Wednesday, January 31, 2007

JMC163 a go for Spring 2007

We are a go!
It was amazing. I had only six students pre-enrolled in my section and I figured I was hosed. When I went to the classroom yesterday I was amazed. There were 14 students hoping to add the class! I let them all in.

Last semester I was told it would take 14-15 students for this class to go. It seemed a long way from 6 to 14. Last semester professor Cynthia McCune and I struggled to get enough students for one section of Journalism 163. This semester four sections were scheduled. The class seemed like a real long shot. All sections were under enrolled, but we did not write it off.

Professor McCune and I started evangelizing, going to every class that we could to spread the word. Other faculty and students from last semester supported us and spread the word also. Professor Steve Greene is teaching a section and he also spread the word.

Viral marketing pays. Not only do we have enough students to cover three of the classes, they are all full!

Some of our biggest supporters have been our customers. They have been evangelizing the class to JMC faculty as well as fellow students. Professor Bob Rucker, who heads our radio and television journalism sequence, said this, “I have been pitching your class to students along with Cynthia and others and it seems to have paid off. Despite resistence you may encounter, please continue to teach them the new technology as you did last semester. As I told you, my RTVJ students I’ve seen said yes it was overwhelming…but they are using what you taught them and feel grateful they had you as their teacher.”

This is so cool!

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Help Desk Humor

University Help Desk Humor, (not from SJSU)
Edited from a distribution list - I have the "winning" help desk call of the week. Earlier today, an agitated instructor called our Help Desk to complain that her name is misspelled in three different locations, each spelling different from the next. Since this help desk is directly tied into PeopleSoft and since the spelling of our faculty names comes directly from payroll [who keys in whatever is on the faculty member's social security card], I assumed that the instructor wanted to change her name. Nope, that's not what she wanted. Her name was misspelled -- three times -- and she wanted it fixed. I checked her name in the directory and PeopleSoft against what she said the name was, and both matched perfectly. Since she was getting a little upset, I asked for her phone number and promised to call her back shortly [so she could have some time to calm down].

So I called the lecturer back an hour later, told her that her name was correctly spelled in PeopleSoft and the directory, and asked her where, exactly, does she see the misspellings. She replied: "".

Train Movie: Bill Darrough Railroad Photographer

UP steam locomotive

Ken and I are making a movie
My youngest son Kenneth has been scanning hundreds of train photos taken in the late thirties and early forties. These were taken by and/or are from the collection of Bill Darrough. This is an amazing collection of photographs. In a conversation with Bill's brother Jack in August of 1988 Jack said, "Bill died in 1942, he was 22 years-old. He suffered from severe teenage acne and they had treated it with massive doses of radiation, which at the time was thought harmless. The radiation cleared his acne but Bill died of cancer." According to Jack, he and Bill came from a railroad family. The members of a railroaders family were then given passes and could travel free on the nation's passenger trains. The period that Bill lived in was near the climax of the era of steam railroading in this country. Jack said Bill would pack two suitcases, one with film and the other with sandwiches and the young man would go on trips alone photographing trains. In my opinion had he lived he would have been one of the greatest railroad photographers of the twentieth century. It is an amazing story and so Ken and I are trying to tell it. We will be presenting the video movie in March at a railroad convention named Winterail.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Apple ordered to pay blogger's legal fees

Apple pays blogger's legal fees
According to macnn, "Earlier this month, a Santa Clara County Court ordered Apple to pay the legal fees associated with the defense of subpoenas issued to online journalists (and other related entities) in response to online reports about a confidential audio/video product..."

Note to all my colleagues at San Jose State University
I hereby declare and consider myself to be a journalist and my blogs to be news outlets. Be advised that when you are speaking in my presence you are speaking to a member of the press. I am making no secret about this and am declaring it globally here.
~Steve Sloan

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Macs being delivered

Mac Pros being delivered

The university is a good Apple customer
Last week the drama department took delivery of 30 Mac Pro computers. Apple has a good relationship with the university and puts a lot of effort into customer support and evangelism. This has been good for us as it has spurred innovation in teaching at SJSU.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Old trains

Sp 3106 on Sunset

Old train pictures
Twenty years ago, over the space of a couple of years, I printed a huge train picture collection. These were photos by a fellow named Bill Darrough. It was an amazing collection and is unpublished and this year I am doing a show about it for Winterail. It will be a lot of work, but the pictures need to be seen.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The students are back!

ASC SJSU stage area

Spring Semester is Here
School started last Wednesday and boy have we been busy! It is like everyone found out about the Academic Success Center over winter break, they are coming in droves! It is amazing how the campus can change over night. It is so quiet when school is out. I like it both ways quiet is nice. But, students are why we are here.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Life Certificate


"Hey, my name is Rianna,
I am a Junior at Tesoro High School and I am on the varsity song team." This is what her MySpace blog says. According to the LA Times, "Rianna Woolsey, a 16-year-old cheerleader, last logged onto on Dec. 6, 2005. She died the next day when her car smashed into a tree near her home in southern Orange County." Her page that has not changed since her death. The page is a time capsule of a life cut short. The only part that is different is the section where readers post comments. Since her death over a year ago, friends have written nearly 700 messages there.

When I look back over my life I think often of the last words spoken by friends and relatives before they died. My first wife crashed into a telephone pole on April 21, 1991. She was 33 when she died. This blog post is about more than the fact that we must be aware that every day may be our last, that we are not immortal, that we must live life in the present because we never know what the future holds. All of this is true. The extension of it is also true about our blogs and our other Internet presence.

Every blog post we make builds our legacy and tells the story of our lives. This is so important, this is what folks will look back on when we are gone. This is our lives with permalinks and cached in Google. Her words, my first wife Candy's words, or my sister's words, or my father's words, all these words and stories I have and the stories you have we hold in our memories can now be written and shared in a world by us and those living with us and preserved for a world without us. Rianna's continuing story is in the comments of Rianna's MySpace page. Her memory is shared for those who never knew her there. It is a story started by her before her death certificate and still being written by those who remember her.

Gone the Sun
In the book Gone the Sun, Winston Groom writes, "Sometimes I think we should be issued another paper, a Life Certificate if you will – which could contain some brief statement for historical purposes that could explain how a person lived and what they accomplished and where they failed and why."

This is your last blog post
Rianna's MySpace page has become like Groom's Life Certificate. Even more poignant than the last words spoken, those last words blogged. What will they be? As you blog always keep in your mind, this may be the last blog post. Someday it will be, likely when you don't expect it to be, someday it will be. We are writing our own autobiographies. These words will shape our memories. They will be our life story.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Balmy days at SJSU

Students in shorts

Students enjoy balmy false Spring days
The days have been lovely. It has been great to be able to go out in lighter apparel, especially after our recent cold spell.

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Parking abuse on campus?

Cars on sidewalk

Contractors abusing parking privileges?
Have you ever thought how nice it would be to just be able to drive right to the buildings you work in, park right in front and just walk in the door and go to work? According to some employees I have spoken to, that is just what some university contractors are doing. It is not unusual for contractors to be given parking permits that allow them to park on the sidewalks. There are sometimes business reasons for doing this. Contractors working on elevators, for example, may need access to tools or heavy replacement parts they might keep in their vans. But, according to employees I have spoken to, there are contractors who come into campus buildings and just to sit at desks. Reportedly these contractors have no business need to park next to campus buildings and/or on campus sidewalks. Reportedly these contractors are doing this anyway, apparently just because they can. A check of some of the vehicles seen parked in front of campus buildings has shown them to have valid sidewalk permits. This is better parking than the president of the university enjoys! If they can do it, why can't we? I am sure a lot of students would love to be able to park right at the buildings they attend classes in. Why can't they?

I have seen some of these contractor's vehicles parked on sidewalks for long periods of time. They sometimes block access for folks with disabilities. I feel they make our campus look like a parking lot. I wonder, what is the business reason for these contractors having to park so close to the buildings? I wonder, who is making sure that the ability to park on SJSU's sidewalks using contractor permits is not being abused? So many questions...

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Brad Mangin

Brad Mangin

Brad Mangin in San Francisco
On January 10 I ran into Brad Mangin at MacWorld. Brad is an excellent, excellent, sports photographer who graduated from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in 1988. After meeting Brad at the Apple event I went to see his presentation the next day at the San Francisco Apple Store. Brad's specialty is baseball. He is a regular shooter for Sport's Illustrated and Major League Baseball Photos. He is a heck of a nice guy too and has been a friend of the school's for years. He has come back to SJSU many times to be supportive of our students and our photojournalism program. Brad's presentation at the Apple store was about his work; how he has continued to develop and market his sport's photography through Of special interest were the many photos he has of Barry Bonds. What a great photographer Brad is! I really enjoyed his presentation.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Hidden Tiger, Crouching Vista

This has been around awhile. The audio is Vista, the video is Mac OS X.
Bill Gates on the Internet

Interesting clip of Gates talking about the Internet and some of his visions for it.
Magnetic Jewelery: Magic Mag-net-ic

This is a very cool video!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Adobe Photoshop CS3 event a winner!

Russell Brown at Adobe

Photoshop CS3 event a lot of fun!
If you missed the Tuesday Photoshop User Group event at Adobe you missed a good event. Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems Incorporated, Russell Preston Brown, a.k.a. Doctor Brown, demonstrated a number of very cool features of CS3 and even distributed free copies of a "new features" disc on the subject. Photoshop CS3 a great tool with some significant advances over Photoshop CS2. The room was jammed with attendees, it was standing room only. Free pizza and sodas were provided for all who attended. It was great seeing folks like Eugene Louie at the event. My youngest son went with me and we had a lot of fun.

Eugene louie

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bollards going in near Clark Hall

Installing Bollards

Bollards are being installed
Bollards are being installed to prevent vehicles from parking in a location blocking the fire exits on the north side of Clark Hall. This is really good news and should resolve the problems previously reported.

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Train Wreck: Stay out of first cars

Commuter train wreck

Most commuter trains today work in push mode
That means the locomotive is very often behind pushing the cars so the train is like it is moving backwards. Riding in the first car or two on a train in "push mode" is not a good idea. The passenger car is like a hollow tube and if the train runs into anything, like another train with a locomotive on the front, the riders of the train are at a severe disadvantage.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Come see Photoshop CS3 Today!

Come and see the new version of Adobe Photoshop!
The next Photoshop users group meeting will be today, 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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Monday, January 15, 2007

Podcasting and Rich Media PDF's

Adobe InDesign - Rich Media PDF's and Podcasting
Camera Phone Post: Bob Connolly presenting at the Bay Area InDesign User Group meeting Thursday January 11 on using Adobe InDesign to build interactive PDF "rich media" files. Connolly's presentation was great! According Connolly, "Acrobat documents “converged” with audio, video, and interactive content— it’s the wave of the future and it’s called rich media." Just a couple of hours earlier, at MacWorld, I saw a presentation by Phillip Torrone of O'Reilly Publication's Make Magazine. Torrone's presentation was on the future of Podcasting and the ability to use RSS 2.0 feeds to feed PDF podcasts. It was an example of serendipitous synchronicity that these two presentations were made at almost the same time. Taken together the possibilities are much greater than the sum of the parts.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

SimTeach, Kemp, Second Life, Education and Metaversities

SimTeach 2006, Second Life, Kemp and Metaversities
You might ask, "what the heck did Sloan mean when he blogged about Second Life and (gasp) the concept of a metaversity?"

Well, this should help explain. Here is a pdf document compiled by SJSU's own Jeremy Kemp on the use of Second Life as a teaching tool. Second Life (wikipedia) is a virtual world that is on the  Internet. The term Metaversity is a hack of the word Metaverse and University. According to Wikipedia, "The Metaverse, a phrase coined by Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel Snow Crash (1992) constitutes Stephenson's vision of how a virtual reality-based Internet might evolve in the near future." In my opinion this virtual reality-based Internet will be Web 3.0.

They may be college teachers and students, but they're also pioneers — exploring strange new worlds that exist nowhere on Earth. That's because their classes and field trips take place only on computers, using an online digital world called Second Life. - USAToday

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Is the game over for higher ed?

Where is all this going to go???
The world is changing very fast and from what I see higher education is really out of touch with trends in technology, society and business. I am beginning to wonder if traditional higher education (as we know it) can even respond to current trends in business and society fast enough to make a difference. I have been wondering, is it possible the game may already be over?

I think the future of higher education may be in virtual worlds. I think a Second Life-like "metaversity" could be a possible new way to approach higher education.

A virtual university could get its start as a "low market" disrupter serving folks unable to attend physical universities. In this way the metaversity would compete against non-consumption. It would not be seen as a threat to traditional institutions of higher education.

Traditional institutions of higher education may even see emerging metaversities as a blessing. They would allow brick and mortar universities to focus on higher profit students and move up-market without feeling guilt about folks who cannot afford the high cost of spiraling tuitions in traditional universities. Without competition, virtual metaversities would be free to prove themselves. Meanwhile Moore's law would be doing its thing expanding the capabilities of virtual worlds. At the same time social networking tools would also be maturing challenging the traditional socializing function of physical universities. The value of metaversities would increase. Fuel prices would also be going up. Increasingly the huge cost overhead of maintaing the physical plant involved in physical universities would become the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Folks who graduate from virtual metaversities would be at a competitive advantage in a connected workspaces characterized by virtual collaboration. Graduates from traditional universities would be disadvantaged in a Web 3.0 world.

The high-tech graduates skills and increased capabilities could hasten the move up-market of metaversities. Eventually you might see traditional universities close like last century's steel mills.

IMHO the only hope for universities is to embrace the customer and concentrate on the soft skills. But, meeting customer needs does not seem to be what we are doing well. From what I can see, that is our one best hope. From what I can see, that is not happening.

Of course by the time all this stuff I am talking about happens I will be outta here, in a physical world sense!

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Camera Phone Post: Tablet Mac Finally

Finally a tablet mac!
Andreas Haas (left) is the designer of the ModBook and the president of Axiotron the maker of the Axiotron ModBook. The ModBook is the only new Mac introduced at MacWorld 2007 and this baby really rocks! I wish Apple had done this years ago, but this is very cool.

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Camera Phone Post: AppleTV Demo

AppleTV presentation
The sleeper Apple product of the show may be Apple TV. This is NOT a replacement for your Tivo. It is really a whole new toy. It is a great platform for Video Podcasting and videoblogging and brings videoblogging, as well as other multimedia content into the living room. This could be a great platform for distance learning applications. Stay tuned for more on this subject! I was very impressed.

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Camera Phone Post: Iphone questions asked at Apple Booth

Iphone questions
Questions I asked and answers I got:

Q - Will the phone have voice recognition?
Q - Will there be the ability to run applications on the device?
Specific Mac OS X apps like Safari, but it's functionality will otherwise be more like an iPod.
Q - Will the version of Safari on the device be RSS enabled?
I think not, but do not know. That is a good question
Q - It obviously has the ability to read a markup language, (HTML) download files, can play multimedia content and supports HTTP. Will it be able to subscribe to podcasts without synching to a host computer?
No. I do not think so.
Q - Will it have the ability to cache Email data so that it can be consumed when the machine does not have an active Internet connection?
I got two answers from two Apple employees, one yes, one no.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MacWorld 2007: The new iPhone

Camera Phone Post; Macworld 2007
I am in the Microsoft Blogger Lounge at MacWorld at Moscone. Thanks Microsoft for making this available to bloggers! Speaking of Microsoft, do you know that Microsoft has hired Stephanie Quilao as their west coast blogging evangelist? Is that cool or what? Unlike Apple, Microsoft has been very supportive of blogging and bloggers and I appreciate that. IMHO the Borg days of Microsoft are so last century.

Apple is still cool though. I am very impressed with the Apple iPhone. I can hardly wait to get one. It is going to be a great tool. I wonder if it will be able to be used to subscrribe to podcasts directly? From what I have seen it is still very much a spoke rather than a hub in the Apple digital hub model. Depending in physical synching of the iPhone to a mac would really limit the potential for this device in higher education applications. As a personal device for me that won't be such a a problem, but as a tool for education that could be a real issue!

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Buildings, reflections and light

Buildings, light and reflections

Camera Phone Post: What is the best part of having a camera phone?
You never know what you are going to see. Maybe it will be a news event or maybe it will be a great convergence of light, buildings and reflections. But, with a camera phone you are always able to capture the moment. That is pretty powerful magic!

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Happy New Year

Madison at party

What a pip!
Granddaughter Madison celebrates the new year at a Sunday birthday party for Kenneth and holiday celebration.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Poverty at SJSU

People pushing a shopping cart

Poverty and homelessness on campus
In my opinion if you don't see poverty and homelessness on campus it may be because you are not looking very hard. Maybe you are trying not to see it. It has been here for all the twenty plus years I have worked at San Jose State University. It is seldom talked about and almost never does anybody do anything to address it. So, I guess it will always be here. At least it will as long as everybody keeps working so hard not seeing it.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Nash Equilibrium Clip

Nash Equilibriums: A Beautiful Mind

Or, why rational competitive human beings (and organizations) naturally resist radical innovations. Hint: It is about avoiding losing, not about winning! Question: If we are so afraid of losing that we you do not take a risk to win, why do we even play the game?

Scoble: Why no bad PR for Apple

Scoble: Why does Apple seem to get by w/o bad PR?
I am a long time Mac Evangelist and love Apple's products. I currently have about seven Apple Mac computers and three iPods and have owned and used many more over the years. I am a good Apple customer and used to say, what Guy Kawasaki once said, "when cut I bleed six colors." (Referencing the old Apple six color logo.)

I am a passionate Mac user. I was recruited to the Apple cult by former, and now born-again, Mac user Robert Scoble. (Trivia - Do folks know he got the moniker "Scobelizer" thanks to the hacks he used to do to SJSU staff and faculty member's Macs? They used to call me and say, "Help, I have been Scobelized!")

I am also a passionate blogger and it bothers me that Apple is not blogger friendly as a company. In this post Scoble writes:

Duncan Riley reminded me again that the press treats Apple differently than it treats Dell and other companies. Why is that? Is it because Apple gives exclusives to mainstream press and won’t even talk to bloggers?

Despite being a company that makes cool products Apple seems to me to take a very un-Cluetrain approach to running its business. It is their business and it is not enough to to make me stop using Apple products. But, I don't like it and I am an Apple customer. In my Cluetrain world that matters, or at least it should matter!

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Rain on campus

Rain reflection SJSU

Rain on campus
This is Winter Session and the campus is very quiet and peaceful. When the rain comes the puddles form in the usual places resulting in reflections of familiar places on campus. Reflections are like paintings laying flat on the earth. These paintings appear in the still places, then they fade away.

I took this photograph yesterday while walking across campus on an errand. The person walking across the top of the frame made the picture I think.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

What is it going to take to be safe?

SJSU FD&O Cart in front of fire exit

What specificially is it going to take for them to learn?
Despite all the complaints, grievances and appeals they are still parking in front of the fire exits. They are still acting as though it is a loading dock as well as a fire exit. Despite the sign, what is it going to take for them to learn? Do people have to die for them to learn? If there is a fire or an earthquake, then will they learn? Do you think?

Update: Thu Jan 4 19:19:13 PST 2007
I have been informed that this issue has been resolved and this should not be repeated. I am sorry if I seem like a jerk about this. But, this has happened before: time after time after time after time.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

We are back from Mexico

Susie in the pool

We are back from Mexico
We are back from our very relaxing trip to Mexico. We stayed at the El Dorado Royale Resort near Cancun. I will be chronicling some of the great experiences we had there on my family blog, located here!

Nash equilibriums and resistance to technology in higher education

Why does our university, and other higher education institutions, seem resistant to new technology?
It often seems to me that public higher education institutions are reluctant to adopt new technology even when this technology offers new long-term learning opportunities and enhanced learning outcomes down the road. In fact, it seems to me, that the university (I am using the term generically) is better at creating barriers to, rather than opportunities for, innovation. Why does this happen?

Perhaps the answer (or at least part of the answer) can be found in game theory. A Nash equilibrium is an important concept in game theory. A Nash equilibrium occurs when each player is pursuing their best possible strategy in the full knowledge of the strategies of all other players. In this case the "other players" can be viewed as other educators as well as other universities.

Once a Nash equilibrium is reached, nobody has any incentive to change their strategy. The Nash equilibrium becomes a barrier to change and forms a natural barrier to the adoption of new technologies and teaching methods. It is named after John Nash, a mathematician and Nobel prize-winning economist. Nash was the inspiration for the movie "A Beautiful Mind."

As long as our university, and other institutions of public higher education, exist in a Nash equilibrium there may be no incentive to change and a huge incentive not to change. There may also be a huge incentive to discourage voices that advocate change that (at the time the change is advocated) does not seem to offer an immediate significant advantage over the other players of the game. As long as the players of the game are collecting their rewards in the near-term for playing the game, perpetuation of the game without significant change may be simple human nature.

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