IT Trends for Thursday, September 23, 2004

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

In This Issue

OPINION

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

“If You Can Avoid It, Don’t Multitask” --What?

From time to time you see a spate of articles sweep through the mainstream media decrying multitasking and the apparent conclusion from scientific research that multitasking leads to a reduction in overall accomplishment. I've seen headlines like “Multitasking is Counterproductive,” “Multitasking Creates Health Problems,” “Multitasking Makes You Stupid,” and “The Thief of Time: Multitasking is Inefficient.” Those headlines make my blood boil and chill at the same time (multitasking

These newspaper, television, radio, and Internet flurries are almost entirely either from or about the article, “Executive Control of Cognitive Processes in Task Switching,” in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Someone from the Knowledge Age had to get to the bottom of this. So, I submerged myself in the dense, 34-page original article and found out that, among other things, the research in question d'esn't relate in any realistic way to either the headlines or to the content of the news articles.
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IT NEWS

IBM, PeopleSoft Announce Enterprise Applications Alliance

Nearly 15,000 attendees heard the announcement at PeopleSoft's Connect 2004 user conference Tuesday in San Francisco: PeopleSoft will integrate IBM middleware and development tools--the combined efforts of IBM infrastructure and PeopleSoft applications developers will be marketed jointly. The move to combine IBM's WebSphere, an open standards-based middleware platform, with PeopleSoft applications should ease technical challenges, say the alliance partners. How do higher education customers react? John Webster, PeopleSoft Program Director for Dakota State University comments: “PeopleSoft's alliance with IBM may be viewed as the first step in the company working to put Oracle in the rearview mirror as it concentrates on developing the next generation of enterprise applications for its customers. And while some analysts remain cynical of the relationship, viewing a takeover as inevitable, I view it as a very strong and positive statement about both companies' commitment to 'their' customers and the future.”
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It's Not Your Imagination--Viruses Aimed at Microsoft Increase 400 Percent

In the first six months of 2004, nearly 5,000 new worms and viruses aimed at Windows were recorded by experts, compared with only 1,000 new critters during the same six months of 2003. (USA Today)
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Academia Battles Forces of IT Anarchy

A British visitor to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania muses on the IT support effort necessary to manage returning students, and its fit (or lack of fit) within the institutional silos. (The Register)
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Blackboard Has Great Penetration in its Market

According to Business Week, more than half of U.S. colleges are using Blackboard technologies, and it sees Blackboard's future as a rosy one, despite competition from the Sakai Project. (BusinessWeek Online)
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Why Must They Face Off; Can't They Just Get Along?

The fledgling “face book” industry is already spawning lawsuits. The popular and fast-growing Thefacebook site, which is in use at 99 colleges and universities, has been sued by the founders of ConnectU, who say their ideas were stolen and taken to the market ahead of them. (Boston.com News)
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Now's the Time to Locate Some Great New Employees

In the outside IT world, unemployment is high and employment is low. The San Francisco area alone lost nearly half of its IT jobs in the past three years. (Information Week)
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An Ounce of Antivirus Prevention at UT Arlington

September is “Security Awareness Month” at the University of Texas at Arlington. It's part of a larger effort to create a body of better-informed student users. (The Shorthorn Online)
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California State University Locks up Tight

At California State University Channel Islands key fob and a PIN is all students, faculty, and staff need--and if the programming is done correctly, they can get in where they should and be stopped when they should. (CR80News)
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Oracle/PeopleSoft Saga Continues--More Poison Pills Created

A federal court okayed moving forward with Oracle's effort to acquire PeopleSoft, but PeopleSoft continues to get creative with poison pills. The latest is a $200M employee compensation package. (USA Today)
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Porn Task Force Advises Against Internet Filter

“Pornography is not illegal; we should not be making moral judgments based on its use,” was the partial conclusion of a system-wide task force at the University of Texas System. That system's chancellor is expected to review the recommendations and make a policy decision in October. (The Daily Texan)
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Don't Mess with Librarians

Here's a sign from the resistance to the Patriot Act, spotted in a public library: “Q. How can you tell when the FBI has been in your library? A. You can't.” (Wired News)
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U. Massachusetts Fully Online After a Week of Glitches

The school's student information system was upgraded in July, mostly with a new student and faculty portal. The portal malfunctioned and was eventually repaired by school staff and PeopleSoft consultants. (masslive.com)
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The Largest Planned Wi-Fi Network in The Middle East

The 70-acre campus, including 33 multistory buildings and 21 outdoor assembly areas, will be covered by more than 300 Aruba 802.11a grid points at the American University of Beirut. (Yahoo! Finance)
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Five Wireless Mistakes to Avoid

Boy, do we know these well: assume employees follow policies, install wireless access points at random, jump from skeptic to true believer, think short term, hope (instead of plan) for the best. (fcw.com)
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Students Hang Up on Dorm Phones

SUNY Albany hasn't seen a commission check from its dormitory long-distance provider for five years. Long-distance minutes used at Skidmore College fell from 2.1M in 1998 to 810,000 in 2003--almost none of the 2003 minutes were used by students. (timesunion.com)
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Nittany Napster Now Available for Off-Campus Students, Faculty

Students still get it free, even if they are off-campus, but at least off-campus they can now get it. Faculty and staff have to shell out $6.95 a month. It's still not useable by Macs. (The Digital Collegian)
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Amazon.com Taking Aim at Google--“Search Engine with Memory”

Launched Tuesday, A9.com offers users “the ability to store and edit bookmarks on a . . . central server computer, keep track of each link clicked on previous visits to a Web page, and even make personal 'diary' notes on those pages for viewing on subsequent visits.” (New York Times)
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RESOURCES


Is Open Source Software a Solution to Spam?

Fighting spam is a huge job on campus. Do you do it yourself, ignore the problem, buy a package off the shelf, or go with open source? (The Chronicle)
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DEALS, CONTRACTS, AWARDS

CMU Gets $20 Million to Construct Computer Science Building

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given Carnegie Mellon $20M to help fund a new computer science building that will be known as the Gates Center for Computer Science. The building is expected to cost $50M and be about 150,000 square feet in size. (The Carnegie Pulse)
Read more

University of Miami and Dell Reach Exclusive Purchasing Agreement

The university plans to save about $2M a year with this agreement, not just from purchasing savings but from savings due to a more cross-campus computing platform. (The Miami Herald)
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POLL

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Financial management
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Performance management


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NEW PRODUCTS

Don’t Look Now: Here’s A Computer Stalking the Tip of Your Nose

Want to move a mouse around without using your hands? Some software for that tracks movements of your mouth or eyes but the latest takes an image of your face and tracks 25 or so pixels by their brightness. Shades of Samantha! (NewScientist.com)
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Sponsored By

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 academic budgets shrink, wireless access and mobile computing labs sometime appear to be attractive alternative to building and supporting fixed-station computer labs. What has been your experience with funding and mobile computing? Be sure include information about your campus to put your comments in context.

Posted by Kathleen Schwarz
Programmer/Analyst
UC Riverside Graduate School of Education

Join the discussion now!


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