This week, on the podcast, Fraser and I discuss network infrastructure. 1:1 deployments require drastically different network planning than was needed during the "computer lab" era. There are a couple of key points:
- Don't assume your network can handle 1:1
- Don't assume it can be upgraded cheaply
- Don't assume it can be upgrade quickly.
You can listen to the show here or you can subscribe to get each episode automatically downloaded to the podcast app of your choice. We're building a special page on our website where each topic gets explained a little further. You can check it out here.
With this deal, Netflix has effectively cut out the middleman Cogent, and is sending traffic directly from their servers onto Comcast’s network. Not only will this mean better quality for Netflix customers on Comcast, but it also raises the barrier of entry for potential Netflix competitors. Netflix currently has unique leverage over Comcast due to Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner, which, combined with their brand name and favorability amongst customers and regulators likely meant they got a great deal; future Netflix competitors, forced to go over the open Internet or rely on providers like Cogent will be at both a cost and quality disadvantage.
This is very important for Netflix long term. As they continue to dominate the streaming video market, this is an extra barrier to competitors. Amazon may be willing to throw money at content, but are they will to throw money for "better" access to the last mile?
Yesterday Apple released two new deployment programs for iOS and Mac, and rolled out enhancements to another. I want to explain as best I can how they work together.
The Volume Purchase Program has been significantly enhanced and there are two new programs: Device Enrolment Program and AppleID for Students. Let's look at each of these in turn.
Apple has really improved the management and roll out process. It's important to remember that with iOS, Mobile Device Management providers can only work the the APIs that Apple allows. These changes are going to dramatically simplify larger rollouts.
The Device Enrolment Program basically takes that best practice but moves it into Apple's device activation servers.
DEP provides four major advantages over cabled deployment:
- A device can be supervised over-the-air
- Users can be presented with a simplified version of the setup assistant
- Devices can be automatically enrolled in your institution's MDM
- MDM enrolment can be locked
This would have prevented the LAUSD "hacking".
The second caveat is that DEP is US-only for now. Apple operates a direct sales model in the US and therefore has knowledge of who ordered which devices, down to the level of individual serial numbers. That's not true in most other countries where Apple works through resellers to sell to institutions.
Fraser and I have talked about this on our podcast on multiple occasions. In the US, schools can only buy through Apple. In fact, I can't go to my local Apple reseller and buy an iPad or Mac with my school tax ID. Apple will not allow them to sell it. Apple will likely work with resellers in other countries to bring this improvement worldwide. This is one of the areas that Apple has shown the willingness to brute force solutions to problems.
The COPPA regulations in the US have made it awkward to use individual AppleIDs for students under 13. This is being solved with the AppleID for Students program.
This will be a lifesaver for 1:1 schools with students under 13 years old. I highly recommend that you read Fraser's entire post.
Apple has added an iOS 7 deployment guide to its website that should be read by anyone who manages iOS for a living. You can download it here.
I've used "read later" type services since around 2008. I used Instapaper for a long time and moved on to Pocket about a year ago. I've had a Pinboard account for a few years, but I never really found a use for it. I store articles in Evernote when I want to save them forever. I like the app for Pocket, but I don't like the branded URL when sharing to Twitter.
I asked on Twitter why someone hasn't built an app on top of Pinboard as a Pocket/Instapaper replacement. 3 minutes later, I had my answer. Someone had. While Paperback doesn't have an iOS app, it has really nice web interface (responsive design). The developer mentioned to me that he is working on an iOS app. It's $15/year, but I am really enjoying it so far. If you are looking for more control over your bookmarks and your "read later" experience, I'd highly recommend looking at Pinboard and Paperback. Don't forget to check out the new article over at The Sweet Setup on discovering the best Pinboard app for iOS.
Josh Centers (my Tennessee neighbor) recently released his book on Apple TV. He sent me a copy for review and I am happy to recommend it. I've owned every Apple TV that Apple has released (even the $299 one) and I even picked up a few new tricks. I really enjoyed the chapter on using the Apple TV as a presentation tool. It's written in such a way that you don't have to be an Apple nerd to understand what he is talking about. In other words, it's highly approachable and very well written.
Admins using the app have a number of features at their disposal. Just swipe to the right to reveal the sidebar menu, with the Dashboard, Users, Groups, and Audit Logs sections. User management lets you add, delete, edit, suspend, and restore users. You can do the same with groups, as well as add members to a group, and email them all. You can also manage passwords directly from the app. Google Admin also lets you view Audit logs.
As an iOS user who manages a large Google Apps domain, this is going to be a great tool.
If you use Flickr, you'll want to check out Uppr for Mac. It's a menu bar app that watches a folder and uploads the contents to Flickr (you can control privacy). The developer is a good friend of mine and I'm thrilled he has released it. Flickr offers 1 Terabyte for free, so it's a great way to send a lot of photos without much effort.
In episode 72 of Out of School, Fraser and I lay out our 15 week series about how to successfully deploy iOS at your school/workplace in the fall of 2014. Here is the outline:
15 Week Outline
Vision and Leadership
Current context (pupil access to existing devices and pupil internet at home)
Teacher training and development
Financing and Roll-Out
Buying Accessories (or not)
Mobile Device Management
Pupil safety (electronic and physical)
DR and damage procedures
Choosing a Reseller
What do you do with your existing computer setup?
We are really excited about it, so I hope you'll join us. You can subscribe through iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
This week, HP announced that effective February 19, 2014, we will provide firmware updates through the HP Support Center only to customers with a valid warranty, Care Pack Service or support agreement.
This decision reinforces our goal to provide access to the latest HP firmware, which is valuable intellectual property, for our customers who have chosen to maximize and protect their IT investments. We know this is a change from how we’ve done business in the past; however, this aligns with industry best practices and is the right decision for our customers and partners.
I've had a terrible time with a brand new $700 printer we just bought from them. After spending a few hours troubleshooting with them, they still refused to send someone to fix it. They said we could continue troubleshooting or I could return for a replacement. I am returning it, but not for another HP. Can you imagine Apple only providing firmware updates if you are inside of your warranty?
Link via @thunderkeys.
The guilt of our childhood can haunt us for decades.
Twenty years ago, a childhood tragedy drove six friends apart. But when one of them is found dead in the historic, wooded ruins of the New England settlement known as Dogtown, old acquaintances find themselves drawn together.
Now they must work together to solve the meaning behind a message written in blood, a series of attacks, and the mysterious quills that seem to tie them all together. But time is quickly running out.
Indian Summer is a chilling tale of six childhood friends and the things that haunt them—both natural and otherworldly.
My good friend Aaron Mahnke has released his new book today. I got to read a pre-release copy and couldn't put it down. Let me also mention the fact that I don't really like to read (nor do I love fiction). It's only $3.99 on Kindle right now (iBooks coming soon). If you need a good book for the weekend, you can't go wrong with this one.
Buy here (affiliate link)
Fraser and I look at the recent Macworld article where Jason Snell interviews a handful of Apple executives. We compare the comments about the future to some of Apple's past comments from Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall. You can listen here. You can also subscribe to the show here
Steve Jobs on Early Post-PC
iOS 5 and iCloud Introduction
Cars vs Trucks
Steve Jobs and All Things D Conference Appearances
The Prompt 30
CloudConvert And Uploading Podcasts From iOS
As NerdCubed said in his review, the problem is that all the future generations of gamers are going to experience this as the default. They are going to grow up in a world, in which people actually think this is what gaming is like. That social engineering and scamming people is an acceptable way of doing business.
I remember the glory days of iOS gaming when a man could pay $10 and buy a complete game. Now said game is free and takes $2,000 to unlock everything. Madden 2014 is a perfect example of this. I'd gladly pay $20-$30 for a top notch version of it. Instead, it's free and you get nickled and dimed for play books. This is damaging to the experience of iOS gaming. Sadly, I don't think there is much Apple can do. The cat is out of the bag.
Link via Fraser Speirs.
A few weeks ago, I wrote up an article about how to post podcasts using only iOS. One of the podcasts I post for work requires me to extract audio from a 1.5 GB video file. It's working great using the workflow (and apps) in my prior post, but I'm always tinkering. The main issue with that workflow is that it pretty much requires me to be on WiFi since I need to download the video from Dropbox into the app that extract the video. Back in September, I found CloudConvert via Macdrifter. I had sort of forgotten about it until it came across my radar again this week. The free plans didn't offer a large enough file size for my needs, so I inquired about paid plans (their site said coming soon). They emailed me an option to buy "conversion minutes". I spent $10 for 500 minutes. On iOS, you can upload photos from your camera roll, import from Dropbox, and import from Google Drive. I imported the file from Dropbox and had it set to drop the converted mp3 back into Dropbox. I have Documents by Readdle set to sync the folder CloudConvert is dropping then mp3 into. Once the mp3 downloads into Documents, I can then upload it to the podcast FTP server.
CloudConvert looks to be highly useful (for a ton of file types) and I really like the pricing plans. Rather than another monthly subscription, I can just pay for what I use. I'll continue using it week to week because I can complete my task from LTE without burning my data quota.
As we explore in the show, I think this is exactly where Apple is at right now. Insurgent Apple didn't do product roadmaps. Underdog Apple didn't make future commitments. Revolutionary Apple didn't make lifecycle support guarantees. We explore the possibility that it's time for Apple to start doing some of this.
Won't Apple join the league of ordinary companies? Maybe they have to do it anyway.
'Cause they won.
As Apple continues to grow in Enterprise and Education, their customers will want to be kept in the loop on drastic changes. It's hard to be the dominant player and continue acting like the disruptor.
Free services are fading with every passing day. The latest to go is the remote connection service LogMeIn Ignition, which has offered a free version of its service for the last 10 years. Users could pay for additional features, but basic use was covered for free. This morning, however, users received an unpleasant surprise in their email boxes; starting on January 28, 2014, free users accounts will be inaccessible. Users have seven days to make up their minds.
I've used LogMeIn Free (with the paid version of the iOS app) for a few years now and I've always been happy with how easy it was to setup and use. I'll be converting a couple of machines I manage at work to paid accounts. For home use, I'll stick with Screens because it doesn't have a recurring charge (simply a paid VNC client). While LogMeIn certainly offers more features, they weren't features that I really needed.
Will digital technologies influence the future of school leadership? Certainly. Digital technologies change everything around us. They change how we live and work and play. They change how we act and how we think. They change the very fibers of our being, just like fire and agriculture and the wheel and paper.
We shouldn’t expect school leaders to somehow be immune to these ubiquitous change processes. And yet, so far, many of our superintendents, headmasters, principals, department chairs, and other school leaders seem to be. “The outside world is changing so fast. Where is the concurrent change in schools?,” we bemoan. “Why are our analog, factory-model schools still stuck in analog, factory mode?,” we decry. A line from writer William Gibson serves as both balm and irritant: “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
Stephen Valentine and Reshan Richards are both well known in the educational technology industry, so it should be no surprise that this book is fantastic. I had a chance to read a pre-release copy and really enjoyed it. The iBooks edition was made in iBooks Author, so it is very interactive. You may also know Reshan from Explain Everything.