Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wiesenthal Center officials cite SJSU Incident

Spartan Daily Article on Israeli Speaker

A post by Stan Wilson, Los Angeles, California, CNN, said, "Jewish students and faculty at California universities fear for their safety on campus because of threats aimed at them over the Middle East conflict, the father of a slain Wall Street Journal reporter said Friday."

Wiesenthal Center officials cited another incident three weeks ago at San Jose State University where the consul general of Israel was verbally abused and forcibly driven from the stage during a guest-speaking engagement aimed at fostering understanding of Jewish culture.

According to Wilson, "San Jose State University spokeswoman Pat Harris told CNN the sponsors of the event were responsible for moderating the speaking forum but maintained that officers and security personnel acted appropriately."

According to a report by a faculty member who was in attendance, "Akiva Tor, Consul General of Israel and honored guest of the student group Spartans for Israel, was verbally abused and forcibly driven from the stage by anti-Zionist hecklers. As the moderator quickly lost control of the screaming crowd, Tor had to be escorted out of the room by a phalanx of security officers and campus policemen."

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rocky Mountain News to close

According to a post on their Web site the Rocky Mountain News is going to close. It will publish its final edition Friday:

The Rocky Mountain News, less than two months away from its 150th anniversary, will be closed after a search for a buyer proved unsuccessful, the E.W. Scripps Co. announced today.

As Steve Raabe of The Denver Post said, "The News becomes the latest casualty in an industry stricken by a spiraling decline in newspaper economics." This closure follows concessions by unions representing more than 1,100 workers at The Denver Post and the Denver Newspaper Agency, the advertising and circulation arm of The Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

Microsoft to offer free certification training

According to a post in CNet News by Ina Fried, Microsoft plans to offer free training including certification training to millions of people. Could this be a big boost to educational institutions and their staff who are strapped for resources but need to have current skills for applications for education?:

"Millions of individuals don't have the technology skills needed in today's economy. Through Elevate America, we want to help workers get the skills they need to succeed," Pamela Passman, Microsoft's VP for corporate affairs, said in a statement.

According to Fried, "Microsoft's move comes as the United States has shed millions of jobs, a small number of which came from Microsoft itself as the company announced its first companywide layoffs last month."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SJSU Spring Color

Blossoms at SJSU

Dreams of Spring
Every Winter I dream of California Spring, which typically starts in mid-Feb. That dream of Spring helps me get through the cold of Winter. This is my favorite time of year.

These blossoms are near Sweeny Hall at San Jose State University.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will Chronicle Close or Be Sold?

According to a story by Pete Carey of the Mercury News, Hearst says it will close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle if it can't make significant staff reductions:

The San Francisco Chronicle's owner, Hearst Corp., said Tuesday that it needed to significantly reduce the number of union and non-union employees at the newspaper or it would be forced to "sell or close the newspaper."

According to SFGate, The Chronicle's on-line edition, Frank J. Vega, chairman and publisher of the Chronicle, said, "It's just a fact of life that we need to live within our means as a newspaper - and we have not for years."

The California Media Workers Guild is among the unions representing employees at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

iPods pose threat to students

According to Alice Park of Time Magazine:

Teens who say they worry about hearing loss but still listen to their iPods at high volumes probably assume that the manufacturer's maximum default setting is safe, or that turning the volume down to anything but full-blast is harmless.

Park said, "most of us can, and are, spending more time listening to music through headphones, there is a real risk of hearing loss for anyone who plugs in."

Friday, February 20, 2009

SJSU Blossoms

SJSU Blossoms

The blossoms are returning to SJSU and with them my favorite time of the year. This photo was taken slightly over a week ago not far from the building I work in using a 32-year-old film camera, my Nikon F2. I love color negative film's ability to hold subtle detail in the highlights, like the translucent bright petals of this back lit blossom.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Celebrating Frances's Birthay

Frances, John and Sue

Today is Sue's Mom, Frances's birthday. She is 83. I had lunch with her. I picked her up at the San Jose airport. She was returning from a trip to visit friends in Florida. I took her to lunch. It was a lovely day. I am really glad I was able to spend time with her today.

Despicable Anti-Israel Act at SJSU

Spartan Daily Article on Israeli Speaker


According to our state department Hamas is a terrorist organization. So, if you support Hamas you are supporting terrorists. I remember 9-11 too well to be comfortable with that.

However, that said, I respect the right of people to peacefully protest and to voice their opinions even if I disagree with the protesters, even if they take a position that supports people who target civilians intentionally, use their own citizens as human shields and whom our own government has labeled as terrorists. But, what happened in the SJSU student union on Thursday October 5 was not freedom of speech. It was despicable.

According to a report by a faculty member who was in attendance, "Akiva Tor, Consul General of Israel and honored guest of the student group Spartans for Israel, was verbally abused and forcibly driven from the stage by anti-Zionist hecklers. As the moderator quickly lost control of the screaming crowd, Tor had to be escorted out of the room by a phalanx of security officers and campus policemen."

In my opinion; folks opposed to Tor's message had the right to express their freedom of speech by holding up signs or perhaps by having a peaceful informational picket line. But, when they disrupted the event they went too far.

Yesterday SJSU President Jon Whitmore sent an e-mail to the campus community. In that e-mail he said, "The university fully endorses the free expression of ideas and opinion, but does not condone behavior and methods of expression that disrupt free and orderly discussion. Departments and recognized student organizations are exercising their free speech rights when extending invitations to speakers and planning events. Behavior that is too disruptive infringes on those rights."

I hope President Whitmore finds a way to make it up to Tor and to the student group Spartans for Israel.

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Stimulus package has $7.2 billion for Broadband

According to a recent post by Jeff Caruso in Network World, "The U.S. economic stimulus package is law - all $787 billion of it - and of that, $7.2 billion has been set aside for improvements to the nation's broadband infrastructure. Let's take a closer look at what that means." The post said, "The final, passed version sets aside $2.5 billion of the total $7.2 billion for the "Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program."

One year from now, the FCC is supposed to submit a "national broadband plan," which "shall seek to ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal."

Potentially this could significantly improve access to distance learning.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It is balmy in Clark Hall while others freeze

There is a story in today's Spartan Daily about the cold temperatures in some campus buildings. No problem in Clark Hall where it is in the 70's in my office (CH134.) In fact the warmest room at 76 degrees is our server closet, a room that is supposed to be cool. (I call that room the server sauna.)

What can faculty do about cold temperatures. Well, if they are unable to get the matter fixed by reporting it to Facilities Development and Operations, they can file a grievance with their union! Article 37.1 of the CFA/CSU collective bargaining agreement says:

"The CSU recognizes the importance of procedures for the protection of health and safety of faculty unit employees. The CSU shall endeavor to maintain conditions which are conducive to the health and safety of the employees. The CSU shall endeavor to ensure that faculty unit employees will not be required (a) to work in unsafe conditions or (b) to perform tasks that endanger their health or safety."

Meanwhile, I am in shirt sleeves in Clark Hall.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Tens of thousands of state workers facing layoff

Layoff notices going to state workers

The budget crisis is about to result in layoff notices to tens of thousands of state workers. Our state's credit rating is already in the toilet, all because of a tyranny of a minority of legislators. This is what we got for imposing a 2/3rds vote to pass a budget and imposing term limits. The voters of California wanted a legislature that did nothing and that is what they got!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How can newspapers survive?

According to Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider, "Printing The NYT (New York Times) Costs Twice As Much As Sending Every Subscriber A Free Kindle:

It costs the Times about twice as much money to print and deliver the newspaper over a year as it would cost to send each of its subscribers a brand new Amazon Kindle instead.

How can newspapers survive? Here is a suggestion from Walter Isaacson of the Huffington Post who said, "last month: more people in America got their news online for free than paid for it by buying newspapers and magazines.":

The key for attracting online revenue, I think, is coming up with an iTunes-easy, quick micropayment method. We need something like digital coins or an E-Z Pass digital wallet -- a one-click system that will permit impulse purchases of a newspaper, magazine, article, blog, application, or video for a penny, nickel, dime, or whatever the creator chooses to charge.

It seems clear to me that the market is acting. Will newspapers be able to react before they just die? I think we are going to find out sooner rather than later.

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SJSU Blossoms

SJSU Blossoms from 90s

The foot paths are long gone but the blossoms come back every year. Soon they will be here again.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Workman on a ladder at SJSU

Workman on a ladder at SJSU

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Scamers pretending to be from CSU credit union

This is a scam!
If you get an e-mail that begins like this don't fall for it! I know it looks like it is coming from our credit union, but it is a lie!

Dear USE Credit Union member,

We detected irregular activity on your USE Credit Union card.

In order to receive uninterrupted services, please verify your information immediately.

To verify your account, please click the link below, log in and follow the provided steps...

Then it gives you a legitimate looking signature, "Regards, USE Credit Union." How do I know it is a scam, first off I am not a member of the credit union.

If you are in doubt call the credit union. Never follow a link provided you in an e-mail that points to any place you have to log-in. Almost always, such things are rip-offs!

Monday, February 09, 2009

A sea of leaves

Sea of leaves

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Here comes Kindle 2.0

Bookstores to become an anachronism?
Bookstores are already suffering from stiff competition from the on-line stores. Now comes the new, sexier Kindle. You gotta see it coming, like print newspapers the next to go is paper books! No paper books, no bookstores. Bookstores are dead, they just don't know it yet. Yes, in our lifetime.

Film vs. Digital

Why does it have to be one vs. the other?
I shoot both film and digital. They are both different and give different looks, that is why I shoot both.

Digital sees light differently than film does. The algorithms used by a digital sensing device that define how it reacts to light exposure are programmed in both hardware and software and that is that. The camera will always see the same light the same. The camera digitally processes the light. The camera IS the film. The memory card is the device the data is first stored on. Even a RAW file is just a capture of the data stream off the sensor, like a latent image on film. Everything else is post processing. With digital film is NOT free, you pay for it when you buy the camera and buy more when you replace the camera in 24-48 month cycles.

With analog you can vary the latent image depending on the film stock you use. It is like a digital camera with 36 sensors a roll. When you change film type you change the camera. The camera can see the same light differently depending on the film in the camera. The film chemically reacts to light and thus captures its own latent image. The post processing here is the developer, the temperature, etc. and all the other variables that can be used and applied to convert that latent image.

Thirty year-old film cameras can take pictures indistinguishable from new ones because you can put the latest film stock in them, and yes they still are coming out with new films. You cannot put new sensors in old digital cameras.

Last night I developed five rolls of film and I will continue to shoot film because I like the way film looks. I have a hybrid workflow. I am scanning the film today. I do my digital post processing in Photoshop CS4.

Meanwhile, I also shoot digital. Because I am still using a D2Hs that I bought just over two years ago, and have not upgraded to a D700/D3 a friend, who shoots with a D1X said that he and I are, "bottom feeders."

For $3,000 to $6,000 I can buy a lot of Provia. It looks great, even in my old Nikon F. That camera is 40-years-old and still going strong! Oh, I bought it used for $80.

Did you know digital sensors have a life, a number of exposures they are good for? Some experts say digital sensors are good for between 5,000 and 10,000 exposures. Maybe, 280-300 rolls of film worth. Maybe you will be lucky and get double that? Of course by the time you hit that wall it will not be economical to fix the camera.

Newer models will be out...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Winterail 2009 Teaser

SP Steam Engine

This is one of the photos that will be in the show my son Kenneth and I are doing on the Darrough Brothers, Jack and Bill Darrough. The photo of Southern Pacific C-8 class 2-8-0 Consolidation 2740 was taken by Bill Darrough in Bakersfield, California on November 30, 1937.

This show is a follow up on the Bill Darrough show that ran at Winterail 2007. If you want to see the 2007 show, a version is here!

Jack Darrough is still alive and plans to be at Winterail 2009. Hope to see you there!

Tickets are still available for Winterail 2009. Check this website for info.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Obama Inaugaration Day

Obama being inaugarated

January 20, 2009 was the last day before classes started at SJSU. It was a busy day at the help desk. We were in the middle of training. Stopping that to watch the inaugaration was simply not an option. I was able to time my first coffee break so I could be in the coffee shop to see the swearing in ceremony. It was great to see that!

People watching inaugaration

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