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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Sudoku has a mathematical solution

When I first discovered Sudoku puzzles I looked at the boxes and the numbers and said “well, this MUST have a mathematical solution.” I mean, come on, it’s 9 rows, 9 boxes, 9 sets, each with a solution set of numbers 1-9. It seemed perfectly ordered to me and seemed like a mathematical solution was obvious.

So, I started doing some research and it turns out that all the brilliant-est math minds steadfastly held that there was NO mathematical solution for Sudoku. Until today.

I’m not going to pretend that I understand the math in the actual paper but I do understand this:

What Crook has done … is more or less systematized what the average mind does and made it into some sort of computer algorithm – which is a step-by-step procedure.

This means that you can now solve Sudoku puzzles using a computer program. I’ve always maintained that we just need more programs that help us solve all of life’s puzzles.

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First Tweet

I have added a twitter account for UWT LIT.

Follow me here

http://twitter.com/UWTLITweet

…if you’re into that sort of thing.

This isn’t my first foray into Twitter, I also have an account for my Arsenal blog and one private twitter. Though no one is following me on any of them!

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A Sweet Goodbye

We had a potluck today to say farewell to a great cow orker, a great personality and all around smart chick; Ahlana.  Her last request was that I post the recipe for my Roasted Cauliflower and Sweet Potato dish. Who am I to deny a tech her last wish?

I created this dish when I was a vegan and had a chance to sample a similar dish during a vegan lunch buffet at a Persian vegan restaurant called Flowers in Seattle. It’s not the same as their dish, but it’s as close as I could get it.

This recipe exemplifies, as with all the dishes in their buffet, everything I love about cooking — it is simple yet full of flavor.

Basically, this recipe is two ingredients: roasted veggies and tahini sauce. The secret is in the balance of soft sweet potato, crispy and earthy cauliflower, and tangy tahini. In a pinch I will substitute Amy’s Goddess dressing for the tahini sauce, because it’s vegan, and less mess.

Enough intro…

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1-2 red garnet sweet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 c. sesame butter
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from 1/2 a large lemon (at least 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • cilantro
  • flat leaf parsley

Oven 500F

Break the cauliflower into different sized florets and set in a bowl. Slice the potatoes into 1/4″ bias cut pieces and set in the same bowl. Add enough Olive oil to just coat the veggies and mix together. Add some salt and pepper and mix more.

Dump onto a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or so, checking to make sure you’re getting nice color on the veggies. Turn and roast some more, until the cauliflower is nicely browned but still crispy.

While you’re roasting the veg, assemble the tahini. Seriously, this couldn’t be easier: mix the sesame butter and water with the clove of garlic. I blend with a hand mixer to really get the garlic all chopped up. Now add the lemon juice. I always reserve some lemon juice for the end so that I can adjust the flavor. Add salt and pepper, taste. Add more lemon, taste. Too much lemon? If that happens a little bit of sugar (just like a 1/4 teaspoon) will balance it right back out. Now add some cilantro (optional, not everyone likes cilantro) and flat leaf parsley and blitz up to desired consistency. Set aside.

Pull the veggies out of the oven, let them cool, and pour the sauce on top. Serve chilled or at room temp.

Remember, it’s just roasted veggies and tahini, what could go wrong?

Anyway, thanks to you Ahlana for all you did, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we enjoyed having you at work.

Good luck!

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