Category Archives: Technology Pulse

Movin on up!

Because of potential problems with data retention I have decided to move LIT Blog off of the wordpress servers and onto the UW servers.

Find it here, http://staff.washington.edu/tbostell/wordpress/

Please, understand that I haven’t edited the look of the site yet, I’m working on it.

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Windows 7 Addendum: Special Pricing for Staff/Faculty

I just wanted to post an addendum to my post on Windows 7 of the other day and tell staff/faculty to hold off on purchasing Windows 7 until November 1st. Scott Barker (Senior Lecturer, Director of IT, Informatics Program Chair, UW Seattle iSchool) talking to other tech staff on the TechSupport email listserv had the following to report:

Frank Lobisser, the UW Microsoft rep, told me that there would be special pricing on Windows 7 for faculty and staff personal purchases.   As you may know, there is a promotion right now for students that allows them to get it for $29.95.    He didn’t have the exact pricing for faculty/staff but he told me it would be available for faculty/staff to order through the Microsoft student select program.   Apparently it will show up on the student select price list November 1. I have an email in to a couple folks to see if I can find out more details and I’ll post once I find out.

So, you may want to hold off on buying that Windows 7 just yet, a pretty sweet price deal sounds like it’s in the works.

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Windows 7

I have gotten a few questions about Windows 7 and I’d like to answer them as succinctly as possible.

What is Windows 7?

Basically it’s the new operating system from Microsoft. They heard all the complaints about Windows Vista and decided to fix them. This is a bit of a trend with Microsoft actually. They seem to release an OS then get a lot of flack and then release a second OS that works a lot better. Like when they released Windows 95 and it worked pretty well, so they released Windows 98 and it was, erm, “not well received.” Same with Windows XP and Vista. So, now they have released Windows 7 and according to most reports, they actually have fixed almost everything.

Should I upgrade?

Depends! Do you have a new computer that is bogged down under the heavy load of Vista? You probably will want to upgrade. Still using Windows Xp on a 3 year old laptop? You probably don’t need to upgrade.

Where do I get Win7?

If you’re a student, you can get a copy at the bookstore or from Microsoft for $30. The rest of us have relatively few options if we want to upgrade: you can buy the full retail version for up to $300 or you can buy a “system builder’s version” (OEM)  for $100 . Word about OEM, the license isn’t transferable. You can’t take it from one computer to the other. So, think carefully about that before you save $10.

Which version?

Before you decide which version you want to get you might want to look at the Microsoft web site and figure out which version you want. Do you need Chinese language support? Then you need to buy “Ultimate.” Do you want Windows to run all your backups? You need “Professional.” Do you not care? Then you need “Home Premium!”

When will the Library switch to Windows 7?

Uhhh… lol, well, I have to install it on my machine first!


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Governor Gregiore starts tweeting

Governor Chris Gregoire is now a twitter-er.

Look, I’m a strong advocate of using web 2.0 for administration and for increasing communication within and without an organization, but I’m not sure that twitter does that. My sense, and yes, I’m new, and yes, I’m aware of the fact that some really innovative people have come up with some really interesting uses of this new media, but my sense is that this is one of the dumbest web applications ever and I don’t really want the Governor wasting time on this when the state of Washington is facing real challenges.

Moreover, what’s the purpose of this? Is this a re-election Twitter? Is this a “here’s how my work day works” twitter? What and why are they doing this?

I know why the rest of you tweet…

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Cell Phone Discounts

Talk about perfect timing.

Given the current economy, every little bit of savings helps. So, imagine my surprise when  I found out that UW Technologies has negotiated a preferred contract with AT&T and T-Mobile which should provide a sizable discount on new and existing cell-phone service for Faculty, Students, and Staff. Other discounts from other providers may be available, you’ll have to call them.

Click on the link above in order to get a list of phone numbers and web sites that will let you take advantage of your UW affiliation. I used the web registration to lodge my affiliation and it was quick and easy.

18% off my AT&T bill? Nice.

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Blackboard, on the iPhone

Following directly on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that PubMed has made a ihone application, today Blackboard released their highly rumored and much anticipated application for the iPhone.

While it won’t let students do any of the important course content, it will let them check assignments and send each other messages.

I’m sure course content will follow.

The service currently works on UW Tacoma’s server but IT Services are looking in to whether the security risk posed by storing credentials is worth the mobility provided.

I’ll make a blog about it when we have a definitive answer. For now, if you want to download it and mess around, go to the iTunes App store and search for Blackboard learn.

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PubMed, on the iPhone

Libraries looking for ways that the iPhone (or iPod Touch) might change user’s interactions with academic databases need look no further than the PubMed On Tap application ($2.99 from References on Tap, though there is a “lite” version available for free which limits you to 5 hits per search).

This application searches PubMed, retrieves abstracts and lets you email them to yourself as formatted text or as an RIS tagged record (so you can put it in EndNote), remembers your searches, and even supports EZ Proxy.

It will retrieve full text (if you have proper access to do that, via EZ Proxy or IP authentication) but I’d be surprised if a lot of people are going to hang out with their iPod touch and read medical journals. More likely they will email the links to themselves for retrieval later.

Regardless, it’s a pretty cool application and a massive improvement over the Mobile Libraries platforms listed in this wiki. This new database  means that now you can be on the bus to Seattle, search PubMed, and when you get to work you can retrieve the full text articles and read your research on the big screen or print it out, like a sane person.

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