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Tech Talk Radio Show 43 of 2011
Transmission date: October 24, 2011
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Ep 43 of 2011
October 24

We all know how fast technology is evolving these days, especially in the computing and communications sectors. Today, most of us cringe when we sign up on a mobile plan for two years with a handset that we know will be old and obsolete in maybe 12 months. So how would you feel if you had to lock in to a contract for a netbook computer for three years?  Well, this is what the Victorian education department are requiring parents of primary school students to do in their 1 to 1 netbook program.

As a parent of one student at a Victorian primary school, I was quite excited about the use of netbook computers with today’s curriculum. It seems that no longer are kids expected to look up encyclopedias to research and study potentially outdated information. Instead, the possibilities of watching videos, learning interactively and collaboratively, as well as reading current up to date information was, at face value, a modern and progressive way of learning. After all it’s where we adults do most of our learning these days.

At a parent meeting at our local school last week, in front of approximately 100 or so parents, a representative of the education department began to spin the unspinable. Having showed us a PowerPoint presentation of student’s huddled around Apple 2e's and showed our children as large blue blobs on a chart amongst, well, lots of other smaller blue dots in a meaningless diagram of something I still haven’t worked out, our attention was drawn to the technology we were expected to rent, not buy, for our children to use for the next 3 years of their schooling.

Introducing a Lenovo X220 ThinkPad notebook, a nice modern day computer by any standard I thought, until we delved into the specifications of the device. Expecting an i5 or i7 processor, I was shocked to find out that this was a special order device which ran an old Celeron processor. The demo unit on site didn’t even power up. It was an already dated piece of slow technology loaded with education department software, along with, wait for it, Office 2007.

In Q&A time I confronted the speaker enquiring about web browsers with HTML5 and video the reason for my question. Unsure of the answer our spokesperson guessed IE7 or IE8, two noncompliant HTML5 browsers. Oh well, minimal video for the kids should they choose to research using modern websites. It was also noted that IE is the browser of choice for schools to connect into the Victorian government’s Ultra net. The evening went from unbelievable to disbelief, but more about that later in the show.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

Apple shares drop after iPhone sales fall short, Telstra’s proxy voters seal the $11bn NBN deal, Microsoft Reports Record First-Quarter Results, Mobile phone brain cancer link rejected again, and Adam Turner has a special Apple guest on the couch.

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Parted magic

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