Thursday, November 30, 2006

December 14 Podcast Meetup

The Silicon Valley Podcasting Meetup Group has an event in two weeks!
What: The Silicon Valley Podcasting December Meetup

When: Thursday, December 14 at 7:00PM

Where: Yahoo! @ Mission College
2821 Mission College Blvd
Santa Clara CA 95054

Event Description:
Come on out to talk audio and video podcasting at the Silicon Valley Podcasting Meetup Group!

We'll use the time to get to know each other, talk about being Podcasters, and discuss what we want out of our Meetups... valley style! Wanna do a demo or speak? Let us now. It's mixer- style and low key.

Roger: A film by Journalism 163 students

Roger, by group JMC163

A film by JMC 163 Students
This funny and clever film was done by students in Journalism 163, the class that Cynthia McCune and I teach. The students are: Ron Campos, Jaydee deJesus, Jessica Drnek and Andrew Venegas. I think they did a fantastic job and am very proud of the work they and their fellow JMC163 students have done this semester.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Editorial: The evil of opacity

What we would like to do, may not be what we can do (and maybe that is okay)
That is just a fact of life. We learn as kids, "if wishes were horses then beggars would ride." Sometimes it is easy to just keep our wants and needs to ourselves. But, when it comes to what we want and need as a university, I think openness is better than being closed. I think we need to be more open about what we need, we should put it out there, rather than use the lack of resources as an excuse.

There is also the matter of allocation of the resources we do have. If folks are engaged in the thought process I think they are more likely to help us. I think we need to openly talk about where we see our school going and our vision of the future. I think we need to be free to do this as individuals as well as an institution. I think we need to have open conversations in a way that engages our colleagues, our partners and also our customers, the students. I believe our customers deserve more respect. I think our other customers, the public, deserves to engaged, after all, they pay our salaries. They are taxed to pay our salaries.

SJSU is a public state funded university. I see it as being paradoxical that we public servants are performing our public services spending the taxpayers hard earned money and yet we see it as the right thing to do to be opaque. New media is all about transparency and conversation. But, from what I see, that seems counter to a university culture of closed doors, politics, secrecy and overall opacity.

To me that opacity is not right, it is evil, and maybe that is why I seem to be so good at getting in trouble when I state my opinion. I may be wrong often and readily admit when I am wrong. There are worse things than being wrong. I think if you are open about your intentions and you are wrong and someone points that out you have an opportunity to change for the better. But, I think if you exist in a world of shadows and you are wrong that is worse; because then your mistakes remain hidden they never have an opportunity to be amended. I would rather risk being openly wrong than have to be secretly right knowing my ideas will never see the light of the day.

I love my school and I think we should express our ideas and opinions, consider those of others and speak out about our feelings and embrace the collective intelligence of all those great folks who care about us enough to engage in a conversation constructively. That is why I love blogging and all the other forms of new media. It is based on the Internet and the two basic concepts of the Internet: the Internet routes around obstacles and enables communication to all nodes from all nodes. How does the Internet do this? It does that because on the Internet all nodes are equal. On the Internet all nodes are free to communicate.

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Just a crisp morning at SJSU

Autumn leaves at SJSU

Cold crisp morning at SJSU
Mornings like this have their own special magic. The air is so clear and so fresh and yes, so cold. The last of the passing season's leaves hang on in their futile effort to resist the coming winter. There is a metaphor in that, I guess. But, this minute, I prefer not to think about that. I just want to enjoy the lovely morning.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The end of 163 as we know it?

Big changes for the Spring term of 163
There is a plan to turn 163 partly into a software teaching class and teach InDesign, Photoshop, other applications and maybe half a semester's worth of "new media." This will be a real change in what has become known as, "the podcasting class."

I have nothing against the Adobe Creative Suite applications, I use them and have taught them. But, I do not see this as being consistent with what we are doing in this class. This semester 163 has concentrated on the Internet and emerging forms of journalism. Maybe I am wrong.

We have a meetup on Thursday November 30 at 7pm in downtown San Jose at Tony Soprano's Pizzeria. You are invited to come or comment. I would love to get input from folks on this subject. I know our accreditation limits the amount of units we can do new stuff with. But, I see this class as being critical.

What do you think is more important? Should we focus on enhancing the teaching of traditional media or explore and expand our reach of new media? As a person who teaches this stuff I want to hear what you think. This semester we really covered Web 2.0. Should we cut out about half the class to teach computer applications? Your opinion matters, to me. You are invited:

When: Thursday, November 30 at 7:00PM
Where: Tony Soprano's Pizzeria
87 E. San Fernando Street Near SJSU Downtown
San Jose CA 95113

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Ben Willmore Seminar on Photoshop

Ben Willmore clowning for camera

Photoshop CS2 for Photographers
Today I took a day of vacation and paid my own way to attend the best day of Photoshop training I have ever had. I thought I was good at Photoshop, but what Ben taught me has changed forever how I will use this tool. Ben Willmore is great. This workshop was superb. I highly recommend it to anybody who is serious about Photoshop CS2. Oh yes, Ben has a great sense of humor too.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Help Desk Holiday 2006

Help Desk Staff

Help Desk Staff Celebrates Holidays
In a tradition that started last year, we had a Thanksgiving Eve Holiday celebration. I made turkey for dinner and all the other staff also brought dishes, drinks and eating utensils. It was too much fun. After the meal we watched a movie in the Clark Hall conference room. These are great young people, all from south asia, and it is a pleasure knowing them. It is like one large family here.

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Clark Hall: Signs of Improvement

Clark Hall Nov. 21, 2006

Everybody wins when safety is improved
This is truly a win-win situation. After both the faculty and the staff unions joined the safety grievance at Clark Hall things started to improve. New signs are going up and obstructions are being removed. All parties are now working together to improve the exit routes from this building. Hopefully, we will never have to make an emergency evacuation of this building. But, if we do, we will now be better prepared and lives may be spared. That is a win for everybody!

New signs at Clark

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

JMC 163: The world listened

Looking back on 163
We have had a great time teaching 163. We took to heart what the department chairman said to me when he recruited me, that we had a "blank slate." We have accomplished a lot. Every student in the class has created a podcast for their midterms. For their final projects, most students have completed, or are doing, video multimedia projects.

Through their blogs the class took the Skype story, went global with it and changed the course of the university. When the publisher of Skype Journal learned about our coverage of the Skype story he picked it up and ended up coming to our class and speaking with us.

He wasn't the only one who came. We have brought in speakers who are recognized around the world in new media and are excited to see it is being taught. The students got to meet some folks who are changing the world through new media and got to see some technologies that are just now on the horizon. The students learned not only how these communications technologies are growing in leaps and bounds while the old traditional media is fading; the students learned why. This "why" is so much more important. The "how" may be enabling, the "why" is empowering. In my opinion, why is more important than how. The how is changing all the time. The how changes like waves in the ocean as new technologies emerge. The why, on the other hand, is like a tidal wave of change that is not just hitting journalism, it is hitting business, it is hitting politics, it is hitting the world.

The course, and the school, has gotten a lot of positive recognition thanks to Journalism 163 (as it is now being taught) and is on the cusp of getting a lot more. J&MC is out in front on this and we instructors have put our hearts and souls and a lot of work into this class. We have learned a lot and have had a wonderful experience.

Most importantly our students have gained valuable skills and more. They have gained insight into the global "new media" conversation (often called "Web 2.0") that is going on and how the media landscape is changing and why things will never go back to being the same as they were in the past.

That is what we did with this "blank slate" and I think our students will be better equipped to deal with the real world of emerging "new media" journalism because of it. We did this all without having even a printer in the classroom because frankly, we did not need one. We did not need paper. The class was all out there for the world to see on the student blogs and the world listened. That is the coolest part, the world listened.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

My Last BBB, for now

December BBB

My last issue of the bike club newsletter for now
Because we got our house burglarized last week and I had some of my equipment stolen this was an especially challenging issue to get this out. But, the old newspaperman in me could not miss an issue (especially my last one.) So, here it is! There was no time for corrections or edits due to my schedule. The final, finished and complete December 2006 newsletter is posted here in PDF.

This issue is done and it has been sent to the printer. This is the printer's version in PDF. This is how it has gone to the printer.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Steve Sergeant coming to JMC163

Tuesday Nov. 21 Speaker: Steve Sergeant
We are very lucky to have Steve as the speaker to our Tuesday class. Steve is the producer and host of The Wildebeat. This podcast is billed as, "an audio journal — like a radio news magazine — presenting news and features to help you explore the Earth's remaining wild places. Each week, (Steve publishes) a 10 minute documentary piece catered to the needs of people who enjoy wilderness recreation."

His podcast is a great example of new media journalism. He does a weekly feature story of interest to folks who enjoy the wonders of the back country. As well as being very approachable and a really nice a pleasant fellow, Steve has a very interesting story about how he started his podcast. He comes from a public broadcasting background and is very knowledgeable technically. He has given me great advice on podcasting equipment. He knows his stuff! This class should be a real pleasure.

Class Information:

  • Location: DBH 226, Dwight Bentel Hall, San Jose State University
  • Time: 6 pm, November 21, 2006

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

An Act of Kindness

An act of kindness

A film by Akshay Prem Vyas
With all the bad stuff that has happened recently, especially our recent burglary and Sue's accident plus the struggle to get the safety issues in Clark Hall fixed, it was becoming easy to feel jaded and cynical. Then, a special film was brought back to my attention. Akshay is a wonderful young man from India who works at the San Jose State University Help Desk. Akshay and his friends made this movie for Campus Moviefest that reminds us that in general people have good hearts and that what goes around comes around. Thank you Akshay and friends for making this movie. It made my wife and I very happy to watch it again, it was an act of kindness.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Clark Hall (Un)Safety Story Continues

Clark Hall Blocked Fire Exits

Rear of vehicle, Clark Hall

The latest from Clark Hall, a letter to the university
Why is this such an ongoing struggle? Why is the university dragging its feet on this?

Workplace safety should not be something that leads to grievances. I have asked both CSUEU and CFA to come in on this matter and to file union grievances. I have been having discussions about this matter since I was assigned to work in this facility. In my opinion; this building, as it is currently being operated, poses an ongoing threat to the safety of the students, faculty and staff who occupy it.

If you look at the historic structure fire disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Rhode Island disco fire of 2003 it was impeded fire exits that caused such horrible loss of life. I have filed grievances and blogged about this and will continue to file grievances and blog about this until the danger is removed. We should be working together on this, not as adversaries. Is the university really intent on perpetuating and defending unsafe working and learning conditions? As a friend of mine said, the problem is now and it needs to be fixed now!

Reference, See Posts: | November 9, 2006 | September 7, 2006

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Copybot threatens Second life

Copybot threatens Second Life's virtual economy
According to CNET news:

Linden Lab, which publishes Second Life, posted a blog alerting residents of the virtual world to the existence of a program or bot called CopyBot, which allows someone to copy any object in Second Life... Some virtual entrepreneurs now worry their livelihoods are at stake, and some are threatening to shut down their in-world businesses before they get fleeced... Problem is, it's not clear yet if there's anything Linden Lab can do to stop people from using the bot.

Possible strike at SJSU?

Heidi Riggio at the Chancellor's Office

So, we marched on the Chancellor's Office
This was the first time I participated in a job action as a member of the faculty union. Faculty members, supported by students and members of the various staff unions from all over the state marched on the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach, California as the university trustee's met. The faculty union in the entire CSU system has been trying to get a fair contract and so far that has not happened. The union may go on strike! This is the university biggest job action I have ever been in in all my years as a labor leader and university employee.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Home Burglary Alert

Canna Lane, San Jose, CA

This information is here in case anybody has a similar incident and goes to do a Google search on the subject.

Our home was broken into today, Nov. 13, 2006, between 10 and 11:30am. Here is what we know. According to witnesses, the burglars were driving a silver/grey Jeep Cherokee. Winesses said, there were three burglars, two white males in their late teens to early twenties and a black woman about 23-26. The witnesses said the men had a green back pack and were carring a white plastic garbage bag.

According to the witnesses the woman had a tattoo on her neck. They said the men were of slight build and appeared to the witnesses to be possible gang members. If you see anybody who matches this description please call the San Jose Police Department.

This is in regards to case 06-317-0585. I had computer, camera and podcasting equipment stolen. My wife lost jewlery and other items.

Steve Sloan
(408) 605-0692

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Is higher education on the verge of disruption?

Can higher education adapt to the effects of disruptive technology?
To understand what I am about to say I suggest you read the following Wikipedia entrys:

To quote the Wikipedia entry on disruptive technology

"...a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers who were ignored by established companies. Sometimes, a disruptive technology comes to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill (as more expensive, lower capacity but smaller-sized hard disks did for newly developed notebook computers in the 1980s) or by successively moving up-market through performance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents (as digital photography has begun to replace film photography)."

This is critical to understand! You cannot dismiss disruptive technology by saying it is not as good as the sustaining technology that given time it may replace and dominate. For example, at the turn of the 20th century the steam powered passenger train was the dominate public transportation paradigm. The airplane was invented in 1903. The airplane lacked the capability for long distance travel and there were no facilities available for public use of airplanes. Compared to the airplane, the train was safe, comfortable and reliable. But, transcontinental travel by rail took days. Airplanes were faster than trains. There was an unmet need for speedy travel. At first, the airplane was a niche market device. The airplane had a market that allowed it to develop and evolve in its niche. Fifty years later the airplane had evolved into a transportation paradigm that was safe, comfortable and unlike passenger trains, airplanes are was also fast. We now travel across the continent in hours routinely by airplane. The airplane disrupted the train as the dominate mode of public long distance travel.

So, what does that have to do with education?
Recently we had a presentation in our class of Second Life. Second Life is a type of Metaverse, a virtual world where people interact over the Internet, using their computers, in a three dimensional and highly detailed virtual world. In this presentation a person was in our class, another person was on the east coast, they were linked together verbally using Skype. Using Second Life and using Skype they were able stand side by side and talk to the class and the class was able to talk to them. Then, using Skype Recorder audio recording software, we recorded the conversation for release in a podcast. Imagine being able to come to class without going to class and/or being able to replay what you may have missed in class!

But, you argue, real classrooms are "better"!
If that is your argument you are missing the point! Remember, "a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers who were ignored by established companies." Consider the many people who are disenfranchised from, and cannot participate in, the existing paradigm because they have conflicting jobs, travel issues, child care responsibilities and/or other members of their families who require their attention.

In this mix you have, in my opinion, a huge unmet need. That is the niche opportunity for this technology to be developed to meet this unmet need. Add to this scenario Moore's Law, "Moore's Law equates to an average performance improvement in the (technology) industry as a whole of over 1% per week." When you look at the emerging technologies we are seeing now, think of them in light of performance improvements via Moore's Law. Think of them against a backdrop of increasing cost of oil based transportation. And, think of the huge cost of maintaining and sustaining the physical brick and mortar universities we all hold so dear. Will they be replaced by metaversities?

In my opinion, you have the recipe for disruption in higher education. I think higher education as we know it is ripe for disruption and does not have a clue what it is that may be coming at it!

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Stupid people and trains

Another stupid person and a train

Recently I talked about stupid people and trains. Well, here is more!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Podcamp West

Podcamp West

Checkout Podcamp West. It looks like a great event and it is free! We have signed up to go. The list of folks attending looks good.

Will it blend?

Will it blend?

Don't try this at home!
Eric Rice says this is the best use of coporate video ever! He may be right, this is too funny and well worth the time to check it out. Eric said:

This is like an actual company’s vlog… Blendtec makes blendors. I was cracking up at other videos and was thinkin, man I got to get one of those. I googled it just for the hell of it and sure enough, the logos matched, did a WHOIS, it’s blendtec.

You gotta check out Eric's blog. Eric Rice is one of the world’s leading experts in consumer generated media, particularly in podcasting and videoblogging. He is co-founder of Hipcast (previously as well as being the founder and executive producer of Slackstreet Entertainment, a holding company for podcast and videoblog consulting and products. Eric is also the coordinator of the Silicon Valley Pocasting Meetup Group. This a great group. We met last night. Kenneth, my youngest son, and I went. Eric has turned both of us on to Second Life and has bent my mind with great ideas several times. Folks who miss out on events like this miss out on some of the great moments of being in Silicon Valley.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Clark fire exit blocked again

Blocked Fire Exit, Clark Hall, SJSU

Camera Phone Post: The danger continues
Here is a photo taken this morning of blocked fire exits on the northwest corner of San Jose State University's Clark Hall, where the Academic Success Center is located and where I work. This is not a new problem. Before, on September 7, 2006 this situation was observed, photographed, reported and blogged. There is even a pending union grievance regarding safety matters related to Clark Hall. I would like to see the following added to that grievance:

  • The university shall place appropriate sineage that is clearly visible from a distance to anybody that blocking these fire exits is not allowed.
  • The university shall take any other actions necessary to see that these areas are kept clear.

Perhaps what they need to do is to paint on the concrete here in big bold letters Keep Clear!

In my opinion, in the event of a fire or an earthquake, the blocking of these exits could possibly lead to tragic loss of life. Safe working and learning conditions should not be something that leads to labor conflict. Having a safe campus is something we all should be on the same page about.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Press Release: CSU & SJSU Join iTunes U

Media Contact: Paul Browning, 562-951-4064,

California State University Adopts Podcast Learning

iTunes U Provides On-The-Move Studying

(November 2, 2006) -- Several California State University campuses have adopted iTunes U, an innovative software that enables students to download podcasts of such items as lectures, campus news, and class notes into their portable iPod systems.

The iTunes U service, developed and hosted by the Apple Computer, Inc., enables students to download audio, graphic and video images onto their Macintosh or PC computers, then copy them to their iPods to listen or view anywhere. Students may also upload content to share with professors, or the class. Professors and students using this free service are also linked to university news and information related to academic and student events.

Of CSU’s 23 campuses, Fresno State, Cal State East Bay, San Jose State, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Sacramento State have already adopted iTunes U.

“Podcasting and iTunes U provides us with yet another method to offer portable learning opportunities for our students, and enables Sac State to build on its long-standing tradition of providing educational access to its diverse community of learners,” said Rosemary Papa, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Sacramento State.

Using iTunes, professors may also effortlessly modify their messages, which reduces IT Department time. All content is stored in Apple’s hosted repository, which can be browsed, searched and configured to providing open or secure access. iTunes U also complements other higher education online learning systems, such as Blackboard.

According to Dr. Gary Reichard, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at CSU, the fact that both students and faculty are familiar with iPods greatly reduces the complications of learning how to use iTunes U.”

“Walking across a CSU campus, it seems that every other student is listening to an iPod. That’s why this technology is such a natural fit to our campuses— iTunes U represents a vehicle for learning and communication that students and professors have already embraced,” he said. “This software and its applications complement CSU’s objective to continually adopt the latest technologies for enhancing learning on and off campus.”

Peter Beyersdorf, associate professor of physics at San Jose State, agrees that iTunes U’s applications are a great tool for students, but also believes it provides professors an additional way to be there for them outside the classroom.

“One of the challenges I am continually confronted with is how to make myself available to my students outside of class,” he said “Via podcasts, I’m able to remotely provide the resources I want my students to have access to, and they are able to control when and how they access those resources.”

About California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 405,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 84,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See

SJSU students sleep on sidewalk

Students sleep out

Camera Phone Post: Students sleep out at SJSU
Students spent the night on the sidewalk not far from the statues of San Jose State student activists and 1968 Olympic Medal Winners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. They did this to illustrate the issue of homelessness in our country. Despite all the technology and all the wealth in our society there are still folks who lack a roof over their head. Homelessness is an issue that does not go away. Housing is so very expensive and so many people are a paycheck or two from living on the street. "Over a five-year period, about 2–3 percent of the U.S. population (5–8 million people) will experience at least one night of homelessness," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Clearing Storm over SJSU

Storm clods over tower hall

Camera Phone Post: Clearing Storm over SJSU
Storm clouds giving way to sun over tower hall. The rain is ending and it is Friday!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Great visit to CSU Stanislaus

CSUS union officers

I had a great visit to "turkey tech" and spent about five hours there in a very intensive day of shooting. Frank Borrelli is a fantastic union leader. He is president of the California State University Stanislaus (CSUS) CSUEU chapter. He has a way of making being in the union not only be the right thing to do, but also a fun thing to do. It is like everybody on campus knows him, and he knows them. He remembers everybody's name and knows and remembers details about their families. He can instantly launch into conversations with members of his chapter in a way that shows he genuinely cares about them. He has charisma, charm, optimism and a never ending sense of humor. What a wonderful experience this was. I feel so very lucky to have been able to visit Stanislaus and the two other campuses I have visited so far in this project. I shot over 150 usable images yesterday. The uses for the image library this is building for CSUEU in the UE, organizing fliers, the website and of course the upcoming calendar, in my opinion, are very worthwhile. By featuring a lot of pictures of our constituents we can really show them our desire to put the you in our union.

This has been so much fun, I wish I could have done this years ago!