IT Trends for Thursday, January 27, 2005

IT Trends

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In This Issue

OPINION

Unintended Consequences Can Follow IT Policy Implementation

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

Earlier this week I was one of about 300 people attending the National Learning Information Infrastructure (NLII) conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. (I can truthfully say that I have eaten more crawfish--not crayfish--in the past few days than in the entire previous 57 years of my life.) On Tuesday afternoon I was attracted to a presentation titled “Security, Privacy, Copyright, and Other Institutional Policy Implications of Online Learning,” given by Rodney J. Peterson, policy analyst and security task force coordinator, EDUCAUSE. I have corresponded with Rodney over the years. I know that he is the expert in this realm; and also wanted a chance to meet him in person, which I did.

His session was a fast and furious 50,000-foot view of higher education’s relationship to the legal issues implicated in the title, and I enjoyed it very much. However, it was a comment--and a subsequent conversation I had afterwards--with another attendee that gave me the topic for this column. Peter Chen, of Stanford University, brought up an issue that had actually been borderline-alluded to in other presentations, but he presented it as a real set of circumstances. It’s about one (of many) unintended consequences that can arise from institutional information technology policies.

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IT NEWS

Harvard Shuts Down Online Polling Due to Security Issues

A student newspaper expose illustrated that the university-provided polling software used by many profs can be used to obtain student and staff IDs. (Worcester Telegram & Gazette)
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The Firefox Browser Gains Ground Fast

The new browser continues to gain market share, and continues to innovate, as it is a continuous--open source--work in progress.
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“Liquid Information” Could Pour into a More Powerful Web

A British researcher wants to turn the entire Web into editable documents with every word a potential hyperlink. (Wired News)

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Academics in the UK Are Learning About Blogs

Susses University is one of many places where IT departments are heeding academics' call to let them play with this new technology. (BBC News)
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Joining the "Required Laptop" Revolution

The College of William and Mary will require all of its 1,300 students to bring laptops to campus in the fall of 2006. (PilotOnline.com)
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U of Northern Colorado Workers Move to Thwart ID Theft

A college hard drive containing private records for thousands of staff disappeared and everyone is scrambling to reduce the potential of identity theft fallout. (The Denver Post)
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Student Logins Change at Angelo State University

The change is from what is described as the “license plate format” to a “personalized format.” Logging in at computer labs now requires students merely to use their Blackboard login. (ASU RAM Page)
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U Nebraska at Omaha Limits "Guest" Access to Some Computers

The lab in the Milo Bail Student Center has been overused and administrators are reacting to student concerns by limiting access to its computers to authenticated students only. (The Gateway)
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“Web Site Gives Students the Reboot”

At Weber State University in Utah, the security system for student logins is incompatible with some ISPs. In some parts of the Web site, stored URLs contain an outdated timed session IDs. (The Signpost)
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South Omaha Computer Lab to Open

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is opening a new computer lab in the next two months, constructed in partnership with the Omaha Housing Authority. The lab is to provide computer access for folks on the other side of the digital divide and follows the success of a similar lab in North Omaha. (The Gateway)
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Say Goodbye to Desktop Phones

Until now a few hardy souls were the leading-edge folks who've given up desktop phones. Now, more than 8,000 Ford Motor employees are going mobile-only! (USA Today)
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Feature Film Appears--800 Miles Away, Without Wires

The movie is "Rize," and it was the first feature film to be delivered wireless over the Internet for a showing in Park City, Utah. (Wired News)
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RESOURCES

“What You Can Do About SPAM”

This columnist proposes that the federal government is the route through which we can reduce or eliminate spam. (Converge)

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DEALS, CONTRACTS, AWARDS

Binghamton U. Wins R&D Contract From the US Display Consortium

The $10M contract is to establish and operate the Center for Advanced Micr'electronics Manufacturing (CAMM), which will research swifter and less expensive chip production. (ArriveNet)
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

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NEW PRODUCTS

A “Light” Keyboard?--No Kidding

Its full-sized keyboard shines onto your table from a small portable device. Infrared technology tracks your finger movements across the “keys.” (Tom’s Hardware Guide)
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