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IT Trends 06-26-2003

Thursday, June 26, 2003

In This Issue


The Cost of Doing Business Differently

Terry Calhoun, Commentator
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
University of Michigan

PeopleSoft Inc., which has focused most on the higher education niche of the enterprise software market, and has hundreds of college and university customers, recently made a $1.75 billion offer for J.D. Edwards. PeopleSoft's mainstay is high-end, enterprise human resources software. J.D. Edwards' expertise is in mid-size, manufacturing-integration software. PeopleSoft rival Oracle Corp., then made a $6.3 billion hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft. Many in higher education are alarmed.

PeopleSoft users are legitimately worried and will certainly suffer in the short term. We think that regardless of who merges with whom, the net result may be a diminishment of the importance of the higher education segment of the enterprise software business—to PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, SCT— and whatever other players end up in that competition. More institutions will modify their business practices to be more like software users in other industries. Some will reconsider homegrown—especially with regard to areas without parallel in other industries, such as student services.

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Oracle's PeopleSoft Plans Alarm Higher Ed User Group

The Higher Education User Group (HEUG) decried Oracle Corp.'s plans to acquire PeopleSoft. "As part of Oracle Corp.'s hostile takeover attempt of PeopleSoft, [its] threat to terminate development of our higher education applications is appalling," said HUEG president Ola Faucher. "The offer to help us migrate our applications onto a different suite is unacceptable … A migration to an ERP suite we purposely did not choose … would force our institutions to expend vast amounts of money, precious staff time and talent, and place our core business processes at risk."
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Watch Out Google, Here Comes Vivisimo

A commercial spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University's computer science program—Vivisimo Inc.— has reached nearly $1 million in federal research grants, the latest a $350,000 homeland security contract. Vivisimo's search engine clusters search results topically. For example, results for a search for the word "cell" might be broken down into cellular biology and cellular telephone categories in a way that users might find more useful. It has been named the "Best Meta-search Engine" two years in a row. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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Supreme Court Upholds Internet Filters

In a decision that affects staff and users of thousands of public libraries—and delighted owners of filtering software companies—the U.S. Supreme Court decided this week that public libraries must operate anti-pornography Internet filters on their computer networks or lose federal funding. (The Washington Post)
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Minnesota Launches First Statewide ePortfolio Program

"eFolio Minnesota" is the country's first statewide electronic portfolio system. Now all Minnesotans can record and display their accomplishments, educational and otherwise, using photos, video, audio and graphics, according to Linda Baer, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. (
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Hate Mail: Anti-Spam Act Gains Ground in Congress

Some say it d'esn't go far enough, but the "Can Spam Act of 2003" is moving forward on Capitol Hill. The legislation would penalize bulk e-mailers that promote scams, conduct fraud, sell pornography, and won't remove recipients upon request. It also bars the use of certain types of e-mail harvesting software. (The Washington Post)
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IUPUI Tracks Campus Printing Costs; Budget Scythe to Swing

Like most schools, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis faces technology budget cuts. To help trim waste, IUPDUI has started a trial printing tracking system which will likely be implemented in the fall. "During the trial, the university will determine printing trends and actual costs of materials. The information will then be reviewed by student and faculty groups who will then help decide how to use the system in place." It's either that or cut the technology budget elsewhere. (The Sagamore)
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Primer on Integrating Handheld Computing on Campus

Don't know where to start in managing the new wave of handheld computing on your campus? Check out "Administrative Solutions for Handheld Technology in Schools," a new book published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which provides a blueprint for integrating handhelds into curricula, classrooms, and administrative tasks.
Read an excerpt and/or order the book.

Roll Your Own: Templates for Building a Course Web Site

If your college or university has yet to centralize its approach to course management systems, or worse, has no approach whats'ever, you might consider using templates from the higher education group at the National Education Association. Links are set up for syllabus, assignment, and announcement pages.
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U. Washington Deal to Provide Media Bandwidth in 'Petabytes'

The University of Washington has a deal with switched computing systems developer Topspin Communications to use the company's InfiniBand-based Switched Computing Systems for the university's digital video media library. The system is being used to provide high-bandwidth connectivity for the university's streaming media servers to enhance its digital video archives and connectivity to clients. "The University of Washington plans to scale its Digital Well archive out to include petabytes of high-quality video content for distance learning," said Nate McQueen, system architect in the Advanced Systems Technology Group at the University of Washington.

Boise State Picks Solution to Secure Wired and Wireless Nets

Boise State University has picked SecureSmart, a network security package from Perfigo Inc., to secure and manage its wired and wireless local area networks. Brian McDevitt, the school's manager of telephone and network services, said the software, "is able to handle wireless, which we expected, but also the wired traffic, which is significantly heavier. Even streaming media passes through without causing a bottleneck. When we were looking for a new solution, our biggest requirements were scalability and ease of management—one solution, one management console."

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Research Universities, IT Firms Form Global App Test Bed

Researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., Princeton, the University of Washington, and more than 60 other universities have joined to form PlanetLab, a global test bed for inventing and testing prototype Internet applications and services. The researchers aim to spark a new era of innovation by using "overlay" networks to upgrade and expand the Internet's capabilities. The partners say PlanetLab may lead to new ways of protecting the Internet from viruses and worms, and could also enable new capabilities, such as persistent storage, the idea of giving the Internet a "memory."
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CyberScrub Sanitizes Systems to Government, Standards

CyberScrub LLC last week released CyberScrub 3.0, designed to perform secure file deletion and erase sensitive data from computers beyond recovery. The company says the software complies with commercial and government file retention policies, including the HIPAA Security Final Rule, federal directives ensuring the privacy of protected health information, as well as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which protects financial data. The new release boasts non-retrievable erasure of selected files and folders, removes all evidence of Web surfing, destroys e-mail, wipes "locked" files, and functions as a cleanup utility to enhance system performance.
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Firm Introduces Web-Based Maintenance, Capital Planning System

VFA Inc. introduced AssetFusion, a Web-based interface its says will manage the seamless exchange of information between daily facility maintenance systems and capital asset planning software. Using Web services architecture, the application integrates the company's capital planning software with facility management applications such as Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). VFA says the integration of these applications eliminates inconsistent data entry and "[provides] a more streamlined approach to managing facility assets and generating tasks such as work orders."
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ESL Software Claims Language Mastery in 38 Hours

EyeHear Learning Inc. unveiled EyeHear English1, a CD-ROM-based language learning method that it claims will enable students to master one year of language study in 38 hours. The product is designed for beginning, intermediate, and advanced language learners. Duffy Galda, department chair of language at Pima Community College, called the software "ingenious" in that it introduces syntax, grammar, as well as the English sound system. "We are already moving toward open-entrance, open-exit individualized instructional uses with this software," Galda said.
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