(link) Cautionary Note: I'd like to read this article but don't really want to drop $32 for the privilege. Maybe it'd be really cool if the authors, Marta C. González, César A. Hidalgo and Albert-László Barabási could explain why they want to publish such great research behind such a walled garden. Maybe it'd be cool if nature could explain why it needs $32 freaking dollars from me for an electronic version of an article that must have already been paid for by their subscribers and for which the marginal cost is ZERO. So that $32 is pure profit. Honestly, this is just disgusting behavior for people and organizations that PURPORT to be engaged in academic endeavors.
Excerpt: "Despite their importance for urban planning, traffic forecasting and the spread of biological and mobile viruses, our understanding of the basic laws governing human motion remains limited owing to the lack of tools to monitor the time-resolved location of individuals. Here we study the trajectory of 100,000 anonymized mobile phone users whose position is tracked for a six-month period. We find that, in contrast with the random trajectories predicted by the prevailing Lévy flight and random walk models7, human trajectories show a high degree of temporal and spatial regularity, each individual being characterized by a time-independent characteristic travel distance and a significant probability to return to a few highly frequented locations. After correcting for differences in travel distances and the inherent anisotropy of each trajectory, the individual travel patterns collapse into a single spatial probability distribution, indicating that, despite the diversity of their travel history, humans follow simple reproducible patterns. This inherent similarity in travel patterns could impact all phenomena driven by human mobility, from epidemic prevention to emergency response, urban planning and agent-based modelling."
I go on and on about the uses of a USB drive to transport not only your data but your applications as well...making for a mobile desktop experience...and I've even used Knoppix to boot a Linux OS from a CD...but now comes more word of the portable desktop...Information Week is reporting that Red Hat's Fedora 9 will load onto a USB. I love this suggestion, "It would also give the Fedora project an additional way to popularize
its work. Any visitor to a Fedora advocate at a trade show booth could
walk away with a version of the operating system on a pocket device."
I know everything is moving to the cloud but part of my work population may be in harm's way or just a different work environment and the ability to transport their entire work environment is attractive. Now you just load up Moodle onto the USB as well and you have an OS and an LMS all on a USB. Yea!
I've talked before about how I feel that something like apps+data+USB drive = a more compelling equation for most folks over content on mobile devices (not that there aren't great tools/works going on here- I just think the 5 meter target could be hit by the USB stuff).
Now comes word that MSFT is moving forward with its rumored StartKey program. According to the ZDNet article "Microsoft’s goal is to build an end-to-end StartKey environment — comprised of everything from system software on the flash devices, a software development kit to enable third-party developers to create products that can leverage StartKey, and accompany Microsoft applications and services, sources said."
Well that's great. At least we know that USB drive sizes will be getting much bigger...I imagine that my paltry 8GB drive will barely be sufficient to hold anything from MSFT. Instead of seeking to create another proprietary channel on USB drives this time, wouldn't MSFT be better served by working in a Google-like manner to create USB-enabled versions of their current software or even getting friendly with Portable Apps and not just absorbing U3, this just feels like a clumsy play. It won't enlarge MSFT's market - it'll just enable a new option for those already in the MSFT fold and will create more hard feelings toward MSFT as one USB option, U3, gets sucked up into the Redmond Borg ship. Will my USB key now require activation? Verification? What happens when my USB locks up?
I bring this up since it seems to support my thinking that in the mobile arena, the browser will be the most important piece - we know how to develop for browsers and with RIAs (check out this list of Web apps for the iPhone for some great examples). Once/if/when WiMax or something like it hits, then bandwidth becomes ubiquitous and always available - that seems to be a perfect storm to combine with enhanced browser capabilities.....anybody have any other technology (besides batteries) that will be more important to the mobile learning experience than the browser?
"MobiMissions is a new location-aware mobile phone game prototype created in partnership between Futurelab and the Mixed Reality Lab (MRL) at the University of Nottingham. The MRL’s initial concept used cellular phone networks as a locative device to provide the structure for a mobile phone game called ‘Hitchers’. As players move around, their phone connects to different cells, each of which has a unique ID. Some new types of phone can access the ID of the cell they are currently in, which can then act as a rough indication of the phone’s location."
"Enterprise Ajax software suite will support Apple's long-anticipated iPhone. Aligning its development with Apple's unfolding strategy for the sexy new device, Backbase has added support for the new platform, including Apple’s Web browser for iPhone, Safari 3, and the code-named Leopard operating system. The Backbase SDK enables developers to bring Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and rich user interfaces to the iPhone."
"Employees at Homewood Suites by Hilton are taking charge of their own learning opportunities with video iPods. The 5,000 to 6,000 employees at all 204 properties in the United States and Canada will be able to reinforce training content using the devices, which were introduced with the residential-style hotel chain’s mobile training program. The iPods’ portability will allow employees to maximize the use of on-the-job training, as well as coaching and guidance that can be delivered on-demand.Further, by participating in learning in their actual work environment, employees likely will find the information more practical and easier to apply."
So as we all talk about mobile learning and people bring up cell phones and PDAs...I assume we'll have examples of training for those devices that has not only been produced but has already been delivered to 5 to 6K learners. Intermittent connectivity seems to be a design element that is trumped by drive capacity.