Sunday, April 20, 2008

3G or WiFi Part 2

Well who would have guessed that 65,000 visitors to Hamilton's V8's (big car race) would have brought the Vodafone network to a standstill. I am posting this at 6.15 in the morning because by 12.00 the network will once again be overloaded and at times cannot even be used for phone calls never mind to connect to the internet. What as this got to do with education, well if we want our students to use mobile devices outside of the classroom we have to have a more robust infrastructure that can cope with a sudden increase in connections and traffic. Would I give anything for a WiFi connection for the three days the event is on? Well yes and no. I can sort of put up with not being able to use Google Reader and also view the latest news via my mobile browser, but not being able to make a phone call is something I cannot accept from such a big company such as Vodafone. If I had WiFi at least I could use VOIP to make the call, oh sorry no because Vodafone don't like you to do that over their network!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Russell Beattie

This mobile guru has created quite a few ripples in the blogosphere this week. I have followed him on the web for about 2-3 years and he was one of the first blogs I subscribed to when I was originally using netvibes all those years ago. He's been through a lot over those years including working for Yahoo and getting divorced (you can read all this on his blog Anyway the development on his latest project, mowser (a mobile transcoder like skweezer, which basically makes full size web pages accessable on a mobile device) has been stopped. His reasons are both monetary and that he no longer believes in the mobile web. This last statement was taken out of context, particularly by zdnet, and two camps formed quickly on the blogosphere. My take on it is the same as Russell, he didn't mean there would be no mobile web, just that due to the rise in the availabilty of full browsers (read that iphone, opera s60 and of course the fantastic Opera mini) people who are going to browse the web don't need transcoders any longer. Good on you Russ for recognizing that early on and pulling the plug on something that (as he has quoted) was only a short term project. Unfortunately nobody could have foreseen the impact of the iphone and full browser combination. For those people in the camp that have criticized Russ for his comments and still believe that the web should have mobile versions are also looking at it with a short term outlook. I think there will always be a place for dedicated mobile versions of some sites (namely Google Reader for one), but to believe that the full web will go small is just plain silly. Russ Beattie has been round long enough to realize this!

Friday, April 11, 2008

3G or WiFi

The latest from the blogosphere is that there has been a 700% increase in the uptake of 3G USB dongles in the UK and that WiFi might not exist in a few years. Some of this has been in part to the poor reliability, speed and availability of the existing WiFi networks. You might ask, what has this to do with education? Well over our holidays the school will be installing Bluesocket, which is a layer that sits above our wireless network and allows any WiFi device (read that phone, PSP etc.) to securely connect to our network. This is great for the school and I have had a proactive involvement in this since I got my p990i phone. Now I'm thinking that by the time WiFi enabled phones get into the hands of our students (these are traditionally high end smart phones), there maybe unlimited, fixed price data plans available in New Zealand. At that point I know from exeperience what would be the easiest for the children to use and it's not WiFi as it's difficult enough to get a laptop on it nevermind a phone. Multiply that task by 25 students and you can see it's a no brainer!