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  • The Technology Guy 17:31 on February 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    More on Blackberry, sideloading Android apps #mlearncon #blackberry 

    Well it’s been a few days since I last posted and to tell you the truth I am loving the Blackberry Z10. Today I learned how to sideload Android apps, by downloading the android version, converting the APK to BAR file and pushing it to the blackberry using command in Terminal on my MAC.

    This was a doddle to do so the whole Android app market is now my playground. Some work, some do not, but WhatsApp is working and I am a happy camper. Off to load eBay.

    So considering Blackberry but AppStore holding you back. Not any longer.

  • The Technology Guy 12:00 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    #blackberry Z10 update on calendar 

    Update. I finally solved the calendar issue with Gmail.

    Using Active sync and m.google.com I now have two way calandar working.

    This is the first post I have made to the blog from it. Typing is so much easier than the iPhone.

    Next stop apps watch this space. Still no Internet on the office

  • The Technology Guy 07:20 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ISP Issues   

    #virginmedia sort it out! How much do we rely on the web? 

    How much do you rely on the web? How much do you rely on connectivity? How much of our lives are under the control of one company, our ISP?

    Questions I have been asking since 6 am Thursday. This is when I found I had NO Internet.

    As I enter the third day of no connection and no business land line (same supplier) I begin to get nervous. 3pm Monday I have 25 people signed up for a free tutorial on Tin Can. Will I have connection by then? How many have tried to contact me by phone that I have missed. What is the cost of this failure? Can I get compensation?

    My mobile provider has a lousy signal in my house, so I have a surestream box to aid my connection by providing a private cell. It plugs into my router!!

    So why no connection. Some person digging a road hit the fibre and knocked out the whole of the east of London. Area 22. Might as well be Area 51 as it is a big secret why they can’t fix it!

    Every 6 hours as the time runs out on their update page they maintain, it moves the repair time back another few hours. 2pm Thursday became 6pm, became 10pm, became Friday 10am, 2pm, 10pm, became today, Saturday 10am. Yeh right!

    I called in frustration again (3rd time) at 6pm last night. The young lady in Bangalore informed me that my line was working fine and there had been no issues other than planned maintenance. I told her I was looking at the update page that had taken 30 mins to load on my phone with one bar of signal, it clearly shows a fault and time of fix. She told me I was wrong and must check my equipment. Funny she agreed there were notes I had called earlier about a fault. The supervisor was to call me back within 10 minutes. I am still waiting 13 hours later.

    Would you like to be fly on the wall for the conversation this morning?

    My overall point is we rely far too much on connectivity. And it’s not till we don’t have any we realise.

    It was not like this just a few years ago, where is this going? What do you have in place as a fallback? We have hundreds of servers to provide failsafes, we complain when Facebook falls over for 10 minutes but this is all hinging on a piece of fibre, the size of a hair to keep us connected. When it fails, so do we.

  • The Technology Guy 06:56 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blackberry   

    #blackberry Z10 first issues 

    3 days in to this new machine and although there is much to love there is some not to like too.

    I have a calendar issue I can’t solve. I use Gmail and I can’t write a new event. There is a Dropbox with a list of the calendars. However only Local shows not my Gmail one, even though the Gmail calendar is set as default. If you don’t choose Local the App crashes every time.

    Still confused by this I deleted the Gmail calendar and tried to reinstall only to find it reports an issue at Gmail. Will keep trying, but this is a basic functionality that Blackberry need to sort out as a matter of urgency. Quick trawl of the web found a few threads with the same issue, so not just me.

    There also appears to be no 3rd party calendar apps. I get the impression Blackberry are not allowing developers access to the PIM. So the iPhone is my calendar of choice right now. This may change of course once the Z10 releases in the USA and many people start making a bigger noise than us.

    I found a great glitch in the clock. Once open on screen there is no way to close it. Other than turning off the device!

    I spent most of yesterday looking for apps for WordPress (found) Path ( not found) News Reader ( still looking for one I like) WhatsApp (best tool I have for keeping in touch with my kids and. Not found). So many junk apps in the App Store and so many games? Hey Blackberry, for years you were the only business machine In town, it’s your competitive advantage over iPhone, have you forgotten that?

    Now I have some gripes ( not as big as my next post) but overall I still like it a lot. It’s intuitive, I love the gestures, I love the keyboard. In fact I like most things I have found but the gripes are nagging!

    So for now, my main sim is still in my iPhone.

    • Richard Nelson 08:39 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for keeping us up to date with your journey with the Z10. I guess I will either be getting another Android device or start programming some Apps for the BlackBerry.

      • The Learning Coach 09:04 on February 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        There are some posts suggesting Android apps can be converted to berry? Let you know when I find out.

  • The Technology Guy 06:48 on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blackberry Z10,   

    First 24 hours with a #Blackberry Z10 #mlearncon #lscon 

    I vowed to post my initial findings into use of the new Blackberry Z10. Not as a reviewer but a user.

    Straight out the box I was excited. The look and feel was better than I expected. Slightly wider and taller than my iPhone 5 and feels thinner. Once I got the battery in the weight is pretty good too.

    Surprised how long it took to boot up but once it did the screen is very good quality. Clear, precise, although reports suggest no Gorilla glass, so going to have to be a little careful. Considering a good quality protector as I have on the iPhone.

    So to use.

    Had all my mail, calendar and contacts set up in less than 10 mins and I was ready to go.

    Uses imap not Blackberry services anymore so mail is not always pushed unless your server does so. Gmail does not, so there is a lag in getting mail as the smallest interval is 15 mins for retrieval. I first was a little phased by this but to be honest I realised that’s a generational thing. What difference if your email gets to me 15 mins after you send it. Do you need an immediate reply? Then send a SMS or some other immediate message service.

    I compared the settings to iPhone. Actually they are the same, minimum collect 15 mins. My iPhone seems to get the mail quicker, or so I thought. Rebooting the iPhone just after the Blackberry synced reversed the timings and now the Blackberry gets mail quicker. iPhone does however retrieve mail every time you open the mail app, Blackberry does not unless you update it with a swipe and tap.

    So to swipes. Wow is all I can say.
    Took me a while to get used to which way to gesture for what and still making errors but responsive? Oh yes.

    Swipe right and you get The Hub. A feature I am going to just love. All my mail, tweets, Facebook notifications, calls, calendar entries etc in one place. Very Blackberry, very nice. The flashing led to tell you of messages has been missed by me. One glance at the phone and I don’t have to pick it up to look. I think I am going to find it hard to break the looking at phone habit we all have gained.

    Swipe left and you get a first screen of miniaturised running apps. If you are running an app swipe up and it miniaturises to this screen(s). One click and its full size click the X and it closes.

    Swipe left again and you get to your app screens. Just like the other OS’s

    Swipe down and what you get depends on where you are. From lock screen you get a clock, from apps you get settings, you can silence the phone etc from here.

    Two fingers zoom and also two fingers on screen moves around.

    In mail tap and hold brings in a toolbar from the right with all your commands.

    Usage so far pretty cool.

    Not tried BBM yet, all my ‘friends’ moved to iPhone. Anyone left?

    Facebook and Twitter are exactly the same as iPhone.

    Browser pretty good, fast and did what I expected a browser to do.

    Best touch however is the keyboard. Puts the iPhone and Android to shame. These guys got this righter than right. As you type (hit most keys first time) words appear over the keys not in a bar but right on the keys. and you just swipe them into place. Hard to explain but my best explanation is ‘delicious’. No stupid iPhone unpredictive text! Today also need to look into selecting text and placement of cursor in text. I found this difficult yesterday, it’s not the same as the iPhone so I am sure it’s just me having to work it out. I do like the iPhone magnifier when you place a cursor.

    App Store boasts 70,000 titles but a little light at this time on anything I am after. My favourite calendar Pocket Informant seems to have abandoned Blackberry, hopefully they will return, but I understand it is technically difficult or even impossible to link anything to the built in PIM at this time.

    Today I will get to grips with the Calendar and PIM in general.

    Biggest gripes of the day, Blackberry always shipped with a case. Not this one. Available from tomorrow so have had to order one. And transfer of music (not all as only 16gb on phone) took an age.

    Battery, too early to tell as was plugged in most of the day. Today it is fully charged so I will find out.

    More when I find it. But this is a real contender. If apps are as easy to write as they claim, then Blackberry are going to make it.

    Don’t forget to check out my updated site. http://www.neillasher.com

    • Guest 06:58 on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Nice, i hope you stay with the Z10 and spread the word (your family and friends) about how good it is 🙂

  • The Technology Guy 09:29 on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is Blackberry in with a chance for mLearning market #lscon 


    I have been watching closely for a while the story of RIM, now Blackberry.

    Pundits have been quick to knock the recent advert in Super Bowl but maybe, just maybe Blackberry have got this right.

    The King on the hill is Apple, without doubt, combine iPhone and iPad and it outstrips the nearest manufacturer competitor. However Android is winning the war slowly in many areas of the world from an OS perspective.

    Saying that, at the recent LT13 exhibition there was not a single Android tablet on show. ( that I saw)

    BETT was no different. I wonder what it was like in ASTD TechKnowledge?

    Along comes Blackberry after a miserable few years on the back shelf and after a horrible PlayBook with what appears to be a very nice SmartPhone.

    I was an avid Blackberry user till a few years ago, swapping as many did to iPhone. The upside was the fantastic tech and apps, the downside? I lost my keyboard. But have obviously got used to virtual. I am typing this from it. I still hate the way iPhone autocorrects. Or as I call it, unpredictive text. And I lost BBM. One other silly thing I loved and lost, the way the light blinks when there is a message.

    So what has Blackberry done that makes me think the new Z10, pronounced zee ten, is going to make them a winner.

    Well to start, price. It is cheaper than iPhone.

    Then there is what Blackberry state as a magnificent, well designed and well thought out OS. It’s been a long time in the making, they know this is the only chance.

    Then we are told that Blackberry 10 OS is the easiest to write for. This may be the key to success. Especially in the education or mLearning market.

    So today for me starts a new era. My Z10 has just been delivered (No not giving up the iPhone quite yet). I will blog it as I find it over the next while and will start to create an App. See if I get further than the one I started with iPhone.

    Info as I find it at neillasher

  • The Technology Guy 08:22 on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , emails, hide, sales   

    Post conference week. What do you do? 

    Last week saw many big conferences on both sides of the Atlantic. Learning Technologies, Learning and Skills, The Cloud and BETT were all in London. ASDT TechKnowledge in the USA.

    If you attended any of these then this week be prepared to suffer the consequences.

    Each time your badge was scanned you got added to a mailing list. Each time you walked up and down a staircase or changed shows at Olympia you were counted and became a statistic.

    Did you go home with a carrier bag full of brochures? Please tell me, what did you do with them? Are they in the recycling yet?

    This week all those who managed to grab your name will be emailing or calling. How do you filter these and take the calls worth hearing?

    For many years I worked that side of the fence, standing at the trade show trying to accumulate as many contacts as possible in two short expensive days. A couple of days after the show the data arrived. Now was follow up time. That starts today.

    Well if you as vendor are reading this be aware from the punter angle and if you attended, be aware from the vendor angle, please.

    I have been out of the office since Tuesday last week. The pile of paper on my desk this morning all needs dealing with. I have 30 important saved emails from the 400 or so that arrived that I could not deal with from my iPhone. All need to be replied or actioned by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. Do I have time to follow up with anyone other than those I already promised? Most of the other attendees are just like me.

    So here is what to expect from me.

    If I spoke to you and said ‘let’s lunch’ or you saw me put you on a list in my phone. Expect an email today or tomorrow.

    If I visited your stand and asked you for a business card, call me I will take your call or call you back if you leave a message. There are two whose card I took who can expect a call from me, I want to purchase what you had.

    I have clients who are looking and look to me to be abreast of new things and new offerings. Check out my site ‘click here’ Email mail me if I visited and you scanned my badge. If you call I will say hello but I will be honest and tell you I don’t have time today to chat.

    If you think you missed me and have something great to show me that my clients may like then email me and tell me.

    If you, like me, attended these shows then I ask you don’t ignore the people you saw. When I was on that side of the fence there was nothing worse than leaving a lot of voicemails and getting no reply or emailing as I had been asked to do to find myself just being ignored. So if you email me you will get a reply. If you call, leave not only your number but your email address. I will get back to you but probably not till later this week.

    Have fun in follow up week, those of you, you know who you are, expect my call or email.

    • The Learning Coach 08:37 on February 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Updated this about six times. iPhone WordPress app loves to mis-type. Or is it me?

  • The Technology Guy 08:55 on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lt13uk   

    #LT13UK Honest review 

    I decided unlike others to knee jerk a blog out about #lt13uk this year until I had a few days to gather some thoughts.

    The day after I attended an International Think Tank meeting hosted by the LPI and then Friday I walked the floor at BETT (another post).

    So hear I am, thoughts gathered and ready to hit the keys. (new pen to paper?)

    Three shows in one. Learning Technologies, Learning and Skills and The Cloud. Oh yes and a conference upstairs.

    Very few of them at the conference ventured down to the exhibition floor. Well excuse the pun but it was below them (two floors). The most expensive conference on the circuit and sold out. Many however spend £1000 to attend but won’t spend the same £1000 on their staff as they have no budget! That’s not me being controversial but a reality. Shame really.

    So to the exhibitions. LT first.

    First day was very busy, second not so much. First impression was that the stands were far bigger, much more self build extravagance and to be honest, to much ‘ours is bigger and better than yours’ for my liking.

    Networking around the floor was great. So many good conversations over two days. Lots of upbeat life in the market but little expecting to spend any real money on anything. Great to look to see what’s new said many. But they also said its hard to find anything new.

    Responsive web design seemed the big theme with a very limited talk of xAPI (Tin Can). Those I met were interested in seeing what I had produced in xAPI as it was not talk about it but the chance to see it. I found only two vendors with anything to show and to be honest they were not good examples. More if a replacement for SCORM. Since the show I have been asked are there any case studies I can provide. Well the spec does not release till April, so a bit early I would say for a case study of any worth. Early adoption is probably a better way to look at it.

    There was mobile mobile mobile on every stand. However, it was very clear from the vast majority of corporates that they have no mobile strategy at this time and for many it’s not on their radar! Maybe that will be the biggest change if the show has any influence on the market.

    All in all LT was a good exhibition, the stages were well attended but they were very much sales presentations. If I am honest I think there were too many stages. All back to back and very noisy.

    Onto Learning and Skills.

    Whoa, what a difference 20 yards into the red zone makes.

    The stark difference as you walked out of technology sales and into the real nitty gritty learning and training and skills world. This is what training and learning is all about, no?

    The big stands were gone, shell scheme everywhere and so many who need a lesson in how to promote themselves. Hand drawn pictures stuck poorly on the walks, messy tables, unclear statements. People in stands clicking on phones not even noticing the punters walking by. Many less people, stands closer together and it felt like you were walking the gauntlet in every isle.

    Henry at Happy Computers grabbed me and gave me a copy of his book, thanks Henry will read it this week.

    I was offered 5 types of post it notes, and lots of trainer props. Oh and of course the hotels and conference centre people all want to do you a deal.

    I am not completely sure I got this section of the show at all. It did however have the quietest coffee area and I met a number of people there to talk.

    Did it promote anything new to me about learning or teaching skills? Err no!

    Onto The Cloud

    Feet now killing me after two days I ventured down to The Cloud. I think it was the same organiser, hence you got free entry. But it really was a different exhibition.

    Down a long staircase and into the great hall of Olympia and this was a huge exhibition selling you…. The Cloud!

    I am sure there was every major exhibitor here. The theme? Data farms, data storage and app delivery from.,. You guessed it, The Cloud.

    200 exhibitors all selling me the same thing. I started asking what makes your cloud better than theirs. I got a few nerdy answers about redundancy and networks and gigabyte throughputs but I am not better informed.

    No post it notes here, but I got a couple of USB drives and free water. £2.50 a bottle upstairs.

    Then I had a realisation. Big one!

    If these people come upstairs are they going to see what I see downstairs? Loads of vendors some on huge stands looking to big to approach, all selling the same stuff?

    If you are an upstairs vendor, think about this for next year!

    Pedometer reported 10.7 miles in two days. No wonder my legs hurt!

    Lots of people to follow up conversations with next week after two interesting days at Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills.

    Next stop, Singapore for Learning World at the end of the month, then looking forward to Learning Solutions in Orlando. This for me is normally the best conference of the year. Time to start getting excited.

  • The Technology Guy 07:57 on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BETT, ,   

    My day at BETT 

    Spent all day Friday walking the exhibition at BETT and all day yesterday thinking about it.

    A new venue, coincided with LT13 and for the first time to include workplace learning.

    They called it a conference (that’s a laugh) thousands of teachers with little budget oo’ing at technology they probably can’t afford. Hundreds of kids milling around. Why?

    A few stages dotted about, crammed to the gills with people trying to hear over the exhibition noise and about 1000 exhibitors trying to force their brochure in your hand. Everyone with multiple huge carrier bags full of them. I wonder how much ends up in the recycling by the end if this weekend!

    There has to be a better design.

    No roadmap to find your way around, no logical layout of the hall, no real colour scheme and a lousy map. I thought the iPhone app was cool till I tried to use it on site.

    They set out the hall supposedly in areas but with little signage, I was, according to my badge, part of ‘workplace learning’ took me 4 goes round and I found something called workplace learning lounge. It was full of teachers eating their packed lunch. Not another workplace badge in sight. My pedometer reported 3 miles by the time I left.

    Were there specific workplace vendors? If so I missed that entirely.

    Networking was non existent. I had two conversations with vendors. One with the coolest overhead projector I ever saw making an Elmo look like a monster from an older era, I can’t wait to order one. And, a conversation with a guy with some animation software. Problem you would need a year to make a 10 minute animation.

    I had a further two conversations with attendees who were willing to chat none who was confused like me and another when I stopped for an overpriced tasteless bagel. He was from Eastern Europe and was surprised that everything was video technology.

    Lots to learn from this shambolic ‘conference’.

    Maybe they will hire me to make it a real conference next year.

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