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IT Trends for Thursday, December 16, 2004

IT Trends

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In This Issue


A Modern Version of the “Swedish Tight Pants Theory”

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

Long ago, as a graduate student in anthropology, I took a class in demographic statistics from the anthropological perspective. One case study that I remember (but for which I cannot find a Web citation) was about a study that found Swedish men to have reduced fertility compared to similar men in geographic areas not too far away. A number of reasons for the Swedish men’s reduced sperm counts were postulated but--as the instructor informed us with delight--it turned out that Swedish men of that time wore very, very tight pants and it was the restriction and subsequent overheating in their crotches that caused the infertility.

What has this got to do with IT? Well, the latest iteration of the Swedish Tight Pants Theory, coming this time not from demographic studies but from laboratory research, finds that men who are now using laptop computers more and more actually in their laps--partly due to expanding wireless networks--may run a similar risk of temporary or long-term infertility.

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Land Line Phones in Residence Halls: Dinosaurs?

Some schools are thinking about combining students’ cell phones with landline capabilities; others might drop land lines altogether. Schools in northeast Pennsylvania are feeling the cost and wondering if it’s worth it. (
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Finally, Oracle to Buy PeopleSoft

Over the past weekend, the PeopleSoft management approached Oracle management to strike a deal, in the process sharing information that enabled Oracle to boost its “final offer” of $24/share to $26.50/share.

The deal may be good for shareholders, but many customers are still concerned. (cnnmoney)
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IT a Strong Theme of Penn State Faculty Senate Meeting

Issues addressed included the use of student IT fees, security, the university’s Web site, and the forthcoming change from social security numbers to randomly-generated staff and faculty ID numbers. (Penn State Live)

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‘Podcast’ Your World

Would you like an automated RSS-type feed of pre-recorded “radio” shows across the Internet, pushed out to your iPod? Well, you can have just that. Will faculty soon “podcast” lectures this way? (Christian Science Monitor)
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Supreme Court to Hear P2P Case

Should file-sharing software companies be legally responsible for copyright infringement that’s done using their networks? Lower courts have ruled not, but now the US Supreme Court is taking up the case. (CNET
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University of Maryland IT Council Broadens Its Representation

The council is jumping from 17 to 25 members, and those members include two students, five deans, and representatives from a variety of other departments on campus. (The Diamondback)
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3D Virtual Model Will Make U of Pennsylvania a Digital Playground

The Cartographic Modeling Lab, a joint venture of the School of Social Work and the School of Design are beginning work on a comprehensive, leading-edge effort to model the entire campus and surrounding area. (The Daily Pennsylvanian)
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D'es E-Science Work?

From a study about virtual research collaborations … apparently we have a long way to go before they can be as productive as face-to-face ones. And the culprit is not the technology, it’s established cultural norms and human nature. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
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Blogging Can Make Sense of Informational Chaos and Overload

An article exploring blogging “… [it] represents a new method of understanding the world through knowledge creation and sharing--a need that is increasingly unfulfilled by current systems, especially in the minds of the younger generation who have been brought up in a post–modern world filled with too much information. In this context, [blogging] can be viewed as a precursor of how the children of those currently served by traditional methods will make sense of the world in the future.” (First Monday)
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Accelerator to Commercialize University Technology

Southeast TechInventures Inc. (STI) has announced its initiative to build an effective and profitable technology accelerator for the rapid conversion of university scientific breakthroughs into products, services, and new technology companies. STI works with university-based inventors to accelerate the commercialization of technologies and intellectual property in the areas of bi'engineering, photonics and communications, information technology, materials science, and surveillance and security networks.
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Online Music Giant Napster Lands Campus Deals

Digital music subscription company Napster announced recently that it has nailed down agreements with four institutions to provide discounted music services to students. Napster has been working with Campus Action Network (CAN) to line up deals such as these in large part to cut down on the level of digital music piracy that has been ongoing on US campuses. Napster’s new agreements include Eastern Michigan University, the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville which are joining ranks with Penn State, the University of Miami, and a handful of other institutions where Napster offers students unlimited subscriptions rates far below the company’s $9.95 per month.
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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Sponsored by:
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Collaboration solutions from Microsoft® and industry partners allow student and faculty teams to share ideas and express themselves in new ways and new places. This set of affordable tools makes collaboration on academic papers, access to research, and even online learning easier. To see how Johns Hopkins and others are enhancing collaboration, go to

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Syllabus2005 in Los Angeles, July 24-28, 2005

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HP offers negotiated contracts for colleges, universities and states.
That means your education department can purchase HP products at prices far below consumer rates. HP authorized partners and resellers can also utilize specially negotiated contracts to better serve the needs of their campus' and students.

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Vantage Learning Offers Expanded MY Access!

To help college-bound students hone critical writing skills, Vantage Learning debuted recently an expanded version of its MY Access! Web-based writing assessment and diagnostic tool. Earlier versions of MY Access! have focused primarily on coaxing student writing skills to the point at which students are competent enough to pass college admission tests. Now the product places greater emphasis on helping students redress essay-writing problems that MY Access! identifies.
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Campus Technology Magazine: Free Monthly Resource for IT Leaders
Subscribe to Campus Technology, the only monthly publication for administrative and academic IT leaders focusing exclusively on the use of technology in higher education. Each month offers in-depth features, exclusive articles, and insightful columns to help you understand the issues, strategies, trends, and new technologies affecting higher education institutions. Don't miss out. Subscribe now.

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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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Current Topics in Our forums include:

Collaboration in the Education Space

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Tablet PCs

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