Viruses and Plagues

Two things this morning:

  1. Just a reminder to all of you who work with the public computers to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, don’t come in to work if you have a fever, and don’t touch your face.
  2. The Conficker virus has basically gone live and is enslaving millions of computers as we speak. This means a huge uptick in Spam in your inbox. It’s probably too late to scan your computer for viruses because if you’re infected you’re hosed at this point, but I always remind people to scan for problems.

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Filed under problems, Security

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.


Filed under collaborative learning, iPod touch/iPhone and Higher Ed, Technology Pulse

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.


Filed under Math, Technology Pulse

Some updates to the TeamSpot installation

I have made some changes to the signage and equipment in the TeamSpot area in order to help answer some questions that students have raised about this service.

Can I play a DVD?

Yes, simply check out a pair of headphones (or the multi-line headphone jack and several sets of headphones for groups) and the keyboard and mouse from circulation, pop in your DVD, and enjoy.

Why is there no keyboard and mouse?

You shouldn’t need a keyboard or mouse to control the server because once you download, install and start the client on your laptop, you can use your laptop to control the server (see the instructions in the TeamSpot booklet). That said, the library recognizes that there may be times that students, staff, and faculty might want to use the station in a more “traditional” manner and a keyboard and mouse are available at the circulation desk for you to check out. Just plug them into the USB port and you’re on your way.

Who should I contact if I have a problem, complain, or need a training session?

Please contact me, Tim Bostelle, by phone (253.692.4650) or email ( for any questions regarding this equipment.

I have also updated the remote desktop configuration which means that I can manage this computer from home if there’s a problem, put a sign on the “reboot” button and encourage users to reboot the system if there are problems and am forwarding my work phone to my cell phone.

Hopefully that should catch all the problems as they fall through.  If not, let me know.

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Filed under Learning Cave, problems

First Tweet

I have added a twitter account for UWT LIT.

Follow me here

…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…


  • 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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