Saturday, December 5, 2009

Linux SmartBoard I presume?

Component 1 (tablet): I finally figured out how to get my Smart Airliner Slate/Tablet to work via bluetooth in Linux!  After we reinstalled the superCluster with the 64-bit Fedora Linux 11 CD, I could not get my bluetooth USB adapter to pair with the tablet.  However, after running a full update/upgrade cycle on Fedora all last weekend on my teacher station, the pairing works automagically!  BTW, I understand that Fedora 12 is better in this regard "right out of the box."
Component 2 (video): I had to find a new desktop video recorder, aka screencast app, as Smart Notebook for Linux does not include one.  I found a nice java web app at that works both in Windows and Linux and produces mp4 files great for sharing on myftpsite and for youtube uploads!  However, after the Fedora updates, Mozilla Firefox is acting strangely when it comes to viewing java applets (I have to figure this out still).  So, I installed gtk-recordmydesktop with yum and all is well.  The only drawback to recordmydesktop is that it produces ogv files that require an add-on in Windows Media Player so my students can download and view these vidoes from my ftpsite.  Recall that ogg is to mp3 as ogv is to mp4 but ogv and mp4 are different codecs.  Also, youtube accepts ogv files for upload.  BTW, screencast-o-matic limits you to a 15 minute recording which is fine for a short class or a 10 minute youtube.  However, if you need to record 30-60 minutes, as I do for my ftpsite, you can upgrade to a"pro account" for a modest one time fee of $5 to the author of screencast-o-matic.  This new feature is definitely worth $5 so I got my pro account as soon as it was available.  Get yours while they last!

Component 3 (pen app):  Since I wasn't using Smart Notebook for recording, I thought I'd try out some other new pen apps for writing my notes on the tablet.  The one I like the best so far is which has a lot of the features I use in Smart Notebook.  I don't use all the Smart Notebook bells and whistles anyway.  I just need to be able to write notes on my tablet and export these notes to a pdf file.  Xournal does all I need!

Component 4 (CAS):  I was thinking I'd have to dump VTI and use SAGE instead to do my graphs and calculations on the fly in class.  However, I installed WINE with yum and, believe it or not,  VTI works fine.  I can still use SAGE in Firefox via if I like, not to mention too!

Component 5 (audio):   My wireless mic worked without a glitch in this new Linux environment, as is to be expected, since the base reciever plugs right into a standard PC Mic socket, so Fedora recognizes my wireless mic as if it were a standard wired PC mic.
Now, I can do all my SmartBoard lessons and recordings in Linux without Smart Notebook.  Maybe I won't even use Windows at all!  Prior to this I did use screencast-o-matic in Linux to record a class without the tablet.  However, this was only convenient in AP Computer Science as I don't use a pen app there, but simply type in a text editor or on the command line! 

Teaching with Technology,

No comments:

Post a Comment