Sunday, December 28, 2008

Remembering my mom

My mom and I in 1965

I have always been envious of friends in their 30's, 40's, 50's and older who have their parents in their lives. Both mine died when I was in my 20's. I miss them every day of my life. Yesterday was my mom's birthday and I thought of her a lot.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after Christmas

It is just like having a wicked hangover. We are recovering from two days of entertaining. It's the first relaxing day in weeks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Help Desk Graduates

Help Desk Grads

Gnanaprakash Pitchika "Prakash" Venkateswarlu and Dhiwakar Mani are two of the help desk staffers who graduated this Fall. Saturday I went to the College of Engineering graduation to celebrate with the graduates. We are loosing 12 of 24 student staff members.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This will be Apple's last Macworld

According to a press release from Apple:

Apple today announced that this year is the last year the company will exhibit at Macworld Expo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Local hotspot for the birds

Bird feeder action

I have been sick off and on for the last two weeks. When I was my sickest the only thing I could do was hang out on the couch. Outside the window of our living room is a bird feeder and it provided hours of entertainment. There is so much bird action there I buy bird food in 20 pound bags from a local wild bird food store. I guess it is the gourmet stuff because we are very popular with the local flying population.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Film's Eye

San Jose City Hall

[Click here to see more photos]

Film responds to light differently than a digital sensor. That analog palette carries over even when the film is later scanned.

I am not saying it is better. That is just something I would hate to loose.

Here are some photos in downtown San Jose taken with my Nikon F5 with Fuji Superia film on December 11-12, 2008.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Free VM Ware?

Do you want to run Windows on your Mac but don't want to buy Parallels or VMWare Fusion? There is a free program called VirtualBox that is Open Source that reportedly does the same thing. According to their Web site:

VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See "About VirtualBox" for an introduction.

It is on my list of things to try out. As companies lay off talented programmers expected that pool of talent to find expression supporting Open Source projects like this.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No strike for CSU student employees, not yet

Yesterday SJSU President Jon Whitmore sent an e-mail to the campus community that said, "should the United Auto Workers Local 4123 representing the teaching associates, graduate assistants and undergraduate instructional student assistants initiate or become involved in a job action on the San Jose State campus. This campus will remain open during any such job action. Student instruction and other student services will continue during this activity.The university is obligated as a public institution to provide these student services."

According to a United Auto Workers (UAW) press release this does not seem to be an immediate threat:

(CALIFORNIA) – California Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg will sit down with UAW Local 4123 and the California State University in an effort to reach resolution on their contract dispute. The dispute is centered around a fee waiver benefit for academic student employees. UAW Local 4123 has agreed to postpone its strike, originally scheduled to begin at 7 AM, December 10, pending these meetings with the University and Senate President Pro Tempore Steinberg.

Whitmore said non-UAW represented employees are expected to work, and cross picket lines in the event of a job action. Whitmore said, "You are expected to continue to come to work and to perform your job duties. You are to report to work each scheduled workday at the start of your regular work shift."

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thumb drives left parking lot used in cyber attack?

I just read a "mark mail" pointed to by Tim Oreilly from David Farber. We would be totally vulnerable to this type of cyber attack at SJSU:

I've heard a rumor about the way the WORM made it's way into the Pentagon computer network. If true, it was a simple but brilliantly effective method. Someone infected thumb drives with the WORM then dropped them around the Pentagon parking lot. The employees, picked them up, took them into their offices and plugged them into their office computers to determine the owner of the drive.

That is exactly what we do, and were instructed to do, with thumb drives left in the computer lab at the university help desk.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Easy Wi-Fi for SJSU Wireless

A company called Devicescape has created an iPhone application that is really, really cool. It is called Easy Wi-Fi and it works great on our not so easy SJSU wireless network. UPDATE --> This program is also available for Macs and PCs!

What does this program do?
Simple, think about how you have to log onto the campus network. Assuming your computer finds the SJSU wireless network you then have to open your iPhone web browser. Then, you enter in your SJSUOne user name and password user credentials. It is that part that is the pain, because with a hand held device like an iPhone you have to do the two finger zoom thing and then type in your user credentials. That is a real annoyance.

To add to this annoyance if you make a mistake, your log-in session times out, your device goes to sleep and/or you roam to another wireless access point you have to repeat the process. This where Devicescape's Easy Wi-Fi comes in.

This little three dollar iPhone app has settings for tons of wireless networks in the country including SJSU's.

UPDATE --> This program is also available free for Macs and PCs and costs $1.99 for iPhone and iPodtouch! (That is cheap and well worth it. It works great @ SJSU.)

Here is how it works. You enter in your user credentials into the application then it, and not your web browser, logs onto the SJSU wireless network. (Yes, you will have to change your password in Devicescape's Easy Wi-Fi software when you change your SJSUOne password.)

It just works! It makes it look like our wireless network is an open network. It transparently mymicks how a Web browser works and it is very cool. The most publicized use for this product is using it for logging onto ATT Wi-Fi at Starbuck's. This is fine but I am at work a lot more than I am at Starbucks!

This is the first iPhone app I paid money for. They have versions for PC's, and Macs available as well. I have not tested these. UPDATE ---> I have tested it on Macs and it works great!

More is on their Web site. This could make a lot of people at SJSU's lives easier. UPDATE --->This will make a lot of people at SJSU's lives easier.

This is a killer app!!!!

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Podcast about Mumbai and Terrorism

SJSU Indian Student, Faculty and Alumnus Discuss Mumbai Attacks
Edupodder Podcast Episode 32

A campus perspective from San Jose State University
On December 3, 2008 San Jose State University student Ruchi Binjola, SJSU History Lecturer Rajiv Khanna and SJSU graduate Kamlesh Kudchadkar discuss the recent bombings in Mumbai, India with SJSU Journalism Lecturer Steve Sloan. Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra and is India's financial capital.

The conversation begins with Binjola and Kudchadkar and continues when Khanna joins the conversation. This "open mic" podcast conveys the feelings and thoughts of members of the SJSU community. One of the speakers lost a friend to terrorism in Mumbai. The thoughts and emotions expressed here are just as they occurred in the conversation.

Listen to audio

Click button below to subscribe to podcast:

Podcast XML

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Five big innovations in next five years

IBM Global Research has just posted about five big innovations they see in our near future:

The third annual "IBM Next Five in Five" is a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years...

An effort to provide accessible education to students with disabilities

North Idaho College capture system

Thanks to Bedan Kamau, Sr. Instructional Designer, Learning, Instructional & Information Technology, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona for his e-mail. Kamanu said, "North Idaho College will be implementing a new classroom capture system as part of an effort to provide accessible education to students with disabilities. The college will be using SpeakerBox from ClearSky Systems for the lecture capture program beginning in January 2009." Here is a link to a related article in Campus Technology.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The present of Journalism

Here is a great post on what is happening in journalism today. It is by SJSU Journalism faculty member Cynthia McCune and is not good news for mainstream media:

The bad news for the newspaper industry just keeps coming...

Changing from one paradigm to another is almost always seen as “bad news” by those invested in the old paradigm. It is the classic case of disruptive technologies that present new lower cost and/or more convenient solutions to problems.

The problem is, old solution businesses are often unable to compete because of their heavy investment in resources and values directed to the old solution. Their business model was shaped to answer a question, a question now starting to be answered differently.

Economic adversity just accelerates, by introducing resource scarcity, a process already underway.

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Public facing information on SJSU impaction

According to this post on the SJSU Web site:

On Thursday, November 20, 2008, in response to the state's worsening fiscal crisis, the California State University system declared systemwide impaction for the first time in its history.

San José State University must immediately develop and implement a plan to reduce enrollment. Several measures are currently in effect...

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Top iPhone Apps for 2008

According to MobileCrunch;

With most of 2008 and right around 10,000 applications behind them, Apple has released a series of lists outlining which applications scored the most downloads since the App Store’s launch back in July.

Check this out you might find something unexpected!

Monday, December 01, 2008

SJSU student podcast conversation on Mumbai

SJSU has a huge community of Indian students. They are very far from home. They have their own unique perspectives on the recent terrorist attacks in India. Some may like to be able to share their perspectives with friends and family, both here and back home.

I have booked Clark Hall 116 at SJSU on Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. for an open mike podcast recorded conversation to discuss SJSU student perspectives on the Mumbai attacks.

This is the result of a request by an Indian student to provide an Internet forum for, "inputs on this recent terrorist attack and aftermath."

Of course, the podcast will be put on the Internet. SJSU Journalism students have also been invited. Other interested members of the campus community are also invited.

Listen to audio

[More information about the podcast is here]

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Mac's feeling of security may be short lived

According to a recent story on Network World, Apple Macintosh Computers running Mac OS X have been the target of cyber Malcode attacks:

What’s even more interesting is the degree of investment this ("hacker") team has made in OS X malcode. They’ll be making new infections, it seems, for some time to come with that configurable loader.

Adding to the problem is the immunity Macintosh users have felt to viruses and other threats. While Macs are the minority on the Internet they may be soft targets because they are quite often not protected.

IBM see's economic meltdown as an opportunity

According to a recent Factiva:

Believe it or not, the leader of Big Blue is talking about the financial crisis and the prospect of systemic overhaul. As companies around the globe try to get ahead of the economic maelstrom by laying off employees, shuttering factories, and cutting R&D, IBM is headed in another direction. In the face of a meltdown, Palmisano continues, "you can retrench, pull in your horns, protect the balance sheet, and preserve cash. Or you can realize that this is about humanity screaming for change."