Thursday, September 28, 2006

The San Jose Weblogger Meetup Today

What: The San Jose Weblogger September Meetup

When: Thursday, September 28 at 6:00PM
Where: Tony Soprano's Pizzeria
87 E. San Fernando Street Near SJSU Downtown
San Jose CA 95113

Event Description:
This will be another meetup for The San Jose Weblogger Meetup Group! These meetups are a great opportunity for bloggers and podcasters from the community to meet university students, faculty and staff whom are also interested in Web 2.0 technologies. Lets use the time to get to know each other, talk about being bloggers and/or podcasters, and discuss our common interests. This is a blogger dinner / geek dinner. We may do a "pizzacast" podcast during or after the dinner if there is interest.

Podcasting, Transcripts and Accessibility

Is it enough to just do transcripts to provide equal access to information for the hearing impaired? In speech a totally different meaning is garnered from a sentence depending where the emphasis is placed in the sentence. This may not carry over into a transcript, For example, the question "what did you do?"

If this question is asked without any emphasis being put on any words the question has one meaning. The same question has a totally different meaning than if the same is asked with the emphasis on the word "what." This question has again another meaning than if the same is asked with the emphasis on the word "you."

Do transcripts alone give equal access to the information conveyed in a spoken sentence, especially if the podcast consists of conversations with all the subtle audio inflections given to how people communicate verbally?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Podcast: Phil Wolff Speaks at SJSU about Skype Issue

Podcast: 01:21:46 duration, 74.9 MB MP3 - Posted Sep. 27, 2006 Raw audio, recorded September 26, 2006.
To listen to high quality audio, click here –> MP3 File Here
Here you can hear the unedited presentation to our Journalism 163 class at San Jose State University by Phil Wolff, the Managing Editor for the online magazine Skype Journal. Wolff speaks here about Skype, the recent events surrounding the proposed ban of Skype at SJSU and the world of Web 2.0 technologies. Here is his post in Skype Journal about the talk. All opinions given, as always, are those of the speakers.

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Venegas posts about Skype Journal's Wolff

Andrew Venegas, writing for the Spartan Daily Blog, covered the presentation to our New Media in Journalism class by Phil Wolff, the Managing Editor for the online magazine Skype Journal. Wolff's visit was prompted by all the buzz in the blogosphere about the now canceled plan to block Skype at SJSU. It was great to hear Wolff's presentation and is great to see that Venegas and others are breathing life into the Spartan Daily Blog.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stay of Execution for Skype at SJSU

The very short version, they are NOT going to be pulling the plug on Skype at San Jose State University. Stay tuned for more!

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Monday, September 25, 2006

SJSU podcasting class for faculty gets recognition

Here is a great story about the classes that SJSU is offering faculty about podcasting. This is related to the iTunesU project. Menko Johnson deserves a lot of recognition for the fine job he is doing for SJSU. Way to go Menko!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Viral Spread of SJSU/Skype Story

Posts that contain "San Jose State University" + Skype per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

Get your own chart!

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Why our students need Skype

Why does a student need Skype? For the same reason I do as an educator. Students need Skype so they can freely engage in collaboration and communication. If our university blocks Skype and other universities do not, we will be routed around. We will be at an competitive disadvantage at gaining market share in our market.

I use Skype every day in my work at San Jose State University. I have collaborated with fellow educators world wide using Skype. These conversations happen because I make public my Skype name.

If Skype is so evil, why is it allowed inside IBM and (I am told, Yahoo and other major corporations?) If it is such a terrible evil bandwidth hog why does my ISP route it?

Skype is the emerging standard in this segment. If there are four universities who block it because it is such a network killer why are hundreds of times that number allowing it? I am looking forward to hearing Ebay’s perspective on this issue on Tuesday.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

SJSU bloggers take lead on Skype Story

Friday SJSU student Andrew Venegas posted this great post about how it is the bloggers that have taken the lead on the Skype/SJSU story. Students have pursued the story and one posted a rather terse email that was sent by an administrator to a student. I think the idea that an administrator's email could go from an email, to a student's blog post, to the cover of the Mercury News Business Section must have a bit off the email writer's radar. Comments are coming in from around the world. It is amazing and a great experience for the students in this class!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Day in the life of the Help Desk

Fellow employee Jason Ferguson made this fun movie of where I work.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sype at SJSU Links

San Jose Mercury News article, by Elise Ackerman, on Skype at SJSU.

SOS, Save our Skype!

Time Stamp of most recent update: Sat Sep 23 11:34:42 PDT 2006

Search Engine Results

Some related links

Also of interest

Bob Neal says he want to hear from members of the campus community on this subject

  • Phone: 408.924.7862
  • Title: Sr Director, Network & Telecom Network Services UCAT
PS - Sorry for the typo on the title of this story. I know it is Skype and not Sype. But, if I correct the typo it will change the URL of the story (that's how Blogger works).

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Letter from a friend

Stephanie Quilao is the fabulous blogger and speaker at our first class. She sent this exciting email to Cynthia McCune, our class and I:

I blew it on the Scoble date. I had it in my calendar wrong. I'm so sorry I missed it. It sounds like it went well. Hope the students realize just how lucky they were.

I'm like an excited student today who wants to go tell her teachers how she did good today. So, since you're my teachers too, I just wanted to let you know I wrote a post last night called "How to explain RSS the Oprah way" and Steve Rubel posted it on Micropersuasion today:  It's also been bookmarked on delicious 60 times, and been Digged 11 times. I've gotten almost 2,000 hits in a matter of a few hours. This is all new and big for me. I tipped, so we'll see if they think it's link worthy.

Exciting stuff. I have a day of being popular online ;-)

I'll see you guys at the MeetUp!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Attention foriegn students

Do you or your friends who are SJSU students use Skype to keep in touch with friends or family back home? If so this newspaper reporter would like to hear from you (or them). This is about the plan to discontinue using Skype at SJSU. Please pass this information on.

Save Skype at SJSU

This is a letter to my colleagues at SJSU about the pending decision by the University to ban Skype from our campus network:

We possibly will be the first university in Silicon Valley to ban Skype.

In my opinion this will result in our being at a competitive (not to mention technological) disadvantage compared to other institutions of higher learning when it comes to emerging technology, research and collaboration. Since we are located about ten miles from Ebay (the owners of Skype's) corporate HQ, I urge this to be considered with an open mind and extreme care. We need to be sure that the action we take is in the best interest of our university's educational mission.

This act has potential high visibility, given our campus's geography, with potential negative publicity, exposure and fallout. It can affect our relations with our neighbors and potential business partners in a very negative way.

Skype is a foundation technology that is often combined with podcasting. Skype, when combined with audio capture software, is a major way podcast conversations happen, are captured and are then enabled to be distributed in podcasts. A Google search of Skype + Podcasting yields over 20 million hits on Google. Conversations often happen on Skype that are remixed and shared with podcasting and this has a lot of educational potential.

In my class I have been planning to use Skype to bring authors of the textbook we use together to discuss their book with my students from various locations around the globe. Since I started using Skype daily in my work I have been contacted by educators from Europe, Asia and Australia. Educators have contacted me via Skype to collaborate on teaching and learning methods. One contact was from a group of educators who wanted to use Skype technology, combined with podcasting and iPods, to extend the reach of the Internet into the Outback to reach Aboriginal children.

Thanks to Skype, we are able to have easy and free international communications with colleagues. Thanks to Skype, we are able to collaborate globally and spontaneously. Skype has become the standard tool for this type of emerging technology. Banning Skype, in my opinion, would be like banning the web ten years ago. Like Skype, people use the web for profit, for buying and selling and for other uses that have nothing to do with university business. Could you imagine where this university would be today if we had banned the web ten years ago? Is that where you want this university to be ten years from now?

I know of foreign language educators, in the Skype Foreign Language Lab Project, who are using Skype as a tool to enable students in one part of the world to speak to native speakers of the languages they are teaching on the other side of our planet. There are pedagogically sound applications for this technology!

Last, we cannot forget the significant number of foriegn students at SJSU taking classes thousands of miles from their families. Skype is a great tool for our many foreign students to be able to maintain contact with their family and friends in their homelands. I don't think we should casually take a "let them eat cake" attitude towards student needs and the needs of other university students.

 I think with Skype we need to take a real cost benefit analysis of the software and the cost of not using the software. Skype is more than a program it is a global communications and collaboration platform. It’s also a pipe into a flat world where easy communications is a strategic advantage and the loss of which is a disadvantage. It is a platform of change as well as a delivery pipe of media-voice, video and data.

It has been argued that the current design may be a violation of the legal use of state computing resources. In my opinion, if the use of Skype violates state or federal law then the appropriate agency to take action should be the Chancellor's Office or the State's Attorney General. If what Neal alleges is accurate, I wonder why that has not happened?

Last as a counterpoint, here is a link on the Skype website on the issue of security of their product.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Scoble speaks to Journalism 163

Edupodder Podcast 29, 1:35:57 duration, 87.85 MB MP3 - Posted Sep. 18, 2006
Scoble's Class Presentation, recorded September 12, 2006.

To listen to high quality audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
This presentation by Robert Scoble was recorded during the third meeting of our class, Journalism 163. This unedited presentation is targeted toward journalism and mass communications students. It is presented here just as it happened. Scoble talks about his days at SJSU, how he got into blogging, the impact of blogging and how the worlds of journalism, business and advertising have been changed by blogs. He gives a lot of advice to the students in the class and answers their questions. For an excellent analysis of this presentation please see this post by SJSU Professor Cynthia McCune.

Podcast Note: All opinions given, as always in our podcasts, are those of the speakers, not of SJSU or The School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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A post of mine was picked up

Skype Journal

One of my blog posts was picked up
Yesterday I made this post to my geek blog. Today I got a call from Skype Journal. They picked up my post and wanted to run it. So, I said yes. Just when you think nobody is listening. You find out, they are.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

On Skype Ban at SJSU

Skype is a peer-to-peer (p2p) voice communications, instant message and file sharing program. The recent decision to pull the plug on Skype at SJSU (has it been implemented?) may be a classic example of command and control (Web 1.0 thinking) versus collaborate and communicate (Web 2.0) technologies and principles. According to one person I spoke with in the networking department of the university's computer center, "the issue that caused the decision to kill Skype is that Skype communications are encrypted." But, other protocols like SSL, SFTP and SSH are allowed and are encrypted. These protocols could be also used to do evil things. There is no discussion I know of to block these communications and they are used a lot on our university's network. Also IPSec and Kerberos are protocols used used on the SJSU network. These protocols are also encrypted and supported by SJSU. Should we also kill them? Do we want to have to make credit card transactions in clear text?

Yes, there have been past concerns about Skype. But, these concerns may be over blown. Oxford University, which had banned Skype, in fact recently lifted its ban on Skype.

There are concerns about the amount of bandwidth Skype could use if used on our network. Yes, the use of our network for communications and collaboration uses bandwidth. But, isn't that what bandwidth is for, to be used? It is like money, why have it if we don't use it?

I have blogged in the past about how Skype is seen by some as a threat. But, the utility of Skype is great. Skype is becoming a defacto standard among users of this type of emerging technology.

In the Web 1.0 world, Client-Server is the mindset computing command model and p2p is bad and chaotic. In p2p any computer can collaborate with any other computer and that is hard to control. In the Web 2.0 world collaboration is a form of communication and enhancing the conversation is what Web 2.0 is all about. So, in Web 2.0 p2p is good and Skype is good.

Deciding to just pull the plug on Skype in its early stage of use is like what pulling the plug on Email or Web would have been like ten years ago. The decision to pull the plug on Skype, if it is to be made at all, deserves to be made with the academic community after some thoughtful consideration. There are potential pedagogical applications of Skype. These need to be considered:

  • Skype can be used to bring remote speakers into a classroom.
  • Skype can be used by educators to collaborate with distant colleagues.
  • Skype offers teleconferencing capabilities that allow quick collaboration groups to be formed free and in real time.
  • Because you can see when colleagues are logged into Skype, virtual communities can be created in Skype that offer other opportunities for collaboration.
  • The encryption nature of Skype is a feature when faculty use Skype to communicate with students. It assures their privacy.

The decision to just kill Skype at SJSU on the spur of the moment is, in my opinion, just weird. It ignores the possible pedagogical applications of Skype. The sudden nature of the plug being pulled on Skype makes me wonder if there was some sort of national security incident that may have spooked the administration? This is pure speculation. It seems to me the folks who made the decision to just kill Skype at SJSU just do not get what our mission is. Unless, there is more that we do not know.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Is SJSU Unsafe?

Drilling at Clark Hall

Camera Phone Post: Contractor work habits threatening SJSU students, faculty and staff
A contractor is drilling into concrete while students walk into Clark Hall on September 14, 2006. The students are walking around ladders, around the contractor's workman, over power cords and through clouds of concrete dust.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Our class is in iTunes

JMC163 in iTunes

Our Podcast is in iTunes
The podcast of this class is now listed in Apple's iTunes. If you go to the Podcasts section and do a search on jmc163, you should be able to subscribe to the podcast fairly simply. I believe this is a first for Journalism and Mass Communications.

Today's lesson is electricity

Electricians in Clark Hall

Camera Phone Post: Rush, rush to get Academic Success Center Ready

Electricians do electrical work above and right next to students studying in Clark Hall today.

Burgers and Beer with Scoble

Edupodder Podcast 28, 42:51 duration, 39.22 MB MP3 - Posted Sep. 13, 2006
Candid conversation, recorded September 12, 2006.

To listen to high quality audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
This conversation with Robert Scoble was recorded before the third meeting of our class, Journalism 163. This unedited conversation happened before our class. Present in this podcast is Professor Lilly Buchwitz, Journalism Student Mark Powell, Professor Cynthia McCune and myself.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scoble comes to our Journalism class

Robert Scoble at SJSU
Photo by Andrew Venegas

Scoble comes to JMC163
Former SJSU journalism student and tech expert Robert Scoble came back to SJSU to tell students in our Journalism 163 class about blogging, podcasting and other new technologies including Second Life. More information will be following including podcasts of this conversation and the one at dinner before his talk to our class. Student Andrew Venegas did this great post during the class.

I have known Robert for about 16 years. he is a long time friend and has been an inspiration since he started as a student in The School of Journalism and Mass Communications back in the day.

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SJSU to ban Skype

Effective Thursday morning, the camput firewall configuration will be changed to block Skype VOIP traffic.

The UCAT Operating Practices document describing the reasons and details for this may be viewed at:

The university pulled down the notice of the ban. Here is a downloaded copy of the original version of it.

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Monday, September 11, 2006


Sue, Ken and I at the WTC

Just another panic Monday

Monday morning kernel panic
Fifth anniversary of 9/11, I forgot my work keys, my computer crashed...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Preparing for Scoble

Robert Scoble at SJSU 1991

Suggestions on preparing for Scoble
As we prepare for the visit of Robert Scoble this coming Tuesday, I recommend students take these steps:

  1. Check out Scoble's blog
  2. Check out his book, (read it if you can!)
  3. Check out the Technorati list of 100 top blogs

As you look at Scoble and other bloggers, it is good to think about what the pull of these blogs are and how they contrast and compare with traditional media. Just going through this thought process will help prepare you for his discussion. Just to prove that he was once a regular SJSU student. Here are some photos from back in the day.

Scoble in my office

Is the Academic Success Center Ready?

Drilling in Clark
Photo taken August 24, 2006

Computer Lab Opening Soon
The Academic Success Center (ASC), located on the first floor of Clark Hall at San Jose State University, is soon opening to the campus community. In his Welcome 2006 address University President Kassing referenced the center:

So you can argue that innovation is a defining characteristic of this region. Of the top 20 cities nationally with the most patents, nine are within 20 minutes of this campus. Being located in this kind of environment has both influenced us and inspired us at our university. King Library, the Campus Village, our new wireless campus, and the new Academic Success Center with its incubator classroom, which, by the way, will open in mid-September, are all examples of this inspiration and influence.

Health and safety concerns in face of Tuesday lab opening
The computer lab (part of ASC on the first floor of Clark Hall) is being rushed to open on Tuesday. While it seems to me there is a huge rush to open the lab, the Help Desk (where I am assigned) and the Peer Mentoring center are already open in the ASC. They have been open there since the first day of the fall semester. Students, faculty and staff are using the area despite the fact construction is ongoing. The facility is not complete and, in my opinion, may not be safe.

The ASC is inside a big glass fishbowl just as you enter Clark Hall (the old Clark Library) from the south. The two main entrances to the facility are huge, thick, double doors made of glass and are very heavy. In the event of a fire, if they are locked, these exits would not open from the inside to allow emergency escape. This is how tragedies like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 occurred. An alternative emergency escape exit from the ASC is from a small door on the south side of the facility to the left of the main entry (as you walk into the facility.) This small door does open from inside even if it is locked and leads to the main building entrance and exit from the first floor of Clark Hall. Funneling a lot of people through a small door is how tragedies like The Station Nightclub Fire in Rhode Island of 2003 occurred. If the big glass doors are closed, but are unlocked, they are still big, heavy and cumbersome to open in a hurry. In short, if there are people in the ASC the big doors have to be open. The big doors are supposed to be signed, "These Doors Must Remain Open During Business Hours." As of Friday, September 9, this has not happened.

Another gap in signage that has not yet been fixed is that the small door on the south side of the first floor of Clark Hall has not been signed with an exit sign. This door is around a corner and not readily visible from the lab or help desk areas. Such a sign needs to not only be in place, it needs to be visible from inside of the facility. The need for this sign has been noted by the university health and safety authority but it has not been implemented despite the facility being in use. Hopefully, all of this will be fixed before the Tuesday September 12 planned opening of the lab.

There is another way out of ASC
There is a door in the back, on the north side, that leads to a hallway where the incubator classrooms are. This door is signed. If a person goes to this hallway, and goes to the left, there is a back exit from the facility. This is an exit that had been blocked at times by contractors, the good news is this problem appears to have been resolved.

The next issue is training
As the facility has been hurried to completion I think more than a few corners have been cut in the last minute rush. In my opinion one of these corners may be training for emergency evacuation of the facility. To my knowledge emergency evacuation training has not been given to the staff, nor planned for staff soon to be hired, who will be taking responsibility for the facility as well as the students, faculty and staff already using the facility and those that will be using the new computer lab. This is a busy place and a noisy facility. I also hope the alarm system has been tested and can be heard from every corner and room no matter how loud the place gets.

Full disclosure
I am a union steward, a past member of the campus-wide health and safety committee, member of my union's statewide communications committee, a 20 year university staff employee, a part-time lecturer, a graduate of SJSU (BA - Journalism and MA - Education) and a California tax payer.

I am excited as everybody else about the new facility. I think the lab on the first floor of Clark will be a wonderful asset furthering the mission of the university. With its 30 advanced work stations it is going to be a great thing for the campus community to be able to access this new lab. The desire to to open this as soon as possible is understandable. I just want to be sure we are doing this as safely as possible as well.

This blog post was made on my own time, using my own equipment and posted on my own Internet connection. No university resources were used.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Reminder: Scoble coming to SJSU on Tuesday

Robert Scoble will be talking the class professor Cynthia McCune and I are co-teaching. We will be starting right at 6pm on Tuesday. The location for this Dwight Bentel Hall room 226 at San Jose State University. If you have friends who are interested in sitting in on this event, please let me know. This is a great opportunity and should be a fun event. The focus is on New Media and Journalism and space is limited. If you and/or your friend are not J&MC students please RSVP to Steve Sloan, (it is a very large class room.)

Date: Tuesday, September 12
Location: San Jose State University, Room DBH226
Time: 6pm

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Unsafe Mess Cleaned Up

Door made accessible

Later that same day
After I sent the previous photo (see below) to the human resources health and safety rep, Mark Loftus, and CSUEU union chief steward Dennis Fox, they sent John Skyberg, Associate Director of Facilities Managment, to check out the situation. I received this reply from Fox, "I talked to Mark and he says it has been cleaned up and that the dumpster will be moved."

Previously I had verbally complained to Loftus about blocked exits, but this is the most action and fastest action I have seen take place to fix a hazard in Clark.

I think camera phones are a great way for employees and students to document unsafe conditions and get them fixed.

(Andrew Venegas Photo)

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Unsafe condition at SJSU?

Camera Phone Post: Trash in front of fire exit

SJSU Clark Hall fire exit. Despite the fact that student, faculty and staff use is ongoing in the former Clark Library, construction is still going on. There has been issues with the contractors blocking exits. In my opinion this is a potential fire hazard.

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Monday, September 04, 2006

JMC163 Podcast: Class August 29, 2006

JMC 163 Fall 2006 Podcast 02, 01:07:31 duration, 61.82 MB MP3 - Posted Sep. 04, 2006
Session of Journalism 163 class, recorded August 29, 2006.

To listen to high quality audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
This is the first meeting of our class, Journalism 163. This recording is pretty much raw audio of most of the class and is posted here to enhance student's learning experiences. Special in this podcast, guest speaker Stephanie Quilao, who blogs at Back in Skinny Jeans, tells J163 students that the growth of blogs and other new media technologies makes this a good time to start a media career.