Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Microvision Survey

Do you want to test a pocket-sized lazer projector?

Do you love your iPod or iPhone, and want to use if to project video wherever you go?
Microvision is getting close to releasing its first consumer-level PicoP Laser projector for mobile devices. As they get nearer, they are conducting consumer trials. They posted a survey recently to gaugue user interest, and offered those completing the survey the possibility of getting involved in user trials.

Here's the invitation I got to to the survey, feel free to complete it and to share the link.

You are receiving this invitation because you previously expressed interest in Microvision products and technology.

We would like to invite you to participate in a brief survey.

Your participation will help us better understand how we can offer the best projection experience to potential customers of pico projector products.

In exchange for your valuable input, we will keep you informed about the latest developments. You may even get invited to participate in a product evaluation, focus group, or who knows?
Stay tuned.

Please follow this link:

Feel free to forward this invitation on to others who you think may be interested.

Friday, November 14, 2008

REDFLY - a perfect Mobile Companion?

Tired of lugging round your giant 'developers' laptop? Or do you need a secure but lightweight way to access your email and files that is more accessible than your phone?

Over the last few weeks I have been testing out a new gadget, or as my wife says, a new "toy". This great new gadget has the interesting name of REDFLY (yes, all caps ... sorry!), and it is used to enhance the features of your mobile phone.

REDFLY in action, from the Celiocorp web site

The REDFLY is about the size of a large paperback book, and weighs around 2 pounds. It has a 7 inch screen with a resolution of 800x480 pixels. It has *no* internal memory, *no* processor and about an 8 or 9 hour battery life.

Since it has no memory or processor, to use it you must connect it to your cell phone. You can connect either with a standard USB cable or via Bluetooth. If you use the USB cable, the REDFLY will charge your cell phone at the same time.

So what does it do? It gives you access to all of your cell phone's features and functionality, and lets you use a (not quite full sized) qwerty keyboard and large (compared to your phone) screen. Anything you can do with your phone, you can do with the REDFLY - except, for the moment at least, watch video and play animated games.

Why would you want to use it? Most of us probably wouldn't, but if you travel a lot and use your phone to keep in touch with the office, or if you choose to carry your laptop for web browsing, email and to occasionally show PowerPoint presentations, you might find that the REDFLY is good for you.

From a business perspective, since the REDFLY has no memory, no hard drive, no software, and thus requires no configuration or maintenance, the TCO is essentially the price you see on the box - currently $199 + shipping, compared to the total cost of a $600 laptop which might be something in the region of $3000 or even more.

See how the REDFLY can lower your TCO

If you work with confidential files, losing your work laptop can be disastrous. But since the REDFLY has no memory or drive space, there's nothing to lose of you misplace it.

Most cell phones have the ability to do some form of Remote Desktop (RDP) access or VPN to get to a remote PC or virtual machine. The REDFLY changes the unusable RDP into a usable experience, and with software options like LogMeIn desktop-like performance is possible.

The REDFLY in action - remote desktop to Windows XP.

I used my REDFLY for 6 or 7 hours solid in one day, without needing to recharge it. Towards the end of the day my cell phone was complaining of low battery, but no problem. I just plugged it into the REDFLY via USB and continued to work, while charging my phone at the same time. The REDFLY needed no recharging before the following day.

See how real users are using REDFLY

Four remaining features stand out in my mind.
• The REDFLY has a VGA output, so you can use a standard monitor or a projector for your presentations.
• If you are using PowerPoint through a projector, you can use your phone handset as a remote control to click through the PowerPoint slides.
• REDFLY has two USB slots. You can attach a standard USB mouse or keyboard to these, and also USB memory keys. When you insert a memory key, it becomes an external storage device for the phone, so you could carry PowerPoint slides or other documents separate from your phone.
• I can fit the REDFLY in the pocket of my cargo pants, so I don't need to carry a bulky laptop case with me.

All in all I have been very happy with the REDFLY. I think it is a great device for the business traveler who relies on his cellphone to keep in touch with the office, doesn’t need to carry a laptop, but wants easier access to the features of his phone.

Unfortunately Celio Corp ( only have drivers for Windows Mobile as I write this. They have plans to add drivers for S60 (Nokia) phones, Blackberries and iPhones. As I write, no official date has been given for these new drivers.

Other in-depth REDFLY reviews,2817,2310686,00.asp

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adobe shows off Captivate 4 and the Adobe eLearning Suite

At the Adobe Learning Summit in San Jose, November 10th, Adobe showed several exciting new features from the next version of Captivate and from the up-coming eLearning Suite.

Adobe Captivate 'Next'
I have been beta testing Captivate 4 for several months, so I was pleased to be invited by Adobe to the Adobe Learning Summit in San Jose on Monday 10th November.

At the Adobe Learning Summit, Adobe demonstrated the next version of Captivate, and also previewed the new Adobe eLearning Suite. Adobe says it's OK to blog about the next version of Captivate and the up-coming eLearning Suite, so here we go.

Following is a rundown of the major new features of Adobe Captivate 'next' (4) and the Adobe eLearning Suite as demonstrated at the Adobe Learning Summit by RJ Jacquez, Senior Product Evangelist at Adobe. Over the next few weeks I intend to flesh out details of each of the following features with screen shots and samples. With luck I'l also have time to look at some of the myriad new features not covered below.

AIR review tool
Perhaps the most exciting new feature in Captivate 4 is the AIR Review feature.

Everywhere I have worked over the last 10 years or so (and I've worked with a lot of companies since I was a contractor for most of that time) had a different method for testing and reviewing content. Content has to be tested for factual accuracy, spelling and grammar, and properly working features and functionality. Typically this testing must be done by a number of testers, each with a different interest in the project.

As testers explore the project, they are required to make notes of errors, omissions and questions they encounter. Typically these notes are then reported in a spreadsheet, a Word doc, via email, or occasionally through a more robust tracking system.

As a developer, the single biggest flaw I have experienced with any testing and reporting methods is the disconnect between the tested project and the feedback given by the testers. Adobe Captivate 4 addresses this in a wonderful way.

When a project is ready for testing the developer can publish the project as a review app. The review app can be emailed out to testers, and it contains 2 things

1 - An Adobe AIR wrapper that contains review tools.
2 - The published project.

Reviewers run the review app on their desktop. If they do not already have the Adobe AIR runtime in stalled, they are prompted to install it on launch. IT needs to be aware that the AIR installer requires local admin rights to install.

Once installed, the reviewer can run through the Captivate 4 project just like normal. The project sits inside the AIR review application and whenever the reviewer wants to record some feedback, he can pause the Captivate playback and type the feedback into a dialogue box. The feedback is time stamped so that it syncs to an exact moment in the Captivate project.

Comments are saved in an xml file that the user can email back to the developer. Alternatively the comments can be stored in a shared network location so that comments from every reviewer can be housed in the same location.

Once reviewers have recorded their feedback, the developer can import the comments to his Captivate source file. If a shared location is used then all comments from all reviewers can be imported at once. Comments appear alongside the project in the editing window. As the developer clicks on each comment in turn, Captivate automatically navigates to the correct slide and the correct moment in the slide so that the developer can immediately see exactly what the tester could see and does not have to spend time searching for it.

If the developer makes a change based on the feedback, he can mark the item as fixed. On the other hand if the developer does not agree that a change is required, or if he has a question about the feedback, he can type a note to that effect and send that information back to the tester. This is particularly effective when a shared location is used for the comments, because the comment file is updated and reviewers can relaunch their AIR application to see the developer's feedback - again directly linked to the moment in the Captivate project that the feedback is referencing.

This is an extremely exiting feature that is bound to be a significant productivity enhancement for those working in teams.

Custom user variables
Another exciting things RJ showed us was custom variables in Adobe Captivate. He demonstrated adding a login screen to a Captivate project, saving the user name in a custom variable, and then reusing the variable later in the project to personalize the user experience. In his example, RJ showed us how to embed the variable into a caption, using the syntax $$myVar$$ so that instructions to the user could use the recorded name, instead of a non-personal command.

Click the next button to continue.


$$userName$$, click the next button to continue.

Which the user sees in the published file as

John, click the next button to continue.

Basic drawing tools
Something Captivate has long been missing is basic drawing tools. We can add a lot to our training when we can draw basic shapes - circle/ellipse, rectangle/square, polygon. Thankfully the wonderful Adobe engineers have been able to plug this gap in Captivate, allowing us to now create clean vector shapes in our projects. No gradient fill yet, but alpha transparency is supported.

The really cool thing about these new drawing tools is that they we can add captions to them - so we could build flow charts or other diagrams with our custom captions.

Flash Widgets
One of my biggest issues with Captivate as a serious eLearning tool, up to now, has been the limited feature set and the difficulty in extending that feature set. It has long been known that we can add Flash video and interactive swf content into Captivate, but doing so is not as simple as we would like, and there is no easy way to communicate data between the imported content and the host Captivate movie.

Captivate 4 will change this significantly.

First, with custom variables with will be easier to swap data between imported content and the host project.

Second, Adobe has introduced Widgets to Captivate 4. Widgets are specially formatted Flash swf files that know how to communicate with the host Captivate project. These are very similar to Flash components and Authorware Knowledge Objects, in that developers are able to create pre-configured logic and visual components which accept parameters when inserted into Captivate. These components are then able to track user input (say, the selection of a value in a combo box) and utilize that input elsewhere in the project. So imagine collecting scores or an array of values so that you can dynamically modify what the user sees as he progresses through your Captivate project.

Adobe will deploy a number of sample widgets with the final product, and will include the source code for these widgets too, to make it easier for developers to learn how to make their own. Adobe will also set up an exchange site where developers can give away or sell their widgets.

How do you make a widget?
Adobe will also deploy a method to quickly build your own widgets. Choose File > New Widget in Flash from the Captivate 4 menu and, provided you have Flash CS4 installed, a new Flash file opens that includes the base ActionScript code required to start building your own widgets.

Included Widgets
In the current beta version of Captivate 4 there are roughly 15 widgets available, for things as diverse as printing, adding a certificate, adding intelligent perpetual navigation buttons, dynamic pie chart, list box, combo box, check box, sequencing question etc.

Do you ever have to work within tight screen-size limitations? Does this make life difficult sometimes when your application is larger than your screen area?

Sure you can often get around this by recording at a higher resolution, and then resizing the project, but sometimes that is just not practical, for instance when you are delivering to small screen devices or to users with visual impairment.

Adobe Captivate 4 has a new Panning feature that moves the capture window while you are capturing a simulation so that you can always capture the screen area that you are referring to, at a fully legible resolution. Panning can be automatic, with Captivate following the mouse as you interact with the screen, or manual, allowing the developer to place the capture exactly where he wants in the application.

Project Template
Do you work with educational designers or subject matter experts who do not typically build content? Would it help your productivity if, instead of them creating PowerPoint or Word documents that you copy/paste into Captivate, you could create templates for them that they could easily build into?

Or do you often have a suite of, say, 5 or 10 lessons that have a largely similar format?

Captivate 4 introduces Project Templates. Developers can create template projects that contain slides with placeholders for various elements. Imagine your projects always have the following format - or something similar enough that building a template that contains all of the following slides will be a productivity enhancement:

Video explaining feature x
Simulation of feature X
Supporting discussion
2 quiz questions

Captivate 4's Project Template builder lets you create the entire project outline, and add placeholders for each of the elements that should appear on the slides. So you can drop in captions, video placeholders and everything else required. All the SME or Instructional Designer needs to do is enter text and import slides/video. Design and layout is already taken care of.

Much of the work I have done over the years has required me to copy text and images from a storyboard document or a folder into the lesson file. Most eLearning development tools have import features that are designed to simplify and sped up this sort of importing, but typically they don't work 'just right' and/or they are still quite time consuming and subject to user error. This project template feature excites me because I can eliminate the storyboard stage from the project workflow and have SMEs and Designers build their lesson right into my template files.

Table of Contents
Captivate 4 introduces a new, powerful Table of Contents feature, referred to as TOC. It replaces the Skin > Menu feature from Captivate 3, which is much more laborious to work with. This feature automatically searches your Captivate project and builds a Table of Contents for it. Grouped slides are treated as sections with sub-pages, making it easy to create a hierarchical menu structure for your courseware.

The TOC can be presented as a side-panel that extends the width of your Captivate project or as an overlay that the user can access at will.

Coupled with the TOC is a powerful search feature which can optionally allow users to search within any quiz slides. Developers should be aware that widgets are not searchable.

Text to Speech
Captivate 4 will include a brand new Text to Speech feature. This uses a special engine that converts text inputted as closed captions into audio that is saved into the published file. This is a great feature for those of us with accessibility requirements, and for those who wish to include audio but do not have the budget for recorded speech.

Import PhotoShop files flattened or as layers
Captivate 4 lets you import PhotoShop psd files. You can choose to flatten the psd file on import, or you can import some or all of the layers in the file. Importing as layers places the elements on different layers in the Captivate timeline. This enables you to transition each layer element onto a slide separately, offering the developer the option to quickly produce more complex screen builds and builds timed to audio or captions.

Improved PowerPoint Import
PowerPoint import in Captivate 4 has been greatly improved. Developers can now round-trip edit PowerPoint slides from inside Captivate. This means the PowerPoint import is no longer a one-way trip. Alternatively PowerPoint files can be linked, so that edits to the source PPT file are reflected in the Captivate project.

Image Slideshow
Captivate 4 introduces a new Image Slideshow project so that we can rapidly build a slideshow with just a few mouse clicks.

The new Aggregator feature in Captivate 4 allows developers to bring a collection of packaged Captivate 4 swf files into a single project file. It automatically generates a menu, similar to the TOC feature already mentioned. If the Captivate file was set to searchable when published, then it can be searched in the Aggregator project too. ActionScript 2 and 3 projects cannot be mixed.

ActionScript 2 or 3
With Captivate 4 we can now choose to package our project using either ActionScript 2 or ActionScript 3. This is particularly helpful if you want to extend your Captivate project using Widgets - but please be sure not to mix and match AS 2 and 3 as this is unlikely to work well.

Of particular interest for me over the next year, the inclusion of ActionScript 3 as an option will make it easier for me to include Captivate in future Flex 3 and 4 projects, since both use ActionScript 3.

Captivate 4 on Mac
Adobe has been hinting about a Mac version of Captivate since at least DevLearn 2007. Well at DevLearn 2008 the hints were brushed aside by this quote from RJ:

"people want that and we are going to deliver"

Which seems pretty definitive to me. No word in when at this point. I suggest that if this interests you, then you should contact Adobe about beta testing the Mac version when beta testing begins.

Adobe eLearning Suite
RJ announced the upcoming Adobe eLearning Suite at the Learning Summit. This exciting new suite, aimed at eLearning developers includes the following applications

Captivate 4
LifeCycle Designer
Flash CS4
Dreamweaver CS4
Photoshop CS4
Soundbooth CS4
Acrobat Professional 9
Device Central CS4
Adobe Bridge CS4
Pixel Bender Toolkit

Note that Flash and Dreamweaver will have special eLearning extras - learning interactions that are not distributed with other versions of Flash and Dreamweaver.

The following features are available only with the full Adobe eLearning Suite or, I presume, another Adobe suite that includes Device Central, or Acrobat Pro.

New Mobile Project
For me personally, this is probably one of the most exciting new features of Captivate 4 that has been shown so far. It promises to bring us *easy* development of mobile learning content to Flash Lite 3 devices. With Captivate 3 and earlier it is possible to produce content for mobile devices, but it is non interactive - all the interactive features of Captivate must be removed/omitted before publishing for your Flash Lite device.

Not much is known about what is fully supported by this feature, but here's what was shown by Adobe.

With the Adobe eLearning Suite installed, developers can now choose to create a New > Mobile Project. Doing so launches a new Device Central session where generic Flash Lite 3 devices or specific devices (i.e. Samsung BlackJack II) can be selected.

Once this selection is made, a new project opens up in Captivate with the screen size and publish settings are correctly set for you. I am reliably informed that under the hood some other magic is performs so that Captivate 'knows' you are working on a mobile project and acts accordingly. For example, when you insert a quiz question fonts and layouts will be scaled to suite the mobile device.

Once the new project is created, developers can begin capturing simulations or adding slides, captions, animations etc. When it is time to test the new project, select Test in Device Central. Now something magical happens.

The project is published into Device Central, where the developer can test on specific phones, seeing how non-touchscreen devices can be used with the developed content. Device Central has a great many exciting features including simulating different lighting and backlight conditions, emulating different network connection speeds, recording keypresses for batch testing and much much more.

For some idea of the power of Flash Lite, check out the Flash Lite demo page

Export to pdf
Acrobat Pro 9 has introduced a new feature that allows developers to embed Flash swf files inside pdf files. This makes it possible to embed video, interactive content like games and instructional content like Captivate. Users of Captivate 3 can now import their Captivate projects into an Acrobat document to produce a complete learning or performance support package in a single pdf file.

This is pretty easy to do, as demonstrated above, but Captivate 4 will allow us to publish directly to pdf in a single step provided we have Acrobat Pro 9 installed. Acrobat’s new Portfolio feature can then be used to create a visually attractive, animated menu to a collection of interactive and static content that adds new life and interest to educational and marketing content.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We found our first genuine Redneck truck

Clearing space for an extra goat pasture

Our goats are pregnant, and they are due to produce their kids in the next few weeks. We live on 6 acres, and most of that land is overgrown so i decided it was time to clear some extra space so we can expand the goat pasture.

First thing I found was a machete embedded in one of the trees.

The undergrowth is pretty thick.

Trash everywhere.

... including this old Sharp radio.

Can you see the truck yet?

Here it is!

It's going to take a little while before I can excavate the entire truck. For a start it is well ensconsed in the undergrowth. But also, it's about 10 feet way from the intended pasture.

As I look around, I see that there seem to be wheels scattered as far as 100 feet from the truck. I doubt there's anything usable in the truck anyway, but it looks like it has been dismantled and strewn around.

Over the last 4 years I have extracted numerous car jacks, tyres, wheels, chairs and countless other items of trash. But we have around 3 acres of overgrown land like that shown in the pictures above. Frankly, we are a little scared of what we might find...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Captivate 4 beta announced

Adobe Captivate 4 BETA coming soon

Adobe has been showing sneak peeks of Adobe Captivate 4 under NDA for a while. Now it looks like a public beta is about to open. Head over to Silke Fleischer's blog to sign up for the beta. Don't miss your chance to be part of the evolution of Captivate into a must-have eLearning applicaiton.

Friday, August 01, 2008

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Anthropologist Michael Wesch explores the virus that is YouTube

This video, built on a presentation given to the Library of Congress by Michael Wesh explores the success of YouTube from a cultural perspective. The video is almost an hour long, so go get a cup of coffee or some cold beer, and pull up a comfortable chair!

The presentation is very compelling. It takes the viewer through the evolution of YouTube and the user-created content that is solidifying remote communities across the world.

With enough video uploaded daily to fill almost 400 24/7 channels, it's hard to comprehend the sheer scale of YouTube. Put it another way - in 6 months, the YouTube community uploaded as much video as 3 TV stations could present for over 40 years, non-stop, 24 hours a day.

If you think YouTube is just about skateboarding bulldogs, ripped-off music videos and videos of idiots wheelying their motorcycles into the back of cars, then you should watch this video from Michael. If you are not touched by the shared emotion towards the end, then you are even more heartless than me :-)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good instructional design helps us catch the 'moonwalking bear'

Tom Kuhlmann shares his thoughts on the moonwalking bear

Check out this YouTube video. It's an interesting experiment on perception, or on focus, or on creative misdirection. Once you've seen this you should know better how stage magicians and card sharps fool you :-)

Now see what Tom Kulmann has to say about it.

He tells us that creative Instructional Designers can have a powerful effect in engaging their learners and ensuring they focus on the learning points of their instruction.

But I think he fails to give enough importance to the opposite message - if you are careless you can make sure your learners totally fail to see the important information, no matter how obvious it is.

Regardless, the video is a very useful piece of instruction in its own right, proving that video continues to be a powerful instructional tool.

What I want to know is how many people see the bear even with the instruction to count the passes. More intriguing - how many would see the bear without the deliberate misdirection of the instructions.

Online Reading - is it literacy?

The New York Times has an interesting discussion on the effect of the Internet on literacy skills

The article quotes various academics as stating that frequent book readers have better vocabulary and comprehension skills. They dismiss the Internet as a place for developing literacy skills.

And yet our children are doing more of their reading on the Internet than ever before.

More significantly, when they go to work, our children are going to have to be highly 'Internet literate', and skilled at what I call 'search and sift': they are going to need to be able to search the internet, and draw useful and accurate information from the millions of informative, intelligent, and often misinformative and poorly researched web pages. They are going to need to be able to spot the reliable and discard the garbage.

When he was in seventh grade, Hunter was one of 89 students who participated in a study comparing performance on traditional state reading tests with a specially designed Internet reading test. Hunter, who scored in the lowest 10 percent on the traditional test, spent 12 weeks learning how to use the Web for a science class before taking the Internet test. It was composed of three sets of directions asking the students to search for information online, determine which sites were reliable and explain their reasoning.

Hunter scored in the top quartile. In fact, about a third of the students in the study, led by Professor Leu, scored below average on traditional reading tests but did well on the Internet assessment.

Those skilled at 'search and sift' are going to become valuable employees, regardless of their skill at traditional literacy and comprehension tests. But for the most part, few people seem to recognise the value of teaching our children how to navigate the shark-infested waters of the Internet:-

Some simply argue that reading on the Internet is not something that needs to be tested — or taught.
“Nobody has taught a single kid to text message,” said Carol Jago of the National Council of Teachers of English and a member of the testing guidelines committee. “Kids are smart. When they want to do something, schools don’t have to get involved.”

Michael L. Kamil, a professor of education at Stanford who lobbied for an Internet component as chairman of the reading test guidelines committee, disagreed. Students “are going to grow up having to be highly competent on the Internet,” he said. “There’s no reason to make them discover how to be highly competent if we can teach them.”

I think that Internet Literacy is going to be much more important in the future than 'traditional' literacy. Read the full article here

Thursday, June 12, 2008

100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner has a nice article from Christina Laun

100 tools, split into groups by learning style
The tools list is broken in to 3 major groups (representing 3 learning styles) and numerous subgroups.

Visual Learners Mind Mapping
• Charting and Diagrams
• Videos and Photos
• Auditory Learners Podcasts

Presentation Tools
• Audio Tools
• Text Readers
• Audio Books

Kinesthetic Learners Note Taking
• Tools
• Bookmarking
• Interaction
• Collaboration

There's a lot of familiar tools in there, but many I've never heard of too. I'll not spoil the article - go read it for yourself if you want to know more ;-)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Google Android Demos

Google Maps and Pacman. Whoodathunk

Google have been demoing Android. Videos and pictures posted here. The demos show a lot of progress, and impressive speed.

It looks like Android has taken a lot of lessons from the iPhone. We are going to have some great new devices over the next couple of years as everyone finally gets into developing advanced touchscreen interfaces.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Adobe Open Screen Project

The Open Screen Project is working to enable a consistent runtime environment, taking advantage of Adobe Flash® Player and, in the future, Adobe AIR®

Adobe announced today a new project aimed at creating a single unified runtime for Flash, so that developers can create single-source solutions for PC, Mac, Linux, mobile phone, PDA, Chumby and more.

This is exciting news for Flash/Flex/AIR developers. Finally I can start to show people that the funny interactive eLearning content really IS viable for mobile devices. And with single-source development, this should be a breeze for developers.

Read more here:-

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

eLearning Guild - Florida

mLearning - Judy Brown

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Alex Tokman talks about the Microvision Pico Projector

LegacyCaptivateLoader: dealing with pre-existing scripts in your Captivate SWF

New: LegacyCaptivateLoader class for Flash lets you embed Captivate in Flash and communicate between them

Pipwerks has published a great article that addresses some issues that plague Captivate users who need a little extra control and customisation.

"Many of us use a Flash-based course interface (a.k.a. ‘player’) to load Captivate SWFs and other content. A well-known stumbling block for this kind of ‘loaded SWF’ approach has been Captivate’s lack of ActionScript support — Captivate won’t allow a user to add a simple line of custom ActionScript anywhere. This means that Captivate does not natively support direct SWF-to-SWF communication.

Here’s a common scenario where this might be a problem:

A developer wants to load a Captivate SWF into a ‘player’ SWF. She wants the Captivate SWF to automatically unload when it’s done playing. To do this, she’d simply like the Captivate SWF to call an ActionScript function named “unloadMe()” at the end of the movie.

Since Captivate doesn’t support custom ActionScript, this seemingly innocent bit of scripting can’t be done… at least not natively."

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adobe merges business units serving PCs, mobile

"SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) said on Monday it was putting under one roof businesses selling software for computers, phones and consumer electronics to make them run on a single technology platform. "

The announcement is part of a series of management restructuring moves Adobe is making following the planned retirement of two long-time executives, effective May 1. A spokeswoman said no employee job losses would result.
The move represents the further consolidation of its 2005 Macromedia acquisition with the broader Adobe organization while also recognizing the growing convergence of once-distinct software and the need for it to run across a range of devices.
Read more here on Yahoo News.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Opera Mini 4.1 Beta

Opera has released the beta version 4.1 of their super Opera Mini browser for mobile devices

better, faster stronger ...

The native browser for Nokia devices is already pretty good - it's based on the same WebKit foundation that has also the foundation of Apple's Safari browser used by Mac and iPhone. But I really like Opera Mini - it's very fast, by virtue of the use of Opera's proxy server and some sweet compression that reduces the size of the download for most web pages.

New features include:-

  • up to 50% speed improvements,
  • auto-complete feature for URLs
  • the ability to search for specific words within a page (something I've long missed on my mobile browsers!)
  • a new file manager for easy access to your system when uploading and downloading files..

Opera Mini is a Java application, so should run on most devices that support Java. This version now works on Blackberries too.

If you haven't tried Opera Mini yet, then you should try this version because it adds desktop-like speed to your mobile browsing, even on slower EDGE connections.


Friday, April 04, 2008

European eLearning Summit

Nottingham University, Nottingham, England

19th to 21st August, 2008

The European eLearning Summit (EeLS) will take place over the period 19th to 21st August. The summit venue is the East Midlands Conference Centre, located at Nottingham University, Nottingham, England.

Built on the history of the popular EuroTAAC Authorware and eLearning conference, EeLS is bigger and better than ever before. With quality presentations from eLearning professionals sourced from across Europe, EeLS has detailed and up-to-date information useful to all eLearning professionals, from Educational Designers and Developers, through to managers, educators and corporate planners.

This year, EeLS has been sponsored by Adobe and by the eLEarning Guild. We are looking forward to an amazing conference with all things eLearning from Toolbook on the iPod through to Captivate bootstrapping!

There is a special 20% discount for eLearning Guild members too.

Pico-projectors Almost Ready for Prime Time

Brighthand reviews tiny mobile projectors at CTIA

Texas Instruments


Brighthand has a nice review of Pico Projectors (pocket-sized projectors) as shown at CTIA this week.
Sounds like Microvision has the edge right now with it's super-tiny laser projector. Microvision tell me that the projector can give up to a 100 inch diagonal screen, and can fit in a cell-phone sized device. Watch out for cellphones with these tinyh projectors in 2009.

Quote of the year so far

M-learning will change pedagogy by making 24/7 mobile accessibility important.

From the Mobile Learning Blog

“M-learning will change pedagogy by making 24/7 mobile accessibility important. It is a matter of time before m-learning reaches the market-driven stage of the product life cycle.
Advances in mobile networks, such as broadband wireless systems will change education pedagogy and supporting software forever. Since mobile technology is more reliable in most of the world, especially the third world, it will become the norm across continents”.

I agree!!! Go to the mLearning Blog to read more about *Australia's* perspective on mLearning.

eLearning Guild Annual Gathering

The eLarning Guild's Annual Gathering starts April 14th

And I'll be there!

I need to find out all I can about Wikis, PodCasting, corporate communities and more. Plus I'm trying real hard to learn Flex right now, so I'll be hanging around anybody who can make sense of it for me :-)

Microvision Features Advanced Pico Projector Prototypes at CTIA Wireless 2008

REDMOND, Wash., Mar 31, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- At CTIA Wireless 2008, Microvision (NASDAQ:MVIS), a leader in the development of ultra-miniature projection display and image capture technology for mobile devices will demonstrate advanced pico projector prototypes enabled by the company's PicoP(TM)- display engine. Microvision expects the PicoP will first be incorporated as a handheld accessory product that can connect to multiple consumer devices to project large, vibrant color images onto any surface. Additionally, the Company is designing PicoP to meet the size and power requirements necessary to allow it to be integrated inside cell phones and other consumer devices.
"Consumers want a much better viewing experience than they currently get from their small mobile device displays," stated Alexander Tokman, Microvision President and CEO. "PicoP enabled devices are expected to let consumers project and share large, high-resolution, color-rich images onto any surface from devices such as cell phones, PDA's, laptops, portable DVD players and hand-held gaming devices. Whether projecting TV, digital photos, movies, presentation slides or content from internet browsing to social networking, we are confident that PicoP enabled devices can deliver outstanding experiences to consumers and should soon be some of the hottest new products on the market."

At the Microvision booth #4411, the company is featuring:

SHOW(TM), an advanced prototype of a PDA-sized, battery-powered, 'plug-and-play' pico projector. Microvision's stand-alone pico projector prototype connects directly to laptops, mobile phones, portable media players (PMPs), digital cameras and other mobile devices to project large, high-resolution images and video onto any surface. The projected display is always in focus and can range anywhere from 8 inches (20 cm) to 100 inches (2.5 m) in size depending upon the ambient lightning conditions. A production version of an accessory device is expected to offer approximately 2.5 hours of continuous battery life, sufficient to watch a full-length movie without a need for recharging.

In addition to the public demonstration of the SHOW accessory prototype, Microvision plans to demonstrate in private to select customers the completion of the first embedded PicoP into a fully-functioning, prototype mobile device. Motorola and Microvision are working together to demonstrate this prototype, project market demand, and gauge consumer interest and requirements.

Whether designed as an accessory device, like the SHOW prototype, or embedded directly into a cell phone, Microvision stated that PicoP-enabled devices can project a widescreen, WVGA (848 X 480 pixels), DVD-quality image -- offering a very different experience from the tiny 2-inch display solutions available today on various portable devices. Designed for viewing high-quality projected information in a variety of controlled lighting environments, the PicoP projection angle is nearly twice that of many competing products, leading to an image that is more than 3 times the size for the same projection distance. This, coupled with the always in focus operation, and higher perceived brightness enables PicoP to deliver a compelling and user-friendly experience.

According to Microvision the PicoP display engine has already attracted the interest of numerous device manufacturers, carriers and content providers. Additionally, Microvision has recently announced a variety of agreements with global supply chain partners who are expected to support high-volume production of the PicoP display engine, as well as integration of the PicoP display engine into commercial products.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Adobe offers free web conferencing with Adobe BRIO

Adobe has announced free conferencing for up to 4 people

from CS3: The Creative License Podcast Series

Adobe is giving free podcasts for CS3 on the creativesuite web site.

This week's episode takes a look at the NEW Adobe BRIO service which is the code name for a new FREE version of Acrobat Connect. BRIO allows you to host your own web conferences with up to 3 people including screen sharing, chat, VoIP and webcam.

Direct download: podcast-AC-BRIO.mp4

You can get more informaion about BRIO from Adobe Labs