Duke to Giveaway Fewer iPods

BetaNews | Duke Modifies iPod Giveaway Program
However, the faculty will be the deciding factor this year as to which students will receive the iPods.

Reaction from students has been mixed, with many claiming the program was a waste of money, as most already owned Apple’s player. Students felt that more pressing issues, such as financial aid and campus security, should have been addressed first.

More on this here and here. The original release from Duke is here, as is the Duke iPod homepage.

what’s in it for me? why would I want to start a blog?

Why indeed. I’ve been blogging since October 19, 2000, mainly as a sort of scrapbook/clipping service/notebook. I blog to note things of interest to me that I may want to quickly find again. On occasion I opine. The bonus is that I choose a public place for this and a few other folks are interested enough in what I post to follow along.

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For law faculty, I can think of 2 reasons to blog: self-publishing in areas of interest (scholarly and otherwise) and communicating with students. It is important to keep in mind that a blog and the software that powers it are just a set of tools that you use to accomplish something. While most blogs have certain off-the-cuff, spur-of-the-moment diary quality about them, that is not all that they are good for. The key thing about blogging is that it is web-publishing made easy. Blogs can do anything a ‘regular’ website can do, without the overhead.

For further reading about weblogs in education I would suggest Educational Blogging by Stephen Downes, (EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 39, no. 5 (September/October 2004): 14–26).

Why start a blog?

Self-publishing

  • pick a topic
  • pick a schedule
  • pick an editor
  • pick an audience

Class/Course blogging

  • quickly, easily post course material
  • allow for student comment and interaction
  • not email
  • less ‘overhead’ than Blackboard, TWEN

What’s in it for me?

  • A wider audience for your work
  • Increased communication with students

Ajax Defined

You got your Ajax in my Ruby
Codified by Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path in “Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications“, Ajax stands for “Asynchronous Javascript XML.” Essentially what Ajax does is move much of the smarts involving user-interaction from the web server to your web browser. This takes the form of an Ajax engine (a piece of Javascript code) embedded into a web page, downloaded to your browser, and springing into action upon arrival. Acting as an interaction broker, the engine takes care of all the whizbang interactivity you see (form input and validation, dragging-and-dropping, showing-and-hiding, etc.) while dealing with the web server (and it’s back-end database) as needed.

Well, this clears up a few things. Now it the questions is how does this help me? I did find this toolkit, Sajax, that includes a PHP backend.

WordPress Dropped From Google, Yahoo for Hiding Articles

WordPress Under Fire for Search-Engine Spamming
One of the most popular Weblog-publishing tools, WordPress, is stirring a controversy over search-engine gaming because it included thousands of articles related to popular search terms on its Web site while largely hiding them from site visitors.

Bloggers and search-engine marketers are accusing the open-source WordPress project of spamming the major search engines, while at the same time being one of the advocates in an effort to combat comment spam in blog postings.

In a nutshell, the lead developer of WordPress took money to link to articles that are invisible to regular visitors to wordpress.org, but are seen as links by crawlers. The result is that the weight given to the articles by search engines is increased by the volume of traffic to WordPress. Disclosure: this blog is powered by WordPress.

64-Bit Windows Goes Gold

64-Bit Windows XP Released To Manufacturing
Specifically, Microsoft said that Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter x64 Edition, and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition all had been released to manufacturing. Further details will be released at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) later this month.

The 64-bit operating system has been long awaited by both Intel and especially Advanced Micro Devices, whose 64-bit Athlon and Opteron microprocessors have been forced to run on beta versions of the operating system. Linux distribution vendors, on the other hand, have offered 64-bit versions for months.

Integrated Apache, MySQL and PHP Pass CERT7

SourceLabs AMP Stack Integrates Apache, MySQL and PHP
The Seattle startup announced the release of its SourceLabs AMP Stack, a distribution of open-source software–including the Apache Web server, the MySQL database and the PHP development environment (AMP)–that has been tested and certified for reliability, security and scalability, said Byron Sebastian, chief executive at SourceLabs Inc.

SourceLab ran Apache 1.3.33, PHP 5.03, and MySQL 4.1.9 through a serious of rigorous security and performance test. The result is AMP Stack. The stack is available for download here.