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News 11-15-2002

Sponsor: Syllabus Now Has a Voice: Syllabus Radio

Now broadcasting to a computer near you! Click on and hear audio interviews with established leaders and creative thinkers in higher education as they discuss the good, the better and the best uses of IT on campus. Join host Judith Boettcher of CREN each week as she explores issues in education technology. This week, five-time Emmy Award winning composer and Syllabus fall2002 keynoter James Oliverio discusses opportunities for interdisciplinary and multicultural understanding that accompany the cross-pollination of technology and culture.

PC Industry Unveils "Next Big Thing": Tablet PC

Microsoft Corp. and a slew of computer hardware and software companies last week announced the availability of the Tablet PC, marking the beginning of what Microsoft chairman Bill Gates called "an exciting new era of mobile computing." The Tablets, introduced by six original equipment manufacturers, including Acer, Fujitsu PC Corp., HP, Motion Computing Inc., Toshiba, and ViewSonic Inc., run a version of Windows XP that integrates the power of pen computing with the portability of the laptop. For on-screen reading applications, Gates announced Microsoft Reader for the Tablet PC, the latest version of Microsoft's eReading application optimized for the Tablet. Purchasers of the Tablet PC will be able to take advantage of a promotional offer: a selection of free eBooks targeted to business professionals.

Cal State Northridge Standardizes on Messaging System

California State Northridge said it will standardize its campus messaging system on Mirapoint Systems, an enterprise e-mail application that can be customized for different campus groups, including students, staff, administrators, and alumni. The system can deliver wireline, Web, and e-mail services and has built-in anti-virus and anti-spam features. "It was very important to have a messaging solution that could fit seamlessly into our computing environment and scale to specific group needs," said David Sorkin, system technical manager. Previously, the university depended on Sendmail and Messaging Direct, but these systems limited the school's ability to use other compatible hardware products.

Penn State Deploys Web-Based Attendance System

Pennsylvania State University is using a Web-based labor management system to track attendance and associated labor costs for over 4,000 university employees on 10 campuses statewide. The system, called Attendance Enterprise from InfoTronics Inc., calculates payroll, schedules employees and manages employee attendance. The application is built on Microsoft's SQL database architecture and is accessed via a Web browser. J'el Weidner, associate director of information systems operations for Penn State, said the system was chosen because it "integrates tightly with our existing technology infrastructure and strategic plan."

Education Institutions Offered Break on Video Tech

A company specializing in digital video technology is offering educational organizations from K through 16 a nearly 50 percent price break on its offerings in order to win a share of the education IT market. Focus Enhancement Inc. is offering its $100,000 in discounts for FireStore FS-1 video processing system. The system, which will be available at a price of $545 through Jan. 30, 2003, converts any FireWire or I-Link drive into a digital disk recorder or player that lets users record directly to disk from a digital camcorder, VTR, or mixer. Company officials said FireStore FS-1 has several educational applications: coaches can instantly review plays; distance-learning program footage can be transferred right from disk to a streaming server; and students in drama and music classes can quickly record and randomly access playback for auditions and critiques before a performance.

Integrator Delivers Real-Time Student Loan System

Systems integrator Edgewater Technology Inc. will help the loan guarantor American Student Assistance customize ASA's student loan processing system for the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The new student loan processing system will be a flexible, real-time student loan processing system that will save the state an estimated $16 million in administrative costs over the life of the partnership. Last year, ASA was awarded a contract to provide the Oregon Student Assistance Commission with a customized, Web-based loan processing system based on the ASA Enterprise System. Edgewater Technology partnered with ASA to provide data conversion and system deployment services on that system as well.

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