Using Yahoo Pipes to aggregate learning resources

I am using the opportunity of me taking part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on mobile learning as an excuse to add some more content to this neglected blog. On of the issues I am facing with my participation in the MOOC is the massive amount of e-mails generated and my already overflowing inbox would not cope (let alone me managing it). That is not taking into account other sources such as Twitter & Flickr Since I have always been a fan of RSS (hat tip to Dave Winer) my answer to this dilemma is to create an aggregated RSS feed from a number of sources (including the Google Group responsible for the bulk of the traffic). And so far the best tool I found for this purpose is Yahoo Pipes. To create a Pipe log into http://pipes.yahoo.com/ (if you don't have a YahooID you need to create one first). The GUI is very simple (kudos Yahoo) and for simple aggregation needs hardly any explanations. The hardest part can often be finding the RSS sources to add to Pipes. The aggregation process is basically 3 steps add sources (see list below) add union operator connect to output     As an example here are the sources used for the MobiMOOC Pipe are: http://groups.google.com/group/mobimooc/feed/rss_v2_0_msgs.xml?num=100 http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=mobimooc http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/geo/?tags=mobimooc&lang=en-us&format=rss_200 All you need to complete your "mobile learning journey" is to subscribe to the resulting feed (http://pipes.yahoo.com/leogaggl/mobimooc) with your favourite (mobile) RSS Reader. I personally use GoogleReader which has worked for me on various…

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Revert Ubuntu Netbook UI

If you upgrade you Ubuntu Netbook release to 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) you will notice a change to the new ¨Unity¨ user interface. Personally I think the new interface is absolutely horrible (from a usability perspective) and I wanted to revert to the previous Netbook-Launcher. HOWTO Install the required components via terminal: sudo apt-get install netbook-launcher-efl After install just change the "Login Settings" Log out and after the next login: voila - the laucher interface: However in the end I changed to the desktop interface which I found the most useful for my type of usage.

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VoIP client for Ubuntu

Having used IP Telephony for a number of years I need a workable SIP client for all of the devices I use. I have found a very capable client for my Android phones (SipDroid) and on Windows/MacOSX I generally use X-Lite (as well as it's paid version EyePhone) from Counterpath. Having tried several different Linux SIP clients (Ekiga, Twinkle, ...) but all discarded them because of weird UI's and/or problems with stability I noticed that there is a Linux version of XLite available. Unfortunately on current versions of Ubuntu (10.04) it needs a deprecated version of a library. Download XLite Linux: http://www.counterpath.com/x-lite-3.0-for-linux-download.html Dowload libstdc++.so.5: http://packages.debian.org/lenny/i386/libstdc++5/download [you will need root permissions for all of the below] dpkg -i libstdc++5_3.3.6-18_i386.deb tar -xzf X-Lite_Install.tar.gz cd xten-xlite cp xtensoftphone /usr/sbin chmod +x /usr/sbin/xtensoftphone Now you should be able to run: xtensoftphone Enjoy calling from your Ubuntu machine ! EDIT: Since upgrading to Ubuntu 11 (Natty) I have switched to QuteCom

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Huawei K3765 on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)

Since I have switched my 3G data network from Hutchinson Three to Vodafone AU recently I also upgraded the USB modem from a Huwaei E220 (which used to work fine on recent Ubuntu NBR releases on my trusty old ASUS EEE 900) Unfortunately the new Huawei K3765 would not be recognised as a valid modem by the network manager. After a fair bit of searching it turns out that you only need to install one additional package (usb-modeswitch) to make this modem work (be recognised) on the current stable 10.04 release: sudo apt-get install usb-modeswitch For the command-line challenged here is a quick screenshot on how to do it using Synaptic Package Manager: Hope this might save some time for people trying to make this modem work on Lucid. Happy roaming !

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iPad Alternatives

Due to the hype generated by the recent launch and my reservations on using the Apple Inc. iTunes I was doing some research into alternatives to the proprietary and completely locked  iPad device (and the associated lock-down to Apple's iTunes Store). Hopefully this list can be of use for other people as well. I can see the form factor and the tablet style with a cut down (mainly web-browser based) Operating System as useful in a number of settings not least in educational institutions and libraries. Here is the findings so far: EDIT: I have re-published the list as a Google Spreadsheet to enable submission of new items. Please ENTER YOUR OWN if you found an item not on the list. If you are purely looking for a tablet as an electronic reading device there is a good Wikipedia comparison chart to look at. I will add further devices as I discover them. Please leave a comment if you find other tablets / devices that have similar features, but are more open and do not require iTunes lock-down.

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iPad – Trojan Horse ?

The media hype generated by the launch of the Apple Inc. iPad has been seriously irritating me over the last weeks. Apart from the fact that I can not see anything revolutionary about either the hardware nor the software, I can see a number of highly problematic developments with the way Apple is trying to create a total vendor lock-in. The evil is in the Store However - the single biggest issue is not actually the device (iPad) itself, it is actually it's lock to Apple's iTunes Store. There will be no (at least for the 'normal' end-user) way to install software or load content onto the device other than going through iTunes. The device seems to have been deliberately crippled (not even a USB connection) of any way to get content on or off it other than Apple's mandated iTunes. The resulting vendor lock-in from both the hardware (Apple only devices), Software (all Software that will install on the device will have to go through iTunes) as well as increasingly Content (purchased via iTunes Store) is a very worrying trend from my point of view. Return of the dinosaurs ? One possible reason for the hype generated for the iPad seems a vested interest on behalf of the media industry in the ability to lock down content and create a paid digital market for their content. It's about creating a walled garden where previously was a free and open Internet. It seems that the old media conglomerates are looking…

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Ubuntu – Google Mail (GoogleApps) as default mail client

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. Howto System --> Preferences --> Preferred Applications Chrome: 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($to) );' '%s' Firefox: perl -MURI::Escape -e '$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 !)

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Useful software for practical mobile learning

Since a fair bit of my time is spent working and researching in the field of Mobile Learning and there is not a lot of recent  listings of Software useful in practical m-Learning implementations I have compiled the following list from my bookmarks and Software I commonly use for these purposes. This list tries to represent currently usable applications not applications in the development stage. Rather than writing this in the form of  a blog entry I decided to keep this as a live document within Google Apps that people can contribute to. Please consider adding to this list if you find some useful mobile learning software missing. You can also subscribe to the changes to this list via RSS. You can also download this list as a PDF document.

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