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Opportunities Next Week
- The Blackboard Feature of the
"We need information: Stats!"
Tech Talk Topic:
"How to access Academic Technology Workshop
- For more, see
podcast notes page for Episode
Technology & Download News Briefs
you have signed a contract to work 850 hours at
$77.10 per hour, you may want to send back the
An Excel 2007 calculation but was discovered this
week. Open Excel and enter the formula
=77.1*850 in any cell. The result will be
displayed as 100000, rather than the correct answer
65535. It turns out there are 12 known
floating point numbers near 65,535 and 65,536 which
are calculated incorrectly in this fashion.
"Of the 9.214*10^18 different floating point numbers
that Excel 2007 can store, there are 6 floating
point numbers (using binary representation) between
65534.99999999995 and 65535, and 6 between
65535.99999999995 and 65536 that cause this problem"
Microsoft is working on a patch and will release it
as soon as possible to the normal update cycle.
Older versions of Excel do not display the bug.
Also new from Microsoft, in an effort to boost its
share of Internet searches (and thereby sell more
Live Search has a new index and search
interface, a la Google. "Microsoft said the
index of web pages on the new Live Search was four
times larger and more relevant results would be
Microsoft is still a distant third as a search
provider, behind Yahoo and Google. For
detailed information, see the
Live Search blog.
Also from Microsoft (if that were not enough), there
is a free, downloadable eBook titled Build a Web
Site That Sells.
Click here to download. The book is in PDF
news just keeps coming from Microsoft: It was
reported this week that they are in talks with
Facebook to purchase a 5% interest in that company,
an investment valued at $300-500 million.
Google has a similar interest, so it looks like
another bidding war. Also from Microsoft, the
new Zune2 will be released October 16th, with
something new called the squircle--a
cross between a square and a circle where the
click-wheel control used to be. Don't sell
your Apple stock (engadget).
A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life
Project reveals that "83% of online Americans say
they have used the internet to seek information
about their hobbies and 29% do so on a typical day."
Click here for the report in PDF format.
Google Book Search now has a new clipping tool,
which clips excerpts from books into Google
Notebook, along with the source URL, of enormous use
to researchers building a library of clipped
selections from mountains of public domain books.
can now highlight a section of text in any public
domain book in Book Search, create a clip from it,
and share it with the world. You can post your
favorite clips to your blog along with a personal
annotation, collect them in a Google Notebook, or
share them with friends anywhere you decide to embed
the link. Your clip looks exactly as it appears in
the book, or if you prefer plain text, we have that
Goolge Book Search). How does it work?
Just click the clip tool at the top of the book view
pane and highlight the text you want. You can
clip it to Google Notebook or a blog, as image or
text, with a single click.
also released this week their long awaited
presentation manager (their idea of web-based
competition for PowerPoint.
Ars technica reviewed: "Having spent
nearly a decade working with PowerPoint...I found
myself intrigued by Google Presentations. I wondered
if it could truly replicate the functionality of
PowerPoint, how much flexibility it offered users,
and how polished the end products would look. At the
risk of causing you to stop reading here, the
answers are 'not really,' 'not much,' and 'not
very.'" Go to the
Google Docs homepage to try it out for yourself.
To get Google's side of the story,
click here for the press release.
Intel has announced a target date, sort-of, for
delivery of USB 3.0 devices, which will require
fibre cabling since they are aiming at offering
10-times the speed of USB 2.0 devices. "the
final version specifications to be finished by the
first half of 2008, with USB 3.0 peripherals
realistically appearing in 2009 or 2010" (ars
Another week, another version of
iTunes. The new version is numbered 7.4.3, and
available now for download.
the word on the street? It's "squid." At
least it is this week. Sesame street has a new
weekly video podcast featuring a single word.
Watch people dance like squids, see pictures of
squids, see NBC news anchor man Brian Williams say
"squid, squid, squid, squid, squid, squid."
This and much more.
Click here for more information and to subscribe
to the vodcast (or simply watch it without
Belkin is now shipping a wireless USB Network hub
that works with existing wireless network access to
USB devices. "The system works by simulating a
direct USB connection, tricking the computer into
thinking the devices on the network are directly
attached to it" (PC
World). It retails for around $160.
Speaking of great hardware, Western
Digital this week
unveiled their new lineup of "My Book" external
hard drives, or "storage appliances" as they are now
called--the term "hard drive" sounding too much like
something that can break. The new My Books
(designed to look and stack like books) are
physically smaller, sleeker, and capacity has been
increase. The top-end drive can now store 2TB
or data, the low-end drive, 320GB.
Featured Safari Tech Book Online:
The Digital Photography Book: The Step-By-Step
Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like the
Pros'! by Scott Kelby.
"Scott Kelby, the man who changed the "digital
darkroom" forever with his groundbreaking, #1
bestselling, award-winning book The Photoshop Book
for Digital Photographers, now tackles the most
important side of digital photography--how to take
pro-quality shots using the same tricks today's top
digital pros use (and it's easier than you'd think)."
Palomar maintains a subscription to Tech Books
Online, and the books can be accessed from any
computer on the campus network.
Contact the library for information about off-campus
Listen to the news [mp3 -15:24]
- Academic Technology Training
- Elluminate Training
- Elluminate is our new econferencing system.
There are many excellent training resources
available through the
Elluminate training center. Live,
instructor led training seminars--conducted through
the Elluminate interface--occur regularly and
may be scheduled through their web site.
- @ONE Training
Feature of the Week - David Gray
We Need Information, Stat!
It sure would be nice to structure content
in Blackboard so that the material which is used most
frequently is most available. It would also be nice to know
when students are using the course, or what tools in the
course students are spending the most time using. After all,
we have expectations about what students are doing, but
wouldn’t it be grand to have evidence to prove or disprove
Never fear, Course Statistics is here!
Linked at the middle right of the Control
Panel, the Course Statistics area has only a few options.
You select the kind of report you want, what date range you
want a report on, and which users you want counted in the
report. Hit Submit, and wait until your report is generated.
Of these settings, often faculty members
will just leave the Users set to All Users, but if for some
reason you want details on what a specific student is doing
in the course, you can get reports showing only his
information. Also a common setting choice, if no start and
end dates are selected, the entire history of statistics for
the course are used; remember that your course exists for
around 90 days before the start of the semester, so leaving
the time before the start of the semester in the report may
not actually be what you wanted.
Of the reports to choose between, Overall
Summary of Usage can give a good feel for when students are
using the course (but the actual data displayed in the
report can be overwhelming). Also the Accesses by Content
Area can give a good feel for which of your content areas
students access, but the usefulness of this report depend
heavily on the design of your course. After all, if you have
all your material gathered into a single content area,
knowing that content area is used 100% of the time would be
pretty useless. Obviously the “by Groups” and “by Forum”
reports are only useful if you are actually using Groups or
Discussion Board Forums.
When viewing these reports, try to avoid
getting bogged down in the individual user data. All the
data is shown, but the more useful portion of these reports
is likely to be the graphs. It’s far simpler to look at the
bar graphs and tell trends of which days of the week your
course is used, or which hours of the day students are
likely to be using the course, than it is to try and
decipher fine detail from the massive data grids included in
the reports. (Go ahead, run a report, you’ll see what I
mean.) The pie charts which accompany these reports will,
like all pie charts, only be useful if you look at the usage
totals summarized at the end of each data grid, just try not
to get stuck in the actual data.
Another reason not to get too locked into
the individual data is due to the nature of Internet
statistics; there is a difference (which is not at all
intuitive) between a Hit on a web page, or a View of that
page… and frankly trying to describe Internet statistical
nature is both too boring and too long-winded for even me to
try and explain. Bottom line though, you can use these
Course Statistics to look for trends in student use, but
don’t try to get too many details out of the reports.
Happy statistic gathering, everybody!
Tech-Talk-Topic - Terry
How to Access Academic
Technology Workshop Training Materials
We have been engaged in presenting
workshops on a variety of technology topics, and I would
like to use this space to describe, for those workshop
attendees who wish to work on the materials, and for those
who were unable to attend, how to get to our training
workshop training resources.
We have grouped our training support
materials in a Blackboard course in which all faculty
members have been pre-enrolled. We have also enabled
guest access on this area, so if you are a staff member or
simply anyone in the world curious about our materials, you
can access them in Blackboard as a guest. I would like
to review here how to access this training course.
First, for faculty members, all you need
to do is login to Blackboard. In the My Courses, under
"Courses you are enrolled in" you will see one called
"Academic Technology Training." Click that and you
will be into the course. To find a specific workshop,
click on the Workshops link, and then choose the workshop
from the various areas of "competency."
If you are a staff member, or member of
the public wishing to access these materials as a guest, the
access route is a good deal more convoluted. Begin by
starting the Blackboard login procedure: Go to http://www.palomar.edu/pconline
and click the big red login button:
On the next page click the little grey
login button on the left of the page:
On the next page, click the "Preview"
button on the left of the page:
Now you are in to Blackboard. Click
the red "Courses" tab:
Now click the "Academic Technology" link
in the "Course Catalog" area of the resulting page (I told
you it was a bit convoluted):
Finally, click the AT_Training link on the
You're in. Simple as 1-2-3 (4, 5
square root of -i).
The training area is constantly changing
and developing, so check back if you don't find what you are
looking for. Eventually, there will be a content area
for each workshop we do (there already are for most
workshops--though some have yet to be developed).
Send us your comments