Saturday, July 30, 2005

Apple's marketing to SJSU

What I think Apple does right, and not
In my opinion if markets are conversations, if you combined what Apple does and what Microsoft does you be just about right in how you reach my world. Apple has two people assigned to cover SJSU and other local campuses, plus a part-time student rep assigned just to SJSU.

The Apple folks hold regular events at our campus that are open to the world. They also teach seminars to SJSU faculty and staff. At these events they showcase Apple solutions, technologies and products. They know who we are. They are like one of us. Their relationships with administrators, faculty, staff, students (especially system admins, techs and other IT folks) assure that Apple solutions are at least considered. Through these reps Apple has a personal presence on our campus. I feel they care about us and care enough to know us by name. It is a very human relationship. They evangelize all things Mac and nuture campus evangelists. But, above the campus level I feel there is a void. There is no voice directly from Infinite Loop. Apple has no voice that sees the big picture and has access to top level Apple visionaries like Microsoft does.

Microsoft has Robert Scoble, he is a very human, genuine and very real voice located right in Redmond. He has access and showcases Microsoft solutions and products and gives a very human face and voice to the company. His blog is not PR BS. He says what he thinks his company does wrong, admits to mistakes, and puts his heart and passion into what he is doing. But, he is only one person in a very big world. I have no idea who the Microsoft reps are for SJSU. Perhaps Microsoft is counting on its OEMs to showcase their products on our campus. But, from my perspective, that is not happening. You cannot even see a decent Tablet PC in the bookstore at SJSU.

I have no idea who the Microsoft rep is for SJSU. I see little evidence of Microsoft initiative efforts. There is almost no evangelizing of Vista going on. It is so bad that one of my colleagues recently expressed his opinion that he thought Vista, then named Longhorn, would be based on UNIX!

I love Macs, but I also love and understand the principles behind Microsoft Windows NT based technologies. As a former sys admin I appreciate the level of granularity and control available through NTFS and group policies. I would love to know more about how they're evolving. I am Microsoft certified and am interested in staying current and learning more about Microsoft solutions.

Apple's SJSU team makes staying current and learning more easy on campus. Scoble makes staying current and learning more easy on the Internet. I wish one company would do both.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Why Microsoft innovation founders in the education market

A post for SJSU Alum and Microsoft Evangelist Robert Scoble


You know I have huge respect of what you have accomplished in your blog and at Microsoft. One of the greatest assets that Microsoft has is you and your blog. You are an army-of-one, a huge voice, a genuine and informed source, in my opinion a spike on the distribution curve, informing the world with voice and heart of all the cool things Microsoft is doing. You are a great friend and the list of things I have learned from you is very long!

In my opinion Bloggers and most Mac evangelists, such as myself, exist out here on the long tail. Out here is an army-of-many Mac folks (often quietly) passionate about tech and very often about all things Apple and they are all over the place.

When it comes to unit sales of OS's and computer hardware the vast majority of our students are in the Wintel camp. But, when it comes to initiative efforts, like tablet computing, Apple has the clear edge.

As you know I work at San Jose State and I am frustrated about the fact that we can't buy (or even see) a decent tablet in our university's bookstore. Most of the students I talk to don't even know about tablet computing. Yet, in the same bookstore you can buy all sorts of cool Apple hardware, software and related products.

I do not know if it is the same at other universities, but I suspect it is. So, what does Apple have that Microsoft doesn't? Apple has that army-of-many that are conduits of information between Apple and its customers. Because Microsoft lacks that, in my opinion, the big problem for Microsoft (in my education market world) is that neither the company nor its OEM's know how to reach my world. Apple has marketing savvy and marketing reps that cultivates that army-of-many often obscure folks who are as passionate as about their favorite platform as you are yours.

What else is my opinion? Well, I am typing this on a Mac Powerbook, but I could just as easily using a PC. Really I think it matters less and less what brand OS or laptop computer you are using. I think a tablet is great for some things and I use one and move files back and forth with my Macs. No problem.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A great wedding

My eldest son Steve and new daughter-in-law Luci had a great wedding in North Bend, Washington. I am blogging about this on my family blog.

Steve and Luci Sloan

Friday, July 22, 2005

On vacation again

I am in Seattle with family for my oldest son's wedding. I will be back in August. I am covering the trip on my family blog.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Jay King lives on in the SJSU on-line directory

Jay King Listing
It has been almost three weeks since Jay King died. I discovered he died about a week ago after I tried to send him and one of his former colleagues an E-mail. Since I got his address out of the directory, I contacted our Telcom department and informed them that he was still in the directory even though he had died. I was told that he is there because he is listed as still being active in PeopleSoft (the employee/HR database.) I noticed he is still there today. Does that mean he is still being paid? If so, for what?

Monday, July 11, 2005

In memory of Jay King

I just learned this today:

Jay King died about two weeks ago. He was having heart problems, and then had some sort of seizure that made his heart stop and the doctors couldn't revive him. He was 53 years old and was also planning on taking early retirement (that would have gone into effect right about now.)

I have known Jay for a number of years. Jay worked in the College of Education as a tech. Jay was a real gentleman, with a heart of gold. Unfortunately it was not a healthy heart and he suffered from other medical problems. He had a passion for technology and a child-like curiosity for how things worked. He struggled with disabilities and one or two people who were not very accepting of his. I am proud to have known him and proud that he was my friend. The university is worse off without him and I will truly miss him. My heart goes out to his family and friends for he was a good man and was loved by many.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Podcast crisis averted

Yesterday I met with my management on the issue of podcasting conversations with students. We discussed the matter and came to the conclusion that there was a misunderstanding on the subject, there was no intent to infringe on my freedom of speech and that I will be allowed to podcast conversations with students. I am going to increase the seperation between what I am doing in terms of blogging and podcasting and the work I do as a non-faculty staff member employed in the Academic Technology Department at San Jose State University. I think this is the right and ethical thing to do.

Ways I will increase separation include using more disclaimers and not conducting any podcast conversations close to the physical area where I work, without clearing it with management first. I have no desire to become a cause celeb or cause undo controversy. I appreciate the respect for my freedom of speech, understand the fact that this is uncharted waters and am sensive to the reality that some folks, at SJSU and elsewhere, may not understand what and why I am doing what I am doing. I hope those people listen to my podcasts and the conversations going on here and elsewhere on the Internet. This has been a Cluetrain moment.

Edupodder is back talking!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

World of Ends, by Searls and Weinberger

To understand any of the new forms of emerging technology you need to understand the Internet. If you fail to do that the world of emerging technology and the concept of a global conversation just does not make sense. Blogs, podcasts, RSS, etc. all depend on the Internet. What is this Internet thing? It's simple, it's an agreement...

What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else: by, Doc Searls and David Weinberger.

Do yourself a favor, take some time to read this. This is the work of genius. They put it so well. The Internet is the foundation of everything that rides on it. You cannot run trains without understanding railroad tracks.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

There are no secrets

Another Cluetrain thesis applied to education:

There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.

Have you seen Note, this is also a great example of another Cluetrain Thesis:

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy

At this site, and on an ongoing basis, people assumed to be students are grading our faculty members. Some of their remarks are scathing. There is nothing we can do or say about it. This conversation is going on outside the walls of the university, beyond university control. It is a great example of the global conversation that is the Internet and how it has the potential to be, as Cluetrain says, "the end of business as usual." As folks become more connected, as small smart portable devices become more ubiquitous, and as folks learn the power we all have the conversation is going to spread virally. This is so important to understand to understand the impact of emerging technology, I feel.

In my opinion, we can no longer tolerate mediocre faculty, staff, administrators, facilities or customer service. There are no secrets the Internet cannot and will not reveal. We have to assume that every one of our students, faculty or staff members has the potential to tell the world about his or her experiences as a customer/member of the campus community and that everybody has the potential to hear and link to what that person has to say. I believe we have to embrace this assumption as if our future as an institution depends on awareness of it and respect for it. Because, I believe it does.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Who gave me permission?

Who gave me permission to speak to students? Who gives me permission to broadcast my ideas to the world? Who gave me permission to talk about what I do and to open up about what I see both in my job and in the rest of my life?

I did. I have officially given myself permission to talk about where I work and what I do because that is where I work and what I do. I want the people I work with and work for to see what I do and know what I am thinking.

I also want them to tell me I am full of crap if they think I am. Because, I may be full of crap and not see it. If they think I am full of crap I want to know why they think that. I listen to what they say. If I am full of crap I want to be able to admit it and change. But, if I look at what is going on and see they are the ones full of crap I reserve the right to say that as well.

I want to be accountable to the people I call clients and/or customers and I want to give them the best service I know how to. I also feel that since I get a paycheck from the state of California, the people of the state are all my clients as well as my investors and they deserve the best return on their investment possible from me and the university I work for.

So, I give myself permission to speak, learn, try things and even make mistakes as long as I learn from those mistakes and I can only do that if people know what I am doing and talk to me.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Big white space problem fixed!

Thanks BloggerBuzz and thanks RSS for showing me the solution fast! The fix is in and it seems to work for that big ugly white space issue. Man this stank. They had a hack that sort of fixed the problem, but not really. It involved having to enter some code into the HTML template that forced the tool to place my text in a certain place on the page. That looked like this:

#main #menu {
position: absolute;
right: 21px;

But, that created other problems. The text would run under the SideBar. So, I had to import my text into BBEdit and put hard breaks into my code. Now they have posted this fix to BloggerBuzz and it seems to work. This post will tell for sure!
It worked!

Blogger Meet-up Group in Santa Clara

I am going to check it out, 7pm on Tuesday:

Barefoot Coffee Roasters
5237 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95051

About that podcast

Here is that podcast: Audio File [11.05 MB, 48.15 min, Mp3 File]

Written on my lunch hour:
Looking back I see the mistake I made was in doing the podcast we did on
campus and reserving the room as an employee. Frankly, at the time I did
not see that as being distinct from my job in the Center for Faculty
Development (CFD) at San Jose State University. I have been teaching
Emerging Technology courses there for faculty, staff and student peer
mentors. These courses are on subjects like blogging, podcasting, wikis
and RSS. Getting the views of student bloggers seemed like a logical
extension of that.

I am very passionate about this and the work on Emerging Technology I
have done for CFD was done mostly, but not totally, at home and on my own
time. In my passion for what I was doing I let my personal and professional
interests merge. I was having fun at work and so continued doing it at
home! I have also presented on related topics at conferences, attended
conferences and meet-ups and have even been invited to London to present
on podcasting in education.

Since I had been researching as well as teaching emerging technologies
for CFD I agree, the podcast I did with the three students should have been
coordinated with my supervisor (even though I was on my own
lunch break) or should not have been done near work.

When I was presented with concerns over my podcasting, I said I would not
do it that way again. I said I would only podcast in the future on my own time away
from facilities where I work. (I also said I would use disclaimers to make it clear
I was not representing SJSU.) Then, I was verbally told I could not interview students, even
on my own time. (Remember all the university students I spoke with are

There is some committee, I was told, that must approve such things. I
have asked for clarification of that in writing. I do blog in my work
area now, but only on my own time. I know of no acceptable use policy at
the university that prevents that. I think such a policy would have to
be applied equally, not just to me, to not be infringing on my free
speech. I have my own laptop and do access the Internet using the
wireless network.

All that said, I still think a university is a place that should
encourage discourse, creativity, free speech and the exchange of new
ideas. We are talking about talking here, not national security!

In my opinion, for academia the concept of learning being a conversation
should not be a concept adapted from cluetrain. This should be a concept that
is basic to higher education.