Monthly Archives: February 2008

IT Testing – Apple iPhone

Apple iPhoneInformation Technology is looking at the ever increasing number of smartphone devices, and how to best support the devices on campus. The trick is to find a device or two that we can standardize on that work with the campus wireless system, shared calendar system, and e-mail. IT is currently testing the iPhone from Apple. Here is Trey’s impression of the iPhone after two days of use.

  • First impression – I have been using a handheld device of some kind (Apple Newton, Handspring Visor, Sony Clie, Treo, and currently a Palm T/X) for many years. The iPhone interface is excellent, and very intuitive. I find myself trying to use the iPhone touch commands on my Palm after only two days of testing.
  • Text input – I have not mastered the keyboard on the iPhone. Poking at the keyboard with my finger gets tiring on a long e-mails or notes. I find using my thumbs to be a bit clunky, but I am getting better with practice. The autocorrect function saves me quite a bit.
  • E-Mail – works very well with IWU’s e-mail system. Very easy to navigate, automatically checks mail every 15 minutes, and can be adjusted for manual, 30 minutes or 1 hour.
  • Calendar – for Mac users the iPhone can sync to Meeting Maker, which is used in many areas on campus. The iPhone does not sync to Meeting Maker for people using a Windows computer. More testing to take place.
  • Network connectivity – The iPhone uses the AT&T Edge Network for Internet access, and also supports Wi-Fi networks (like the ones found in Starbucks, etc.). AT&T iPhone plans all come with unlimited Internet access. The Wi-Fi connection is much faster than the Edge network. The Wi-Fi works great at my home, but the iPhone does not currently have settings to allow it to work on the IWU Secure network or corporate networks.
  • Battery Life – Seems pretty good. I am recharging the phone for the first time today – day three.
  • Audio Quality – The phone calls sound good. The speaker phone is okay.

I entered the iPhone evaluation with no expectations. I must say that after using the iPhone for a couple days that the “cool factor” is extremely high.There are many more features to investigate so more will follow.

update from IT Help Desk

Lisa at IT sent the following notes today regarding securing your desktop computer and cautious computing:

Tuesday the 12th was Black Tuesday with numerous updates for Windows – there was also several Mac Updates as well (for Leopard anyway). Might wanna remind people to make sure updates run for their computers.

Also, this info about “Valentine’s Day” virus spamming may be of interest: http://www.avertlabs.com/research/blog/index.php/2008/02/12/valentine-nuwar/

And, since it’s taxtime, here’s info on Fake IRS Tax Refund scam: http://www.avertlabs.com/research/blog/index.php/2008/02/04/fraudsters-offer-irs-tax-refund/

And….. How prevalent IS malware (group terminology for virus, spyware and adware)? This article give some very REAL figures and projections: http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00001378.html

Clickers in the Classroom

We’ve begun a small-scale test of “clicker” technology this week at Illinois Wesleyan. The Provost’s office funded the purchase of 35 remotes and one base station. We chose a simple, modestly priced brand called iClicker that was actually designed by a group of physicists at University of Illinois. The devices are about 6 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 1/2 inch thick:

 

iClicker remote

 

These devices are designed to collect data instantly from a classroom full of students. Big deal, right? Well, they might actually be a pretty big deal. But before we invest heavily in them we’re going to have a few faculty try them out and measure the results.

Continue reading Clickers in the Classroom

moodle tests on hold

One of our systems administrators informed me last week that Moodle has been removed from our Mac server. She is going to find another home for it but is not sure when it will be back up. That means my plan for testing Moodle will be delayed a bit.

In the meantime we’ll spend a bit more time on iClickers!