Thursday, May 31, 2012

Find: textbooks, ereaders, and technology in class

Class is less about receiving information, more about connections and application. 

Future U: The stubborn persistence of textbooks

Future U is a multipart series on the university of the 21st century. We will be investigating the possible future of the textbook, the technological development of libraries, how tech may change the role of the professor, and the future role of technology in museums, research parks, and university-allied institutions of all kinds.

Future U

  • Future U: Classroom tech doesn't mean handing out tablets
  • Textbooks are a thing of the past, says the common wisdom. Well, the common wisdom of the Technorati maybe. The problem with that thinking is that the number one publisher in the world is Pearson, a textbook publisher, who brought in $7.75 billion in 2009.

    Pearson, as Tim Carmody noted in a January Wired article, owns 50 percent of the Financial Times, as well as the number two trade house: Penguin. The second largest textbook publisher, McGraw-Hill, owns Standard and Poor’s. To say textbooks are big business is like saying bullets are ouchie.

    So writing the obituary for textbooks would be putting the cart before the horse. But pretending like they are not changing their shape, if not their nature, is to proclaim, from one's buggy, that automobiles are a passing fad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Find: Mozilla Webmaker wants to help people learn to code by working together

The Verge - All Posts
Mozilla Coding Party

Remember last week, when we told you to learn to code? Mozilla agrees, and it's launching an effort to make that process easier for everyone. Mozilla Webmaker is a new project meant to "help the world make the web" with the aid of major partners like Tumblr, Creative Commons, and the San Francisco Public Library. If you want to learn coding or markup, of course, there's no shortage of options already, and Webmaker looks like it will be a sort of umbrella project, gathering some of the tools Mozilla has already made, posting new ones, and organizing collaborative events.

So far, the biggest concrete goal for the project is the Summer Code Party, which will help local organizations like clubs and libraries host meetings and keep would-be...

Find: Google continues its investment in design

The Verge - All Posts
T-Mobile G1

Amidst the news that Google's acquisition of Motorola was finally complete was another, smaller purchase — Google just bought design firm Mike and Maaike, a husband-and-wife creative team behind the design of the original T-Mobile G1. Of course, this device was Google's Nexus phone before there even was a Nexus program — it was the first handset to run Android. The G1 isn't the only iconic product Mike and Maaike has developed; they're also responsible for an earlier, portrait QWERTY Android prototype that never saw the light of day, Xbox 360 as well as a wide variety of other striking products. It's not yet clear what kind of work Mike and Maaike will be doing with Google, but we wouldn't mind seeing them take their skills to some...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Find: GitHub for Windows takes the pain out of using git

Also, for osx, and on microsoft's codeplex. 

Ars Technica

GitHub uses the git distributed version control system originally created by Linus Torvalds to help manage Linux's development as its backbone. It provides project hosting, bug tracking, and more, all wrapped up in a powerful Web interface. GitHub's most important feature is perhaps its trivial ability to fork projects. It takes just a few clicks to create your own version of a project to hack on and develop. Thanks to these features, GitHub has become the go-to place for collaborative open source software development. It's the home of projects such as Ruby on Rails and Node.js.

However, one developer community has found GitHub harder to use than others. Though the situation has improved, git and Windows are not the best of friends. After all, git was developed for Linux; Windows isn't anything like Linux. But that's where GitHub's new application, GitHub for Windows, comes in. GitHub for Windows provides a simple way to install and start using git on Windows, along with neat integration with GitHub's hosting and forking infrastructure.

The application, released on Monday, is an attractive, Metro-styled application. In addition to the GitHub for Windows application itself, it includes a self-contained version of git, the bash command-line shell, and the posh-git extension for PowerShell. You don't even have to manage any of these individual pieces yourself. The application uses a ClickOnce installer so it keeps all the bits and pieces up-to-date automatically.

Find: What's responsive Web design all about?

Ars Technica
The website for Washington's Sasquatch Music Festival responds automatically to the width of the browser's window.

When you consider how many different tablets, laptops, Web browsers, and operating systems access the Internet on a day-to-day basis, it's a small miracle that Web designers and developers manage to stay sane. There are, of course, Web standards and entire organizations that exist for the sole purpose of making sure the Internet you see is generally the same Internet that everyone else sees. But the sheer number of devices can pose a bit of a problem when you're attempting to create a site or service that works well for the masses.

In the past, a developer or designer might code a different site for desktop and mobile users, often with some or all of the same functionality. For the most part, in fact, this is still how things are done today. But in some cases, that's beginning to change. A relatively new technique called "responsive design" has been gaining traction over the past few years, and it's promising to change the way we code and interact with the Internet on devices of all shapes and sizes.

Responsive Web design, as the name implies, is a style of Web development where content responds to the device on which it is being rendered. So, while a website viewed from within a traditional desktop browser might be rendered one way, a tablet or smartphone browser will be smart enough to render that same code in a different way—one that takes into account the size and resolution of a smaller screen. Text is reflowed, navigation is simplified, and images are shrunk, or even hidden entirely, and the code to do it all needs only be written once.