Tag Archives: iPhone

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Tech ‘saves’ B-Day

Last night I met my daughter Stephanie at the Tim Hortons at Clapison’s Corners. We were connecting so I could give her a birthday present, at little late because the item of choice is challenging to locate right now in our area – an iPhone. I arrived first and patiently waited for her to arrive.

Fast forward >>> Stephanie arrives after a slow drive, we selected a table, ordered tea, opened the iPhone box, and began the setup process. After the first couple of basic steps we were prompted to join a wifi network or plug into a computer for iTunes access. Well, there we were, no wifi at Timmy’s and no laptop. Hmmmmm.

For a moment, I thought we were stuck, but then it struck me. Connect the new phone to the internet via the personal hotspot on my iPhone. Bingo – we made the internet connection, completed the registration process, activated the phone and connected to the 3G network. This allowed us to finish up most of the initial configuration of settings.


In some ways, the idea of a personal hotspot seems so simple, and yet, it is truly amazing. So, for this day, technology ‘saved the day’ and let the magic moment happen. We celebrated by exchanging text messages from one side of the table to the other!


iPhone live streaming

This past weekend my daughter was carolling as part of the festive activities. The final stop was to do a neighbourhood performance using someone’s porch as the stage. I couldn’t help but think this would be a great chance to trying streaming their performance with my iPhone to a wider audience.

Decision time: Qik or Ustream?  After a bit of testing, I decided on Qik – just seemed a little easier to use, and no annoying pop up ads in the video window.

I was sure I would not hold the phone still enough, so needed to come up with a stabilizer of some sort. I removed the snap cover from my iPod case and twist tied it to a camera tripod…. and presto, a streaming pouch for the iPhone.

iPhone streaming in action.

I choose to optimize the audio since I was recording music and minimize the bandwidth required. the audio quality turned out quite well. The video is a bit grainy, but this lighting was not the best and may have contributed to the lower video quality.

Check out Amber’s Angels recording. Enjoy!

Note: This streaming activity could just as easily been an event in a classroom. Just think of the possibilities.

~ Mark

Paradigm Shift???

An interesting ‘event’ happened to me earlier this week. I was mulitasking on a number of projects in my office and had taken a short break to discuss a couple of ideas with staff. On returning to my office, I sat down and ‘it happened’ – I started using my laptop but absolutely nothing happened – weird for sure.

Then is struck me – nothing happened because I was touching the screen on a non touch screen device – yikes! I gave my head a shake, reverted to ‘laptop mode’ and carried on with my work after sharing this incident with staff.

Was this a defining moment in my technology use? Have a used my iTouch, iPhone and iPad enough that a touch screen now seems normal? It would almost seem that way. I must admit, this event really caused me to stop and reflect.

For now, like many, I will continue to bop back and forth between touch screen and regular screen devices. Currently I am spending more and more time with mobile technology – a mix of these 2 worlds. I am writing this post with my new Lenovo x100e and plan to write my next blog post with my iPad.

~ Mark

Tethering to Make a Difference

You never really know when you will use your iPhone to make a real difference. I had one of those unique opportunities this weekend.

Last week, I received a call from a friend from university days to ask if I would consider performing some music at her father’s memorial service. Her father was a very talented musician with a long history of success in our region. I had known him for 30 years myself and had many wonderful memories of performing and working on music projects together.  Of course, I was honoured to be asked to play at the service. As we exchanged emails to organize the details, it also became clear that my friend was not going to make here from Scotland for the service due to the volcanic ash in the air that shut down travel in the European air space.

Technology to the rescue. I offered to set up a skype session so that she could at least see the service in real time. First we complete a pretest session to check out things out and get an idea of laptop to speaker distances. Since the church did not have an Internet access, I used my iPhone in tethering mode to establish a connection a few minutes before the service. I was able to sit at the front of the church and pan the laptop to point it at the 2 speaker locations. I used a second iPhone to video the whole service for them. The video turned out great – one take for the 1.5 hour service. The video file was 2.25 GB in size.

We are going to connect this week and try a direct file transfer using a Skype connection. Hopefully this will work well.

Everything turned out great. I was delighted to perform at the service, and glad I could lend a helping hand  given the travel challenges.

~ Mark

Adobe Connect Pro Mobile – first impressions

This week I had an opportunity to ‘kick the tires’ on the Adobe Connect Pro Mobile client. I downloaded the free client to my iPod Touch and iPhone.

Session 1

I started a host session on our Board’s server via my laptop. Next, I logged into the session with my iPhone over the 3G network and via wifi with my iPod Touch. Both mobile devices responded well. Audio transmission from the host session was clear, and the available modes of video, chat and screen share all functioned well. In video mode, you see the image transmitted by the host web cam. Chat mode allows you to read and enter text chat information, the same as you would sitting at a computer. Screen mode displays the image being presented via a screen share at the host end.

Session 2

Later in day, I had a chance to try a more involved session with @dougpete. For this session, Doug hosted a session where we connected 5 users – Doug’s iPhone and iPod Touch, my laptop, iPod Touch and iPhone. Again, performance over both the 3G network and wifi worked well. Doug experimented by showing a powerpoint slide show as well as a graphic calculator. Chat and video modes worked well also.

The 1.0 version of the client is quite functional. Audio level settings needed some adjustment to optimize the session communication clarity. We found using the standard earbud style headphones worked better than the speaker audio.

The only issue we found was there was no voice input on the mobile devices. Documentation referred to toggling mute on/mute off to control the mobile voice access. However, we found the icon (see graphic below – 3rd icon from the right in the top row) to allow access to the controls was not actually visible to use. I am sure this will be corrected in a later version.

Overall, very impressive for a 1.0 version free client. I think this opens up a lot of possibilities for mobile learning.

Related Links

~ Mark

Traveling with your iPod Touch

My daughter will be spending her March Break traveling with a group from her school. We agreed that this makes an ideal time to try some communications and trip updates via her iPod Touch in wifi mode. I am sure she will post on Facebook via the Facebook mobile app and send emails from her MSN or Hotmail accounts. We also wanted to try extending our communications with 2 additional applications.

Earlier this year, I had tried Ping! with @dougpete and @rebrouse. I bought the ‘pro’ version for 99 cents. The Ping! app gives you text messaging between iPhones (cell or wifi modes) and/or iPod Touch units (wifi mode only). I have found the application to work great. This trip will be a great ‘international’ test.

We are also going to try some Skype audio calls. I purchased a set of the iPod earbud headphones with the built in mic. In the photos below, you can see the 3rd marker on the pin connector and the inline microphone.

We have tried some iPod Touch to iPod Touch calls here at home as a test run and everything works great. The grand plan is to use Ping! to set up a call time, then have Skype running at the time of the call. In testing, we discovered that you can stay logged into Skype if you ‘swap out’ to run another app, but in this state you will not be notified of the incoming call.

I am sure she will have a great trip, and I look forward to our iPod based communications. Now, off to check out the wifi availability in the hotels listed on the itinerary.

~ Mark

Reflagging mail in FirstClass mobile

The more I use FirstClass mobile, the more I like it. It is a powerful application, and I am always poking around to explore new features and discover how much of the full desktop client functionality is packed into this app.

One of the features I have always liked about the desktop client is that you can reflag a message from ‘read’ to ‘unread’. I use this technique to track important messages so I don’t lose track of my followups, to do’s and time sensitive items. Initially I could not figure out how to do this in the mobile client. However, I did discover how to do this the other day.

Here is a view from my mailbox. Note the ‘tech in schools study’ message has been read (flag gone).

Now, tap the ‘edit’ button. This will cause the > symbols to change to radio buttons.

Next, tap the radio buttons to select the message (or multiple messages). A check mark will appear in the radio button to indicate the message has been selected.

Now, tap the flag symbol in the bottom menu bar to restore the mail flag indicator to the message.

Once the flag icon is tapped, the screen returns to the main mailbox view, with the display showing the updated flags.

I hope you enjoy the additional mailbox functionality in the mobile client to help you stay organized.

~ Mark

Tethering with your iPhone

Have you ever needed to access the internet with your laptop when there was no suitable wifi connection?

One solution is to use your iPhone as a wireless modem. Using a smartphone as a wireless modem is called tethering. Setting up this feature with your iPhone is very straight forward.

Step 1: open the settings menu

Step 2: select ‘general‘ from the settings menu

Step 3: Select ‘network‘ from the general menu

Step 4: Select ‘Internet Tethering‘ from the Network menu.

Step 5: Slide the ‘Internet Tethering‘ button to ‘on’

Now you are ready to connect your iPhone with ‘modem mode’ enabled. You have options to connect with USB or bluetooth.

USB  connection mode: The first time you connect the iPhone in this mode, iTunes will load the necessary drivers and you are ready to go.

Bluetooth connection mode: Before you can connect in bluetooth mode, bluetooth must on active (on) and the iPhone must be paired with the computer in the same manner as you would pair a bluetooth headset. (refer to system documentation for this step)

I have found tethering to work great. If fact, this blog post was written using a tethered internet connection via my iPhone.

Note: Please review your data plan limits and applicable data charge rates before actively using this connection method. You certainly don’t want any surprises on your monthly bill.

Stay connected 🙂

~ Mark

Video Streaming on the Go

I recently became aware of two applications that allow users to stream video from their iPhones. Today was a download, install and try out apps for the the first time day. The products I tested are listed below.

I am already thinking about curriculum applications. First impressions will follow in a future post.

~ Mark