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Touchpads and Twitter - the good, the bad and the ironic

01 Sep 2011

The team from Social Media NZ looks at the Orewa and iPad debacle, Hackers giving NewsCorp a taste of their own medicine, Barack Obama turns to Twitter and loses fans in the process, and we review the new(ish) HP TouchPad.The uproar over Orewa College and their iPadsAn incredible amount of media attention has been devoted to Orewa College recently, after principal Kate Shevland told parents that ‘computing devices’ such as tablets, netbooks and iPads are compulsory for Year 9 students next year. With the expectation that all students will go to school with a computing device in the future, Orewa College, Auckland, is blazing the trail and stepping into the 21st century, but maybe it’s too early for parents who are worried about the affordability?Regardless of what side of the debate you sit on, we need to applaud what the college has done in stimulating discussion around this issue and getting it hashed-out around water coolers all over the country. It takes one school’s actions to cause a ripple effect and Orewa College, we tip our collective hat to you. All schools, regardless of decile, should be pushing for technology upgrades. We’re not going to see any significant improvement in the technology learning aids offered in schools without someone being brave enough to blaze the trail.The government has a lot on their plate at the moment – what with the $200+ million dollars in borrowing to keep on top of debt and basically an entire city to help rebuild.New Zealand prides itself on being a community, so let’s start acting like one – especially the business community. As the main player capable of moving New Zealand forward, the business community should be capable and, we think, feel responsible for shouldering some of the investment of helping to modernise our schools for the next generation. If we’re going to get to 3000 world-class businesses by 2020 (http://www.3000.org.nz), it’ll help if our kids are being educated to view modern tech tools as useful, as well as fun, before they hit 18. Hackers Serve Murdoch a Slice of Humble Pie.The News Corp International hacking scandal – "hackgate” or "Murdoch-alypse” – has thrown up some unbelievable events but one of the more fact-or-fiction moments was when hackers decided to target the company under siege for its own hacking offences.The opportunity to give News International a taste of its own medicine was not lost on hacking groups Lulzsec and Anonymous who have snared a string of high-profile victims, including the FBI and major global corporations.The Lulz Boat set its course for The Sun newspaper published by News International, the British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Murdoch was forced to close Britain’s top-selling Sunday tabloid newspaper the News of the World because of revelations staff engaged in widespread phone hacking of celebrities, politicians, and civilians – both dead and alive.In response to the scandal, last week, the hacker group defaced the website of The Sun, redirecting visitors to a fake story about the death of Mr Murdoch. Barack embraces Twitter but loses respect from his tweeps in the processThis month we’ve heard a lot of talk about the debt crises in the USA and the situation they are going through economically will cause a ripple effect across the globe, including here in New Zealand. So as the doom countdown clock is ticking, Obama send out a tweet to his 9+ million followers urging the American people to call, email and tweet their representatives to take a bipartisan approach to the debt ceiling crisis: "The time for putting party first is over. If you want to see a bipartisan #compromise, let Congress know. Call. Email. Tweet. —BO,”Obama caused a complete jam of the House of Representatives phone lines after he asked citizens to phone their representatives about the debt ceiling standoff.But that wasn’t the only tweet the @BarackObama account send out. His aides began broadcasting the Twitter handles of fellow republicans, again urging followers to get in contact. The account sent out 113 tweets - basically a Twitter binge. Filling streams with enough spam to cause over 35,000 "unfollows’ on the President’s twitter account.The HP TouchPad – the iPad killer?Hewlett Packard on this month showed off their WebOS based TouchPad tablets to a small press audience over lunch in Auckland. The briefing was all about the TouchPad tablet but it was noticeable that a number of the HP team were carrying WebOS based smartphone handsets too.It’s been some 17-months since HP’s acquisition of Palm and the launch of its WebOS operating system. Initial Wi-Fi based TouchPad tablets launched in the US on 1 July. Last week’s announcement is that the TouchPad is making its way to the Asia Pacific market starting in August. Prices will sit at around NZ$799 (16GB) and NZ$949 (32GB) in New Zealand. Roland Ng (HP Director of of WebOS in Asia-Pacific/Japan) and the team from HP did a sound job of highlighting the differences of WebOS as a platform – specifically the integrated inbox/calendar/contacts with on/off features (called HP Synergy), Touchstone wireless charging, the Beats Audio branded speaker/audio playback hardware/software combination and Just Type which will be a time saver for some. In contrast to the iPad and iOS, they also made particular mention of the multitasking and Adobe Flash capabilities.Roland Ng made a point of highlighting HP’s experience in both enterprise and consumer markets. He’s confident that WebOS and the TouchPad are a great fit for everyone – and commented that most users cover both in their daily life.One of the areas which the TouchPad appears superior over most platforms is in native social media integration. The WebOS operating system provides the option to not only add mailboxes from various email systems such as Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc – but also to connect with numerous social networks and online services including Facebook, LinkedIn, foursquare, Flickr and Twitter.Tell us your thoughts about this month’s story at @socialmedia_nz #SMNZNetguidewww.socialmedia.com