Draculas legacy How the Irishborn vampire kicked off horror films

first_imgIF YOU HEAR the name ‘Dracula’, you probably picture a tall, lean man, with slicked-back dark hair and ghostly complexion, clad in a cape.The popular image of the character is one that has been created through the work of people like Bela Lugosi, but of course Dracula was first born in Dublin, created in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker.This weekend will see the Bram Stoker Festival taking place in Dublin, celebrating all things vampiric.Dracula obsessionAuthor and journalist Kim Newman grew up obsessed with Dracula, first becoming intrigued when he saw the 1931 Bela Lugosi movie Dracula as a child, and today writes the Anno Dracula series of books.This weekend, he has curated a series of Dracula movies for Stoker on the Square in Dublin. The event isn’t just aimed at Dracula obsessives, and there are even a few films selected for children.Why does he think Dracula is such an enduring character?“Of all the monsters I can see why Dracula is the most often done, because there’s the most possible variations,” said Newman.A werewolf doesn’t really have any choice – he’s just an animal. Whereas Dracula, you have a sense he’s made a decision to be, which is scary. He’s also chatty, you can talk to him. He’s got a dress style, he’s got a castle – that’s good. He’s got modus operandi, big plans. He’s sort of a formidable baddie.Dracula the book wasn’t an instant bestseller.“It didn’t really take off as a book until Stoker was dead,” pointed out Newman. “It was adapted for the stage in the 1920s, it was big in the West End of London and Bela Lugosi brought it to Broadway. Then touring companies took it all over the place and it was a really popular stage show, and then that was made into a movie.”It wasn’t until Nosferatu that Dracula the book really took off, said Newman. “When Bram Stoker died, his obituaries barely mentioned he was a novelist,” he added.Because Dracula was the first big horror film of the ‘talkies’ era, “it was like before Dracula there wasn’t such thing as a horror film, and afterwards there was,” said Newman.It sparked a spate of horror releases – like Frankenstein and the Mummy. “All the other studios said ‘get me a film like Dracula’…”The image of Bela Lugosi, with glowing eyes, and widows peak, “became what Dracula looked like”.“That meant that Dracula escaped from the book and then became something you could do [something with] Dracula stories that didn’t even refer to the book.”Newman began to write books featuring Dracula as he “felt that it was open source by now”, but says in some ways he wanted to bring it back to Stoker.“I wanted to make him a bastard again, I wanted to make him really evil, but also in a world where there are lot of vampires I wanted to make sure he was the worst one,” laughed Newman.There is much folklore around the idea of vampires – including obsessive counting, which perhaps unintentionally echoes the Count in Sesame St. “If vampire is chasing you, you can save yourself by throwing pumpkin seeds on the ground and he will be compelled to stop and count them.”Dracula’s legacy(oldhollywoodtrailers/YouTube)While Newman finds Stoker an interesting man, he said: “He’s not a great writer, but he wrote a great book.”“Stoker didn’t seem to have any sense of his own influence,” said Newman. “I don’t know what he would think of Dracula movies. He did want to adapt it to the stage, and did a rough script.”Today, a world without imaginary vampires is hard to fathom, particularly given the success of tween movies and books like Twilight.Newman suspects Stoker would be astonished at his own success, and says there is room “for sparkly romantic vampires”.It’s not what I would pick, it’s not what I would write. But no, I think there’s room from the Count of Sesame St, Blackula – all the other versions I’m happy to live with.For Stoker on the Square, Newman has selected: Dracula (1931), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Blood for Dracula (1974), Dracula Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002), The Monster Squad (1987), and  Hotel Transylvania (2012).Stoker on the Square will be screened at Meeting House Square from 26 to 28 October. Tickets available at: www.bramstokerfestival.comHave you read the book Dracula, or have a favourite Dracula film? Tell us more in the comments. Read: 6 ways Ireland is seriously spooky>Read: Dracula producers ban fake tan in Irish casting call>last_img read more

Gardaí seek help in tracing missing Balbriggan woman

first_imgGARDAÍ ARE SEEKING help in tracing the whereabouts of a woman missing from her home in north county Dublin since Monday.Ella Owusu was last seen at her home in Balbriggan at about 7.30pm two days ago.The young woman is described as being approximately 5’6″ in height with long braided black hair and brown eyes.When last seen she was wearing multi-coloured leggings and a wine long sleeved top with sparkles on the front and possibly a black short jacket.Gardaí are appealing for anyone who may have seen Ella Owusu or has any information about her to contact Balbriggan Garda Station on 01 – 8020510 or  the Garda confidential line on 1800-666-111.last_img read more

Heineken Cup agreement set to continue without English clubs

first_imgTHE IRFU HAS joined the Welsh, Scottish, Italian and, crucially, French rugby unions in reconfirming that there will be an ERC-run European rugby competition in 2014/15 involving 20 teams, no matter how many countries are involved.English clubs’ plans to breakaway from the Heineken Cup to form the new Rugby Champions Cup now look in tatters, due to the fact that the PRL [Premiership Rugby Ltd.] was counting on the French and Welsh clubs to support their new competition. Tough times may lie ahead for the English clubs if they choose to remain on the outside.FFR [Fédération Française de Rugby] president Pierre Camou has been a key player in trying to influence a turnaround from the French clubs, whose umbrella group LNR have yet to formally pledge their allegiance to the ERC Accord.Camou’s insistence that the Top 14 clubs had absolutely no right to breakaway from the ERC was backed up by a reported €2 million pay-off to each of the French clubs in exchange for their agreement to remain in the Heineken Cup.Should a complete French u-turn come about, it will come as a huge relief to the IRFU and the four Irish provinces, who have strong financial and emotional dependence on the Heineken Cup. Irish rugby’s governing body has been calm and private throughout the recent months, preferring to do their negotiations outside of the media glare.The statement from the IRFU this evening read: A meeting was held in Dublin today (21 Nov) attended by FFR, FIR, IRFU, SRU and WRU to discuss the on-going issues surrounding European club competitions.All five Unions believe that it is critical to the interests of the game in Europe that the Unions are at the heart of the governance of cross-border club competitions given that rugby in each country is organised in a pyramidical structure.Clubs, provinces and regional organisations form an integral part of the development of the game throughout this structure, from grassroots to the international game.  Cross-border club competitions must not conflict with the development of the sport in Europe by Unions, this being in the best interest of players, spectators and the sport in general. The statement continues to reiterate that all five unions present at the meetings in Dublin today have reconfirmed their agreement on competition formats and financial distribution formula previously agreed by the six Unions who attended the mediated meeting in Dublin in October.There was also insistence that the ERC [European Rugby Cup] will remain in charge of the centralised sale and management of all commercial rights, amongst other things. There was, however, an admission that discussions over governance will be pursued in order to optimise the internal functioning of the existing organization [currently named ERC].Analysis: Ireland must cut out the defensive failings against All BlacksWhat Munster stadiums could be included in a 2023 Rugby World Cup bid?last_img read more

Primary school asks parents not to get their kids Grand Theft Auto

first_imgTHE STAFF OF A PRIMARY SCHOOL in Mullingar have written a letter to the parents of their pupils, urging them not to buy their children “unsuitable” video games for Christmas.The letter singled out the recently released Grand Theft Auto V as an area of specific concern, due to the extreme violence and sexual themes of the game.Principal Caroline Mhic Robin wrote to parents: We have grave concerns about certain video games that children have access to, for example Grand Theft Auto (which, we hear, is on several Santa wish lists this year). The general public have been shocked at the level of violence and explicit graphic content in them…Video games and DVDs all have an age classification for a very good reason.Here’s an extract from the letter: To read the full letter, click here.Principal Mhic Robin told DailyEdge.ie that children as young as third class pupils had played the Grand Theft Auto games, and she could see the effects of these games on her students.“The games have a negative impact on children in relation to the language they use and their concentration levels,” she said.“Children can put a lot of pressure on their parents to get these games, but parents should really read up on them before buying them.”h/t The Irish SunWatch Anne Doyle take on her new gig as a quiz show presenter>Irish people abroad WILL be able to watch the Toy Show live>last_img read more

Outgoing CRC chief will not attend Oireachtas hearing on topups scandal

first_imgUpdated 11.25pmTHE OUTGOING CHIEF executive of the Central Remedial Clinic Brian Conlan has said that he will not be appearing before the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.CRC executives are due to speak before the PAC on Wednesday to explain how senior staff had been paid salary top-ups from funds raised by a registered charity.This evening, however, a spokesperson for Conlan confirmed that he will not be attending the meeting as he has now resigned. “He is no longer an officer of the CRC having resigned from his post. He has no information that is not known by the remaining officers and directors of the CRC,” said the spokesperson.Conlan also said that his replacement should come from outside the current CRC staff pool.Having tendered his resignation with immediate effect today, Conlan said in a statement this evening that “it is in the best interests of the CRC’s clients and staff that the new chief executive should not have any association with legacy matters at the CRC.Conlan said the wants the clinic to “start afresh with a clean slate” after he resigned as a result of the ongoing top-ups controversy.The chief executive, who has only held his position since the summer, has said that he was abroad when the issue of top-up payments in the charity came to light but resigned within 24 hours of returning to Ireland.Conlan’s salary was in line with HSE guidelines but his predecessor Paul Kiely had received a top-up of €135,000 on top of a basic salary of €116,000.Conlan says that he was offered the role as chief executive following a selection process conducted by the board of the CRC with assistance from recruitment consultants.Earlier today, a  number of  politicians including Independent  Shane Ross TD and Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD had argued that Conlan’s replacement should be made by way of a transparent process open to both internal and external candidates.Conlan’s comments this evening not only seem to echo these calls but hint that the eventual appointment should be an external candidate.“I believe that there should be full transparency within the charitable sector with regard to how all funds raised, both private and public, are spent and that all executive remuneration should be within HSE guidelines, ” said Conlan.I hope that the CRC will now take the opportunity to start afresh with a clean slate so that the excellent service provided by its dedicated staff can continue to be made available to its’ clients who rely on it and who should not be the innocent victims of any fallout.Conlan’s decision not to attend the PAC committee comes after politicians such as Ross and Ó Ríordáin had called on the CRC board to clarify issues surrounding the top-up controversy.Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for a full independent investigation into the top-up scandal.“The hearings by the PAC are important and will add to the knowledge base. It is essential therefore that Mr Conlan, as well as his predecessor and other relevant personnel, fully co-operate with the Committee’s work in the time ahead,” he said.Originally posted at 6.20pmRead: CRC chief quits in the midst of charity top-up scandal >Read: Quinn says CRC board should resign, Burton says salary claims are ‘disturbing’ >last_img read more

Woman accused of assisting in suicide is in court today

first_imgA DUBLIN WOMAN is appearing in court today, accused of assisting in another woman’s suicide two years ago. It’s believed to be the first case of its kind in the State.Gail O’Rorke, from Kilclare Gardens in Tallaght, was charged last month with assisting the suicide of 51-year-old MS sufferer Bernadette Forde in Dublin between 10 March 2011 and 6 June 2011.Assisting another person to end their own life is a criminal offence in Ireland.  Section 2 (2) of the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act 1993 states that anyone who aids, abets, or procures the suicide of another person – or the attempt by another person to take their own life – can be sentenced to up to fourteen years in jail.Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not contain either a right to suicide or to arrange for the end of one’s life following the court battle by former university lecturer Marie Fleming.Fleming, who is in the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis, had taken a case to test whether her family would be prosecuted if they helped her to take her own life.Additional reporting, Christine Bohan.Supreme Court: Ireland has a right to life, not a right to die >Poll: Do you think the law should be changed to allow for assisted suicide? >last_img read more

The awkward way people flirt on dating app Tinder

first_img Mercedes-Benz will join the electric scooter wars with its own model in 2020 10 things you need to know before the opening bell A Pittsburgh doctor says Antonio Brown once repeatedly farted in his face during a consultation, and that he owes him $11,500 in unpaid bills Goldman Sachs did a massive survey of its Gen Z interns and found they like pot, but ignore influencers IT IS ALWAYS nerve-wracking the first time you talk to an attractive stranger.Tinder is a new mobile app that allows users to meet singles nearby. It’s the equivalent to Hot or Not, but if both Tinder users find each other attractive, they’re allowed to start sending text messages. More than 35 million Tinder profiles have been rated on the app.Whoever sends the first message to the attractive stranger needs to come up with something pretty creative to get a response.We polled friends for their best and worst Tinder pick-up lines.Here are the lines that either failed or succeeded spectacularly.last_img read more

Investment company creates 50 new jobs in Dublin

first_imgDMS OFFSHORE INVESTMENT Services Ltd is to create 50 new jobs in Dublin.The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton today announced that DMS Offshore Investment Services Ltd is to create the new roles in fund governance and risk management at its European operations centre in Dublin.The company is a recognised leader in fund governance and provides services in fund governance, AIFMD solutions, foreign account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) services, banking and custody, outsourcing and trust and corporate Services.EmployersDMS employs over 200 people in its offices throughout Dublin, the Cayman Islands, New York, São Paulo, London, Luxembourg and Hong Kong.Bruton said that international financial services is a key sector which the government has targeted for jobs growth, adding that these extra jobs “is a further boost for this sector of the economy”.DMS established its Dublin office in 2011 to provide fund governance services to Fund promoters. In 2012, the company decided to provide a Management Company service to promoters who needed to comply with the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).AIFMD is an EU directive which will bring enhanced governance and monitoring of EU-domiciled Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and non-EU AIFs being marketed to European investors. The new legislation comes into effect in July 2014.Derek Delaney, Managing Director of DMS (Europe) said that:With the requirement for EU domiciled funds to comply with AIFMD, we have seen significant growth in the demand for our services. We are ramping up our team in Ireland to meet this demand.He said Ireland has a strong and globally recognised international financial services industry which will provide the company with “highly skilled and educated professionals”.Read: Apple buys Dr Dre’s Beats for $3 billion in bid to boost online music presence>Read: Irish businesses are among the EU’s best for selling abroad online>last_img read more

Dear Daughter director Louis Lentin passes away

first_imgUpdated at 15.05THEATRE, FILM AND television director Louis Lentin, best known for his work in highlighting institutional abuse in Ireland, has passed away aged 81.Lentin made the TV documentary ‘Dear Daughter’, which focused on the childhood abuse of campaigner Christine Buckley.Originally aired in 1996, the programme was re-broadcast by RTÉ earlier this year, a month after Buckley passed away following a long battle with cancer.Here Lentin speaks about the documentary and his interest in Buckley’s story:The Arts Council today expressed deep regret at Lentin’s passing. Chair Sheila Pratschke said:His was a strong and brave voice, and his documentaries, in particular, shone a light on a number of issues close to his heart. We offer our sympathies to his wife Ronit, and his children Alana and Miki. Born in Limerick in 1933, Lentin graduated from Trinity College in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts and quickly began his professional career as a theatre director. The Arts Council said in a statement that Lentin established himself by setting up Art Theatre Productions in 1959, opening with the Irish premieres of Beckett’s ‘Endgame’ and ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’.In 1973, Lentin won the Jacobs Irish Critics’ Award for contribution to television drama. as well as three US International Film and Television Awards and three Banff nominations. He was appointed Head of Television Drama at RTÉ in 1978, and also wrote for theatre and radio, and taught television, direction and acting.Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts and Culture Seán Ó Fearghaíl paid tribute to Lentin, saying, “Louis Lentin was a highly respected theatre, film and television director whose career also saw him make very important contributions to public service broadcasting.Today Aosdána described Louis Lentin as a multi-award winning artist of great integrity and passion.  I know he will be greatly missed by his former colleagues in RTÉ and by his friends and colleagues in theatre, film and television.Lentin’s last production for RTÉ was ‘Grandpa, Speak to me in Russian’, a 2008 programme about his Jewish paternal grandfather who emigrated to Ireland in the 1890s from Lithuania.Lentin had over 40 years of experience working in the arts in Ireland. RTÉ Director General Noel Curran said Lentin made a “major contribution” to RTÉ’s evolution and output over his years with he broadcaster.“He was with us on the very first broadcast evening of 31 December 1961,” Curran said. “He was passionate about the impact and medium of television and he left a truly impressive legacy of work.”Read: “We are devastated”: Campaigner and abuse survivor Christine Buckley has died >last_img read more

13 people who really should have thought their decisions through

first_img7. So we SURF, but not on water, on the roof. How could this be a bad idea?8. Got it! I’ll just balance on a skateboard on a pole. Be grand9. How could proposing on a sea rock NOT be romantic?10. No no wait, how about starting a fight with a deer. In what world would this not end in my favour?11. So listen up. We throw a shaken bottle of Coke and reap the rewards Source: Imgur12. I’m going down the up escalator because that’s just magic you sheep obviously haven’t discovered13. Planking on a moving door. InspiredAll silly life choices taken from the excellent subreddit whatcouldgowrong.12 people who’ve got some serious explaining to do>Here’s how NOT to open a champagne bottle with a sword> SERIOUSLY. WHAT COULD go wrong?1. What if I just whoosh these up the factory real quick?2. Run across some molten ash? Can’t see any possible problem with that3. Holding a whisk by my head? I DEFY you to find a downside to this4. Put a firecracker under this bowl? Seems to be a sound decision5. I mean, what other way would I get on this waterlogged swing?6. Hey, I’m just going to jump kick this machine because my crisps are stuck. Surely nothing could go wronglast_img read more

Drugged Up Jedi Gets Prison Sentence for Beating

first_imgA 36-year-old Bucks County, Pennsylvania resident was sentenced to eight to 20 years in jail for a beating. The judge reportedly gasped upon seeing images of the victim. The man was high on prescription drugs. When the police arrived, he told them that he was Obi-Wan Kenobi.The man, Milan Marinkovic, apparently doesn’t remember the incident. He told the press, “I woke up in a holding cell at the police station,” his mind a blank. When police arrived at the scene, the faux-Jedi master was standing above Sean Delp, his 30-year-old victim. AdChoices广告Delp says that Marinkovic approached him in a parking lot, seemingly unprovoked. Marinkovic choked him, punched him, elbowed his face, and finally stopped on his head, rendering him unconscious.“I hope one day that he can function in society without waking up with blood on his hands, but I don’t know when that will be,” Delp told the press.Upon viewing the images, the judge told Marinkovic, “”This is, without a doubt, the worst case I’ve ever seen involving a beating that did not result in death. This was absolutely an attempt on your part to kill this man.”So much for the Jedi mind trick.last_img read more

Sylvania HD1Z 720p HD 39 at Woot

first_imgWoot has some pretty odd talk about the whole Julian Assange / WikiLeaks/ DDoS / MasterCard thing. A preemptive strike (or plea, rather) against the folks in Operation Payback who might attempt to take down the deal site once it’s down with Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Amazon, et. al. Don’t worry Woot, you’re probably fine.The site also has a super-good deal on a shiny new HD camcorder. You can pick up the Sylvania HD1Z for $39, if you direct your browser on over there. The camcorder shoots video in 720p at 30 frames a second. It has HDMI out, 4x digital zoom, an SD card slot (which is nice, seeing as how the thing only has 46MB of memory built-in0, and a built-in speaker and mic.AdChoices广告You can also shoot still with the thing and upload it instantly to YouTube and Facebook. No official word yet from the White House regarding the deal.last_img read more

Google Testing Groupon Competitor

first_imgGoogle is going to get into the coupon business, damn it–whether that means buying the leader in the field (Groupon) or launching a direct competitor. The former didn’t work out so well–while the company reportedly came really close to securing a multi-billion Groupon buyout, but the coupon site ultimately opted to stay independent.Now Google is apparently starting from scratch with its own Groupon-like site, Google Offers. Mashable managed to grab some info on the yet-to-be-launched Offers. Google confirmed the existence of the site (a welcome change from most companies’ “we don’t comment on speculation” comment), telling the blog,Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted. Sounds pretty familiar, huh? The user gets an e-mail and has a limited amount of time to respond to it. Offers will utilize Google Checkout and will have the requisite social connections (Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, and Buzz–remember Buzz?). Google in the process of recruiting businesses to join the upcoming service. In fact, Mashable seems to have gotten its hands on just such a document. And here’s the explanation from the Offers fact sheet,Google Offers is a new product to help potential customers and clientele find great deals in their area through a daily e-mail.last_img read more

Prototype iPod touch with capacitive home button leaked

first_imgEvery generation of iPod touch that has ever been released comes with a physical Home button placed below the screen and inset slightly so it’s easy to find by feel alone. It’s a part of the design, and no one really expects it to change.However, CrunchGear has come into possession of some images showing an iPod touch without a physical button. The Home button is capacitive instead. Could Apple actually be considering doing this to offer up a completely smooth surface?Further investigation revealed the device has 128GB of memory and is running firmware v4.2.1MC14. The MC550LL model number matches with a 4th generation iPod touch. CrunchGear think it’s an old prototype due to the firmware it has installed. It’s certainly dirty enough with all those visible fingeprints showing it has had a lot of use.Legitimate or not, we think Apple does a lot of experimentation with its devices, and have no doubt a capacitive button has been considered and tested. The fact this looks to be an old prototype suggests Apple didn’t like the end result and has stuck with the physical button.Read more at CrunchGearlast_img read more

iPhone with A5 chip shipping to game developers

first_imgWhenever a company like Sony or Microsoft release a new games console they need to have games available for it on launch day. In order to do that game developers need development kits of the hardware months beforehand. It may not be final hardware, but the performance and architecture is mostly in place for them to work with.It looks as though Apple is now thinking along the same lines for the launch of iPhone 5: have games available that take advantage of its enhanced performance from launch.With that in mind, game developers have apparently started receiving a model of the current iPhone 4 that carries the name iPhone 4S. The only difference being the 4S has an A5 processor inside just like the iPad.The A5 chip offers a serious performance boost for games and is expected to appear at the heart of the iPhone 5. The developers thought to be receiving these 4S handsets are some of the most well-established and IP-rich companies out there. If we had to guess we’d say it is companies like Capcom, EA, id Software, and possibly a few independents that have impressed Apple with their work.Read more at 9to5Mac (image courtesy of chipworks)Matthew’s OpinionIf Apple is supporting developers by sending them prototype hardware before a launch, it suggests that we could see a number of games appear that are iPhone 5 and iPad 2 specific. That wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened, but it could cause a few upsets amongst iPhone 4 owners.Saying that, game developers realize that there is a huge number of older iPhone model owners. So while many of them will be using the performance of the A5 processor, they will also be ensuring new games also work on the iPhone 4 and just scale up for iPhone 5 and iPad 2.What this prototype hardware distribution also makes clear is the fact Apple knows the importance of games on the iPhone. It is starting to follow the same model as the console manufacturers suggesting it wants in on new games at the same time, if not before they hit other platforms.last_img read more

Patch for Android authentication flaw only fixes part of the problem

first_imgVery recently, researches uncovered a rather serious security flaw affecting around 99 percent of all Android devices. Issues with the way authentication tokens are stored and transmitted on Android versions older than 2.3.4 (which is the overwhelming majority of users at the moment) made it possible for cybercriminals to intercept those tokens on unsecured wireless connections. By impersonating a familiar hotspot, an attacker merely needs to sit back and wait for unsuspecting Android users to connect and log in to affected services.Today, however, it was announced that Google was moving quickly to address the flaw, and, since the company is implementing a server-side fix, no action by end users is required. It’s believed that tokens served after the change will be encrypted before being sent to and stored on an Android device.  The patch will begin rolling out today and should shore things up with Google Docs and Google Calendar, but it’s not totally eradicating the problem as reported by some outlets.The Picasa vulnerability is still present in Android 2.3.4 and it remains unpatched for the time being. Google has told ComputerWorld’s JR Raphael that engineers are still investigating that particular issue, but no timetable was given for a possible fix.AdChoices广告To prevent any stored authentication data on your device from being exposed to an attacker, make sure you’re only connecting to encrypted wireless access points or using your phone’s 3G or 4G data connection. Connecting to an open access point is never a good idea, and that’s especially true for those of you with an Android device — at least until the authentication token issue is totally locked down.last_img read more

Verizon Wireless powers Maryland schools with Android tablets

first_imgSmartphones and tablets get a lot of attention from the tech world right now. These small computers can be used for just about anything these days. In fact the most common question I get asked about about a tablet is “Can my child use this for homework or schoolwork?”I typically go through the explanation of how it is possible, but there’s a risk that the experience would be so different from the classmates using Office or Google Docs that it might prove too frustrating and lead to sub-par work. But what happens when the entire classroom is using the exact same tablet? When the tablet is introduced in the classroom as the primary tool to be used for all points in the experience? The Verizon Foundation and Reginald Lewis High School decided to find out.Not all that long ago, Reginald Lewis High School in Baltimore, Maryland was deemed “persistently dangerous” by the Labor Department. According to the teachers, that started to change when Dr. Barney Wilson took over as principal of the school. Among the many changes he has made to try and turn the school around, Dr. Wilson has been a strong advocate for technology in the classroom. Dr. Wilson commented that many of the students attending Reginald Lewis do not have much in the way of technology in the home. They go to the public library to use computers to do their homework, or they used older computers in the home when they can. The cost in infrastructure and long term support of putting a computer in front of every child in the school was a difficult task to consider, so Dr. Wilson reached out to the Verizon Foundation.Verizon Wireless’ philanthropic arm is often involved in educational programs. Among the many ways they give back to their communities, they work with local schools to provide resources for further education. In partnership with Samsung, 100 Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets were lent to Reginald Lewis, each one with a 4G LTE SIM card inside. On top of this, Reginald Lewis was selected as one of the schools to take advantage of Verizon’s Mobile Learning Lab, a school bus that has been retrofitted into a mobile classroom with 4G LTE and tablets.The focus of the Mobile Learning Lab is specifically SAT prep, where mentors from Howard University and Morgan State are on the bus to help prepare students in a one-on-one environment. This Mobile Learning Lab travels to four different schools once a week to give this assistance.Of the many classrooms in Reginald Lewis that are taking advantage of this program, the AP Spanish class seems the most integrated into the environment. The teacher and students use Edmodo, an Android app that allows the students and teacher to work together in an educational environment (which we’ve previously covered). From the app, the teacher can issue quizzes or field one-on-one questions from the students. The teacher can share documents or videos, or even websites if the permissions are enabled by the teacher to do so. While Edmodo is running, the students are locked out of the parts of the Android tablet that would lead to distraction. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace for everything, and are able to do so with the personalized experience Edmodo offers.When I briefly interviewed one of the students, he explained that the Galaxy Tab was comfortable for him because he already used Android on his phone, and the keyboard was good enough on the tablet that he didn’t feel the need for a traditional computer.There’s certainly a benefit to encouraging digital literacy in any situation. By putting every student in the same environment, but allowing them to develop individually, these students can grow in unique directions. The work here at Reginald Lewis is a fraction of the work being done in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC area to promote digital literacy by the Verizon Foundation. Several other schools take advantage of the Mobile Learning Lab, while half a dozen other schools in the area are working with Verizon 4G LTE powered smartphones, and tablets.Verizon Wireless works with all grade levels as well, not just High School students. In fact, one of their other programs in Maryland is with an elementary school. Its an impressive digital initiative, paired with great educational software to make these devices productivity focused in the classroom.last_img read more

Next iPad landing March 16th

first_imgAs of last week we knew that we’d all get a chance to meet the next iPad on March 7th. The reveal date is the most important mark on the calendar, because it once-and-for-all answers so many of the questions we’ve had about the product — will it have a Retina display? will it have LTE? will that fancy case I bought fit my new tablet? — but as soon as March 7th, 2:30PM (or so) rolls around there is only one date left in people’s minds. That, of course, is the tablet’s release date. According to the latest rumor that will be March 16th.According to a leak from an Apple store employee Cupertino is getting ready for some big in-store events on Friday the 16th. That means the next iPad — be it the iPad 3 or iPad HD — could be in the clammy, shaking-with-excitement hands of tablet buyers around the country just nine days after its announcement. Presumably pre-orders will happen some time before that date so that new iPad’s are landing at buyer’s doorsteps on Friday, or, as we’ve seen in the past, Saturday morning.This might seem like quick turn-around time but the iPad 2 actually appeared under similar circumstances. It was unveiled at an event on March 2, 2011 and was available for sale on March 11th, so it also featured the Wednesday/next Friday timing.The report went on to state that Apple could be having another event a week later. This would likely the week of the 19th, as Apple typically has their get-togethers held earlier in the week (unless this is another set of private meetings, like Apple with with the OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion unveiling). It’s not clear what this would be though the Apple TV is at the top of the list, especially if we learn much about iOS 6 tomorrow.via 9to5maclast_img read more

Beware of 2012 MacBook Pros on bumpy roads

first_imgThere’s no such thing as a perfect gadget. Sure, there are some obvious things that can be avoided, but at the end of the day it is impossible to account for every variable. When you find that sweet spot, where it seems like you’ve gotten a really great device, you start to see the odd little ways it can be improved. Unfortunately, certain solutions can create other problems. A perfect example of this would be some of the changes made in the 2012 line of MacBook Pros.We take our laptops with us everywhere these days, and the great thing about the new MacBooks is that they actually have the battery life to survive a weekend excursion with light use. Unfortunately, it has been discovered that the keyboard on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display Best Price at Amazon specifically is a little soft. When you type on the keyboard, you can feel that the individual keys give very easily. It’s really nice if you are sitting somewhere typing, especially given how little noise it makes. If the MacBook Pro is in a bag or a case and is jostled the right way, however, the machine will wake up inside the bag. This happens when the machine is hibernating as well as being completely off. The right amount of force in the right direction will cause the keys to press on their own and wake the machine up.Many owners of new MacBooks are not huge fans of the new MagSafe adapter, either. In previous versions of the MacBook, I think the power adapter was implemented flawlessly. I wish everything I used had a magnetic power adapter, and I can only imagine how many gadgets would have been saved from my clumsiness if they did. The new MacBooks have a slightly different adapter though, and while it is still magnetic, there are many who feel it has a much weaker connection than previous models. It manages to maintain a connection when sat on a desk, but sing it in your lap is going to cause some issues. Any time you move the laptop with any kind of force, the power adapter disconnects. It’s incredibly frustrating.The new MacBook Pro accomplishes a lot of amazing things in its own right. Thinner, lighter, and incredibly more powerful machines were the result of untold hours of research and development. Subtle changes needed to be made all over in order to accomplish those feats, and there were unforseen consequences to those changes. I don’t think that wiggly keys or a weak power adapter is a deterrent for anyone seriously considering a MacBook Pro with Retina display, but issues like this could easily lead to the decision to leave the laptop at home.via Mac Performance Guidelast_img read more

Awesome Google Maps Easter Egg lets you step inside the TARDIS

first_imgThey like to have a good time at the Googleplex, as evidenced by the plethora of gags and Easter Eggs that come out of the company. The most recent discovery comes in the form of a Doctor Who sci-fi treat hidden in Google Maps. At a particular spot in central London — specifically the Earl’s Court neighborhood — there is a very peculiar object. A blue police box, but inside it’s The Doctor’s TARDIS, and you can take a peek.Just head to this link in your browser, and look for the double arrows pointing at the call box. Click through and you’re inside. And yes, it’s bigger on the inside. You can click around and take a look at the console, or swing around the perimeter. It’s a nice little nerd diversion, and the level of detail is impressive.The double arrow might not show up if you’re using the new Google Maps beta, but tapping the up arrow on your keyboard might get it to show up properly. Alternatively, open the link in Incognito Mode (or your browser’s equivalent) to get the classic Maps interface.The call box used as the marker for this TARDIS Easter Egg does actually exist in London, but most of the original units have been removed. They date from the late 1800s through to the late 1900s, when mobile phones finally supplanted the last active call boxes. Police were able to use the boxes to contact the local station when the flashing light indicated an officer was needed. The public could also use the boxes to call police.The Earl’s Court box was actually built in 1997 as a homage to the devices. It has been active on and off, but the phone inside is merely a prop at this point. It also houses a CCTV camera, but most things in London do. Now the police box is mostly known as the TARDIS, especially to younger sci-fi fans that have never had to worry about where to place a call.last_img read more