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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

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.

Open Source Development in Higher Ed–the new form of community service?

I went to Campus Technology today to get an article entitled, if memory serves, “why IT staff are different from other people” or something to that effect. I wanted to blog about it in a nature vs. nurture context. Perhaps I still will blog about it someday. Anyway, I went there and saw their headline article about Seneca College’s work with Fedora. This is a nice partnership–students gain real-world experience while benefiting the greater community. I sent the link as well as a link to this guy at Oregon state to the chair of our … Continue Reading

The Metaphor That Went Too Far

A couple of people have asked me how open source companies can make money. Sometimes there’s a suspicious tone in their voice, as if the concept of folks just “giving it away” is sort of sketchy, promiscuous, slutty, if you will. When you start looking for explanations about the economy behind this phenomenon, you find articles on the “new economy” or stuff about “collective good,” which adds a sort of communist note to the already “too easy” picture.

So here’s my new explanation: software is a service; it is not a manufactured good. Okay, sure, there is some actual code that … Continue Reading

The difference between evil and love is I/O

At the end of the day today I blocked out some “big picture” time and started thinking about Blackboard, Microsoft, and a few other companies, and then suddenly I thought of evil and this phrase popped into my head. I realize it may have no actual (literal) meaning, but late in the work day, it does have an appealing catchiness ….

Learning Management Systems

Today the Faculty Senate voted unanimously to migrate from a proprietary learning management system (LMS) (in this case, Blackboard) to an open source LMS (in this case, Moodle). It was interesting to see the faculty operate. TheĀ  instructional technology staff demo’ed Moodle and explained that we wouldn’t lose anyone’s data and that the migration would be done over phases. Several faculty demo’ed how they’ve piloted Moodle and this was really key to the other faculty coming round. It was my first time appearing before this group so I didn’t say much. Someone asked if this would save us money because … Continue Reading

Tomorrow is my first day

Meet with HR in the am, then new boss, then staff, etc. It should be typical first day administrative stuff. What to wear? Not a suit–this college seems pretty laid back. I think I’m going to ask someone to give me an Outlook tutorial. I haven’t used Windows in 4 years! Why did they hire me? I didn’t exactly skirt the open source issue in my interview, but I also didn’t come right out and share my true feelings. But as I said in the interview, the right thing for the school isn’t what I say, nor is it what … Continue Reading