Friday, September 30, 2005

Scoble says we should blog what we feel

There is a recent post by SJSU Alum Robert Scoble [Link] that reacts to a post by Adam Bosworth [Link] that says, "I find that most of what I want to post these days would rile a fair number of people and then Google would get the blame even though these are my personal opinions, so I chose to keep my thoughts to myself."

Scoble says, "Changing the world is messy work. It's not for those who fear getting fired or fear getting their companies a bit of bad PR or who fear the opinions of billionaires."

Scoble is advising Bosworth to blog what he feels. But, what about those of us who are way out here on the long tail? For example, I believe that I was retaliated against after I complained about my blogging and podcasting being raised in (what I feel was a negative way) in my performance evaluation. No, I can't prove I was retaliated against, so this is just my opinion. But, I brought this up as a freedom of speech issue on my blog and with my management [Link].

I think freedom of Internet speech has to apply to us long-tail-bloggers as well as you spike-bloggers for it to be free. In my conversations with other long-tail-bloggers (who are worker bees) I can assure you that they have been telling me they do not feel free to blog what they feel about their jobs. Come on, who doesn't fear getting fired? Your job is your home and your health coverage!

Still, for the global conversation to flow freely, I think all voices need to be able to come to the party. For myself, I still feel I did the right thing, but I am not sure I would have made the same choice if we didn't have a union. Freedom of speech is still not free in our society, for most of us when it comes to what we do for a living. The cost is always part of the equation.

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Podcast: A solution to the high cost of textbooks?

Edupodder Podcast, 59 minutes - Recorded September 20, 2005, A conversation with Fred M. Beshears.
To listen to audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
Fred Beshears, the University of California Senior Strategist of Educational Technology Services talks about the high cost of textbooks for college and university students. He is proposing application of open source, creative commons solutions, based on the UK Open University [Link], as a partial solution to this serious student cost issue. This conversation occurred September 20, 2005 on the Berkeley campus.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Podcast with SJSU Professor Gus Lease

Podcast, 23.16 minutes - Recorded September 28, 2005, A conversation with Gus Lease, Looking at the labor movement in the California State University System.

To listen to audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
SJSU Music Professor and good friend Gus Lease has been with SJSU since 1950. He joined the California State Employees Association (CSEA) before it was a union. This union now does not include faculty, but then it was an association that everybody who worked at the university could belong to, including managers. He describes how the association evolved and discusses the upcoming statewide CSEA meeting, General Council.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

I am the new South Bay Blogger Meetup Group Coordinator

To members of the South Bay Blogger Meetup Group:
As I understand it, recently started charging organizers a fee of $19 a month. There was a group of great folks who had been organized and who met regularly as the South Bay Blogger Meetup Group, they formed close friendships and did not feel the money was something they need to spend in order to get together, so they formed a yahoo group called Elke Sisco, the former coordinator of the South Bay Blogger Meetup Group resigned as coordinator of the group, essentially leaving the group orphaned to die.
I approached Elke with the idea of trying to keep the group going, and trying to move it closer to the San Jose State University campus (where I work.) The idea is to try to see if there may be folks in the campus community who are bloggers who might be interested in meeting other folks who are bloggers and maybe tying in with other bloggers and podcasters.
So, I signed up as organizer and took on this group. Meanwhile, family issues came up and it just sat for about a month. Yesterday evening I almost resigned, but then decided to give it one more shot.
I am not asking anybody for a dime, and I know this may not be what you signed up for. I understand if you wish to remove yourself from this individual Meetup Group.
Those that choose to remain, let's see what I can put together for October and take it from there. Thank you for giving me a chance.
~Steve Sloan

It is all about the students

Help Desk Kids

I have written much in my blogs about Robert Scoble. But, he is just one of the fine, intelligent, gifted and wonderful students I have had the pleasure to work with. Right now my job at San Jose State is running the University Help Desk. I have five students who work there doing first level phone support. All of them are from India and knowing them has really made me want to visit their home land. I am very proud of them. I just turned 50 and they surprised me today with a birthday cake and sang happy birthday to me. It is the students that make working at the university so special. I feel like I have been able to touch so many lives. I know they have all touched mine.

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Students rock! and often lead the way in IT at SJSU

Last Saturday, three hours after I made my Vision 2010 = Vision 1995 post [Link], my friend, former student employee and SJSU alum Robert Scoble made this post to is blog [Link]. In it he said:

Now, San Jose State isn't stuck in the past as much as their vision document makes it sound. Their newspaper has RSS feeds. The campus has a lot of Wifi coverage. Their library is new and is pretty nice.

Scoble is right and what he says is true. Now, here is why I say our students rock:

  • It was thanks to the efforts of SJSU Mass Communications student Ryan Sholin [Link] that the Spartan Daily has an RSS feed.
  • It is thanks to the hard work, efforts and money of the Associated Students at SJSU that we are going to have a campus-wide wireless infrastructure.
  • Oh yes, the city of San Jose rocks too, thanks to their desire to expand the San Jose convention center and and replace the old and aging Martin Luther King library they partnered with SJSU to build the new library where the lion's share of the staff and collection are provided by the city and we all get a fantastic new facility.

Just as it was when Scoble worked in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications the students we serve are often leaders in technological innovation here. We need to always remember and nurture that!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Doc Searls Recommended White Paper

Here is the link [Link]. Doc says:

The Content Factor has released a white paper To Blog or Not to Blog — How Businesses Can Get Closer to Their Markets through Blogging. It's one of the best primers I've seen for companies trying to get a grip on blogging and what it can (and can't) do for them.

I looked at it and printed it. There are a number of great concepts here that can, and I think should, be remixed for education.

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Microsoft's next OS, RSS and SJSU's Vision 2010

If you want to get a mere glimpse of how RSS, just RSS, is changing and will change the face of information gathering and computing watch this video on C-net's News dot Com [Link]. At the recent Gnomedex '05 in Seattle, Dean Hachamovitch and Amar Gandhi, both of Microsoft's Vista/Longhorn Browser and RSS Technology Group, give conference attendees a preview of how RSS will work in Microsoft's long awaited OS upgrade. This will be the operating system we will be using at SJSU in 2010. This is way beyond E-mail! In my opinion this is a small part of what we should be anticipating and preparing for at our university.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Vision 2010 = Vision 1995

How can SJSU expect to get students with vision like Trippi and Scoble in the future?
After reading Professor Greene's guest blogotorial/email I take back all my thoughts about our university's "Vision 2010." [Link to PDF file] When I first read this document I thought it contained a pretty short sighted view of technology when it said this:

6.4  Developed an effective, efficient, technological infrastructure (hardware, software,  processes and services) that supports administrative functions in the following areas:
  • Student Administrative Systems.
  • Human Resources Systems. 
  • Finance Systems. 
  • Email Communications. 
  • Desktop Computing.

When I first read this document I thought, Email, Desktop Computing? Give me a break?!

Shouldn't we be talking about technologies like Voice over IP, Blogging, Podcasting, Video Casting, TabletPC, RSS, SMS messaging, social networking, web 2.0, wireless, and especially portable hand held devices like Greene's phone?

While our university falls further behind in technology, our university's plan for the future is to, by 2010, have "developed an effective, efficient, technological infrastructure" that will better support the technologies of the last century.

Professor Greene's blogotorial/email tells me a few other things:

  1. Email is broken (I already knew that)
  2. Desktop computers are becoming obsolete (ditto)
  3. We are so far behind it is almost to the point where somebody should put us out of our misery
  4. In my opinion we lack the will, the vision or the leadership to change

Perhaps the truth is we are so far behind we need to catch up with the end of the last century and can't even think about this one?

In conclusion, like the anchorman in "Network," I am mad as hell about the state of technology at this great university. Even though this blog is read by almost nobody, this is my window to the world! I cannot not say what I so fervently believe, even though I continue to pay a great professional price for saying what I, in my heart and head, know is the truth. This is my blog, no university PR BS here!

San Jose State University is the university that brought the world Joe Trippi and Robert Scoble and so very many others. If keep up the path we are now on the young versions of these great visionaries will be laughing at us. They won't want to come here because the future students and their peers will be saying, "SJSU Sucks."

Unrelated factoid: A Google search of "SJSU Sucks" turned up 131 hits. Perhaps someone in our administration should do a PubSub of "SJSU Sucks" as a way to keep abreast of what folks are saying about us.

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Guest Blogotorial: By Steve Greene

This is an email I am sending to all JMC Faculty. I thought it would make good material for your blog

Last Wednesday I attempted to email the jmc faculty via my cell phone a picture I had taken with the phone of me standing outside my Cayuga Lake cottage saying “Leaving paradise is hard.” I wanted to convey to them in a light vein that I was headed back to California.

I also did it because I am impressed with how fast technology is moving. As members of a school of mass communications, we should be staying on top of those developments.

Unfortunately, my message took Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday as well as two more emails and lots of hair pulling to reach your email inboxes. The reasons for this delay tell a sad tale about the state of SJSU technology.

As I said, I snapped the picture and sent it over my Verizon cell phone which also takes and transmits videos and sends them along with voice recordings and pictures to either other cell phones or internet e-mail sites.

For an email sender adddress, Verizon uses my 10-digit phone number plus

That’s pretty straightforward. Here comes the problem. Someone at the CASA web site has determined too many numbers in an email address is suspicious and thus rejected my email.

I emailed on Wednesday to see what had happened. The next day I received an email from the SPAMFILTER that said, “Number of numbers in MIME From exceeds maximum threshold.”

Soon thereafter, I received another email from the CASA tech that said, “Number of numbers in MIME From exceeds maximum threshold.” Thank God, they told me twice.

He added don’t worry my cell phone number would be put on the “white list” so that it would go through in the future. He ended by making a joke about Verizon hoping I would use up my picture quota too fast.

As a matter of fact, that wasn’t much of joke because I had sent out several messages already when the first one didn’t go through.

Despite him telling me my message was now permissible I had to wait until the next day and send another email before it appeared in everyone’s inbox with an ominous note from SPAMFILTER declaring it had been determined to be suspicious..

What does all this mean?

1. Who decided for us that the “number of numbers" in phone number email addresses could "exceede the maximum.” That seems rather short sighted, especially in a week in which Apple is bringing out a new cell phone. Cell phones are becoming ubiquitous. We should get ready to receive them. Note to SPAMFILTER: all phone numbers in the US are 10 numbers long. And, I know this may be too advanced, but overseas countries have even more.

2. Who decided that messages from Verizon were from a “known spam email site.” Perhaps someone ought to take a mass media law course and learn what a “common carrier” means. Common carriers always carry the most spam.

3.Who decided the SPAMFILTER should use techno babble to communicate with users. Who ever says “Number of Numbers,” “Mime From,” etc. to anyone else?

4. How did putting my phone number on the “white list” accomplish anything but let just my messages (perhaps) go through. All other phone email message senders in the future will still be rejected.

5. Why didn’t I receive the original message because I have repeatedly asked to be taken off the SPAMFILTER and I have been repeatedly assured my JMC e-mail won’t go through it anymore.

We are a School of Mass Communications. We have to wrest control of our communications back from CASA. They don’t work in our interests. They are only interested in making things convenient for their understaffed technicians.

Are you also aware of the FEMA Mac glitch?

Stephen Lyon Wakeman Greene, Ph.D. 

Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 
San Jose State University. 
Home Page:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The price of truth

"Fear not the path of truth, for the lack of people walking on it," Robert Kennedy.
It is easy in the present to praise folks in the past who were willing to stand up for truth in the past and suffered the consequences for it. We see their courage but pay no cost for honoring it. We safely celebrate Galileo, Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez and at SJSU, Tommie Smith and John Carlos [Link]. It is easy in retrospect to pay respect to these folks who stood up to the establishment, the then existing administration, when we are not in their time. It is easy to sing their praises when doing so is safe.

The real challenge is in the present, to suffer the consequences for speaking the truth when it costs your job, a better job or the wrath of your boss and/or coworkers, or worse. That is the measure of courage, in my opinion. Courage is standing up for the truth when doing so is not the easy path. Courage is standing up for the truth when standing up for the truth costs you. Too many times in my university career this is exactly what I have seen happen, good people suffer in academia for standing up for the truth. This has been happening in academia since the days of Galileo. This happens still.

SJ Bike Shop Wants to Buy Votes?

It appears STBikes, a San Jose, California bike shop, wants my vote bad enough that they may be willing to bribe me for it.

ST Bikes Ad

This came in my E-mail today (September 6, 2005.)

If I am reading this right, if you vote for them in Metro Magazine's [Link] "Best of Silicon Valley Contest" you will receive a discount. Plus, if I am reading this right, the more times you vote for them, the more times you will get the discount. If they win this "contest" they get "free" publicity in Metro magazine.

Am I reading this right? Is this is really as this appears to me? If so, how can this possibly be ethical?

Blogging from Jazzland

I am blogging from Jazz Land on a Tablet PC. I am being filmed for a video while I do this. Jazz Land is a coffee shop on campus at San Jose State University. This is for a video about the power of Tablet PC technology. It is not power, as we geeks think of power, in Gigahertz. It is the power of freedom, freedom from desks and chairs.

This new power is the power of portability. This new power is the ability to use the computer as a ubiquitous portable device. Even with notebook computers, we still are controlled and limited by the computer's shape and size. For example, at our university our computer labs may now be wireless and we are taking the computers off the desktops. But, we still have the desks to accomodate the student's computers. This limits movement collaboration in the classroom!

With Tablet PC's we are able to use a computer like a pad of paper. That is powerful. No longer do computer labs need desktops. This blog entry is for the video. I am being video taped as I write this blog entry while standing in line waiting to buy a bagel. Is that cool, or what?

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