Wiki NJIT and the Smart Campus Project


NJIT has created a new university wiki at http://wiki.njit.edu. Nothing so cutting edge about that. We already have several wikis started by groups or departments (ours, for example, is at http://devel2.njit.edu/mediawiki/ )

Like most public wikis, you can edit or create any page here. It is created for students by students. Anyone who has an NJIT university ID can add additional elements.

Hopefully as it grows, you'll find out what's happening around campus, find out some things about NJIT that you didn't know before, discuss People, Places, and Organizations, rate things (it's anonymous) and more.

What I think makes this wiki more interesting is it's connection to the Smart Campus project at NJIT. Smart campus is experimenting with Social Mobile Computing (related to MoSoSo or Mobile Social Software which I'll write about in the near future). As new wireless networks comprised of cellular, ad hoc, local area, personal area, sensor and home networks emerge, "a network of networks" can be used to locate users and thus enable new applications. They are defining this as People-to-People-to-Places, or a P3-System.

From their site: "At the New Jersey Institute of Technology (the largest comprehensive technology focused university in the NY metropolitan area) we are creating the SmartCampus Test-Bed, a large scale mobile (hundreds to thousands of users), wireless campus community system that will serve as a dispersed living laboratory for the study of location-aware community systems with People-To-People-To-Places (P3) Services, in terms of:

1. Community building / social network impacts
2. Team / group coordination
3. User privacy [personal exchanges & location data use]
4. User Interface Techniques
5. Middleware design
6. Security [user authentication, access control, intrusion prevention, data integrity, etc]."

That means that on this wiki if I am logged in as an NJIT user, I can see who is in my proximity or who is logged in from the Campus Center, or the Redwood dorm etc.

If you have used online services like Plazes, you know what this is all about. If not, Plazes lets anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop define a "plaze" (usually a Wi-Fi hot spot like a Starbucks or campus). It tells where the user is located and looks for other members nearby. When a user detects another member, the system displays similar interests and enables you to contact them. It also shows members when their friends are in other plazes, in case you want to physically go there to meet them. In big cities, there is a good chance of finding another member in your area. The Smart Campus wiki is a Plazes for the NJIT community.

What will make this mashup work (as with any wiki or location application) is getting members to participate. Logging in right now I only see 2 people in my building (on other floors), so it still has a ways to go.

Well, our branding slogan is "On the edge of knowledge" - let's see what happens when we get in a little further from the edge with this project.

Who owns "podcast"?


I had read earlier that Apple went after some small companies who were using names with "pod" for products (even a few like Profit Pod and TightPod that don't even have anything to do with portable audio).

Today I read that Apple Computer has hit Podcast Ready (they have a product, myPodder, that lets you download podcasts to a portable device) with a "cease and desist" letter, claiming that the terms "Podcast Ready" and "myPodder" infringe Apple's trademarks. (see this post from Wired's Listening Post blog)

Major blogger Robert Scoble of PodTech and has written that the tech community should start using other terms (like audiocast, videocast, audcast, vidcast) to describe this type of content.

Of course, someone could fight Apple too. Maybe they will not want the negative press that comes from acting Microsofty, and just be happy with all the buzz iPods get from the use of podcast and other poddy terms. Think of all the people who still think that you can't listen to a podcast unless you have an iPod!


Automated Podcast Box

The headline I saw was "Automated podcast box takes on Apple's iTunes U" but I'm not sure that Apple is too afraid or that the schools that have been trying the past few months to implement Apple's iTunes U (that includes us at NJIT - and it has NOT been an easy or quick process - very much a WIP for Apple) will bail out.

The podcasting firm Webcast in a Box plans a name change to BOXpopuli to reflect the company's new emphasis on podcasting. They see market for "automated podcasting" using an "appliance" (such an odd term - I keep seeing refrigerators and blenders). This seems to be more a production tool rather than a distribution system. iTunes U is all about DELIVERY and not about production, though Apple certainly would love you to use their computers & software to produce podcasts. Their site does have a link to meedu.org which seems to be an affiliated service for hosting & distribution.

"Podcast in a Box," requires no training to operate and can operate on a schedule where no administrator interaction is required other than initial configuration or using a USB key (insert the key to capture and remove the key to publish and notify your subscribers).

It's a Linux-based box that records audio in a classroom or other location and uploads the encoded files, with optional "intro" and "outro" segments and ID3 tags added, to a server as a podcast. It has a 200GB hard drive and no manual recording controls.

We have been doing podcasts for about a year without any automation and it can be time-consuming (training, setup, uploading etc.) but I don't know of anyone using a product like this one... anyone out there using an appliance? Please comment below. I'd like to hear about automation experiences.

more at http://www.linuxworld.com/news/2006/091806-podcast-apple-itunesu.html and at http://www.boxpopu.li/

Isn't it time for web 3.0?


I'm in the middle of a few weeks of vacation time. Just spent a week on a nice Caribbean island without a cell phone, computer or Internet connection. I actually didn't feel withdrawal symptoms or go through cold turkey.

I did read some technology news and jotted a few notes including some on good ol' Web 2.0.

Are you tired of that term yet? I like the idea behind it, but I am getting turned off by the overuse of it being attached to every new application or service.

Web 2.0 as originlly "defined" by Tim O'Reilly is very exciting and has plenty of applicability to education. He defines it by examples. What appeals most to me is the web as a tool of creation rather than as a consumer-dominated platform. The "read/write web" is another take on this idea. I suppose I would be happy with Web 1.5 if that meant that kind of web use. How about 3.0 being the web for education?

OK, but more seriously, if you want to keep up on this devlopment, add to your links:

  • techcrunch.com is a good place for Web 2.0 info
  • and web20workgroup.com is a kind of network of blogs that write about it (you can subscribe to all of these blogs from the site)

Do you think that Web 2.0 means things like the ability to:

  • integrate social network effects
  • enable semantic feeds
  • embed networking
  • reinvent social feeds?

Well, if you say "Yes", that might be a scary thought, because I got that list by using the The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator at http://emptybottle.org

The scary part for me is that they actually sound pretty good!

Apple: "It's Showtime!"


It was news last week, so now it's time to think about how Apple's announcement will affect us as consumers and viewers. Apple not only wants your mobile music business, it wants your movie and TV business for the family room.

  • Apple introduced a service to download movies from the Internet and showed off a set-top box (code name iTV) that streams digital music, photos and movies from computers to television sets ($299 early next year)
  • ITV is about the size of a portable CD player, it connects to other living room electronic equipment and streams over the home's wireless Internet network
  • it will stream your photos, music and video from the computer to the television
  • download content from iTunes use on my computer,
  • my iPod
  • and the big-screen television that I don't have in my living room
  • The iPod commands 75 percent of the MP3 player market share
  • Apple's iTunes online music store is No. 1 in all 21 countries where it's available
  • Apple is till #5 in total music sales behind Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon.com
  • Apple's Steve Jobs sold Pixar to Disney earlier this year and now sits on Disney's board of directors.
  • Amazon unveiled a service several days before Apple's announcement and Movielink, CinemaNow and others offer movie and television show downloads.
  • Apple will not offer the ability to burn the movie onto a DVD or simply rent it.
  • Last year Apple launched television show downloads with only Disney as a partner, but since then they've had 45 million downloads from iTunes from 220 programs from 40 networks.

Pollhost


Here's some information about the pollhost.com service that I used to create the poll in my previous posting. I have only just started using it, so it's not a strong recommendation at this point but here's some info for you in case you want to use it on your site.

  • The poll service is free but they do place advertisements on your poll results pages (no ads on your site) and a link back to Pollhost.com. You can pay for an ad-free version.
  • They will remove polls from your account if it hasn't received a vote in over 30 days.
  • You can have up to 15 active polls - of course, if you hit max, you can create a second account.
  • You design your poll and they give you standard HTML code to paste into your page. If you have no access to your site's code, there's an option to instantly generate a page on Pollhost.com which will contain your poll box. Your poll will be immediately accessible on a randomly assigned URL such as xyz.pollhost.comand you can simply place a link to on your site.
http://www.pollhost.com/