Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HiFi, SciFi, WiFi now MiFi

In looking around on the web lately and trying to find something that will allow me more free range use of the Internet on the go without being strapped in somewhere or limited to certain areas I came across a small yet unassuming product that could reshape WiFi use across the world.

The company... Novatel Wireless... the product MiFi 2200

What is it, well if you have not heard or have been under a rock for the past few months. This is the first "intelligent mobile hotspot" in the world. Yes mobile, that is what I said. This small yet unassuming item about the size of a credit card and as thick as a couple sticks of gum will allow you to connect to the Internet from anywhere. Anywhere you have a signal that is... have to put in that disclaimer, so if you are out in the middle of he ocean or at the top of a mountain you still may not have a signal.

Here are some of the specs:
It is enabled for CDMA, 802,11 b/g and GPS.
Runs on Windows (XP and Vista), Mac (10.3.9 +) and Linux
Can run up to 5 wireless devices at one time.
Rechargeable Lithium battery
Has a range of about 30 feet
Check out the data sheet for more information.

It looks as if this is starting to hit the Cell phone stores and has been featured in Gizmodo as a product for Verizon, PCMag, Slashgear as a product for Sprint and many other reviews which have been written about the functionality of this product.

The price point for the MiFi will differentiate between the carriers but with a base price for the product between $99-$149 based on comparisons with a little give and take thrown in for good measure.

Check it out see what you think,
me I am talking with my cell phone provider right now to figure out if it is worth adding it to my plan.

image provided by Novatel Wireless
video provided by CNBC/YouTube

Monday, June 15, 2009

Web Camera with Lights?

The next latest and greatest from the minds of manufacturers seems to be the Self Illuminating Web Camera. Yes I said self illuminating.

Gone are the days of worrying about back lighting or having to pay for a more expensive webcam that will auto adjust for light.

New out is a USB webcam that has six built in LED lights, which will allow use of the webcam in low-light situations. Not only that there is dimmer switch that allows you to adjust the light intensity and the push of a button.

Now for some specs. The camera is 2MP and will auto focus. There is no base, the camera is attached to a pliable arm that can bend in any direction. Of course it's connection is USB 2.0. The camera will capture video at 640x480 up to 1600x1200, now the key there is the fps the higher the resolution the lower the fps rate. It has a built in microphone as well so you do not have to purchase anything extra. The device runs for not only Windows XP/Vista users, it will also run on Mac OS 10.4+. Oh and the final tidbit of info, the price. The webcam has a price point of around 89.95

Now for some other possibilities, after reading a post on Twitter by Kathy Schrock I got to thinking and what she had to say was pretty ingenious. Now let me first premise this as my own personal thoughts and are not meant to disrupt the natural order of things for purchasing options for any company or ed facility. Kathy made a good point that this could be used as a low cost alternative for a document camera. Right now most document cameras run in the $400-$500 range with some higher and some lower.

With the light on the webcam, the ability to manipulate the arm in any direction, and the auto-focusing capability it could really lend itself to people who want that functionality of a document camera but cannot afford the outlay cost.

image from

Friday, June 12, 2009

Apple's latest iPhone 3G-s

Well the highly anticipated launch date, or rather sell date, is almost upon us and the buzz has not stopped over Apple's iPhone 3G s.

Well lets take a look at some of the features of the phone that I can appreciate. I am not going to bore you with all the details, you can read about the rest of them by going to the iPhone 3G s link.

The best upgrade that there were able to put into the new phone is that it is much faster than the last generation phone. Touted as being 2x faster with opening applications, rendering web pages, reading attachments and video for gaming.

Now I like the new camera feature with 3MP, auto-focus and the ability touch zoom in and out and tap to focus on items in the photo. The video capabilities, you could almost say astound over other phones on the market. You can shoot your video in both portrait and landscape(widescreen), you can edit on the fly and post it to iTunes or Youtube with a tap of the screen. Now being the techie that I am, I like the Voice control feature. Having the ability to just say who you want to call as well as to choose what song you want to listen to is great. Oh and don't forget there are language packs available so that you can speak in your native language, from Chinese to Norwegian to Spanish.

Now there are other updates to the iPhone over and above it predecessor that I am sure will make you happy. Me I sat around and watched a family member go gaga over the original and payed a great deal of money for it when it came out. He loves that phone and it does everything he wants it to. The new one I am looking at because of the new features that I like. Price point wise $199 or $299 depending if you want the 16 or 32GB storage. Me I am one to stick with the lesser of two evils but I might have to dip into the piggy bank and pull out enough for the 32GB iPhone. For all of you out there happy dialing, movie making and picture taking.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Web 2.0 collaboration from start to finish

In my effort to find more free web 2.0 tools out there to help make your life easier I came across a pretty good site that provides you with a lot of tools that you can use.

Creaza is a ..."an integrated, web-based toolbox for creative work, both at school and in your free time..." The site provides four utilities that help you to create podcasts and vodcasts, research and project based learning, audio files, movies and many more applications that you can easily integrate into your everyday instruction and apply to your curriculum.

The products are:

Mindomo will help you to organize your ideas and thoughts into clear and concise points so through this online mind mapping software.

Cartoonist is a piece of software that allows you to obviously create cartoons, comic strips or funny images. Oh the possibilities for all curriculum areas from Health Education to English.

Movie Editor is a quick and easy movie creator software. There are plenty of canned images, videos, sounds and songs built in or you can upload your own content and create using your imagination.

Audio Editor is a quick audio program that allows you to take existing music, sounds and voice to combine into your own content. Again there are some canned sounds within the software or you can upload your own stuff.

Think of all the possibilities for school curriculum from Elementary science where students are discussing, through a podcast in the audio editor, plant life and what they are seeing in their terrariums, to High school English where they are creating political cartoons or recreating through claymation a movie on the Battle of Bull run in a Social Studies class.

Now the site offers you both a free and a pay account. With the free account you have access to the products and a sharing area as well as the ability to download your completed projects. Now there is a downside to the site, yes and I have said it before, you have to create a username and password to access the site. Again I suggest using something that you will be able to easily keep up with.

If I can leave you with anything I will leave you with this quick phrase, "go forth and play."

images provided by

Monday, June 1, 2009

Problems Converting Video?

Are you still having problems finding a program that will allow you to convert videos into multiple formats other than your original format?

Try Any Video Converter, a program that allows you to convert video into multiple formats. A freeware program that offers you the ease of use of a three step process to convert your video files into new formats.

Now you do have to download the program and install it onto your computer. It does not take much time at all. It is a fairly small download and a short install that puts Any Video Converter onto your computer.

It is very easy to get started, just open the program. Select from the Profile dropdown menu the output video format. ex: .flv, .wmv, .mpg, .avi and others. After you choose the output format then click on the Add Video button and browse to the location on the computer where the video is. After you select the video click the Convert button and the process begins. If the programs asks you to upgrade to the pro version just click No Thanks. The new file is placed in the Any Video Converter located in your My Documents folder.

And that is it, that quick and your are off to the next thing. You also have the ability to watch the video in the program to see if there are any issues after the conversion.

One last thing is that you can convert files from YouTube, Google Video, MetaCafe and NicoVideo. They do not have a link yet that would allow you to download from TeacherTube but it should be coming soon. Just click on the You Tube button.

Give it a try and see if this program relieves a little bit of stress that you have built up over time with trying to find programs and free trials to convert your video files.

images provided by Any Video Converter