Apple gadgets more difficult for PC users

Friday, December 14. 2007

Here's an interesting story. 

It explains what I've been saying all along--Apple computers are easier to use, but since we are all so familiar with Windows, the learning curve is a little challenging.  

Apple gadgets more difficult for PC users

Thousands of consumers hoping to enjoy music, photos, and movies with Apple gadgets they receive this holiday season may need to learn some basic skills
before diving right into the devices. Dave Taylor, a SupportSpace
Committee member specializing in Mac as well as handheld technologies
says the jump is even more difficult for most PC users. "Apple's iPhone
and the latest generation of iPods have delivered enormous power and
simplicity to the average consumer, but the technology is still
complicated and usability is not 100% intuitive, especially for Windows
users," he said.

"The key for holiday shoppers who want to
avoid holiday frustration is to gain key bits of knowledge so they can
enjoy their fabulous new tech toys."

SupportSpace CEO Yair Grindlinger says consumers need to quickly
get the right answers to their questions, and that speedy aid is
especially important during the holiday season when people would rather
enjoy the technology than becoming frustrated by it.

The company is offering a list of tips for Windows users hoping to
receive an Apple iPhone or iPod to help soften the learning curve,
focusing specifically on the unseen obstacles most users will face:

  • Audio files are in different formats:
    Apple iPods prefer MP3 formatted music, but Windows systems default to
    Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. Windows users who have a library of
    music will need to convert the files from WMA to MP3.

  • Windows Media Player and Apple's iTunes compete for digital files:
    Users manage all content through Apple's Windows software application
    iTunes. Without it, copying music on to an iPod or iPhone is not
    possible, and if iTunes and Windows Media player "compete" for the
    data, users are in for hours of frustration. Once users learn to use
    iTunes, which they must install on their computer to get the iPod or
    iPhone to work properly, they can then manage audio and video content
    on their computer and have it automatically sync with their handheld

  • Adding movie files is complicated by digital rights management and different formats:
    The constraining digital rights management policy of iTunes software
    and different video file formats can be difficult to work around and

  • Loading photos is not Plug and Play: For
    Windows users, managing photos can be difficult because there is no
    default photo application for Windows that is tightly integrated into
    iTunes. For Mac OS X users, iPhoto and iMovie functionality is
    seamlessly integrated into iTunes.

SupportSpace is also offering general tips for iPhone and iPod Windows users:

  • Be sure to download the latest iTunes software from Apple: Particularly for Windows Vista users, it is critical to install the latest version of iTunes (Version 7.2 or later).

  • Rip audio CDs in the proper format: Use
    iTunes to burn audio CD's, or if users want to use Windows Media
    Player, they must change its settings to create MP3 files, not WMA

  • Understand issues about copying DVD movies to iPods and iPhones:
    Going to the iTunes Store to repurchase and download movies already
    owned on DVD is the legal way of getting the content onto iPods and
    iPhones. Copying DVD movies onto the iPod or iPhone is not legal, but
    can be done easily by purchasing third-party software that circumvents
    DVD encoding systems. Users should understand the associated copyright
    issues and proceed thoughtfully.

  • Carefully manage content between multiple computers:
    iPods and iPhones "pair" to a single computer and will not allow users
    to copy digital content purchased at the iTunes store between multiple
    computers. It is important users carefully think through which of their
    computers should be paired with the device and "de-authorize" computers
    that won't be used any longer.


Wednesday, December 12. 2007

There are a lot of new words and concepts surrounding New Media, and it's easy to get lost in this new language.  Wired, the world's coolest magazine, offers a Geekipedia to help keep us geeks in the know.  

Just for Fun

Tuesday, December 11. 2007

This is not the latest blog entry... see below (Is it REALLY Stealing?).  

However, I thought some of you might like this.  In an era of life-like graphics, sometimes it's refreshing to return to simple games.  The following link is for a site that encourages programmers to design simple games. Interested in playing them? These ones are free to download for Windows. 

Is it REALLY stealing?

Monday, December 10. 2007

I found a lot of the comments on the last blog interesting. Many of you thought that downloading music from a site such as LimeWire is perfectly okay, even if you don't pay for it. (Of course, many smaller bands do offer free downloads from their sites, in hopes that, if you like what you hear, you'll eventually buy the whole CD.  So yes, there ARE legal ways to download free music.)

But many people are like "kids in a candy store," and download most of their music without paying for it. Based on our class discussion on Monday, the following article, and from your own experience, answer this question: (Your response should be in paragraph form, in complete sentences, and in Standard English.)

If you created something--whether a work of art, a book, music, discovered a breakthrough medical cure, design for a new electronic device... whatever--would you expect to be paid for your work? What if your work were easily shared by people who did not help to create this "new thing"? Would you demand payment? Are there any laws in place to protect artist or inventors?

RIAA Tells Students: Pay Up for Downloads

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) -- The music industry is asking 50 Ohio University students to pay $3,000 each to avoid lawsuits accusing them of pirating songs off the Internet.

The Recording Industry Association of America asked the university to pass along letters to the students with Internet addresses accused of being involved with the illegal sharing of copyrighted music. The university notified the students on Monday.
"The downloading has occurred and we can't change that, but we can let them know what their options are," OU spokeswoman Sally Linder said Wednesday.

Patrick McGee, a local attorney the university arranged to meet with students, said $3,000 is the standard offer though cases have settled for as much as $5,000. He has represented four Ohio University students in file-sharing lawsuits.

Jenni Engebretsen, spokeswoman for the trade group, based in Washington, D.C., would not disclose or confirm what the standard settlement offer is. She did say no cases have gone to trial yet across the country.

As part of its ongoing copyright crackdown, the association has already sued about 18,000 computer users nationwide since September 2003. The figure includes 1,062 computer users at 130 universities.

The association said last month that it intended to sue more students and others on campuses in the next three months than it has in the past three years and that it would send 400 letters a month to computer users suspected of copyright infringement.

Letters were sent to 13 universities last week, giving students 20 days to pay a settlement.

A letter to one Ohio University student told her that she distributed 787 audio files, putting her total minimum potential liability at more than $590,000. The minimum damages under the law is $750 for each copyright recording that had been shared, the letter said.

Many students cannot even afford the $3,000, McGee said. "I think the record company is smart enough to know that a lot of students do not have the money," he said. "They can't actually take them up on the offer."

© 2007 The Associated Press.

Are you a native?

Monday, December 3. 2007

Welcome to New Media Design for Trimester 2!!!

I want to get to know you, especially, how you interact with technology in your life.  After reading the following article, answer the questions at the bottom of this blog post.  Remember to sound smart!

Millennials' lead the wired life

New generation 'digital natives in a land of digital


By Athima Chansanchai

MSNBC contributor

Updated: 12:30 p.m. PT Sept
5, 2006

When they were babies,
compact discs were phasing out audio cassettes. When they hit pre-school, the
Internet came into widespread use. In elementary school, they learned how to
surf that ‘Net while vying for the high scores in video games and watching
Disney on DVD. In middle school, pagers and PC’s were part of daily life. In
high school, cell phones with organizers, instant messaging and cameras were in
every classroom.

In college, they can
order books online, bring laptops to class and IM friends while on study breaks
in the library.

This generation of
students is as comfortable with computer screens as the pages of their
textbooks — if not more so. As they go back to school, they’ll continue the
seamless integration of technology into their lives.

They’re known as
Millennials — young adults whose gadgets are like appendages to them. They
can’t imagine life without their cell phones, iPods, computers and being
online. As the Pew Internet & American Life Project astutely observed, they
are “digital natives in a land of digital immigrants.”

One such native,
Samantha Wachtel, 17, a senior at Tamalpais
High School in Marin County, Calif.
does two things when she gets up every morning: checks her pink Razr for missed
calls while she slept and she turns on her Dell computer. Before she leaves the
house for school, she checks e-mail, MySpace, listens to iTunes, instant
messages her friends and sometimes just surfs the Web via Google.

At school, she is
enrolled in the two-year film-based Academy
of Integrated Humanities

an New Media (AIM) program for juniors and seniors. It integrates three subjects
— English, social studies and computer applications. Each year, AIM has a
certain theme that students follow in each of the three classes. Each student
in the program draws from these classes to make documentaries.

“This generation is
really about expressing themselves — ‘me media’ — where they get to connect and
do it themselves,” said Caitlin McBride of Fresh Films, a sponsored
organization that allows high school students in certain cities to compete to
make films in a week.

The road to Wachtel’s
tech savviness began almost from the moment she came into the world.

She can’t really
remember audio cassettes, going right into CD’s as a child. VHS tapes and
players quickly became replaced by DVD’s. She grew up using computers,
recalling how even as a child she used Microsoft Word to type up brief
assignments. On family vacations to Lake Tahoe,
her family would use CD players for those eight-hour round-trip car rides.

“We still do these
trips but the only difference is that instead of CD players, we all have iPods.
We are a family of 6 and 4 of us have iPods,” she said.

Anastasia Goodstein
runs the YPulse blog and is due to release her first book, “Totally Wired: What
Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online” next spring, which is about
demystifying the relationship between teens and technology. She said Wachtel’s
experience, like other teens', has been defined by communal links forged

“Napster and peer to
peer networks was a really defining moment for this generation and explains
their sense of entitlement around intellectual property. They grew up file
sharing,” Goodstein said.

Growing up

A speech by Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life
Project, published in March, “Life Online: Teens and technology and the world
to come” described how “Millennials have a special relationship to technology.
They are not all tech-savvy…in the sense that they all know what’s going on
‘under the hood’ of their gadgets... but they have a unique attachment to the
communications power of these new technology tools.”

It’s an attachment
Goodstein said stems from some pivotal points in their upbringing.

“IM was a huge
development in that it revolutionized the way younger teens communicate with
each other — especially younger ones, they’re not going out quite as much.
They’re spending a lot of time on IM and text messaging finally taking off in
the states. All these are new ways for teens to stay hyper connected to each
other,” Goodstein said.

It’s such a part of
this generation’s daily life to maintain connectivity, said Beverly Wilkes, an
executive with Oz, a Montreal-based company whose gear allows IM programs to
function on cell phones.

“This is a technology
instant generation, instant with staying connected with group of friends,” she
said. “If you’re running to school you’re still able to chat with your friend…
In study period, you can’t jump on the phone, but you’re able to quietly tap
over a message and keep the conversation going.”

While Malcolm Gladwell
points to a select group of people who are natural “Connectors” who link to a
wide variety of people in “The Tipping Point,” this generation of students has
practically been reared to do that without thinking. They’ve tapped into the
communal kind of flow of information and have figured out quickly how to use
the technology they’ve got on hand to further it.

“They’re individuating
from their parents and finding new family with peers and they want to talk to
them constantly — whether that means commenting on MySpace, texting, IM’ing,
etc,” Goodstein said. “These are all these different ways to keep conversation
going digitally, 24-7. Any devices, any technology that helps them do that is
less about gear and gadgets and more about utility.”

Ten, 20 years ago,
going back to school meant shelling out for a new wardrobe and a Trapper
Keeper, she said. Now, it’s laptops, desktops and cell phones.

MySpace and YouTube

In a timeline of development for these teens, besides the aforementioned
technology, the major highlights would include: Internet based e-mail, laptops,
portable gaming, blogging/vlogging/podcasting, Friendster, MySpace and YouTube.

Wachtel explains 
how important it is to maintain that connectivity through MySpace.

“I was against havng a
MySpace for a very, very long time. I claimed my house a ‘MySpace free zone’
for a while because I hated it when people came over and went on their MySpaces
to send comments and what not. Then one of my best friends made me one without
my consent and that is probably the only reason I have one today,” she said. “I
wouldn’t consider myself one of the many ‘MySpace addicts’ who go on five times
a day and compete for the amount of friends and constantly put up new pictures
of themselves hoping people will think it’s cool and comment on it. I simply go
on to keep in touch with people I hardly ever see or talk to.”

In Wachtel’s world,
pocket electronic dictionaries and Donkey Kong racing with her older brother
was the norm.  Now, she finds herself on the computer every night either
typing up a report or doing research for a class. And in applying for colleges,
she downloads applications and finds out about the schools online.

When Stefani Beser, 19, of Pikesville, Maryland, applied to colleges two years
ago she did it all online, eventually ending up at the nearby Villa Julie
College, where she is about to begin her sophomore year.

“I personally though it
was easier,” she said. “With paperwork things get lost and ripped and you also
have to deal with postage.”

Like Wachtel, she grew
up with video games (a very early edition Gameboy), CD’s (her first one being
No Doubt’s “Tragic
”) and always, a
portable CD player. While she didn’t get her first cell phone until she was 15,
her younger sister got one when she was 11 — a fact of how advanced and how
necessary that particular piece of mobility has become.

It wasn’t until about
third grade that Beser was introduced to the Internet by the school librarian.

“I remember at first
wondering, how does this work, and it got to be where I can’t live without it,”
Beser said. Like many people her age, she uses her computer for e-mail, IM’s,
music, video watching, some blogging, Facebook and MySpace.”

For her, IM’ing is a
means to an end. And parents, you might want to pay attention to what she’s
saying as your students go back to school this fall.

“I also think cell
phone bills can get expensive, so it’s easier to send a quick message,” she
said. “With college friends split up all over the country, it’s saving you a
lot of money and it’s still a conversation.”

From the cradle to
college, this is a generation that’s not only emerged as one of the most tech
efficient and adaptable, and more than ever, linked to peers learning and
adapting the same way.

© 2006 MSNBC Interactive

After reading our article for this week, we learned that people of
our generation are considered Digital Natives, meaning that our first
"language" is technology.  Our first blog discussion will be a kind of
survey.  Please copy the survey below, and then paste it into your
response, along with your answers.  Please answer all of the questions,
and feel free to comment on someone else's survey response.

Your response is due BEFORE class on Friday. 



What would you rather:  be without TV or without internet?


Do you IM?

Do you Text?

What's your favorite website?

How long do you spend on the Internet each day?

Describe your parents' abilities and skills using the Internet/computers:

Do your parents limit/block your internet activity?

My main mode of communication is:

What do you think about sharing personal information on the internet?  (name, hobbies, school, etc)


What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word:








File Sharing


Speaking of file sharing, what is your opinion of downloading music without paying for it?  Is it stealing?

How could teachers better use technology in classrooms? 

Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant?  What about your parents?  


LOL! I can't believe what people do on IM!

Tuesday, November 20. 2007

This week, we discussed Instant Messaging, and the strange things that people will do and say when they aren't face-to-face.  So, I want to know how technology has changed the ways in which you communicate, either by IM, email, Myspace, or texting. 

What things are appropriate to discuss "electronically?"

What things are INappropriate to discuss "electronically," and should be done in person? 

What are the benefits and limitations of electronic communication?

Please answer in paragraph form, using complete sentences and Standard English. 


Thursday, November 8. 2007

The big news in New Media this week is the writers' strike.  This not only affects those who work in the media industry, but it affects us, as viewers, as well.  At stake is how the writers are paid for their work in New Media... shows that are distributed on DVD or streaming over the Internet. 

Challenge for this week:  Find one web page that talks about the writers' strike.  Paste in the URL (web address), and write a one or two sentence description of the major details in the article.  You cannot post the same URL as another person in this class! 


This article was written before the strike, when both sides said they didn't want there to be a strike. 

Impossible is Nothing

Monday, October 29. 2007

    Today, we talked in class about Aleksey Vayner, the poor sap who posted a video resume and hasn't been able to live it down.  To prepare for our class discussion this week, I'd like you to visit the following links first.

Wikipedia Entry

The Video Resume

The paper resume

(And some of the links from the References section--other articles, parodies, etc)

Last week, your task was to debate the merits of LimeWire.  This week, we can all agree that video resumes might be bad news, especially if you brag too much.  So I want you to create a tradtitional paper resume for a job in New Media/ Technology.  The goal is to make yourself look good for an employer, but not look like an arogant jerk.  Follow the format below. {Delete what's in the brackets!}  Use bullet points and a professional voice!


Career Objective {Job you want}

Qualifications and Experience {Why you are qualified for the job, what other similar jobs you've had}

Education  {List you most recent school, when you attended there, and any relevent classes, clubs, or awards}

Skills {What you've done to make me want to hire you... specifically, software skills, typing, languages spoken}

As always, this is due by class on Friday! 

The Dangers of LimeWire

Monday, October 22. 2007

This week, we focus our attention on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as LimeWire and Kazaa (or Aries, Jonathan!). The article talked about the bad side of file sharing, and we can clearly see that there are dangers. But, there are many positive features, too.

Here's your task for this week: Go to and read the Safety Info about Limewire. Once you've read the page, I want you to take a side, and debate it. (You'll have to reply back to each other's responses to keep the thread going.) After reading this week's article, and the page I've linked to, should middle school students use a program like LimeWire? You decide!

A few rules:

Keep it civil... no name-calling, etc.

No sitting of the fence. Choose a side and stick to it!

Cite examples (link to other sites, if necessary!)

Your reponse is due by classtime on Friday.

Video Games: Where from here?

Monday, October 1. 2007

Our article for this week brought our attention to video games. Specifically, we read about the desire of game developers to widen their reach to include new audiences, specifically girls and women. I know that some in our class are avid gamers, while others don't play them very often. That leads us to the Question of the Week.

Dr Klatt has talked to me about the Sim game called Second Life.  In the Second Life game, you can buy, say, clothes for your avatar (look up that word) at Urban Outfitters, and they will ship you that outfit IN REAL LIFE!!! You can read books, listen to music, talk to politicians inside this game. (Trust me, it's huge.) With that in mind, our question: What is the future of video games? How will we "play" video games in the future? Will they be a part of our lives?  How can schools benefit from from role-playing games such as Second Life?

Will I be out of a job in a few years?

The Ethics of Photoshop

Saturday, September 22. 2007

Photoshop is a great tool--we see the fruits of its use, even when we don't realize it. The best Photoshop users make it look like nothing has been retouched on the original photo. (Most of us would love to have that kind of talent.)

We read an article in class on Monday entitled "Adobe Tackles Photo Forgeries."

You can find it on the Wired site at:,72883-0.html

With that article in mind, please respond to the following questions. I expect your paragraph to contain a complete thought, demonstrating that you understand the question and have invested a good amount of time thinking about the topic. Bonus points if you do outside research, cite other websites or articles.

Question: Are there any rules to "retouching" a photo? Should there be? Aside from product packaging and personal enjoyment, should photojournalists have to obey rules about adding, deleting, or even harmlessly fixing a photo? How can we trust what we see in newspapers or on the internet?

Words to know: ethics, airbrushing, authentication, manipulation, plug-ins, forgery.

Websites to visit:

Here are a few "retouches" I found at Obviously, this is taking photo manipulation to the extreme. I didn't actually post the pictures, because the pics are copyright protected (just found that out). Here are the links:

Below are two covers that came out right after OJ was accused of killing his wife. The Time cover has been darkened. It might not have been noticed, if Newsweek hadn't coincidentally run the same cover that week. This caused a lot of people to accuse Time of retouching the photo for racist purposes!

RIAA hunts downloaders

Monday, September 17. 2007

In this week's article, we learned that the RIAA (the musician's union) is hunting down people who illegally download music. 

What do you think?  Should the RIAA protect musician's rights?  Is there a better way to stop people from "stealing" music?  Will the threat of getting caught stop you or others from downloading music without paying for it? 

For more information, check out this article in today's,1,7857409.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

and...   (my favorite website!!!)

ALSO:  Keep an eye out for royalty-free music that we can use in the DVD yearbook without paying a fee... it's out there! 

How Wired are You?

Monday, September 10. 2007

After reading our article for this week, we learned that people of our generation are considered Digital Natives, meaning that our first "language" is technology.  Our first blog discussion will be a kind of survey.  Please copy the survey below, and then paste it into your response, along with your answers.  Please answer all of the questions, and feel free to comment on someone else's survey response.

Your response is due BEFORE class on Friday. 



What would you rather:  be without TV or without internet?


Do you IM?

Do you Text?

What's your favorite website?

How long do you spend on the Internet each day?

Describe your parents' abilities and skills using the Internet/computers:

Do your parents limit/block your internet activity?

My main mode of communication is:

What do you think about sharing personal information on the internet?  (name, hobbies, school, etc)


What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word:








File Sharing


Speaking of file sharing, what is your opinion of downloading music without paying for it?  Is it stealing?

How could teachers better use technology in classrooms? 

Read this... just for fun.

Tuesday, May 22. 2007

Have you ever had a teacher get your name wrong all the time? 

Read this....

Tims don't look anything like Bobs
People who don't look like their names are easier to forget
By Melinda Wenner
Updated: 3:14 p.m. MT May 22, 2007

It's easier to remember a "Bill" who really fits the bill, according to a new study.

tend to be associated with certain facial features — Bobs have rounder
faces than Tims, for example — and it's easier to learn a person's name
if his face matches it.

Robin Thomas, a
cognitive scientist at Miami University in Ohio, noticed that she
frequently confused the names of two of her students. This didn't
happen to her often, so she wondered if there was more to it than just

Then she realized this. "Their faces did not fit the name they were given," Thomas said.

Intrigued, she decided to test whether Americans have common ideas about what people with certain names should look like.

and her colleagues asked 150 college students to design faces, using
facial construction software similar to the type police use, for 15
common American male names. To keep things simple, all of the faces
were white and wore the same hairstyle.

team then asked a second group of students to rate how well these
constructed faces seemed to fit their names. The group agreed that many
of the constructs matched-the strongest fits were for the names Bob,
Bill, Brian and Jason.

Thomas wanted to see whether, as in her own experience, better-fitting
names were easier to remember and vice versa. Her team showed a third
group of students the facial constructs-including both good and bad
fits, as judged by the students in the second part of the study-along
with their names. Later, they tested how well the students remembered
the names.

As she suspected, people more easily remembered the names that fit well.

better the fit of the name to the face, the faster the participants
were to learn to associate those names," Thomas told LiveScience. Her
results will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the journal
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

next plans to study why these stereotypes exist. Parents may, for
example, name their babies to fit their general features, like the
shapes of their faces.

And as for why
certain names seem to accompany specific features, it could be that
there is an interaction between a name's sound and how it's visually
perceived, said Thomas.

For example, "Bob is a round sounding name, and the face that was generated for that name was round," she said.


Death to Caps Lock! [updated]

Monday, May 21. 2007

This week's discussion moves in a lighter direction. Our article, entitled "Death to Caps Lock" asserted that the Caps Lock key is annoying and unnecessary. Do you agree? If we removed the Caps Lock key, what do you think should go in its place?

And, more important, what's next for keyboards? How will humans interact with computers in, say, 10 years? (Will speech-to-text finally be perfected?) What about virtual reality?

Due by Friday's class period.

For those of you who want to disable your Caps Lock, Windows Key (Brian Wu), or Insert... read this article about an XP add-on that allows you to customize your keyboard and mouse.