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The Administrivia of March/What I’m Not Doing

In March I have performance reviews, the spring budget variance, and the initial draft of next year’s budget to complete. This month, I’m also working on our strategic plan, in addition to the usual project cruft. If it weren’t for this perfect storm, I would be pursuing these two efforts more vigorously:

  1. The Teaching Open Source site
  2. The Immersive Education Initiative

I have risen to the level of tech incompetency: kneel before me

I had some extra money in my budget and bought a bunch of these cute little Dell minis to give as loaners. I figured that at least they would be convenient for faculty to use for teaching because some classrooms have data projectors but no computers. When they arrived, I sent one to our tech shop so they could start playing and then I set one up myself so I could start playing. Because I’m in meetings a lot, I tend to work on projects a bit sporadically… Long story short, I set up the computer and now … Continue Reading

CherryPal: A New Cool Thing ™?

If I read about it on Slashdot, it must be true…check out the cool new toy I want. I’m a little bit afraid given their sketchy URL but for $250 it does have all the right buzzwords: green, cloud, and open source. Plus, I’m tired of our desktop replacement program. It just seems wasteful. Every 4 years we haul away a bunch of computers as a preemptive strike against having to fix them…why? I understand about reducing tech support needs, but there should be a better way.

Chance of Wasting Time Piloting Prediction Markets? 100%

I’ve been asked to participate in a “prediction markets” pilot to help inform decision making regarding IT in higher education. Say what? Well, the idea is cool, in theory. We have a simulated market with each trader given “funny money” and a web interface to the markets and our performance dashboard. Folks make various propositions and then we lay our money down, see how the pool changes, sell, buy, etc. Like an eBay for ideas.

Unfortunately, many of the propositions are poorly stated, i.e. participants don’t necessarily “get it,” and the concept is genuinely hard to understand. Here are … Continue Reading

GIS: the new cool thing?

I’m off to a conference tomorrow where they will demonstrate some IT trends in the liberal arts. Specifically, sessions will focus on open source learning management and ERP systems (Sakai, Moodle, Kuali), managing change, and on podcasting, videoconferencing and other forms of real time collaboration. But I can tell from the pre-conference buzz that incorporating GIS into the college curriculum may be the Next Big Thing. Now, this isn’t new technology but I get the sense that it hasn’t really entered the mainstream in smaller liberal arts colleges.


Because I have some experience supporting this stuff, I would … Continue Reading

New Cool Thing

A while back I mentioned the Kindle and then everyone commented on why the Kindle would not be the next new cool thing. So, today, I was thinking some more about this and decided it would be cool to give all my staff cell phones and then track their whereabouts using GPS and map this data onto their productivity so I would know who to fire first and would also get the bead on our informal network so I can see who’s stepping outside the chain of command. I found this … Continue Reading


At today’s directors meeting we reviewed our top 10 priorities. These included items like, and I quote verbatim, “develop a rational funding model,” “finish staff evaluations,” and the perennial “fix server room cooling.” As the 10th item, I asked us to start considering “what is cool?” so we can start doing some fun things. So far, the cool list includes the Kindle and not a lot else. We’re working on it.