Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Wishes...

Many moons ago I remember asking my Mother what she wanted for Christmas and received an answer I didn't quite expect at the time.

"What I'd like" she said, " is to sit around a table with all those folks who are no longer with me. I miss their voices, their quirks. I miss the way they laughed. All that time I spent, going through the motions, the food, the wrapping, the gifts and how it all seemed stressful seems so foolish now. Too often, I guess I found myself wishing I could just get through the Holidays. I wish now that I spent more time talking to them about how they felt about Christmas, what their memories were, what did this day mean to them. I'd love to hear them tell some of the old stories. I often wonder how many of those stories I never heard at all. I guess I wished I'd spent more time talking to them about who they were and what they felt when I had the chance. Sitting around the dinner table with all those folks again, that's what I want for Christmas."

Happy Holidays, AP

Friday, November 14, 2008

BBA Help Desk Proposal Update

Our full proposal was reviewed and a "beta test" model is being considered for the Spring. Discussions will resume over how many students will participate as well as the manner to proceed on the proposed Lab and IT Office location shift. Here is a document that has the evolution of our summary proposal and detailed notes including assessment examples, structural notes and points of emphasis. Discussions will resume over the coming weeks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Help Desk 2.0: Proposing a New Direction for Technology Training and Support on Campus

In the business world a technology support department typically services a similar group of users, hardware and a core group of applications. Workstations in the business environment are often locked down, only certain applications are allowed to run and strict policies govern user activity.

In education though, administration and some classrooms need business class information terminals while some others demand flexibility, the kind of access that allows creative exploration and use.

Further, traditional support structures rarely incorporate anything more than reactionary training initiatives on core support programs (grading, school databases, office applications). As a result most schools have no training programs, sporadic dog and pony shows, or very expensive models that involve IT integration specialists who most often are often not infrastructure literate and train users only on systematic approaches.

With all those variables, IT support departments in education typically structure themselves in a business model. This rigidity often results in stifled educational opportunities.

Education often focuses on training adults and expecting the results to trickle down to students. The cold, hard facts are that students are often more technically literate than adults. Rarely are students provided advanced access, a venue to interact or collaborate in training initiatives or participate in technical support beyond the traditional classroom setting. Incredible opportunities exist if we shift these traditional philosophies.

Building off two years of success with the IT Internship Program, we unrolled this new Help Desk Proposal this Fall. This new model has students and adults working to create a Help Desk for their peers... everyone on campus. Another step in putting the "personal" back in personal computing. Our final round of discussions on this new proposal continue this week. We'll post our detailed plan shortly.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Look "SEE"

"Stanford Engineering Everywhere" hit the web yesterday. Building on the OpenCourseWare (OCW) philosophy, "SEE" adds more instructor content, video and collaborative work into the free information mix. It's easy to get inspired when you see the quality of this content being given away. There are more resources available on OCW too if you are new... or old at it:

MIT has a lens for high schools too:

Toss in OLPC, other one to one laptop initiatives and the evolving use and functions of cell phones (Google Android phones are due out soon and here's a post from them on "The Future of Mobile Phones")... gourmet stuff.

Creating opportunities and inspiring a passion for learning are as important as ever don't you think ?

Monday, August 18, 2008


I finally sat down and read through Friedman's The World is Flat this summer. While I tend to agree with Gary Stager on this book, Friedman brings up many points about the changing landscapes that many may just not think about. Will Richardson posts some reviews and thoughts on the book as well (search his blog for "Friedman" too for evolution on his thinking). Those involved in this "new web" have seen these social, economic and educational landscapes changes for some time now. Of course, it's easy to criticize the book for what it doesn't do in offering solutions... but the book wasn't about solutions... and the book was written in '05. The book did however add even more reinforcement to me that we are on the right track here in the RLab. It's a quick read, a bit redundant, a bit sensationalized but well worth the time.

I am about to read Bernard Goldberg's book called Bias. I've been looking forward to reading this book for some time now and I think it'll fit in nicely with our discussions on media and the changing landscape of journalism. I miss Goldberg's regular reporting wit in the news and am happy to see him cast it into books. We'll see how it reads.

Gearing up for the coming school year:

20 new iMacs sit in the lab here, loaded up and ready to go. We just need to move the desks around after the carpets were cleaned. These computers bring new software and power to expand horizons and explore.

For those that didn't hear, the RLab proposal on Google Apps was accepted and will be implemented in the beginning of this school year. While the graduated "RLab Alumni" who worked on this proposal over the last two years won't see the results directly, their work helped forge a new and exciting path here at BBA. Returning Lab Alumni, and it looks like we have a lot coming back in this year, will get to put these new tools in motion along with everbody else here. Immediately the Google Apps program saves us money by reducing licensing, hardware and power costs to run our email system.The program also increases user storage, usability and ramps in integrated threads for calendaring, blogs and chat services along with immediately having more training materials available. Add in that it offers superior spam and virus protection filtering and also eliminates tape back storage and gets the data off site as well... well, that's just icing on an already fantastic cake.

To all the RLab alumni who are moving on to new adventures, my best to you in your new adventures and of course keep in touch. We'll miss you here and look forward to hearing what you're up to as you move forward. Stop in anytime or drop some notes when you can.

A little touch up painting to do... adding new music to the Lab server... and restocking the snacks... new ventures... new projects... new discussions...


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Keep Moving Forward...

"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing things, because we're curious...
and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

Walt Disney

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thanks, Tim. I feel the same way.

From my friend Tim Comolli:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Today is a very sad day in our little world. It's been reported that Arthur C. Clarke, among the most influential visionaries in technology and a personal hero of Engadget readers and editors both, has died in hospital care at the age of 90. Along with his many written works (such as the infamous and immeasurably influential 2001: A Space Odyssey), Clarke was possibly best known for conceptualizing the geostationary communications satellite -- clearly one of the most important technological innovations in history.

Arthur, you'll be dearly missed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

44.6 Billion of Big Internet Business

Microsoft's bid for Yahoo! has generated some great discussions in class. Google Senior VP and CLO Dan Drummond wrote a pointed post on the Google Corporate blog recently raising questions about the potential merger. Is the acquisition simply to gain market share in internet revenue and r&d or could it mean something quite different. If Microsoft were to go the route of subscription based operating systems, charging users for the use of an operating system and chat services... would they succeed or plummet ? Only time will tell if Microsoft's bid will be successful, what their motives might be and also how Google and possibly the Federal Government will react to this move. Wait... this just came in... and this one too ; )

Thursday, January 24, 2008

PBS Frontline: Growing Up Online

We queued up the PBS Frontline Documentary called 'Growing Up Online' that aired on January 22nd, 2008 and have been discussing it in the lab. You can view the show online at:

The documentary stirs up many points on the subject and it's well worth a look... and a good chat.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Changing Landscape

Fred Vogelstein whipped up an article for Wired Magazine Online on how the iPhone changed the cellular business landscape. A good read! The iPhone and the Google 'Andriod' project have already brought sweeping changes to the industry. Just imagine what this will look like five years from now.