We have come so far in technology yet still use the same relational SQL database methodologies as we did in the 90’s. We waste countless hours and money on SQL discussing details which have nothing to do with the actual data we place inside this storage space. When we are finished with the database, we still have plenty of work left, building applications to access and mutate that same data set.

So you hear your boss or client say, I want my reports in “Excel and/or PDF,” and you think, “crap, now I gotta go find a library for my language.” And the requester isn’t often thinking about how much $$$ when they mention they want pdfs. So I had this same experience at UALR and I didn’t know the first thing about constructing pdf files. Thankfully, I found a free (with open source projects) Pdf library for Java called iText and within a day was able to construct a decent looking pdf file.

In this ten minute cut video, I unwrap a new toy. The Boxee set me back about $200, not to mention Best Buy had a $99 sale only a week later (that’s life). At first $200 may seem expensive but hear me out.

If you’ve ever heard of Dropbox then you can think of Blackboard Drive as an awkward cousin. Blackboard Drive creates drive (like the C:\ drive) which allows users to easier manage files and folders that are stored online in the Content Collection.

During the month of November, I worked on a project at UALR to create a process for online course evaluations. The result of several weeks of slaving away on one of my first blackboard Building Blocks (B2) ended up being used to allow online students evaluate courses at the university.