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Bill Clinton - All Thumbs at Personal Computing

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 3/16/10 (2:17pm)

In a wide-ranging article on Bill Clinton and his role as a former president, this sentence about his inability to operate a computer stood out:

The man who ushered in the Internet age still does not use a computer, much less a BlackBerry, but keeps up with blogs and sites like The Huffington Post through clips printed out by aides.

Aides print out web pages for him to read? Who knew?

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Real-Time Web: It's More Than Just Twitter

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 8/30/09 (12:18pm)

I liked the article in BusinessWeek on the 'Real-Time Web'. It being BusinessWeek, they naturally devoted a significant portion to speculation on how to make money from this emerging trend and I had to laugh at the illusive precision of there being "at least $5 billion to be made on the real-time Web". What, just $5 billion?

Anyway, to give them their due, they correctly identify the trend:

History Repeats Itself as U of I's Global Campus Goes Belly Up

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 5/21/09 (10:19pm)

NYUonline (2001):

New York University is closing down its for-profit electronic learning operation, NYUonline, and moving some of its curriculum and staff into its School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

U of I Global Campus (2009):

[University of Illinois] trustees meeting in Chicago voted to follow a faculty task force plan to scrap much of the current version of Global Campus.

NYUonline (2002):

In two and a half years of operation, NYUonline received nearly $25 million from the university, but enrollment remained anemic at best: just 500 students at its peak.

U of I Global Campus (2009):

The $10 million program had only attracted about 360 students as of last month.

NYUOnline (2001):

The university blames last month's closure of the distance-learning company, called NYUonline, on the economy.

U of I Global Campus (2009):

...[Prof. Nick Burbules] said, a global recession has changed conditions under which the older initiative was established.

NYUonline (2001):

"I believe that the value of our work -- some of which will continue to be carried on by the university, and some non-academic portions of which may be acquired by third parties -- will become even clearer with time," [NYUonline CEO Gordon] Macomber said in the release.

U of I Global Campus (2009):

Burbules said the 2.0 model draws from the UI's experience with the initiative. "I think what is driving this process is the belief that the mission of expanding the online offerings is important," he said. "I give [U of I President White] full credit for inspiring this work, and I personally believe it is the future of higher education."

Note, there were significant differences between the programs, though stated goals tended to shift over time. Nevertheless, what the two shared was an inability by the people in charge to truly understand what the technology was capable of and what it wasn't. Decision-makers themselves had no strong background in online content development for higher education. This lack of background made it hard to evaluate alternative strategies. Instead of identifying successful initiatives already in place and extending those, they chose to concoct their schemes out of whole cloth.

The outcome should come as no surprise.

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Conflicker Worm - The New Y2K

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 3/31/09 (3:36pm)

So yes, everybody and his mother has sent me a message about the Conflicker Worm that's supposed to strike on April 1.

All I can say is, April Fools to you too!*

(*I mean, some of us remember Y2K.)

Too Much Tech Know-How?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 2/16/09 (9:06am)

The following caught my eye in yesterday's NYT:

Some backgrounds are considered better than others for budding digital asset managers. Familiarity with information technology is necessary, but it is possible to have too much tech know-how, said Victoria McCargar, a preservation consultant in Los Angeles and a lecturer at U.C.L.A. and San José State University.

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Bye-Bye Dailup at NYU

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 1/5/09 (10:08am)

nyu_logo.gifReading my copy of Connect Magazine, which the IT People at NYU are kind enough to still send me, I notice that they're discontinuing Dailup Service as of January 20, 2009.

That's a shame though probably long overdue. NYU Dailup service was my first gateway to the Internet way back in 1994. I had had a modem on my laptop since the late Eighties but the only time I actually used it was to dial into a special government number to download some unexceptional data. Dailing into specialized phone numbers was about all you could do with a modem back then -- that and then a bit later on, connecting to proprietary networks like AOL or CompuServe.

It's when I got to NYU in '94 and was able to connect to their Dailup service that this strange unfamiliar network called the 'Web' became accessible. This was the era of GIF images and Netscape 1.0. In fact, just before I got there, the Library at NYU had completed an initial effort to make content available online -- in Gopher.

Oh well. I used Dailup till sites like Napster started getting big, at which point I switched over to DSL from Verizon. Ah, the days of 28kbs and 56kbs connectivity!

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AT&T is the Death Star (HTC Fuze Edition)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 11/29/08 (12:34pm)

Just got my new HTC Fuze from AT&T. Going through the always helpful forums at XDA-Developers, I came across the following cry of pain:

Why did AT&T (and others like Verizon) have to make changes to it?

Why can't they just leave it as it is as the Touch Pro? I can't stand the fact that they had to change the keyboard to be different!

No tab and Ctl key.....come on!!!!!

The guy has a point.

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How Dare You Call My Laptop a Technological Dinosaur

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 11/18/08 (11:06pm)

_BeanManIdeaLight.gif Every once and a while I come across an article which pretty much declares any device larger than a cellphone as dead because cellphones are what the kids are using and hence everything else is on the road to extinction.

This is silly.

I use my smartphone/pda/call-it-what-you-like -- all the time but even I know it doesn't replace my need for larger devices depending on what I'm doing.

The Digital Life

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 2/15/08 (3:23pm)

1. Try to install Adobe Captivate on my new Mac Mini. (I've got an important 'sceencast' that's got to be done pronto.)

But Captivate only runs on a PC.

2. Load Captivate on my old Dell Notebook.

But it's too much for my old Dell Notebook. The thing keeps crashing.

3. Load Apple's Boot Camp on my new Mac Mini. With Boot Camp, you can run both Mac and Windows!

But Boot Camp only runs with Windows XP Service Pack 2 ('SP2'). My copy of XP (from my old Dell Notebook) is older than that.

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eReader of the Future

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/9/07 (12:03am)

Repeat after me:

  • The eReader of the Future will play popular formats without the need for conversion.
  • The eReader of the Future will be in color.
  • The eReader of the Future will be an "open" networked device.
  • The eReader of the Future will allow the user to download and install applications.
  • The eReader of the Future will allow the user to mix and match information any way the user pleases.
  • The eReader of the Future will not come from a company heavily invested in media ownership or sales.
  • The eReader of the Future will boast access not simply to tens of thousands of works but to millions on the internet.
  • The eReader of the Future will look a lot like the UMPC of the present.
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