending Wikispaces for educators:

  • Public, protected, and private wikis at “yourname.wikispaces.com”
  • Features WYSIWYG and plain wikitext editing
  • Supported by text ads
  • No limits on number of pages, members, or space
  • Has integrated discussion areas
  • RSS feeds for page changes and messages
  • Backups of Wiki in zip or tgz format
  • Revision management

If you’re interested in this Wiki workshop, you can download the Powerpoint presentation (5mb) or PDF handout (1.7mb). Read more below if you want to get a sequential list of references I used for the presentation.

Continue reading ‘Intro to Wiki Workshop @ ETC (2pm today)’

Watch how the “new video iPod” was a fake…

Fake Video iPod

Kudos to Christian Wedlock. He’s probably laughing his arse off now that he had a lot of us fooled. The video iPod which I wish were true is now officially a fake. Watch how he does it in his high quality video of the forgery :P

Today’s Links: Designers Who Blog

Designers Who Blog

Get your Personal DNA Report

Personal DNA

From the same people who brought you the social recommender, Riffs.com, comes PersonalDNA. While I’m not a big fan of personal assessment surveys, these guys makes it tastefully fun to discover the “personal side” of you. For web interface design fans, take the test and check out the way you “slide and pinpoint” your answers on screen.

That said, personal DNA indicates that I’m a Creative Dynamic. On a Myers-Briggs® test, I might be classified as ESFP. Here’s the full report for no better reason than personal egocasting (see visual representation below).

You can get your personal DNA report here.

Qwika: The Better Search Engine for Wikipedia

Wikipedia search problem
“Wikipedia has a problem” by schoschie

Let’s say I want to find anything related to “Singapore” on Wikipedia…
– Using Wikipedia’s built-in search you get this
– Using Qwika.com you get this

As you can see, there’s a lot missing when we use Wikipedia’s built-in search. Wikipedia may be a great starting resource, but if we don’t have a proper search engine for it, all we have is only the goodwill of wiki-users adding other relevant links from your search term. That sucks.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until today. I’ve seen the light now that Luke Metcalfe, CEO of Rapid Intelligence, emailed me to try a beta of Qwika.com, a wiki search engine. The unique aspect of Qwika lies in the fact that their technology is designed to work with wiki-based content and multiple langauges, making it a decently powerful tool for researchers and Wikipedia editors. So far this is the only search engine I’ve seen which simultaneously searches these wikis:
* English language Wikipedia and all namespaces therein (Talk, Image, User etc)
* English language Wikipedias (machine translated from popular non-English language Wikipedias)
* non-English language Wikipedias
* English-language Wikipedia translated into non-English languages
* WikiTravel

Nothing pretty right now, but it’s fast…
Check it out at http://www.qwika.com

Why this new video iPod is real…

Some notes from someone...
No, we didn’t draw this, but Peter and I are in agreement as well…

Take what you already know and piece it altogether:
1. ThinkSecret’s concept image of the next-gen video ipod
2. The release of the video of multi-touch screens developed at NYU
3. Apple’s special “invite-only” event next Tuesday

Now, apparently from the same Chinese factory which first brought you leaked pictures of the video iPod, comes a pretty decent photo of this new toy from Apple (via Digg today). While some may claimed this is a fake, I tend to agree with the people over at MacRumors’ “Page 2″ forum that this is the real deal. As seen above, hardcore folks have pointed out what makes this photo so true. Simply put, the photo’s detail is amazing. This new iPod could be more than we realize… it could actually turn out to be Apple’s answer to both the Mac Tablet and PDA in one.

Better sell your current video iPods while you still can… :P

Google Page Creator = Almost like Blogging + Dreamweaver

Google Page Creator

We do a lot of web related servicing at ETC so as soon as I alerted my crew about this, they went bonkers. Google released a new service called Google Page Creator (hat tips to Dan, Steve, Nik) This is a free online tool that makes it easy for anyone to create and publish useful, attractive web pages in just minutes.

The kicker:
– Everything is done through the web browser
– The ease of blogging, with the layout ability of a simplified Dreamweaver
– Lots of hidden dynamic AJAX goodness (try resizing images!)
– Decent domain name: yourname.googlepages.com.
– You get 100MB web space

No, this isn’t going to take away the coverted jobs of web designers, but it’s more like a cool toy for making quick web pages for things for classes, personal to-do lists and so on. Since it’s easy to edit and allows for dynamic layouts, you could use it like a blog if you wanted to (you’d probably need to use Haloscan for adding comments)

Some interesting trains of thought…
Search Engine Watch cites Rosenstein as saying that Google Page Creator is aimed at people who are interested in publishing a simple, relatively static web site, whereas Blogger is designed for people who want to post frequently, with regularly changing content.

• With all the “Google this and Google that” projects, Mashable has an interesting piece on Google’s Spray and Pray strategy (cites Techcrunch’s criticism of Google going back to old style web). I beg to differ though… I can see the expandibility of this project into many areas… including the possibility of embedding dymanic content later on if Google decides. Right now it’s all over the place but I’m sure we’ll see some Google pieces starting to merge soon (e.g. GoogleBase). There’s definitely a market for this, just look at MySpace and how teenagers are learning how to write HTML WITHOUT even realizing it (as one of my readers noted in a myspace comment).

As Educational Technologist, what do we think?
If anything, this is a savior to us at ETC since we can outsource calls for simpler web projects, simply by showing how patrons could use Google Page Creator for easy building and editing. It’s powered by AJAX, which makes it all so fast & fun to use!

Try it out at http://pages.google.com

UPDATE: New account registration closed for now, but if you have a Gmail account it should work.