Tweeting your homework? More teachers adopt social media in the classroom

Academics are sometimes imagined as living in a cloistered world of books and bureaucracy—surely the last population to “get” social media, says PC Magazine. They decry email for usurping the nearly lost art of letter-writing and see YouTube as a waste of time… or so some believe. Turns out, it couldn’t be farther from the truth, and a report by Pearson Learning Solutions [PDF] confirms it. More than 90 percent of higher education faculty who were surveyed for the report reported being aware of the social media sites Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs in general. When it comes to use, a whopping “80 percent of faculty report using social media for some aspect of a course they are teaching,” the report indicates…

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Are Android tablets vapor? Or just not here?

Everyone seems to have proclaimed that this was the “year of the tablet” at the Consumer Electronics Show. But while I certainly saw a whole lot of tablets at the show, what strikes me most, in retrospect, is just how unfinished nearly all the tablets were, reports Michael J. Miller for PC Magazine. I left intrigued by the possibilities, but more skeptical about the market than most of my colleagues. Partly, there were so many tablets because it seems like every vendor thinks they fit into their existing market. Phone makers think of tablets as large smartphones — with or without calling features. TV makers think of tablets just as smaller screens on which to watch video and other content. PC makers think of tablets as laptops without keyboards. Monitor makers think of them as portable monitors. Book sellers think of them as electronic book readers…

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Blekko: The newest search engine

Blekko.com, a new search engine that uses human input to help it sort out the world, is getting a lot of press today, reports John C. Dvorak for PC Magazine, including a lot of “Another search engine, who needs it? Google is better.” send-offs. Yes, Google is the greatest search engine as of now, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be beaten by some new algorithm or a better idea. Blekko is going for a better idea. Blekko, in fact, adds so much weird dimensionality that out of all the recently hyped search engine ideas, such as www.cuil.com, I find it the most interesting. I do not say this often…

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McAfee promises some customers refunds after update fiasco

McAfee on April 26 said it would reimburse “reasonable expenses” that were incurred after an incorrect malware alert last week caused computers running Windows XP Service Pack 3 to shut down and start on a continuous reboot cycle, PC Magazine reports. “If you have already incurred costs to repair your PC as a result of this issue, we’re committed to reimbursing reasonable expenses,” McAfee said on its web site. “Steps to process your reimbursement request will be posted in the next few days.” The company also said those whose computers were rendered inoperable or severely impaired as a result of the faulty file release would be eligible for a free, two-year extension of their existing McAfee subscription. McAfee said only a “small percentage” of its customers had permanent damage to their computers, and “our immediate priority is to get you back up and running.” Computers at Illinois State University and other schools were among those affected by the glitch…

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