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Opportunities Next Week
- Blackboard Feature of the
"Announcements, Announcements, Announcements!"
Tech Talk Topic:
"The 'New' Google: Universal Search"
- For more, visit our
podcast notes page
for Episode 60.
Technology & Download News Briefs
Palomar College commencement exercises will occur
today, Friday, May 18 at 5pm on the football field.
Congratulations to all our graduates and transfer
Blackboard reminders: Tomorrow,
May 19, the new Blackboard course shells for Fall
2007 courses will be created. They will be
available for faculty development starting May 20.
Also tomorrow, Spring 2006 courses will be pruned
from the system. If you have not yet archived
your Spring 2006 materials and want to, your last
opportunity will be today, Friday May 18. Once
course materials are pruned from the system they are
Beginning this summer session (starting the week of
June 18) Palomar College will offer "Practical PC,"
both online and in traditional face-to-face
settings, aimed at teaching how to properly
configure and secure a personal computer." For
more information contact
Terrie Cannon at (760) 744-1150 ext. 2610.
Click here for the course description at the
CSIS web site.
The 2007 Online Teaching Conference, sponsored by
CCC Confer, and
3C Media Solutions
(formerly known as CCCSAT) will be presented at
Ohlone College on Monday and Tuesday, June 11-12.
You can go in person ($100) registration required),
attend free via live web casts and CCC Meet & Confer
sessions, or view the archive after the event, which
is also free.
Click here for details and registration.
For more information call Terrie Canon, (760)
744-1150 ext. 2610 or
click here for the course description.
and SanDisk have announced a joint project to
develop a new USB flash drive and memory cards
(beyond the current U3 standard) "will let users
carry their full personal computing environment
(including their familiar interface) with them in
addition to a few applications." When the
drive is unplugged it supposedly removes all traces
of the user from the host computer. The new
drives are expected to reach market by the second
half of 2008 (BusinessWire).
Amazon, the world's largest distributor of music
CDs, announced Wednesday that they will be opening
an online mp3 download music store before the end of
2007 to distribute music DRM free! They have
signed a deal to distribute the entire EMI catalog
(except for the Beatles) without copy protection.
Download and do what you want. EMIs catalog
includes Coldplay, Norah Jones, Joss Stone and Pink
has been testing DRM free music on iTunes, but
unfortunately Apple elected to charge more for DRM
free music ($1.29 per track rather than .99 per
track with DRM--why?) so comparisons based on the
Apple experiment will be useless. Warner Music
Group and Vivendi Universal are also experimenting
in small ways with DRM free music. In
episode 50 we covered Steve Jobs' call for DRM
free music, but many argue that it was a political,
disingenuous ploy to defelct heat from the EU,
seeking to declare iTunes illegal in Europe.
Steve has not dropped DRM from independent
distributors' tracks being sold on iTunes, even
though the artists do not want DRM. The Amazon
download store will undoubtedly be in operation
before the holiday season this year. (See
the MSNBC article).
went on this week, the Windows Hardware Engineering
Conference. For you hardware and driver-writer
types, there are many
downloadable papers from those presented at the
conference. One of the highlights was Bill
Gate's announcement of the
Windows Server 2008 feature set and
Windows Home Server hardware platform and
Click here for a video of Gates on hardware
Click here for access to webcasts, virtual labs,
podcasts and chat sessions.
Click here for the WinHEC home page.
Friends don't let friends join MySpace, or, 'Susan,
you're going to regret putting that tattoo there in
fifteen years.' The founder of
Center for Digital Democracy Jeff Chester
recently wrote, "I think a new digital Puritanism is
case like the drunken pirate [a case where a
Pennsylvania woman was denied a teaching degree
based on a rather innocuous MySpace photo of her
dressed like a pirate and holding a drink]
highlights the need to develop a whole new standard
of ethics, since even a relatively innocent remark
or situation online can backfire and ruin someone's
entire career." In other words, things you
post on MySpace will, not might, will, eventually
come back to haunt you. Many of us are
conducting our electronic speech in the same way we
conduct our private speech, and it is stored that
way forever. Never mind if it was a joke or
send up. The moral of the story is, there are
always unintended consequences to permanent, public
speech, so be careful. (MSNBC)
According to a new study from the
OpenNet Initiative (a collaborative partnership
between Harvard, Toronto, Oxford and Cambridge
Universities) "Internet censorship and surveillance
are growing global phenomena." Of forty-one
states sureveyed, state mandated net filtering was
found in twenty-five states. "Countries which
carry out the broadest range of filtering included
Burma, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia,
the United Arab Emirates and Yemen..." (BBC).
Below we have reproduced the ONI's world map of
political Internet filtering. See the
web site for details. (Grey areas indicate
states that were not surveyed, that is, no data.
They do not necessarily indicate the absence of
File this one under, 'My Code has a bug.'
Professor Masaru Tomita of Keio University heads a
team that successfully encoded data (Einstein's
famous "E=mc2" and the date "1905") into
the DNA of a bacterium. "The four characters
that represent the genetic coding in DNA work much
like digital data" (MSNBC).
The advantage of storing data this way is it will
last as long as the species lasts, more than a
million years, perhaps. The practical ability
to read the data at high speeds is, however,
limited, but not impossible.
"Many people never even thought about storing
data for thousands of years," Tomita said. "This may
sound like a dream. But we're thinking hundreds of
millions of years." Admit it, you have often
suspected that life on earth is the discarded
experiment of a race of overlords who failed in the
attempt to create intelligent life.
Safari Tech Book Online:
Apple Pro Training Series QuickTime Pro
Quick-Reference Guide by Brian Gary, Steve
Martin, Jem Schofield. "This handy
180-page book offers a great overview of QuickTime
Pro, including a fundamental explanation of video
encoding and an invaluable look-up guide of video
codecs and the QuickTime Pro interface." Palomar maintains a
subscription to Tech Books Online, and the books can
be accessed from any computer on the campus network,
or from off the network with a password
obtainable from the library.
Listen to the news [mp3 -
- Academic Technology Training
- We have completed our training schedule for
Spring 07. We will announce the new schedule
in this space in a couple of weeks.
@ONE training resources:
- Free training from
- 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 training from
Wimba.com through their desktop lecture series
- "Conversing Online from Canada to Mexico: A
Practical Study in Teaching Languages Online" will
be presented May 22 at 10am PDT.
Click here to register.
- "Practical Uses of Pronto: Instant Messaging
with Blackboard" will be presented May 30 at 11am
Click here to register.
The Blackboard Feature of
the Week - David Gray
Announcements, Announcements, Announcements!
With another fresh batch of courses about
to begin, this seems a good time to discuss a commonly
viewed component in Blackboard, the Announcements tool. This
is the only segment of a course site that we create by
default. The Announcements are what most students first see
when they enter a course site.
By default, the Announcements area shows
postings from the last seven days, plus any “permanent”
announcements. Generally these are course announcements, but
on occasion there are system announcements about things like
upgrades or planned system outages that may appear on this
list. The way announcements post, system announcements are
on top, with course announcements lower; permanent course
announcements always go above regular ones, and they are all
sorted chronologically by the time of posting, with newest
on top. That sounds confusing, but suffice to say, the posts
show up in the order you post them, unless you make one
“permanent” is one of the choices for an announcement, but
there are other options as well. To add an announcement to
your course, go into the Control Panel and click the
Announcements link near the middle left of the screen, then
click the prominent Add Announcement button in the upper
left. If you are using the Visual Text Box Editor in
Blackboard, you may notice that for the Announcements tool
the Editor is a bit limited. There are several things
(such as attaching files) that are disallowed in the
Announcements form. However, all the familiar “markup” tools
are there (such as bold and italics) as well as the
spellchecker tool. An announcement must have a Subject, and
should have a text message; there is also a choice to
include a Course Link to some other location in the course.
The deployment options include the aforementioned
“permanent” choice (a simple Yes/No radio button) and the
traditional Display After and Display Until date/time
In my opinion, the Display After/Until
choices are not that useful for announcements. If you
don’t set them, the announcement will immediately display,
and by default students won’t see it after seven days. But,
if a student wants to look back over old announcements, they
can always use the “View Last 30 Days” or “View All” choices
in the Announcements area. If, however, you set up a Display
Until restriction, the announcement would not show up, even
if a student selects “View All”. Generally I suggest leaving
announcements as not permanent, with no Display
Now that we are at version 7.2 of
Blackboard, there is an additional choice on the Add
Announcement form, a check box to “Email this announcement
to all course users.” Predictably this sends the text of the
announcement to everyone in the course.
Once you’ve set the controls the way you
want them, just hit Submit and your announcement is posted.
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry Gray
The "New" Google: "Universal Search"
On Wednesday this week Google announced "its
critical first steps toward a universal search model that
will offer users a more integrated and comprehensive way to
search for and view information online. The company also
introduced an updated homepage design and several new
navigation features that make it faster and easier for users
to find the information they are looking for" (Google
an apt analogy to agricultural hoards--those oh so important
repositories of the yet with us agricultural revolution,
Google compared the new strategy to the demolition of
informational silos: "The ultimate goal of universal search
is to break down the silos of information that exist on the
web and provide the very best answer every time a user
enters a query. While we still have a long way to go,
today's announcements are a big step in that direction."
Basically, a Google search will now
return blended results from the array of Google "silos:'
videos, images, news, maps, books, websites, and so on.
As time goes on, the company plans to integrate the
different resources more obviously in the results page, with
simple mechanisms to filter based on information type.
What makes Google so successful is their ranking algorithms.
You almost always find what you want near the top of the
results page. This is so amazing, because a) the
average number of search terms entered in a Google search is
1.3; and b) almost no one proceeds to page two of the search
results page. The moral: most people are very lazy
searchers and want (or will accept) what Google finds as
relevant on results page one.
Though the " new" Google interface is
still spare even by minimalist standards, you will observe
new links in the upper left of the page.
These same links will now appear at the
top of the results page.
Clicking any of them will perform a
focused Google image, video, news, etc. search.
What gets revealed when you click the more
The Blog Search is very valuable.
Blogger is the proprietary, free blogging service of Google,
so it gets its own category, for reasons that seem more
commercial than practical. Clicking the Blogger link
will lead you to the blogger login page. It will not
perform a search on blogger blogs.
Orkut, for those who don't know, is a
social networking service run by Google; a MySpace wannabe,
like so many others.
After performing a "more" search, you will
see yet another more button. Clicking it this time
will produce a smaller set of search tools, with an "even
Clicking the "even more" link will take
you to the exhaustive page of Google search tools.
It is a prodigious list indeed, and goes
on much further than illustrated here.
Another innovation on the home page is a
link to something called iGoogle. (They used the i for
no apparent reason other than to prevent Apple from
prefixing it to every known word and consequently trademark
every known instance). iGoogle is your Google
"portal." (And we thought portals were dead). It
is Googlishly spare, sort of like Yahoo cleaned up and made
presentable for grown up company, but can be customized to
be as cluttered and confusing as you wish.
The elements you see illustrated above
come standard with your iGoogle interface (and note in the
upper right it is simple to switch back to Classic Coke--I
mean, view). If you have Windows Vista you already
have these things on your sidebar and am not sure why you
would want them on your Google interface, but each to her
If you click the Sign in link in the
supper right you can sign in with your GMail account
information and load your personal customized Google
"portal" page which can be elaborated with colorful themes,
and thousands of freely available widgets.
Is all this customization too much for
you, or not enough? Google is ever advancing.
The new navigation links that appear at the top of the
search page will eventually be transformed into tabs with
specific search results illustrated in tabbed fashion.
If you would like to see some new
directions Google is taking search technology, you can use
the new Google
Experimental Search from Google labs. Experimental
Search will permit you to see search results in timeline or
map view, with contextual links to help refine the search.
Faster, better, more accurate, more easily
extended, what's not to like about the new Google.
Podcast Episode 59 |
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