Books With ASL For Deaf Readers Are Easily Made With iBooks



Erica Sadun writes at TUAW about a new, possibly first of its kind ebook, one that includes American Sign Language (ASL) videos embedded along with the electronic text and pictures.

While bilingual education has been around for a good long while, the concept of prepackaged ASL translation is a relatively new one, as the tools to embed quality video in an eBook haven’t been mainstream enough. Until now, of course, with iBooks, the iPad, and iBooks Author.

Author Adam Stone released his new book, Pointy Three, on the iBooks store last week. From the iTunes description:

Presented in American Sign Language (ASL) and English! The story of a fork who’s missing one of his prongs, but not his brave spirit. Follow Pointy Three on his journey through the land of Dinnertime as he meets characters left and right and looks for a place where he belongs.

Sadun interviews Stone and talks with him about his motivation to do such a book. “I want to show everybody that it can be done easily, quickly, and cheaply,” he said on his blog. “You don’t need to talk to a publisher; you are the publisher.”

Stone works as a first grade teacher at an ASL school in New York. He was inspired by the introduction of iBooks Author and came up with the idea for the story with ASL elements on the way home one day. He typed up the treatment on his iPhone in the Notes app, he says.

When asked why he hadn’t created an app, Stone reveals that he has no skills as a programmer. With iBooks Author, anyone can create an interactive story for their unique audience and situation.

This is the disruptive success of Apple, one that hearkens back to the original computer club and Steve Wozniak. Apple devices are all about empowering people to actually create and do things – wonderful and unique things – with the powerful technologies inside.

Source: The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Configurator Makes Big Improvements To Business/School iOS App Management


Pre-loading apps using Configurator
Pre-loading apps using Apple Configurator

Virtually everyone who’s ever used an Apple product has an Apple ID. This user account for all things Apple is most commonly used with the iTunes Store and the iOS and Mac App Stores. It’s used to both authorize purchases and to allow you to access content or run apps after they’re downloaded. Apple’s philosophy is that every person should have their own Apple ID and that each of us should use our individual Apple ID (and only that Apple ID) on each of our devices – iPads, iPhones, iPods, Macs, even PC’s running iTunes or other Apple software.

That’s a great concept, but it creates a big challenge when iOS devices are used in business or school environments. When someone configures an iOS device for an employee or student with a selection of apps and other content (like iBooks 2 textbooks), they need to use an Apple ID. But once that device is deployed, the end user may need or want to purchase additional apps or other materials.

This is often a stumbling block for business-owned devices. And it’s something that Apple has finally begun to address with Apple Configurator.

Apple Configurator – Perfect For Schools And Small Business But Too Limited For Many Big Companies



Along with announcing the new iPad and Apple TV (and related iOS and app updates), Apple released a new tool for managing iOS devices in business and education. The new Apple Configurator app is a free download in the Mac App Store for Macs running Lion. Although it takes the sting out of managing iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches for smaller organizations, it won’t replace more full feature mobile management solutions for mid-size or larger companies.

Apple’s New Annual Upgrade Cycle May Wreak Havoc On Schools



Apple’s announcement of Mountain Lion breaks with the past in a few ways including by announcing with out a major Apple event. One of the other changes is the news the Apple is moving OS X to a yearly release cycle like iOS. That may be a great way to introduce new features for consumers, but it’s likely to create problems for organizations that have a large number of Macs.

Schools and colleges are still among the organizations that have large Mac populations and have always been a key market for Apple. A yearly release schedule stands to impact them more than any other type of organization and that impact isn’t likely to be a positive one.

Watch How Apple Could Revolutionize E-Reading Again With Realistic Virtual Page Flipping [Video]



If you have ever used iBooks or the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad, you probably have experienced virtual page turning… and probably turned it off shortly thereafter.

Why? Well, virtual page turning is just a fancy animation that does nothing practical. It slows the reading experience down (however minutely) just to give you a little millisecond voyage through an e-reading uncanny valley.

After all, in the real world, pages do more than just flip: you can rifle through them, bend them back, check multiple spots in a book at once, bookmark places with your fingers, etc. Wouldn’t it be cool if your iPad’s virtual page-turning animations could do the same things?