Since Ubuntu 9.10 NetbookRemix has been released I am again finding myself using my trusty old ASUS EEE when on the road. And finally it seems I have found a vanilla Linux distribution that is reasonably responsive and works ‘out of the box’.
One thing I don’t need on the road (as a matter of fact on none of my equipment) is having to install & maintain some client/server mail client. Here is a workable solution to have your browser default ‘mailto:’ links to Google Apps.
System –> Preferences –> Preferred Applications
perl -MURI::Escape -e '$to = shift;$to =~ s/^mailto://i;exec("chromium-browser", "https://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.tld/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&cmid=22&to=".URI::Escape::uri_escape($to) );' '%s'
perl -MURI::Escape -e '$to = shift;$to =~ s/^mailto://i;exec("firefox", "https://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.tld/?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1&cmid=22&to=".URI::Escape::uri_escape($to) );' '%s'
Note: do not forget to replace ‘yourdomain.tld’ with your actual Google Apps domain
Here is the link to the original blog entry by David Davis (xantus77): http://xantus.vox.com/library/post/howto-use-gmail-for-mailto-links-linuxubuntu.html (Kudos !)
This one nearly escaped my attention yesterday. Google has just announced the ability to edit Google Docs on your mobile device via their Google Mobile Blog.
Just point your mobile browser to m.google.com/docs and start editing.
Along with the use of 2D barcodes this will open a few interesting m-learning possiblities for educators that would previously have required custom coding to achieve. I can see this being very useful in situations where you have students being in the field and allowing them to enter data gathered using a standard mobile phone. The barcodes could point students to the location of the spreadsheet (avoiding the need to type the information)
The screenshot below shows a spreadsheet that I just made up for demonstration purposes.
Google Spreadsheet - add record
The data gathered can easily be used embedded into LMS course pages for review in the classroom. The (quite capable) graphing tools in Google Spreadsheets can be used to visualise the results gathered. For some of our clients that use Moodle and GoogleApps for Education this is a very interesting combination as would allow for the authenticated entering of mobile data into the LMS.
It would be interesting to look at how you could easily geo-tag the information gathered for mapping purposes. But that’s probably a topic for another post.
Being out and about a lot, I am a fairly heavy user of my mobile internet plan (currently with Hutchinson 3). One of the more common tasks when there is some down-time while in transit or waiting for coffee is checking out what’s happening in the twittershere.
Personally (being a web-app developer for years) I generally prefer browser-based apps over ‘native apps’. Dont even get me started about J2ME apps. One of the main reasons for this preference is that I tend to switch handsets fairly frequently. This makes installing software on phones a large waste of time. Just copying your bookmarks (in my case I have made up my own custom start page on the device) saves a lot of time.
1) Mobile twitter (http://m.twitter.com)
Being Twitter’s very own interface this is probably the one most people start off with.
Twitter Mobile Screenshot
However the functionality of the mobile Twitter client is very limited and after starting to use Twitter more regularily I found the lack of functionality too limiting and started looking for alternatives.
2) Slandr (http://m.slandr.net)
The Slandr interface looked very nice and functionality compared to mobile Twitter was excellent. I quite liked the ‘Geo’ function in Slandr, however the annoying adds embedded in content put me off this one.
3) Dabr (http://m.dabr.co.uk/)
Shortly after trying out Slandr I found this client and this is the one I am now using as my default. I find the interface very clean, the functionality is all I require on the mobile handset and after all it’s an Open Source product which I am happy to support over others.
There seem to be some further alternatives which I did not have time to check out (since I am quite happy with Dabr):
As for the naming of these clients – who comes up with these project names ? Dabr ? Slandr ?
Just came across this post about barcode tombstones in Japan. Shows very clearly how much public acceptance the 2D barcode technology has got in Japan.
It allows visitors to the grave to access to the biography and photos of the deceased person and leave a personal message.
This concept probably takes some time to get used to, but you can see that it could clearly add some value for people visiting cemeteries. There is not much info you can fit on tombstone. A good example of providing ‘further information’ for people that are interested.
As people that know me are aware I am not the biggest fan of the iPhone (3G – hello ???), but obviously from a professional perspective it is another phone that is with us and gaining market share (although not much happening in OZ yet). And to be fair it is breaking some technical ground as well (just not in the areas I most need). From my own anecdotal evidence I was expecting a high percentage of users to choose the iPhone because it ‘looks cool’ or is a ‘chick magnet’ – but I can not back this up by an empirical research (yet) ;-).
But nevertheless I found this report a very interesting read:
Rubicon Consulting iPhone Survey
A short summary:
- Users are generally young(ish) – well – depending on your definition of ‘young’.
- iPhone users are overall very satisfied with the product.
- Rather than eating away the competition the iPhone seems to be expanding the smartphone market. About 50% of iPhone users replaced conventional mobile phones ( most often the Motorola Razr – which is a good thing IMHO ;-) ), about 40% replaced other smartphones (Blackberries & Windows Mobile devices mainly).
- Usage No.1 is (reading) e-mail – no surprises there.
- Around 60% browse the web daily on the iPhone and overall the iPhone increases mobile browsing. Over 75% say they do a lot more mobile browsing on it than with their previous mobile.
As the survey is US based hence there needs to be some degree of caution translating findings to other markets, but in general an excellent resource.
I came accross this article last week which I found quite interesting in terms of it’s impact on m-Learning.
University inks unmetered Web access deal with Bigpond
The unfortunate thing is that this is only limited to one particular
university and one provider only. It would be interesting to see if
there are any other institutions that are going down that track. How
about a general unmetering for the ’edu.au’ TLD ?
Another good sign that 2D tagging is here to stay and there is some (long overdue) standardisation on the way.
Original Article – Herald Tribune
FINALLY !!! As somebody that has been experimenting with this technology for over 2 years now I am quite exited to see that the adoption of this technology is gathering some steem. While it has bee widely adopted in Asia for some years now, it has taken some time to get a foothold in the rest of the world this seems to be changing now. At least in Europe as I can see for myself at the moment. In my opinion with Nokia finally getting serious and throwing its (considerable) weight behind this technology (http://mobilecodes.nokia.com/) and some other industry heavyweights joining forces in the Mobile Codes Consortium. This will hopefully produce one key outcome, the stadardisation of the label technology, which up to now has been one of the stumbling blocks that has kept people such as myself from adopting these codes in real-world projects. Along with the adoption by some major companies in their advertising this should produce the momentum that was needed to push mobile 2D codes into some broad adoption.
Of course there is similar technology available for the applications that require this link between the physical world (presence) and the mobile internet. One example is RFID together with Near Field Communications (NFC). However apart from the additional expense for RFID labels, no other technology has anywhere close the number of handsets that are capable of using this technology without some add-on to the mobile phone. Currently there are only very few handsets that will support this technology. Possible use in m-Payment projects might speed up the process of handset manufacturers including this in their handsets, but that will be some way off. 2D codes are here and now.
Looks like I will dig out some of the pilot projects out of my (virtual) drawers and see if we can get some interest in them. The project that will most likely be the first is a m-Learning implementation using 2D codes together with the Moodle Learning Managment System which is our preferred LMS.
Let’s see if Australia is also ready to move on this technology ….
The ability to host your own content from your mobile phone opens some interesting possibilities to engage students and will allow the integration of user generated content in the education process. David Johnson from the University of Reading is working on serving portfolio data from your mobile.
Some of the current limitation of this approach:
-cost of the bandwidth
The ability to proxy the users content on the Mobile Web server Gateway as well as the ability to integrate content outside of the mobile phone seem to be the main points that will have to be improved for this to become a more mainstream technology. Another area of concern (or another potential use of this technology – depending on your viewpoint) is the backup of data from the mobile phone. The ability to proxy the content on the Gateway could also be used as a backup of the content that is hosted within the MWS on the mobile phone.
Some of this work is already on the way. David Johnson (see above) is currently working on some Webservice API for MWS that should allow the use of MWS served content in mashups with other content sources.
Since I had to do some research on this topic recently, here are the results that I have found. These plans are interesting for people that do not call out a lot, but rather use the phone to be accessible.
GoMobile – Pay as you go plans
Southern Cross Telecom – Pay as you go plans
AAPT – GO15 plan (**needs to be bundled with Landline phone)
** – some conditions apply to qualify for $0 minimum spend)
Please drop me a comment if you are aware of others or I have missed something (which I am sure will be the case).