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Duke iPod initiative hits 6-month mark February 28, 2005

Posted by brianlatimer in Uncategorized.
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Here’s a follow-up link regarding the Duke iPod initiative (see my earlier blog post regarding it), and how it’s being perceived, as well as what the expectations are going forward:


In all, there are still several questions regarding the project’s impact, and whether it really was a good use of the $500,000 set aside for the plan. But, from what I’ve read here and elsewhere, it boils down to how openly the faculty embraces the use of new technologies such as this in their curriculum: Not only do the students in those classes which take advantage of the iPod in their classwork appreciate having the tools available, but the teachers are actually able to “Teach Different™“, and go far beyond what a traditional paper-and-pencil curriculum would have allowed.

Yes, these were handed out to 18-year-olds, who were probably primarily interested in the “cool factor” of the product. But, the more focus that is placed on the learning technology aspects of that gift, the better chance that these students will learn to embrace it as much more than the latest must-have gadget, and see that it can provide them with many capabilities which they can capitalize on to advance their studies beyond their upper-class peers.

Here’s to hoping there is enough positive impact shown by the program to continue it next year. And, as an aside to the folks at Duke OIT: I’m available to help this August, as well ;-)

Enable Trackpad Scrolling on pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks February 9, 2005

Posted by brianlatimer in Uncategorized.
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Alright, so I loved the announcement of the new PowerBooks. But, since I’m already using an older-model 17″ Aluminum PowerBook, this update – bringing with it faster processors, better graphics, a faster SuperDrive, etc. – wasn’t really that significant to me.

The only thing I was interested in, however, was the new “scrolling trackpad“, which sounded like it would be quite useful. After all, when I’m away from my scrollwheel mouse, I certainly miss the capability of being able to scroll a window without moving the cursor around and clicking on the scroll arrows.

But then I saw the following article regarding how to enable this feature on existing PowerBooks (and iBooks):


Sure enough: I downloaded the .kext, unloaded my existing “AppleADBMouse.kext” (why in the world is Apple re-using Apple Desktop Bus drivers for new products?), then loaded the new one, and I can now take advantage of two-finger scrolling using just the trackpad! Woo-hoo! It works for scrolling left-to-right and top-to-bottom, as well as simply scrolling a page around within a window – a feature of Internet Explorer (via the Cmd key), which is sorely lacking in Safari, by the way.

Be sure to backup your old .kext first, Your Mileage May Vary™, Void Where Prohibited™, and all that jazz – but hey, It Worked for Me™! ;-)

I love the internet.

UPDATE: A bit more information from the author of SideTrack (another alternative trackpad driver) regarding the details – including how the new PowerBooks apparently do not use “ADB” trackpads – here: