Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Problems sending e-mail at SJSU?

Tech Tips: Are you having problems sending e-mail at SJSU?

Maybe it's bad SMTP settings

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This is the setting for the server used in sending your e-mail. Think of this as your outgoing e-mail server setting. Due to firewall issues you cannot use on-campus SMTP servers to send e-mail from outside the campus network. Campus firewalls block SMTP traffic so spammers cannot use campus servers to send their spam. Your outgoing e-mail server name changes depending on the your physical location:

  • When user is on wired SJSU network SMTP is - smtp.sjsu.edu with authentication turned off
  • When user is on wireless SJSU/Comcast network, due to firewalling, SMTP is not currently supported and we have no solution available.
  • When user is off the SJSU campus network SMTP is blocked. But this may be may provided by YOUR Internet Service Provider (ISP) with authentication turned on or off depending your ISP. Contact your ISP for support of e-mail sending SMTP settings and for their/your configuration information.

Lotus Notes (Client Software)
The Notes client does not use SMTP to deliver outbound mail to the Domino server. (Domino is the server platform for Lotus Notes.) Domino uses an authenticated Notes protocol that is not vulnerable to exploitation by spammers, so SJSU can make this service available regardless of how or where you are connected to the Internet. It is only impacted by the customer's location if they are accesing the Internet from a service that blocks the Notes protocol. Blocking the Notes protocol is rare.

More information about e-mail client configuration is here:


Need more help? Call 408/924-2377 or send the specific details of your issue in an e-mail to:


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Wireless Ping Pong Problems at SJSU

Tech Tips: Are you having problems with having to login constantly over and over to our SJSU Wireless Network even though you are not moving? Maybe you have a ping pong problem.

This is an issue that has been reported. We have not been informed that an easy solution is currently available.

Reportedly, the problem is worst in areas that have multiple access points. Wireless networks use radio. When you have two access points that overlap in an area, the access point that has the strongest signal is the one a computer will choose to use. This process is called "association." Because of all the variability of radio, the access point with the strongest signal can change over time. The computer associates with one, then associates with another and then goes back to the first again. When a computer sees a stronger signal it will change the access point it associates with. This can happen over and over again, a process called ping ponging.

Association has nothing to do with SJSUOne. Association is a radio thing. Client computers associate automatically with little ability for us or a client to control it. Association means the computer is talking to an access point.

Association should not be confused with "authentication". Authentication is what you do when you sign in to use the wireless network using your SJSUOne password. Authentication is an SJSUOne thing. Authentication is not the same as association.

Authentication is the process by which a computer gains access to the Comcast network and from there, the Internet. A user computer automatically associates with an access point and then the access point provides an interface with which a user authenticates using his/her SJSUOne credentials. A user is then authenticated to that access point and can access the Internet. This relationship with that access point lasts until either the user ends the session or the user's computer loses association with that particular access point. User authentication does not roam between access points. So, each time a user's computer reassociates the user has to reauthenticate. Ping-ponging forces a user to have to reauthenticate over and over again.

There is not much we can do about it from this SJSU Help Desk. If this is a recurring problem we need to know as much information as possible about when the problem is occuring, where it is ocurring, and how many people are around using the wireless network when it is occurring and what type(s) of computers are being used. Location should be as specific as possible. Is it the whole room that is having a problem, or just parts of a room? Is it happening when something else, like a microwave is turned on? We need details! We can then forward that information to Comcast to see if they can engineer a solution.

Please send the specific details in an e-mail to:


Need more help? Call 408/924-2377 or send the specific details of your issue in an e-mail to:


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

University staff getting punch clocks


It has been brought to my attention that SJSU is looking at requiring staff in the Student Services Center to punch time clocks. In my opinion, this symptomatic "solution" signals a failure of the university to manage this unit effectively. Going to this step is like saying, "we give up, we cannot control the unit, we cannot deal with issues that might be causing productivity loss in the unit, so we are going to put the employees who work there on a leash and tie them to their desks." It shows a loss of respect by the employer for the employees. How can employees respect bosses who do not respect them?

Have you ever worked for a company that has required employees to punch a time clock? I have. Generally the employees at such places resist the attempt by their bosses to treat them like children. The employees often, in my experience, resist attempts at parent-like control in all kinds of passive aggressive ways. People find ways to resist that cannot be controlled by mechanical devices like punch clocks. Work in these places is a combat zone. The best employees do not stay. The result of this, in my opinion, will be lower not higher productivity. Our students will suffer the most, being caught in the middle of this drama.

Rather than trying to deal with problems symptomatically using mechanical devices; I think the university would be better served trying to find the real human issues in that unit. Motivated employees who feel valued by their managers, respected as human beings and feel like they are doing valuable work do not need punch clocks.

People, by nature I think, want to do a good job, be appreciated, respected and treated like members of a team doing valuable work. People, by nature I think, tend to return respect with respect and disrespect with disrespect.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad News from Idaho Relatives

My Idaho cousins including Debbie

This morning I got a call from cousin Debbie in Boise. Debbie is the oldest daughter of my cousin Dolores. Terry (Dolores's youngest daughter Susan's husband) died yesterday of complications following a fall he had from a ladder last week.

According to Debbie, Terry was hurt badly in the fall. He broke many bones but they did not think his injuries were life threatening. But, he developed pneumonia in the hospital. Yesterday his blood pressure started dropping. His heart rate elevated, he suffered a heart attack and died. I also talked to Susan, of course she is devastated.

I visited them lasy year, in June of 2007, and stayed with Dolores. Dolores's husband Ben died on Feb. 11, 2007. We all went out to dinner. I sat next to Terry and we had a long conversation. He was a great guy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

One Hundred at SJSU

100 degrees on sign

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Vista Tweeked For Performance

Cleaned up Vista Interface

Operating Systems, Get Out Of My Way

I put Vista on a diet. This is my Vista system. I want an operating system that gets out of my way. That is why I loved Windows 2000. Operating systems should help me find and launch my applications and files fast. Then, the operating system should let my applications talk to my hardware efficiently. Then, it should disappear; go away and let me get my work done! Anything more than that is a bunch of crap.

When you spend the time to take away the animations and the glitzy Las Vegas interface, what I call the fat, Vista does a pretty good job. I wish I could get rid of more of the fat in Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Patterson in the Times

New York Times story with Patterson

Patterson makes the New York Times

Patterson, the tiny central valley town my older sons grew up in, made the New York Times today.

Staff Layoffs at San Jose State?

Notice of Layoff

I have received information from a reliable source that a notice of layoff has been issued at SJSU. I do not yet know if this is a singular incident or whom is affected by it.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Busy Days and Nights

My wife Sue Sloan

Susie is very busy these days

My wife Sue is a lead technical writer and she has been quite busy. Since companies have moved from printed to on-line documentation delivery, documentation is no longer based on print based production cycles. Documentation is constantly being reviewed and revised and so writing organizations are hard pressed to keep up. Deadlines are constant.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Privacy and Viacom vs. YouTube

The Mercury News has a great article on the Viacom vs. YouTube/Google Ruling:

A federal judge in New York has ordered Google to turn over to Viacom a database linking users of YouTube, the Web's largest video site by far, with every clip they have watched there.

More information on this topic is also available here on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Deeplinks Blog. According to that post EFF plans, "to continue discussions with the parties on ways to protect the privacy of the YouTube users and ensure that their rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act are given effect."

Besides troubling legal questions this brings up troubling privacy concerns. If all this information is being cached about us can and will be able to be demanded successfully by parties able to compel a judge to sign a discovery order; is it ethical for companies to keep such data? Does this question of business ethics get sticky now it has been shown that litigants can get to it? Will this have a chilling effect on how people use the Internet? I mean, why wouldn't it?

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

We need to be teaching social networking

Beehive: IBM's Facebook for business

If you don't think we should be teaching social networking skills, think again! Our students may be at a competitive disadvantage if they do not know how to use these tools:

Beehive is an internal social networking site that gives IBMers a "rich connection to the people they work with” on both a personal and a professional level. Beehive helps employees make new connections, track current friends and coworkers, and renew contacts with people they have worked with in the past. When employees join Beehive, they get a profile page. They can use the status message field and the free-form “About Me” section on their profile page to let other people at IBM know where they are, what they are doing, and what they are thinking. Beehive also lets them post photos, create lists to share their thoughts, and organize events.

I am impressed by the work IBM has been putting into using Web 2.0 technology. IBM has been an innovator in the use of social networking technologies such as Second Life and now Beehive. Beehive is another excellent example of their work in the Web 2.0 collaboration and community building space. It is good for us that IBM has also been great about sharing what the are doing with education.

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Alliance for Enterprise Macs

Five vendors forge alliance promoting Macs on Windows in Enterprise

According to Network World:

The efforts of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA) – which was formed Monday by Atempo, Centrify, Group Logic, LANrev and Parallels – are not about displacing Windows but raising awareness that the Macintosh is a viable alternative because it can be managed using integration tools and existing Windows infrastructure.

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Pedestrian vs. Bike at SJSU

Tuesday morning I was walking from the bookstore to my office. I came upon a bicyclist and a pedestrian yelling at each other. The pedestrian said, "watch where you are going, you almost hit me!" The cyclist said, "(expletive deleted but it started with F) next time I see you I will hit you!." After the cyclist left I spoke to the pedestrian. He said he was going to file a complaint with the university police department.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Lovely Light Returns

Beautiful sunlight

The return of beautiful light

The wind has blown the smoke away. The sky is blue and the sun is normal again. Life is good.

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