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Google Glass – The demise

In some ways it seems Google have read our last blog post and agreed!

It seems there is actually no use for Google Glass in its current form and Google have acknowledged it by discontinuing the explorer programme.

I stand my comments in the previous blog post that Glass does have a use – but maybe Google are right that it needs to be worked on further behind closed doors without the pressure of deadlines and Glass Explorers.

Hopefully Google will recognise us dedicated Glass explorers in the future and find a way to allow us to recoup the £1000 we invested in the product!

Finger Painting

Photo courtesy of Mike Licht
As a child did you ever do any finger painting. I used to love it. The end results were never much good (though my mum thought they were brilliant!) but the mess I was allowed to make was great.

Another great artist, David Hockney, has been creating art work, first on his iPhone and then, more recently, on his iPad. Here’s what he said about painting on his iPhone,

“People from the village come up to me and tease me, ‘We hear you’ve started drawing on your telephone.’ And I tell them, ‘Well, no, actually, it’s just occasionally I speak on my sketch pad.’ Who would ever have thought that the telephone would bring back drawing. I like to draw flowers by hand on the iPhone and send them out to friends so that they get fresh flowers. And my flowers last! They never die!” 

What a thought – imagine being sent an original David Hockney on your iPhone! Another  favourite  David Hockney quote is,

“I have got an iPad, what a joy! Van Gogh would have loved it, and he could have written his letters on it as well.”

The following video gives a whole new meaning to the idea of  ‘finger painting’. It is a wonderful example of how the latest technology can be used to create some brilliant art work. This is by an artist called Kyle Lambert, using an iPad.

For more great pictures have a look at ‘Orphaned Stories’ by Matthew Watkins or the work of Shaun Mullen
While David Hockney and other creative people are embracing technology, our educational leaders are still debating its place in our schools, still arguing whether or not it promotes learning. While artists use their mobile phones to create works of art, our schools are banning them! Why are we getting it so wrong!

What do you think? Please let us know.

Charities Given the Opportunity to Win a Free Mobile App

Footsqueek are giving Charities, Sports Teams and Good Causes the opportunity to win a free mobile smart phone app during July and August 2011.

There are now more than 500,000 apps in the apple app store (Apple, 2011) with more than 1 billion mobile app downloads in the week leading up to Christmas 2011.

Mobile apps can be used to provide a key communication tool which is particularly useful to membership led organisations but the cost if often prohibitive meaning that organisations are not able to take advantage of the resource.

Anyone interested in entering the competition should like the FaceBook page where details of how to enter will be published on Monday 9th July 2012.

Steve Westgarth (Managing Director) said “Mobile apps are becoming more prevalent in everyday life however good causes often miss out because they don’t have the financial resources to commit to the development cost.Footsqueek hopes to demonstrate that a mobile app can be of huge benefit to smaller organisations by building a free app for a local good cause.”

E-learning in the 21st century

The term e-learning is possibly one of the most overused phrases in education. In recent weeks we have been having several conversations with educationalists about the term; what has been surprising is the range of views we have encountered as to what e-learning actually is.
One superficial answer that is often given is that e-learning is our “Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)”. Scratch below the surface and very quickly it becomes apparent that in many instances all the VLE is used for is a document sharing repository where students can access PowerPoint slides or worksheets that have been used as part of an in class exercise.
I have received many odd looks when I have then asked “what part of your students learning takes place online?” The answer is inevitably centred around providing easy access to materials from any location, which, is clearly important but to my mind is a very small part of the e-learning picture and something that can easily be achieved without the investment in a fully deployed e-learning platform; after all even open source platforms such as Moodle need to be supported by a team of technicians which is inevitably costly.
E-learning in its truest form was originally pioneered by organisations such as Learn Direct. These providers delivered content solely in an online format where students were required to logon and follow the on screen instructions. The model worked well but inevitably many users had difficulty and as a result a number of “Learn Direct” centres were set up where users could go to learn “online” in a supported environment. This style of teaching can certainly be classified “e-learning” but in many ways current delivery methods seem to have regressed in favour of simply sharing documents.
To my mind e-learning is only beneficial if a student is able to get something from the electronic medium that they would not get through face to face contact. A good example is the use of a Twitter Wall presented using a website such as By using this technology the educator is able to get live feedback from students during a presentation, and the feedback can be shared amongst participants. The use of this technology does not require a “VLE” and as a result purists may argue that this is therefore not “e-learning” – I, however, would suggest that using tools such as this in a supported environment is e-learning in one of its most advanced formats.
A recent experiment was undertaken by a module leader at the University of Chester where a series of seminars were delivered entirely using FaceBook as a delivery medium. Students participated in discussion activities, skype calls and made extensive use of the chat function. Clearly document sharing was required element of the delivery but it was a relatively small part of the package.
As a result of innovations such as this it is evident that visionary educators are exploring alternative means of e content delivery which can be used to deliver distance learning or to enhance a blended learning approach – the industry does have to overcome a damaging misconception that seems to have become embedded into education that if the organisation has a VLE then without any further effort the organisation is allowing students to learn online.
Technology is moving at such a rapid pace that e-learning strategies that have not fully evolved are already being superseded.

iPad 3 – Are we going to see a new iPad in March?

Speculation is rife across the internet concerning the imminent launch of the apple iPad 3. This week the rumour mill went into overdrive as it was reported by several technology sites (including AllThingsD and iMore) that the new device will be launched on March 7th 2012.
Many questions surround the launch, not least what will the new product be called – will the market stand the release of an iPad 2s? Or is consumer demand focussed on accepting nothing less than a true next generation iPad 3?
Another key concern is that the iPad 2 has only been on the market for 12 months. It is surely unlikely that early adopters of iPad 2 will be willing to upgrade so quickly – perhaps, however, iPad 2 users are not the target market. I adopted the iPad original in September 2010 having waited first to see what all the hype was about. I decided last March I simply couldn’t justify an upgrade – does this make me the perfect iPad 3 candidate? I guess the answer is am I going to buy one? The answer is obvious – YES.
There are many reasons for my decision …
Firstly I am the only iPad user that I know without a camera. I originally thought I didn’t need one but in only a few short months I have come to realise that the iPad camera is more than just a gadget. The ability to make skype calls on the move has over the past year become a critical requirement and in my view the iPhone screen is simply too small to use all of the features available during video calls.
Another key reason is that I am desperate for a better battery life. The iPad original simply cannot stand the levels of usage that I require without having to be charged midway through the afternoon. The rumours that iPad 3 will be thicker than iPad 2 to accommodate a better battery life don’t concern me, I’d much rather have a device that works all day.
The rumoured better screen resolution as a result of the ‘Retina’ display, faster A6 quad core processor, increased 128Mb memory, and the fact that the device will be 4G ready, also clearly have an impact on my wanting the latest device. I am, however, still concerned that Apple will in 12 months-time release another iPad that will make iPad 3 old news.
I’m not sure an iPad upgrade every 12-24 months  can be justified or be sustainable, simply because I don’t know what else I want the device to do. Yes, iPad is useful in my everyday life and has changed the way I think about tablet computing but a part of me wonders how much more my viewpoint can be stretched before I am simply happy with the revolutionary device that fits my everyday need.
Despite this view Apple historically have a tendancy to reinvent the way consumers think about technology. I won’t be surprised when the next feature becomes a core part of my life even though as yet I don’t even know what that feature is!

iPhone 4s – Is It worth it?

If, like me, you’ve religiously following the iPhone craze since the beginning you too were probably very disappointed when Apple announced last year that they were launching the iPhone 4s and not the iPhone 5.

This decision certainly led me to question whether upgrading from the iPhone 4 to the 4s was worth the time, effort and expense. So much of the decision seemed to rest upon the timescale for the release of the next version of the iPhone …. at least that was my first thought.

iOS 5 released a wealth of new features, many incredibly useful, the new notification centre, the reminders app and Find my friends to name but a few. Initially I thought I had effectively all of the 4s features on my iPhone 4 but then, as people around me started to get the 4s I very quickly found myself craving what I origionally thought was a novelty – I really wanted Siri!

When I first heard about the concept I wasn’t excited, I didn’t see the point of being able to ask my phone to do things, but as I started to see demonstrations of the ease with which the phone could interpret natural language I started to feel that the technology had a natural place in my life.

Earlier today I took the plunge! having wrestled with myself for 4 months I decided I couldn’t do without it any longer. I’ve spent the whole evening playing with Siri and entertaining myself by asking it to find information, set reminders, send text messages and more.

For me the technology is incredibly exciting, not just because of what it can do now but because of the potential it has in the future. The accuracy of the voice regognition is so good that it’s not an unrealistic proposition that it could be extended to simply transcribe what is being said around me, in meetings, on the bus and on the move. The GPS tagging feature could even be used to geotag transcribed voice notes and automatically set reminders to follow up on meeting actions. In many ways this seems to be the beginning of a resolution where computers actually understand and interpret what we want or ask them to do without us taking explicit action!

To return to my initial question, is it worth it? I guess for me it depends if you like useful gadgets. I like new gadgets as long as they are useful. For what it’s cost I think Apple are once again going to have an impact on my life that will change the way I do things and as such I believe iPhone 4s to be worth every penny!

Welcome to the Footsqueek Blog

Hello and welcome to the Footsqueek Blog! This is Footsqueeks main blog where you will find random musings about Mobile App Development, the Internet and other interesting things. This is very much an open blog so feel free to contribute, ask questions and discuss yours ideas.

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