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'Intelligence' on an iPad
February 27, 2011 - 9:30pm

The last TV series that I sat and watched all the episodes straight through was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) series "Intelligence". I watched both seasons, (there were only two - 25 episodes), via the Netflix streaming app on my iPad.

3 Thoughts:

1) Watching Video on an iPad Is Good: This is probably not a big surprise to anyone with an iPad, but the quality of this experience should give us some pause in our roles as educators. I'm just not so sure how good a job we've done in higher ed to insure that all of our curricular media is available via the iPad. Can your students watch all of the curricular video you stream via an iPad? The issue, I think, may be format. Not all video formats work with an iPad (which can only play MPEG-4 or H.264 codecs), including Flash, Windows media formats, and even MOV files. Philosophically, we may be against Apple's "walled garden", and might think we are doing enough to provide curricular video in formats that work on the web. But if want our course media to be viewed by our students, and this media does not work on an iPad, then we will need to accept that this media may go unwatched.

2) Netflix Streaming and the Netflix iPad App Are Not Quite Ready for Prime Time: Two problems. The fist is the lack of content. Netflix has not secured the streaming rights to enough movies. The reason I watched "Intelligence" was that many other movies in my Netflix Queue are not available in the Instant Queue. I have 414 DVD's in my Queue, of which only 147 are available for streaming. Eventually, I have no doubt that everything that Netflix has on offer will be streamed, at which point the archaic DVD in the mail system will die. When that happens we will have to think carefully on campus if getting every student their own Netflix account has become a critical asset for coursework, but we are not there yet. The second problem with Netflix Streaming is that the iPad app is buggy. The app sometimes had problems initiating a new stream, and often failed to record where I left off watching the last show. Have you had any problems with the Netflix iPad app?

3) "Intelligence" Is Awesome: Not quite as good as the Wire, but definitely excellent. I'd never heard of this show (have you?), but it deserves to be found and watched. The story follows the intertwined lives and business dealing of a Vancouver based marijuana kingpin (Jimmy Reardon), and the head of the Vancouver Organized Crime Unit (Mary Spalding), who turns Reardon into an informant. If you think academic politics are brutal, you should see what happens in the world of law enforcement and organized crime.

What are you watching? And on what device?


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