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Technology and Download News Briefs
We are pleased to announce that Palomar's
instructional administration has elected to purchase a one-year
subscription to the
TurnItIn anti-plagiarism service that we have
been previewing in Blackboard this semester.
Thank you to all who responded to our TurnItIn
survey and who tested the product in their classes.
We hope that the license will be extended beyond the
first year. For more information, see our
We are equally pleased to announce that funds have
been allocated for the
replacement of 44 going-out-of-warranty computers in
the Academic Technology computer lab on the ground
floor of the San Marcos library with new machines,
and to expand the lab by an additional 10 public
computers and 2 additional Americans with
Disabilities machines. Whether the new
machines will be available for the opening of Spring
semester depends on how quickly they can be ordered.
We will deploy them as soon as possible. This
brings the total of publicly accessible workstations
in the Academic Technology student labs to 144.
Academic Technology public computer labs on the
ground floor of the San Marcos campus library will
be closed the week of December 18-22. We will
be staffing the student union computer lab in room
SU-204. Please go there for public computing
Over winter break Academic Technology will be
pursuing the following projects:
- December 19: prune Fall 2005 courses from
the Blackboard system (be sure to archive these
old courses if you think you might need them.
Click here for instructions on how to
archive. The pruning operation will have
minimal impact on Blackboard performance.
- December 20:
Fall 2006 Blackboard catalog removal – no impact on
- Upgrade the
Horizon Wimba Voice Tools building block
– no impact on Blackboard performance.
Two new voice tools will be added for the
Spring 2007 semester, the Wimba podcaster
and the voice presenter.
- Install the
Horizon Wimba Pronto building block.
Pronto is a class specific Blackboard
instant messaging product that will permit
students and instructors to interact online.
The installation of the building block
should have no impact on Blackboard
- December 22: Blackboard will be down
this entire day for a Blackboard full
system backup and a system update.
- January 3-5: Academic Technology
web/application/file servers will be
re-arranged/rewired in their server racks.
Various servers will be down during this period:
- System down time for the primary
District web server will be minimized.
Our first priority will be to bring District
web services back up as soon as possible.
- Blackboard down time will be minimized,
and Blackboard services should be back up by
end of day Wednesday, January 3.
- Other systems may be down until Friday,
Mozilla has released the alpha version of "Gran
Paradiso," otherwise known as Firefox 3, for
private developer testing. Since
Firefox 2 was just commercially released, it
will be a while until 3 is ready for public beta,
even, but Mozilla once again ups the steaks and puts
pressure on the IE developers.
Click here for a "first look" review from
technica. Mozilla has
also announced the release of Thunderbird 2,
Jimmy Wales announced
the release of "openserving," a free, open
source resource for web development and hosting
where the tools to build collaborative wiki-style
community web sites and the storage space is all
free to users. And here is the revolutionary
part, any revenue generated by the site, in
advertising dollars or otherwise, is also 100% the
property of the author. His for profit company Wikia, even though they are contributing the web
resources and tools, will not take a cut! The
only requirement is that the web developer must
include a link to Wikia.
Click here to access openserving.
Microsoft this week announced the release of
Windows Internet Explorer 7 – Chinese Simplified,
Chinese Traditional and Hebrew. "More language
versions of Internet Explorer 7 will be available
over the next few months" (IEBlog).
Click here to download worldwide language
versions of IE7.
Microsoft released 7 security updates this month on
Patch Tuesday; three are "critical" and four
Click here for the security bulletin summary, or
read about each individually below:
- Cumulative security update for IE (KB925454).
- Visual Studio remote code vulnerability (KB925674).
- Windows Media format remote code
- SNMP remote code vulnerability (KB926247).
- Windows elevation of privilege vulnerability
- Cumulative security update for Outlook
- Remote installation service vulnerability (KB926121)
- Update for Outlook 2003 junk email filter (KB925254)
- Windows malicious software removal tool (KB890830)
- A research
project commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by
International Data Corporation estimates the the
release of Windows Vista will generate $70billion in
revenues and create over 100,000 IT jobs in the US
alone next year. "The impact of Windows Vista
on the U.S. market will drive substantial revenue
and growth for many companies that are part of the
Windows® ecosystem — companies that sell
hardware, write software, provide IT services or
serve as IT distribution channels. Today’s study
forecasts that the release of Windows Vista will
help bolster the more than 200,000 U.S. IT companies
that will produce, sell or distribute products and
services running on Windows Vista, including many
small, locally owned businesses. The study forecasts
that each dollar of Windows Vista-related revenue
earned by Microsoft in 2007 will generate more than
$18 in revenue for the IT industry at large" (Microsoft
Click here for the PDF version of the report (14
- "More than 2.5 billion
people live in rural and remote areas of developing
countries where access to communications is severely
limited due to availability or affordability" (inveneo).
Inveneo, a 501(c) non-profit charitable organization
is conducting a "thumb drive drive." Send your
old thumb drives to them for redistribution to
students, aid workers and small business
entrepreneurs in the developing world.
Click here for the address and further
- Photoshop CS3 beta is
scheduled to be released as a public beta in the
early hours of December 15, according to
ars technica. The beta should be available
Adobe account is required to login to the download
site and a valid CS2 serial number is required for
installation, otherwise it will work for only two
days. It is a very large download, at 337MB
for Windows and 685MB for Mac.
Click here to read the press release from Adobe.
In developing countries the problem is not enough
PCs for the number of students. Microsoft has
come up with a creative solution with its Multipoint
product, which permits connection of multiple mice
and other peripherals to the same PC. "'MultiPoint
helps kids use PCs to learn together versus having
an isolated computer experience where they’re each
on their own PC. When they are accountable for
finding the right answer and clicking on it, their
learning goes up exponentially,' says Sherri
Bealkowski, general manager for Microsoft’s Emerging
Markets Education group. 'It helps them learn
teamwork, collaboration and computer familiarity –
the 21st-century skills that children need to learn,
especially children in emerging markets, so that
they can be competitive and can help their countries
be competitive'" (MS
Press Release). It is ironic that
we in the US spend millions on KVM
(Keyboard/Video/Mouse) technology to
reduce the number of mice and keyboards on our many
computers, the reverse is true in some places
Click here for a Channel 9 discussion of
Multipoint by its developers.
- Google has announced public
release of its
Google Patent Search tool this week, "...which
makes it easy to search the full text of the U.S.
patent corpus and find patents that interest
you...Google Patent Search uses much of the same
technology that powers
Google Book Search, so you can
scroll through pages and zoom in on text and
illustrations just like you can with books" (Google
press release). Google indexes the full
text of over 7 million patents granted by the US
Patent and Trademark Office dating back to 1790.
Read these very interesting (and currently
controversial) patents issued to Blackboard, Inc.
for their elearning system.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
Academic Technology schedule of training workshops
for Spring 2007 has been published.
Click here to access the schedule,
here to read a description of the various
workshops within their competencies and also the new
Blackboard Certificate program and TBA training.
Register for all Academic Technology workshops
Professional Development web site.
- @ONE has announced it's schedule of multi-week, online, instructor
facilitated courses for Spring 2007. Of
relevance to Palomar faculty will be courses on
Teaching Online, Teaching with Blackboard, and Using
Click here for more information and
- @ONE has also announced its Spring schedule of Lunch'n'Learn seminars.
Click here for the schedule and a registration link.
- Microsoft webcasts:
- Free Microsoft eLearning courses: for a limited time access
to these excellent e-Learning products on Office
2007 is available.
Click here to access a gateway to sign-up for
training in the new Office interface, Access 2007,
Excel 2007, Infopath 2007, OneNote 2007, Outlook
2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007, Visio 2007, and
Groove 2007. You may also download a free
e-book from this site titled
First Look 2007 Microsoft Office System in
- Free online training is available for Horizon
Live Classroom and the Horizon Wimba
Voice Tools, both of which we have access to in
our Blackboard system.
The Blackboard Feature of the Week - David Gray
Looking Ahead - Winter Break Upgrades
With the Fall 2006 semester basically
over, a lot of our recent planning has gone into the
projects scheduled for between the semesters. As per
the normal lifecycle of courses in Blackboard, the
Fall 2005 courses are going to be removed on
Tuesday, December 19th. Once that lengthy process is
done, we will be upgrading the Horizon Wimba Voice
Tools system, so that there will be some additional
tools available on that list for adding content. A
whole new building block from Horizon Wimba will be
added, for the Pronto tool, and some Blackboard
patches will be applied on Friday, December 22nd.
To specifically address the two
“biggies” on that list, let me answer the questions
“What is Pronto?” and “What is changing in
Pronto is a client based (both
Windows and Mac) Instant Messaging client, provided
by Horizon Wimba. Pronto includes the typical parts
of an IM client, with text messaging, voice
communication, etc. What is special about Pronto is
that the list of contacts in Pronto is automatically
populated based on the student rosters in
Blackboard. The intention is that this IM client can
be readily used for student collaboration, virtual
office hours for faculty, things of that nature.
Before Spring 2007 begins, we’ll have demos,
manuals, and some suggestions for use available.
Blackboard released a hot fix during
Fall 2006 which we have not yet applied, so that
will be going onto the system on Friday, December
22nd. The primary fix will involve users accessing
Blackboard with Safari 2, who are trying to use the
Visual Text Box Editor; other fixes will be
incidental. All the testing we’ve conducted
indicates that no new problems will be introduced…
but it might not be a bad idea to back up your
course sites anyway, given that the semester has
just ended. (Click
here for instructions for archiving your
courses). Of course, before we do a Blackboard
update we do full system backups of the affected
servers, which is why this Blackboard patch process
(which will probably be over in under two hours)
will have our Blackboard system down for the better
part of the whole day. The system will go offline
sometime shortly after midnight, December 22, and I
just hope the whole process is done before it’s time
to go home in the afternoon.
So that’s what lies ahead in the near
future for our Blackboard system. Now go enjoy some
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
Shay Phillips Reviews the Microsoft
is a Zune? (http://www.zune.net). Well, if you’ve
kept up with the buzz going around the net it is
Microsoft's candidate as “iPod™ Killer”. It has yet
to be seen whether the Zune is going to kill the
iPod in the marketplace, but for a first generation
digital media player, it’s not bad. Your next
question may be, what does the Zune have to do with
Academic Technology? The answer is that audio and
portable audio files are becoming another popular
tool for teachers. Many students will be carrying
around some form of digital media player, and the
Zune might just be one of them. Audio is one more
avenue for you as an instructor to get media content
to your students in a mobile format. Students may
download your lectures, podcasts or non-copyrighted
video clips for viewing anywhere.
My brown Zune came with the player, a USB
syncing/charging cable, ear buds, the Zune software
CD (Windows XP only) and the instruction manuals.
separately purchased car kit is a nice option to
consider if you would like to listen to your Zune in
the car. I got one and can tell you the transmitter
has a nice digital readout that auto-seeks for the
perfect station to broadcast on. Once set, tune your
Car Stereo to that station and you can listen to
your Zune. The kit also matches well with the look
and feel of the Zune, unlike many generic
aftermarket kits. It also has a pass through
allowing you to charge your Zune while listening
which is great for saving battery life.
a little bit bigger than the Video iPod, it feels
comfortable in my hand. Being a big guy, it feels
natural in my hand. It doesn’t feel like a
toy. Many digital media players feel like they are
going to break rather easily but the Zune does not.
Like many of the players out there, the ear buds
that come with the Zune are not great. The buds will
suffice but I would recommend getting something
better and more to your personal liking. The screen
size is nice and has a decent brightness to it.
Playback on the device is a breeze. I found
the Zune to be simple to navigate. Within a couple
of minutes I was listening to the included tracks on
the device. Although the Zune looks like it has a
click wheel akin to the iPod, the control is really
just a simple up, down, left and right navigation
control. I find it much easier to control
where the cursor is going as opposed to the iPod.
The Zune software imported my media files
flawlessly. The Zune software can import audio files
in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and
videos in WMV, MPEG-4, and H.264 formats. You can
also share files with others wirelessly, though they
can only play the shared file for up to 3 times in 3
days before being locked out of playing it. This
feature does not put DRM on the file, it merely puts
the song in a special Inbox folder that remembers
how many times a song is played and the date of
the time of this writing the Zune software was not
compatible with Windows® Vista, which is the current
OS on my computer. I did find a website that gave
instructions on how to hack the software installer
to get it working on Windows Vista but I wouldn’t
recommend it since Microsoft has promised a working
Windows Vista version soon. The Zune software is
required to put media files onto the Zune so I had
to get a second computer up and running with
Windows® XP with Service Pack 2. It works fine
on Windows XP.
The Zune cannot be used as a hard drive, for storing
non-music data, and does not have a voice recording
feature. The Zune software also does not
support Pod catching. This was very unfortunate, as
it made it a two step process to get
onto the Zune. I would recommend using a program
Feed Your Zune to do your Pod catching. The ATRC
website has a
great tutorial about Pod catching.
The Zune and the iPod both use custom USB cables for
syncing, which is a shame. It would be nice if you
could us a standard mini USB cable. This means if
you want to sync in multiple places you will need to
carry the cable around or buy a second one.
is the first generation of the Zune. It is
hard to know what the future holds for the device.
Microsoft has stated that they will support Pod
catching on the Zune, but only time will tell. I’m
sure the wireless features of the device will grow
over time. Vista support shouldn’t be too far away.
The Zune software will undoubtedly improve with time
so these brown areas will become clearer over
time. I have only had the device a short time, so I
can’t really comment on the battery life, but since
I can charge it in the car, I don’t foresee a lot of
problems with it.
does all of this mean for us at Palomar? It means
that the Zune is going to show up in your classroom
much like the iPod does today. If you see your
students wearing ear buds or headphones in class it
might just be a Zune in their pocket or backpack.
Professors have varying opinions about the use of
audio devices in class. A question that arises
is 'Can students cheat on tests using the Zune, or
other audio devices? Maybe. It depends on what you
allow them to use during the class for tests,
quizzes or exams. They could load your lecture and
listen for answers. They could put pictures of
relevant material to help them out or they could
have video clips to aid them. I don’t think most
users will go this far since most of them just want
to use their audio devices to listen to music. I
would definitely recommend that professors get a
digital media player to see what it’s all about and
understand what your students are doing. If you’re
comfortable with Windows Media Player the Zune
software is very similar and will be a good fit for
you. If you are on an Apple computer then stick with
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