Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

I got spammed in Spanish

June 2, 2006

Here is a first for me.  I got the spam below. It looks like phishing. What is interesting is that the spammer thinks that there is a decent enough spanish speaking audience using an American email address and a Spanish language resource that its worth trying

Debido a los tentativas recientes de fraude Caja Madrid ha introducido un nuevo medio de seguridad. Debes conectar en tu cuenta de Caja Madrid usando tu ordenador personal o del lugar y ordenador que has utilizado en el pasado. Tu dirección IP será colocada a nuestra base de datos. Cualquier tentativa de conexión de un diverso dirección IP necesita confirmación sobre el el teléfono.   Puedes corregir su detalles personales y su dirección IP principal usando el panel de control en cualquier momento.   Por favor dar un plazo de 5 minutos a partir del momento que has llenado el formulario nuestro y darnos su dirección IP principal pulsa aquí o usando la dirección.

which Google translates

Due to the recent attempts of fraud Madrid Box it has introduced new means of security. You must connect in your account of Madrid Box using your personal computer or of the place and computer that you have used in the past. Your direction IP will be placed of our data base. Any attempt of connection of a diverse direction IP needs confirmation on the telephone.   You can at any time correct its personal details and their main direction IP using the Control Panel.   Please to give a term of 5 minutes as of the moment that you have filled to the form ours and for giving its main direction us IP presses here or using the direction.


Patent Office so out of Touch

May 22, 2006

When you see items like this, you can only shake your head and wonder where they live.  In 2000, CTLT had an application called The Bridge that contained an online quiz. WebCT had similar tools in a similar time frame.

Based on concerns raised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
about “prior art,” the United States Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) has announced it will conduct a reevaluation of a patent
granted in 2003 for online testing. The notion of prior art covers
whether the subject of a patent is indeed original–and patentable–or
whether another party had previously developed the item or technology
in question. The patent at issue was granted to for
technologies broadly related to offering tests online. If valid, the
patent would allow the company to claim patent authority over a wide
range of online testing tools deployed at colleges and universities,
and the company has already approached some institutions about
licensing the patent. According to the EFF, however, another company
offered such tools for sale at least one year before the
patent was issued. The review process is expected to take at least two
months. James J. Posch, chief executive of, noted that their
patent claim has passed muster once already. “I’ll be surprised if it
doesn’t survive a second time,” he said. Jason Schultz, staff lawyer
at the EFF, had a different outlook, saying that he is confident the
patent will be invalidated unless discloses some secret
Chronicle of Higher Education, 19 May 2006 (sub. req’d)

Transmitting Life over the Internet

May 21, 2006

First steps to building the Star Trek Transporter Room. Bear with me…

I awoke this morning in a dream about a failing attempt to hire someone to teach educational technology. I’ve participated in such an effort, and more recently, I’ve watched my unit work through a process to hire a Design Consultant — a learning design specialist to work with faculty on course design and evaluation.

So, I was saying to the search committee, I wanted to see a candidate come in talking about working with students on a project to transmit life over the Internet. Beam me up, Scotty.

Further awake, I realized that this is already happening, but maybe all the steps have not been put together. Viruses are being sequenced, and the data about sequences stored in genetic banks. DNA and RNA can be synthesized from the data in these store houses, so a virus could (concievably) be sequenced, transmitted, and re-synthesized. Hummm.
Now, my remaining problem is, what category to use for this post?

April 29, 2006

From Inside Higher Ed, 28 April 2006

Progress. Handing out free iPods was not going to do much (except attact applicants?), as Duke learned. Handing out iPods to courses that have some pedagogic use for them makes more sense.

The Duke Digital Initiative looks like it has some interesting resources.

Duke University’s iPod program continues to evolve since its
introduction in 2004, when all incoming freshmen were given iPods. The
Duke Digital Initiative was started to investigate the pedagogical uses
for the devices and, despite skepticism from some corners, has proven
successful. In the second year of the program, instead of giving every
freshman an iPod, the university handed out iPods to any student
enrolled in a course designated by the school’s Center for
Instructional Technology as having a legitimate use for the device. The
goal was to encourage faculty to design curricula that incorporated the
technology. Indeed, the number of courses approved for iPod use rose
from 19 in the spring of 2005 to 47 in the spring of 2006. New changes
to the program reflect budgetary constraints. Students in iPod-approved
courses can now borrow the devices for the duration of the term.
Students who want to own an iPod can buy one from the university for
$99, about one-third of what it would cost retail.

Fighting Wal-Mart is satisfying

February 28, 2006

Letter to Editor, Daily News. Appearing Feb 27, 2006

Thank you, Steve McClure, for gracing Omie Drawhorn’s story about the Feb. 22 Moscow Planning and Zoning Commission hearing with the “Yes Moscow/No SuperWal-Mart” button.

Thanks to Jerry Schutz for pointing out that the hearing was not about one retailer; it was about the direction for Moscow. When I got home from that meeting, I found a letter sent to my wife from her Camp Fire leader of 35 years ago. She reported having a Yes/No bumper sticker and enclosed $50 to help the cause. Thank you. And to other anonymous donors who have walked up and handed me money because we’ll need it. Thank you.

Raising cruck bent for writers studio, Oct 2005I should have known fighting Wal-Mart would be satisfying. It’s the “Yes Moscow” part that reframes the challenge into building our community. I’m a timber framer. I do barn raisings for the joy when a community comes out and works together, doing something none could do alone. The morning after the P&Z meeting, I realized I’d witnessed a raising of another form. Thanks to the 100-plus people Drawhorn describes, and quotes, who came out and built an argument against the rezone.

Thank you to the former council and to Mayor Comstock who set in motion the NewCities process that gives data to support the argument that we want another approach to planning and zoning. And to all who worked on the “big-box” ordinance, thanks. (May it soon be amended with a size cap.) Thank you to the 1,000 people who have signed the petition asking the City Council to change the comprehensive plan map back from motor business. The No Super Wal-Mart campaign is moving from defense to the offense. Now it is our turn to advocate a positive vision for Moscow’s future. March 22 is your date to come before the P&Z and say, “Yes, Moscow.”

Nils Peterson, Moscow