Archive | June 2014

Some L.A. Schools Switch to Laptops After Troubled iPad Rollout

1527117_ME_0917_iPads_Distribution_IK

We’ve been following the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) iPad program for quite some time. The reason is that LAUSD is the second largest school district in the U.S. and can be considered a tastemaker when it comes to new programs. When the District’s school board approved a $30 million contract with Apple to provide iPad tablets for every student, it piqued our interest as to whether this would become the new way of classroom learning.

Turns out, no.

According to the L.A. Times, this year, the Board approved a new program that would allow schools to pick the technology their students would use this school year. Staff and administrators at the District’s 27 high schools have been tasked with choosing one of six models of laptops to be rolled out this fall. Teachers and students will treat this upcoming school year as a test to determine whether the chosen laptops should be used going forward.

“The benefit of the new approach is clear,” said Los Angeles Unified school board member Monica Ratliff, who chaired a panel that reviewed the technology effort. “Why would we treat all our students — whether they are a first-grader or a high school freshman — as if they all had the same technology needs? They don’t…. To have a one-device-fits-all approach does not make sense.”

This sentiment is completely opposite to what the District felt was the right thing to do last year when it contracted Apple to bring an iPad to every student in every school. At that time, proponents of the iPad program pointed out the benefits of managing only one device, as well as savings based on bulk purchases.

A quick rundown of last year’s timeline is that the District discovered that the iPads were being hacked and so they recalled as many of them as possible (almost one-third of iPads were not on campus and had still not turned up as of October, 2013). Even though it turned out the iPad rollout was way over budget, the Board voted to continue the program. Some members did question whether this was a good idea in the long run. After a quieting down for the rest of the school year, we hadn’t heard much about the iPad program from the LAUSD until now.

With this new program, it is likely that iPads will no longer be top priority for the District, …read more    

Akamai Expands Quarterly Internet Report Analysis

256 Akamai 1

The internet is continuing to change and Akamai is tracking those changes on a global stage. In addition to testing for 4K media streaming capabilities and IPv6 adoptions rates, Akamai is also expanding their analysis of mobile connectivity. Their published quarterly report is an interesting read and showcases the trends of internet availability on a variety of platforms around the world including the iPad and iPhone.

4K media is in the spotlight right now with movies in theaters being released at this high resolution and television finally catching up. Apple hasn’t ignored this new tech with Final Cut X receiving features and the new Mac Pro stepping up to the plate. The question that is starting to be asked is if or when 4K streaming will be available. Mobile networks are currently far from able to handle 4K using the current encoding methods, but there has been a substantial move towards the average of 15 Mbps needed to handle the larger format. The Akamai report doesn’t provide a list of countries which are able to stream 4K but instead shows the concentration of compatible bandwidth.

4K is still only partially related to iOS and retina displays, but certainly iPad and iPhone users will be able to enjoy very crisp movies when such streaming becomes an option. The portion of the Akamai report that relates more specifically to iOS users is in traffic originating from mobile Safari, which is less on cellular networks, but highest when analyzed on all networks. Clearly non-network iPads are playing a role in the higher Safari numbers when connected to wifi, but perhaps iOS users in general are more keen to connect to non-network sources when available.

256 Akamai 2

No matter how you look at the data, the main take away is that the internet is continuing to grow and the speeds are increasing. South Korea is in the lead and the United States is average at best, but with more people relying on streaming and the cloud, the increased capabilities are going to keep coming.

Apple Joins San Francisco Pride Festival, Hands out Free Music to Attendees

Look what #applepride will passing out!!! #sfpride pic.twitter.com/Y8GSgPpBfn

— jackee chang (@jackeechang) June 29, 2014

Every June, San Francisco plays host to a huge celebration that spans then entire world. The yearly Pride Festival takes place in major cities in the U.S. as well as France, Spain, Mexico, and other international locations. The San Francisco Pride Celebration boasts the largest gathering of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

This year, Apple, along with Facebook and Google, joined the festivities in support of gay pride and human rights equality. Apple employees attended en masse donning the company’s iconic logo with the universally known gay pride rainbow colors. Apple employees handed out playing card style certificates with a promo code for one free song on iTunes. The card, also sporting the rainbow Apple logo, simply reads, “Pride.” Recipients can use the card to add one dollar to their iTunes account and choose one song (or app) of their choice.

Congrats to 5000 Apple employees/families who attended today’s Pride parade.Inclusion inspires innovation.#applepride pic.twitter.com/4DncX8F6fO

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 29, 2014

According to a tweet from CEO Tim Cook [via: AppleInsider], more than 5,000 Apple employees were in attendance at this year’s Pride Parade, which took place Sunday, June 29. Reuters reported that it was the largest turn out in the company’s history. Cook was also in attendance at the festival, although he did not walk in the parade alongside his co-workers.

Cook was captured on film by a number of star struck festivalgoers who were able to convince the normally private CEO to join them for a front-facing snapshot. Hopefully, they were all carrying an iPhone or iPad.

Under the care of Cook, Apple has been a vocal supporter of civil and human rights for years. The company showed its support for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. Every year, Cook auctions off an hour of his time for a charity to benefit the RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights. This past February, Apple stood with a number of major corporations that urged Arizona governor Jan Brewer to veto a bill that would allow companies to use religious beliefs to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

It is no surprise that Apple participated in this year’s Pride Parade in San Francisco. When major companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook show support of equality and civil rights for …read more    

Go Go Ghost Haunts the App Store

The endless runner genre goes on, and on, and on. It’s like… endless. After a while, games all start to seem the same with a different skin. However, from time to time, a new title will pop up that adds a twist to the traditional format, giving us something new to love.

Go Go Ghosts is one such game. It follows the traditional endless runner schematic. However, you’ll be treated with a few interesting additions, like creature collecting and boss fights.

This side-scrolling title features a plethora of ethereal creatures, each with different abilities to help players get as far as they possibly can. Collect gems and power ups as you jump dangerous gaps, take flight with birds of the underworld, and throw magic attacks at oncoming bad guys.

Go Go Ghosts 1Go Go Ghosts 2

Although it is an endless runner, it looks more like a platform game. Players don’t use the duck and roll method to avoid obstacles. Instead, the goal is to jump from one platform to another, collecting gems along the way.

At the same time, you can stomp out minions, cast spells on creatures, and fight off big bosses with the help of our ghostly allies.

“Players will have a great time clobbering monsters and interacting with the whimsical characters in Go Go Ghost,” said Keisuke Kamijo, producer at DeNA. “The game’s intuitive controls and colorful creatures sets it apart from any other game; we’re proud to give players a fresh and invigorating take on this genre.”

Go Go Ghosts 3Go Go Ghosts 4

The game’s features include:

  • Lively Levels: Run through shaky villages, daunting caves, and dark forests collecting coins and completing missions 


  • Sprightly Supporters: Team up with trusty mounts and magical creatures to activate special abilities and score bonuses
 

  • Invigorating Competition: Connect through Facebook to see how your scores stack up against your friends’
 

  • Epic Boss Fights: Collect and fire special attack ammo to take down brute monster bosses and their menacing minions Ghost Ville is in desperate need of a hero, so lace up your sneakers, focus on the finish line, and get ready to Go Go Ghost!

Go Go Ghost is available on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch for free. Download it in the App Store today.

» Related posts:

Apple Adds iTunes U Educational Tools To Help Teachers and Students Collaborate on iPad

iTunes U

Back in 2012, Apple added the iTunes U app to iOS. This education app allows educators from leading universities, as well as other schools, the ability to add content for students to access from their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The free app makes it possible for people all over the world to take courses from such educational institutions as Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, and more.

Today, Apple announced an update to the iTunes U app that makes it possible for teachers to create, edit, and manage entire courses directly on the iPad. Additionally, students have new ways to collaborate with others, including starting a class discussion and asking a question, right from their iPad.

The new tools integrate Apple’s other productivity apps, iWork, iBooks, and Author, as well as thousands of other education apps to help teachers create rich content. iTunes U now features access to the iPad’s camera so educators can add photos and videos for real-world subject matter for a more relevant experience for students.

“iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad,” said Fraser Speirs, head of computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland. “By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and one another.”

Students now have more tools to collaborate with course mates and teachers. A new feature, “Discussions,” let students automatically follow classroom discussions, join conversations, and set up notifications for when new topics are started or replies are added.

“Discussions in iTunes U puts the potential for thoughtful exploration and collaboration into the hands of every one of our students,” said Larry Reiff, a teacher from Roslyn High School in New York. “iPad and iTunes U continue to provide students with the tools they need to build knowledge and demonstrate their learning.”

iTunes U is available on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch for free. The new educator creation tools are now available on the iPad. Download it in the App Store today.

iTunes U update will bring course creation, management to iPad

It may be summer vacation, but teachers and students still got a tip of the hat on Monday, as Apple announced changes to its iTunes U system. The improvements come as part of the existing iTunes U app, and offer a host of new features—most notably, the ability for teachers to create, edit, and manage courses right from the iPad.

Using those new app enhancements, which roll out next week on July 8, teachers can add content to courses from other Apple apps like iWork and iBooks Author, as well as from third-party educational apps that are available for the iPad. They’ll also be able to use the iPad’s camera to incorporate photos and videos into their materials. Previously these capabilities were only available via the Web.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more    

iTunes U update will bring course creation, management to iPad

It may be summer vacation, but teachers and students still got a tip of the hat on Monday, as Apple announced changes to its iTunes U system. The improvements come as part of the existing iTunes U app, and offer a host of new features—most notably, the ability for teachers to create, edit, and manage courses right from the iPad.

Using those new app enhancements, which roll out next week on July 8, teachers can add content to courses from other Apple apps like iWork and iBooks Author, as well as from third-party educational apps that are available for the iPad. They’ll also be able to use the iPad’s camera to incorporate photos and videos into their materials. Previously these capabilities were only available via the Web.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more    

Discounts on iPhones, Macs, and more: What’s the deal?

With a few exceptions that are as exceedingly rare as they are short lived it’s unusual to see Apple products sold at significant discounts by specific retailers.

And yet, in the last week or so, that’s exactly what has happened.

For example, Walmart just cut its prices on Apple’s mobile handsets. For $99, the retail giant will sell you a 16GB iPhone 5s and activate it on AT&T’s network; Apple’s official price for that same phone will set you back more than twice as much, at $199. If you’re in the market for an 16GB iPhone 5c, which normally costs $99, the price drops even more, to a mere $29.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

…read more    

Perixx Periboard-806 Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad – Because Sometimes Your Fingers Need It

perixx header

It may not be quite the right place to be talking too much about what makes us happy in life, but it wouldn’t be too much to share with you that I find myself thanking my lucky stars a lot these days. And one reason is that I get to participate in the march of technology first-hand – what a rush! But whilst I class myself a technophile, and most form does follow function, user experience always tops the list when it comes to why I choose what to adopt.

Take books for instance. There’s less and less need to argue the advantages of electronic/digital books on mobile devices these days as they speak for themselves. Literally sometimes. But for all I swear by my reading devices, there are particular types of books I will always prefer in physical form, and in the same breath will agree with the reasons traditionalists give to lay the same case. And to swiftly bring this…

Read the whole entry… »

…read more    

Walmart Promotes Women-Owned Businesses With New Product Logo

Maggies_salsa
Feed-fb

Retail labels are full of signals designed to appeal to shoppers’ preferences and values: Made in America, gluten-free, fair-trade or kosher. Soon, shoppers will be able to look for a new signal: A small, circular symbol indicating that the company behind the product is owned by women.

The new logo is the work of two nonprofits and Walmart, which will sell products from lingerie to salsa bearing the stamp starting in September. The retail giant pledged in 2011 to source $20 billion of goods from U.S. women-owned businesses by 2016.

“People are looking for reasons to feel good about the company they’re buying from,” says Pamela Prince-Eason, chief executive of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Her group, along with WEConnect International, certifies businesses seeking contracts earmarked for women-owned businesses. Any business that gets the stamp of approval from either organization can use the logo, Prince-Eason says. …

More about Entrepreneurs, Walmart, Business, Marketing, and Women In Business
…read more    

This entry was posted on June 30, 2014, in Mashable.