News Update :: Tuesday, November 14, 2006

News

McGraw-Hill Pilots PrepCenter

McGraw-Hill yesterday unveiled PrepCenter, a new course management and preparation solution for instructors in higher education. The service, created in conjunction with Firstborn, is designed to allow instructors to browse and organize supplemental materials for McGraw-Hill Higher Education textbooks.

PrepCenter is a Web-based portal service that provides access to instructional materials—videos, CDs, multimedia and PowerPoint presentations—that can be previewed and downloaded from a single interface.

"One of the most time-consuming parts of an instructor's job is class preparation," said Andy Winston, publisher for the McGraw-Hill Higher

Education Group, in a prepared statement. "Imagine having 200 or more video clips or exercises that are available for just a single text. PrepCenter is a practical way for instructors to see immediately what is available and download the most relevant materials without spending large amounts of time finding 'just the right thing' to illustrate the lesson."

McGraw-Hill is currently running a pilot program for PrepCenter for its management, marketing and psychology titles. The full rollout of PrepCenter is expected in early 2007...

For more information, click here.

Fujitsu Rolls Out Enhanced ScanSnap for Mac

Fujitsu Monday began shipping a new, enhanced version of its ScanSnap document scanner for Mac, the S500M. The new model succeeds the ScanSnap fi-5110EOXM, adding faster scanning speeds and other functional improvements.

The ScanSnap S500M is a document scanner designed for converting paper files to PDFs. It offers a 600 DPI dual CCD array for scanning both sides of a document at the same time and includes a 50-page automatic document feeder. In term of improvements over its predecessor, it now boasts 20 percent faster scanning speeds, up to 18 PPM for single-sided documents and 36 sides per minute for double-sided documents.

Fujitsu also says that the new model offers improved automatic page size detection for scanning batches of mixed-size documents. Other features include:

  • Automatic color detection;
  • Automatic blank page detection and deletion;
  • Automatic paper size detection;
  • Automatic correction for image skew;
  • PDF thumbnail viewing;
  • Integrated automatic document-feed cover;
  • “Always On” Fujitsu ScanSnap Manager software;
  • Bundled with Adobe Acrobat Standard.

With the new model, Fujitsu is also offering a mail-in rebate to get free document management software from I.R.I.S. Group, including Readiris Pro 11 and Cardiris 3. Readiris Pro is OCR software that converts documents into editable formats, including HTML, Word and Excel. Cardiris converts scanned business cards so that data contained in the cards can be imported into databases and contact management software.

The ScanSnap S500M measures 5.9" x 11.2" x 5.7" and interfaces via USB 2.0. It's available now for $495 with support for Mac OS X running on Intel- or PowerPC-based hardware...

For more information, click here.

SIIA Issues Software Checklist for Educators

Last week the Software & Information Industry Association issued a new checklist for educators implementing software. The purpose of the checklist, according to the SIIA, is "to provide guidance to educational institutions that need to plan for and carry out the large-scale implementation of purchased software applications."

The release by the SIIA includes a brief, 10-point list of "essentials" for software implementation, from planning and and involving users in the process to monitoring and evaluation.

"Years of experience have shown that effective implementation practices can be the determining factor in obtaining successful results from software applications, both instructional and administrative," said Karen Billings, vice president of SIIA's Education Division, in a prepared statement. "The actions an institution takes prior to the delivery of the software, and during its initial use, can help ensure this success."

The release also details a number of the points to provide context for the consideration of each point for both instructional and administrative software implementation. And it includes an eight-point checklist for the implementation process, including a printable version of the checklist. The actual checklist can be found by clicking the link below and going to the "Recent Publications" section...

For more information, click here.

LivePerson Software Deployed in More Than 200 Colleges and Universities

LivePerson Inc. revealed yesterday that its live chat solutions are now being implemented or planned in more than 200 colleges and universities in the United States.

LivePerson is the developer of Timpani, an integrated tool for customer service, marketing and sales that has also been adopted in higher education by administrators for communicating with students. The package includes a variety of tools for providing support to these students, including chat, e-mail and knowledgebase solutions. The company is also the developer of LivePerson Pro, a package that offers live chat, co-browsing, operator console, LiveKeyword and LiveAnalytics.

"LivePerson provides an easy-to-implement, secure and convenient way to communicate with our students," said Grace Salas, director of Enrollment Information Services for Florida International University, in a prepared statement. "Unlike e-mail, chats are initiated by students at the moment they need help. Most students who have used LivePerson indicate a preference for chat over both the telephone and office visits."

According to LivePerson, colleges and universities currently implementing their solutions include Temple University, University of

Massachusetts, Florida International University, Liberty University, University of Connecticut and Boston University...

For more information, click here.

Apple Bumps MacBooks to Core 2 Duo

Apple last week upgraded its entire line of consumer notebooks to Intel Core 2 Duo processors. This is the third round of upgrades to Apple's consumer and notebook lines, following iMac and MacBook Pro speed bumps, which had also been upgraded to Core 2 Duo processors.

The MacBook is Apple's entry-level line of notebook computers, distinguished from the high-end MacBook Pro by the lack of a dedicated graphics card, lack of an expansion slot and lack of a FireWire 800 port, among other, more minor, differences. The first generation of MacBooks had been plagued by manufacturing problems, including heat sink issues that could cause it to shut down randomly and a wrist wrest that was prone to discoloration. But in processor tests with high-end software, the first-generation MacBook was found to hold its own against the speedier Pro models, with performance that rivaled mid-range G5 desktop systems and even quad Opteron systems. The new models, according to Apple, run 25 percent faster than the old ones at the same clock frequencies.

In addition to the bump in CPU performance, the new MacBooks also gain enhancements in the following areas (2.0 GHz models only):

  • Double the base memory configuration (up to 1 GB)
  • Increased storage capacity (80 GB in the white model, up from 60 GB, and 120 GB in the black model, up from 100 GB)

Beyond these changes, all else remains consistent with the previous generation of MacBooks. There are still three models in the lineup: a 1.83 GHz white model, a 2.0 GHz white model and a 2.0 GHz black model. As was the case before, the only difference between the white and black 2.0 GHz models is 20 GB of additional storage capacity in the black model.

The 1.83 GHz MacBook includes a 13.3-inch glossy screen (1,280 x 800 with 250 cd/m2 brightness); a 667 MHz frontside bus; 512 MB RAM (667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM); 60 GB, 5,400 RPM Serial ATA drive with Sudden Motion Sensor; slot-load Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950; Mini-DVI out; built-in iSight video camera (mounted in the top of the bezel); Gigabit Ethernet port;

built-in AirPort Extreme (802.11g) wireless networking; Bluetooth 2.0+EDR; two USB 2.0 ports; one FireWire 400 port; audio line in combo jack (supports mini-Toslink optical and standard 1/8-inch analog); one audio line out combo jack (supports mini-Toslink optical and standard 1/8-inch analog); infrared port for use with the Apple Remote (included); and a MagSafe power adapter. It sells for $1,099.

The 2.0 GHz white model includes all of these features, plus an additional 512 MB RAM (for a total of 1 GB); a double-layer, slot-load 6x an additional 40 GB storage (100 GB total). It sells for $1,299.

The 2.0 GHz black model also includes all of these features, plus a total of 120 GB internal storage. It sells for $1,499. All of the new models are available now...

For more information, click here.

About the author: Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com

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