Saturday, September 29, 2007

Belkin soon to release new wireless USB hub

Soon to be for sale is the new Belkin Wireless USB Hub.

With all the devices one has connected to a computer....the cabling can become a nightmare.

Belkin's Wireless USB Hub could eliminate "the hassle of searching, untangling, and plugging in the right cables each time you want to print, back up files, or listen to music."

"Now, you can easily connect up to four USB devices and access them wirelessly at any time."

Check out a quick flash demo.

(Listed for 199.00 US on Belkin online store)

Friday, September 28, 2007

iPhone update has locked out iPhone hackers

Reports all over the Internet has reported that those iPhone owners that have "unlocked" their iPhones to choose their own carriers other than AT&T have now lost a lot of functionality with the latest iPhone software update.

But wait....there is an oops.....apparently those iPhone owners that followed their contract with AT&T and did not unlock their phone have been hit with problems as well. Reports of music, video, contacts are disappearing along with other issues.

The bad on the Net is....this update will probably leave the "unlocked" phones permanently disabled.

Will the Robin Hoods in the iPhone forest come back with fix?

Time will tell.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Got an idea you would like to manufacture? Ponoko can help

Create, make and trade your product ideas!

Ponoko is a really unique idea - "it's the online space for a community of creators and consumers to use a global network of digital manufacturing hardware to co-create, make and trade individualized product ideas on demand."

Ponoko attempts to cut out the "middle man" and "connects creators, consumers, digital manufacturing hardware and service providers to promote, make and trade products on Ponoko and social networking websites."

Connecting people who might other wise never get their product to market. Definitely a website service to watch!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Adobe releases new Technical Communication Suite

Adobe has come out with some great bundles this year and the latest is the Technical Communication Suite.

Technical Communication Suite is "a first-of-a-kind, integrated solution for authoring, managing, and publishing technical information and training content across multiple formats and languages."

This package contains:

For any schools/universities/districts that are developing tutorials or creating help systems for their community this is a great solution to look at.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fun way to carry your iPod - BeatBuckle iPod Belt Case

An interesting way to carry your music with you....BeatBuckle is "a belt buckle that will safely and conveniently hold your iPod Nano, Video and Classic."

The BeatBuckle is compatible with the iPod Nano (1st and 2nd generation), iPod Video (5th generation 30gb, 60gb, 80gb) and the new iPod Classic.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Release for Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements

If you love the Elements package you will love the new Photoshop Elements 6 and Premiere Elements 4.

Since the release of the Elements products they have had a huge success and quickly become a favourite for many schools as part of their design tool set.

Explore some of the different uses for Photoshop Elements 6 and Premiere Elements 4 in the Idea Gallery.

Don't forget to visit Tips and Training to get more ideas on how to use these new products.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cold and germ transfers in computer labs.....Belkin releases a washable mouse

For any technology instructor, teacher or computer lab technician....we know that when the cold and flu season hits, one of the biggest transfer of germs from your students is through a computer mouse.

Belkin has come to the rescue with a new product (a search quickly showed some online vendors now selling this product) called the washable mouse.

This new mouse also has a changed look....the scroll wheel is now a scroll pad. The new navigation requires just a touch to let you scroll horizontally or vertically.
  • Works on many household surfaces including upholstery and wood
  • Features optical technology with 1200dpi
  • Powered via USB cable (I am sure a bluetooth or wireless version is just around the corner)
  • Suggested price is around US$29.99.
This new product will also be great for use with other home entertainment units such as game stations or web TV....where ever there may be liquids that could be spilled. I have sent a glass of water flying across my desk a few times during late night research sessions.....I have soaked a few keyboards and mice in my day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Draw Anywhere - Free online drawing/brainstorming tool

Draw Anywhere is a free flash based online program (similar to that allows the registered user to create flowchart type diagrams. Drag and drop in the shapes, change their properties (colour, etc...) add text, and then save it to your Draw Anywhere account, export as an image, print or print to pdf.

Students can quickly create a diagram and use it as a brainstorming tool.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What are the hottest web properties on the Internet?

comScore is a "global Internet information provider to which leading companies turn for consumer behavior insight that drives successful marketing, sales and trading strategies."

According to comScore....what is the hottest property for June 2007 on the Internet? Check out the table below and see how many of these sites you visited in the month of June.

Top Global Web Properties
Ranked by Total Unique Visitors (000)*
June 2007
Total Worldwide, Age 15+ - Home and Work Locations
Source: comScore World Metrix

Property Total Unique Visitors (000)% Reach
Total Internet : Total Audience 778,310100%
Google Sites (including such sites as YouTube)
Microsoft Sites529,15568%
Yahoo! Sites471,92461%
Time Warner Network266,36734%
Wikipedia Sites208,12027%
Fox Interactive Media163,54521%
Amazon Sites145,94719%
Apple Inc.123,55416%
Adobe Sites121,96616%
CNET Networks116,57915%
Ask Network115,65515%
Viacom Digital88,65411%
Lycos Sites77,51710%
The Mozilla Organization70,8509%
Gorilla Nation67,7889%
New York Times Digital66,2309%
Terra Networks63,0208%
TENCENT Inc.61,9698%
France Telecom60,8468%

* Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes and access from mobile phones or PDAs

Great starting point for any economics or marketing lessons.

Discuss with the students why is it important to web companies to be in this top list? What does it mean in real dollars? What kind of marketing do these companies do online? Why would people/customers come to their websites? What kind of products/services do they offer? How could they 'expand' their products/services to increase their reach?

Monday, September 17, 2007

ANIMOTO - easily create a video from a collection of your digital images

ANIMOTO ia a "web application that automatically generates professionally produced videos" from a collection of still digital images.

Just launched in August, 2007.....

"Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced on a widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer."

Create a free account, upload your images from your computer or transfer them over from social images sites such as facebook, flickr, picasa, or smugmug. Then decide on your music. Either from your computer or you can choose from selections in the Animoto library. Music and images analysed and then put together in a video. You can then email the video, post on your blog or website or send it through Animoto again to be remixed.

No 2 videos come out the same. Give it a try....brings life to your images and you can still insert the movie into PPT or Flash Animation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Microsoft offers the ultimate steal for university students.... Microsoft Office 2007 for cheap, cheap

This week, Microsoft announced the ultimate steal...... selling Microsoft Office 2007 to University students until April 30, 2008 for cheap, cheap, cheap. Prices vary around the world:

  • 59.95 (US)
  • 64.00 (CDN - own it) 22.00 (CDN for 1 yr)
  • 38.95 (UK - own it) 12.95 (UK for 1 yr)
  • Spain, Italy and will be released September 20, 2007

The pilot was apparently first offered in Australia but I don't see Australia or New Zealand as an option on the new website????

Okay....let's all not get real excited about this.....there are eligibility catches (US example) and be sure to check the website for your country (flag icon links are at the top right hand corner of the US website.)

Do we need to ask WHY Microsoft feels so generous.....or as my mother would say...don't look a gift horse in the mouth?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Great minds from MIT, Caltech and Olin College use technology to help the poor

When I attended a full-day conference at MIT in Boston this past July it was a great experience. MIT is known for amazing research projects, IT developments and great minds that graduate to become leaders in their fields (even a few Nobel Peace Prize winners).

In a world where there is a new tech release everyday for things we want (believe me my household could do without 5 mp3 players....there are only 2 of us). Gadgets appear on the market to make our lives easier....motorized tools that peel our apples for us or light up our bathroom sinks when we move our hands under the water tap....what is driving technology? How many gadgets does a person need?

MIT senior lecturer Amy Smith has pulled together the first summit called International Development Design Summit (IDDS) "to build technologies that can improve the lives of the world’s poorest people." With MIT, Caltech and Olin College the first summit brought together 50 students, faculty and community partners from 16 countries that were "divided into teams to design technologies that address problems in different sectors including energy, agriculture, water, and health" during the week long summit.

Working in teams and guided by sector specialists and guest speakers the teams work on their solutions and present their designs at the end of the week.

The following projects were displayed at the final presentation (see article for more info):

  • An off-grid refrigeration system that uses evaporative cooling methods,
  • A microbial fuel cell that uses microbes in their natural environments to generate electricity,
  • A biodigester slurry separation system to lessen the burden of water collection,
  • A low-cost greenhouse made from recycled materials,
  • A low-cost water testing kit,
  • A pedal-powered hammer mill to produce flour from grains,
  • A system that combines the collection, transport, disinfection and delivery of drinking water,
  • A low-cost modular water filtration unit,
  • A health tracking system that uses Radio Frequency Identification, and
  • An improved cook stove that reduces smoke production built with locally available materials.

IDDS brought together innovative minds to deal with issues of real human needs!


Have a discussion with your students. What technology items do they have that they couldn't live without? Cellphone, mp3 player, computer?????

How can technology be used to address real human needs!

How can technology make a difference when you don't even have money to buy the basic needs such as food and shelter?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Flashforward Conference and Film Festival...Inspiration and Creativity with Adobe Flash

Need inspiration? Need samples of creativity? Need to show your students some of the AMAZING examples of Adobe Flash that is available on the Web?

Then you need to go to the FlashForward 2007 website.

Boston will host Flashforward 2007 September 19-21, 2007 . 3 days of "intensive education, inspiration, community, and networking. Live, breathe, eat, and sleep Flash®, Flex, ActionScript and Apollo. Learn how Flash integrates with other Adobe® applications to create Flash video, rich Internet applications in and out of the browser, animation, audio, games, data visualization, database integration, mashups, and much more." Flashforward is produced by and sponsored by Adobe Systems.

I attended this conference in San Francisco in 2005 and it was absolutely amazing! The quality of presenters and conference was top notch!

The FlashForward Film Festival features 16 categories that Flash designers can compete in:

1. Art / 2. Cartoon / 3. Commerce / 4. Experience / 5. Game / 6. Instructional / 7. Motion Graphics / 8. Narrative / 9. Navigation / 10. Online Application / 11. Original Sound / 12. Technical Merit / 13. 3D / 14. Typography / 15. Video / 16. People's Choice Award (people were able to log onto the website and vote for their favourite from the above categories)

View the categories and the top 4 Flash websites for each category that are up for awards. You can also see past winners in the archive website.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Adobe Remixer for video available within Photobucket and YouTube

First was Photobucket (see Adobe press release) and now YouTube (called YouTube Remixer) and users will be able to edit their videos using Adobe Remix, "a lightweight Adobe Flash® application and built using Adobe Flex™ software."

Especially handy for all you bloggers that are doing "real-time" blogging during an will now be able to quickly edit and post your video all within one application.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yes or No? Does the new touch iPod have bluetooth...another 'oops' or.......

Once again in the "blogosphere" posts are popping up about Apple and the new products that have just been released.

The word is that the new touch iPod has bluetooth capabilities.....but wait that wasn't announced in the new specs released.

Engadget reported this possibility with an image of the touch iPod showing the bluetooth symbol up in the top right hand corner (see image below - from Engadget).

The question is...did they forget to announce this (likely not)......reports now say that the chip is there but not activated....isn't that a challenge set out for the next teenager to pull apart and get it activated.

Wonder if George Hotz is up for the challenge after his iPhone adventure?

Friday, September 07, 2007

USB Gadget Fun and Language Translation Web Tool for Foreign Websites

Solid Alliance is a Japanese company with a great sense of humour. They have a variety of computer gadgets to "perk up" your office. The best is the Sushi USB Sticks (shown below) in the shape of sushi.

The other (reported from Gizmodo) is the USB Food Hub (shown below). The rice is a usb 4-port hub and the rest of the food on the plate are USB sticks.

Need to translate the SolidAlliance website? Just use Babelfish translation tool through the Altavista.

Babelfish translates: Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, etc.. Just copy and paste the text from any website into the input field and choose the language you want to translate from and then to (ie: Japanese to English).

Not necessarily an exact translation but pretty darn good!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Deep breath.....ready for the release of a new iPod Family?

This has been going around the "blogosphere" for sometime and now......Apple announced today (September 5th Northern Hemisphere time) that they will be releasing a new multi-touch iPod along with a new iPod Nano. There will also be an update to the iPod Classic.

I can only hope that the marketing team for Apple will not make the same blunders they did for the iPhone and for one, make it available for the rest of the world.....although we know from Economics 101 that supply and demand does make a product more "wanted" when the supply is low.......sooooooooo what can we expect?

Some of the features of the new touch iPod:

  • Wi-Fi wireless networking
  • 3.5-inch widescreen display
  • 8 mm thick
  • 8GB iPod touch model is $299 (US) and the 16GB iPod model is $399 (US)
  • built-in accelerometer that automatically senses when you rotate it into its landscape position
  • built-in ambient light sensor
  • 22 hours of audio playback and up to five hours of video playback
  • Apple’s YouTube application lets users wirelessly watch over 10 million free videos from the Internet’s most popular video website
  • Apple agreement with Starbucks that allows you to access the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store for free in participating US Starbucks stores starting next month
The new iPod touch is scheduled to be available later this month.

Image from The

Some of the features for the new iPod Nano:
  • 2-inch display with 204 pixels per inch
  • you will now be able to watch video and TV shows on the iPod Nano
  • 24 hours of audio playback or five hours of video playback on a single charge
  • 4GB iPod nano comes in silver for just $149 (US) and the 8GB model is available in silver, black, blue, green and a (PRODUCT) RED special edition for just $199 (US)
  • iPod nano is set for playing iPod games such as iQuiz, the entertainment trivia game; Vortex, a fast-paced 360 degree brick-bashing game; and Klondike, a solitaire card game
The iPod Classic will now include:
  • 80GB or 160GB of storage
  • $249 (US) for the 80GB model and $349 (US) for the 160GB model
  • a thinner, all-metal enclosure and an enhanced user interface.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Free Online Photo Editing Programs

In a world where computer applications seem to be moving to the web: access anytime, anywhere, any computer. Here are a couple of photo editing online programs with some of the options that are offered by each.

1. picnik is easy to use. You can: fix underexposed photos,
remove red-eye, crop, rotate, and resize in real-time, special effects,
and works directly with many photo sharing websites.

2. no registration or login required. Upload your image to the website and then you can crop, resize, rotate, flip, adjust brightness, contrast & saturation. Colorfx (change to grayscale, sepia, invert, red, green & blue), blur & sharpen and Specialfx (oil painting, jitter, marble, clouds, textile, rusty, 1850, pixellate, wood, labyrinth & dirty).

3. Snipshot is also browser based, no registration required.
Edit big pictures—up to 10 MB, or 25 megapixels (5000x5000 pixels). Import PDF (first page only). Basic editing and adjustment tools. Save your image as GIF, JPG, PDF, PNG or TIF.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Free tools to help you day to day......Google Pack

Google Pack has brought together many of the free tools a lot of us use everyday into one handy package.

The software tools are:

  • Google Earth (Zoom from space to street level — tour the world)
  • Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer
  • Norton Security Scan (Detects and eliminates viruses and Internet worms)
  • Spyware Doctor Start Edition (Detects and removes spyware, adware, trojans and keyloggers)
  • Google Desktop (Find all your email, files, web history, and more)
  • Picasa
  • Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar
  • Google Photos Screensaver (Display photos from your PC and photo sharing sites)
  • Adobe Reader
  • Google Talk (Connect with your friends via IM or free voice calls)
  • Skype (Make free voice and video calls to anyone else on Skype)
  • Realplayer
  • StarOffice (Word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and more)
Follow this link to find out more about each of the individual applications. You can control what you do and don't want to download and install.

This info comes to you via the free Community MX Newsletter (archives), sign-up on the Community MX website for the latest information.