Monday, July 14, 2008

Fujitsu e-reader
Fujitsu just announced the release this fall of a bendable e-reader with a color display. According to them it's the first of its kind. In my view it's the next big step to the huge change that's going to sweep through the schools once we have a viable (affordable, dependable, and multi-platform) color e-paper technology. This one will set you back about $1,000. It sounds like a very adaptable medium as it will be capable of transferring data from a phone or PC wirelessly or with an SD card. The Fujitsu press release has a nice narrative imagining how this technology could change your daily activities, not to mention a nice photo of the bendable display:
"Imagine going to your local train station to commute to the office in the morning. Instead of large paper posters, the train time tables are shown on large electronic paper displays that wrap around the columns of the platform. Before getting on the train, you download the day's news from a vending machine and read it on your ultra-thin, film substrate-based e-newspaper. It's much like a traditional newspaper except that instead of throwing it away after reading it you simply update the content the next day."

I'll have to work on writing a similar narrative for the classroom.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

MySQL: Making the move from one table to two related tables

I had to learn this sooner or later and now that it's learned it's great. It was a bit painful. For my site Reading Pen Pals I had to separate records for books and records for authors into two different database tables so that information pertaining only to authors, such as their oral history letters, didn't have to be entered repeatedly for each new book added. The author info would already be in a record but would have to be added again because it was pinned to that record. So the MySQL query has changed from this:
SELECT * FROM books WHERE alphachar='h' ORDER BY title ASC
to this:
SELECT,books.authorlname,books.the,books.title, books.level_gif,authors.authorfname,authors.authorlname, authors.authorlink,books.quote FROM books,authors WHERE alphachar='h' AND authors.authorlname = books.authorlname ORDER BY title ASC
so what I had to learn about was joined tables. It's a great system because you can specify which tables all the data is coming from after FROM, and which table each field belongs to with a period separating the table and field. Cool.