IT Trends April 14, 2005

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In This Issue

OPINION

New Buzzword, Same Mess?

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

THOUGH SO INCREASINGLY COMPLEX IT'S NOW A "MESS OF SPAGHETTI," MIDDLEWARE IS ALSO RAPIDLY BECOMING INVISIBLE

Middleware is spaghetti that just keeps looping and layering new approaches over old. The industry keeps ladling more sauce over the mess, in terms of such nebulous nomenclature as enterprise application integration, enterprise information integration, business process management and message-oriented middleware. New buzzword, same mess.” —James Kobielus, NetworkWorld

Remember the days when auto enthusiasts could open the hood of a car and actually do things more significant than adding windshield-washer fluid or coolant mix? Back in those days, knowing what a carburetor was mattered to parts manufacturers, suppliers, and mechanics. And it actually mattered to quite a few consumers. Carburetors were not invisible to consumers, they were something that humans could reach out and touch, attempt to understand, clean, and possibly even replace. But open the hood of a car nowadays, and all you’ll see is an unidentifiable mass of bulky plastic and metal occupying the entire engine compartment.

To those readers who write code for middleware, my carburetor analogy may not hit home, but to consumers and the rest of us, it just may. Consumers, for instance, don’t care about middleware. They don’t want to hear about it and they don’t want to think about it. As in my auto analogy, they only want to know how it performs for them. With today’s cutting-edge automobiles, technology, sufficiently advanced, now seems to be indistinguishable from magic. That’s true with software, too: Application-to-application software is even more in demand as we (in business and in higher education) all move to larger, more integrated, and more complex systems. Read more


IT NEWS

Digital Thieves Thrive as Few Legal Tools Thwart Them

There are lots of bad guys, and lots more laws than there used to be. But it takes follow-through to stop 'em or slow ‘em down. (USA Today)
Read more

However … One Spammer Gets Nine Years in Jail

Suspended while he appeals, but a good start to the first felony prosecution for sending junk emails. (USA Today)
Read more

Meanwhile … Record Companies Go After Students in Copyright Suit

Acting to stop what it claims is "an emerging epidemic of music theft on a specialized, high-speed university computer network known as Internet2," the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing the major record companies, announced it is filing copyright infringement lawsuits against 405 students at 18 different colleges across the country.
Read more

And … Ole Miss Web Server Mistakenly Used to Store Students' Social Security Numbers

Oh, that legacy stuff--it's all over the place. "It was buried in an obscure part of our file server, but it was there and it was accessible to anyone." (The Picayune Item)
Read more

Finally … Students Want to Trim 'Spim'

Since our students rely on cell phones and text messaging a lot more than we do, their problems may be a harbinger of what's to come. (The Star Press) Read more


RESOURCES

Testing Students’ Tech Smarts: The Information and Communication Technology Literacy Assessment

From the folks who brought you the ACT, now there is the ICT - will it catch on in admissions programs? (ETS) Find out more


DEALS, CONTRACTS, AWARDS

Venerated Kurzweil Assistive Tech Firm Acquired by Cambrium

Cambium Learning, Inc., which focuses on at-risk, minority and special student populations, signed an agreement to acquire Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc., a firm that has pioneered reading technology for people with learning or visual disabilities. Kurzweil 3000, the company's flagship product, is an integrated reading, writing and learning software for assisting students with learning and language difficulties such as dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder. Another company product, Kurzweil 1000, fosters greater independence in students who are blind or visually impaired, enabling them to read, write and study along side their sighted peers. The Kurzweill purchase is Cambrium's third acquisition in the last 16 months.
Find out more

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Quanta Computer Partner on Next Major Computing Platform

Working on the theory that users should not have to worry about backing data up, making sure data flows seamlessly from one device to another, and all those non-transparent things, a partnership is born.
Find out more

Thursday, April 14, 2005

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Events Calendar


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Responding to Technology Challenges with Innovation
As unique as one campus is from another, so are their computing needs. Whether the issues are mobile and wireless computing or the next generation of desktop, innovations in technologies are sparking big changes—and challenges--for institutions. Read how six colleges and universities met their needs and found solutions for their computing programs in a new article on the CT micro site: “Computing Innovations on Campus,” sponsored by Gateway. You'll also find an extensive library of white papers, case studies, product information, and resources to help your search for higher ed technology information.

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NEW TECHNOLOGY

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Won by Purdue

The team's winning machine used 125 steps to remove two batteries from a flashlight, replace them and turn it on. (USA Today)
Read more

Wireless Isn't Really . . . But You Already Knew That?

The latest thing is 'mesh networks' which run from node to node without any behind-the-scenes wiring and, thus, are less expensive. (Forbes)
Read more

Sponsored by:
Syllabus2005 Keynotes Span Technology Issues
Four of the leading thinkers in higher education technology— Tracy Futhey, Duke University; Diana Oblinger, Educause; Lev Gonick, Case Western Reserve University, and Barbara White, University of Georgia--kick-off each day's sessions at Syllabus2005 with keynote presentations covering significant technology issues facing institutions today. Hearing their insights is just one of the reasons to attend this year's conference, July 24-28 in Los Angeles. Join your peers and learn from best practices, networking, expert panels, and sessions. For more information and to register, click here.

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Current Topics in Our forums include:
Networking

Collaboration in the Education Space

Mobile Computing

Campus IT Security

Tablet PCs

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