Monthly Archives: November 2011

Is the keyboard dead..?

There’s a great deal of discussion about the relevance of traditional devices with a physical keyboard attached – netbooks, laptops, desktops, etc. – with the advent and increasingly adopted tablet. I use all of these types of devices (on iOS now) but am still not convinced that I would naturally want to bin the keyboard for certain tasks like large word processing..?

It’s all about me :)

Another infographic generator from This visually plots information based upon your answers to some fairly basic questions against the responses of over 200,000 previously surveyed people.

It's all about me infographic

Some easy to use and fully customisable inforgraphics generator tools would be fantastic! IBM’s Many Eyes online tool is a good start, but I want to be able to use my own base images, colours and stuff… Powerful in the classroom and in business.

Me as a Twitter infographic! Shopping..? ;-)

Just had a go with the labs Twitter infographic generator…

The quiet Google Apps and Chromebooks revolution

Over the past few weeks I have been assessing how best we can deploy and manage a set of Google Chromebooks to be piloted across a group of schools.  We already have an enterprise deployment of Google Apps for Education with approximately 130,000 users grouped into around 450 Organisational Units.  The entire user and organisational management is efficiently streamlined using the Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF); new users, transient users and leavers are all near-time captured through SIF making account management a breeze!

How does this work?  (1) The school Management Information System (MIS) is updated – pupils and staff intake, leavers, or changes – and modifications are transported securely via SIF and the (2) Zone Integration Server (ZIS) to the Identity Management (IdM) server.  Here users identities are matched or created.  (3) Then the identities are passed via SIF to the ZIS and then (4) on to Google Apps.

SIF Identity Management

Now here’s the cloud clever bit… Before deployment to your users, each Google Chromebook is registered with your organisation’s Google Apps domain using the management console.  Here you can define a multitude of policy options including which applications, or extensions, a user should, or should not, have access to.  Policies can be defined for different organisational units – pupils and staff, sales and marketing, etc. – and updated at any time.  Any user who signs-in in to any registered Chromebook will automatically receive the profile relevant to them.  Organisational Unit policy changes are automatically applied the next time a user signs-in, or after a set time period.

Chromebook Management

This is a fantastic example of how simple, powerful, efficient and cost effective cloud computing really can be.  No expensive domain servers to maintain and house.  No network intensive traditional roaming profiles.  Easy management from any place in the world with an Internet connection.  Flexible and mobile workforce and learners.