July 31

Student Resource – Hippocampus.org

I came across a great resource for students and teachers at www.hippocampus.org.  The website has lessons for Algebgra, American Government, Biology, Calculus, Environmental Science, Physics, Psychology, Religion, and U.S. History.  The lessons either in Flash, Quicktime, or Text formats . 

Hippo Campus’ goal is to provide multimedia lesson content free of charge.  They are a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

Hippo Campus also has an option for teachers to create a page for their content area.  Within this page, you can bookmark topics.  Hippocampus then has an option for you to link to this page from your school website, blog, LMS, etc.  I tried it, but unfortunately they do not have any materials for my program (I.T.).

Check them out at www.hippocampus.org.

July 31

links for 2008-07-31

July 31

New Multi-Touch Interactive Whiteboard from Hitachi

Hitachi has demonstrated its new multi-touch Starboard FX 77 Duo.  It has some great features not found in the Smartboards I have used at my school.  I love the idea that the "screen" is basically a whiteboard with the hardware located in a removable section (kind of like the Mimio Portable Whiteboard).  I also love multi-touch functionality showed off in the demo video.

I also love how you are able to use your hands without a special pen.  All in all, it looks like an amazing piece of equipment.  Check out the demo video.

July 30

CUIL New Search Engine Off to a Rough Start

The new search engine, CUIL, is off to a rough start.  After debuting 2 days ago, numerous tech blogs and publications have panned CUIL’s reliability (several complained about the site being unavailable), its layout (in more of a publication layout with columns than typical vertical lists of other popular search engines), its name, and its results from searches. 

I have not had any problems getting to the cuil.com website.  So availability has not been an issue with me.

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July 29

links for 2008-07-29

July 28

Common Craft – Making the Complex Stuff Easy

One of my favorite sites (www.commoncraft.com) for tutorials and information has unveiled their new store.  If you have not seen any of Common Craft’s videos, be sure to check them out.  They do an amazing job at providing simple, but informative presentations of complex topics.  To open their new store, they just made a new video explaining their licensing agreements.

July 28

Security news – DNS Holes being fixed

Most venders have been working steadily on the recently revealed DNS Security Hole

If you are not aware of the DNS Hole, here is an except from PC World.

In brief, the flaw relates to how DNS requests are made to servers and fulfilled. The weak point in DNS is that when a computer asks for the translation of a name into a number, malicious parties can try to "poison" the response, by feeding out inaccurate information. The current DNS system uses some random components to made it hard to poison, but Kaminsky discovered that due to an overlooked hole, a peristent malicious party could ultimately succeed.

It appears that most vendors have released and deployed security fixes for the problem.  The surprising holdout is Apple.  As of the publishing of this article, Apple has yet to release the fix for their servers.  According to the Tidbits website, this could pose a huge problem for uses of Apple servers.

All users who connect to Mac OS X-based servers for DNS lookups are at risk: Apple has not yet provided a patch, unlike dozens of other companies that make or distribute operating systems or DNS server software.

Hopefully Apple will address this issue soon.

July 28

Use your Cell Phone as a Presentation Controller

Last month I finally updated my old cell phone that was beat up, scratched, and locked up once a day with a Sony Ericsson w580i (Walkman).  The phone is a sleek “slider” model.  Students who have seen me with it have congratulated me on finally upgrading my old phone.

So far, I have enjoyed the upgrade.  The phone comes with a USB sync cable, and the synchronization software (for Outlook) is also free.  Two items that other manufacturers have notoriously charged a ridiculously high amount for their phones.  As nice as those features are, my favorite feature is the option to use the phone as a bluetooth remote control on my PC.  With a USB bluetooth adapter, I am able to connect with my laptop and control the mouse.  This works very well with presentation software like Powerpoint.

Bluetooth adapters cost around $30, but wireless presentation remotes cost around $50.  So, if you have to buy a bluetooth USB adapter, you still come out ahead than buying a wireless presentation remote.

I have tried out three bluetooth adapters on my computers.  D-Link and Jabra adapters work well.  The I-O Gear adapter did not work well with the w850i.

July 28

Cuil – New Search Engine Goes Online Today

A former Google engineer has started a brand new search engine.  Anna Patterson has created the CUIL (pronounced “Cool”) search engine.  The CUIL search engine went online today with an index of over 120 billion pages.  Patterson has a pretty good track record with search engines.  She created a 30 million page index at archive.org, which lead to her being hired by Google.

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