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IT Trends for Thursday, August 19, 2004

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

In This Issue


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

Acacia: Not a Plant, But Some Think It Is a Parasite

Last year, Johns Hopkins University received a slick package of information and a cover letter from Acacia Research Corporation requesting that the university shell out about 2 percent of its annual revenues to license streaming technologies from Acacia. Initially, it wasn't even clear to the folks at Johns Hopkins that there was in fact a demand being made - they thought it was just some slick advertising for a company's services.

Not so. Acacia is basically not a technology company. As put by Dan Rayburn, executive vice president of, it's "a company full of lawyers. They acquire patents and then sue." Now they're targeting smaller higher education institutions in the apparent hope that they will both pay and agree to license arrangements that might stick them with legal liabilities even when Acacia's patents are found to be invalid. This is an outrageous scam and it is my hope that every college and university will join together in a united front to resist Acacia's demands and eventually invalidate those ridiculous patents.
Read more


Tech Firms Invent "Destination School'

How d'es a 28-month bachelors degree in computer science for $50,000 sound to you? A new for-profit school, Northface, which provides that degree, is backed by IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Unisys.
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Mankato State University Relying on Service Pack 2

IT staffers at Mankato State think that the new service pack is "very solid," but this articles d'es not address how they're going to ensure that students upgrade.
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"Build It and They Will Come" Is Not Likely To Work

Silicon Valley and Boston's 128 corridors have far more in common with of networks, lots of computers, and higher education. There also has to be "be coordination among public policy, cultural attitudes and economic initiatives" - as exemplified by Irish initiatives.
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Don't Go Gaga On Google?

Forbes warns that interest in the forthcoming IPO looks to be driven by "mob psychology" and suggests caution.
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Bringing the Internet to the Impoverished

A professor at Carnegie Mellon University wants to mass-produce a $250 wirelessly networked computer for distribution worldwide to people who make less than $2,000 per year.
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VOIP + WI-FI = Cheap, Flexible Internet-Based Phone Service

Some of the big names in the IT industry are betting on VOIP, and what VOIP can do when combined with computing power and Wi-Fi is pretty spectacular.
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Nanyan Technological University Team Comes Up With Portable 3-D

What weighs 60-70 pounds, is small enough to be carry-on luggage, and even in the expensive lab version only costs about $100,000? Answer: Portable 3-D technology, soon to be a commercial product at less cost.
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Involving Top Leaders in IT Investment

How Northeastern University, in Boston, created collaboration between functional and IS teams at all levels and created a common vocabulary about the risks and challenges of IT project investments.
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Robotic Arm Facilitates Access To Library Books

Valparaiso University's new $33M library includes $3M in technology that lets you order a book online. A robotic arm finds the book in steel bins and drops it off at a librarian station for you to pick up.
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Internet Brings Patent Fight Onto College Campuses

One of the better articles detailing the questionable attempt by Acacia Research Corporation to imposed licensing fees against colleges and universities for streaming video and audio content for classes.
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Sensitive Oracle Sales Data Seen Being Released

Would you like to know which organizations get discounts from Oracle, and what the size of those discounts is? The federal judge adjudicating the hearing on Oracle's bid to take over PeopleSoft may make that information public soon.
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Security Community Tries To Keep Up With Changing Virus Threats

It's an arms race, with the good guys not always staying ahead of the bad guys. Speed and volume, and now "blended threats" can make your security hat whirl around on your head.
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AT&T Program Offers Discounts on Wireless Service and Equipment

The AT&T Wireless College and University Advantage (CUA) program offers eligible students, teachers, and administrative staff bonus minutes on certain calling plans as well as discounts on wireless services and equipment. The program also gives qualifying higher education institutions a way to offset their wireless costs as students sign up for service. As more students sign up for AT&T Wireless service, the revenue and usage generated helps exceed the school's annual contracted commitment and increases the institution's discount.
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Purdue Develops New Video Compression Technology

The new technology will enable future military drones to transmit data and surveillance video. A $2.6 million grant funds the two-year project to promote high-tech research and development.
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Events Calendar

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Blackboard Releases New Functionality in Application Pack Two

Application Pack Two offers Blackboard clients new facilitating shared learning environments across consortia, support new eLearning industry standards, which enables effective course management, and allows further use of Blackboard globally.
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Open Text Releases FirstClass 8.0

Open Text Corporation’s FirstClass released FirstClass 8.0, a suite of integrated communication and messaging capabilities. The release includes both the FirstClass Business Edition and the FirstClass Education Edition.
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The Impact of Wireless Network on Instructional Computing

Howard Strauss, manager of technology outreach as Princeton University

Despite the popularity of the technology, wireless is only beginning to show its potential uses for instruction. Howard Strauss comments about the use of the technology, both in the classroom and remotely.

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Discussion of the Week:

As a professional educator who has taught, been an administrator and developed professional development program for faculty in four states in institutions, public, private, for profit and not for profit, I find that the questions are always the same. What can I do about students who do...?

Posted by Arlene A O'Leary
Simulation Learning Institute

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