Converting videos so they can be edited

April 18, 2014

At Cramlington, we don’t currently have a third-party video service.

Not that sort of video service!

Not that sort of video service!

Instead, having an entirely Windows server environment, we’ve used Windows Media Encoder and WMV files to stream all our videos.

Together with Graeme Porter (since moved to be Walbottle Campus’ VLE Coordinator), I put together our own video database system (CramTube – yeah, our naming’s not got better either).  We also methodically went through all of the encoding settings in Adobe Premiere to determine best compression – size ratio.  Using WMV we achieve around 4 Mbs per minute.

  • Bit rate encoding: CBR, 1 pass
  • Maximum bit rate: 550 kbps
  • Width: 640, height: 480

At this setting, you see a little artefacting (it’s not yet a word, but I’m holding out hope), but the file size has to double before the quality noticeably improves.  And so far, we’ve only rolled out Android devices to students which can play WMVs fine.

 

The problem

Of course, there’s a problem.  In this case, it’s our students, who use their Android tablets and phones (only in 6th form supposedly) to record video.

I'm currently pushing for month long detentions for filming the wrong way.

I’m currently pushing for month-long detentions for filming the wrong way.

Shockingly, they also to want to be able to edit it.  Trouble is, there’s no app in existence (I’ve looked) that allows the user to record video as WMV.  And if the student wishes to edit the video, generally it involves a trip to the IT support office with a memory stick.

Our Solution

Please note, that this bit is entitled Our Solution.  I’m sure there are many other ways to achieve this, but this is our solution using products we had to hand.  The solution required:

  1. Some way of students uploading video (large files).
  2. Have it convert automatically.
  3. Be able to download the new file.

1 – PL Upload
To solve the first point, a Google search (sorry Bing – I never even considered you) discovered PL Upload.  This system is a lovely bit of code which allows large files to be automatically uploaded by users.  This gets round the problem of standard file upload forms timing out.  The documentation is a little off-putting, but the example file provided works just fine.  From there, it’s easy enough to adapt to suit your own design.

2 – Adobe Media Encoder
The next part involves converting the video from whatever format into the editable WMV.  We’re lucky enough to have Adobe CC for our department.  It’s meant we have the latest versions of all the Adobe products, though I think AME has had watch folders for some time.

Hang on….sorry, got ahead of myself.  In AME, you can set up the program to “watch” for new files on a network drive.  So every time a user uploads a video file using PL Upload, it drops into one of these ‘watch folders’.  AME, running on a spare PC detects the new file, converts it and saves it into another folder.

3 – Auto menu – PHP
On upload, we used a bit of our own code to rename the video file with the user’s username, time and date.  Using a variation on the auto menu code I shared last time on this blog, the user sees a list of all the videos containing their username.

And that’s it.   Obviously AME can be set to convert to formats other than WMV, but seeing as our students use Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 (site licence years ago) and Windows Movie Maker (free), we find it’s the easiest format.

So far, only our sixth form students have used the uploader, but our Year 7 students are using a stop motion app which only saves in MOV or MP4 formats.  PL Upload being a web-based tool should allow them to upload and convert.

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How to take screenshots on a Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

April 1, 2012

In previous entries about the Samsung Galaxy Tab, I’ve included screenshots from the device.  Getting these screenshots has always been a little tricky.  Until Ice Cream Sandwich, there wasn’t a standard way on Android to achieve this.

Android Screen Capture

I had been preparing a post about a piece of development software called Android Screen Capture but then the download link seemed to disappear and there were other issues regarding its use. I think you have to install the Android SDK for example. I’ll just say that while I like ASC it can be a little tricky to set up.  You can also display your device fullscreen which is very handy for presentations and demonstrations.

Android Screen Capture

A screen capture of a screen capture program. That's practically Inception.

Screengrab all the things!

Screengrab all the things

Yes, even I use memes

It turns out there is a simple method to take a screen shot just using the Galaxy Tabs themselves.

  • Hold the back button
  • Press the power button

The picture taken is saved into a ScreenCapture folder accessible using the gallery.

A screenshot from my Samsung Galaxy Tab P1010

The emptiest of my home screens. It's filling up fast though


Making Apps: Redux – part 4 (iPhone Apps)

March 26, 2012

This is part 4 of my three-part series, Making Apps.  Redux, because it sounds good.  Revisit is possibly more accurate and at least I didn’t have to look up what it meant.

In the series, I tried to explain the possibilities in making apps for yourself.  I didn’t go into much technical detail, mainly because that would take about a book’s worth of text.  Funnily enough, quite a few people have done that already.  I mainly talked about Android apps, because that’s what I know.  The massive issue with developing Apple iOS apps is that you need access to a Mac.

Why a Mac?

Apple's logo

The preferred iOS creation software is XCode, which only runs on Mac and the security requirements of creating and saving development and distribution certificates are really only possible on a Mac.  Finally, uploading apps to the App Store for approval can also only be accomplished via Mac.  In short, you need a Mac and the length of time you will spend on one, even if you build apps the way I have done, means you can’t just borrow your friend’s Mac Book for an hour.

Getting started

In my case, having been a PC-user for the longest time, since one disappointing 6-month period back in 1999, I wasn’t about to swap my Windows 7 laptop for a Mac Book.  I also wasn’t about to advise purchasing a new computer just because it would be kinda cool to make iPhone apps.

At the time of writing, I have just submitted my first app to iTunes Connect and it’s sitting there awaiting approval (see: update).  I built this app in  Adobe Flash Professional CS5.  I say built, but really it was a case of copy-and-pasting the frames from the existing Android App.  Flash’s iOS template took care of the rest, although I am getting ahead of myself.

Firstly, I had to apply for an iOS Developer account – $99 per year.

iOS Development Centre

$99 just to be able to log in

Next, we had to wait for Apple to contact the school to verify our existence and the fact we wanted to make apps – 6 weeks.

At this point last summer, we discovered the Mac requirements, so everything went on hold.  Then I wrote the blog entries about making Android apps, which got me thinking:  If Flash CS5 is allowed to publish iOS apps and all I need is the certificate to do so, how hard can this be?  All I really needed is access to a Mac…

The school had dabbled with Macs and we had a room of them not networked (they don’t play well with Windows servers).  I suggested that I take one of the Mac Minis home, allow it to use my Wi-Fi and see how easy it is to create the certificates that way.

Certifiable

There’s easy, straightforward and then there’s bodge upon bodge!  Many, many hours and countless forums later, I managed to create a P12 Development Certificate and Mobileprovision file and was able to publish the app using Flash and install it on my iPod Touch.

In order to create these certificates, you have to fill in a form on the iOS Development website.  Then you download the certificate file.  Then you import this certificate into Keychain Assistant.  Then you request something else from the Certificate Authority.  Then you download the mobile provisioning certificate.   Making sure at each step you enter the correct password, delete all old versions and have all the preferences checked.   I would like to talk you through each stage clearly, but it is so confusing that I can’t remember exactly what I did and no doubt will struggle to repeat the procedure correctly myself.

Once all of that is done, you hit publish and produce a development app for your personal device.  There is something very rewarding about making an app and seeing it on your device.  Something about it being made tangible.

Submitting to the App Store

Once you’ve tested your app – i.e., it doesn’t brick your iPod.  You can think about distributing it.  I’m not 100% sure Apple wants you to distribute apps, as their website which has been quite clear to up this point gets a little hazy.   Basically, look for iTunes Connect.  It’s sort of outside the iOS Development area.

iTunes Connect

Not to be confused with iTunes U, iTunes or Facetime

On this website, you fill out several pages, upload images and descriptions.  You will be asked for an SKU number, which turns out to be your own reference number for your app and you’ll also be asked for a lot of other things to.  Google will become your best friend here.

Once you have completed the forms to the best of your ability, you will need to generate Distribution certificates.  That crying you can hear was my spending another good few hours repeating certificate stuff again!

Once you’ve generated and published your app from Flash (or maybe your were daring and went straight to XCode) you will need to upload your .ipa file using Application Loader.  This handy little program is now bundled with XCode.   In order to install XCode you need to be running Snow Leopard.  In my case, that meant buying the upgrade DVD and waiting two weeks for delivery.

When you have upgraded, downloaded the upgrades to the upgrade, you are finally allowed to download XCode for Snow Leopard.   Once installed, you can close XCode and use Finder to locate the standalone Application Loader.

Application Loader icon

Application Loader aka "I had to download 1.5 Gb of XCode just to get this!"

Do you get the impression I think this entire process has been overly convoluted?

In conclusion

When I tell others of my experiences, I have found that iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users view these steps with reassurance.  Each one said “It’s good to know they take the security seriously”.

And of course, Android devotees take my story as proof at how limited and controlling Apple is.

I think there’s truth in both views.  The hoop-jumping required to produce a final certificate is crazy.  Surely once you have logged into your Apple account and created a certificate there, what additional stages are needed?   It’s completely opposite to the self-signed certificate you create for Android.  Not to mention creating separate development and distribution certificates.

In terms of actually building and development, I still prefer Adobe AIR for Android.  Little features like being able to connect to your device and overwrite the app inside Flash make it a little easier to work in.   For iOS, you use iTunes to install/replace the app.

Ultimately the iPhone and iPad are massively prevalent and a lot of teachers have one or both.  I’m pleased that I’ve been able to produce an app for Apple devices and particularly pleased that the Adobe AS3 coding was able to be used without alteration for iOS.  I’m assuming that getting development and distribution certificates will become smoother as I do it more often.

Apple vs Android

I wanted an Apple vs Android image, but they are all quite mean really (read: funny) and didn't want to appear one-side.

I still maintain that there are more benefits to Android than Apple for a school:

  • Android Apps can be hosted directly on our VLE.  So apps which use internal school systems do not have to be published to Google Play
  • iOS Apps can be hosted directly, but are limited to 100 devices under Apple’s Ad Hoc distribution system
  • Android Apps appear in Google Play almost instantly as they do not undergo human-based testing before release.  Some would point out that this is actually a good thing that Apple does, but it does delay distribution and their decisions have been shown to be arbitrary.

Finally if you are considering building your own apps, give serious consideration to Adobe Flash.  Building in Adobe Flash produces a SWF file, which can be used directly on our intranet, so we get an “emulator” each time we make an app.

UPDATE:

On 2nd April 2012, Apple approved my first iOS app, Question Dice and made it available on the App Store.  It’s free to use.  You can access it here, Question Dice


Making Apps – Part 3 (publishing)

January 28, 2012

In this ever increasing series, we now come to the fun part.  All the hard work is done.  You’ve coded in Adobe AIR, tested on your computer…now we wrap it up all pretty.

A particularly nice feature of Flash Professional’s AIR package is the publishing settings.  You specify a name for your app, whether you want to fix it as landscape, portrait or allow the phone to flip it depending between the two.  (There’s an example template included which gives you the code to access the accelerometer, so you can have your app flip correctly).

Adobe AIR publishing settings

Making an app requires a certficate containing your details.  This certificate is password protected and bundled with the app.  I’m not 100% sure what the point of this certificate is, but the wizard makes it very easy to create.  Just don’t forget your password, which you need to publish the app!

You get to include icons (but don’t worry, they are png files, you don’t need a .ico program).  Part of me always squees at these finishing touches.  I get to pretend I’m all professional. 🙂

You also get to specify what you need your app to access in order to work.  This allows users to decide if they want to install your app.  If your app plays sounds, and want them to automatically silence if a cell is recieved, you can check a permission to read phone state.  Use with caution!  If you’re the maker of a widely successful vegetation vs undead game and you have this particular permission setting you block all non-phone tablet users from playing.

Plants vs Zombies - only works if you have a phone

Why??????????

Building apps for iOS is very similar up to this point but here we must part gentle traveller, as I can guide you no further.   As mentioned in Part 1, the certificate required to make an iOS app can only be generated by a Mac.  Surely this is going to change at some point, but until then…

Testing Times

This bit should probably be a bit higher as let’s face it, if you’re making an app you’ll probably have been testing it all along.  Just in case you didn’t know, plug your phone (or Samsung Galaxy Tab) into a handy USB socket (preferably one attached to the computer you’re using).  Then go to Settings > Applications > Development and check USB Debugging.

Android Testing

And suddenly, your phone becomes the ultimate in user testing environments.   In theory, if Adobe AIR will run on a phone, anything you get working on your phone will work in exactly the same way on any phone.

The final step before unleashing your app upon the world is editing the manifest.  When you press publish in Flash, the program takes your flash file and wraps it up with the png icons you made, that certificate we talked about and an XML file generated in the publishing settings.

This XML file contains publishing data such as the permissions, the file name etc…  It also contains the manifest.  If you want your users to be able to move your app onto their SD Card thereby saving room on their phone’s internal memory, you need to edit this bit before you press publish – after you have finished editing the publishing settings otherwise Flash will overwrite your changes.

Open the XML file in Notepad++ or similar and scroll down until you find:

<android>    

<manifestAdditions>     

<![CDATA[<manifest>

</manifest>]]>

</manifestAdditions>  

</android>

Now change the <![CDATA[manifest> bit to:

<![CDATA[<manifest android:installLocation=”auto”>

Which gives users the ability to move your app.

Publishing (finally!)

Sorry, it’s taken a while to get here.  Basically, just hit “Publish”.   Your app gets wrapped up as a .APK file.  All ready for deployment. 

The beauty of Android is that if you’re making a very specific app that the wider world doesn’t need to know about, you can distribute this APK file like any other file.  Uploading it to your VLE or website allows users to download and install directly.   They do need to ensure to have Unknown Sources checked, but that’s about it.

Allow apps from Unknown Sources in Android

The Android Market

Where’s the fun in keeping apps all to yourself.  Publishing to the Android Market is incredibly straightforward.  You have to spend a one-off $25 to get a Developer account.  There is no approval time, no one phones to check you exist or anything like that.  Once your email is verified, you can upload your APK file and fill out all the details.   The Market takes you through each section (you have to provide screenshots and promotional images etc…)

At the time of writing, I’ve only uploaded our Question Dice, but plan to upload more when the time allows.  Making the video demonstrating its use was fun, but a word of warning, make sure to replace the audio before uploading to YouTube.  I had to hurriedly delete and republish.  

Sit back and watch

The statistics supplied by the Market are fascinating reading: 

  • 30% of the users are on Gingerbread, one on Honeycomb and the rest on Froyo. 
  • The devices range from the Galaxy Tabs to phones of every description to a host of other tablets. 
  • Outside of the UK, we have three users in the USA and one in Australia.
  • We had a user in Spain, but they’ve uninstalled it 😦  I wonder why?

In summary

  • Making apps can be as simple or as complicated as you like.
  • Adobe Flash Professional allows you to make apps in Adobe AIR.
  • Ignore all the “professional” AS3 coders who pretend AS3 is highly complex.  
  • Think about permissions and remember the install location setting for the manifest.
  • Dont swear while filming your demo video.

As with everything I write about on this blog, things are often easier than they appear to be.  The hard part is finding good tutorials and websites and people willing to help.  If nothing else, I’ve hopefully provided a summary of all the bits you need to get started.


Making Apps – Part 2

January 25, 2012

When I started writing this post, I realised it was a case of tl:dr (too long, didn’t read – just in case you didn’t know).  I say I realised, my wife leaned over and said “Really?   tl:dr much!”

Loved ones, always the harshest critics 🙂

So, where was I.   Oh yes…

3) Adobe Flash CS5 and Adobe AIR

Flash.  Aha!  Saviour of the internet!

Adobe Flash

I love Flash, although I seem to be in an ever reducing minority, which no longer includes Adobe for some reason.  I think I know why – Flash in webpages on mobile devices isn’t as responsive as it feels like it could be.  There are resizing issues and supposedly it causes crashes, although I’ve never experienced a browser crash because of Flash.

Apple have blamed Flash for being too RAM intensive to be safely included on their iPhones and iPod Touches.  This decision had the happy coincidence of closing off thousands of free Flash games just as Apple were launching their App Store full of paid games.

As a development platform, Flash is second to none.  I said previously that only Apple understands about wrapping up everything you need.  Well I have to include Adobe as well in that exclusive club.  Flash combines graphics, animations and coding very easily and with the downloadable Adobe AIR for Android plugin folds in app making too.

Flash CS5 also comes with the ability to make Apple iOS apps.  Unfortunately, due to restrictions imposed by Apple, (you need a certificate which can only be create on a Mac, you can only upload to the App Store from a Mac) .

Using Adobe AIR to make apps is simplicity itself.  You open a new file, using the AIR for Android template.  From here, you build your Flash file as usual.

Adobe Flash start screen

At this point, I need to point out that out of the box, you don’t get AIR for Android as a template (at least not in CS5).  I seem to remember being alerted to its existence by a popup on this screen.   I do remember adding it via Adobe’s Extension Manager and unfortunately, the Developer Site doesn’t make it clear how to get it either.  Maybe it’s just bundled in.

Note from this screen you can also make iPhone OS apps and standard AIR programs to run in Windows.  All three are pretty identical and just differ in their publishing settings.

AIR for Android's publishing settings

When you open the AIR for Android template the stage is automatically set to 480 x 800 which is the most common screen resolution for the Android platform.  Of course, you can alter this easily.

There are four templates included with Flash, one is plain, but the other three contain code examples showing how to use a mobile device’s accelerometer, its menu button and a swipe gallery.  Between this, my own knowledge of ActionScript 2.0 and the internet, I was able to build a number of apps, such as the Question Dice.

ActionScript

The programming language for Adobe AIR is ActionScript 3.   This is really unfortunate for me, because I learned the previous language ActionScript 2.   AS2 is a much simpler language to learn, its grammar is less precise and how it functions is fairly straightforward.

AS3 is much more complex, designed with professional teams in mind, not individual programmers.  To this end, it is incredibly intimidating and the general advice on internet forums tends to be irrationally anti-AS2 style.  I’ve seen a number of posts from novice users, asking perfectly reasonable questions only to be shouted down with cries of “you shouldn’t be doing it like that at all”.

Years ago, I was similarly shot down for asking a question about linking one scene to another.  The response was “you should be using scenes”.  Now, I have the confidence to question that.  If you’re not supposed to use scenes, why does Flash include them?  Personally, I very rarely use scenes now, but if I needed to I still would.  The moral of this story is ignore all negative comments on the internet.  The trolls are never right.

The Truth (read it quick before I’m silenced)

Well, I’m finally learning AS3 and firstly, everything you’ve read about team programming and OOP and the “right way” to do things is rubbish!

AS3 is almost as forgiving as AS2.  Public functions, private variables and separate .as files are only needed IF you are writing complex games AND you use a separate .as file.   It came as a bit of shock to me.  The so-called right way is simply one way.

You can happily code in AS3 on the timeline.   If you do use code from a tutorial and run into compiler warnings about public functions, just remove the public bit.

public function startgame() {

}

becomes:

function startgame() {

}

if you’re placing code on the timeline.

Oh and regular functions, not connected to mouse clicks can just be written as AS2 functions. Rely on the Code Snippets box too, it really useful to get started.

Where to go from here

The book I’m using is an update of the book I learnt AS2 from.   It’s called Actionscript 3.0 Game Programming University.

ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University

The author, Gary Rosenzweig has an excellent, easy-going style.  He provides the full code for each game, but breaks it down ito what each section does.  Something I liked from his original book is that each game only takes you so far, but it’s always easy to see how to develop each game to make them better.

Next time

My wife was right.  This post has become its own mini-series.

In part 3, I’m going to show just how easy it is to produce an app and publish it on your VLE and the Android Market


Making Apps – Part 1

January 22, 2012

I’ve talked before about how I’ve started to build apps for use in school, but I’ve never really gone into how I do it.  Surprisingly there are a number of methods.

1) Using Google’s SDK and Eclipse software to write apps directly

This is where I started.   Although started is a bit of a misnomer (started and stopped being closer to the truth).  It’s easy enough to sign up for the free SDK and links in the developer area point you in the right direction for downloading the Eclipse platform.  But that’s where it gets confusing.  Eclipse being a third-party, open-source product has a number of different versions and figuring out the right one to download either involves blindly guessing or reading through a pages of text.  tl:dr I’m afraid.

Through more luck than judgement, I downloaded and installed a version of Eclipse (Gallileo seemed right at the time) that worked with the SDK and through a bit more luck, managed to get it hooked up to my phone.

Eclipse - but you're not there yet - still have to run the Android SDK

Eclipse - but you're not there yet - still have to run the Android SDK

Struggling to get set up is something that only Apple seems to understand is an issue.  Open-source and SDKs are great, but you need an underlying knowledge of how and what to install before you can even get started.  Recently, we tried to get the Xbox Kinect SDKs to work with Windows 7.  This could have been so easy, providing a single file which would have installed all the drivers we need.  Instead, we were taken to a page with 4 different installation programs.  Three of which installed fine, the fourth was just impossible.

A big chunk of Apple’s success comes from wrapping everything up together.  Take iTunes for example.  MP3 players had existed for at least 5 years before the iPod.  Apple were the only ones to provide a standard way to get music onto a player that was easy to use.   Now, they have launched their iBooks and (reportedly) their iBook creator makes it easy to create content.   eBook programs have existed for years for Windows, but Apple makes it easy by declaring “this is what you need, nothing more”.   As a long time PC and Android lover, I have to take my hat off to Apple for this.  But I digress.  Back to Android.

Hello World

From here on, it’s easy enough to follow the tutorials back on the Android Developer centre and build the standard Hello World.  But beyond that, building apps directly in this environment is a bit lacklustre.  As someone used to building in Adobe Flash, I found making the leap to a purely coding system to be just that little bit too far.  I couldn’t figure out how to use animations for instance.
I made this! - by following instructions precisely

I made this! (By following instructions precisely)

2) Using Adobe Flex (and/or Flash Builder)

There seems to be a quickly growing community around using these Adobe products to build apps for all platforms.

I can’t quite figure out how you use Flex and there is a cost involved with Flash Builder so I’ve never fully investigated it.  At school, we have the full Adobe Production Premium suite which includes Flash CS5, which I’ll talk about in Part 2.


Battle of the Handhelds: Redux!

November 19, 2011

I think the one post I’ve made which has caused the most feedback and continues to draw in audiences is my post about two devices we were considering for school use back in April, namely the iPod Touch and the Archos 43.

So much has happened since I wrote that blog entry.  First off, we didn’t go with either iPod Touch or Archos.  Like I summed up at the time, the iPod had too many restrictions and the single-touch Archos made it too frustrating to use.

Pick a device already!Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" Wi-Fi

At that point, our ICT Coordinator stumbled across the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  I say stumbled upon, because Apple pretty much had the high street sewn up.  All credit to them (and it’s changing now admittedly), but if you want to buy a tablet on the high street, everyone wants to sell you an iPad.  And why not, they’re great devices (personally I find them a little large and a bit heavy) but there’s no denying Apple created another product the world didn’t know it needed.

Samsung (who incidently make the iPad for Apple) have their own range of tablets, a 7″ wifi, a 7″ 3G and similar in the 10″ range.  They’ve also started on their gen 2 tablets which are even more sleak, though not widely available yet.

We evaluated and then chose the Wi-Fi only, 7″, P1010 model.  It runs Android Froyo, has 16Gb internal memory, front and rear cameras.  It comes preloaded with ThinkFree Office (which allows creating and edit MS documents) along with a host of other apps (some good, some not worth it).

Size does matter

The main difference between the 7″ tablet and the smaller handheld we were looking at before is the size (obviously).  When you’re using the tablet, it feels like it is for work.  You can achieve a lot of the same stuff on the smaller devices, but they lack a feeling of productivity.  With the Samsung, you feel like you’re using a work tool.

We did look again at the iPad and iPod Touch, but the cost of the iPad is too prohibitive to seriously consider (those schools that have gone down the iPad route must have sacrificed something else from their budget).  Ultimately we found iOS too restrictive/problematic in terms of file uploads, Flash (yes I know Adobe have pulled development) and for building our own apps as well as paying for other apps.

Niggles

There are a couple of niggles.  The battery gives you a day if you’re using it.  Given the size of the device, I was surprised, but I suppose powering the much larger screen is the big difference.  The native keyboard makes some truly irritating errors, but Steven Lin has kindly ported the Gingerbread keyboard.  Neither of these are big issues, at least not compared to:

WTF!

The tablet cannot charge from a computer’s USB while turned on!   Wait…what?  That’s like… the point of USB.  We’ve got round this issue by buying these special cables.  It took a couple of hours searching the internet to even find out what the problem was.  It turns out to be a voltage issue.  These cables contain a switch and resistor which gets round that.

Still, these are all niggles and while many would point out that you shouldn’t have to deal with niggles, life always proves otherwise.

Order ready

We ordered the tablets about a month ago (with parental contributions) and they are due to arrive within the next two weeks.  All the preparations have been done (fingers crossed).  We have a comprehensive mobile version of our VLE, a really cool instruction booklet to be given out with the devices and we’ve put together a number of school-specific apps:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I do hope that we’ll make some of these available on the Android Market.  They are all built in Adobe AIR, which has made the creation of Apps so much simpler.  I think we will eventually move away from AIR, but for right now, it just works.

In conclusion

Have we chosen the right device?  I think so.  The size is right.  The functionality is right.   The price is right ~£300 (including insurance).  I’ll admit my heart sank a little when Amazon announced the $199 Kindle Fire – but it’s not out in the UK yet.  And not in the quantities we need.  And can we even run our own apps on it? Maybe next year, if this year is successful.

The battle may have been won, but something tells me the war has just begun.