Saturday, September 10, 2011

New IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – July 28, 2011

Jim started out our meeting by showing us the interesting TodaysMeet as the site states, it “helps you embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience in realtime. Encourage the room to use the live stream to make comments, ask questions, and use that feedback to tailor your presentation, sharpen your points, and address audience needs.” Essentially, this tool can be used to create an “official” backchannel for classes or discussions, similar to the way that Twitter and texting are already used. The tool creates an auto-generated URL for sharing, and will send out a final transcript when you are done. It is completely free to sign up and create an account.

Ian then introduced us to the similarly “low startup hurdle” tool called Doodle: it allows you to create a “poll” for determining the best times that a group of people are available to meet. The system creates a matrix of self-reported availability. As we all know, the meting time finder in WiscCal is frustrating and unwieldy. This useful tool might help! (The single drawback, noted by Lee, is that if it becomes popular and if you receive many Doodle requests it can get confusing.)

Ian then mentioned the helpful Screencast-O-Matic tool: This tool is similar to Jing. Though it lacks some of Jing’s helpful features, it does not require downloading a client application. It is web-based, so there are no permissions to worry about when using a public computer.

The group then turned its attention to the Meebo tool: This now-classic IM/chat aggregator works as a handy web-based and smart-phone based application. It also works on the iPad!

Jim mentioned the very cool JayCut tool: The site allows you to upload and edit video for free. The interface is similar to iMovie in layout and functionality. Fortunately for the JayCut company, but maybe unfortunately for users looking for a new free account, JayCut was purchased this summer by ResearchInMotion [Blackberry]. The site is no longer registering new users. We are all wondering what the future of JayCut will be. Good luck to the JayCut team and ResearchInMotion.

Ian showed us the useful ScreenChomp app for the iPhone/iPad: It allows a user to make simple drawings and handwritten text then share it with another iPad/iPhone user. Cool!

Tom introduced the group to the Zinio site: This site posts digital versions of print magazines online for use via iPad or smartphone. The interesting thing about this site is that it preserves the original text, images and exact page layout of the original print edition. It is not clear what the file format is for the content, as it is protected by DRM. The site has a search feature and a fairly substantial variety of primarily popular magazines in their catalog. It is possible to obtain both back issues and subscriptions for new issues, but the back issues do not go back very far.

The group then discussed Google+ for a few minutes: Ian noted that the “Circles” functionality was an interesting innovation on the primary friending utility of social networks. It allows you to specify categories or circles of contacts. It will be interesting to see where Google+ goes in the next year.

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