May 2010

iPad Review for Education

Available applications - Last week, there were 520 iPad education apps; today 636.  Of these 508 are paid and 128 (29.1%) are free.  In addition last week, there were 14780 iPhone education apps; 15188 today.  Interestingly, 12356 of these are paid and 2832 or 18.6% are free. The general thought is that iPad apps are more expensive than iPhone apps, but that is not true so far for education apps. Note that most iPhone apps run on the iPad and iPod Touch unless they require specific hardware such as GPS or phone capability. These numbers were derived from the iTunes app store on the Mac where counts are shown.
According to, there are 204,812 apps in the iTunes App store. 27.35% are free and 7.7% are classified as education, 15% as games, 11% as entertainment and 17% as books.  The average price of an app is $2.77 and it would cost $568,303 to purchase one copy of all apps.
Restrictions - The iPad and iPhone have a setting to control "student" access to apps and media content files. Using the Settings app, you can turn on Restrictions under the General setting category.  To apply restrictions, you need to enter a 4-digit passcode twice to set it and again to change or turn off restrictions.  Note that Restrictions apply to all users since the iPad does not have separate user accounts.
You can Allow or Disallow access to the Safari, YouTube and iTunes apps.  If you turn off these apps, their icons don't even appear on the Home page.  You can also disallow Installing Apps, In-App Purchases or the collection of Location information.
If Install Applications is turned off, there will no App Store icon on the Home page, but this does not prevent the deletion of apps.  Students can still delete apps through the normal method.  They can touch an app icon for a second or two until the icon starts to shake.  Then if they touch the X at the upper left corner of the icon, the app will be deleted. The only way that an App can be restored is through iTunes on the PC/Mac.  The iPad Install Apps needs to be turned back on temporarily because it also prevents any changes of the Apps layout in iTunes.
Apps Rating - There are content Rating categories for nine countries including the U.S., though all countries do not have rating systems.  You can set restrictions using that country’s ratings system for the following categories of content: Music & Podcasts, Movies, TV Shows and Apps.  Apps can be rated by 4+, 9+, 12+ and 17+ years of age.  If apps are restricted at a 4+ level, all apps rated 9+ or higher are prevented from running. Again, their icons will not appear and they will not show in a search.   Apps "Not Yet Rated" are included in 17+ rating.  If "Don't Allow Apps" is selected, then only the main iPad apps will appear on the Home page.
But how do you know what the apps are rated? If you restrict their use to a certain level, they don't show up on screen or in Search, but otherwise there is no indication of the rating at the iPad level.  You need to look at the Library Apps section of iTunes on the PC/Mac where the ratings symbol is shown after the app title and also in Get Info about the app.
thursday, 27 may 2010 00:00
Over the past month, I have investigated the use of iPads in our local elementary school where my wife teaches.  Last week, I presented my findings to a small group of teachers, the prinicipal and technical support staff.
While most of the presentation was a general overview of the iPad, there were a few specifics relative to education that I will review here.  I had 68 slides of which about 40 were direct screen shots from the iPad, Mac or PC screens. The presentation was developed with Apple's Keynote application on a Mac and presented through Keynote on the iPad.  An iPad VGA adapter cable was used to connect to an overhead projector, but does not support direct projection of the iPad screen.  Only output from Keynote, YouTube and other video apps can use the VGA adapter.

TI99 CF7+

TI99 user group which is hosted by Yahoo! Groups.  This group has 619 members from all around the world and is very active with over 72000 messages in the past 10 years.  The group also has two user conferences in the Fall each year.  One conference is in Chicago while the other moves around in Europe.

I have a couple of new additions to my old TI99 computer systems in the last week [May 2010].  First, I now have 10 reconfigured cartridges that include brand new circuit boards with a 64k EPROMs.  These were developed, manufactured and distributed by members of the international
These new circuit boards include sockets for the 64k EPROMs which can be programmed with a long list of TI99 programs, some new and some old and very rare.  There are jumpers to configure the board for 8/16k, 32k or 64k EPROMS. I have three 64k versions, one with TI-Workshop and the other two set up as multicarts.  A multicart can hold up to 7 regular 8k programs along with a Multicart program that switches between them. The other 8 EPROMs are set up as 16 or 32k and include one program each.  It is possible to put multiple 16 or 32k programs on a 64k EPROM, but then the circuit board need to be modified with jumpers and switches.  Each new circuit card is mounted in an old TI-Invaders cartridge with a new label added. Additional information can be found at Jon Guidry's web site. Note that the cartridge with the white label in the picture is a multicart.
The second addition to my TI99 systems is a CF7+ Slim Profile card that attaches to the side port on the TI99/4A computer console as shown in the above picture.  This is normally where the PEB (Peripheral Expansion Box) cable attaches.  The CF7+ is circuit board that includes a Compact Flash memory card that emulates an array of floppy disks and three disk drives.  The number of floppies emulated depends upon the size of the CF.  A 32MB CF can emulate 39 floppies that can in turn be mounted on one of the three emulated drives.  The card also includes 32k of RAM that can be used to extend the main TI99 memory. The card includes a PIO parallel expansion port that can be used for a printer.  In essence, the CF7+ replaces a PEB with memory card, printer card and disk drives and controller.  The only limitation is that there is no serial RS232 port or other expansion capability.  I am not sure where the "7+" portion of the name comes from.  I think an earlier version did not have the PIO port or 32k RAM.  Earlier versions also extended outward from the TI99 console whereas this Slim Profile version has all components parallel to the side of the case and extends out only about 3/4 inch.  The card itself is 3 inches high by 3.5 inches long. [Since this was published, I obtained a version with an RS232 port in place of the PIO port]
Another part of the CF7+ system is software that runs on a Windows PC, Win98 on a Dell PC in my case. Two DOS programs come with the CF7+, a dsk2cf.exe to transfer .DSK images files to the CF and a cf2dsk.exe to backup CF volumes to the PC.  A CF To Disk Transfer Utility program that is a graphical front end to the previous two transfer programs and further documentation is available on
Stuart Conner's web site.