30 September 2010

blio? more like blech!

hello, dear reader

well, great news! put away your kindles, nooks, iPads, laptops (oh, wait not your laptop), and get ready for the greatest e-book reading application ever in the history of man (woman, pet) kind . . . blio!! and the lowercase is theirs.

okay, maybe i exaggerate. actually, if you read this entire blog post, you will know how exaggerated that statement is! because if i didn't want to avoid using the lord's name in vain, i would say it was god-awful. oops. well, it's lowercase.

blio is an e-reading application created by a company called KNF-B (who already have me ticked off by making me use CAPS). blio is currently available for windows with android and iPhone/iPad apps to come (unfortunately).

the blio website says blio is "Smart enough to know that books are more than just words; there’s style, presentation, and a world of color. Blio is also intelligent enough to know all of that enhances your reading experience. That’s what you love about books." no, that's what i love about magazines. a book is papers with words on them. engaging, funny, thoughtful, provocative words. most of the books i've read since adulthood (more like 8th grade) have had more words than pictures. world of color? i think not, unless you count the cover. or my dr seuss phase.

the blio website also says that "eBooks are intended to be different…that’s why they put that little “e” in front of “book”." silly me. i thought the 'e' was for electronic, not entertaining.

the blio website says that blio will read to you, highlighting each word along the way. you can "look up words you might not be familiar with." that's great!!! now i can stop wasting time looking up words i AM familiar with.

the blio website says you can get more info on a topic by searching google or bing. isn't that why i'm reading the book? okay, now i'm just being petty.

"and more!" i didn't make that part up.

you can "write in the margins." good luck figuring out how to do that. you can take notes, add pics and web links to your notes. that's AFTER you highlight text in the book. simply want to add a note? sorry.

again, from the website: "blio wants to make reading enjoyable and easy." okay, you really can't get much easier than reading an actual physical book and enjoyment is in the hands of the reader so that's a giant FAIL. trust me, it's a FAIL.

blio has what they call "ReadLogic" - it "knows" to auto zoom or to navigate to the next logical place in the book for you to read. knock, knock. who's there? george orwell. it's 1984!

So, of course there was nothing left to do after receiving this breath-taking information than to download it. *sigh*

and download it, i did and then proceeded to look at one of the pre-loaded books. "could not connect to search server." i got that error message a few times before it finally allowed me to create an account (with a password that HAS to have a number and letter - grrr) trust me, no one will want to hack in to THIS account.

my account came preloaded with a quick start guide, a user manual (seems like they could have combined these two), two children's books and one adult book (woodstock: peace, music and memories). groovy.

i see why they thought using woodstock would be a good idea to show off the "benefits" of blio. it's got lots of color - pictures, ticket stubs, stuff like that. like a scrapbook. except it doesn't really translate that well, imho. it would look a lot better in the full-color, glossy-coated pages of a 'real' book.

the page turning - stilted. the notes sidebar, as i mentioned previously, not intuitive at all. the 3-D view doesn't make things any better. it places the book at an angle, and the pages turn like a toddler's board book. *double sigh*

the final frustration was when i hadn't yet figured out how to use the notes function. i clicked the help link for getting started and was redirected to a web page that said, wait for it . . . coming soon! WHAT?

i hope the only thing coming soon is the early demise of blio. oh, don't believe me?


happy reading . . . no matter the format (except blio). blech!

16 September 2010

i digress . . . what are kids learning today?

today i encountered two conversations between high school freshmen. two african american males (i'm not sure if race or gender matters but i'll throw it in there).

they were conversing and one of them had a t-shirt with bob marley on it. the other didn't know who bob marley was. the t-shirt wearer was horrified. he couldn't understand how someone couldn't know who bob marley was.

at that point, i recounted a conversation i had earlier that morning where a student encountered another student who didn't know who nelson mandela was. bob marley t-shirt wearer said "who's nelson mandela?" i thought he was kidding. he wasn't.

the student who didn't know who bob marley was, was horrified. how could someone not know who nelson mandela was.

funny how things happen. i told them both that they should use these as "teachable moments," or actually, "wikipedia" moments.

which led me to start to ponder what, exactly, our kids are learning about in school. are we neglecting to teach subject matter that actually "matters" because we have a test to pass or a score to keep? are we leaving people (mandela, marley) behind in order to leave no child behind. or as i have heard, leave no child's behind alone? bob marley t-shirt wearer doesn't think he ever learned of south africa, apartheid, or nelson mandela in any of his history classes in a local south carolina high school. hmmmmmm.

but, this is why i love my job. i get to see the 'aha' moments, the lightbulbs go off, the students becoming teachers simply because they are passionate about something. it made me proud to be where i am. they were all genuinely concerned about the perceived lack of consciousness of their fellow students. it is a joy to behold. i hope to be a part of many more of these moments. peace.

10 September 2010

is she still talking about iPads? oh, no she dinn't...

oh, yes she did!

happy autumn. well, almost autumn. but definitely happy back to school days. ah, the crackling in the air . . . that's brain synapses firing up after a long nap of water skiing, camping, traveling, swimming, boating, snoozing, you know, SUMMER!!

but now it's back to the grindstone for most students, especially college students. and what do my eyes see? or rather what DON'T they see? lo, and behold, NO iPads. although at my institution it has been reported that 60% of the freshman class use apple macbooks. hmmmmm...

so that led to me to wonder what's going on at other campuses around the country. it seems as though colleges and universities think this iPad is going somewhere. where's it going? home with their students. because the colleges are the ones providing it. see below:

iPad pilot launches in texas university mba program

okalahoma state to test iPad in PR and marketing courses

duke u trying out iPads for field research

so i'm wondering . . . what are the technological expectations of colleges and universities and what are they of the students and do they match up? if the iPad is not a natural extension of a student's technology suite, such as their laptop, which they probably brought with them and have used for many years, why are some universities so intent on having students use a piece of technology they wouldn't otherwise use? especially since one of the current themes on iPad usage on college campuses is . . . use it for what? what can it do? who creates the app? is there an app for that?

happy reading (there IS an app for THAT) . . . no matter the format. happy thinking, too for that matter.