Sunday, April 29, 2018

New iPad 9.7" with Pencil So Far

Last weekend I picked up one of the new A10 Fusion chip Retina display  9.7" iPads with Apple Pencil support. I was able to get the Apple academic discount ~ educators and students can purchase this iPad starting at $299 (US) and an Apple Pencil for $89 (US). I also picked up a Logitech Slim Folio Bluetooth keyboard and a Hermit Shell pencil case

I've been doing a lot of sample problem video and audio recordings this semester for an AC electronics course. The example videos are best described as applied mathematics problem solutions -  I write and talk through the problems while recording and post them on the web for students to access. Up until last week these recordings were being made using a 10 year old Tablet PC. The Tablet PC worked but the process was a little clunky - Apple adding Pencil support was my initial justification for the purchase. 

Video recording on the new iPad has been a breeze. I'm using the built in recording app on the iPad along with the GoodNotes app - simple and slick. I don't do any editing by choice. My recordings go automatically into Photos on the iPad as mp4's and I just upload them to Google Drive for student access. 

I'm also teaching an Engineering Design course this semester. Students in this class are proposing and building some really cool Arduino based projects. They do a lot of writing in this course and are required to electronically submit all work. Up until last week I was using Word on my MacBook to make document review edits and add comments. Once completed I email the edited document files back to the students. A few days ago I started using the iPad and Pencil to make handwritten edits and add comments to the student Word documents. Once saved I also send these documents back to the students. So far so good.

I purchased a first generation iPad years ago and it got very limited use. The new one has been a completely different experience so far. 

Could an iPad replace my four year old 15 inch MacBook? Not yet but...... substitution is getting closer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

20 Gbps - In Your Home - In Your Car - In Your Pocket

Fixed wireless is a term used to define wireless services to the home, often used to provide residential broadband service where fixed broadband service (cable, DSL, etc) is not available. It's just a fancy term for cellular data service to a residence.
Currently LTE (download speeds between 5 and 12 Mbps [Megabits per second] and upload speeds between 2 and 5 Mbps, with peak download speeds approaching 50 Mbps) is used by providers offering fixed wireless service. Some nice bandwidth when you have a good connection...... 
Recently, Verizon announced  the launch of next-generation 5G wireless residential broadband services in three to five U.S. markets in 2018. The first commercial launch is now scheduled in Sacramento, CA, in the second half of 2018. 5G will be  a significant upgrade to LTE services, supporting a theoretical speed up to 20 Gbps with a latency of ~1 ms, enabling providers like Verizon to offer superior broadband access without running fiber-optic cables to the sides of homes. 
The days of fiber to the home (FTTH) products like FiOS are numbered. Full phase 5G rollouts by all major providers should be across the U.S. by 2020. Don't give up on fiber though. Additional backhaul capacity will require lots more fiber. That fiber won't be running directly to homes but will be running to cell towers - both large and small.
5G is coming and going to come quickly. ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, forecasts that the global fixed wireless broadband market will grow 30% in 2018 and will generate US$18 billion in service revenue. As 5G fixed wireless broadband access is set to be launched in North America in 2018, it is set to expand and provide consumers with better quality service in the years to come. 
What could you do with 20Gbps in your home, your car, your pocket.....??