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Banning Laptops in Class?

9th April 2007

Sounds like a good idea to me. While we got rid of our wireless Internet in our classrooms after the Christmas break (by unanimous decision of the faculty council), students still bring laptops to class. Just last week one of my colleagues was complaining how a student was clicking away during a presentation by another student — very annoying. I don’t have strong feelings about banning laptops, though nothing irritates me more when I am lecturing (or a student is asking a question, etc.) and a student is clicking away on their laptop in a way that suggests they are NOT taking notes. Of course, if someone is actually taking notes and is not being disruptive to other students, then I don’t have a problem with it.

If you want to read about someone who banned laptops in the classroom, check out this post over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

What do other professors/students think?

Posted in Teaching & Learning, Technology | 17 Comments »

Snow in Sheol? (or Macs with Intel Inside!)

7th June 2005

First, I have to say, I love my new Macintosh. Mac OS X (Tiger) is an elegant operating system and my dual processors are quite impressive on the speed side of things. That being said, I was surprised to hear that Apple is switching to Intel (OK, breathe deeply now).

I watched Steve Jobs’ entertaining keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (you can see it here). He talked about a coming “third transition” for the Mac and announced that Apple will be moving to Intel processors (the first transition was from 68k to PowerPC Macs and the second from OS 9 to OS X).

Why would Steve do this? It seems that the primary reason is performance. Projections looking at power consumption (performance per watt) shows the PowerPC chip stalling at around 15 versus Intel projections reaching 70. Whether you like it or not, starting next year Apple will introduce the first Intel Macs and complete the transition by the end of 2007. It’s interesting to note that this isn’t a sudden change for Apple. It actually has been in the works for the last five years as MacOS X is cross-platform by design.

So while it may be snowing in sheol,* it appears the future of the Macintosh is pretty hot.

For some interesting views on this announcement, see the blog entries by Rubén Gómez, Ken Ristau, and Joe Weaks.

*Just in case you are wondering, the term sheol (‏‏שׁאל) is one of the Old Testament terms used for the abode of the dead. It’s not the same as the Christian idea of hell as both the righteous and wicked go down to sheol. Rather it’s a shadowy existence where everyone goes after death.

Posted in Technology | Comments Off