Taking Instead of Sharing and Then Taking Off

It’s Saturday morning and my favourite movie “The Alamo” is on television.  Every time I watch the movie, I think of San Antonio, my tours of the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and all things I know about Texas.  Then, it hit me.  I had another Texas connection in the hopper.

I had read Miguel Guhlin’s post “Collect Student Work Easily – Setup Your #iPad as a WebDav Server” on Zite but I hadn’t actually tried it myself.  Whenever I read something inspirational like that, I do try it to see if it works as easily as the post says.

Up goes the laptop and I’m off to read his post.  Essentially, it required a couple of downloads.

  1. Documents by Readdle as the host for the teacher iPad;
  2. WebDAV Navigator for the student’s iPads.

OK, first problem.  That would require more than one iPad to experiment.  That’s a luxury that I don’t have here at dougpete labs.

I know – I’ll use my old iPod instead.

Second problem.  The operative word is “old”.  So old, in fact, that it’s not capable of running a current version of iOS to run the Navigator client.  Rats.

Well, maybe there’s another application in the App Store that will run on an older version.  Nope.  Nope.  No go.  Finally, I find DAV-E.  It likes my old iPod!

A quick setup on the host iPad and I’m ready to test the connection.  Voila!  It’s very fast and I’m browsing the host iPad very nicely.  I try to do a number of things and DAV-E wants me to make a purchase to a module to make it happen.  I’m just doing a proof of concept and so resist the urge.

Now, I should be able to connect my computer to the iPad.  “Go”, “Connect to Server”, enter the login credentials and I’m there browsing my iPad.  Very nice!

I head over to the Google Play store to install a WebDAV browser there.  WebDAV Nav Lite is a quick download and configuration away.  Connect and go!

This is really slick.  I would normally have used a third party for file transfer between devices – typically Dropbox but Miguel’s insights has streamlined that process.

In addition, Documents by Readdle is also a file browser and internet browser.  I’m going to have a great deal of fun playing around with this and seeing just what I’m able to do with it.

The original post was a fabulous launchpad for me and my explorations!  Thanks so much for the post, Miguel.  If you haven’t read the post, scroll back to the top and read his post completely.  Try it and you’ll agree – it’s a keeper.

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Haiku Deck for iPad Presentations

I could have used this last week for my presentation in Sudbury.  There was a time when I was planning to switch between my presentation and an application I wanted to demonstrate on the iPad.  As it turns out, my only option was to physically move the VGA out connector between the devices.  I elected not to do that given the time constraints.  But Haiku Deck for the iPad would have been perfect.

I’ve got to state right from the beginning here that my friend Andy Forgrave dropped the ball on this.  He’s the master of the Haiku on Twitter and I would have thought that he’d be all over an application with a name like this!  We share everything.  In fact, if you search for “dougpete”, you’ll get this image.


Haiku Deck is a great utility for creating and displaying a presentation – all from your iPad.  (with the ability to synch to a website for other functionality)

The process for creating a presentation is a snap.  You’ll create an account on your iPad and you’re ready to create your first presentation.  Select a theme and away you go.

For this post, I thought I would create a short presentation highlighting the three “most popular” posts from this blog for the past month.  I grabbed my theme and was ready to go.  I was immediately impressed with what was NOT there.  There was no easy way to do bullet points and no way to throw in gratuitous slide transitions.  In other words, it’s the presentation package that lives and breathes what we want in a tool for students.  It’s all about the communication; not the slideshow.

How’s that for a thoughtful first slide for my presentation?  I’m even wearing my thoughtful shirt.  I think Andy even took that picture.

Here are the actual posts.  I used different layouts for each slide just to demo things.

Haiku Deck even puts a closing slide onto your presentation for you.

OK, how about creating the screens.  Like other presentation tools, you’ll choose a particular theme.

In addition to the free themes above, there are others available for a price.

Editing a slide is a piece of cake.  You choose the slide to edit and you’ll notice the three options on the left side of the screen below.  Tt lets you enter the text for the slide, the image option lets you bring in pictures, and the green layout option lets you choose where your text appears on the slide.

Haiku Deck is designed to be very visual in the design of your presentation and it shows when you’re choosing an image.  There’s an option to enter search keys, or to tap on a word that you’ve already entered on the slide.  The camera browses the Photo Gallery on your iPod or from a nice choice of other locations.

In my case, I went to the blog posts that I’m referring to and shot the images up to my Dropbox account.  It was a snap to bring them into the slides for the presentation.

It didn’t take long and I was done.  (Of course, it was a short presentation…)  Connect the iPad to a projector and away you go!  Use a finger swipe to move through each slide.  Had I used this package and wanted to demonstrate an application, it would just be a matter of a three finger gesture and select the application needed.  No more cabling swapping.

Meanwhile, back on the web, I’m able to log into Haikudeck.com to do some neat things.  My presentation appears in “My Gallery” where I could add speaker notes or even play through the presentation.  There are options to share and even embed the presentation where it’s available or include a link.


I’m so impressed with the product.  If the opportunity presents itself, I can see using this as a regular presentation package.  Imagine just walking up to a data projector with your iPad instead of lugging out a computer and getting it connected.  In the classroom, I like the fact that it doesn’t have all the annoyances that you’ll find in some of the big expensive products.  It turns the focus back on the student to become a communicator and not a reader of bullets.

It’s free; grab it and add it to your set of tools.  I’m sure that you’ll be glad that you did.

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Less Love for the iPod

My explorations with iOS4.2 continue yesterday. On the iPad, it’s really awesome and makes such a difference. The biggest thing that I’m so appreciative of is the ability to put things into folders. Now, instead of scrolling through pages and pages of apps, they’re nicely organized by categories. I just have to remember where I put them! Even with the frustration of the multiple pages, I did have a sense of where a particular application might be.

The multitasking (which is more like task switching) is OK but will take some computing style changes before it because a natural habit.

The same love doesn’t apply to my iPod though.

I did the same upgrade there and expected to find some new device using experience. It’s not there. My iPod is my portable connection but didn’t seem to reap the same overall improvements.

I had noticed a couple of things yesterday. First of all, for the first time, it would randomly drop the wireless connection. The first time, I was prepared to call it a fluke but it happened again in an area where none of the other connected devices had a problem.

Secondly, battery life seems to have gone right down hill. I could go for days with my use of the device. Not so now. I had to charge it twice yesterday. Now, I’m also ready to admit that I was probably using it more than I would normally but that’s still an unexpected turn of events.

Then, late yesterday, I received a message from a friend wanting to know if the multitasking worked on the iPod. It’s not something that I do regularly but I just gave it a shot and sure enough, the answer is no.

Now, I’m willing to admit that it’s something that I’ve done wrong – I’m always the first person that I blame when something goes wrong. But, I turned to the legions on the internet that will be working with the product as well. Somehow, it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only person who is experiencing these things. I’m sure that Apple is listening and monitoring as well. Hopefully, there will be an update pushed out to resolve these issues. If not, I really can see myself rolling back the operating system to a more functional level for me.

As always, if you’ve got a solution for me that works, I’d really like to hear it!

What’s on my iPod

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I no longer have to be a closet iPod Touch user.  The kids found theirs under the tree and are now busy tapping away on their own.  Me too, now openly at home.  Pre-Christmas, I was only using it outside of the house.  I decided to come forth and share what’s on my iPod and let blog readers tell me what’s good and what I need to add to the suite of applications that I’m using.

While the basic premise is still the same (it’s a great music and video playing device), this new device runs applications.  These applications are very high quality and raise portable productivity to a new level.

So, here’s what’s on my iPod.  Let me know what I’m missing.

Screen 1
For the most part, there are the standard applications that come with the iPod.  I had installed Earthscape as a world browser before the Google Earth application became available.  It’s still there and I find that there’s a lot of functionality to it that I really enjoy, including the picture overlays.  In the bar at the bottom are the four applications that I use all the time.  Music and Videos come with the iPod.  Twittelator is my connection to Twitter.  It’s got everything that I do on the service and was a welcome purchase for me.  The Facebook application lets me update things on Facebook and informs me of notifications.  If I could only play Bowling Buddies, I’d be ecstatic!

Screen 2
Then, we get into some of the productivity tools.  FreePing allows me to manage wireless internet.  iGCT is a buddy for my hobby of Geocaching.  If you’re a Canadian coffee drinker, you need to know how to get to the closest Tim Horton’s for a refill.  Interestingly, the third closest store is only 9km away but is estimated to take 75 minutes.  Why?  I have to drive north to Windsor, cross to the USA through Detroit and then head south to Trenton.  The WordPress application gives me access to my blog and I can create entries here.  Typically, I use it as a scratchpad, upload a sketch to WordPress and then log on with a full computer to tidy it up.  MiGhtyDocs gives me access to my Google Docs, a handy feature.  MobileZodiac helds me decide whether or not to get out of bed.  I use my Delicious account a great deal and have quick access to my stored sites.  WorldWiki is terrific for research when watching the news.  Flashlight – Actually used it to find something on the floor in the dark one night.  NotepadSync is a quick and easy way to synchronize notes from the iPod to my computer and back.  Finally, the Calculator is awesome.  It looks like and works like my old HP RPN calculator.  You can’t beat a good RPN calculator if you’re a mathematics geek.  None of that algebraic stuff for me.

Screen 3
Cooliris is everywhere for me.  It’s 3D wall display and Internet image search functionality are second to none.  Wikipanion is a quick and easy interface to resources on the Wikipedia.  Google Earth – the popular mapping program comes to the iPod.  Like everyone, first thing I did was check out my back yard.  And, finally, the free version of Twittelator.  It’s a great app and I demo it to folks as a free way to get into Twitter but personally use the Pro version.

Screen 4
Finally, you can’t have one of these devices without a few diversions.  The Boy told me about iPint, a promotional application from Carling.  Even though I can’t use Bowling Buddies from Facebook, I can use iBowl.  It’s a perfect reason to get an aisle seat on a plane but you do look a little silly.  iSlots is an intriguing gambling simulation.  I am a real fan of Mahjongg and so Moonlight Lite is a terrific time killer.  Poppin’ demonstrates that you can actually touch the screen and make simulated bubble wrap pop.  Untangle is an interesting puzzle to solve, as is Fuzzle.  Who knew that you could double in and play Darts on an iPod.  Yep.  JellyCar defies explanation and it’s a simulation that draws you into the application.  Lightsaber is a fun little app to duke it out with the kids.  PenguinLite tests you sense of travel and gravity.  SporeLE brings the popular life simulation to the iPod.  Finally, I have ongoing challenges with word games with my girls.  I practice with WordWhirl and Word Warp.  They still beat me though.

So, that’s what I’m carrying around on my iPod.  Suggestions for more entertainment and productivity are welcome.

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Social Media for Personal Safety

There are lots of great stories demonstrating the power and the use of social media.  However, this one has to be right up near the top.

It originally was posted in April of this year.


It’s the story of how a student in Egypt was arrested covering a protest.  On the way to the police station, the student twittered a single word – “arrested” which was enough to start the ball rolling and alert his friends who were also on Twitter, monitoring the updates.  The story is an interesting read.

Unless you don’t watch police television shows, you probably have not been exposed to the solution of the crime by triangulating someone’s position from cell phone towers.

Chances are, you are carrying a device that identifies your current location.  If you go into your advanced settings on your GPS unit, you’ll see the satellites that enable the device to know where you are and suggest driving directions.

With your iPhone or iPod Touch, just how does a “Timmy Me” application work?  You got it.  Through a connection, you’re mashed into a mapping application that lets you know where you need to go to get your next fill up.  Most Twitter applications for the iPhone or iPod will even allow you to tweet out your current location.

Now, none of this will save your bacon better than not getting into trouble in the first place.  However, it’s worthy of knowing just how your device works and determine how you can tell others where you are.

You just might run out of gas somewhere and your connected device is your lifeline.

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