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Current CITE-ings from the popular and trade computing press
Article Type: Current CITE-ings from the popular and trade computing press From: Library Hi Tech News, Volume 29, Issue 2
Not surprisingly with the very recent introduction of the third generation iPad, mobile computing continues to be in the forefront in the press and also in the minds of libraries. As our users have embraced the access of library resources and services on their smart phones and other mobile devices, libraries are looking for innovative ways to take advantage of this new medium and reach out to users the way they work. Also there is a merging of technologies that libraries need to be aware of. Will stand alone e-book readers continue to exist or will the Amazon Kindle that provides audio and video content or the new iPad with it is high-resolution become the preferred all in one devices. Netbooks may also be on the chopping block. Tablets also integrate various social networking sites and Twitter for ease of use.
Developers have highlighted the features they like best on the updates of Apple iOS 5 and Google Android 4.0. Concerning Apple iOS 5, there is a cloud API that allows users to back up data on the cloud. There is automatic referral counting that reduces memory crashes. There are storyboards that allow developers to make up many screens for an App. There is newsstand support for publishers that want to sell content. There is better airplay for audio and video streaming. There is Core Image Framework which provides nondestructive filters that can be used to manage video and still images. There is GLKit which provides developers a set of API’s to make graphics faster. There is Twitter Framework for user authentication. Finally, there is Message UI Framework which allows for text messages without changes. For Android 4.0, there is a Unified UI Framework that allows developers to write for both phones and tablets. There is a social API that allows data to be stored from multiple sites. There is a calendar API that allows calendar sources to be added to Apps. There is Visual Voicemail API to allow combining messages from different voicemail service providers. There is Android Beam that allows Apps to operate between two nearby Android devices. There is Face Unlock that uses facial recognition to unlock a device. There is Enterprise Enhancements that has a VPN that makes it easier to create Android Apps that rely on service connections. There is Hardware Accelerated 2D graphics. Finally, there is Improved media Effects that improve camera usage (Claburn, 2011).
Colleges are attempting to keep up with the student demand for mobile computing. For example, 70 percent of students at Columbus State University use their cell phones as their primary way to access and receive university information. It is recommended that colleges first start to develop a mobile web site rather than an app. Mobile apps are platform dependent. It is recommended to first try to develop mobile applications in-house first. If the budget does not allow for this, some colleges have gone for Android-based systems. There is some excitement for uMobile, which is a free open-source platform that allows colleges to use a single code base to create native apps for Android and iOS devices. It is also recommended to focus on cross-platform development. Maintenance and upgrades should also be factored into the cost (Fuhrman, 2011). Should a college require one standard device, or adopt a bring-your-own-device policy? What applications will students access, and on what platform? Will there be technical support? Many colleges are realizing that a blockbuster initial application for tablets will be textbooks (Fredette, 2011).
Students and trainers are increasingly finding webcasts of lectures to be useful. The author reviews five areas that need to be looked at before you decide on a system to extend webcasting to the tablet or phone. The quality of definition should be high. The management of workflows is important. Will it be a production workflow, a workgroup workflow, or a workplace workflow? Security, searchability, trackability, editing capabilities and report generation are all important (Laughlin, 2011).
As smartphones and tablets become more popular, netbook sales may diminish. However, netbooks have features which are good. For example, wireless access has no extra fees. They have a larger screen, and a familiar keyboard. They are very affordable. These features create a turnkey system when loaded with Windows 7. Finally, they can access the cloud (Schaffhauser, 2011).
For mobile devices and tablets, an article discusses Amazon’s strategy. The main philosophical difference between the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Apple iPad is that Apple focuses on the hardware, and Amazon focuses on the content. The content is retrieved from the Amazon inventory of books, music, TV shows, and movies. The iPad focuses on downloads. The Kindle Fire focuses on streaming from the cloud (Levy, 2011). Another article provides a brief update on the introduction of the next Kindle Fire. According to DigiTimes of Taiwan, Amazon is planning to release a Kindle Fire with 10.1-inch screens (Kolakowski, 2011).
Perenson (2012) recommends the best tablets for different purposes. For photos, music, and video, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is best. For openness and expandability, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, the Sony Tablet S, and the Toshiba Thrive are best. For battery life, the Apple iPad is best. For productivity, the Asus Pad Slider and the Lenovo ThinkPad tablet are best. Finally, according to Perenson, the iPad is best for gaming.
For a listing of the best products for 2011, go to the December 2011 edition of PCWorld. The top product was Verizon LTE. This high-speed wireless backbone totally embraced 4G by offering download times 3× faster, and upload times 5× faster than competing rivals (PCWorld Editors, 2011).
Clive Thompson in Wired Magazine gives his opinion on whether the e-book will outdo the print book. There is a new phenomenon called “print-on-demand” which allows authors to publish on paper at their local printer. The Espresso Book Machine does this. Lulu and Blurb even produce hardcover and photo books (Thompson, 2011).
Wired also makes recommendations for e-book readers. The author says do not worry about memory because even the cheapest reader can hold hundreds of books. Two main factors in choice are the size of the bookstore, and the price. The author says pick the cheapest model you are comfortable with, and just beware of flicker between pages. Surprisingly, the editor’s best pick was the Kobo Touch from Border Books that declared bankruptcy. The other top four were the Nook Simple Touch, the Sony Reader PRS-T1, and the Amazon Kindle (Carmody, 2012).
Social networking front, companies have used Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to offer deals and promotions to customers. This is called Branding Pages. Customers of Google+ have clamored for Google to offer the same service. On November 11, 2011, Google did. A feature called Direct lets users type in “ + pepsi” and Google will retrieve the brands’ profile page. Is this an opportunity for libraries to use in their outreach efforts? (Boulton, 2011). Facebook is being used to create business pages. PageModa is a third-party application that allows you to create a custom Facebook page for your business. IFrames also allows you to create a page, however you must know HTML (Woodbridge, 2011).
Cloud computing and Agile software development
For an excellent article on definitions for cloud computing, see the O’Hanlon article. It discusses thin clients, software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds (O’Hanlon, 2011).
For Enterprises, there will be a push for full automation of major IT systems. There will be a proliferation of cloud-based software and services. There will be an increase of hybrid cloud systems. There will be Exabyte-scale storage systems. Data center systems will use less electricity, and still output larger workloads. There will be a vast increase of data analytics deployments. Finally, there will be new and improved data center controls for data flow and storage (Preimesberger, 2011).
Agile software development is the process of delivering working software to business with frequent interactions. A glitch with the agile software development is that software developers are not readily communicating with or have any experience in operations. Developers overlook testing attributes such as scalability, reliability, and the ability to sustain peak load performance. Flickr, Google, and Facebook have changed their approach and now put software programs in production more frequently in smaller steps. If there is a problem, it can quickly be fixed (Babcock, 2011).
Miscellaneous hardware and software developments
An article describes some of the basics of multicasting. Unicasting is sending a multimedia stream from one source to one destination. Broadcasting is sending a stream from one destination to all destinations. Multicasting is sending a stream from one source to a group of devices. The positive of multicasting is that it saves bandwidth. The negative is that it is not supported by the internet yet. When we migrate from IP Version 4 to IP Version 6, multicasting will be available on the internet. The author concludes though whether we want to put up with spam audio and video (Hippensteel, 2012).
There are some exciting features of the next version of Windows, which may be due in about a year. The start screen is filled with tiles that have useful data. It is called Metro Style. You can run this OS from a USB device. Restart returns your PC to out-of-the-box conditions. Using refresh keeps all your user data, and removes everything else. Printers work automatically with Class Driver. Windows 8 has a better search function, which retrieves locally and from the cloud. You can also pull data from all your social networking accounts. Windows 8 provides unification across many gadgets, so you will have access to the same apps and user interfaces (Cross, 2011).
Many companies are making use of Virtual Assistants. These companies outsource and hire people overseas to do tech tasks. Four services were reviewed. They were AskSunday, BPOVIA, GetFriday, and TimeSVR. For the most part, results were disappointing (Null, 2012).
Best and worst
Some technology is becoming obsolete. On the chopping block of technology being phased out includes flip pocket camcorders, Google Labs, Verizon Unlimited Data Plan, the white MacBook, HP WebOS, Symbian, and Zune HD (Fox, 2011).
E-week reviews the best products of 2011 and picks five favorites. The top pick was Microsoft Office 365. Rounding out the top are the Apple iOS 5, VMware vSphere 5, Google+, and Fluke AirCheck. Fluke AirCheck is a tool that analyzes Wi-Fi wireless problems (Sturdevant, 2011).
Lois Trapasso(email@example.com) is an Independent Librarian based at Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, USA
Babcock, C. (2011), “Where Agile fails”, InformationWeek, November 28, p. 28
Boulton, C. (2011), “Google+ strategy vs Facebook shaping up with brand pages”, eWeek, November 21, p. 13
Carmody, T. (2012), “E-readers”, Wired Magazine, January, p. 45
Claburn, T. (2011), “iOS and Android revised”, InformationWeek, November 28, p. 35
Cross, J. (2011), “First look at Windows 8”, PCWorld, November, p. 83
Fox, S. (2011), “Tech gear that bit the digital dust”, PCWorld, December, p. 7
Fredette, M. (2011), “A prescription for tablets”, Campus Technology, December, p. 20
Fuhrman, T. (2011), “Mobile strategy, or moving target”, Campus Technology, November, p. 18
Hippensteel, P. (2012), “Multicasting: an end user primer”, AVTechnology, January, p. 21
Kolakowski, N. (2011), “Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 and 10.1 inch versions in development”, eWeek, December 5, p. 32
Laughlin, J. (2011), “Instruction to go”, AVTechnology, December, p. 16
Levy, S. (2011), “CEO of the internet”, Wired Magazine, December, p. 208
Null, C. (2012), “Virtual assistants barely helpful”, PCWorld, January, p. 27
O’Hanlon, C. (2011), “Diving into the cloud”, Campus Technology, November, p. 24
PCWorld Editors (2011), “100 best products of 2011”, PCWorld, December, p. 60
Perenson, M. (2012), “Android tablets: finally ready”, PCWorld, January, p. 56
Preimesberger, C. (2011), “IT 2012: it’s all about control of the data”, eWeek, December 5, p. 18
Schaffhauser, D. (2011), “Do netbooks have net worth?”, Campus Technology, November, p. 22
Sturdevant, C. (2011), “Top 5 new products in 2011”, eWeek, December 5, p. 14
Thompson, C. (2011), “A new hope for books”, Wired Magazine, December, p. 62
Woodbridge, K. (2011), “Make your own small business page”, PCWorld, December, p. 29