Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘dongle

Is Apple innovative? This tweet featuring the number of dongles the company and third-parties sell should provide a clue.

According to this CNET article, Apple now sells 17 unique dongles. That few? I have several of them for my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Pro. I use a Cocoon Grid-It to keep things organised.

Cocoon Grid-It.

When Apple removed the 3.5mm audio jack from the iPhone 7, everyone and their grandmother seemed to have an opinion. It was a first world problem to use a wireless headset for audio or rely on a lightning-to-3.5mm adapter.

The complaint against the adapter was that it was easy to lose and you could not charge the phone and listen to audio at the same time. Enterprising people stepped into this newly created niche to offer solutions for the first and second problems.

People made fun of the Apple’s own wireless AirPods. Here is a video parodying an old Apple iPod silhouette ad.


Video source

Again people and companies stepped up to bridge that gap.

Is Apple trying to change things without asking everyone’s permission? Definitely.

Is Apple being innovative? Only time will tell. In the meantime, it has created opportunities for others to take advantage of.

One larger issue that accompanies the bid for change is dealing with legacy issues. Apple seems to be pushing for one port to rule them all (USB-C) and wireless connectivity. The problem is the variety of peripherals and other devices the Apple products might connect to.

The trouble for Apple — and any schooling or education system for that matter— pushing forward is staying connected to the old ways which are still common, possibly dominant, and expected. But as the people responding to this need attest, they can be creative, innovative, and even elegant about it.

Another larger issue is whether the change is desired. The rhetoric for change in schooling and education is loud and common in the blogosphere and Twitterverse. The demand change on the ground is more muted.

This is just guesswork as no one has definitive data on the demand for and measurement of change. Leaders in the schooling and educational arenas like to describe the process of change as three steps forward and two steps back. I have seen organisations that take two steps forward and three steps back.

Apple on the other hand seems to be having an easier time. The much-maligned new Macbook Pro with only USB-C ports seems to be in demand. CNET claims that its sales are going to surpass the 2015 Macbook.

People do embrace the change, even when it creates inconveniences (dongles galore!) and is costly (the new iPhone/Macbook costs how much?). Perhaps there is something that those of us in schooling and education can learn from Apple.

In a previous reflection, I noted how there seemed to be a phantom power draw by my Toshiba 2 Chromebook when I used it in presentation and facilitation mode.

The lowered battery life seemed to be due to my use of an HDMI-to-VGA dongle to project my screen during workshops. This was odd given how the Chromebook was a relatively passive device.

Recently I used my Chromebook for 6.5 hours straight in active use. I was grading learner performance with Google Forms and fact-checking in Chrome. I did this over a day in one morning and one afternoon session. I still had a little over two hours of battery life left when I responded to email at a cafe later.
 

 
All this seems is counterintuitive: Use the device passively to project the screen and the battery runs out, but use it actively and it is an all-workday device.

The difference is the HDMI dongle which seems to sap battery life. I estimate it reduces battery life in my Chromebook Toshiba 2 by about half.

It might be an understatement to say that I have put my Toshiba Chromebook 2 through the wringer over the last few weeks. I have tested its ability to:

In further testing the Chromebook for facilitating events, I have discovered that its battery life suffers.

When I facilitated workshops in August, I tested my Chromebook’s ability to use a USB LAN dongle and an HDMI-to-VGA dongle.

The Chromebook detected the LAN dongle automatically and switched away from wifi, but I kept getting “page not found” error messages in Chrome. This did not happen to me at home, so I guessed there might have been something wrong with the cable or LAN point at the venue I was at.

I could not test the battery drain of the LAN dongle as I went back to using wifi for the sessions. I suspect that it will take a toll on battery life as the dongle is also a travel router that creates an ad hoc wireless network. The dongle felt warm to the touch just after a minute of being plugged in, but that was the extent to my investigation.

Chromebook HDMI-to-VGA dongle.

However, I was able to test the HDMI-to-VGA dongle to project what was on my screen.

Each workshop I conduct is three hours long. A full work day is seven hours with a lunch break in between. I reset my online resources during lunch, so there is hardly a break for my Chromebook.

With the HDMI-to-VGA adapter plugged in, my Chromebook is no longer an all-day device. It will last the morning workshop and lunch, but it cannot make it through the afternoon one. The Chromebook battery is almost exhausted by the first afternoon hour.

From the start, I bring the brightness level of the screen to just one above dark, the wifi is constantly on, and the Chromebook is largely a passive device for showing resources (e.g., Google Sites, online timer) and collating contributions (e.g., Padlets, Google Docs).

I have used the Chromebook for hours at libraries, cafes, and other wifi spots where I can get work done. At home I use it for streaming YouTube videos or Netflix shows. In both cases, the battery rarely goes down past the 50% charge mark. This puzzled me because such uses seem more active than relatively passive workshop use.

The main difference was whether or not I was projecting my screen. At the moment, this seems to be the battery guzzling factor. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to mitigate this issue.


Video source

This week I share why I like the Asus Pocket Router.

The device is deceptively small and looks like a thumb drive. This USB dongle is an ethernet adaptor, wifi adaptor, and an Internet signal sharing device all rolled into one.

Asus has not sponsored the device or prompted this blog entry. It has proven its utility when I have to travel or give talks at institutes other than my own, so I thought I should share the joy.


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