component of the network on many campuses,
mobiles continue to evolve rapidly. New interfaces,
the ability to run third-party applications, and
location-awareness have all come to the mobile
device in the past year, making it an ever more
versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a
host of tasks for learning, productivity, and
social networking. For many users, broadband
mobile devices like the iPhone have already
begun to assume many tasks that were once
the exclusive province of portable computers.
scale “data farms” — large clusters of networked
servers — is bringing huge quantities of
processing power and storage capacity within
easy reach. Inexpensive, simple solutions to
offsite storage, multi-user application scaling,
hosting, and multi-processor computing are
opening the door to wholly different ways of
thinking about computers, software, and files.
applications, but until very recently, it was time-
consuming and difficult for non-specialists to
determine the physical coordinates of a place
or object, and options for using that data were
limited. Now, many common devices can
automatically determine and record their own
precise location and can save that data along
with captured media (like photographs) or can
transmit it to web-based applications for a host
of uses. The full implications of geo-tagging are
still unfolding, but the impact in research has
already been profound.
to reorganize online content rather than simply
viewing it, the personal web is part of a trend that
has been fueled by tools to aggregate the flow of
content in customizable ways and expanded by
an increasing collection of widgets that manage
online content. The term personal web was
coined to represent a collection of technologies
that are used to configure and manage the
ways in which one views and uses the Internet.
Using a growing set of free and simple tools and
applications, it is easy to create a customized,
personal web-based environment — a personal
web — that explicitly supports one’s social,
professional, learning, and other activities.
tions are emerging that are bringing the promise
of the semantic web into practice without the
need to add additional layers of tags, identifiers,
or other top-down methods of defining context.
Tools that can simply gather the context in which
information is couched, and that use that context
to extract imbedded meaning are providing rich
new ways of finding and aggregating content. At
the same time, other tools are allowing context
to be easily modified, shaped, and redefined as
information flows are combined.
“Internet of things,” smart objects describe a
set of technologies that is imbuing ordinary
objects with the ability to recognize their
physical location and respond appropriately, or
to connect with other objects or information.
A smart object “knows” something about itself
— where and how it was made, what it is for,
where it should be, or who owns it, for example
— and something about its environment. While
the underlying technologies that make this
possible — RFID, QR codes, smartcards, touch
and motion sensors, and the like — are not
new, we are now seeing new forms of sensors,
identifiers, and applications with a much more
generalizable set of functionalities.