Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tablet PC's at SJSU video

A team from SJSU recently made a presentation at the Educause national conference in Orlando, Florida. Reportedly there was standing room only for their presentation. I am very proud to be associated with this. Tablet PC's rock and have the potential to really change the way computers are used in education. ~Steve

This is really great stuff!
From Malu Roldan: Here are links to the video that SJSU Media Producer Bob Reynolds produced on SJSU's Tablet PC usage. Mary Jo Gorney-Moreno and I just came back from presenting it at the Educause national conference and it was very well received (see description of conference presentation below).

The links (you will need real media player:)
Broadband | Medium | Small (dial-up)

The Conference Presentation listing:
Course Transformation Using Microsoft OneNote Powered Tablet PCs
Session Details

Track 6
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

Meeting Room W300

Maria Roldan, Principal Investigator -- SJSU&HP Mobility Project, San Jose State University
Mary Jo Gorney-Moreno, Associate VP, Academic Technology, San Jose State University
Mary Fran Breiling, Interim Associate Director, Center for Faculty Development, San Jose State University
Session convener: Randall Alberts, Sr. Project Manager, Georgia State University

OneNote fully leverages the power of tablet PCs and facilitates the repurposing of previously developed course materials into paperless, multimedia course resources. We will demonstrate several ways in which this was achieved in a diverse set of courses and discuss impacts on students' perceptions of the usefulness of tablet PCs for course work.

Malu Roldan
Management Information Systems
San Jose State University

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Scoble's new blog: You can't get there from here

Error message for scoble

I wish we could read Scoble's blog from SJSU. I can read it from home, but not from here. Something is seriously broke. Maybe he is being censored on this campus? His old blog and blogger blogs work fine.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Remembering Rosa Parks

Fifty years ago, on September 15, 1955 I was born. Less than three months later Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on a bus to a white man. It is amazing to me to think that in just my life time's worth of time it was expected that she would. When asked to move to let a white bus rider be seated Parks refused. She did not argue and she did not move. The police were called and Parks was arrested.

To me, in the here and now, the idea that a person could be arrested for this and that it could be considered a crime seems absurd. Yes, we have a long way to go. Also, we have come a long way thanks to Rosa Parks and many who shared her courage. The day she died recently, a short time after my 50th birthday, is a sad day. We lost a genuine American hero.

SJSU statue

The statue of Smith and Carlos at SJSU is an important statue. It is a symbol of activism, but it is also a symbol of the struggle of black people in our society to be free and to break the chains of oppression that still bind them. This is an important icon for us all to see and remember. It was not that long ago that people had to give up seats on a bus, just because they were black. Thank you Parks and Smith and Carlos and so many more...

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How late must students wait for late profs?

Another Help Desk Moment
This just came in through our Help Desk Queue. Well, we are the help desk and our mission is to be the first point of contact for service and support at SJSU:

I just wanted to find out if an instructor is more than 15 minutes late, is it okay to leave the class?

Reply: This varies from instructor to instructor and I do not believe there is a set policy on the subject. A search on this term "instructor is late to class" yielded no hits on the domain and only six hits on the entire .edu domain. (Interestingly, "student is late to class" yielded many hits.) So, I contacted the Provost's office at SJSU with your question.

The answer I got there was, "I don't know if it is myth or reality but it is said that if the instructor is a (less than full) professor you must wait 15 minutes. If it is a full professor you must wait 20 minutes. But, there is nothing written on the subject."

So, there it is. If you have the moxie you might approach your instructor with the question. Perhaps one way to break the ice for this conversation would be to ask if the professor is, or is not, a full professor. Then, when they ask why you are asking, you can tell them what the person at the provost's office said. In essence you are on your own on this one. I am sorry, but that is the best answer I could find.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Staff employees have a voice

Smith and Carlos Statue

With the emergence of enabling technologies, like blogging and podcasting. Everybody, including all university faculty, students and staff have access to powerful global communications tools to post ideas to the Internet. This seed change has marked the end of business as usual. Using search engines like Google and even more, Technorati these Internet posts can be found, linked to and remixed in ways unimaginable just a short time ago. It does not require the blessing of the institution to make these posts accessible.

The result is a good thing. This is a conversation where ideas are free and easy to give, get and rehash. Everybody must be able to join the conversation. Historically students and faculty have been parties to the conversation to a greater and lesser extent, depending on the institution and the circumstances. Support staff, the so-called classified employees, have often not been invited to the party. The staff in the past has been like the servers at a social event. We pour the punch but we are not allowed to dance.

Those days are over. Staff have important contributions to make to the conversation. We see things other folks don't see. We have ideas that deserve to be heard. We have paid our dues, and at public universities like SJSU we pay our taxes. It is everybody's loss to expect us to check our brains at the campus gate as we walk onto our universities. Not only are we members of the campus community, we are taxpayers and we don't want to see our investments squandered.

Administrators can't stop it, and shouldn't want to. We are here and we are ready to dance! The universities will be better for it.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

SJSU wireless: Late and out of date?

The new campus-wide wireless network being put in for SJSU has already missed two deadlines and will soon be a full semester behind schedule. It was supposed to be live before the start of the Fall term in August. After that failed, a new date of October 17 was set and missed for startup of the new wireless network. Now they are saying the network will be turned on sometime after school ends in December. Reportedly the issue is lack of stability of the network which is funded primarily by student money, provided by Associated Students. The network is being installed and will be run by Comcast. Comcast is the contractor for this project. The older, non campus-wide, wireless network (maintained and operated by university employees) is still going strong.

Even if the new network can be made to work, and its roll-out finally does happen sometime around Christmas, the next big question is, will it already be obsolete?

The new network will rely on a somewhat complicated user authentication method. Everybody who goes to use the network will have to have a user log-in. This log-in will be based on a system (never tested on such a scale) called SJSUOne. Just on the SJSU campus Comcast will link into SJSUOne. All users of the new network have to have an SJSUOne account, or be a paid Comcast wireless customer. SJSUOne, in turn, references the PeopleSoft HR and Student databases.

All users of the new network will need to activate their SJSUOne accounts and then use the password they create to authenticate to the wireless network. This is not an option for people are not either university employees or students. Many folks come to the university, like guest speakers to classes and/or vendors, who are not in the PeopleSoft database but have real business to conduct at SJSU that may need Internet access. It is still not clear how these folks will be accommodated. If you are not in PeopleSoft you are not in SJSUOne.

SJSUOne itself has had major problems. Useability of the system's account activation interface has been a major fail point with over 50% of the folks who tried to use the current version to activate their SJSUOne accounts not being able to work through the interface (based on testing.) There is a new interface being planned for SJSUOne account activation, but the folks slated to test its useability have not yet been able to. Even when they do, they are not usability experts. Usability is a science not best left to amateurs.

A huge amount of money is being spent supporting and designing this user authentication method. But, is it even necessary?

In metropolitan areas, like San Francisco, companies are falling all over themselves to provide free and open wireless access. Companies like our very own local company Google, who make their living off people having as easy access as possible to the Internet, are installing wireless networks that are free and open to any user who wants to use them.

Couldn't all the money we are spending keeping folks from using our network be better spent improving it? You can't say we need to have user authentication for the sake of university security. All users of the wireless network are going to be treated as outside users anyway and will have an additional layer of security to go through to reach university network resources. They will already be outside the university firewall, like all other Internet users from off campus.

I do not understand why we don't just make the new wireless network free and open to the public. In my opinion the SJSUOne authentication method will complicate and hinder easy use of the wireless network. Other new wireless networks are open, why not ours? Free open and accessible networks encourage collaboration and are the current state of the art. Our new network, in my opinion, will not be. So in my opinion is it not only late, it is out of date!

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Podcast: Greene's plan to change SJSU J-school

Steve Greene

Podcast thirteen, 44.55 minutes - October 19, 2005, Another conversation with Steve Greene.
To listen to audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
San Jose State University professor Steve Greene [Link] discusses the future of SJSU's School of Journalism and Mass Communications (J&MC), his journey to four J-schools in four weeks and his proposal to reorganize J&MC. There's some pretty major changes being proposed by Greene and explained in this conversation, including a proposal to cease daily publication of the school paper, The Spartan Daily [Link].

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A train photo of mine ran on Altamont Press

BNSF Train in Mojave

A train photo of mine that is better than the one shown here ran in today's version of the on-line daily train E-newsletter Altamont Press [Link]. It was cool seeing it be used there. This is a neat web publication and a real example of the enabling ability of on-line delivery for niche markets.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Great moments at the employee union convention

Hylah at the podium
It was a General Council full of great moments. In my opinion the greatest was the election of Hylah Jacques as Executive Vice President of CSEA. She comes from Cal Poly SLO where she is an Administrative Support Coordinator II in the College of Liberal Arts. In my opinion she is the best of the best. She is among the hardest working, smartest, most honest, fair minded, kind hearted and all-around greatest people I have ever known, ever. Her election is a great victory even for the people who voted against her, because they could not have elected better. She is the best in my book!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The CSUEU delegation

This is our CSUEU delegation to General Council 2005

CSUEU GC Delegation

The University Employee Delegation
These are the folks who are representing university staff employees at this statewide union meeting. They are fine hard working folks who are sincere, who care about the pay, working conditions and the benefits of university employees. I am proud to be associated with them.

More General Council Podcasts

Here are some recordings of conversations from early Sunday October 9, 2005; the second day of CSEA General Council 63 in Anaheim:

Conversation with myself [mp3 audio file link]
While brewing my morning coffee I ruminate about Andy Sterns talk to the CSU delegation, the events of the previous couple of days, this podcast and how emerging technology can be used in the labor movement.
Conversation with Donna Snodgrass [mp3 audio file link]
A brief conversation with Vice President candidate Donna Snodgrass about running without being on a slate of officers.
Conversation with Jennifer Oneal-Watts [mp3 audio file link]
First time GC delegate Jennifer Oneal-Watts shares her impressions of GC 63. Jennifer Oneal-Watts is from CSU Sacramento and is also that chapter's unit 7 rep and is on the statewide BU 7 committee.
Conversation with Hylah Jacques [mp3 audio file link]
A brief conversation while walking up to the voting room. Hylah is a candidate for Executive Vice President of CSEA.
Conversation with Russell Kilday-Hicks and Joseph Jelincic [mp3 audio file link]
Joseph Jelincic, the son of the CSEA president and Russel speak about this GC, CSEA politics and the elections.
Conversation with Ray Reynolds and Mike Roskey [mp3 audio file link]
Ray Reynolds is from DLC 789 and Mike Roskey is from DLC 767 of SEIU Local 1000. They both also are supporters of the Committee for a Democratic Union. They speak here about General Council and the common ground we all have as state workers.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

General Council Podcasts

Here are two recordings of conversations from Saturday October 8, 2005; the first day of CSEA General Council 63 in Anaheim:

Conversation with Rich McGee [mp3 audio file Link]
McGee is a member of the CSUEU Communications Committee and a chapter officer from CSU San Bernardino. McGee talks about Andy Stern's talk yesterday to members of the California State University staff employees union.
Conversation with Jay Jimenez [mp3 audio file Link]
Jimenez is a former Division Director of the then CSU Division of CSEA. He is the chair of the CSUEU Policy File Committee, serves on the CSEA Bylaws and Policy Committee and is the CSU Fullerton President. Jimenez talks about the CSU role in General Council and how that has changed over the years.

Andy Stern speaks to university staff employees union

Andy Stern "gets it!"

Andrew Stern at GC 2005

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern spoke with university employees Friday evening on the eve of the California State Employees Association's 63rd General Council. Stern gave a rousing come to Jesus speech about the importance of the labor movement. Then he stepped from behind the lectern. Stern listened as well as talked and the result was a very lively conversation. Stern, as head of SEIU, recently led a group of formerly AFL-CIO unions out of the AFL-CIO to form a new organization named Change-to-Win.

In his Friday talk Stern, whose SEIU is growing in union membership, spoke about why it was necessary for SEIU to leave the AFL-CIO. He answered the concerns of folks, like myself, who do not like to see the house of labor divided. He cited declining membership in the labor movement overall and the seeming unwillingness of the AFL-CIO to change its strategy to meet the demands of a changing world.

What really impressed me about Stern is that, he gets it! He referenced Freedman, who's book The World is Flat I am currently reading.  He spoke about globalization and the role of unions in a changing global economy. I was able to ask Stern a couple of questions about globalization and the public perception of the labor movement. Stern answered my questions. He spoke about global organizing to meet global markets, unions embracing emerging technology and how unions need to be reorganized to effectively organize workers globally. In short, I was very impressed!

Fiscal issues in CSEA
The California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) is one of four organizations in the California State Employees Association (CSEA). Kathryn Plunkett is on the statewide CSEA fiscal committee. Last night, after Stern left, she spoke to us about the ongoing struggle within the statewide organization over central support issues. Central Support is the CSEA entity that provides support services and coordinates activities involving all the four affiliated CSEA organizations. There is a big conflict within the CSEA affiliates about how strong and well funded Central Support should be. Kathryn is a long time close friend of mine. I spent a lot of time in Friday's fiscal committee meeting. It was a long day for Kathryn and a hard day as she and her allies were almost constantly being out voted on issues that are core for university employees.

Kathryn speaking to university employees

The meeting of university employees Friday night went to about 10pm. After the meeting we went to a hospitality suite where we discussed the day's events until the early morning hours of the next day. I had a great long discussion with CSUEU Chapter 307 president Jeff Baldwin. I like Jeff a lot and really enjoyed our conversation. Today, at 1pm, the 63rd General Council Convenes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

General Council Going Ons

I am at GC, the big university staff employee union meeting in Anaheim, and the pre-council committee meetings are happening. I just took this photo of Gus Lease, who is the guy I spoke to in my recent podcast with him [Link]. Gus is a great guy and I admire him very much!

Gus Lease Mug

I also just met Steve Aunan, the webmaster for CSEA. He is a sharp guy, and is a blogger, that is so cool! Here is his CSEA blog [Link]. I have taken this photo and another photo of Fred Cordova for a daily newsletter we are doing of the convention.

I will be posting more about the union meeting on my union blog [Link].

The last roll of Kodachrome

I shot my last roll of Kodachrome

"Kodachrome, it gives us those nice bright colors.
It gives us the greens of summers.
It makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yea!
I got a Nikon camera.
I love to take the photographs.
So momma don't take my Kodachrome away."

~Kodachrome by Paul Simon

Train at Bealville

Bealville, Kodachrome and Nikons
Wednesday, October 5, 2005; I drove to south from San Jose to the Tehachapi mountains east of Bakersfield. I arrived in Bealville, California to find a train in the siding there. He (the train) was waiting for another train to pass in the opposite direction. So, I went to the top of the little hill there and photographed the train that came the other way. I know the routine here very well. I have been coming to Bealville for about 38 years taking pictures of trains. I have come here with my father, both my wives, my children and friends at different times through the years. I have seen trains and people pass through my life here. Soon, it will be my grandchildren whom I will be taking here.

Over the years I have shot many thousands of rolls of Kodachrome slide film here and at many other railroad places. Wednesday I shot my last roll of Kodachrome I will probably ever shoot. I have had a stash of Kodachrome 25 (K25) slide film for 35mm cameras I had been hoarding. But, Kodak's 35mm Kodachrome processing (K14) has gotten so slow (about 3 weeks) it became evident I had better use this film or kiss it off! The death of Kodachrome is obviously imminent. (For example: I had a stash of Kodachrome 64 for 120 cameras I sat on too long and Kodak stopped the K14 processing for 120 and that wonderful film is thus now unusable!) So, I started using my 35mm K25! After I got my D2H digital Nikon I started to use the Nikon digital more and the Nikon film cameras less. So, I had to work at using up that Kodachrome (without wasting it.) But, I saved one roll of Kodachrome for the Tehachapis and Bealville. So, this week I went to Bealville, fired up a film Nikon again, finished that roll of Kodachrome film and switched to my digital camera. Then, I kept shooting with the digital Nikon (see above).

There is a tree on top of the little hill at Bealville that overlooks the tracks. That would be a good place to leave my ashes after I die. It has a great view of the tracks and the passing trains. There, under that tree, is also the place I finished my last roll of Kodachrome.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Great Help Desk Staff

Yesterday we had a training and I took the Help Desk Staff out to lunch. We went to Shalimar [Link], a local San Jose Restaurant where they trained me in the fine Indian Cuisine. They are a great group of young people. Pictured here are Kamlesh, Akshay, Kishwer, Pranav and Shilpina.

Help Desk Staff
Today I am heading south, to a big union meeting in Anaheim.