Monday, June 30, 2008

Smoke and Ash Continues

Sunset in smoke

Coatings of Ash

Once again this morning my car had a light coat of ash on it from the hundreds of fires that continue to burn throughout the state. I was born in California and have never ever seen anything like this. It is absolutely amazing. Amazing, and spooky.

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Terry McElhatton has died

Terry McElhatton[Updated Thu Jul 3 12:57:22 PDT 2008] -- It is with great sadness that I report that Terry McElhatton, the much-anticipated new professor of new media at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at SJSU, died Saturday evening after a massive heart attack. Reportedly McElhatton had been wind surfing with his son Chris during the day and peacefully passed away on the ride home with his son. Paramedics and doctors tried for hours to revive him. Terry was only 52 years old and had no history of heart problems.

McElhatton was going to start at SJSU this fall. Previously McElhatton had been working at Valley Christian High School's Television and Communications Department. McElhatton was a television News Director and he ran the newsroom at KNTV-TV in San Jose (now NBC11) from 1989 to 1998.

According to an obituary in the San Jose Mercury News, services are scheduled for Sunday July 13th at 3pm, at Calvary Church, 16330 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos. He is survived by wife, Robin; son, Chris; and daughter, Lauren, according to Valley Christian.

McElhatton was the son of longtime KPIX television news anchor Dave McElhatton.

[More information is available here]

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Will Mac OS X 10.6 be pure Cocoa?

According to Ars Technica the next version of Mac OS X, version 10.6 code named Snow Leopard, will not only be Intel Processor only, it may be Cocoa only! Cocoa is Apple Inc.'s native object-oriented application program environment for the Mac OS X operating system. Cocoa is derived from programming environments developed by NeXT in the late 1980s. When Apple bought NeXT, and brought in Steve Jobs, the former NeXT operating system became the basis of Mac OS X and was based on Cocoa.

Carbon is Apple's Application Programming Interface (API) for the Macintosh operating system, which permits a good degree of forward and backward compatibility between source code written to run on the older and now dated "Classic" Mac OS (Version 8.1 and later), and the newer Mac OS X. A lot of older, pre-Mac OS X, applications became Mac OS X compatible by using Carbon APIs.

What does this mean? It means that after Snow Leopard is released, and new "must have" applications are released that require Snow Leopard, compatibility with older applications that are Carbon based (and won't run on Snow Leopard) may be broken, forcing them to be upgraded (or replaced) as well. This could have significant impacts on our university computer labs.

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Friday, June 27, 2008


Sun filtered through trees

Smoke: fear, anxiety and pessimism

I used to think that fire season was California's fifth season, it started somewhere between late August and mid-September and lasted until the first rains in October. This year it seems to be replacing Summer entirely. This is a very interesting summer. "May you live in interesting times," is reputedly a Chinese curse, though I have been told no authentic Chinese saying to this effect has ever been found.

With the thousands of burning fires, oil prices setting constant new records, the stock market sliding into bull territory and the dollar becoming worth less and less, I have been sensing more and more fear, anxiety and pessimism in people. The smoke makes it seem worse. We are in a world where things change very rapidly.

That reminds me of another quote, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," that was Franklin D. Roosevelt in his early 1933 presidential inauguration. By 1933 the depression had reached its depth and our country was then also gripped by fear, anxiety and pessimism. The winds of history changed and, after the war, the bad times were slowly blown away.

Much of our fear, anxiety and pessimism is a choice. If we make that choice and dwell on our fear, anxiety and pessimism we may in fact perpetuate the bad times and help things get worse. If instead we choose to be optimistic we can help bring a wind of change and through our positive attitude and helpful actions we can become part of that wind of change.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Window for XP is closing

The deadline for consumers to buy Windows XP is soon

This is an important consideration for faculty and students wanting to run XP on their own systems and maybe even more so for folks using Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion on Intel processor equipped Apple Macintosh computers. This is because Windows Vista uses a file system called NTFS for partitioning hard disks that Apple Macintosh's Mac OS X operating cannot read and write to. Windows XP can run on a file system called FAT32 that Mac OS X can read and write to. Since neither Windows XP or Vista can read the Macintosh HFS+ file system, exchanging information between the Windows side and the Mac OS side of a Mac computer gets complicated if you are running Vista on an Intel processor equipped Mac. Though the university can get Windows XP installed on university owned computers after the end of this month, it may not be legal for the university to supply Windows XP media and install codes for installation on non-university owned computers for student, faculty and staff members

According to Network World:

I can't believe I'm writing this, is the time to buy Windows! Windows XP, that is, and no, I'm not abandoning OS X for a Microsoft operating system. However, there's a rapidly-approaching deadline that will affect anyone who has a need to run Windows on their Mac, so I thought I'd do my part to spread the word. If you weren't aware, Microsoft will no longer sell Windows XP after June 30, 2008. With less than a week to go, if you've been thinking about buying Windows XP to use with Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, now is the time to act.

Vendors such as Creation Engine have been supplying Windows XP at educational pricing.

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Security flaws in Twitter's technology?

Ruby on Rails has security flaws says development team

According to Network World, "The Ruby programming language, which has become popular as the basis for Web 2.0 sites such as Twitter, contains serious security flaws that could allow attackers to take over an organization's Web server, according to the Ruby development team." According to the article server administrators can upgrade to a revised version to fix the problems.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Made in China

Tiananmen Square Protester

Remembering Tiananmen Square

As we settle in to view the Olympics. Let's not forget how much it has cost. "The time for the Chinese government to provide the fullest possible public accounting of the thousands killed, detained, or missing in the massacre that followed the protests is long overdue," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack said in a statement on the eve of the 19th anniversary of what China has called the "June Fourth incident."

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly," Martin Luther King Jr.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Malware Attacks Macs

Trojan Horse Attacks Macintosh Computers

According to the Mac News Network, "Multiple variants of a new 'Trojan Horse', designed to allow a malicious user complete remote access to a Mac OS X system have been discovered in the wild..."

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Photoshop User Group Meeting July 8

Event: San Jose Photoshop User Group - Suzette Allen

[From the User Group] Suzette Allen is quickly gaining recognition as one of the leading instructors of digital imaging, teaching others how to master the tools of Photoshop. Suzette has helped many photographers survive the Digital Dive with her beginning and intermediate level Photoshop classes, "Digital Discoveries".

Suzette has been a professional portrait photographer for 21 years, but has become a dynamic instructor of digital imaging and now spends half of her time traveling and teaching all over the US and abroad. She is currently the "photoshop expert" on, a resource site dedicated to helping photographers.

We'll have pizza and drinks at 6:30, and the meeting will start at 7:00, in the Park Conference Room of 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 Bryan O'Neil Hughes's name. He's our contact there (as well as the Photoshop Product Manager). Please feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone you know who might be interested.

To RSVP, and if they would like to be on our e-mail list, have them respond to: See you there, Dan Clark and Tom Upton

  • Host: Daniel Clark
  • Location:Adobe San Jose
    321 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95110 US
  • When: Tuesday, July 8, 6:30PM

Fair Use and Bloggers: Cadenhead

Rogers Cadenhead on AP vs. Bloggers Dispute

Rogers Cadenhead, of the Drudge Retort, has blogged at length about the now settled conflict between him and the Associated Press. According to Cadenhead, "I got offers of help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen and the Stanford Fair Use Project." In his blogpost Cadenhead said:

I think AP and other media organizations should focus on how to encourage bloggers to link their stories in the manner they like, rather than hoping their lawyers can rebottle the genie of social news. Given the publicity of this dispute, the first blogger sued for excerpting a news story will have the best pro bono legal representation that massive press attention can buy.

According to Fox News, Cadenhead's lawyer, Wade Duchene said, "I hope that any guidelines that are issued (by AP) are not interpreted as an agreed definition of fair use."

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

I have changed

Editorial: I have changed regarding IT services at SJSU

I used to be a strong supporter of centralization of information technology (IT) services, especially e-mail, at SJSU.

But, I have changed.

It used to be, when I sat in meetings with other academics and IT professionals at our university, when I heard them figuratively kick and scream at the idea of centralization, it used to be I thought they were wasting the taxpayers money needlessly.

But, I have changed.

I have changed since I went to our central IT group with a need that would require a little flexibility on their part, that would need a little bit of willingness to work with the customers, that would enable us to better serve our customers and was told, no. Their cookie cutter response was to say, essentially, it is their way or the highway, the customer be damned and that was the moment that I changed. Their proposal would hugely inconvenience and confuse the students, faculty and staff that are our customers. In my opinion, that is not acceptable...

So, I have changed.

I want to personally apologize to all of my colleagues whom I have encouraged to abandon their department and college level IT services. I was wrong. I see that now. I have changed. They are absolutely right to want to stay free and independent. They are absolutely right to want to be able to provide creative solutions and personalized customer support that works for their customers. They are absolutely right to try to stay out of SJSU's centralized IT as much and as long as they can. Now, I am on their side. From what I see, SJSU's centralized IT is broken.

Note: I am writing this editorial at home, on my own computer, on my own time. I am writing this as a blogger journalist and a taxpayer even though I work in a lead capacity at the San Jose´ State University Help Desk and teach in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Please feel free to post comments and/or responses to this blog post.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

AP vs Bloggers issue unresolved but gone, or not?

Apparently the "fair use" conflict between the Associated Press and the Drudge Retort has gone away without resolution. According to Robert Cox, writing for the Media Bloggers Association, the planned meeting between AP and bloggers did not happen, or did not happen in a way that bloggers might have expected:

In what may close one chapter and signal the beginning of another, the AP and Rogers Cadenhead of Drudge Retort have come to resolution on their dispute while leaving unresolved the central source of conflict in the case - whether the verbatim publishing of an AP headline and AP lede are or are not covered under "fair use" doctrine.

Cox said, "in this area of law it is often better to leave things fuzzy because it gives bloggers a lot more wiggle room."

Scott Rosenburg wrote an excellent analysis of the related issues. Rosenburg said, "The sticking point for AP seems to be their belief that a headline-and-first-paragraph excerpt is not covered by fair use."

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

If you like trains; That 70's Train Show

This month’s meeting of the Central Coast Chapter, NRHS, will be held Friday, June 20, at 8:00 p.m. in the meeting room of the South Bay Historical Railroad Society located at the Santa Clara Caltrain Depot, 1005 Railroad Ave., Santa Clara 95050. Everyone is invited to attend.

Following a brief business meeting, Flimsies founder and Winterail roadie Steve Sloan will give us a look back at railroading three decades ago in his own version of "That ‘70s Show." While the TV show’s star, Ashton Kutcher, plays a photographer in the latest Nikon ads, Steve is the real deal, having extensively photographed the SP, WP, Santa Fe and many other roads in the years just before the mega-mergers that turned everything into...what it is today. So make it on down to the depot and see what you missed before you were born, or what you remember but never got around to photographing.

Next version of Mac OS not to support PPC Macs

G5 and G4 Mac Computers Reach End of Road?

According to Apple Insider, "Documentation included with copies of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard distributed during Apple's developer conference this week confirm that the next-generation operating system does not presently support Macs with PowerPC (PPC) processors."

This means that users of the older pre-Intel Power PC G4 and G5 processor equipped Apple Macintosh computers will likely not be able to use the next version of the Mac OS X operating system.

For users of these computers it means that applications that require Snow Leopard will not be able to be used on PPC Macs and that new applications will likely not be universal (PPC compatible). This will push departments that have older Macs to upgrade their systems sooner.

Potentially university lab computers that are two or three years old may not be able to use Apple's next version of their operating system or any software that might be designed to operate on it. If the next version of Adobe's Creative Suite is PPC compatible, for example, the one after that might not be.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More bad news for newspapers

Major newspaper companies reported in danger of default

According to Bloomberg, who cited the Newspaper Association of America as a source, in the first quarter of 2008 newspaper industry print advertising sales suffered the biggest drop in at least 37 years. They are reporting the eighth straight decline of advertising sales.

Bloomberg said newspaper companies in danger of default include MediaNews Group Inc., publisher of the San Jose Mercury News; Journal Register Co., the New Haven Register owner and Florida Times-Union parent Morris Publishing Group. Reportedly, US newspaper publishers may be moving closer to defaulting on billions of dollars in debt.

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A day at Infinity Loop

Great Session at Apple

Yesterday I spent the day at Apple attending a session on computer lab dual-boot deployment and management. This is something of interest to me as we are planning on setting up the 15 iMacs in our computer lab up as dual-boot, Mac OS X and Windows, systems. The ability for our customers to use the Macs as either Mac OS or Windows computers should allow us to better server their needs with less hardware required. One of the problems with this scenario is the tools we use to manage the Macs in the lab are not the same as we use to manage the lab's PC's. I learned about a number of strategies and software that should make this work better for us.

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Eastbay Journalists Form Union

Newspaper Journalists at MediaNews Unionize

A majority of newsroom workers at the largest newspaper company in the Bay Area have voted to create a new unit of The Newspaper Guild-CWA. The election capped a nine-month organizing drive by news workers at properties including the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times owned by Denver-based MediaNews Group.

Last August MediaNews withdrew recognition from the previous union, the 20-year-old Guild unit at ANG Newspapers, which included the Oakland Tribune and four other East Bay dailies. In response, journalists across the East Bay came together to create the new union, dubbing the campaign "One Big BANG: One Guild Universe." (See Their new Guild unit will be represented by the Northern California Media Workers Guild for collective bargaining on pay, benefits and work conditions.

Especially considering layoff trends in the industry, due to Internet competition and increased energy costs, it should come as no surprise that journalists are voting in unions.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Associated Press vs. Bloggers?

AP vs. Bloggers and Fair Use

According to the LA Times, "The 162-year-old news service will sit down with representatives of a bloggers group Thursday to devise guidelines allowing Internet commentators to use excerpts from AP stories and broadcasts." According to The New York Times, "The Associated Press, one of the nation’s largest news organizations, said that it will, for the first time, attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright."

Reportedly the Associated Press was reacting to pressure from member traditional media outlets to stem what they saw as copyright infringement and unfair competition. Bloggers reacted negatively to what they saw as the news service trying to curb legally protected fair use of content. Techmeme's Gabe Rivera said, "it's actually pretty simple: AP wants 50 word quotes taken down. That demand is poisonous, and wrong."

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Photography: Analog and Digital

I have an old Nikon F (as well as other cameras including digital.) I usually shoot black and white in my F. My analog (film) work is serious to me even though I might only shoot a roll of film a day when I am analog. I process my own B&W.

My analog photographic process is contemplative. I am manually focusing and thinking about focus, light, time, depth of field and exposure in a very different way.

Analog is as different to me as reading a novel is from reading a magazine. When I shoot digital I am in a very different space.

Digital, to me, is a reactive process, like touching a hot stove. I see, I fire. When I am thinking digital, the moment is everything, there is rarely time to think. I just feel; feel and fire my camera.

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McClatchy Layoffs and New Media Journalism

McClatchy cuts begs question of new media monetization

The McClatchy Co., which owns The Sacramento Bee, announced a 10 percent companywide cut in its work force today. McClatchy is not alone in being battered by declining profits and revenue. This is the Sacramento publisher's first-ever across-the-board layoffs.

When I meet with my students next semester what do I tell them?

I can tell them about McClatchy eliminating 1,400 jobs through a combination of layoffs, voluntary departures and attrition. I can tell them the Bee, McClatchy's largest paper, announced it will eliminate 86 jobs. I can tell them the reduction will trim the paper's workforce by 8.1 percent. I can tell them that the driving force behind this is the flight of advertising to the Web plus rising costs of energy and newsprint.

I can tell them the future is the Internet, but can I tell them how to make real money there? No, I cannot. If we tell students they've got to be on the Internet, but cannot tell journalism students how money can be made on the Internet, what is the point?

Tell me, when I meet with my students next semester what do I tell them?

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smoke before summer

Sun blotted out by smoke

Smoking Friday the 13th

Normally this happens in September, not June!

The Indians Fire, which has been burning in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey for over a week, blotted out the Sun on Friday the 13th. It caused the street lights to come on in mid-day. Ashes rained down on the south side of the city like a light snow that evening. Just the day before I had washed my car.

What an early fire season. It is not yet even summer.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

iPhone 3G playing catch up?

Is the iPhone 3G behind the times?

Mitchell Ashley, of Network World, brings up some valid points about the new 3G iPhone here is just one example:

Wasn't it the Mac and Lisa that brought the concept of cut/copy/paste out of the Xerox labs and into the hands of computer users all over the world? Thought so. How'd that get left off the iPhone 1.0 and 2.0 software versions. That one's hard to fathom.

As I said, these are valid points. The one that bugs me the most about the iPhone is the lack of an interchangable battery. Still, I hope to get one, what it does do well, in my opinion, it does do very well. Plus, I think the just under $200 price point is attractive. But, I also think there is still room for improvement.

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Quiet Summer Friday on Campus

Robin on bench at SJSU

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Photos from our vacation

Judy and Ray at SFO

The flight home; June 8, 2008

June 8 was the last day of our vacation. We left our hotel at an amazingly early time in the morning. After we cleared security and everything we were waiting to board our flight, Sue said, "hey isn't that Ray?" Yes it was! Our bike club friend Ray and his girlfriend Judy were on the same flight! They very nicely gave us a ride back from SFO to our home in San Jose.

This means the collection of photos from this vacation are complete and now posted to Flickr. You can now see the whole vacation on Flickr. There are folders for each day of our trip.

[Click here to see our vacation photo collection on Flickr]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Skype spam

Skype text spam

Spam is everywhere

Even Skype text message is being used by folks seeking to attack computers. I received this Skype text message just yesterday. One of the many clues that this was bogus? I was using a Mac!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A New York City Day

New York City Taxi

Photowalking in the Big Apple

Using the slideshow feature of Flickr, in my opinion, is the best way to view this. No one photo is meant to tell the story of our walking. It is all about the show. The story is how we wandered through the city from our hotel to Central Park, Strawberry Fields, The Dakota, a NY deli, a NY wine bar, a coffee house, Bleeker Street, Little Italy, and back to our hotel at night via taxi.

In my version of photowalking I photograph what my eyes see and take advantage of the free and easy nature of digital photography to create a photographic journal of our wanderings.

[Click here to see more photos]

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Is film photography cheaper than digital photography?

The real cost of serious digital photography?

You often hear that digital photography is so much cheaper because you do not have to buy film. But, I have a friend who is a very serious photographer. About 18 months ago he bought what was then the top of the line Nikon camera, a Nikon D2X, which at the time was going for about 4000 USD. Then, the D3 came out recently and he got that, for around 5000 USD. I have seen D2Xs now in good used condition in the 1200 USD range. For the price difference I could buy a LOT of film. How long will it be until D3's are in turn replaced?

I have film cameras that are 40 years old. I can put the newest films in those old cameras and take as fine a picture as I could with the newest film cameras loaded with the same film. With digital photography the camera is the film. If you want to upgrade your digital film you must upgrade your camera.

So, I started wondering, is digital really cheaper?

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What to do about scam Emails?

You cannot trust Emails even if they appear to come from a trusted source

What should you do if you receive a suspicious mailing that purports to be from a trusted source but asks that you follow a link, log into something or reveal a user name or password?
Ignore it and/or delete it. Do not click on any links in the Email or give out any user names or your password. If you have questions about the validity of an Email contact the alleged sender of the Email directly like by phone!
What should you do if you believe your password has been compromised and/or if you have questions or concerns?
  1. Contact the University Helpdesk at 408/924-2377 or, or
  2. Contact your local desktop support technician.
  3. Change all your passwords.

Monday, June 09, 2008

3G iPhone and SJSU

The 3G iPhone and SJSU

The new iPhone should be great for members of our campus community. What do I like best about the new 3G iPhone? I like that it is fast without relying on our SJSU wireless network. I have an iPod Touch which is like an iPhone without the phone. The iPod Touch is an iPhone like Apple device that relies on wireless Wi-Fi networks for Internet access. The iPod Touch, like iPhones and most other portable devices, is a pain to use on Wi-Fi wireless networks that rely on authentication, like ours does. These devices seem especially painful to use with our SJSUOne system. Sometimes they plain do not work. The old iPhones, at least, did not rely on our Wi-Fi network for Internet access. The old iPhones were slower when used for Internet access without using our wireless network, but unlike our wireless network, the old iPhones worked. Now that will not be an issue.

Thank you Apple (and AT&T) for making this new iPhone work so well, and so fast, without ever having to log onto SJSUOne to get to the Internet or ever having to use our funky SJSUOne based wireless Wi-Fi network at all! I think many people will really appreciate that like I do.

This is the iPhone I have been waiting for. My Treo's days are numbered!

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Bogus Email being sent to SJSU people

Phishing scam seeks to harvest passwords

If you receive an Email like this be aware, this is a scam. Do NOT reply or give them the information the thieves are seeking. This is a rip-off, a hoax and is totally bogus:

EMAIL REQUEST: Subject - Account Update. DETAILS: Dear Sjsu User,

To complete your Sjsu account, you must reply to this email
immediately and enter your
username: (*********)
password here (*********)

Failure to do this will immediately render your email address
deactivated from our database.

We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause you durin this
period, but trust you understand that our primary concern is for our
customers and for the security of their data.
our customers are totally secure

Sjsu Support Team