Tag Archives: iPad

The Dudes Dissect “Closing the Gap” 2013: Day 2 – Of Speech and Sessions

Having looked at the vocabulary used in the Closing the Gap 2013 preconference sessions, it’s time to cast a lexical eye on the over 200 regular presentations that took place over two-and-a-half days. For most attendees, these are the “bread and butter” of the conference and choosing which to attend is a skill in of itself. It’s not uncommon [1] to have over ten sessions run concurrently, which means you’re only getting to attend a tenth of the conference!

So let’s take a look at the vocabulary used in the titles to all theses presentations to get a flavor of the topics on offer.

Conference Presentations: Titles

The total number of different words used in the session titles was 629 after adjusting for the top 50 words used in English [2]. As a minor deviation, kudos to all who used the word use correctly instead of the irritatingly misused utilize. Only one titled included utilizes – and it was used incorrectly; the rest got it right! For those who are unsure about use versus utilize, the simple rule is to use use and forget about utilize. The less simple rule is to remember that utilize means “to use something in a way in which it was never intended.” So, you use a pencil for drawing while you utilize it for removing wax from your ear; you use an iPad to run an application while you utilize it as a chopping board for vegetables; and you use a hammer to pound nails but utilize it to remove teeth. Diversion over.

Top 20 Most Frequent Words in Titles

Top 20 Most Frequent Words in Titles

Top 20 Most Frequent Words in Titles

No prizes for guessing that the hot topic is using iPad technology in AAC. Your best bet for a 10-word title for next year’s conference is;

How your students  use/access iPad AAC apps as assistive technology

This includes the top 10 of those top 20 words so your chances of getting accepted are high.

Conference Presentations: Content Words

The total word count for the session descriptions text is 2,532 different words (excluding the Stop List), which is a sizable number to play with. And when I say “different words,” I mean that I am basically counting any text string that is different from another as a “word.” So I count use, uses, used, and using as four words, and iPad and iPads as two. A more structured analysis would take such groups and count them as one “item” – or what we call a LEMMA. We’d then have a lemma of <USE> to represent all the different forms of use, which lets us treat use/used/uses/using as one “word” that changes its form depending on the environment in which it is sitting [3]

Top 50 Words By Frequency in Session Content

Top 50 Words By Frequency

A 2,3oo-word graphic would be rather large so I opted to illustrate the top 50 most frequently used words. As you can see, the top words seem to be the same as those in the titles, which suggests that on balance, presenters have done a good job overall in summarizing their presentation contents when creating their titles – something that is actually the strategy you should use.

Keywords in Content

Finally, let’s take a look at the keywords in the session content descriptions. Remember, the keywords are those that appear in a piece of text with a frequency much higher than you would expect in relation to the norm.

Top 10 words by Keyness score

Top 20 words by Keyness score

Top of our list here are apps with the iPad coming in at three. Fortunately this fetish for technology is tempered by the inclusion in our top 20 of words like strategies, learn, how, and skills, all critical parts of developing success in AAC that are extra to the machinery. It’s good to think that folks are remembering that how we teach the use of tools is far, far more important than obsessing over the tools themselves.

Coming next… The Dudes Dissect Closing the Gap: Day 3 – Of Content and Commerce. In which the Dudes look at the marketing blurbs of the Closing the Gap exhibitors to discover what the “hot button” words intended to make you want to buy!

Notes
[1] WordPress’s spell and grammar checker flagged the phrase “it’s not uncommon” as a double negative and told me that I should change it because, “Two negatives in a sentence cancel each other out. Sadly, this fact is not always obvious to your reader. Try rewriting your sentence to emphasize the positive.” Well, although I generally agree that you shouldn’t use no double negatives, the phrase “not uncommon” felt to me to be perfectly OK and not at all unusual. I therefore took a look at the Corpus of Contemporary American English and found that “it’s not uncommon” occurs 313 times while “it’s common” scores 392. This is as near to 50/50 as you get so I suggest to the nice people at WordPress that “it’s not uncommon” is actually quite common and thus quite acceptable – despite it being a technical double negative.

[2] For the curious among you, here are the contents of the Stop List I have been using, which is based on the top 50 most frequently used words in the British National Corpus (BNC): THE, OF, AND, TO, A, IN, THAT, IS, IT, FOR, WAS, ON, I, WITH, AS, BE, HE, YOU, AT, BY, ARE, THIS, HAVE, BUT, NOT, FROM, HAD, HIS, THEY, OR, WHICH, AN, SHE, WERE, HER, ONE, WE, THERE, ALL, BEEN, THEIR, IF, HAS, WILL, SO, NO, WOULD, WHAT, UP, CAN. This is pretty much the same as the top 50 for the Corpus of Contemporary American English, except that the latter includes the words about, do, and said instead of the BNC’s one, so, and their. Statistically, this isn’t significant so I suggest you don’t go losing any sleep over it.

[3] When you create and use lemmas, you also have to take into account that words can have multiple meanings and cross boundaries. In the example of use/used/uses/using, clearly we’re talking about a verb. But when we talk about a user and several users, we are now talking about nouns. So, we don’t have one lemma <USE> for use/used/user/users/uses/using but two lemmas <use(v)> and <use(n)> to mark this difference. It gets even more complicated when you have strings such as lights, which can be a verb in “He lights candles at Christmas” but a noun in “He turns on the lights when it’s dark.” When you do a corpus analysis of text strings, these sort of things are a bugger!

Using the Pulse app to follow your favorite blogs

There was a time not so long ago when sitting down at the end of the day with a newspaper to catch up with world events was relatively normal. If you then watched a 30-minute new broadcast on TV, you were pretty much up to date.

In the 21st century, there are now more sources of information than you can shake the proverbial stick at, and there is no way to keep up with everything if you want to lead anything resembling a Life. So one way that technology can help you is to use a piece of software called an aggregator [1]. This is a single program that collects and displays in one location all the different sources of internet-based information that you might normally have to skip through to get you daily dose of news.

The one I use as my personal daily newspaper is Pulse, a multi-platform software that gathers up the latest information from a variety of media sources and pops them on-screen in an easy-to-view form.

Pulse icon

Pulse

A great feature is that you can set up different pages (or tabs) for different sources, and this means it’s easy to have a simple BLOGS page just so you can follow your favorites. For those of you with iPads, here is a step-by-step guide to how to add a BLOGS page to Pulse.

1. Download Pulse for iPad/iPod.

2. When you first download Pulse, it takes you through setting up your first page and gives you lots of pre-chosen selections, such as Reuters News, BBC News, Lifehacker, GQ, and many, many others. Just choose a bunch so you can get up and running quickly and get a feel for the interface.

3. Once you are up and running, you can start adding your BLOGS tab by selecting the Cog icon for iOS app or the Stack icon icon at the top left [2].

Pulse home

Choose Settings Button

4. Select the ADD A PAGE option from the screen that pops up.

Add a new page

Add new page

5. Now touch the button for BROWSE THE CATALOG.

Bowse catalog

Choose BROWSE CATALOG

6. From the pop-up window that appears, click on the Search Box.

Search box

Click the Search box

7. Now type in either the name of the blog you want to add or the actual blog address. HINT: If you type a blog address then add “/feed” that can work better than just the address alone.

Type in the name of the blog you want to add

Type in the blog

8. When you see the blog appear below the Search window, touch the blue + sign and it will change to a check mark.

Checked blog

Checked blog

9. Your chosen blog is now on your new page, which you can see if you look behind the “What’s New” window.

Blog is added

Blog is added

10. Click on the X to close the window and you will end up on your Home page but now have a new tab next to HOME.

Blog added

Blog added

11. The final touch is to press and hold on the tab where is says “Page 2″ and yo can then edit it and type in BLOGS (or whatever). You now have a dedicated blog page where you can go ahead and add as many as you like.

Signing up with Pulse

If you want to go the whole hog and have your Pulse data available to you on any device, you should sign up for a Pulse account. This is incredibly painless as all they ask for is your e-mail and a password. That’s really it!

1. Click on the Pulse ME button button to get to the sign-up/login screen.

2. Choose Sign Up to create a new account with Pulse.

Sign up screen for Pulse

Sign up

Once you are signed up, you can now access Pulse from any platform for which there is software. Other than the iPad, I have tested it on a Droid 3, Samsung 7″ Tab, Samsung 10″ Tab, and the on-line version at the company’s pulse.me website [3]. Although there may be some difference in the interface, which is essentially because of scree size, it is pretty slick to be able to access all the same information regardless of platform.

And a final word: thanks to Speech Dudes follower @abbiem (Abbie Moran) for prompting us to produce this article! You can check out her new blog at Thinking about Language.

Notes
[1] The use of the word aggregator as a collector of information from various sites dates back to 1995. However, in the 16th century, it referred to “a collector or compiler of medical remedies.” It comes from post-classical Latin aggregator meaning “compiler,” which in turn derives from the Latin verb aggregare, “to cause to flock together, or join together.” The prefix ag- is really just a variant of the common prefix ad- meaning “toward or to,” and the root element is the Latin grex meaning “a flock.” Speechies will recognize the process whereby the /d/ at the end of the prefix /æd/ becomes a /g/ when followed by /grɛks/ – assimilation. Non-speechies might like to try saying “adgregate” and you’ll see why “aggregate” is much easier!

[2] At the time of writing, Pulse is moving to its 3.0 version. The cog icon is being changed to the “stack of papers” icon (it’s impossible to find the name of a picture if you don’t know what it is!) so if you have a pre-3.0 version you will see the cog.

[3]  It works on Windows XP with Firefox (v. 18.0.1), Opera (v. 12.14), Chrome (24.0.1312.57), but I had problems with Internet Explorer 8 (v. 8.0.6001). Internet Explorer 9 (v. 9.0.8112) on Vista works fine.

The Dudes Do ATIA 2013: Day 2 – Of Schedules, Starbucks, and Support

Having a Master’s degree may qualify you to practice as a Speech Pathologist or Special Educator but it doesn’t prepare you for one of life’s trickiest of tasks: planning your schedule at a conference [1]. If you have a Ph.D. in Cryptography or 20 years of Project Management experience, you might just be able to get through two days before everything falls apart and you end up crying into your cocktail at the pool bar. Otherwise the best strategy is to walk into any room at random and when the session ends, follow a group into another. Given that 75% of all the sessions at a conference are going to contain information you’ll find useful, statistically speaking you’re likely to find the random approach very productive.

However, this year, the folks at ATIA  made it really easy to keep track of your time by offering a free mobile app for Android and Apple platforms. You could also use a web-based version but that has been available before – and it’s the app version that’s more useful while wandering around the conference hall. Unlike some folks who seem to be happy to carry around a bag the size of a small car, I’m more inclined to adopt a minimalist approach and try to carry as little as possible. This means my wallet (back right-hand pocket), trusty Droid 3 (front left-hand pocket), fountain pen of the day (front right-hand pocket), and bright red Quo Vadis notebook (carried). And this year, instead of stuffing sheets of paper with session information into my notebook, I downloaded the ATIA app to my Droid and all was well!

ATIA 2013 app feedback

ATIA 2013 app feedback

The feedback on the app shows that most folks have it on an iPad, then iPhone, and finally an Android. It would have been nice if the feedback had offered a “No sir, I don’t like it” rather than the biased “Tell us what you like it on” but presumably the reasoning is that folks who don’t like it won’t use it. Still, maybe next time…

There was another amazing piece of Assistive Technology I stumbled across for the first time this year; the Starbucks vending machine! OK, so maybe you don’t count this as “assistive technology” but it certainly helped me.

Starbucks AT

Starbucks AT

All you do is pop a cup under the spigot, swipe a credit card or debit card, press a few buttons, and out pops a cup of Starbucks’ java without the need to talk to a human being. Or in the case of the Caribe Royale Conference Center, without the need to get into a car, head out of the hotel, take two right turns, drive about a mile, and pull up at the nearest actual Starbucks store.

The exhibit hall was busy during the morning. As might be expected, it was awash with tablets, all looking surprisingly the same as everyone and their dog joins in the frenzy to create the “next great AAC app” which looks just like the “last great AAC app.” And in an effort to adapt tablets to do the job of a dedicated AAC device, you can now attach an array of “peripherals” that are doing a great job of completely destroying the idea that having an iPad “makes you look like everyone else.” By the time you’ve bought a box to fit it in, speakers to make it louder, an interface box to add a switch, and a mounting kit to make it fit to a wheelchair, the thing looks more like a Rube Goldberg/Heath Robinson contraption than a sleek piece of technology.

In the new world order of consumer AAC, there is no “evaluation” along traditional lines. Rather than assess an individual to determine their needs and then select from a range of potential devices, the new consumer goes to Best Buy, asks the “expert” which iPad to buy, and then looks for anything on iTunes with 4 stars and downloads it. Problem solved.

But of course, it isn’t. Those of us who have been in AAC since the advent of the personal computer in the 80′s (and yes, there WERE devices with speech output before the iPad, whatever Apple may want you to believe) know that just dropping a device in someone’s lap – sometimes literally – does not solve the problem. In fact, simply providing a piece of technology and then walking away is called abdication, not intervention. There is a frightening tendency to think that “there’s an app for that” applies to everything, when there are many, many factors involved in helping someone succeed with an AAC system.

I’ll say again, because Apple zealots seem to disagree with me, that my beef is not with technology – and being in the technology and software vending game myself should be proof enough of the pudding – but with the lack of support given in the choosing, teaching, and long-term supporting of clients with communication needs, the solution to which is only partly aided by a device, whatever flavor that may be. I do not doubt the sincerity of anyone who is trying to help provide a way for folks with communication impairments to express themselves. But when there are over 150 apps labeled as “AAC” apps, how does anyone decide which to use? And more fundamentally, once a choice is made, how do you then support it – because I guarantee that no matter how much money your school district is spending on providing “communication solutions,” it’s spending a whole lot less on employing more staff to actually support it! If it took one teacher 2 hours a week to work with one kiddo with an AAC device, how many does it take to work with 5 kids with iPads? The answer appears to be “one, because that person has to work 5 times harder.”

Cartoon of man exercising

OK, rant over. I’ve taken a deep breath and a shot of tequila [2] and am beginning to mellow. Tomorrow sees me doing the first of my presentations and having to go to several meetings. Thank goodness I have the ATIA conference app to remind me of when and where I need to be for my session!

Notes
[1] There is another conference-based task that has a similar level of complexity; splitting the bill at a restaurant. It’s inevitable that if you’re doing it right, at some stage during a conference you’ll have a rollicking, riotous good time with a bunch of new and old friends at some great restaurant or bar. Until the check arrives and you have to split the bill 14 ways. This not only causes your server to suffer from raised blood pressure (“Can we have separate checks – all 14 of us?”) but there’s no way anyone wants to simply divide the bill by 14 because Annette, Betty, and Cheryl shared two bottles of wine, but Erica only drank water, and Frank and Gerry were having a shot-drinking contest, while Harry insisted on a fresh lobster but Ian only had soup and a salad, and only Jan, Karen, and Larry had a desert…

The best way to address this one is to wait until ONE person goes to the restroom and then everyone else makes a run for it. This won’t, of course, work twice with the same group.

[2] If you read yesterday’s post and recognized this sentence as an example of syllepsis, congratulations! If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, go there right now and find out what syllepsis is ;)

Productivity Essentials: “Dropbox” file sharing

A year ago (yes, it’s been that long since the Dudes have been around) we posted our Top Ten Essential Productivity Apps for the iPad. Top of our list was – and still is – the tremendously useful Dropbox, a multi-platform file hosting service that provides file sharing, cloud storage, and free software.

Dropbox logo

Dropbox

Dropbox Inc. was invented by an MIT graduate, Drew Houston, who allegedly developed it due to his constantly forgetting to carry a USB drive around with him to allow file sharing. The basic concept is that files can be uploaded from a hard drive to a remote server, and those files are then stored indefinitely or can be shared with others.

Initially, Dropbox was designed to work as a standalone PC program but it has reached its currently level of popularity by extending its coverage to multiple platforms – a critical design feature for any successful piece of software. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, along with mobile versions for Android, iOS, and Blackberry. There’s no news yet on how soon a Window 8 native version will be available but we predict it’ll be here by the end of this year. [1]

The first thing to do is sign up for an account at www.dropbox.com. It’s quick, painless, and provides you with 2GB of free space, which you can grow up to 18GB by referring your friends (you get 500MB per referral, which means, contrary to current belief, you can put a price on friendship!) If you need more space, you can get 50GB for $9.99 per month (or $99.00 for a year), and 100GB for $19.99 per month (or $199.00 for a year).

Dropbox web interface

Dropbox Web Interface

The first significant value of Dropbox kicks in when you have multiple devices. For example, I have a desktop computer at home, a laptop for work and travel, a Droid 3 mobile phone, a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an iPad, and a beta Windows 8 tablet. It’s impossible to share data between these using USB sticks and so the ony way to do it is by wireless means, which means WiFi and cellular data transfer.

Dropbox Android Interface

Dropbox Android Interace

Dropbox makes it possible for all these disparate devices to talk to each other by sharing files, whether that’s text, graphics, music, or video. If you forget to take a file to a venue and have it stored on the Dropbox server, you’re good to go. Because the Droid 3 has an HDMI output, if my laptop goes down at a conference, I can hook up my smartphone to a big screen TV or HMDI-accessible projector and show my powerpoints right from the phone.

Dropbox iPad interface

Dropbox iPad Interface

The second big plus for Dropbox is the ability to share files with other people, whethter they have Dropbox or not. For those who have an account, you can set up jont folders and simply drop files into them. This is great for international projects when you can swap files with your colleagues all over the world without having to send them as attachments to emails. My daughter, who has a MacBook Air, has a folder that we share so I can help her when it comes to providing her with articles or checking her papers prior to her submitting them for evaluation. But whether it’s a daughter, a colleague, or a small group working on a special project, it’s easy to set up a shared folder with private access so you can swap files effortlessly.

Dropbox iPhone Interface

Dropbox iPhone Interface

When you have shared folders, a feature of Dropbox is that if anyone modifies the contents, everyone is informed. If you’re already hooked up to the internet, you get a real-time notification; if you’re offline when it happens, you see the notification as soon as you log on. It’s painless and happens in the background.

Where to get software and information
Dropbox Website (sign up account)
Dropbox for Android
Dropbox for iPad/iPad
Dropbox for Blackberry

CNET video: Four Tips for Dropbox
Dropbox Tips for Wizards, Intermediates, and Beginners
Dropbox Tips from Business Insider
The Dropbox Wiki: Tips and Tricks
The Ultimate Dropbox Tips-and-Trick Guide

If you haven’t signed up for Dropbox yet, go ahead and grab an account, then download the various apps for your mobile technologies of choice. Happy swapping!

Footnotes
[1] Current Windows 8 beta software does have SkyDrive, Microsoft’s proprietary cloud-based storage and of course, Steve Ballmer would love to use that – along with setting up a Microsoft Live account. Nevertheless, there are still many folks who do not want to be tied into one OS and Dropbox is truly cross-platform, caring not whether you are a Mac, Win, or Linux person. There’s also the issue that some people won’t want to essential “start from scratch” and create a new file structure in SkyBox when all they want is a portal to their current Dropbox account. They can use their web browser but having a native app is always better.

10 Essential Productivity Apps for iPad

Everyone has their favorites, which may, or may not, include “Angry Birds.” So here is a recommended list of ten from the Speech Dudes, who include the iPad as part of their tech toolkit, along with laptops, Droids, and Moleskine notebooks (never need charging and work anywhere in the world!)

We’re going to ignore those apps that are essentially standard in the device, critical as they might be. So mail and browsing are not in the top ten, even though you’d be lost without them.

1.  Dropbox: Free
Dropbox logoThis is top of the list because it’s possibly the easiest way to get files in and out of your iPad, but more importantly it can be used across platforms so you can share between your laptop, desktop, Android device, and so on. Being able to share files on a cross-platform basis is important today but will be critical tomorrow as more and more of us use multiple devices. If you thought that technology was converging, think again: it’s actually diverging! We’ll talk about that in another post ;)

So download Dropbox for free and once you set up an account with them, you’ll be able to pass files around to anyone else who has Dropbox software – on any device.

2. Pages: $9.99
Pages app logoEverybody needs a word processor and Pages is a steal at less than $10.00. You can import files from Dropbox and send Pages documents to other via email. Formatting is fairly basic (fonts, font sizes, bold, italic, underline) but enough to create straightforward documents. There’s a “smart zoom” feature for more specific editing and the facility to import images so you can create attractive documents. A selection of page templates make it easier to start-up a new file.

3. Whiteboard HD: $4.99
Whiteboard HD app logoAs its name suggests, this lets you create a whiteboard that you can use to sketch out ideas using shapes, colors, text, lines, and even imported pictures. What’s also really neat is you can use a VGA adapter to plug your iPad into a display or projector and use the whiteboards for presentations.  You can also export whiteboards as graphic files, PDF’s, or in Whiteboard’s native format – great for sharing with colleagues. And yes, you can export to Dropbox, too.

4. iThoughts HD: $9.99
iThoughts ap logoA mind-mapping software that you can also use for presentations. It’s a pretty full-features product and allows exporting of files in a multitude of formats so you can share with colleagues. Like Whiteboard HD, this can also be used with a VGA adapter and either shown on a large screen or sent to a projector. With over 90 built-in icons and 45 clip art images, it’s possible to make some eye-catching maps for brainstorming and project planning, or just use it to take notes at meetings.

5. Hootsuite: Free
Hootsuite app logoThis is a social media management tool that lets you run you Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare accounts from one location. You can operate multiple accounts, so if you have more than one Twitter handle, you can see all of them at once and post accordingly. But most valuable of all is the scheduling option: you can create a veritable cacophony of tweets and set them to appear at whatever times you want. Add to this the web-based version on your laptop and desktop, along with your Android, iPhone, or Blackberry, and you can pretty much tweet and be tweeted 24/7.

6. Penultimate: $1.99
Penultimate app logoIf you are the sort of person who prefers to use handwriting on a legal pad or notebook to jot down ideas, then Penultimate is worth trying. You can use your finger or a capacitive touch pen (well worth having) to write using any of three pen thicknesses. You can change the ink color and if you make mistakes use either the eraser function or “undo” button. Export is via email or saving to “Photos.” Oh, and if it’s in “Photos,” you can then use Dropbox again!

7. TaskTask HD: $4.99
TaskTask app logoThis one is more specifically for those people who are working across platforms and use Microsoft Outlook and an Exchange Server as a key component in their time management process. You can link up your Outlook account to the iPad to sync mail and calendar, but the one critical feature that isn’t handled by the iPad’s built-in apps is the Task List. Being able to have access to your tasks is fundamental. TaskTask will let you do this. It even allows you to tag tasks using your own categories and set alarms, end dates, etc. For less that $5.00 it’s a no-brainer if you’re multi-platforming.

8. Numbers: $9.99
Numbers app logoSpreadsheets are not just for numbers but for handling lots of text data. You can create your own mini database of all the articles you’ve read with full citations for when you write that paper; you can use it to maintain word lists that are essential for deciding what vocabulary items to be teaching; and you can even create checklists for therapy targets. Numbers is Apple’s own spreadsheet program and the one to have. One caveat: No landscape mode. Hopefully Apple will see fit to offer this in an update but for some of us, it’s just a matter of gritting teeth and settling for portrait.

9. Flipboard:  Free
Flipboard app logoKeeping up with news on specific topics can be difficult if you don’t have some way of aggregating. Flipboard is an aggregator that lets you create your own daily magazine containing stories on the topics you determine. You can set it to read your Twitter feed, trawl online newspapers, and even show your Facebook pages – all in a flip book that imitates a magazine.

10. Evernote: Free
Evernote app logoEvernote is a nifty little app that lets you snag text, images, even sound files from anywhere and store them as notes or links. If you often find yourself surfing the web looking for information and need to keep notes, Evernote can let you do that.

 

This collection of tools will cost you the princely sum of US $41.94, which is about 10 lattes on the “Starbucks” scale of value.

Feel free to share your own favorites, unless you’re blatantly shilling your own product – in which case feel free to contact us to place a paid add  ;)

It’s OK to be skeptical

Apparently the glittering future of the world is all in the hands on that most untouchable saintly techno-god; Steve Jobs. And that’s apparently because from the point of view of those seduced by the glamor of Apple’s iDevices these unquestionably slick pieces of technoporn can do everything. Everything. Anything that they currently can’t do is only because the relevant app hasn’t yet been developed, and anyone who disagrees is either misguided or unimaginative. There is no sense in engaging in any rational or skeptical discussion because that’s not allowed.

Steve Jobs holds an iPad

St. Stephen's Day?

Think that’s provocative? You bet it is! Day after after day there’s a new article on the Internet about how the iDevice is pretty much replacing the need for teachers, therapists, even parents. Got a stammer? There’s an app for that. Got an articulation problem? There’s an app for that, too. Got a learning disability? Guess what? Yes, there’s an app for that!

The gushing encomiums to Apple that litter the net are based on speculation, hearsay, and self-promotion. So where are the evidence-based studies that show the effectivity of the new tablet devices to do whatever it is they are claimed to do? “In short supply” is the right answer at this point. The typical measure of success is “well, it worked for me so it will work for everyone else.” But how do we know it worked? All we have is the word of someone who has a vested interest in succeeding and no before-after to evaluate change.

Don’t believe the hype. There’s no doubt that there is some value in the new world of apps and tablets, but it is dangerous to swallow too many pills without knowing the side effects. And don’t forget, some pills are merely placebos, and sometimes just doing “something” is what causes change.