Reach for the light this Halloween!

Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium 2014Register now for the 2014 Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium on October 31. Our thanks to Tayarisha Poe (we will miss her!) for the Halloween-themed logo!

Our guiding question is: How can technology empower our students, and us, as learners?

We will begin with a faculty panel featuring Jeffrey Babin, Marybeth Gasman, Jeffery Saven and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw. Peter Decherney will facilitate our popular annual undergraduate student panel. (We welcome all students to share your thoughts on our survey!) After an informal lunch in the WIC Data Diner, we’ll explore workshop topics from hands-on Canvas to discussions on flipped-classroom teaching. We’ll wind up the day with a lightning round of two-minute talks.

Farewell, Tayarisha

TayarishaI want to wish a fond farewell to Tayarisha Poe, who has served as a lab consultant in the Vitale Digital Media Lab since July, 2013.
Tayarisha is leaving to focus on free-lancing full-time.  In the short term she will be working on photography projects for HBCUs. She is also working on a series of short films called “Selah, and the Spades,” funded by the Leeway Foundation, which will be finished in November.

I will certainly miss her, as will the students, faculty, and staff at Penn whom she has worked with and taught during her time here at the Libraries.
Tayarisha will be staffing the lab until 5pm today if you would like to stop in to say good-bye.

Android to iPhone, iPhone to Android

iphone-to-androidAt long last, the Apple iPhone 6 and 6+ have been released into the wild, along with iOS 8. And the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Android 5/Android L are set for release soon.  These have been the topic of much discussion here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, and I’ve heard several conversations about people switching from one platform to the other.  But how do you do that exactly?  Not only do you need to get your data from one device to the other, but there’s also a bit of a learning curve for people who are adopting an entirely new operating system on their phones.

Here are some links to make your transition easier:

Lifehacker has a guide on Jumping Ship from iPhone to Android: A Switcher’s Guide

Apple created a guide on Moving Content from your Android Phone to iPhone (which I also discovered via Lifehacker)

Lynda.com also has some training content you might find useful during the switching process.  If you’re not a subscriber to Lynda.com yourself, remember you can reserve one of our Lynda.com licenses (at least 1 day in advance, and up to 7 days in advance) and watch the training videos in the comfort of your own home.

iOS 8 New features
Android Essential Training
(you’ll need to be logged into Lynda in order to watch those online courses)

Do you have other suggestions for people making the switch?  If so, please share them in the comments!

The New Mac Pros have Landed!

macpro_pfh_printThis is the first of a few blog posts announcing some exciting upgrades to the Vitale Digital Media Lab. I’m really happy to announce that after QUITE a few years of waiting, we have 10 brand new Mac Pros for you to use in the Vitale Digital Media Lab.  They’re incredibly sharp looking (although we’ve heard comments that they look like R2D2, Darth Vader, a vacuum cleaner, a funerary urn, a trash can, and one of those things at the gym you use to dry your bathing suit before putting it in your gym bag.)

We’ve been testing them, and we’ve been incredibly impressed with their speed. Ours are running 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processors with 32GB of memory.  They have Dual AMD FirePro™ D500 graphics processors with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each. They’ve got USB 3.0, so you can finally take advantage of all that transfer speed, and thunderbolt ports. We’ve also updated the operating system to Mavericks (OS X 10.9).

You should notice a significant improvement in performance if you’re working with video or large graphics files.

One key difference to know about is that these new Macs don’t have built-in CD/DVD drives.  So if you need to read or write to a CD/DVD, please ask the lab consultant on duty and they’ll be glad to attach a portable CD/DVD drive to your machine.  We can also supply card readers if you need to get data from an SD card, Compact Flash, etc.

Please come in, give them a try, and let us know what you think!  And stay tuned for another exciting lab upgrade announcement next week!

WordPress Help for the Ward Project

Amy Hillier from our Faculty Advisory Group gave us a heads-up about a great opportunity for students to work on The Ward: Race & Class in Du Bois’ Seventh Ward project. She is looking for research assistants through the Fox Leadership Program and the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society. Students would get the chance to master WordPress and web design (with WIC coaching if needed) and contribute to an important effort! (You might remember our posts on an interview with Haftom and the 2011 Legacy of Courage film screening.) Here’s the official announcement: Continue reading

A Great Password Manager: Free for a limited time!

1Password LogoKeeping track of all of your passwords is no easy feat these days. Many of us end up using less secure passwords, or using the same password for every account because they’re easier to remember that way.  A password manager solves that problem by remembering your passwords for you, secured by a single strong password that will be the only one you need to remember.  This allows you to choose longer and more complex passwords and reduce the chance of a malicious hacker getting access to your email, taking money from your bank accounts, or even stealing your identity!

For a very short time (possibly today only), one of the best password managers out there, 1PassWord, is available for free on iOS—a substantial discount off of it’s usual $17.99 price.  1Password not only stores your passwords securely, but also other things like text documents, credit card and bank account numbers, as well as scanned copies of your passport or driver’s license, which are useful when traveling.  See the 2-minute video below for more details

Even if you don’t think you’re going to use it, get it anyway.  If you change your mind later on, at least you won’t have to pay for it.

Thanks to Ted Moskalenko at ISC for bringing this to our attention!

1Password – No More Sticky Notes from AgileBits on Vimeo.