Updates from April, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Andrew T Schwab 9:18 pm on April 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: nb200 toshiba netbook   

    Toshiba nb200 

    Melissa from IVS was nice enough to send me a Toshiba nb200 netbook for review last week.  I’m comparing it to our Acer D150 and D250 netbooks currently in use on campus.  The first thing that I did was install Jim Klein’s ubermix Linux for education since that is all we run on netbooks here.  I am happy to report that everything worked and it was up and running in under five minutes.  Not surprising since it uses the Atheros chipset which works great with the Ubuntu based ubermix image.  My benchmark is the Skype test call and with Headphones and mic plugged in, I was hearing the upbeat English accented voice of Skype’s test recording.

    On the physical hardware side there are a few issues, the power button is in the middle of the unit on the LCD hinge and accessible when the unit is closed.  I am not sure I like this as I find myself accidentally pressing it when carrying the netbook around.  I also find that the power adapter, with its straight plug, tends to pull loose, unlike the Acer with the angled connector.  Besides those two minor issues, the Toshiba is surprisingly similar to the Acer.  I’ll need a few more days of use to tell if I like the keyboard.  I think I’ve gotten used to the chiclet keys on my Acer 1410.

    I would have liked to have demoed Dell, HP and Lenovo netbooks in as stress free and painless a process as IVS has made this Toshiba demo; but alas those companies don’t seem too concerned with making things easy for their customers.  Oh well, for now I’ll just have to spend my time putting the little nb200 through its paces.

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    • Paul 9:51 am on December 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Andrew-
      Do you ever use likewise-open to join your ubermix machines to a windows domain? I just wanted to see if it worked. I assume it would as well as vanilla ubuntu. I am interested in using it on student machines in a Windows AD environment. We have a bunch of these Toshiba NB205’s running WinXPPro right now. I know they could run much faster in Ubuntu. Ubermix is so simple to maintain.

  • Andrew T Schwab 8:53 pm on April 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cvcue, , smallschoolbigtech, ssbt   

    CVCUE 2010 

    Back from presenting small school, Big Tech at CVCUE on Saturday with Danny Silva (iteachag).  It was a blast and I really enjoyed seeing all the twitter folks in person.  We had some great questions afterward and I met some guys that are trying to bring Big Tech to their school so I hope they found the information helpful.  Danny also presented his Getting the most out of Google Calendar and I have to say, even though I was playing camera man recording his session, I still managed to learn some cool new tricks.

    Jon Corippo’s (jcorippo) session on Google Forms and Quizlet was inspiring.  If you’ve never seen one of Jon’s presentations live, I highly recommend them (any of them).  He’s a truly great presenter and I always come away from his sessions with my brain in overdrive.

    For anyone not in the know, CUE’s regional affiliates put on some great professional development conferences for Educators throughout the year.  This is my second regional conference and I have to say, you can’t beat the value.  I highly encourage anyone in education to check them out.  Yes they happen on Saturdays, but that just means that the folks that show up are super dedicated to their profession and are great to hang out with.  The next awesome CUE event has got to be Teach Like a Rock Star Summer Camp being hosted at the innovative new Minarets High School in Oneal’s CA, August 3-5th.  John Corippo is assembling a superstar cast of edtech educators for a three day workshop at the brand new campus.  I encourage anyone interested in learning from the best to check it out.

    And speaking of Minarets HS, how cool is a High School where the kids do a parody of The Office with the Principle and the math teacher?  Check out The Classroom!

    And just a side note, Danny and I finally launched our podcast last week.  Check us out at http://www.smallschoolBigTech/Podcasts.  We are going to try to get one out every 2 weeks or so and hope to get guests on as soon as we work out the whole skype with audacity thing.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 2:23 pm on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Backupify cares 

    Well, someone read my last post on backups and restores using the online cloud backup service Backupify.  I reported a problem where I could not open my archived email files.  Rob from Backupify replied to my post and suggested a possible cause:

    Hi Andrew,
    We can’t replicate this error, and haven’t had a single user complain about anything similar, so you might want to send us an email with some more information so we can look into it.

    We’ve seen a weird bug with some versions of IE 7 where it downloads empty zip files that really have data, so you may want to include your browser info.

    Well, I did some more testing and found that downloading and opening the .eml files works fine on my OS X system.  Mail opens them right up, the spam and the ham, attachments and all.  So cool, it works, I can sleep at night.

    So what was the problem?  Either my Windows XP box is hosed (I suspect it is) or the Untangle box at work is stripping .eml file data.  I’ve been meaning to reformat my desktop and install Windows 7 at work and one day I will. Really.  In the mean time I’ve got a 27″ iMac inbound any day now and as soon as that comes in, I’ll check and see if I get the same result at work.  That will rule out Untangle.  Everything works fine from home and so I look at setting staff and students up with Backupify for their Google Apps accounts (something I am seriously considering) I’m fine knowing my email is being backed up and I can get to it if need be.

    Again, its restoring one email at a time which is sufficient should I accidentally delete an email and need to recover it.  I would love to see an archive download option that would allow me to download every email to my local desktop in a single, easy to move folder.  Maybe when the service comes out of beta…

    Blogger is also working now, although it was not on the two computers I tried from work and from home yesterday so I am guessing they kicked a server or too and knocked lose some dust bunnies that were sitting on my account settings.  I like it.  It’s a nice clean backup with all my posts listed in chronological order.  If need be, I could copy and paste them back into a blog.  I’d lose the dates and links (probably as bad as losing the data completely in the link based economy), but the content would be recoverable.

    This whole experience has left me excited about the cloud and blogging.  I’m guessing someone over at Backupify must have read What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis.  They obviously are on the lookout for customer issues on the Interwebs and responding to customers in a meaningful and authentic way.  Great to see companies that get it and I look forward to seeing Backupify’s services continue to improve over time.

     
    • Rob 6:54 am on April 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We don’t really respond to everything, because a lot of people just write random junk, but when users have real issues, we always try to reach out and solve them because there are probably others who have them too.

  • Andrew T Schwab 7:12 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , gmail   

    Restorify 

    After my glowing review of Backupify last week, I’m ashamed to admit that I forgot the golden rule of backups, if you can’t restore, then you haven’t successfully backed up anything. In checking some of the services besides twitter in my Backupify cloud backup account yesterday, I noticed that while I’ve been receiving nice emails about successful Gmail backups, when I went to restore my email (one at a time) all I got were empty .eml files. (Don’t get me started on that format either, seriously I need an email client to read restored gmail email?). This appears to be a problem with the backupify gmail service, which is still in beta after all.  But beta or not, I don’t think it should be cheerfully telling me that my email is backed up if I can’t restore it at all.

    Now, formats aside, my Hotmail backup actually works. And yes, I have a hotmail account, have since before there was dirt and I am kind of partial to it. It was my first web based email and I still remember having to use pine at University too, so there.

    The twitter backup is still awesome, although threaded conversations would be nice.  Google Docs works as advertised, although again the format is all in Microsoft Office docs. It looks like they simply do an export as Office documents to their cloud. While I would prefer a zip archive option, this will work as protection against the accidental delete. My blogger backup currently says “Application Error” when I try and look at the Archive. I guess if anything happens to my Andrew T. Schwab blog I’m SOL.  But hey, its free and still in Beta so I really shouldn’t complain.

    Oh, and Backupify does work with Google Apps, I have it backing up one of my Standard Apps Gmail accounts.  So I’m an idiot, what else is new?  Now, where’d I put that iPad?

     
    • Rob 9:30 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Andrew,
      We can’t replicate this error, and haven’t had a single user complain about anything similar, so you might want to send us an email with some more information so we can look into it.

      We’ve seen a weird bug with some versions of IE 7 where it downloads empty zip files that really have data, so you may want to include your browser info.

      • anotherschwab 1:37 pm on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Well, the .eml files open fine in mail on my Mac OS X Leopard 10.6.3. Something must be wrong with Outlook Express on my Windows XP machine. They open with no subject and sender unspecified. Of course I don’t use Outlook express, or Outlook being that we’ve moved everything to Google Apps, so restoring could be interesting.

        Again, thanks for the response. I’m looking into how we might use Backupify with our students and staff to back up their Google Apps Docs. since there really is no way to do a traditional backup for their cloud stuff.

    • Rob 10:23 am on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You also might want to try blogger again. Your backups are there. I think it was some other problem.

      • anotherschwab 1:29 pm on April 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The Blogger service is indeed now working. I can access the account settings and backup archives whereas I could not yesterday from two different machines. It is comforting to know that my unimportant blog entries are being backed up in the cloud and I can now see them in all their backupify glory. Thanks for the follow up.

  • Andrew T Schwab 8:56 pm on April 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: PLN, tools,   

    Comparing Twitter Followers 

    Tool 22 from 30 Twitter Tools For Managing Followers is http://tweepdiff.com/ and I just used it to compare @iteachag (610 followers; my co-worker who started on twitter about the same time as me) to my twitter account @anotherschwab (447 followers).  I then proceeded to tweet out the following breaking news flash:

    Hey @iteachag we have 104 common followers and we follow 93 of the same people according to http://tweepdiff.com/

    This is interesting information for two reasons.  One it tells me that between the two of us we are seeing about 15-20% of the same stuff.  Now I don’t know if the people we both follow are producing a majority of the “high quality” tweets but I would suspect so.  Given such a small number of users and the immense value both of us get out of it, I can only imagine how it must scale.  I’m guessing at some point stuff starts to get lost in the noise but for now, for me, I’m very happy with the information and interaction I’m getting out of twitter.

    The second thing it tells me is that perhaps I need to branch out a bit more and start looking for some new people to follow.  Finding people that I might want to follow seems to be the major hurdle right now.  My twitter community was mainly built through participation in education technology events, following the active participants and then combing through their followers/following lists to find interesting tweets and following those people in return.  When lists were added I thought it might get easier to find people posting what I would find interesting, but it hasn’t really worked out for me that way.

    I browse through wefollow every now and again but even that is hit or miss.  Not everyone who says they are in IT or Education actually tweets about those things.  I guess in that respect Twitter is more like building relationships in real life than I thought.  You have to go to where the people are and join in on the conversation if you want to make contacts.  I guess there really is no way around the social stuff when building a social network, is there.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 8:04 pm on April 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Backupify – A nice little cloud app 

    Nice? Ok, so far Backupify is awesome.  I looked at my Twitter archive today and what can I say but Wow!  I mean, come on. It built an entire pdf book of my Twitter activity that I can download!  I also have it backing up 2 personal gmail accounts, my google docs and delicious bookmarks.  The interface is simple, its easy to use.  I understand the thing.  It just works.

    The email notifications of completed backups surely must be making me sleep better at night knowing that my cloud data is being backed up.  I did reduce the backup frequency from daily to weekly.  Since my cloud data is supposedly “distributed” and “redundant” anyway I felt super paranoid every day when the backupfiy email would arrive telling me my services had been backed up.  Once a week feels better.

    Now, if only they had something similar for Google Apps accounts I would be all over that.  As long as it was free, or nearly free.

     
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