Sunday, December 24, 2006

Last Post for 06

Kenneth and Fran at dinner

Have a very Merry Christmas
Yesterday we went to Viva's in Los Gatos. We had a very nice dinner.

Going offline
Today Fran is flying east and we are going off the grid. I will be off the Internet until the new year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Two towers, morning light, SJSU

Two towers SJSU

School is out for the year
This was a short day at SJSU. We worked half a day and now the campus is closed until January 2, 2007. This is also the day after the shortest day of the year. I brought a film camera to work and shot a short roll. The low angle of light and the crisp cold winter morning air made for dramatic light on these two west campus towers.

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Christmas Message

MoveOn Christmas Card

Click Here to send a MoveOn Holiday Card via e-mail.

Viral Marketing: Ipod in the blender

Will it blend ipod

Blending an iPod
Another "Will It Blend?" video by Blendtec. This time is this an amazing way to sell blenders, or what? Talk about viral marketing! This makes me care care about whether my next blender is by Blendtec. I am serious, here is a great report on the Blendtec case study.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter begins today

First day of Winter

It is the first day of winter
The good news is from here on out the days get longer and Spring comes in mid-February.

BMW (South Africa), Defining innovation

What an amazing commercial. This is for all you ad majors out there.

InDesign Event in SF in January

Bay Area InDesign User Group:
I'd like to announce the next meeting of the Bay Area InDesign User Group for Thursday (YES, THURSDAY) January 11th, 2007 at 6:30pm, to be held at Adobe San Francisco. Here's a plan: Go to Macworld all day and then join us for fun and frivolity in the evening -- plus you'll learn something, too.

We will be having two special presenters this meeting: Sandee Cohen, InDesign guru; and Bob Connolly, Interactive PDF expert.

Follow-up to last session:
Interactive PDFs, What can really be done: Welcome Bob Connolly to show us what can really be done with Interactive PDFs. Last meeting I showed you the basics and Bob will demonstrate what an expert can do. Come and be wowed by his creative genius. You will be amazed at what bookmarks, hyperlinks, sounds, and movies in interactive PDFs can really do.

Sandee Cohen, Unleashed:
Join us for our annual Sandee show. Who knows what new tips and tricks are up her sleeve this time. Or what hilarity she will bring. Sandee is an extraordinary presenter, trainer, author and designer and she's done these things all over the world. Don't miss this IDUG session!

As always, the evening will conclude with the group's customary raffle of valuable software, books, and prizes.

Be sure to sign up so we have an accurate count for pizza and refreshments.

Date, time, and location
THURSDAY, January 11, 2007
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Adobe San Francisco
601 Townsend St, at 7th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Adobe San Francisco's main entrance is on Townsend Street, Reception is on the first floor. Note that you will have to sign in at the front/reception desk. Directions are at

Public Transit:
SF Muni bus #10 passes in front of the Adobe San Francisco office en route to the Caltrain depot, the Transbay terminal, and Market St. SF Muni bus #19 crosses Townsend at 8th St. traveling south, and at 7th St. traveling north to Market St. and BART. The Caltrain depot at 4th and Townsend is several long blocks from Adobe San Francisco. SF Muni bus routes 9, 12, 22, 27, 33, 47, and 53 also pass within walking distance. San Francisco Bay Area Transit Information has schedules and maps for San Francisco Muni, Caltrain, and other transit agencies.

There should be plenty of on-street parking in the area unless there is a baseball game. I don’t know about any parking garages in the area. It's usually not too hard to find parking on Townsend after 4pm. It's best to park between 4th St. and the 6th St. underpass, on the building-side of Townsend. Someone told me they had heard there have been break-ins in cars parked on the Caltrain fence side of Townsend. After almost a year of meetings, I have never heard of any problems myself.

6:30 - Check in, pizza, and socializing
6:45 - Announcements
7:00 - Interactive PDF- What can really be done
7:45 - Sandee Cohen- Unleashed
8:45 - Rafflemania
9:00 - Meeting adjourned

BTW, don't forget there are other User Groups around, too:
The Acrobat User Group meets at Adobe San Francisco on the first Thursday of even numbered months (

The Photoshop User Group meets at Adobe San Jose on odd numbered months- contact Dan Clark for details (

The San Francisco Digital Imaging Group meets the first Tuesday of odd numbered months in San Francisco (

Photoshop CS3: Photoshop User Group Meeting in January

The next users group meeting will be on Tuesday, January 16. We will see a demo of the new Photoshop CS3. As you probably know, Adobe announced that a public beta of CS3 can now be downloaded. Find more details at this site.

We'll have pizza and drinks at 6:30, and the meeting will start at 7:00. The meeting will be in the Park Conference Room, so come to the lobby at Adobe Systems' East Tower, 321 Park Avenue, San Jose. To park underneath the Adobe building, use the Almaden Avenue entrance, under the East Tower. If the security guard at the parking entrance asks for an Adobe contact, use John Nack's name.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know who might be interested. If they would like to be on our email list, have them respond to:

See you there,
Dan Clark & Tom Upton

P.S. Here's some other info we've been asked to pass along:

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Man, it is cold outside!

Frost on windshield

It has been amazingly cold
My sons have been blogging about the cold in Washington and Alaska. I am right there with them! Each of the last three mornings I have had to scrape frost off my windshield. This morning on the way to work it was in the mid 30's. Man, it is cold! I have my thermals on.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Preparing to save lives

CERT training

The most important training I hope I will never use
My colleague Colin and I have been going through CERT training every day this week.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

One of the greatest constants in the recent disasters this country has faced is that it can often be a long wait between the crisis and when help arrives. We saw it in Katrina and in the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. This area has the potential for an earthquake over ten times that size. If we get hit with a 1906 level quake destruction will be massive. The emergency responders will be totally overwhelmed and the infrastructure loss will be incredible. We may be cut off for a very long time. Who, then will be the first responders? We will! Are you ready? That is the point of this training. There will be no time for learning when disaster strikes, and the experts say, it is a matter of when.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

End of 163, for now

JMC163 Class

The end of 163 as we know it
This was an experimental class that started the Fall semester with a blank slate. Formally titled as a class on streaming, we took the view that podcasting is the new streaming. For their mid-terms every student did a podcast, complete with its own RSS stream. We were given a blank slate and so we embraced new media and the class was billed as "New Media in Journalism." Technologies taught in the class included blogging, Second Life, podcasting and RSS. We used Skype as a teaching tool and in the process this class saved Skype at SJSU when the university proposed the ban of it. The Skype story went global. It was an example of amazing timing that this class was in the right place at the right time on that issue. The class not only learned about new media journalism, we became new media journalists.

Our class received national attention, thanks to the resulting media coverage of the Skype story, and there was no way this class was ever going to slip under the radar. Fantastic speakers came to our class, physically and virtually via Skype and Second Life. Despite having poor facilities and few resources the class exceeded all expectations of ours.

I think the class succeeded because we were not afraid to fail.  Dr. Dale E. Turner said, "Some of the best lessons we ever learn are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future." On the first day of class we announced we would make mistakes in this class, but we intended to learn from them. Making mistakes became part of the process.

Even though we were given this class with a blank slate, even though we were a prototype, all of a sudden we became high profile. Folks with preconceived agendas took notice. Partly because of this, only partly, next semester's class will be very different.

But, that would be true even without the new agendas. That is the nature of prototypes. The lessons we learned as teachers of 163 in the Fall of 2006 would demand it. For these students, and us teachers, we were the pioneers and because of it we all had a truly unique experience. What a thrill that has been!

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Academic Technology Christmas Party

AT Christmas Party

Nobody photocopied their butt at this party
Nobody danced on the tables, or under the tables. For an office Christmas party it was a pretty tame event (at least compared to the parties we had at the newspaper I worked for in the 70's.) In fact, after this party was done, we all went back to work (there was no alcohol.) Still, the food was great, it was very well organized and I think everybody had a good time. Thank you to the folks who organized this.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Advice: Keep on blogging!

Great advice from Professor Lilly Buchwitz
I am a flash in the pan, a part timer teaching a night class. Professor Lilly Buchwitz is the real deal, a tenure track new professor who has the potential to really make a difference. This semester all the students in her Media and Society class (MCOM 72) did blogs. This her advice to them. I am really happy we have her teaching in JMC.

Family moment: My youngest son

Kenneth Sloan

Soon Kenneth will be 20
In just under a month youngest son Kenneth will be 20. He is a good son and a good friend. We get together at least once a week and do things like watch recorded episodes of Jericho, go to meetups or go run model trains. He also comes to some of our events at SJSU. We often go to lunch together and just hang out and talk.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Get trained, save a life

SJSU CERT Training
Should disaster strike we university employees may be the only thing standing between life and death for university students and/or our fellow workers. Are you ready? Next week the university is offering Campus Emergency Response Team Training. It is free! Now that you know about it, how can you not go? What if someday your decision to not go to this training causes another person to be hurt or worse?

New Adobe Software Coming

Adobe to release an beta of the new version of Creative Suite
The new version, Creative Suite 3 (CS3) will be Intel/Mac native and will replace Go-Live with Dreamweaver. Final release version of CS3 expected to ship this Spring.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fun with trains

Cal Central Train

I relax by playing with trains
One of my hobbies is playing with little trains. Both youngest son Kenneth and I are members of the California Central Model Railroad Club, located in the old Agnews Train Depot in San Jose.

Friday, December 08, 2006

It is dead day!

Leaf cleanup at SJSU

Camera Phone Post: A gray dead day at SJSU
It is dead day, that quiet day between the end of regular classes and the start of finals. On top of that, there is a storm coming in and the wind is blowing. The rain is coming soon. The wind is bringing down the leaves and the grounds workers are trying to keep ahead of them.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Negotiation saves some newspaper jobs

Mercury News agreement saves some jobs
Hard bargaining session with union reduces newspaper job losses from 69 to 27.5.
As a former union leader I can only imagine how painful this must have been for the negotiators.

The San Jose Mercury News has reached a tentative agreement with the San Jose Newspaper Guild for a two-year contract that significantly reduces the number of layoffs the newspaper was planning.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Save GA!

Save GA

Save Google Answers Video
I just saw this wonderfully inventive video on YouTube about the effort to save Google Answers. Okay, what is Google Answers? According to Wikipedia this morning:

Google Answers was an Internet search and research service offered for a fee by Google, "answer brokering". It was launched by Google in April 2002, and went out of Beta in May 2003. In late November 2006, Google reported that it planned to permanently shut down the service. As of November 30, 2006, new questions may no longer be asked, but existing questions may continue to be answered until December 30, 2006.

Worth a look at the video. It is a great example of effective multimedia for the web, like your final project for JMC163. Here is a link to the Save Google Answers Blog. If you have a cause you would like to promote (or something you would like to save) this is a great approach!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pondering the revolution

About The Student Manifesto
There is a revolution going on. It is a quiet revolution. It is the kind of quiet revolution in politics that SJSU J&MC alum Joe Trippi spoke about in the world of politics in his watershed book The Revolution Will Not be Televised. But, it is not a revolution that is limited to politics. It is also a business revolution, like that talked about in business books like The Cluetrain Manifesto and SJSU J&MC alum Robert Scoble's book (co-written with Shel Israel) Naked Conversations. It also a societal revolution and it is reflected in how social groups are interacting as reflected in Howard Rheingold's book Smart Mobs. It is a global revolution, as reflected in Thomas L. Friedman's very long book, The World Is Flat. It is a media revolution as reflected in Dan Gillmor's prescient book, We The Media. On top of these and many, many, many other books, articles, blog posts, interviews, conferences, podcasts and other communications about Web 2.0, the changing nature of society and about that big huge still being defined thing we lump together in a big sticky blob we are calling "new media" add Andrew Venegas's Student Manifesto.

So what is this revolution?
Is it about J&MC, or SJSU, or CSU, or USA? I do not see blood on the streets, what kind of revolution is this? It is a revolution about conversation. It is about the power of ordinary citizens as well as new media journalists to be able to go to their virtual windows to the world and (using their blogs, podcasts, video blogs and other forms of new media) to be able to shout out, "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!" In the fictional 1976 movie Network, Howard Beale from his TV pulpit was able to inspire folks to go to their windows and yell that out. Each individual's voice carried maybe a few houses. It was only Beale's voice that was able to reach across the nation, only Beale had the network. Now we all have a network, it is called the Internet. That is the revolution.

Ordinary folks can have their say and can change things
If the message is compelling enough to resonate, it can spread virally across the Internet and can make the leap from new media to traditional media. The message/story can echo throughout the globe and the course of even the biggest aircraft carriers can be altered. That is what folks in JMC163 saw happen with the Skype story. Folks in that class were not given the power to participate, they were not given the secret software, they already had that, we all do, it is free on the Internet. That is the revolution. Students, taxpayers, customers, employees, citizens all have a say, all have a network, all have global reach. Nobody controls the message.  In my opinion that is the revolution, indeed!

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Skype story in Chronicle of Higher Education

If Steven G. Sloan is at work, odds are that he will be on Skype. As an information-technology consultant at San Jose State University, Mr. Sloan uses the free Internet telephone service to make long-distance telephone calls and send instant messages to colleagues around the world. In his other job as a lecturer in the journalism school, he uses the service to bring guest speakers from remote locations into the classroom and to record podcasts for the class Web site.

I am in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education
This is way cool and the first time I have ever been in a publication like this. There just a few things I wish had been done a bit different.

Here is a brief list:

  • The formal form of my first name is Stephen Sloan, not Steven.
  • Professor Cynthia McCune is not mentioned at all and she should be. We collaborated very closely on this class and she co-taught it.
  • It quotes me as saying, ""Skype is the de facto standard," says Mr. Sloan, of San Jose State, noting that Skype has integrated Internet phone calls, video chats, file transfers, and instant messaging into its service. Because the service is so popular, Mr. Sloan says, asking users to switch to another client would be like "routing around a nuclear blast."
    What I think I said was something like, it is the nature of the Internet to route around obstructions. The Internet was designed to route around nuclear blasts. Were we to ban Skype at SJSU the faculty and staff at our university could be routed around and miss out on the collaboration and pedagogical opportunities Skype offers. If this were to happen we would be at a competitive disadvantage compared to other schools.

All in all I am quite pleased the story ran. I really hope it encourages educators to use Skype in their classes. It has really helped us this semester and I am thrilled to have been able to work with it.

The reason there is not a link to the story is because it is in a walled garden. The Chronicle only allows subscribers access to their in-print content online. I will have copies of the story available in the Tuesday class.

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WMD hitting traditional media?

Weapon of math destruction hitting traditional media?
We are seeing business models being disrupted in traditional media at an ever increasing pace. Why is this happening? David P. Reed may give us a clue in this post. Oh yes, and higher education as it now exists as a business model is not immune either.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Skype in the classroom

More on Skype in the classroom
Today we continued the Skype conversation from last Thursday on the Language Lab Unleashed with another session hoted by Barbara Sawhill that included return visits from Joe Dale, Phil Wolff and myself plus Deborah Cordier from the University of South Florida; Chris Fuller, an MFL teacher in Devon, England; Paul Harrington, an ICT coordinator at Cefn Forest Primary School in Caerphilly, South Wales; and Alex Savage, an ICT teacher at Notre Dame High School in Norwich, England. As stated on their post, "This was an ecclectic and international group!" This is available as a podcast. This is really great stuff and well worth checking out.

The Thursday November 30 session podcast is here.

Podcast From Sunday, December 3
Update: Mon Dec 4 10:26:53 PST 2006

The Sunday December 3 session podcast is here!

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ergonomics and safety event

Ergonomics and Workplace Safety Seminar
This one hour course on on Tuesday morning for employees includes an overview of preventative ergonomics and safety measures for employees who work in an office setting, and an introduction to the universities injury reporting and workers' compensation program. More info here.

Apple Event Thursday

Apple Technology Showcase
There is an Apple event at SJSU on Thursday.

Sato proposes SJSU online community

Building an online community at SJSU
SJSU journalism student Daniel Sato has what I think is a great idea, he is talking about building an on-line community at SJSU where students, and I SJSU assume faculty and staff, could vote on blog stories that are of interest to them and possibly the campus community. This would provide an attention stream that could be a great tool for our campus community.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Skype Podcast

Podcast: Skype Teaching Tool or Network Nemesis?
In this Skype conversation, hosted by Language Lab Unleashed, a group of educators from across the nation (myself included) and a university network administrator, joined Phil Wolff from Skype Journal in a discussion about the use of Skype in the classroom. Much of the discussion was about the now changed plan to discontinue using Skype at SJSU. This conversation occurred after I got of work yesterday. (So, I am not speaking on the university's dime.) Note the quality of the audio. This group conversation occurred using a free software program, Skype, and was recorded on a low end Macintosh computer and low cost audio capture software.

53.3 MB MP3 Audio File Here

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