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IT Trends for Thursday, Oct. 16, 2003

Thursday, October 16, 2003

In This Issue


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

The Feral User

When did we become responsible for “civilizing” feral users, and why d'esn’t anyone realize the huge responsibility that has been thrust on higher education IT staff?

If you’ve read Lord of the Flies or Tarzan, or ever heard about the Wolf Boy in anthropology class you’re familiar with the spectrum of mythology regarding what young people without adults are capable of getting up to. Tarzan, of course, was remarkably civilized for having been raised by nonhuman animals but those kids in Lord of the Flies were scary.

We’ve almost got a Lord of the Flies situation with our freshman class and its cyberculture. They’ve grown up with access to IT and the Internet and have acculturated in a shadowy, underground cyberworld that is not under adult supervision. And most of them have been exposed to little or no “civilizing” processes with regard to their computer usage – until they come to campus.
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Terry Calhoun ([email protected]) is director of communications and publications for the Society for College and University Planning (


Internet2 Commons Providing Collaborative Video Conferencing

The service, using H.323 video and audio standards, is said to be affordable and as easy-to-use as traditional telephone conferencing...
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EDUCAUSE Releases Report on Campus IT Environments

Here are a couple tidbits from the EDUCAUSE Core Data Service 2002 Summary Report: the average age of campus administrative systems is 9 years; 44 percent of CIOs sit on presidential cabinets; half of college students own computers.
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A Political Battle for E-Mail Access at Brown University

One student group send out a mass e-mail, then another group asks to send one—but theirs mocks the first one, while claiming a legitimate need for email access. What to do? (Brown Daily Herald)...
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Penn State to Develop Authenticated Peer-to-Peer

File-sharers are adopting security measures. Do you have a file-sharing "speakeasy" connected to your networks? (CNN)...
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Electronic Speakeasy: File Sharers Adopt Security Measures

Published as the RIAA moves closer to more court actions, an anonymous paper describes a number of techniques that could make it appear as if an innocent user is hosting copyrighted files; and ways to trick users into unintentionally downloading copyrighted files that they then unknowingly host (
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New Computer Sciences Center at University of Washington

The six-story, $72M Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering was mostly built with private donations. The building upgrades and triples the space previously available for artificial intelligence and other IT research areas. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)...
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Free USB Storage to Compliant Fairfield University Students

On a first-come, first-served basis, Fairfield University IT staff have decided to reward students who followed instructions to remove viruses from their computers last month. (Fairfield Mirror)...
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Firm Promises Supercomputer Performance on the Desktop

A small chip-design company is unveiling a new processor it says will bring supercomputer performance to desktops and laptops within a year. Imagine running an Earth Simulator on a notebook. (Hot Wired)...
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British Legislature Focusing Hard on Spam

Companies already face a £5,000 fine if they send junk messages to individuals who are not already a customer or have given their permission. Parliament wants to expand that to emails sent to businesses. (BBC)...
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UCEL: Universities’ Collaboration in eLearning

UCeL was founded in March 2002 as a multi-institutional collective to collaboratively produce high quality interactive multimedia resources for health-professional education. Its six founding partners include the Universities of Cambridge, Nottingham, Manchester, East Anglia, Wolverhampton and Peninsular Medical School (Plymouth/Exeter).
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Schoolforge: In the Cause of eLearning

Its creators call Schoolforge, “a foundry … where you will find the information, the tools and materials you need to ‘forge’ or make a school and all its parts. All free for the asking (or download), and, in the future, international in content and character. Schoolforge is not a place or an organization, but a cause, and a collection of people and projects dedicated to it: bringing quality, affordable and dependable software and teaching materials to the people who need them around the world.”
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Calif. Education Network Consortium Signs Co-Location Deal

The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) has picked eXchange @ 200 Paul, a carrier facilities operator, to serve as the San Francisco backbone hub site for interconnection of area campuses to its new CalREN optical network. CalREN's backbone supports 2.5 Gbps and 10 Gbps links.

CENIC is a not-for-profit serving California Institute of Technology, California State University, Stanford University, University of California, University of Southern California, California Community Colleges and the statewide K-12 school system.

eXchange @ 200 Paul offers carrier-neutral colocation facilities in Northern California for organizations that rely on the multiple telecommunications networks and the Internet to drive their business.

University of Toronto Builds High Performance Housing Net

The University of Toronto is putting in a broadband network that would allow the creation of real-time, self-service access by students to campus resources and email. The school is working with Tut Systems Inc., which provides turnkey multi-tenant broadband systems, and Rycom Inc., a Canadian integrator. They will use Tut's Expresso 10 Mbps scalable network chassis that will handle those requirements and offer a platform to support future, high bandwidth video services.

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Will pen-based computer inputs replace keyboards for portable computing devices?

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Sharp Introduces 3D Notebook Computer to U.S. Market

Sharp Systems of America introduced the Actius RD3D, a notebook computer that incorporates Sharp's TFT 3D LCD technology, making it possible to view three-dimensional images without special eyewear. The screen can be switched back to 2D viewing for standard applications. The company said uses include CAD and other design applications, drug research, medical imaging, mapping/GIS, and electronic books. Sharp says its TFT 3D LCD technology offers a realistic sense of depth and presence that hasn't been previously available in LCD displays. The Actius RD3D sells for an estimated street price of $3,299.

MIT Non-Profit Produces Tool to Fight Global Illiteracy

A team of MIT students has designed a small battery-powered microfilm projector that they are using to deliver learning material to poor rural communities at a fraction of the cost of textbooks and lamps.

The projector, dubbed Kinkajou, delivers 10,000 pages of information on one microfilm cassette for under $100, compared to $400 for the cost of printing the same volume of information. The project was done under the auspices of Design that Matters, a Massachusetts nonprofit that aims to creating products and services to meet the needs of poor communities. Kinkajou was designed with SolidWorks, a 3D mechanical design software.
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WebCT Demos Open Knowledge Initiative Application

Course Management Systems firm WebCT said it successfully prototyped an application that uses the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs) for interoperability among higher education applications. OKI seeks to provide simple integration with existing infrastructure and to encourage local innovations that can be shared across. In the demonstration, the WebCT Vista system automatically synchronized calendars with Microsoft Outlook using the OKI authentication and scheduling OSIDs, or APIs, to exchange data. This would enable both calendars to be simultaneously updated by updating one.
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