iPhone Musings

I just purchased my first smart phone. I needed a big touch screen and Wi-Fi. A minute QWERTY keyboard was not going to cut it, even if its interface did make access to the institutional network, easier. I wanted multi-media capability and the ability to access learning materials of various sorts, electronically. I have used and played with Windows, Palm and RIM interfaces and found them all wanting. Having recently bought a MacBook Pro for home use (mainly for Garage Band), the logical choice seemed to be an iPhone 3G, so that is what I got.

There was a special offer on the table from the two local carriers of the iPhone. I opted for the basic $10 voice plan (250m, free evening after 6:00 p.m. and weekends) and the special, a $35 smartphone data plan (500MB for e-mail, IM and browsing, and unlimited text/picture/video, as well as, name/call display, enhance voicemail and one other trademarked service). So, for $45 a month, plus activation, monthly access and emergency fees and taxes, voila. It took all of twenty minutes. Almost instant connectivity. I was calling, then texting my daughter before I left the vendor’s shop. I had downloaded a free app before I left the mall.

I have had the thing a week. This is what I have learned; it has no cut and paste (I am experimenting with the Safari Bookmarklets imported from the MacBook Pro), no native JAVA support (I have read it can be done, it is a UNIX kernel, after all), no Flash plugin for Safari (except Google’s variant) and some YouTube videos will not play (Hmmm). Also, not all the screens rotate to landscape. On the plus side; it is a very good phone, a very good media player, I love the screen, and I like the big virtual keys. I tried the Storm’s and found them too coarse. Mail is working. The 3G network is fast. Did I say, I love the screen. The interface is brilliant. There are some very cool apps that extend the functionality of that interface considerably, including a Remote Desktop app and a VNC app. Home network setup of these apps would be possible for a novice, if the directions supplied were well-followed.  I am managing a Mac laptop, a PC laptop and a PC desktop, over the wire and wirelessly. It cost me about $60 USD and 1.5 hours. I will tackle the institutional environment, again this week. Secure wireless access stumped me, last week. The geo-location capabilities are impressive and there are plenty of other great games and utilities to be had at the App Store. The ones I downloaded ranged in price from free to $25 USD.

So far, so good. More to come on the iPhone and mobile learning fronts.

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