News Update July 5, 2005

CT News Update:
An Online Newsletter from Campus Technology

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News for Tuesday, July 5, 2005

* Stanford, Sun, to Open Center for Computational Earth Sciences
* College Students Still Think Downloading Copyright Files Ethical
* Microsoft Opens Collaboration Net with Japan Universities
* Lafayette College Offering Students Digital Video Resume Service
* IT Services Firm Launches Program to Support Black Colleges
* New Assistive Tech: Kurzweil 1000 Version 10

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Stanford, Sun, to Open Center for Computational Earth Sciences

Stanford University is establishing a Center for
Computational Earth and Environmental Sciences, an
interdisciplinary research project that will harness
high-powered computer technology to explore Earth
processes, natural resources and the environment.

Scheduled to open this September, the new center
will include a computer facility to help researchers
make more accurate models of earthquakes, energy
reserves, aquifers and the impact of human activity
the climate. "It's about computer-driven science and
science-driven computer design," said Prof. Jerry
Harris, center director and chair of the Department
of Geophysics. "The center's unique focus will be
the integration of Earth science with computer
science, each driving development of the other."

To jumpstart the effort, Sun Microsystems will
contribute more than $2 million worth of hardware,
software and program support. Sun is a founding
member of what the university hopes will be a larger consortium.

Harris said that until recently, the lack of
computational power prevented progress in
understanding complex geophysical and atmospheric
processes. "Today, however, computational capacity
and the availability of large volumes of data from
a variety of sources, such as satellites and
ground-based observational systems, offer new
opportunities for understanding how the Earth
system works and how human activities interact with Earth processes.”

For more information visit:
http://pangea.stanford.edu/research/cees

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College Students Still Think Downloading Copyright Files Ethical

Two-thirds of college and university students see nothing
unethical about swapping or downloading digital copyrighted
files without paying for them, according to a new survey
released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). More
than half (52 percent) think it is also acceptable in
the workplace.

The results come on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's
ruling in MGM Studios vs. Grokster. The opinion said firms
which help their users infringe on copyright are also liable.
The BSA survey also said that 45 percent of students are
using their campus networks for downloading, with 36 percent
of them more likely to report increased downloading. And
while 45 percent of the students say campus policies are
effective, nearly three-quarters of faculty say the policies
are effective, indicating a disconnect between the students
and academics.

Also, 61 percent of students reported never or rarely paying
for commercial software programs. The survey found downloading
music is a gateway to downloading software, according to the
BSA. Among students who say they always download music or
movies without paying for them, 27 percent said they
regularly download software from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.


Microsoft Opens Collaboration Lines with Japan Universities

Microsoft Corp. is bolstering its joint research with Japanese
universities, targeting such areas as security and natural
language processing, the Reuters News agency reported last
week. Microsoft will set up a collaboration network, hoping
to promote exchange with researchers at top schools including
the University of Tokyo. Although Microsoft has established
research centers in India, England, and China, it has not
made any major research efforts in Japan, partly due to a
lack of programming talent at Japanese schools.

The move to strengthen ties with local universities underscores
Microsoft's desire to stay in touch with the important Japanese
market and its electronics makers, including longtime partner
Toshiba Corp. “Japan has been a very innovative market for
IT,” Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told a news conference.
"There are some trends here that make this an excellent time.
The universities are working harder to have public/private
partnerships."

Gates said he hoped the joint research would yield results
in the areas of security, natural language understanding,
speech recognition and user interface software. "But we are
also going to be supporting research into areas of science
other than software. Things like biology and environmental
type research," he said.


Lafayette College Offering Students Digital Video Resume Service

Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., is offering its students, who
use its career counseling center, a system to make high quality
digital audio-visual profile/resume presentations. The presentation
can then be sent and viewed by corporate recruiters or other
potential hirers via the Internet.

The center is using Flashvue Video Recruiting technology, which
uses a touch-screen and Kiosk as a user interface. Linda Arra,
director of career services at Lafayette College, called the
system, “the best we’ve seen.” She said she believed the system
would “make an enormous difference to our students' job searches,
and are going to put them ahead of the competition for jobs."

The Flashvue software platform was developed by the
Microsoft/Accenture joint venture Avanade. The kiosk was
built by TCS.


IT Services Firm Launches Program to Support Black Colleges

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) is starting a
project with historically black colleges and universities to
promote the participation of minority institutions in its
procurement and acquisition processes.

SAIC said it will establish scholarships for students at select
schools. The company has granted scholarships in engineering,
the physical sciences, and related disciplines to students at
Alabama A&M University, and Florida International University.
It will also developed a training program for the schools to
offer instruction in proposal and business development practices
in government contracting. The company said it will also provide
funding to help government contracting efforts at the schools.
For example, SAIC said Alabama A&M University, which teams with
SAIC on several projects, has received a “substantial investment”
to support its government contracting infrastructure.


New Assistive Tech: Kurzweil 1000 Version 10

Kurzweil Educational Systems unveiled Kurzweil 1000, Version 10,
advanced scanning, reading and learning software for people
who are blind or visually impaired. The latest version of
the software offers users the ability to make content
accessible on DAISY players, providing them a broader choice
of reading material and the ability to take content wherever
they go.

With the upgraded system, users can read documents created
with Kurzweil 1000 on a DAISY player or computer with DAISY
software. With Type 2 DAISY file support, full audio and
audible document navigation, such as a table of contents,
indices and bookmarks, users can quickly access different
parts of a document.

Kurzweil 1000 users can also create and modify tables using
simple editing operations. In addition, users can convert
blocks of text into a table and turn a table into text. Table
Reading has also been enhanced to provide easier access to
table-rich content, especially from Web sources such as
Wikipedia.

A single license of Kurzweil 1000 retails for $995.

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