Sunday, June 17, 2007

PDF Annotator -- Why did I not try this years ago?

I just downloaded a trial copy of PDFAnnotator and used it to answer a student's question. I brought up a blank screen and proceeded to draw a graph about measuring consumer and producer surplus. When done I saved and sent back to the student in pdf format. I BCC'ed myself and was able to read it with Acrobat Reader. The pen selections were adequate and the writing smooth and natural (unlike the horrible markup feature in Adobe Acrobat).

Before this I would read a students email and print it to MS Journal, mark it up and then save to pdf (using the full version of Adobe Acrobat) and finally send back to the students. PDFAnnotator saved me quite a few steps.

What it lacks is the ability to read in different formats or to have a print to PDFAnnotator feature. I may still need Acrobat for that. I was able to use the MS snipping tool to cut from a non pdf document and easily paste into the PDFAnnotator screen.

This is a 80% solution. It needs a print to feature or ability to read other file formats. Until then I won't scrap Journal and Acrobat, but I won't likely use them as much.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Power, power and more power

Here is something you want if you are mobile. A 10 hour spare battery that will not only run your battery-dead computer or device, but recharge it as well! Thanks go to Ira Silber who showed this to me at WIPTE. See their website at

Here at WIPTE 2007

Second day here at WIPTE 2007 is starting out strong. Joe Tront from Virgina Tech spoke of a large scale deployment of Tablet PCs in the college of engineering. One nice surprise is his discussion and offer of free download of WriteOn at his website. I hope to evaluate this soon.

He also further sold me on PDF Annotator and I liked how he said they preferred it to Adobe Professional.

Also we heard from the audience of the adaptive book project.

All so far so good.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hello from WIPTE 2007

Hello all. Dan Talley and I are at Purdue University for the Workshop on the Impact of Pen-based Technology on Education (WIPTE 2007). A full schedule is on Monday and Tuesday and can be seen from the WIPTE website. The schedule of presentations is here. I will be presenting a poster each day called Learning Econometrics in a Problem Based Learning Curriculum with the Tablet PC: An experiment in 1:1 computing. Quite a mouthful, but I couldn't think of a short title that expressed what it was about. If you are here at WIPTE and you read this blog please stop by and let me know. I am uncertain whether to post the results of this poster here until I get a little more feedback, but will let you know here.
Well tomorrow morning the conference is kicked off by a keynote by Cathie Norris and Elliot Soloway on Integrating Mobile Technologies into the Existing Curriculum. Dan and I will be interested to see how this meshes with the mobile learning environment we have written about. Dan teaches at DSU where every student and professor has a Tablet PC. While I and a few professors at UA have Tablet PCs and this last semester we were able to provide a Tablet PC to each of my students in a graduate class, the majority of faculty and students do not have access to Tablet PCs. How Tablets and other mobile learning technologies integrate in our different schools is quite different.
I have been experimenting with a new kind of mobility thanks to my wife talking me into buying a Palm Treo 700wx. Check it out.
So anyway, if you are at WIPTE or just wish you were drop me a line or stop by and say hi. I will be the guy standing in front of my poster. -- Steve