New Poll: Social Networking

There seems to have been an explosion in the number of social networking sites, this list of active sites on wikipedia would suggest many people use these tools. These range from the business oriented to others catering for music, movies, students etc. but which do you use most often?

Please use the Poll widget at the bottom right of this page to enter your answer!

AcademiX at MIT

Author: Drew McCormack

On March 26th, 2009 at MIT, Apple and MacLearning.org held the first of four AcademiX conferences primarily focussed on emergent technologies in teaching. The one-day conference included many interesting presentations, and finished with a poster session. Presentations covered a wide range of interesting technologies, and not all from Apple.

MATLAB & Simulink R2009a beta for 64-bit Intel-based Macs is available

The native MathWorks MATLAB R2009a beta for 64-bit Intel-based Macs is now available.

Customers who have a subscription to MathWorks Software Maintenance Service may download the professional version. The current target release for 64-bit Mac is R2009b.

MacResearch Tweeps

Unless you've lived under a rock for the past year, you know full well that Twitter is all the rage with the cool, young hipsters these days. As you might expect, there are a number of interesting Twitterers, um Tweeps, err whatever, using Twitter. A few on my "follow" list include: @mza, @medmacs, @mekentosj, @iGotchi, and @cparnot. If you Twitter, I would encourage you to put your Twitter handle in the comments of this post, and better yet, include the names of interesting people you follow that might be of interest to the MacResearch crowd. Maybe we'll create a MacResearch Twitter directory on this site some day if we get enough traction. Oh, and if I may shamelessly plug myself, my Twitter handle is @jdudley.

LaTeX Help on the iPhone.

Need a little help recognizing mathematical symbols or LaTeX commands?
I always tend to lookup certain LaTeX commands on the internet when I'm writing. So I decided to write a simple iPhone/iPod Touch app that lets me look up LaTeX symbols anytime when I'm feeling inspired.

It's free. And updates are on the way!

Showcase Review: Compounds

In 'Showcase' reviews, the reviewer is the developer. No claim of objectivity is made, but it’s a chance for the developer to show off his/her app. Here, Corey Floyd presents Compounds, an iPhone/iPod touch application that can be used to solve chemical stoichiometries.

Too often in our work, we are forced to use tools that perform functions we require, yet
werenʼt specifically designed for our exact purposes. A calculator, with itʼs fixed
interface, is a great illustration of this fact. It is a great all-purpose device, but in many
cases, makes the user jump through hoops to accomplish a specific task.

The Book : Why, What, When and How

Editor: Charles Parnot first published this piece a year ago, long before the iPad was announced. Apart from the price, just about everything he said became a reality. So on the morning that Charles can finally pre-order his beloved Book, we thought it would be good to give the article a second run, for posterity's sake (...and a good laugh).

Author: Charles Parnot

The rumor mill has been running at higher speed recently around a supposedly coming-real-soon Apple's netbook. As a geeky technology-dreamer scientist, I have been wishing for a long time that Apple would finally make a tablet-format iPhone that could run Mac OS X on a touch screen. I probably could not afford it, but I would definitely play with it at the Apple Store. Up until today, I had been very dimsissive of these rumors, mainly on the basis that Apple does not cater to the geeks anymore, and does not enter low-margin markets. But I just changed my mind 2 weeks ago! Here is why...

First Tech Book Published Exclusively on iPhone?

A while ago I suggested that perhaps the iPhone platform could offer an avenue for publishing technical books. In summary, I argued that the App Store offers a broad distribution network, takes care of sales processing, and even offers DRM protection of content. The only thing really missing was a basic book reader.

I happen to have a few book length manuscripts lying around, so I decided to take one of them — Scientific Scripting with Python — and undertake an experiment: I developed a basic book reader, reformatted the manuscript for the iPhone, and submitted it to the App Store. Yesterday it was accepted, and you can now purchase the book in iTunes for $4.99. As far as I am aware, it's the first tech book to be published exclusively through the App Store.

Tinkering with Google App Engine

Author: Drew McCormack
Web Site: MentalFaculty.com

Editor's Note: This tutorial was published more than a year ago, but Google App Engine continues to grow in popularity, and we thought it would be useful to give it a second run.

In April 2008, Google announced Google App Engine, their long-awaited answer to web services offered by Amazon and others. Google took a different approach to their competitors by including a full application stack for developers. This made App Engine less flexible, by forcing developers to use the programming tools and libraries that Google supplied, but it did have the advantage that you could get your web app up and running very quickly, and easily leverage Google’s infrastructure. An app could scale up with very little work on the part of the developer — in theory.

Although the theory was sound, in practice, developers were quite limited in the resources they had available, and there was no option to increase those resources. Google has now addressed that, allowing developers to pay for resources at rates comparable to Amazon Web Services, so it seems App Engine may finally be ready for prime time.

A couple of months ago, my interest in App Engine was piqued enough to take a closer look. I spent about a week developing a Twitter-like web site called Mental Drain. (The site is fully operational, if a bit rough around the edges. You can try it out by logging in with your Google account.) In the rest of this post, I’ll discuss what’s involved in developing a web app with App Engine, and provide a few examples from the code I wrote for Mental Drain.

AcademiX 2009 Conferences

MacLearning.org and Apple, Inc. are pleased to announce the offering of four regional conferences on teaching and learning using Apple technologies. Based on the feedback from an earlier survey on travel expenses and budgets, we have jointly decided to offer four regional AcademiX 2009 conferences designed to offer opportunities for learning and sharing at minimal cost to you or your institution.