Monday, December 17, 2007

Experiences with the Asus Eee

Not more than a handful
Back in December was the big day: I got my Asus Eee in the post, all the way from Taiwan. It isn't on sale in The Netherlands yet. It really is tiny. I have dropped it in my bag and forgotten it was there. The keyboard is not a problem, it just takes some getting used to. The screen could be bigger, but is quite reasonable for most websites. The storage is not very large, but who cares if you can push in an SD card, which neatly disappears in the slot and can stay in there when you move it about. The webcam is straightforward but works a treat. The Skype has been updated and quite probably should work with the webcam, nobody has skyped me yet, so if there are any volunteers?
Sadly the built in webcam capturing software seems to work, but the outputted video (.ogg format) doesn't make sense, it is far to long and slow.

The big bonus is that it truly works out of the box with its built in Open Source software. If all Linux was this easy a lot more users would be using it. Out of the box you get a browser, a mailclient, messaging software, skype, open office antivirus, video and audioplayer, picture manager, a number of games (some of them educational) and some other things. The drawback is that it does take a little puzzling to get other programs running. For example: I am have trouble getting our university vpn installed. A commercial party has finally decided to offer a computer running on open source software preinstalled. It is certainly easy to get started with.

One of the reasons I have not got round to writing this earlier is that everybody kept grabbing it out of my hands. Especially the kids are great fans. They love it for its small size, all the built in games and Pidgin messenger. it has already featured on Wilfred and Pierre's Blogs and already has found its way to Flickr...

Friday, December 14, 2007

General feelings on the Online Educa Conference in Berlin

I finally have found some time to get to cleaning up my blog and clearing up some old concepts I still had lying around.
To start off, some almost ancient history: My general feelings on the Online Educa conference. To start off, I was a little disappointed: I did not hear a lot of new things and I still feel the concept doesn't work: Four presentations in one session is a lousy concept. Usually 1 is worth while, 1 is a waste of time and two are usually not all that interesting or relevant. It was definitely worth while meeting up with the many Dutch at the conference. As so often I mainly gained inspiration through conversations rather than presentations.

And in an attempt to overlook a few developments and giving each their spot on Gartner's Hype Cycle:
- Podcasting is well and truly over its hype peak
- Web2.0 is here to stay, but it is over its hype peak
- Virtual worlds is running up to its hype peak
- Institutions are becoming more realistic about Services approach
- The general feeling regarding VLEs is 'agnostic'. Believing in one VLE is out of fashion
- Theories and technologies applicable to Informal Learning are still being applied to formal teaching situations (without judging whether they really work).