White flash still a (mis)feature of Safari 5.1.2
By Stephen WITHERS
I made a point of installing the Safari 5.1.2 update during the week, but was disappointed to find the 'white flash' problem was still present. If the delay was always so short that it deserved the term 'flash' I wouldn't be so bothered, but it often lasts several seconds.
If you have multiple pages open in tabs in a browser, the content should appear instantly when you click on a different tab. But that's not how recent versions of Safari have behaved. Instead, the tab content sometimes disappears leaving an all-white window, and then the content reloads either from the cache or in some circumstances from the server.
Safari 5.1.2 was supposed to fix that - or at least the "issues that could cause webpages to flash white" - but it doesn't make a reliable difference on my Mac. After emptying the cache, I did see some improvement, but when I opened 13 tabs from a bookmark folder and then used another program while they loaded, I found that clicking on any of the tabs gave a white window with a spinning progress indicator showing the content was being reloaded. Sometimes merely making Safari the frontmost application is enough to trigger a white window.
So Safari 5.1.2 is better in that I don't see white flashes quite as often, but it still happens to an irritating extent, especially as it didn't happen at all in Safari 4.x (or 5.0, as best I can remember). I haven't carried out methodical tests, but it appears to be worse when there's little free memory.
I'll close with an item from the 'it's never too late to learn' department. I read this week that control-K acts as 'delete to end of line' in many (most?) Mac programs, and has done so since Mac OS X 10.0. Apparently this and some other Emacs commands (eg control-D for delete) usually work while typing, whether that's in a browser's address bar, a TextEdit document, an Outlook email, or while changing a file name in the Finder. Not surprisingly, Word is an exception.
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You can lead a boy to a tablet, but you can't make him learn
By David BRAUE
I noted with great interest the decision by Melbourne-area private boys' school Brighton Grammar to adopt 600 Acer Android tablets across its entire year 9 through 12 student body.
Here, Android supporters everywhere have rejoiced, is a school finally willing to flip the bird to that bastion of market dominance, Apple, and give its constituency of teenage boys a tablet that has all the Flash-watching, malware-exposed, multimedia goodness that Android's Honeycomb version can dish up.
This is all well and good, but it also highlights the lemming syndrome that's happening within many of our schools. Determined as always to position themselves as educational leaders, schools of all stripes are investing – largely in iPads, but some in Iconia Tab A500s – in tablets that will, it is presumed, magically improve learning outcomes for all concerned.
A pity they're being used for exactly none of that. I recently heard a report of one school that bought a number of iPads for its students, then had distressed teachers calling a meeting two weeks later after one of the units had developed a crack in its screen.
Turns out the boys were filling it with downloaded games, taking goofy photos of each other using Photo Booth, and tossing the unit to each other in a pique of monkey-in-the-middle play that went horribly wrong when the $1000 device made hard contact with an even harder floor.
While this sort of thing may offer new fun in the form of school-tablet dead pools, it's also a reflection of just what questionable technology decisions are being taken. As to why the school didn't think to invest in $40 covers to protect their devices, I cannot say.
The Brighton Grammar crew thought of covers, at least. Yet indications are that they're off to an equally ignominious start: look closely at the promotional photos distributed with the announcement of the deal, and you see one of the boys is playing Angry Birds.
In the library. In his school uniform, during school hours (which we can determine from the clock on the wall).
The other boys are engaged in even less educationally-relevant pursuits: one is idly flipping through the applications on the Android home screen, another is typing something into a non-specific application, and the fourth – whose screen we cannot see – could for all we know be tapping into the Iconia's Flash capabilities to watch a bit of streaming pr0n. After all, these are teenage boys we're talking about here; heck, even I was a teenage boy once, and I know what I would have been doing with a tablet like this if we had them back then.
Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought the library was for actual learning – and that schools should only invest in new technology if they have some real educational goal with it. Investing tens of thousands of dollars in new tablets, then proclaiming yourself enlightened as you hand them to teenagers and expecting them to go off and use it to learn something, is like giving that teenager the keys to your Ferrari and telling him he can only pull it into the driveway while you're overseas.
Were I the principal of Brighton Grammar, I would have been horrified to see a press release go out with pictures of the students playing Angry Birds; parents pay good money for strong learning outcomes, but I don't think this is what they had in mind. Schools are going gaga for tablets, but without educating teachers about how to use them there's simply no point.
Worse still, in some cases I fear the rush to tablets will compromise overall education. Consider another local school that has not only mandated iPads for all students, but decreed that all textbooks will now be loaded onto the devices rather than giving students dead-tree editions.
What could possibly go wrong?
This is not to say that tablets can't be used for educational good; only that teachers and educators must make themselves aware of the devices' potential, and develop a real and actionable plan for using them rather than simply being entranced by the amazing power of their gleaming chassis. Companies are the same: rather than being caught up in this vague concept of mobile computing, approach tablet purchases like you were spending your own money – and don't be afraid to hold off if it seems like everyone's just getting a bit to excited about a bit too little.
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4200Km to go. Wagons HO! Well, MONARO HO! at least....
By David HAGUE
As of today I am in transit via the (mostly) trusty Monaro back to a life in Sydney. Yes, The Shed has been packed, cleaned and vacated and the Nullarbor and beyonf infinity beckons. The boot is full of ‘stuff’ (including water, spare fuel just in case although probably not needed) and a pile of essentials and Budweiser the Hound will be on the passenger seat scouting ahead with those keen eyes for hints of any problems.
Mostly flocks of budgerigars I am told – and no, hopefully not the Tony Abbott type but the green, blue and yellow feathered variety.
I also have the Monaro wired for video and sound with three fixed camcorders (Canon XHA1, Canon HV20 and Kaiser Baas Car Camera) and a Sony TRV 10E available for handheld to record the trip. My navigation will be true via a TomTom Sat Nav system, music powered by a Belkin FM system from a spare phone to the Monaro’s Bose 8 speaker setup, a Nikon dSLR is ready and waiting with an 8GB Sandisk card formatted to go and a Casio pocket camera with another 8GB Sandisk and GPS capability for stuff on-the-fly.
An HP Mininote will record trip notes, internet access is via a Telstra 3G USB stick, my main tablet is a Samsung Galaxy TAB 7” and I’ll watch recorded episodes of Spooks on my HP Touchpad at the various stopovers (Esperance, Madura, Ceduna, Victor Harbor and Echuca. The total distance is 4500Km give or take a bit!
I only forgot one thing. To ask anyone for sponsorship! So anyone happy to chip in oh, say $300 or so for major exposure on Auscam with the videos of the adventures I no doubt will encounter, record and voice over?
And if you are a pet food company, I can help you too!
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Being too social may cost you a job
By Ian GRAYSON
If you're looking for a new job in 2012, take time to first clean up your social networks.
New research commissioned by Telstra has found more than one in four employers check out prospective job seekers online before offering them a new position.
Postings to sites like Facebook and Twitter can provide an indication of how people behave outside work as well as their attitude towards their current employer.
The research also found almost 20 per cent of employers use social networking connections to monitor what existing staff are saying about their own organisation. Start sounding off online about that boss you hate and you might get called into his or her office for a "please explain" session.
The results are not that surprising. With the treasure trove of information shared on social networks readily available, why would an employer not check out what you've been sharing?
The bottom line: don't post anything on line that you don't want the world to know about. Even if you think your privacy settings are solid, things still leak out.
And take some time to check back through your earlier posts, clearing away anything you think potential bosses may find distasteful.
Do you think you've ever lost out on a job because of social networking?
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Howzat? Cricket Live Australia app makes everyone an umpire
By Adam TURNER
The Viewers' Verdict is an interesting addition to this summer’s official app from Cricket Australia.
With the First Test against New Zealand underway at the Gabba, I set about my annual ritual of looking for a decent iPhone app to keep track of live scores and other stats. There’s no shortage of apps to choose from, but the Cricket Live Australia app caught my eye due to the new Viewers’ Verdict feature which lets you have your say regarding controversial decisions. While the umpires confer, just hit the big red or green button on your phone to declare whether or not you think it’s a wicket.
Cricket Live Australia is available for both iOS and Android devices, which is great to see and a sign of the times. A partnership between Vodafone and Channel Nine means we’ll also see the results of each Viewers’ Verdict on the television as we wait for the umpire’s decision. It’s even tied into Twitter and Facebook, so you can broadcast your decision to the world. Yes, I also winced at the thought of adding even more noise to the social media din, but sharing opinions is clearly one of the main drawcards of social media.
In this age of multi-tasking, many people tend to watch television with at least one gadget by their side. Sure, pushing a big button is one of those silly novelties, but I expect the Viewers’ Verdict will be popular with passionate cricket fans. It’ll also be popular with networks such as Nine which are looking for new interactivity options to keep viewers engaged. Live sport is one of the few remaining programs that people are actually prepared to watch live and suffer through the advertisements. It makes sense for Nine to go out of its way to keep armchair sports fans happy, lest they get their sporting hit elsewhere.
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