Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don Kassing Returning

According to a reliable source former SJSU President Don Kassing is returning to SJSU to serve as the "new" interim SJSU President.

SJSU Layoff Negotiations Continue

I am in Human Resources with the other members of the negotiating team negotiating with university representatives over the impact of layoffs at San Jose State University. Today follows last week's two days of negotiations. If you are a university staff employee and you want to see bargaining in real life, come to the third floor of the HR/UPD building in front of the Seventh Street Garage.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Copiers, security and SJSU

Click on image to view video.

This video, sent by a friend, (and reportedly from CBS) calls into question the security of common copy machines. Many of these types of copiers are all over campus in unsecured locations. It makes one wonder, is this is an issue we are dealing with appropriately?

Creating complex ePub formatted documents hurts

In theory ePub is a wonderful format. Ari Armstrong, in a recent post to his blog, talks about the benefits of ePub:

I like the idea of the ePub format, developed by Adobe. It is open, so anybody can use it. At least theoretically, any author or publisher can create an ePub, and anybody can create a reader for the format; several readers now exist. ePub already reads on a variety of devices -- including my iPod Touch -- and I hear several more compatible readers are entering the market. Unlike an HTML ebook, ePub organizes many files, including text and images, into a single package. Unlike pdf ebooks, ePub reflows text to fit your screen and reading preferences.

Armstrong then points this out, "The problem is that it is a royal bitch to create a complicated ePub book." You can export to ePub from InDesign CS5 (IDCS5.) But, what you get is really bare bones. Exporting from IDCS5 is just the first step. Then, you need to go into the document and start editing it. There is an open source WYSIWIG ePub editor named Sigil. It is great, but WYSWIG tools for creating ePubs have a long way to go to be main stream.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SJSU staff union layoff negotiations update

According to a bargaining report on the California State University Employees Union Web site, "The CSUEU bargaining team met with CSU representatives at San Jose State University on May 19 and 20. Both parties exchanged proposals. CSUEU initially proposed that all SJSU layoffs be rescinded, but management rejected that proposal." The report also said:

The union countered with a proposal for a 90-day extension of layoffs. CSUEU is proposing to move the effective date of layoffs from July 1 to October 1. The 90-day extension would allow more time for SJSU HR to solicit as many voluntary time-base reductions as possible, which in turn may mitigate the layoffs of many of those employees who have already been noticed. [Read More]

Negotiations continue Thursday May 27, 2010 at SJSU.

Page view journalism forcing out obscure stories

According to a Silicon Valley Watcher post by Tom Foremski, "I was at a recent panel moderated by Sam Whitmore that discussed pageviews and the effect on journalism." According to Foremski, Sam Whitmore reports:

Two reporters from two different publications this month both told us the same thing: if you want to write a story on an interesting but obscure topic, you had better feed the beast by writing a second story about the iPad or Facebook or something else that delivers page views and good SEO (Search Engine Optimization). [Read More]
According to Foremski, "Page view journalism also means that smaller companies will be crowded out by their larger competitors."

Change in Microsoft mobile leadership

As the mobile device sector has been growing leaps and bounds Microsoft reportedly has been left behind in this increasingly critical market space. According to a post by Gavin Clarke in the Register, "When consumer gadgets were flying off the shelves last Christmas, Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices (E&D) unit actually saw sales drop — by 10 per cent."

Now, according to Clarke, "having repeatedly downplayed these problems, E&D president Robbie Bach is now quitting after 22 years with Microsoft, and chief executive Steve Ballmer is taking control of E&D."

According to Clarke, "earlier this year, insiders said that Windows Phone 7 (the Microsoft Phone OS that compete's with the iPhone and Google Android OS) would be lopped from E&D and folded into the main Windows and Windows Live Group under Windows 7 rising star and Ballmer favorite Steven Sinofsky." [Read More]

Monday, May 24, 2010

Google and age dicrimination

According to an article in today's San Jose Mercury News, former Google Engineer Brian Reid's case alleging age discrimination on the part of Google is going to be heard by the California State Supreme Court. The article said:

Reid's (age 54) long-running legal feud with Google has reached the California Supreme Court, which this week will hear arguments that will determine if the age discrimination allegations will ever be aired to a jury. [Read More]

I am not saying Google is guilty. However the sheer number of allegations we have seen and heard lately about Google's business practices makes me wonder. We are planning to give Google all our campus e-mail. What is the back out strategy should we decide we need to stop doing business with them at a later date?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A conversation about distance learning at SJSU

According to his Bio, "Will Manley recently retired after a 35 year career as a librarian and public administrator." In a recent post to his blog Manley wrote, "I boarded a commuter train in my town of residence, Livermore, CA and took the 40 minute ride to downtown San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley. My destination was the annual meeting of the advisory board of the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. It was my first meeting as a new member of the board."

It seems like the train trip may have been the best part of his day because, Manley really blasted our school:

Talk about an education! I quickly learned that all of San Jose’s library school courses are offered solely on an on-line basis. They have no traditional, face-to-face, in person classes. All communication is electronic. The face of the school is basically a computer screen.

It goes downhill from there. Manley goes on to say, "My first reaction was one of immediate revulsion." He continues for awhile before posing a number of questions to his audience including this, "Will the library continue to be a place? Well… we all thought library school was a place, didn’t we?"

I have the utmost respect for the faculty, staff and students at SLIS and I do not agree with the direction Manley is going with this.

His post and most especially the responses from SLIS graduates, students and faculty are an interesting conversation about on-line learning and distance education. My recommendation to check out Manley's post is not an endorsement of Manley's opinion.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Layoff Negotiations Continue Today

Union activists and other university employees march on campus on May 19, 2010 to oppose layoffs. Click on photo to enlarge.

Negotiations are continuing today to try to mitigate the layoff of 73 university employees and save as many staff jobs as possible at San Jose State University. I am on the union negotiating team. It has been exhausting, heart breaking and gut wrenching to talk to employees both about the impact on them of loosing their jobs and the impact on students and faculty of their jobs not being done anymore. Not only will they suffer, the students and faculty will suffer and the state will suffer for decades as students are not served, are turned away and programs terminated that support our state’s economy. These are some of the hardest days I have ever had as a union leader. I am taking this all very seriously. I woke up with insomnia last night and we have another hard day today.

I am covering this in detail over on my union blog, which is here.

[More Pictures Here]

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Layoff Bargaining is starting at SJSU

Click on photo to enlarge.

We are getting ready for negotiations with management over layoffs. I am on the union's negotiation team. Before the negotiation we held a lunch time rally. We are starting bargaining now.

Rally and bargaining today!

Click on photo to enlarge.

At noon today there where be a rally starting at tower hall to support our union's effort to save staff jobs at SJSU. We are in negotiations today and tomorrow! Please come to support our union. It is important that we show solidarity at this time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The end of education as we know it?

According to Rob Tucker, in a post on O'Reilly Radar, education as we know it is ripe for disruption through disintermediation. Tucker said, "How deep could this disintermediation go? Deeper than we would expect. If we take the primary function of school to be the dissemination of knowledge, the disintermediation could be near total."

In his post, Disintermediation: The disruption to come for Education 2.0, Tucker explained the concept of disintermediation:

An example of what disintermediation looks like is what happened to travel agencies. Before the Web, travel agents served as direct points of contact to facilitate travel arrangements between customers and service providers (airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, etc.)

Simply stated, disintermediation is the elimination of the middle man. Another historical example of the disruptive influence of disintermediation are newspaper classified ads. Newspapers saw their classified ad revenue business model disrupted when Craig's List allowed sellers to interact with buyers directly. In his post Tucker wrote more about the potential for education to be disintermediated:

Teachers, schools, and districts occupy ground not too different than the travel agents of 1998. Specifically, the value proposition of the current educational system is that it understands the landscape of human knowledge and that it can plan and enable the exploration of this landscape in a way that is cost and time effective. Learning is educational travel.

I think Tucker is right on target. The value proposition of brick and mortar schools, especially universities, is increasingly questionable in the long term given the disruption capabilities and cost effectiveness of increasingly powerful, ubiquitous and mobile technology.

Monday, May 17, 2010

At an Adobe Photoshop CS5 Training

Click on photo to enlarge

I am in South San Francisco at the Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Photographers tour workshop. These are great tours and I missed the training for CS4. I am looking forward to this. The instructor is Ben Willmore, this is his first CS5 session ever! He is an excellent trainer. But, this training was not as good as previous sessions of his I have attended.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Apple vs. Adobe and More!

Adobe has responded to Steve Jobs' letter about why the iPad does not run Flash. In newspaper ads Adobe has proclaimed its love for Apple. The Mercury News said.

Adobe Systems declared its love for Apple, but continued the companies' very public squabble Thursday over the Cupertino computer maker's decision to ban the Flash video platform from the iPhone and iPad. [Read More]

Jobs is right about the resource intensive nature of Flash, the closed nature of Flash and the open nature of the emerging HTML5 standard. However, there also is the very real issue of the proprietary nature of Apple's H.264 video codec. There are several sides of this argument. This whole thing needs to be played out.

Meanwhile with the iPad, in my opinion: Apple has created a new device. Apple has defined a new market and Apple is running with it. Apple is establishing market dominance and Apple is, with the iTunes Store, taking ownership of the content distribution channel; big time.

In the future, watch for Apple to almost give the iPad away to maintain ownership of that content distribution channel. That's where the action is. The iPad is the Barbie Doll, content is the doll clothes.

That's what this battle is really about. It's about the doll clothes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SJSU President Jon Whitmore leaving

SJSU President Jon Whitmore has announced he is leaving SJSU. This e-mail was sent to the SJSU community today:

There is no easy way to say this to all of you, so I will simply be open and forthright. It is with deeply mixed feelings that I announce I am stepping down as President of San Jose State University late this summer.

A unique and wholly unexpected opportunity has been presented to me beginning in the fall, an offer I have just accepted. Specifically, I will become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ACT Inc., an international not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa. ACT is most likely known to you as the creator and administrator of the annual ACT test for high school students. But ACT has grown into a global organization that offers a broad array of assessment, research, information, and program management solutions in the areas of education and workforce development. This opportunity is intriguing and challenging in ways that I have never experienced in my 42 years in higher education, and it is one to which I look forward with excitement.

At the same time, however, it is with great sadness that I am leaving the San Jose State community. We have weathered two of the most difficult years any of us have ever experienced, and I have worked closely with many of you as we continue to prepare for challenging times still to come. Our collective efforts must not waver in the next few months. Be assured that I will devote the remainder of my time to continued advocacy for improved state funding for the CSU and San Jose State, and to facilitating a transparent and smooth transition to the leadership of an interim president.

I say with gratitude and sincerity that our two years here at San Jose State have been an exceptional time for Jennifer and me, and we have truly enjoyed working and interacting with you on a daily basis. San Jose State is an excellent university in a special location, and we will always value our time here with you. It has been a personal privilege to serve as your president.

Thank you very much.

With warm regards,

Jon Whitmore

Needless to say, this is unexpected news.

SJSU and Bike to Work Day

Click on photo to enlarge

It is great to have the aid station in front of the King Library and to see SJSU's alternative transportation folks from Transportation Solutions have a presence there. However, it would be nice to see them do more than attend a one-day-a-year event and actually do something to enable bicycling as an alternative transportation solution for real commuters. For years I have been asking them to approach the university about getting access for employees to shower facilities, that already exist for students.

Not having access to shower facilities is a real barrier to bicycle commuters.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Microsoft Office on Windows on iPad

Click on image above to view video.

Do you want to run Microsoft Office on Windows on an iPad? Citrix has a way you can do that. There will be other solutions as well. If you think of the iPad as a thin client and your desktop as the host all kinds of possibilities open up.

What is a thin client?
For example, I am writing this right now on my iPad, over AT&T's 3G network. (Look ma, no WiFi!) My application is Google's "Blogger" blogging platform and the host is Google's servers running Linux. So there you are, my iPad is a thin client!

Think that way and the iPad does not have to be a powerful device. That's one of the things the iPad has going for it. It is a kick ass thin client computer!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

UC dumps Google

According to a post on Neowin by Brandon Boyce, entitled University of California ditches GMail:

Last week the University of California CIO, Peter Siegel, and several IT council members sent a letter to staff that they have decided to end their GMail pilot. The goal was to make GMail the primary mail system for the 30,000 faculty and staff at the University. But the faculty expressed doubt that Google could keep their correspondences private. [Read More]

In light of the growing privacy concerns over Google is this really a great time to be locking ourselves into a long term contract with them? Could this "free" service cost us more than we should be willing to pay?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

About cloud computing

Michael Otey of Windows IT Pro wrote this informative post on the rise of cloud computing. Otey said:

One of the most prominent IT trends to emerge in 2009 was cloud computing. It's a technology that has been wholly embraced by vendors, but businesses remain justifiably skeptical. Even IT pundits widely disagree about the future of cloud computing: Is it yet another thinly veiled attempt to resurrect the widely rejected era of the mainframe and thin computing, or is it the basis for an all-new type of application that represents the future of computing? In these tight economic times, cloud computing’s promise to cut costs makes it a compelling offering. So, what are today's vendors offering? [Read More]

Otey's post is a good read and is worth viewing by folks contemplating this technology.

Monday, May 03, 2010

SJSU's grand social experiment

This university is about to embark on a grand social experiment. The primary role of a corporation, said Chris Anderson editor of Wired Magazine, is to facilitate communications between teams.

No place is that more true than in academia. At our university, for example, our core teams are the academic departments that get the work done. Each of these teams has their own resources, processes, procedures and cultures.

The culture in the School of Library and Information Systems is different than the culture in the School of Art and Design, or Engineering, or Business or Kinesiology. For example, it is difficult to imagine yanking an equipment tech from the Library and expecting that person to function productively in setting up Mechanical Engineering labs. Yet, that is exactly the kind of thing the university is poised to do with the looming layoffs and massive reassignments of staff employees.

Staff employees are not only going to be finding themselves in alien job roles, they will often find the cultures they get transplanted to will be alien, with totally different rules, roles and values.

It makes me wonder how the labs are going to be ready for classes in the Fall and how faculty and students are going to be getting the services they need? I wonder how big of a disruption to classes, how much of a disruption to the university this all will be?

I guess, come August and the start of the Fall semester, we may be about to find that out. To me, it seems like a recipe for gridlock.