Complicated Technology Makes It Simple

Post ImageInteresting post written by John Zeratsky over at To-Done! about living a simple life with complicated technology:

I will concede one point – computers and their technological brethren are enormously complex. But the best-designed gadgets and systems actually go a long way toward simplifying our lives.

He then lists a number of technologies that make his life simpler. I thought about it for a couple minutes, and then I realized what my “life-simplifying” technology is – my Tablet PC.

I am terrible for losing paper. If I have something on paper, chances are it will get lost at some point in time. Unfortunately, it’s just not feasible to type everything! That’s why my Tablet PC is so handy, I can type or write or draw or do whatever I need to as if I had paper. And the best part is that I don’t lose anything AND it becomes searchable! I spend a lot of time on the computer as it is, so being able to just write something down without changing “interfaces” (read: moving eyes and focus from screen to paper) is extremely useful. My Tablet PC is a pretty complex device, but it simplifies my life.

What complex technology simplifies your life?

Read: To-Done!

Technology and Education

Post ImageThe role of technology in education is growing at a blistering pace, in my opinion. Everywhere you look, the classic image of a classroom full of books is being antiquated. Take Joe Wilcox and his family for example:

Today is the first day of school in the county where I live. Middle schoolers arrived at 7:30 a.m. for the long day ahead. For my daughter, it is the first day of home school, where my wife will be the teacher. Among my wife’s growing cadre of teaching tools is a Windows Media Center PC, which role will be significant.

What place in education does a Media Center PC have?

My wife will record some TV programs from the likes of Animal Planet, Discovery and History Channel for use in some of the lessons. Rather than be bound by the broadcast time, she can play program segments at times most convenient to the lessons. The idea is to keep the curriculum lively and interactive. This morning, my daughter will get a science lesson on Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans earlier today

They also make use of Tablet PC’s (which I think no student should be without):

For art, my daughter will use a 6×8 Wacom Intuos3 tablet, which I have been testing. She may even use the tablet as part of today’s science lesson, being given a chance to draw the air flow for a developing hurricane.

That’s powerful stuff! You just can’t match that kind of education in a typical classroom. And it’s not just grade school that is using technology to its benefit – post secondary is as well, like the use of podcasting at Purdue University:

“Many universities are experimenting with podcasting, but I’m not aware of any other university that is deploying a podcasting service on the scale that we are,” says Michael Gay, manager of Broadcast Networks & Services for Information Technology at Purdue. “As far as I know, we are the only university that is offering both streaming and podcasting of lectures in this manner as a central university service.”

Another example of how technology can improve education. I have always thought that a room full of students furiously writing down notes is absurd. It’s much better to listen and let yourself be engaged by what the professor is saying, than to try and write down every word. Having a podcast of the lecture means you can easily go back and review it.

These are just two recent examples, but there’s many more. Makes me wonder what school will look like in 25 years.

Tablet PC Caricatures

Post ImageAs a big Tablet PC fan, this story just makes me smile. Such an excellent use of the technology. And for today’s highly connected busy traveler, having your caricature emailed to you is probably better than lugging it around anyway:

With its bars and cinemas, London’s Leicester Square is a popular destination for tourists, who’ll often stop to have portraits and caricatures drawn. On one summer day, the artist Emil (in the white shirt) swaps his notebook and charcoal for a tablet PC.

On this occasion, rather than sending tourists on their way clutching their caricature on paper, Emil plans to send out the artwork by e-mail and wireless connection. His tablet PC is from Motion Computing.

So cool! If only I was artistic – I would do such caricatures here in Edmonton on my tablet. I’d like to know what software he uses to draw them, I would imagine he’d use the wonderful InkRage, but who knows.

Read: CNET News.com

Tablet PC Memory Leak Patched!

Post ImageFellow Tablet PC users (yes I realize that of my readers, that’s probably just you Dickson), we can finally rest easy! No more restarting! Microsoft has issued a patch for the memory leak that has plagued the operating system:

A memory leak in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 causes a gradual decrease in available system memory. This loss in available memory causes degradation in system performance. When this behavior occurs, the user must restart the computer. This problem is caused by a memory leak in the tcserver.exe service.

Get it while it’s hot!

Read: Microsoft Download