As I started getting ready for our upcoming trip to Mexico, I decided that it would be interesting to learn more about the history of Mexico in general and about the area around Cancun in particular, and turned to my favourite quick reference source, Wikipedia. My plan was to copy and paste two or three Mexican related articles, including some current history, and background information about other civilizations that have come and gone in the area, into a Word document. Then I’d save them as an HTML file and copy the file on to my tablet and cell phone so that I could read them on the flight down.
As I was looking at the top level Wikipedia article on Mexico, I noticed in the left menu, under “Print/export” and option to “Create a book”! When I clicked on it I realized that this relatively new feature would not only allow me to make a “book” out of the article I was looking at, but I could also add other Wikipedia articles as chapters in a book that I could compile and re-order to my hearts content. This is exactly what I needed! It saved me a couple hours of work, and made print and e-book versions of the Wikipedia articles quick and easy to create.
When I finished compiling articles for my custom book, I then had the option of doing the following on the Wikipedia “Manager your book” page (see image above):
Order as printed book (printed by a third party partner of Wikipedia’s)
Download as a PDF e-book (so you could print out on your own or read on your computer).
Download as a word processor file (OpenDocument) so you can edit the document on your computer
Download as an ePub file ready to be loaded on your smart-phone or tablet.
I chose the last option, and have my custom book loaded on my Android tablet, reading to read while flying to Mexico. I also made a $10 donation to the wikimedia foundation to help support the good work they are doing making Wikipedia available free of charge and fee of advertising.
Because I’ve been reading about qualitative research for the past week, and because I’m going to be talking about it now, I feel like I should start by disclosing my biases before going any further. My undergraduate degree is in Business Administration, and I have been working with computer systems for close to 20 years now. I like to use numbers to guide my decision making when possible. That said, I have been convinced that at least some of the time I’m making a decision, I have already unconsciously made the decision, and am merely finding numbers to justify what I would like to do (see Jonathan Haidt’s “Rider and the Elephant” metaphor for more on this).
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Tagged with: research
Posted in education
I’ve just finished filling out my Human Research Ethics application form (with many revisions to come I’m sure), and I can’t help but think that given how much talk there is about the need for more open research data, it seems to me that the Human Research Ethics Board (HREB) at UVic doesn’t encourage it.
This is my second application to the HREB (sometimes called Institutional Research Boards or IRB at other institutions) . The first I one completed was approved about four years ago, for a small survey of law students to find out what technologies they were using and bringing with them to school (McCue 2013). The data I collected was all anonymous, but the questions and language in the data retention portion of the HREB application form gave me the impression that if I wanted to expedite the application that I better not plan on making the data available to other researchers. So I didn’t, which is a shame, because it would have been allowed other researchers to compare and/or combine data from UVic Law students with the data from other law schools around the world. With larger data sets, stronger conclusion can often be drawn, and with open data this is done at no extra cost to researchers or society. Read more ›
For a long time now, I’ve used Gmail because of how convenient it is. From a security perspective, Google encrypts all the traffic between your computer and their servers using HTTPS, however if you send an email to a non-Gmail user, your email is sent in plain text to the other email server. This makes your emails easily intercept-able and readable by the NSA and any other organization that has control of a router between Google and the other email provider. This is why the US general Petraeus who used to be in charge of the CIA used a single Gmail account as a “drop box” to communicate with his mistress via email drafts rather than send emails or text messages to her; because he knew that email traveling between service providers is intercepted by the NSA. Read more ›
A video for my EDCI-515 class outlining some of my research interests:
Links to things I referred to in the video:
Introduction to the Survey Results
The 10th annual law student technology survey results are now in. I’m happy to also announce that the survey will be administered to a wide range of students in different faculties across campus this fall. The survey has been updated in collaboration with UVic Systems, and the UVic Libraries Assessment and Statistics Office. The data in this report reflects only the responses completed by 118 incoming and transferring UVic law students during their first day orientation, which has yielded a strong 90% plus response rate. It will be very interesting to be able to compare student technology ownership and usage patterns across the university.
- 96% of incoming law students own “Smart Phones” that can browse the internet (up from 89% last year and 50% three years ago), with 54% of the total being iPhones, 31% Android and 11% Blackberry (Blackberry usage is down from 27% two years ago). New law students are primarily using their mobile devices for directions, email, and looking up schedules & contact information.
- Tablet & eBook ownership have doubled in the past year with 44% of students owning tablet devices or ebook readers, up from 31% last year. That said, 64% of students never bring their tablet or ebook reader to school, probably indicating a preference for laptops for note taking and research, and still heavy reliance on printed text books.
- When asked if they would use a library run tablet lending program, 53% said they would not use it while 18% said they would use it daily or weekly.
- 92% of students use Skype for real-time audio/video calls and collaboration. 42% use Apple Facetime and 9% use Google Hangouts.
- 59% of students use Gmail as their primary email account, 22% Outlook.com, and 6% use UVic email. Of the 6% of UVic email users, half forward their email to another service. It will be interesting to see if the recent NSA data snooping revelations will impact students’ current preference for USA based email providers in the coming years.
- 49% of students identified Dropbox as their favourite tool for collaborative document editing, up from 22% last year. 41% use Google drive, up from 33% last year. 15% use Apple iCloud up from 4%. 3% use Microsoft Sky Drive which is unchanged from last year.
- 92% of students use Facebook (down from 97% two years ago), 31% user Twitter, 19% Linked In, 8% Google+ and 3% don’t use online social networks.
- 97% of students own laptops. 57% of laptops are Macs, up from 49% last year. 44% use Windows, down from 48% last year.
- 68% of students bring their laptops to school regularly & 21% bring them never or rarely.
- 73% of students use laptops to take class notes, 72% use pen and paper, 3% use tablets and 4% use cell phones. 11% record lecture audio with their laptops or audio recorder. Read more ›
The S4 has the most beautiful screen I’ve used on a mobile device, unfortunately after one or two days of use I have to restart it because it’s either slowed to an unusable crawl, or frozen solid. If this had been my first Android phone I’d be tempted to blame it on the Android operating system, but the Nexus 4 I used for several months before giving it to my daughter was as reliable as my old iPhone 4S.
So why is the S4 so flaky? I Don’t know for sure, but I suspect it is all the bloat ware or superfluous features Samsung ships with its phones. Samsung just pushed out an update a couple of days ago, but I’ve still needed to reboot at least once.
The good news is that my son wants an S4, so when the Moto X is released in Canada, I think I’ll buy it, and let my son reboot the S4 every day.