Notes From (or is it To?) the Dark Side

“Why are you at NBC?,” people ask. “What are you doing over there?,” too, and “Is it different on the dark side?” A year into the gig seems a good time to think about those. Especially that “dark side” metaphor.  For example, which side is “dark”? This is a longer-than-usual post. I’ll take up the […]

Streaming TV: New Tricks and Old Problems

I like to read mysteries. No surprise, I also watch lots of TV cop shows and mysteries. Some good reads turn out to be not-so-good TV, and vice versa. Ian Rankin‘s Rebus mysteries and various of Peter Lovesey‘s are an example of the former, and, in my view at least, David Suchet’s Poirot is a lot […]

Perceived Truths as Policy Paradoxes

The quote I was going to use to introduce this topic — “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts” — itself illustrates my theme for today: that truths are often less than well founded, and so can turn policy discussions weird. I’d always heard the quote attributed to Pat Moynihan, […]

Story of S, and the Mythology of the Lost Generation

Dinner talk turned from Argo and Zero Dark Thirty to movies more generally. A 21-year-old college senior—I’ll call her “S”—recognized most of the films we were discussing. She had seen several, but others she hadn’t, which was a bit surprising, since S was an arts major, wanted to be a screenwriter, and was enthusiastic about her […]

Three Fallacies: Optimal Diet, Best Practices, and Key Indicators

Just before writing this (and then losing most of it to a Chrome freeze, and then rewriting it), I had a sort-of-Ploughman’s lunch: a couple of Wasa Wholegrain crackers spread with about 1 ounce of nice smelly Buttermilk Blue cheese, and a Pink Lady apple, and a glass of water. For yesterday’s lunch I mixed […]

The Importance of Being Enterprise

…as Oscar Wilde well might have titled an essay about campus-wide IT, had there been such a thing back then. Enterprise IT it accounts for the lion’s share of campus IT staffing, expenditure, and risk. Yet it receives curiously little attention in national discussion of IT’s strategic higher-education role. Perhaps that should change. Two questions […]

The Rock, and The Hard Place

Looking into the near-term future—say, between now and 2020—we in higher-education IT have to address two big challenges. Neither admits easy progress. But if we don’t address them, we’ll find ourselves caught between a rock and a hard place. The first challenge, the rock, is to deliver high-quality, effective e-learning and curriculum at scale. We […]

The Ghost is Ready, but the Meat is Raw

Old joke. Someone writes a computer program (creates an app?) that translates from English into Russian (say) and vice versa. Works fine on simple stuff, so the next test is a a bit harder: “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  The program/app translates the phrase into Russian, then the tester takes the result, feeds […]

Notes on Barter, Privacy, Data, & the Meaning of “Free”

It’s been an interesting few weeks: Facebook’s upcoming $100-billion IPO has users wondering why owners get all the money while users provide all the assets. Google’s revision of privacy policies has users thinking that something important has changed even though they don’t know what. Google has used a loophole in Apple’s browser to gather data […]

Impact of “Adult” and Generic Top-Level Internet Domains on Colleges and Universities

(This is a copy of one of my EDUCAUSE blog posts) Internet domains in the new “adult” .xxx domain recently became available. So did arbitrary generic top-level domains (gTLDs) beyond the existing .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, and so forth. Both initiatives affect higher education. The effects of these initiatives thus far have been modest, but they have been entirely negative. […]