Thursday, October 25, 2007

Vendors

I often find the vendor area to be the most useful part of Educause. It's always good to talk face-to-face with sales reps and to find out what new things are being released. This year, there seems to be more vendors than ever before. I spent four hours on the exhibit hall floor yesterday and still haven't made it all the way through. (I have to keep in mind that as many vendors as there are at Educause, the InfoComm exhibit hall is about four times bigger.

Faronics (maker of DeepFreeze) - it's always easier to talk to a vendor when you already do business with them. ETS started using DeepFreeze this semester. I've always liked the balance of flexibility and control it provides. The sales guy says that a new version will be released in January that allows a "super list" to be created. When someone on that super list logs into the machine, they have complete control. There's no longer a need for an administrator to unfreeze a computer before making changes. It'll be automatic. Faronics has also released a version of DeepFreeze that supports Leopard.

I also learned about another product called "PowerSave." It's a very intricate program designed to cut energy use on computers. If the computer has no activity for a certain amount of time, it shuts itself down. The decision to shut down is more involved than whether or not there is keyboard or mouse action. It also looks to see whether programs are running, and an array of other actions.

  • I saw Dell's new tablet. It'll be released on December 11. It's not much lighter than my Toshiba. However, the most interesting thing about it is that you won't need a special stylus. You can use any hard device (similar to most PDAs). Surprisingly, most tablets require the special stylus.
  • Saw a product called DyKnow, that provides a nice software solution to screen sharing for computer classrooms. One interesting feature is that it allows the instructor to completely black out the students' computer screen. Unfortunately, there's no Mac version. I emphasized repeatedly that without a Mac version, we're not interested. (I was thinking about the VCRC and ways we can update that facility.)
  • Respondus allows faculty to create quiz questions off-line and upload them into the course management system, including Moodle. The interface is much more intuitive than Moodle or Blackboard.
  • Lots of consulting/help desk services for open source software, especially Moodle and Sakai. One outfit (I don't recall the name) provides 24/7 first line support for Moodle for about $35K per year. They say that it's expensive, but cheaper than what a full-time support person would be.
More later.




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1 comment:

Loren said...

Do you have a picture of the Dell Tablet PC?