Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy

Tommie Smith and John Carlos

Years before there were hyperlinks, on October 16, 1968 two SJSU
students found a way to get their message across that circumvented the
existing command and control structure. The photograph of the two black
sprinters standing on the medal podium with their heads bowed and their
fists raised during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics remains a dramatic
moment in this country's civil rights movement.

Today when I visited our university's alumni association I bought a
poster of that moment. It reminds me that some things are more important
than our jobs and our careers and are worth taking a risk for and
fighting for. Freedom of speech, freedom to link, comment and trackback
and freedom to have conversations and to put those conversations on the
Internet where they can spawn other conversations and new ideas is what
emerging technology is all about.

This is where we cut through the haze and the smokescreens and the BS
that has been and is business as usual and where we fix things and make
the world a better place. You and I and all of us who partake in the
global conversation; in my heart I believe we have the power to do

What Smith and Carlos did was a kind of a hyperlink. Their
statement was a way of linking the fact that we have a wonderful country
with wonderfully talented people with the fact that we have oppression
here, people who are not being heard here and other issues here that
need attention.

In my opinion, theirs was not an act of disloyalty, it was an act of
love and passion for what they believe in. I am proud that they were
such great Americans that they took that risk. I am even prouder that
they were students of San Jose State University.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Learning is Conversation

Since I have decided to take an early lunch break, and now am on my
own dime, I thought I'd pass on this link from Ryan Sholin.

He found it via Doc Searl's blog. It is an
on-line course on the application of the principles of the Cluetrain
in education. I have signed up! This looks like great
stuff. I wonder where they're going to go with this? I love how the "95
Theses" of Cluetrain have been remixed for education, starting with,
"Learning is conversation." I think I'll go eat and read...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Why we need to be able to talk to anybody

I am a staff member. I conducted a podcast where I interviewed three
student bloggers about their visions of emerging technology in
education. That is what got me in trouble. I was told not to podcast
conversations with students even if I do it off campus, on my own time,
with my own equipment (and we are all consenting adults.) This is my

We need to include everybody, and exclude nobody, in the
conversation for it to work and be real. When you isolate any group,
whether it be students, staff or faculty and try to prevent them from
talking to each other you destroy the power of the conversation to help
your organization.

I keep pointing to the Cluetrain Manifesto. It is about turning
markets upside down. Like markets, the university (by that I mean all
universities) are changing from being a top-down organization where the
administration controls the message through the power of their media
outlets, to a bottom-up organization where everybody contributes to the
conversation and nothing is hidden - because there is no place to hide!
Since the blogosphere/podosphere and tools like RSS makes it super
simple to broadcast globally, nothing can be hidden. (Of course, in my
opinion, for public universities nothing should be hidden.)

What does that mean for universities? In my opinion it means we have
to embrace transparency! Everybody needs to be free to talk to
everybody! When it comes to the conversation all voices (like all IP
adresses) are equal. The workplace hierarchy is separate from
conversational equality. It has to be the audience, not the institutions
that choose the voices to listen to. The conversation really starts
working when university presidents, deans, chairs, professors, staff
(including custodians and the folks who work in the admissions office)
and students are all free to blog, podcast, comment, trackback and link
to each other as well as talk together on podcasts.

Can you imagine how those conversations can create new and exciting
solutions to vexing problems we have and can enrich the learning
experience at the university?

I can!

Partial fix for blog problem

It is a hack, but it is working for now. I am having to manually enter
line returns in order to be able to have a blog that is even half-way
decent looking.

The instructions are here.

I thought this blogging stuff was supposed to be simple?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Blogger pleas [Scroll Down Please]

My respone to Blogger:
Please, please, please help with this. My blog now looks like hell and I don't know how to make
it right. I am a blogger evangelist and I live on blogger!
~Steve Sloan

It's Dr. Dunleavy Now! [Scroll Down Please]

This is great news from Dennis Dunleavy:

Finally, after five years of hard work and lots of support I have completed my PhD!!
There's a picture on the front of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism
website that is pretty silly looking. Thank you all for support and patience.

[Click here to see image]

I have been told I can't talk to students [scroll down, sorry]

I have been told (by my boss) that I can't talk to students on my podcasts.

I am aghast.

I remember the great conversations I had with Robert Scoble when he was a student. We talked about technology
and education and those conversations changed my life, my job and the role of computing in the School of
Journalism and Mass Communications at SJSU.

If in those early days we could have had a global conversation about how the world of education
is changing, I can't imagine not being able to include him just because he was a student.
We have great students today that have important things to say who may be the next Scobles,
and I have been told (by my boss) that I can't talk to students on my podcasts, even if I do it
on my own time using my own equipment and my own ISP.

I was thinking it might be good to get some students together to do a podcast about that.
Oh yes, and we might want to talk about the First Amendment.


Help is on the way [scroll down for details]

From Blogger Tech Support:

Hi there,

Thanks for making us aware of this spacing issue. We looked into it and found that it's a bug. Our developers are aware of the problem and are currently working on fixing in. In the meantime, thanks so much for your continued patience. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Just scroll down to read

This is really weird. I do not know what has caused this...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Please forgive my big white space

Something strange happend when I made a post. I am in contact with Blogger tech support to get it fixed.

Back from the journey

Me on the golden gate bridge

I have returned from my bike tour!
Sierra to the Sea 2005 was a great bike tour. It was a bit cooler than past years and that was to the better. I had some great ride and saw many old friends and made new ones. I just returned yesterday so I have not yet processed a lot of the memories. On the last day many of the riders talked about their journeys. It impressed me that the experiences everybody shared were so different that at times they could have been talking about different trips. I guess life, and bicycle tours, is like that.

Kenneth has moved to his new home
Today I helped youngest son Ken move his bed and some of his belongings to his new place. Tonight is his first night in his own place. For me, for the first time since 1976, the nest is empty.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I am going off the grids

I will be a short turn drop out
For the next nine days I will be off the Internet grid and off the power grid. I will be on a bicycle touring the middle of California. If you want more information I will be on a bicycle tour called the Sierra to the Sea. I am really looking forward to the adventure and will blog about it after I return.

Blog full disclosure statement
Every now and then I like to post a link to each of my six blogs. This link gives a more honest view of my Internet identity than does reading one or two of the blogs alone.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

SJSU ITSS Help Desk utilization is doubling year to year

Help Desk stats 04-05
In February/March 2004 there was a problem with our university computer systems that caused a huge spike in trouble calls to the ITSS Help Desk at SJSU. If you eliminate this anomaly what you see is an approximate doubling of Help Desk utilization year-to-year. This is good data because it does not include new systems. In my opinion this is actually an apples-to-apples comparison of support calls. What this chart shows is the number of tickets in supported systems, that are reported in the GWI ticketing system that are closed at the Help Desk. These systems have not changed year-to-year. So, this is a measure of relative volume. During this same time the amount of regular staff employee support assigned to the Help Desk was reduced fifty percent.

Please pass the fairy dust

At the ITSS Help Desk we support the user authentication system called SJSUOne. In September 2004 we had around 600 people come to our help desk for help in using the interface of this system to activate their SJSUOne accounts. This was out of a base of 4,000 users. About 12% of users came to us for help with this web application. In September 2005 we are planning to use this same web application to create user accounts for a projected 12,000 users of the new campus wide wireless network, due to go live in 60 days. With the projected roll-out of this, it was decided we should do usability testing.

Eleven subjects were tested by our help desk in an unscientific usability test of SJSUOne. These subjects included staff and students (no faculty) and ranged in majors from electrical engineering to nursing. Five of the eleven test subjects were unable to complete the task of activating their SJSUOne account using the existing user interface without help. These five were rated as certain to have sought assistance from the help desk. A sixth frustrated test subject was able to do it, but was rated as likely to have called the help desk.

When concern about the system was expressed to one manager the manager said, "maybe it won't be all that bad and we will be pleasantly surprised."

Yes, perhaps that is true!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wireless coming to SJSU

SJSUOne and Help Desk
These numbers are a guess and will be wrong
San Jose State University is going to have wireless networking across the entire campus. This is great and will greatly increase student Internet access at our campus. This network will depend on SJSUOne as an authentication mechanism and we support SJSUOne at the Help Desk. As of now, the scheduled go-live date is August 15, 2005. This is going to result in a projected wireless user growth from 4,000 wireless users to 12,000 users in September, 2005. Based on past trends 12% of all users seek help at semester start-up from the ITSS Help Desk, and this could result in a huge number of folks seeking support at the Help Desk. By using the services of other support facilities and creating better on-line documentation we may be able to get some mitigation of this from the other Help Desks at SJSU, but there are other new initiatives, like ePhone Book and the removal of UNIX authentication for wireless that will create more demand for Help Desk support. What I show here is my own best guess based on past usage trends. If I am anywhere near right, this will make September 2005 be around twice as busy as the busiest month we have ever had, September 2004.

Monday, June 13, 2005

KRON4 Blogger Meet-Up Great Event

KRON Meet-Up
On Saturday I attended the first blogger meet-up [see their write-up] at KRON4 TV in San Francisco. SJSU was well represented. My co-worker Harish Chakravarthy also was there as was SJSU Alum Scott Mace. This was a great event and it was exciting to hear how KRON4 is contemplating embracing the blogosphere. It was also great running into some of the folks whom I have met in Emerging Technology there. This was a fun event.

The Cluetrain Manifesto States that Markets are Conversations

The Cluetrain Manifesto is an important record of the shift in organizations from top-down, to bottom-up. If markets are conversations how can education, and educational institutions, not also be conversations? As we have seen on this and other blogs; increasingly the voices that are defining, and redefining, the institution are not coming from the top they are coming from the bottom. In my opinion, if there is a global conversation going on about the university, and all the universities of the world, it is not being conducted on the relatively static pages that are represented in the .edu domain, this conversation is happening on the edge, even beyond the edge in domains like, or other personal domains ending in things other than .edu. It is the students and the faculties and the staffs who are leading the charge, not by passing edicts or setting policies, but by adding to the global conversation through their blogs, podcasts and RSS feeds.

The question is, as the voice of the institutions shift will the universities of the world accept loosing control of the message? This is a new world view. The loss of control may be seen as a loss of power (hint, it is not.) Will some universities respond as the institutions of the day responded to Galileo when he had the audacity to say that the Earth revolved around the sun? In my opinion when top university administrators, deans, and department chairs start blogging, we will know they are starting to get it.

Big universities in a small world

Seth Godin is a sharp guy! In his blog he wrote this piece, Small is the new big. He was not talking about education. He could have been, perhaps he should have been. Another smart fellow (and SJSU Alum) Robert Scoble wrote this post about thinking small. In my opinion big is one of our biggest problems. One of the most frustrating aspects of working for the university for me is all the times I have seen us let great opportunities slip through our fingers because of our Byzantine bureaucracy. That is a result of our bigness, the absence of a need to produce a profit and our historic lack of competitive pressure. Do our students care about big, do they want us to be big? Yes, now they do.

But, when the business community, parents and students start to see more value in degrees from smaller universities that are more willing to innovate, more able to adjust to learning needs and use more efficient teaching methods to produce better learning experiences and improved learning outcomes; we could be in big trouble. The world is increasingly getting small and we are used to our big size and our geography protecting our student base and feeding us constant enrollments. But, emerging technologies are destroying the insulation of geography and we have to prepare to compete and sometimes it seems as though we don't even know the meaning of the word.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Beware, camera phones great for copying exams

Copied Document

The shadow is my hand holding the phone. Just to see what it would look like I took a quick snap of this document using my camera phone. It was so easy and fast that I could have easily acted like I was answering an unexpected phone call when I was doing it. Imagine a student during an exam saying, "Oh, it is my baby sitter!" The student may not even have a child, but without your knowledge the exam could have been photographed and pix mailed to a whole group of other people in the time it takes to say, "the cough medicine is in the medicine cabinet."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Recommended Listening: Two great podcasts

Recommended listening (podcasts)
Robert Scoble on Reboot, where is the world going? [MP3]
SJSU Alum Robert Scoble is in Europe and here you can listen to him speak about the future of Emerging Technology. This is a great podcast to listen to to get a real world perspective of where this whole world of new technology is going. An added bonus. The presentation is recorded on Skype, so you can hear what a transatlantic free Skype session sounds like! Thanks to Ryan Sholin for turning me onto this session.

Jim Wenzloff Podcasts about my wife's dress [MP3]
This is way cool. Jim Wenzloff gets it! I posted this post about my wife's dress. Really it is about the information exchange where I was able to stop in the middle of a bicycle ride and using my mobile phone take a picture of my wife's new dress and using my blog tell the world about it. It is about the power of using portable devices and weblogs as tools of global mass communications. It is about how easy this all is and about how it empowers people and changes education.
Thanks to PubSub, I was able to stay on top of these conversations. The world is an amazing place!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Cell cameras to improve safety

Filthy sink
Using devices like cell phone cameras; employees and students have a powerful tool to literally expose unsafe work and learning environments. Everything from chemical handling methods to trip hazards can be visually documented and reported. If institutions do not make changes to create safer work and learning conditions the images can be posted, anonymously if necessary, to the Internet on weblogs and the process of either cleaning up the hazard, or not, can be reported.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I tamed down my previous "manifesto" post

I noticed that Ryan Sholin had linked to my prior post and used the "old" URL for it. The new URL is different because I changed the title and Blogger changes URLs when you change titles. The current post is here and it is toned down a bit. Why is it toned down? Let's just say at the moment my blog is "a matter" between the university and I. I am arguing freedom of speech. I don't think there is much chance of me ending up like Mark Jen. But, let me make clear, what I post represents my opinion, not the University, as a citizen, a taxpayer and an alum my opinion is something I am entitled to share. This is a public institution after all. As a citizen passionate about education, emerging technology and SJSU; I like the manifesto idea. Please note, I am writing this on my lunch hour...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Susie buys a new dress (and changes the world)

Susie buys a new dress
When I am riding my bicycle I keep my cell phone in my back pocket. I was riding my bicycle through Los Gatos yesterday when my cell phone rang. It was my wife Sue who asked where I was. I told her I was in downtown Los Gatos. She said good, she was there too and was trying on a new dress and she wanted me to see it. I said, okay, I will be there in five minutes. I arrived, we looked at the dress and liked it. I said, wait a minute and I took her picture. Then I blogged her picture so the whole world can potentially see her new dress.

Susie buys a new dress, is hardly big news. But, this information transaction is illustrative of the huge changes happening in our society. In the 90's ubiquitous portable phones came into reality. Now 50% of those phones have cameras. According to a story I read in this morning's paper those in-phone cameras will soon be as good as regular cameras. What will this mean for news coverage? What will this mean for politics? What will this mean for education? What will this mean for the world?

Imagine if folks on the top of the world trade center on 9/11 had such phones. I remember the chant during the 68 democratic convention in Chicago. The crowd chanted, "the whole world is watching." Soon it will be, "the whole world is broadcasting." When that happens there will be no keeping secrets anywhere.

Friday, June 03, 2005

On redefining the university

The Internet allows, in fact I believe someday will force, universities to do what we do not do well, listen to our students and the people who work for us. Our university is likely a very typical confusing maze of little fiefdoms where students as well as employees struggle to get through their academic day and yet they are seldom consulted about how to improve it. We waste taxpayers dollars on redundant resources. We have frustrating problems that go unsolved and our customers have been virtually powerless to do anything about it.

All that is changing and changing thanks to the Internet. By empowering students, faculty, staff and the public through emerging technology tools like weblogs, podcasts and RSS; the students, faculty and staff are quietly taking back the university. This mirrors the kind of societal changes slowly happening in business and government. If business is a conversation can education not also be one?

The old top-down principles of handing down decrees from the ivory towers are changing. This vertical method of controlling the message where the administration is on top and the students and employees are on bottom and the information flow from the campus community to the world is tightly controlled is gone. Now everybody has an equal voice on the Internet and we can all participate in how to make the university, and all the universities of the world, better places to learn, collaborate and exchange ideas. This is the global conversation for academia and it is very, very long overdue!

If leaders in education don't see that, perhaps that is because they just don't get it. At least not yet.