End of Reader

As of this evening Google Reader will go dark.  Reader is an RSS feed aggregator that has, over the past six years, been exceedingly critical to my professional and academic work. I use it not only to stay up-to-date with the latest from a wide variety of blogs and news sources, but also to categorize, tag, and share items of academic relevance. Before an update two years ago, Reader also had a robust internal sharing function. Finally, Reader allowed me to bundle feeds together and publish them in a way that others could subscribe to, which was ideal from a pedagogic standpoint. Google Reader also had a nice mobile website that synced easily across iPad, iPhone, and desktop.

And so what now?  I need a service that will facilitate feed aggregation, but also categorization and tagging; since much of my work concerns extant debates on airpower, amphibious warfare, and military diffusion, any service needs to give me the opportunity to save key articles. In terms of sharing, I liked the old Google Reader share, but I *need* the ability to share easily to twitter, Facebook, and the several Facebook pages that I operate. I’d 

I tried a few, including Oldreader, Digg Reader, and Feedly, and it turns out that a combination of Feedly and Pocket best fits my needs right now.  I was able to save most of my bookmarked and tagged Reader posts to pocket (indeed, I suspect I’m a little better organized now that I was).  Feedly and Pocket also both have good mobile apps, unlike Oldreader.  We’ll see if anything interesting turns up over the next few months, but I’d hate to have to migrate everything again.

—Dr. Robert Farley

Bloggingheads

Bloggingheads also has a new app for iPad.  The format is extremely well-suited to watching on iPad.image

—Dr. Robert Farley

Other Foreign Policy Apps

Follow up on my last post… Unfortunately, many foreign policy focused organizations have been slower than Foreign Policy to develop an iPad app.  World Politics Review has an iPhone app, but as of yet nothing for the iPad.  Same story with CFR and Heritage.  On the upside, State Magazine has a nice app, as does Brookings.  Human Rights Watch has an iPad app, but not Amnesty as far as I can tell. 

- Dr. Robert Farley

Some Apps of Note…

A few recent apps of interest to the Patterson community.  Some of these are new, but most are simply new to me:

TWC TV: Relevant only because Time Warner is about to eat Insight, Lexington’s current cable provider  Certainly makes watching TV from your iPad easier.

HistoryMaps: This is a great (although large) compendium of historical maps.

Google Drive: Makes google docs easily accessible by iPad.

ThinkProgress: New app from the Center for American Progress, if that’s your thing.

—Dr. Robert Farley

Tracking Turkey with PressReader

Students using PressReader on their iPads have discovered the range of daily newspaper offerings enables them to track in very real time the unfolding dramatic developments in Turkey.  Mainstream Turkish media was largely slow to react to the demonstrations in Taksim Square (see Hurriyet’s weak coverage, for example), but accounts can now be found across the political spectrum as demonstrators swelled into the 10,000s and spread from Istanbul to Ankara, Izmir, Adana and a dozen more cities.  Milliyet, Sabah, Zaman and Radical all offer detailed accounts, as well as photos.  Of course, reports in English can also be found in Today’s Zaman and Hurriyet Daily News.

(Taksim Square protester just before the water cannons moved in)

2013 Summer Reading List

The Patterson School’s summer reading selections are now out and all but two — Water and China Goes Global — are not currently available as iBooks.  The free Google Play Books app for IOS will let you read those two exceptions as well on your iPad.  There goes any excuse for not having your summer homework handy.  Happy reading!

iPad, Conferences, and Twitter Streams

While the iPad’s utility in the classroom is well known, it can be particularly valuable when attending conferences.  In April, our Diplomacy of Nuclear Weapons class participated in the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington D.C.  The conference was exceptional, with keynotes by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane, and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.  Their formal presentations were greatly enriched, however, by a live Twitter stream and the iPad proved a perfect device to join in.  I, along with several other Patterson School students, tweeted from the conference during the various keynote, plenary, and breakout sessions. Through Twitter, we were able to connect and interact with fellow conference attendees, including several well-known experts in the nuclear arms field.

The iPad easily allowed me to switch back and forth between Twitter and my note-taking application. The conference organizers had set up a screen displaying the live tweet stream in the lobby, letting those without mobile devices see the side conversations and sparking further discussions and debates.  Not only did the iPad give me a platform to network with other conference participants and speakers and build relationships, but it was easy to pack and light to carry around the city!   Upon our return to Lexington, I was able to pull up my notes in both my Notes application and on my Twitter feed, sharing the insights gained in DC directly with my classmates and colleagues. 

The iPad is definitely now part of my “go to conference gear.”  Too bad we weren’t allowed to take any electronic devices on our visit to Y-12.

ST

The Proliferation of Specialist News Apps

DAWNs Digest has a new mobile app:

Highlights:

  • Our team writes pithy summaries of dozens of top global news stories every day, sorting through articles and reports with a human eye to ensure you are up to speed without wasting your time.
  • Stories are categorized by the regions that matter to our community: Horn of Africa, Sahel, Africa, The Middle East and North Africa, Asia, and The Americas.
  • Want something more specifically tailored to your discrete interests? You can add up to 5 keywords (e.g. USAID, Sudan, Malaria, Refugees) to custom fit our system to your needs.
  • A daily roundup of the most talked blog posts, opinion columns and arguments buzzing in the humanitarian community.
  • Hand picked RSS feeds so you can stay on top of breaking news on the topics and regions that matter most to you.
  • An easy way to share stories you find with friends and colleagues, via email twitter or facebook.

Looks interesting from the point of view of the iPatt trial. As time goes by, I suspect we’ll see more apps tailored to field specialists. —Robert Farley

The Patterson School’s annual negotiations exercise, held with the cooperation of the US Army War College, is centered this year on the South Caucasus conflict involving the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.  This is an exercise with many moving parts and demands deep understanding of a “frozen conflict” that has confounded peace mediators for more than twenty years.  To assist students in getting a better handle on the history, issues and complex negotiation process, all exercise materials have been incorporated into an illustrated iBook with interactive features.  We believe this new use of iPads should significantly augment the overall learning experience and help better prepare students for their future careers.  
It will also further test the utility of the iPad as a pedagogical device when everyone is working with the same device.

The Patterson School’s annual negotiations exercise, held with the cooperation of the US Army War College, is centered this year on the South Caucasus conflict involving the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.  This is an exercise with many moving parts and demands deep understanding of a “frozen conflict” that has confounded peace mediators for more than twenty years.  To assist students in getting a better handle on the history, issues and complex negotiation process, all exercise materials have been incorporated into an illustrated iBook with interactive features.  We believe this new use of iPads should significantly augment the overall learning experience and help better prepare students for their future careers.  

It will also further test the utility of the iPad as a pedagogical device when everyone is working with the same device.

G+

Over the last month we’ve been experimenting with iPad teleconferencing using Google+.  Because G+ allows a chat function and allows multiple remote participants, it’s worked better than Skype for our purposes.  We recently conducted a class session with an alumna participating remotely from Congo. On another occasion we had four participants from around the world, including Texas, Istanbul, London, and Washington, D.C. 

For a program like ours, which places people around the world and which relies on global expertise, this represents a tremendous advantage.  The iPad isn’t strictly necessary to such teleconferencing (a webcam will also work), but given that so many of our students and alumni now have iPads, it has become the platform of choice.  

—Robert Farley