Faustian Rants

ITIL Cool Aid

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on March 31, 2015

The ITIL Portal pronounces, “The only future for managing IT Services is ITIL”

Really?  I get that somehow a “certification” was developed for this but seriously.  The only future?  I’ve been involved with ITIL like activities for the last two years and I don’t see much in its future.  Sure some software sales for the ServiceNow like companies, and maybe some efficiencies in keeping track of stuff and getting metrics.  But aren’t we making a little much of it? Soon ITIL will be a billion dollar industry on how to save money and be more efficient, customer centric, and data driven.  Yay?


How Big Will IT Get in Higher Education

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on February 3, 2015

I’ve been at IT in higher education for 35 years now. In that time, on my own campus anyway, IT staff has grown from 12 to 42 people.  A full 30 new full timers in 35 years. I’ve been thinking about this.

I recently ran into this post by Scott Coughlin in his ITTHOUGHTOFTHEDAY blog.  Scott asks a good question.  How is it that an IT Department can be too large and too small at the same time?  He points out that part of the problem is how people define their IT departments.  True enough.  How does higher education define their IT departments?

As individuals, faculty, staff, and students at a college or university don’t often think about the forest.  They are concerned about their tree.  If their computer doesn’t work, if their course in an LMS is broken, if a large color print they need isn’t done they ask (often in indirect ways) why IT isn’t bigger?  They leave looking at the forest to their deans, VPs, and President.   At the same time they often grouse about the every growing size of the administration.   Which do they want?

With the daunting task of keeping up with consumerization, higher education IT departments are expected to provide infrastructure and support for any and all technologies that faculty ,staff, students and others bring to to campus.  How are IT staffs to continue to meet this growing demand?  More people? More money? More outsourcing?

On my campus IT is in a struggle (a battle really) to redefine itself.  To realign itself with the vision and mission of the college.  The problem is all the trees.

Removal of Seat Side

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on April 20, 2013

Time to remove the sides of the seat.  The nuts loosened right up and they came out nicely along with the screws attached.  One of the screws in the handrail iron needed to extracted.  Either I’m getting better at it, or it came out nicely compared to previous ones. 

Seat side before removal (figure 1), removal of nuts and bolts for side attachment iron (figure 2), iron after removal (figure 3), removal of corner hardware (figure 4). Click on any of the images for a larger view.


        Figure 1                                             Figure 2                               Figure 2


Removed the armrest iron.  Bottom screw needed to be drilled out and extracted the hard way.


Original side and new rough cut replacement.


Power Point TEst

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on January 18, 2013


f/lkasf;kasd ;ask

Moore’s Law and Yellow Bird

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on December 27, 2010

In Support of WikiLeaks

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on December 9, 2010

Unlike many technologies,  I get the Faustian bargain in WikiLeaks and  this latest blog entry is in full support of freedom of information.  I don’t understand the out cry against WikiLeaks at all, and frankly the current administration (most notably Hillary Clinton) has lost a ton of goodie points with me over the spectacle they’ve tried to make of it.  SHAME ON YOU Hillary!!

For years now my government has been telling me not to worry about the Patriot Act and any increase in surveillance they might be doing.  “If I have done nothing wrong, I have nothing to worry about.”, they say.  Well ditto back at you Uncle Sam.

When is the last time it was a good idea for governments (or anybody else for that matter) to hide what they are ashamed or embarrassed of?  Normally exposing what’s embarrassing you is a big step in getting you to stop doing it.

BTW, I have a slight whiff of fear running through me about posting this, and that is a shame.  That slight fear in me means we still have a ways to go in defending our freedoms.

Faculty Development Seminar at Baylor

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on September 23, 2010

Yikes!!  Why couldn’t I have been a faculty member at Baylor!!  My recent discovery of a faculty development seminar they are holding has me drooling!!  What an idea.  Have to follow up and make something similar happen on my campus.  (Or perhaps SUNY wide)?

Is Moore’s Law Just a Pattern?

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on July 9, 2010

Data Storage Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on July 7, 2010

A recent article in Technology Review about 3D data storage is a perfect example of how nanotechnologies will keep Moore’s Law moving forward, unabated I think, for the next 10 – 20 years.  Bits that are the size of molecules means incredible amounts of storage for portable devices.   We went from saying “theoretically” about ideas like this to saying “in 10 or so years”  pretty quickly.  Some samples of how this pace of change is reaching storage can be read here and here.


Are Today’s Students REALLY Rewired?

Posted in Uncategorized by Jim on June 16, 2010

An excellent article by Daniel T. Willingham entitled “Have Technology and Multitasking Rewired How Students Learn” appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of the American Educator. In it, Willingham reviews what we think we know about technology and its impact on student learning. I highly recommend it. A few important takeaways I got from this article are:

  • It isn’t technology that students find engaging.  It is solvable mental problems.
  • Technology can increase student engagement if it aids in presenting and helping students solve these problems.
  • Students  cannot multitask.
  • Technology can provide rapid changes to what a student sees or experiences. This may or may not translate into increased engagement or learning.
  • The whiteboard analog used in the article is excellent.  Students may LOVE the whiteboard, but does it really translate into enthusiasm for the course.  Studies suggest not.
  • Younger people are better at multitasking than older people, but not because they practice it.  It is because they larger working memory capacity.  They are not better at it than they used to be.
  • Interestingly, College students that report being multitaskers are actually worse at it than their counterparts.
  • Bottom line – if you need to get something done, multitasking is never a good idea.

The article goes on with more important points.. but this will give you a flavor for it.  It does reiterate a few points worthy of remembering.  Using technologies effectively is not as obvious as it might seem at first.  For example, hypertext reading, as it relates to working memory, has to be considered carefully.  If the reader has plenty of prior knowledge, thus uses less working memory while reading, hypertext links may be ok.  It the reader does not it can be disruptive.

Finally,  things to consider as a teacher.  Encourage students to NOT multitask.  If you are using a new technology, get connected to a community of teachers using it and share stories.  Finally, think about what the technology can and CANNOT do.  For example, videos are good for showing things over time, photos are better for showing static concepts.