Posts Tagged ‘wireless’

What technology should be

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I’ve often thought that technology must be easier to use in order to reach its real potential.

I love technology and am an enthusiastic early adopter….but for a lot of (most?) people, technologies like RSS, podcasting, wikis, and even wireless are too complex and require too much troubleshooting. When trying to get newbies up and running with things, I am often frustrated by the number of problems that can arise.

The power of easy-to-use technology has been highlighted for me by the Kindle. It really is a piece of technology that anyone can use. The wireless is as simple as flipping a switch (literally).

The interface is simple. The usability is high. Even the ergonomics of the device are comfortable and familiar. (It feels and works very much like a book.)

I’ve shown the Kindle to a couple people who aren’t early adopters (including one who doesn’t “like” technology), and the response has been very positive. People are blown away by the easy-to-read display, and they like the feel of the device. In showing it, I have not had to explain much; just turning it on and handing it over is enough. And, like other technologies, the content is a big driver. The newspapers are especially appealing. Reading newspapers online is convenient, “green,” and cost effective, but for most of us, the traditional computer screen is not a good replacement for paper.

Add to the ease of use an integrated dictionary and web access to Wikipedia and more, and you have a pretty powerful tool.

When I think about the potential of truly easy-to-use technology for schools, I am optimistic. If teachers didn’t have to deal with many instances of things that don’t really work, maybe integration would have more of a tangible impact on learning.

New media player/recorder options

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

In the ongoing quest to find the best sub-$100 media player with a built-in voice recorder, I’ve just spent some time looking at Sandisk’s new offerings, and I like them.
The reason I haven’t liked Sandisk’s low- to mid-range players in the past was that they required AAA batteries. Now, most of their new devices are rechargeable.
I’ve done some recording with the Sansa c250, and the quality is cleaner than most devices I’ve used in the past. (Hear a comparison here.) This device also supports photos and video (though on a pretty small screen) and has a micro SD slot to add memory. This is the first device under $100 that I’ve seen with these features.
The Sansa Express is even cheaper. It has voice recording and expansion, but has no color screen.
On the high end, Sandisk also has the Sansa Connect which has a wireless connection that can be used for Internet radio or downloading music. It’s also integrated with flickr for photo downloading. On their podcast, Engadget recently speculated that all media players will have integrated wireless of some kind (cell or WiFi) in a couple years.
Then there’s the new Sansa Shaker. You shake it to change songs. I have to say that I don’t really get that one.:)