Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day Blossoms

Cherry blossoms at SJSU

Spring comes in Winter
It may still be Winter, but as far as the blossoms at SJSU are concerned; it is Spring. All over the campus trees are exploding in wonderful colors. There are flowers of many shapes and sizes. This is my most favorite time of year on our campus. The dollar may be crashing along with the stock market, we may be hip deep in a war that is bleeding us dry and oil may be setting new price records every day, but here at San José State University it is a wonderful day to go for a walk and stop, smell and photograph the flowers.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Student's talk about Ryan Sholin Visit

Ryan talking to Class

[Click here to read student feedback]

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Crime on the web

Perepetrator vandalizing railroad car

New Media Used to Show Off Crime
One of the most disturbing things to me is the criminals who are using Web 2.0 technologies as a way to showcase their commission of crimes and the companies that showcase this content. I am all for the use of new media to report on crime, but not to showcase the commission of it. Here we see a perpetrator committing vandalism on private property. As a victim of crime myself I would be really irate if criminals who committed a crime against me recorded it and glorified it on YouTube. In my opinion, by publicizing the commission of crimes perpetrators collude with the Web 2.0 sites to glorify and lend legitimacy to the commission of crimes. Should there be a law against Web 2.0 sites like this profiting from the posting of videos by criminals? Yes, I think there should be.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

SJSU's redundant Email systems a liability risk?

Server admins need to know how this!
It used to be that it was easy to provide Email service. You just set up an Email server for your department and began serving Emails. That is no longer the case. Here is a link to a public facing article on the CSU's Webpage.

The topic is "E-Discovery." The article discusses how universities may deal with electronically stored information so they may best cope with the increasing need in litigation to provide such information during the discovery process. Here is an excerpt:

Responding to litigation discovery requests is no longer a matter of simply turning over boxes of hard copy documents for photocopying and review by an opposing party. Electronically stored information, or “ESI,” is now more than fair game for discovery, and opposing parties are routinely seeking production of ESI – particularly e-mail. Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Federal Rules”) were amended in various ways that have substantially affected electronic discovery (“e-discovery”) and records management obligations. In addition, more than 30 U.S. District Courts have adopted local rules on e-discovery, and many states (including Kansas, Delaware, Mississippi and Texas) also have amended their rules of civil procedure to address e-discovery.

In my opinion this calls into question our continued following of what is called the "Federated Model" where many of our university's organizational units provide a mixed bag of redundant Email services to the campus community. I wonder, would the cost of just one e-discovery across these mixed types of multiple and often incompatible servers that have propogated at SJSU equal or exceed the cost of integrating all our mail services into one e-discovery compliant enterprise level Email and group ware service? Also, could the increased efficiency of having a single system that is better supported (and is e-discovery compliant) actually improve customer service and save money in this time of fiscal austerity?

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Universities adopting new wireless standard

Duke University to install huge new faster wireless network
According to a recent post in NetworkWorld, "Duke University says it will install more than 2,500 802.11n access points from Cisco to create one of the largest wireless LAN so far announced for the draft IEEE standard."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Union on sharing of passwords at SJSU

This is an Email from Dennis Fox that was sent to staff employees at SJSU. Fox is a Network Analyst for the networking group in University Computing & Telecommunications at SJSU and is the Chief Steward for the SJSU chapter of the California State University Employees Union, the staff employees union at SJSU. Fox sent this Email in his role as a union steward:

It has come to the attention of the Union that some managers/supervisors are asking their employees to provide username and password information for email and computer accounts and voice mail PIN numbers for voice mailbox access. Everyone needs to be aware that sharing this information with anyone is a violation of University policy and should never be done.

I will cite three references here to demonstrate that you are required by the University to keep this information to yourself and to show that anyone requesting this information is asking you to violate campus policy.

The policy "Privacy of Electronic Information and Communications" makes a clear statement about the privacy of email and files stored on computers, "All electronic mail and files in authorized accounts stored on any campus computing systems shall be considered to be private and confidential, except as required by state or federal law." See for the complete document.

The "Information Technology Resources Responsible Use Policy" tasks every individual with the reponsibility to keep their passwords secure and secret, "In accordance with California State Penal Code Section 502, CSU's 4Cnet Acceptable Use Policy and other policies and laws, activities and behaviors that threaten the integrity of computer networks or systems are prohibited on both University-owned and privately-owned equipment operated on or through University resources. These activities and behaviors include, but are not limited to:
. . .
4. Negligently or intentionally revealing passwords or otherwise permitting the use by others of University-assigned accounts for computer and network access. Individual password security is the responsibility of each user. The user is responsible for all uses of their accounts, independent of authorization." The full text of this policy is available at

The California State University "Policy on E-mail Privacy" states, " 1. All authorized e-mail accounts stored on the CSU telecommunications network shall be considered to be confidential.
2. Requests for access to these accounts or disclosure of confidential information, for any purpose other than technical problem resolution will be reviewed by the senior Academic Affairs Officer, and honored only when required by state or federal law, or when there is probable cause to suspect illegal activity."

The Union encourages any employee who has been asked/ordered to provide electronic access information to contact a Union steward. Please let us know who requested this information. If the request was in writing we would appreciate a copy. If you have already supplied this information, we encourage you to change your passwords to secure your accounts. The Union will attempt to work with University management to bring a halt to password requests of this nature.

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Motoring on SJSU Campus

Motoring around SJSU

[Click here to see more related photographs]

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

HR Surveying Staff

Email sent from HR to staff
This afternoon an Email was sent by Maria Rivera to university staff employees. In my own opinion, not speaking as a union rep, I hope all staff members take the time to complete this survey. I hope the response is representational of the campus community. If you are a staff member and did not get the Email, I would recommend contacting HR. Here is the intro to the Email:

We want San José State University to be an exciting and rewarding place to work. Help us realize our vision of a world-class work environment by completing the 2007 San José State University Employee Engagement Survey. This survey is your opportunity to help shape the future of the university and improve your own work experience in the process. Your feedback will be compiled and used to guide further positive changes across the university. It is critical that you complete the survey by March 7, 2008 for your opinion to be counted.

Kassing on Blood Drives

SJSU President Don Kassing sent this Email today to the campus community. I am posting it here in its entirety:

To the Campus Community:

I am writing today to express my gratitude for the strong support many of you have shown for our decision to suspend campus blood drives. I greatly appreciate your telephone calls and e-mails and will respond to them.

Please be assured I remain steadfast in my belief that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s lifetime blood donor deferral affecting gay men violates our non-discrimination policy. Our policy is much more than a regulation. It is an expression of values we all share, most notably our core belief that people must be treated as individuals, free of prejudice.

So I am greatly concerned that the FDA's lifetime deferral affecting gay men remains in place because it may be safe and appropriate for these men to be treated individually, as is the case with people of other sexual orientations.

We are not alone in this position. For the past decade, students and administrators sharing our position on college campuses nationwide have contacted the FDA and blood collection agencies to voice their concerns. In addition, the American Red Cross, America's Blood Centers and AABB -- three organizations that stake their reputations on blood supply safety -- have released a statement calling upon the FDA to modify the deferral affecting gay men.

Like these organizations, San Jose State is asking the FDA to make the deferral affecting gay men consistent with the deferral for others at high risk for HIV. Currently, most people at high risk for HIV are barred from giving blood for 12 months while gay men are treated differently and barred for life.

For nine months, my staff and I studied this issue and consulted many experts. What began as a response to one employee's complaint evolved into a university position based on our shared values. Like many of you, I am very concerned that our position will reduce the amount of blood available to people in need. I ask that you be guided by your personal responsibilities to family and community and by your own values in deciding whether to give blood off-campus while SJSU awaits the FDA’s response.

I have requested a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug commissioner. In a face-to-face discussion, I plan to explore ways San Jose State can work with the FDA to amend its deferral policy while maintaining blood supply safety, increasing the number of blood donors, and making it possible for SJSU to once again hold campus blood drives that support and honor individual rights as reflected by our non-discrimination policy.

My associate vice president for public affairs, Larry Carr, remains available to answer questions and address concerns about this decision. Please contact him at 408-924-1166 and by e-mail at

For background information on this issue, please visit

Don W. Kassing

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bike Race near SJSU

Race finish in San Jose

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Guest Speaker: Ryan Sholin

Guest Speaker, Ryan Sholin
Guest Speaker for today is Ryan Sholin. Ryan is a talented graduate student in Mass Communications at San Jose State University. He is working on a thesis about the adoption of weblogs at U.S. newspapers. He also works at a newspaper company, Gatehouse Media.

This is a real treat, I am confident that someday people will be paying a lot of money to hear Ryan speak. You are invited!

  • Location: DBH226, Dwight Bentel Hall, SJSU
  • Time: 6pm, Today, Feb. 20, 2008

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Sue and I, 15 years together

Sue and I March 1993

Our first date, 15 years ago today
Sue and I met in a country western dance class at the Campbell Community Center sometime in January or February of 1993. For our first date we went to Mandarin Gourmet for lunch on this day fifteen years ago. Almost a year and a half later we were married. Since I was widowed, we had my three sons full time. Youngest son Kenneth was a little tyke, then six years old. Now all the boys are grown, out of the house, two are married and we have grandkids. Susie is the best thing that ever happened to me. We are still dating and in love.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Editorial: What Obama has to offer

Barak Obama Hope Speech

Bush - Clinton - Bush - ????
In this time of rising fuel and cost of living prices and a war that seems headed for no good end only one candidate offers a serious opportunity for change. Why are so many young people supporting Obama? Why has the Service Employees International Union, the union that represents staff employees at SJSU, endorsed Obama? Why do I support Obama? Listen to what he has to say.

We know the battle ahead will be long. But always remember that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. And they will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks and months to come.

We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we've been told we're not ready or that we shouldn't try or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness: Yes, we can.

It was the call of workers who organized, women who reached for the ballot, a president who chose the moon as our new frontier, and a king who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the promised land: Yes, we can, to justice and equality.

Yes, we can, to opportunity and prosperity. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can repair this world. Yes, we can.

I am supporting Barack Obama for President because I believe, there has never been anything false about hope.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Old Trains, Old Memories

SP alligator in Eugene

Scanning some of my old train photos
Kenneth and I have been sorting and I have been scanning some of my old train photos. It is cool seeing these old photos from so long ago.

[See More Photos on Flickr]

A fix for Apple's big cat?

Mac OS 10.5.2

Apple release long anticpated Leopard update
Hopefully this will resolve the problems with Leopard and Adobe Creative Suite CS3, particularly the known bug involving the cropping tool in Photoshop CS3. This was expected for MacWorld and thankfully it is finally out. I hope it fixes the problems. If it doesn't I will still be singing The Mac OSX Leopard Blues.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Should we be worried?

Ann Coulter

Should we be worried, Ann Coulter for Hillary (or Obama?)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Will new CSU policy be a first amendment threat?

There is a new draft CSU security policy that is now being reviewed by IT professionals at San Jose State University. This proposed policy could be seen by some as having a chilling effect on freedom of the press for student journalists, journalism faculty and bloggers. It provides for possibly extensive monitoring of communications on California State University owned computer systems and networks, for example one part of the draft says, "As determined by risk assessment, appropriate logging and monitoring controls must be implemented on CSU information systems, data and network resources." The draft policy says, "authorized CSU personnel may appropriately inspect, capture, and/or disclose community member information stored on CSU information systems or a community member’s activities on CSU information systems or network resources without the consent of the community member."

In another part of the documents the term "community member" is defined in such a way as to include both students and faculty members.

The reasons for such a possible search includes, "to ensure the ethical, legal and appropriate use of CSU information systems, data or network resources." While the term "acceptable use" is defined "appropriate use" is not.

As a journalist, a blogger and a faculty member who teaches journalism, I hope this cannot and will not be used as a way to search the Email, web browsing history and/or stored files of student journalists, bloggers or journalism professors to find a source of a story that may be considered not appropriate by the university or by the managers of our university's information systems.

This is only a draft. I hope the final version of this policy is written in such a way as to protect very explicitly the first amendment rights of members of the campus community.

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