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As a final reminder for the year (we will not
publish another newsletter until next year),
Academic Technology servers will be down
intermittently for rewiring and upgrades on January
4th and 5th. Our priority will be to bring the
District web servers back up first, as early as
possible on the 4th. While it is down, a
failover primary web page will be in place to direct
students to eServices for registration. The Blackboard system
will be brought back up as soon as possible secondly, and other AT
servers up by end-of-day on the 5th.
In order to hook up the power to the new Natural
Sciences building electrical service to the north
end of campus will be off from 7am to noon on
Saturday, January 13. This should not have
much impact, since it is prior to the beginning of
spring semester, but a good thing to know.
Google is now partnering with eNom and GoDaddy.com
to begin offering domain registration. "When
you register a new domain as part of the sign-up
process for Google Apps for Your Domain, we'll work
with our partners behind the scenes and
automatically configure everything so it works with
all of the services available through Google Apps
for Your Domain right out of the gate" (Google
press release). Google is offering domains
for $10 per year, supporting .com, .org, .net, .biz
and .info domains.
Click here to find out more.
Opera 9.1 was released this week. Opera is
a well-known also-ran in competition with better
known web browsers.
The chief new feature is a
real-time phishing filter akin to the ones in
Firefox 2 and IE 7. Phishing filters check
each Internet site visited against black lists of
known fraudulent sites, and warns users if a match
Click here to read the ars technica article
about Opera 9.1,
here if you have an interest in downloading
We reported last week in Shay Phillips' review of
the Zune, Microsoft's new mp3 player, that Windows Vista did not support the
Zune software. Microsoft must have bowed
to the criticism because this week they released
version 1.2 of the software which is Vista
here for the engadget report,
here for the update page.) Meanwhile,
according to the NPD Group, the Zune, even though it
was only released mid-November, has already
caputured 9% of the US retail market for hard disk
drive-based media players (The
Mercury News). Apple continues to dominate
sales in the mp3 market, but must be a little
unnerved at such early progress by the Zune.
There are three known, unpatched vulnerabilities in
MS Word (Microsoft Word 2000, 2002,
Office 2003, Word Viewer 2003, Word 2004 for Mac,
and Word v. X for Mac and Works 2004, 2005, and
2006) that could allow attackers to "...take over a
PC or run malicious code on a compromised machine" (BBC).
To be affected, a user must open a "booby trapped"
Word document. Microsoft says "users should
always exercise extreme caution when opening
unsolicited attachments from both known and unknown
Click here for a summary from the Microsoft
Security Response Center blog.
Also on the vulnerabilities front,
Mozilla released critical security updates for
Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey this week.
Click here for the CNet article, and
here for the Mozilla security advosory, .
What physical media is best for archival purposes of
digital materials? This posting from the blog
Terras Per Aspera" titled "How
to choose CD/DVD archival media" is well worth a
read if you wish to save digital data for long
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced this week a
$1million grant to
Internet Archive to digitize collections owned
Boston Public Library, including the
John Adams collection, the
Getty Research Institute, the
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Johns Hopkins University Libraries and
Click here for a CNN article describing the
grant and the rivalry between the
Open Content Alliance (whose motto is "Building
a digital archive of global content for universal
mission is to organize the world's information and
make it universally accessible and useful")
for dominance in digitizing the "fruits of
civilization." My money is on the capitalists.
Have an iPod but like Windows Media
player? Want to sync your iPod from Windows
Media player? Impossible. Or is it?...
from MGTEK is
a product called dopisp which will let you do
just that. (Hint, read product name
backwards). This is a plugin to WMP 11,
requiring Windows XP or Vista, which supports only
the mp3 file format (16-320kbps) and the full line
of iPods. Here is the warning: "MGTEK dopisp
is not available for purchase yet. If you would like
to try the evaluation version, you can try it free
for 2 month." And another: "Please note that
it is not possible to sync protected music files,
such as music you bought from the iTunes store. If
you do not wish to get stuck with either Apple's or
Microsoft's digital rights management technology, go
buy the CD instead and rip it to MP3." [OR,
buy it from allofmp3.com while you still can.]
We have not tested this product yet and are not
recommending it, but for you adventurous few WHO
HAVE YOUR MUSIC COLLECTION BACKED UP, you might want
to give it a try.
File under "Politics, 21st century style." The
Pew Internet and American Life Project reports
that 64% of registered voters "...received recorded
telephone messages in the final stages of the 2006
mid-term elections." This trailed only direct
mailings as a means of contacting voters.
Click here for the report [3 pages - PDF].
Here is the method breakdown:
"Which do you think was the greater invention--the
printing press or the Internet?" This
question, among many others, was asked as part of a
Zogby International/463 Communications poll of
1,203 Americans. Americans as a whole said the
printing press, by a 65 to 32 percent margin.
The really interesting result, however was the
answer given by ethnicity:
If I had to answer another of the poll's
questions: 'From which country do you think the next
Bill Gates is most likely to come from?' I would
answer, not sure, but look to Asia.
What are people really looking for? Love?
Not even close. Here are the
top ten Google
search terms for 2006. Interestingly, 8 of the
10 are reported as misspelled by my spell checker.
Do you think language is changing quickly? If
you don't know what some of these terms mean, it may
be why they are the most searched terms. These
terms also make it easy to see why
Time picked "you" the Internet-connected "you,"
as person of the year.
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.
- 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
Stick a Fork in it!
Let’s not litter anyone’s mind with new
tools in Blackboard, although several tools (Podcaster,
Presenter, Pronto) from HorizonWimba have been added this
week. The year is over, and there are only a few loose ends
to tie up.
The Blackboard upgrade today (December 22,
2006) went very smoothly, and the system was back up before
8:30 a.m. This patch to the system fixes a number of minor
“URL spoofing” vulnerabilities, but the primary reason to
install it was to allow Safari users to again be able to use
the Visual Text Box Editor. We've tested it, and it works.
Safari users can turn on the Visual Text Box Editor in their
Personal Information settings at last.
Since the question has come up – how long
will students be able to access their Fall 2006 courses?:
Technically, according to our Course Life Cycle policy (as
discussed back in the
podcast episode 17), students' access to courses are
removed two weeks after the end date for the class. So, for
typical full-semester courses, that would mean students may
access the course site until December 30, 2006.
Instructors who want to block students out earlier, just
make the course unavailable.
Since the District has holidays coming up,
there will not be Blackboard Technical Support available
again until January 2, 2007. If you do wish to leave an
issue for us to address as soon as possible, send email to
So, stick a fork in it, this year is done.
Listen to this segment only [mp3 - play time =
the index of Dave's previous "Blackboard Feature
of the Week" segments.
Note: To get to David's vodcast site,
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
It's always fun to play 'what's going to happen.'
I recently asked our staff to respond to questions
about the future of technology. Now,
it's true we tend to be geeky, so our answers will
reflect the geekiness. Nevertheless, perhaps
you will find some of our answers revealing, or at
least find the questions provocative.
First, to where we've been:
Q. What is the most significant
improvement in the use of technology at Palomar over
the last 10 years?
Answers varied, but they all had to do with the
growth of the Internet:
"Resources available in online format."
"High speed access to the desktop."
"Online registration and fee paying, with
Blackboard, wireless connections and computer
access available to students."
"Taking advantages of the unprecedented
resources available online."
Over the next 10 years, what will happen to trends
in teaching with technology?
The movement to more and better technological
delivery methods seemed to be a common expectation.
"The majority of courses will be taught either
online or in a hybrid online/in-the-classroom
format. Course materials such as textbooks,
handouts, and other tools (calculators, etc.)
will be in an electronic format accessible from
any internet connected device."
"There will be cheaper, more and better user
friendly access for students in the future."
will drive most of the technology trends in
education. They want the information faster and
in a format they can easily transport.
Information will become more accessible to more
people over the internet."
"Full-motion video on demand will become a
"The semester-based scheduling system will be
abandoned in favor of an on-demand model, and
content will be delivered in new ways which will
emphasize a wider area approach, such as content
delivered to smart phones by students anywhere
in the world."
Q. In general, what is the single most
significant technical invention or innovation over
the last 10 years?
Electronics, of course:
changing the way the public treats cable
"Affordable broadband internet access."
speed internet access to the home."
"The boom of the internet."
"Communications technology generally, and the
cell phone, soon to be the smart phone,
Q. What technical trend or trends will
blossom into general use over the next 10 years, and
in 10 years, what technologies not in general use
will be indispensable?
A. It's all about communications:
"Communication: the way we receive and send out
information and do business. In 10 years
the spy in the sky will be ubiquitous."
"Telecommuting. As employers consider the price
of their office space they will finally
restructure “traditional” work tasks to not
require a physical presence for more than
receptionist/sales-style duties. Within
ten years PDA/phone combinations will be as
ubiquitous as standard cell phones are now."
- "I believe that time-shifting and
place-shifting of content will become common
place. The Digital Video Recorder has allowed
individuals to view television and movies at any
time desired. The many portable media players
have allowed music and video to be listened to
or viewed from virtually anywhere. As more
devices and bandwidth become available, this
trend will continue to grow. In the next
10 to 20 years, robotic devices, aided by
quantum computing and nanotechnology, will
increasingly be replacing humans in a wide array
of tasks. Most industries will be dramatically
changed by the automation of functions
previously performed by humans."
over IP and high definition video over the
internet will become common. In 10 years
smart phones will be indispensable."
"The use of biometrics to validate electronic
transactions will blossom. In 10 years
most electronics will be wireless, including
power source cabling. In 20 years
genetically modified humans with electronic
prostheses will be employed in certain
Q. Sir Martin Rees (a not inconsiderable
source) estimates that humankind has a 50-50 chance
of surviving the 21st century. Are you
optimistic or pessimistic?
Most likely. Happy with the process and its
"I am optimistic."
"Yes, I think we will survive because I am an
"Ambivalent. I believe homo sapiens will be
around in 2101, but fear that the culture I take
for granted today will not exist in any
"Humankind will survive the 21st century, but
many dramatic changes will occur. At some point
a disease of some sort will emerge and kill a
significant percentage of humans causing a drop
in the earth’s population. Climate changes will
change the face of the earth causing shifts in
populations, leading to violence and,
ultimately, large numbers of deaths."
"Because of advances in
genetic engineering, and expected global
catastrophes related to destruction of the
environment, new, better adapted human-like
species may supplant, or at least subdue,
existing homo sapiens."
There you have
it. It's clear that some of us have been
reading too much dystopian literature. We're
really all hoping for the best.
Listen to this segment only [mp3 - play
time = x:xx]
an index of previous "Tech
Talk Topics" segments.
Podcast Episode 45 |
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