Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SJSU History


The San Jose State University International and Extended Studies office has published a new book on the history of SJSU and continuing education. Here is my article about it in today's Spartan Daily. I honestly have not finished reading the book, but what I have read is really good. The author is speaking tonight at the library, unfortunately, I will not be able to go.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Go San Jose State! not CSU-SJ!

Look out, I am on a ranting spree... First the council race, now the school's name.

An article from the Spartan Daily online Friday talks about the students who want to change the name of San Jose State University.

Never mind, it is not worth ranting about.

Okay, maybe I will rant.

Changing the school's name is a waste of time and money. It is the same two former students that have been trying to get the name changed for years. They pretend like they have a ton of support and they act like they speak for all the students, but they do not. In fact, I have not heard a single student say that they think it is a good idea.

GoState's arguments do not seem very reasonable to me. If anything, the San Jose State name helps build credibility and independence for the school. I have been studying SJSU's history a lot this semester. In 1972, San Jose State College became California State University. People did not like the name, it had been San Jose State for a long time, so in only two years they changed the name to San Jose State University.

The San Jose State name goes back to at least 1921. Other than the brief two years in the '70s, it has never been called California State anything. It was a bad idea then, it is a bad idea now. San Jose is the third largest city in the state and the 10th largest in the country. If people do not know where San Jose is, too bad. The school is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state and is the original campus of the largest college system in the country. I am proud of SJSU and see no need to go changing names because a couple of alumni have nothing better to do.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oliverio goofs

I really enjoy staying on top of current events and politics, especially local politics, so I have been paying attention to race for the San Jose City Council district 6, the district I live in. I think both candidates, Steve Tedesco and Pierluigi Oliverio, would make decent representatives. However, both have fallen into the trap of mud slinging. They both should be ashamed of themselves.

While I think both candidates would be good for the district, I have preferred Oliverio. He is young, innovate and would help bring much needed change to City Hall. I worry that Tedesco is too tied in with the old political regime and too connected in the business community.

We got a piece of junk mail from Oliverio today that is making me reconsider. Yes, mail from Oliverio that makes me dislike him. Tedesco has been the one slinging the mud and trying to make his opponent look bad. So instead of firing back at Tedesco, Oliverio decided to attack the messanger, the Mercury News. Obviously I am a supporter of journalists, and I think that Oliverio's mailer makes him look bad. If he can not learn how to deal with and work with journalists, he has big problems.

I know that reporters are not always fair, balanced and unbiased. But I know that they try really hard to be. I have been following the articles from the Merc on the race, and while they have been critical of Oliverio, they have also been critical at times of Tedesco. They also have included Oliverio's defense statements when appropriate. The criticisms of Oliverio are legitimate concerns, and I do not think that they were unfair. In fact, even after reading all of the criticisms of Oliverio in the Merc, I thought he was the better candidate and that Tedesco was worse for being so negative, but after this mailer, I have to seriously reevaluate.

Oliverio's weaknesses come from some of the same characteristics as his strengths. He is young and inexperienced. I think that is a good thing. Tedesco has been around the block before, he knows how to play the game and he has good advisers and friends in the right places. Oliverio needs to relax and have confidence that he is the right person to do the job and stop trying to play clean while he throws dirt back. Don't worry about what Tedesco says, just focus on the issues.

Scoble on the Mac v. PC wars

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that Scoble has some great video of geeks that really know what they are talking about when it comes to the Mac verses PC wars. These guys know their stuff.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm a Mac

While I am a little biased, thespartandaily.com actually has some good content for today's online edition. There is even a special tech opposing viewpoints on Mac verses PC. I wrote the Mac part. I realize this opens me up to now be the victim of hate crimes from my normally apathetic PC friends. I am not an extreme member of the Macintosh cult. In fact, I use a PC every day at work. I just prefer the Mac. I will admit here, since I could not in the official column, that Windows has some cool new features that I hope Mac picks up on. I am still however, a fan of the fantastic new Apple commercials. I want to be hip and cool like the Mac guy, so I say: "Hi, I'm a Mac."



And for your viewing pleasure, here is the 1984 Macintosh commercial, played during the SuperBowl to introduce Apple's new product.



Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sammy Spartan gets a face lift


My article for today's Spartan Daily is about the SJSU mascot, Sammy Spartan. All sorts of rumors were going around campus about what happened to Sammy. Some said that the athletics department just had not hired anyone to do it. I even heard that he had been stolen. But don't worry, Sammy is just getting a face lift, normal fixes for wear and tear. We joked that I should borrow the costume and do "A day in the life of." I don't think I really want to, but it would make a good story.

New York Times and YouTube

I noticed today as I was reading my feeds that the New York Times has a YouTube video with an article. Kind of strange. Usually they have their videos on their own pages with a flash player. I am not sure why they used YouTube this time. I wonder if this will become a trend as traditional media companies try to compete with YouTube, MySpace and the like. If you can't beat them, join 'em.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

STEM club meeting tomorrow

Just a reminder...

The SJSU Technology and Emerging Media club will be meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Clark Room 116 (the Academic Success Center conference room). We will be talking about blogging, tags and RSS feeds.

Come check it out!

Thinking about Blogs and Readers

I have been reading a lot more blogs via my Google Reader instead of just getting the latest headlines from news organizations. I am a news junkie at heart – okay, I am an addict – but I love that I can easily follow blogs and web sites that are interesting or cool. I can even share them with you.

Anyway, I have been thinking about what blogs I like and which ones I don't, or better, which I like to subscribe to. There are a lot of great sites out there that I would love to follow, I just do not have time. I do get the RSS feeds from Scoble's blog and shared items, so that helps me stay on top of tech news. I have noticed that Scoble and some others have such great blogs because they post lots of short items frequently. They do not need to be long, fancy postings, but a few sentences is fine. In fact, that makes it easier to follow. So I am going to try and post more regularly and not be concerned that I might not have much to say at the moment. Just a thought or a comment or an experience is enough.

There are two blogs I have been following this week that I thought are cool. The first is by a student down at CSU Fullerton that has been living in his truck for over a year and has been blogging about it. I found out from a cool story in the LA Times, but of course reading his blog is way better.

The other is the guy that had a big idea that he wanted to pitch to Google, so he flew into town and stationed himself in the Googleplex lobby. His blog and videos are great. Go Aaron! I think that everyone can relate to him. Many of us, myself included have a big idea that they hope they can get funded. He had the guts to yell out and get some attention, and it seemed to have worked.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fun laughs downtown

I went with some friends Friday night to ComedySportz in the former Camera 3 theater in downtown San Jose. It was great. Good clean family fun. I highly recommend it. It is kind of like "Whose Line is it Anyway?" but better, especially since it is live and the audience interacts with the comedians.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Freedom Writers and Mineta at SJSU

Suzanne and I went to see the movie "Freedom Writers." It was fantastic, I highly recommend it. It is a classic story of a teacher who wants to help inspire her students, who are divided by gang violence in mid-1990s Long Beach. Reading books and writing journals literally changes the lives of these students. I have always thought that writing is an excellent way to improve one's self. It is a way to express yourself, but sitting down and writing about yourself allows you to reflect, meditate and think though your own values and beliefs.

Suzanne, my fiancée, teaches at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. She could relate to the difficulties of teachers in dealing with administrators and others who think that you are wasting your time. Of course, there is always hope for people to change and for students to improve their lives.


In other news, my article in yesterday's paper was on Norm Mineta's speech at SJSU today. Unfortunately, I was not able to go, but Mineta is a pretty important national figure that is a local guy. It is a pretty big deal that he was willing to come speak at SJSU.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lincoln's and Gram's Birthday

I just got back from having dinner with my extended family for my Grandma's birthday. We went to El Burro at the Pruneyard in Campbell. They have good Mexican food, but the servings are huge. I always eat too much there.

My article in today's Daily is on a symposium that was held about Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately, I was not able to go to any of it today.

In case you did not notice, there was a new section on theSpartainDaily.com, Friday Tech News. I wrote a short blog post about the new club for it. My post was supposed to run earlier in the week and actually on the blog, but they were having technical problems, hopefully we will get more stuff on the blog. We also hope the Friday tech news will keep going. Let us know if you have any ideas.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Apply for Financial Aid Now!


My article in today's Spartan Daily is about the proposed changes in Congress to change financial aid. The proposals would decrease the interest rates for student loans and would increase the maximum amount a student can receive each year in Pell Grants. Despite the headline, the proposals have passed the House of Representatives and is now before the Senate. If they pass there, they still have to signed by the President.

Working on the article motivated me to get going on applying for scholarships and other financial aid. If you, like me, have been putting it off, do it now. Even if you do not think you will qualify, you should apply anyway. The priority deadline for SJSU students to finish the FAFSA is March 2.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Technology & Emerging Media Club

Last evening was the first gathering of what is to become the world famous SJSU Technology & Emerging Media Club. Get used to hearing about it, we are setting out to change the world, or at lest SJSU for now. It was good time. Andrew, Sean and Steve all have posted about it already. I am really excited. It was nice to meat Sean, I have been reading his blog for a while. We hope that the small and humble beginnings will quickly grow to include people from all over the SJSU community. We want this to be a collaborative group that is not just journalism majors or tech geeks. Come check us out if you are at all interested. We will be meeting again next Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Academic Success Center in Clark Hall.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Textbook Update

I was doing research for my next article, and since I was already thinking of textbooks, found this from U.S. PIRG:

Students spend an average of $900 a year on textbooks—20 percent of tuition at an average university and half of tuition at a community college. Textbook prices have increased at four times the rate of inflation since 1994 and continue to rise.
Four times the rate of inflation! That is amazing.

Textbooks! (Need I say more?)

Here's a classic example of how college students are taken advantage of when it comes time to buy books. One of the books I need is listed at the Spartan Bookstore for $68 new and $51 used. Of course Roberts Bookstore is five cents cheaper on both prices. Amazon has the same book new for $58.01 (and free shipping). Since I know this is a book I will use a lot in and out of class, it is worth the few extra bucks to get a nice new copy, so I went with Amazon.

I know that they are other websites and places where many books are even cheaper, but Amazon is familiar, easy and trusted. The only disadvantage is that I am not sure I will have the book in time to get the reading done for the next class, but it is a risk I am willing to take.

I actually cheated on most of my books this year. Since I knew some of the classes I was going to take, I checked the teacher's website, looked the books listed on Amazon and made a wish list for Christmas. I sent the list to my family and said "If you are going to get me something, you might as well get me something useful." And happily, I got a couple of books for Christmas.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

SJSU students goin' to the Super Bowl?

My story in today's Spartan Daily is about the three San Jose State students that were finalists in Chevy's contest to make a Super Bowl commercial. The winner will be announced tomorrow night. You can see the reality show at cbs.com/chevy. Professor Buchwitz has been blogging about their experience all along. Good luck guys!

In other news, if you have not already heard, Andrew has a meeting planned for starting a new club. It will be 5 p.m. tomorrow at Pizza My Heart. Come on over if you are interested in new media and technology.