The Miracle, Education-Altering iPad (Maybe)

Ok, the iPad was announced yesterday and, as far as I can tell, the world remains pretty much the same.

I’ve watched the video of the presentation, read some of what the geeky tech blogs have to say, and, at this point, I’m 80% sure I’ll be buying one when they go on sale.

I know, I know, the device has it’s shortcomings (oversized iPhone? so what?), there will soon be cheaper competitors, and Apple will probably release a new version with more features in time for the next holiday season.ipad.jpg

It still looks like a very cool device – and sometimes you just can’t explain the iWants. :-)

However, included with the many, many stories about Apple’s latest object of tech lust (including the front page of the Post!?) are some breathless predictions of it’s potential effect.

This tablet will save the newspaper industry! It will revolutionize electronic books!! The iPad will transform education!!!


As with any other new technology, it’s not the hardware and software that matters.

Putting a digital version of The New York Times on the iPad will not convince people to pay for it again unless they convince them of some compelling new value in that format.

In the case of education, nothing gets transformed if institutions latch on to it as a textbook replacement, a digital notebook, an expensive electronic replacement for a Trapper Keeper.

Change in how teachers teach and students learn will not flow from putting the same old curriculum materials on a tablet and then using it with the same teacher-directed lessons, primarily focused on preparing kids for standardized tests.

Mobile communications devices such as the iPad will only have an impact if they become individual learning platforms that regularly change to meet the needs of the person carrying it.

Anything less, is simply one more gadget for the school toy box.

The Right Person For the Job

The Department of Homeland Security needed someone to be the deputy undersecretary of the department’s National Protections Program Directorate.

That’s government HR speak for the person in charge of making sure the government’s computers are secure and protected from cyber attacks and all kinds of malware.

So, who did they decide was the right person for the job?

Reitinger comes to DHS from his job as chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist for Microsoft, a job that required him in part to help develop and implement strategies for enhancing the security of critical infrastructures.

In other words, DHS picked someone who was responsible for making “trustworthy” the operating systems and software many people in the security industry feel are largely at fault for providing the many holes allowing all those cyber attacks and malware to do their thing.

We call that irony, kids. :-)

At least his qualifications are an improvement over the last person who held the job, continuing a major theme of the Obama administration.

And, if you think about it, if anyone knows where the bugs are buried, it would probably be Mr. Reitinger.

Remodeling Again

Between working on a new site for a friend and organizing a workshop for a conference the end of the month, I’ve been spending a lot of time with WordPress this weekend.

So, I figured why not put a new coat of pixels on this space as well?

WP makes switching to a new theme dirt simple.

However, then comes the tweaking required to get things looking exactly like you want them.

And that, of course, is when things start breaking. Let me know in the comments if anything looks out of place or if I’m screwing things up worse than normal. :-)