15 Minutes a Day: LIFE Photo Archive Hosted by Google

Google is hosting the LIFE Photo Archive, featuring a collection of photos dating back to the 1750’s.  Many of the photographs were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

Charleston Photo


View of Main St. in Charleston. 1946

View of Main St. in Charleston. | Location: Charleston, SC, US | Date Taken: March 1946 | Photographer: Elliot Ellisofon | Size: 1280 x 951 pixels (17.8 x 13.2 inches)

Want to Search for Photos in the Google/Life Photo Archive Only?

Add “source:life” to any Google image search and search only the LIFE photo archive. For example: computer source:life

15 Minutes a Day: Digital Campus

A biweekly discussion of how digital media and technology are affecting learning, teaching, and scholarship at colleges, universities, libraries, and museums.

Episode 33 – Classroom Action Settlement

The big news this week was the announcement that a settlement had been reached between Google and authors and publishers over Google’s controversial Book Search program, which has scanned over seven million volumes, including many books that are still copyrighted. The Digital Campus team takes a first pass at the agreement and tries to understand how it might affect higher ed. Other news from a busy week include the release of the first phone based on Google’s Android operating system, and Microsoft’s conversion to “cloud” computing. Picks for this podcast include a new report on teenagers and videogames, a new version of Linux for the masses, and a program to help you focus on the Mac.

Links mentioned on the podcast:
Google Book Search Settlement Agreement
Open Library
Think for the Mac
Microsoft Azure
Pew report on teens and videogames

Running time: 49:29
Download the . mp3

15 Minutes a Day: Which of your Twitter Friends Know Each Other?

Use TweetWheel to find out which of your Twitter friends know each other. Enter your Twitter username and a wheel of your users will appear. Hover on a user to see how many friends they have in common and click on their name to view their Twitter profile.

Curious?  Try looking at Leo LaPorte’s circle of friends.  Hint: it’s bigger than mine.

Maker of EndNote Citation Software Sues George Mason U.

Chronicle of Higher Education/The Wired Campus blog
September 29, 2008

Thomson Reuters Inc. sued George Mason University in a Virginia court this month, arguing that a free software tool made by the university makes improper use of the company’s EndNote citation software.

The company’s complaint argues that programmers at George Mason’s Center for History and New Media reverse-engineered EndNote to create a free program called Zotero. The university’s free software is a plug-in for the Firefox Web browser, and it is designed to help scholars store and organize their online research. It has been downloaded more than 1 million times.

Thomson Reuters argues that the latest release of George Mason’s software, which can import files created by EndNote and turn them into files that can be used and shared online using Zotero, “is willfully and intentionally destroying Thomson’s customer base for the EndNote software.” The company seeks $10-million in damages for each year the university has offered the software and to stop the university from distributing versions of Zotero that can convert EndNote files.

The Web site for Zotero boasts that the software “includes the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote) — the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references — and the best parts of modern software and Web applications (like iTunes and del.icio.us).”

Dan Cohen, director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing advice from his lawyer. Officials from Thomson Reuters also declined to comment. —Jeffrey R. Young

Posted on Monday September 29, 2008 | Permalink |

A Sociologist Says Students Aren’t So Web-Wise After All

The Wired Campus

April 29, 2008

Eszter Hargittai, an assistant professor in Northwestern University’s sociology department, has discovered that students aren’t nearly as Web-savvy as they, or their elders, assume.

Ms. Hargittai studies the technological fluency of college freshmen. She found that they lack a basic understanding of such terms as BCC (blind copy on e-mail), podcasting, and phishing. This spring she will start a national poster-and-video contest to promote Web-related skills.

Q. Why do people think young people are so Web-wise?

A. I think the assumption is that if it was available from a young age for them, then they can use it better. Also, the people who tend to comment about technology use tend to be either academics or journalists or techies, and these three groups tend to understand some of these new developments better than the average person. Ask your average 18-year-old: Does he know what RSS means? And he won’t.

Q. What demographic groups are less Web-savvy?

A. Women, students of Hispanic origin, African-American students, and students whose parents have lower levels of education, which is a proxy for socioeconomic status.

Q. What are the practical implications of your research?

A. Students have difficulty evaluating the credibility of information online. Students have been told Wikipedia isn’t reliable, but they haven’t been told why exactly. Most students don’t know that wikis can be edited at that moment. Their eyes just open up wide when they find out.

Q. Are there implications for workplace readiness?

A. There are positive outcomes for those who know how to work and employ tech information, and those who lack information will confront a different situation. In terms of a link with demographic differences, those people who seem to be more savvy are the ones who tend to be in more-privileged positions. There will be an increase in social inequality if this divergence continues this way.

Q. What are the challenges for colleges that hope to better educate students about Web use?

A. How do you fit this into the curriculum? Is it supposed to be an academic department, or through libraries? How can you legitimately stand in front of a classroom when the students have an assumption that they know more about technology than you? At the beginning of my classes, I tell my students, “I know you don’t think I know as much as you because I’m older. I assure you, I know way more than you guys about this.” And they sort of smile, but by the end of the class they realize I’m right. —Catherine Rampell

Posted on Tuesday April 29, 2008 | Permalink |

Blackboard Wins Patent Suit Against Desire2Learn

Posted by kdawson on Monday February 25, @06:58PM
from the that’ll-learn-’em dept.

Patents Education

edremy writes “Blackboard, the dominant learning management system (LMS) maker, has won its initial suit against Desire2Learn. Blackboard gets $3.1 million and can demand that Desire2Learn stop US sales. (We discussed Blackboard when the patent was issued in 2006) This blog provides background on the suit. Blackboard has been granted a patent that covers a single person having multiple roles in an LMS: for example, a TA might be a student in one class and an instructor in another. You wouldn’t think something this obvious could even be patented, but so far it’s been a very effective weapon for Blackboard, badly hurting Desire2Learn and generating a huge amount of worry for the few remaining commercial LMSs that Blackboard has not already bought, and open source solutions such as Moodle (Blackboard’s pledge not to attack such providers notwithstanding).”

15 Minutes a Day: Password Gorilla

A free, open source, cross-platform Password Manager

Now Available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, *BSD, etc.

The Password Gorilla helps you manage your logins. It stores all your user names and passwords, along with login information and other notes, in a securely encrypted file. A single “master password” is used to protect the file. This way, you only need to remember the single master password, instead of the many logins that you use.

For more information visit: http://fpx.de/fp/Software/Gorilla/

Virtual Box

innotek VirtualBox is a very nice virtual machine environment.  It’s mostly limited to Windows (all the way back to DOS) and Unix/Linux, but it’s easy to use and works well (not to mention free).  They say they’re working on Mac support.

This could be a great solution for someone who absolutely must run that Windows 98 (or DOS) application that won’t run under XP.

More about  VirtualBox at: http://www.virtualbox.org/

Wal-Mart’s $200 PC – Sold Out

Wal-Mart’s $200 PC – sold out by ZDNet‘s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes — About two weeks ago, Wal-Mart began selling $200 Linux-based PC. The initial run was around 10,000 units. Now Wal-Mart is sold out. Has Linux now found a niche?

If Wal-Mart’s recently released $200 PC sounds like a potentially great deal but you’re not sure about ditching your current operating system for the inexpensive, Linux-based Ubuntu box, head over to the developer’s web site and download the bootable gOS LiveCD (or rather DVD, at 728MB). The gOS operating system sports an emphasis on web applications, with desktop shortcuts to tons of Google Apps, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other webapps built directly into the desktop.

To download gOS and burn it to CD visit: http://www.thinkgos.com/downloads.html

15 Minutes a Day: Featured Downloads from lifehacker

If your interested in what’s new and happening in software land visit lifehacker’s featured download archives at: http://lifehacker.com/software/featured-download/

Learn about Gimp 2.4’s new features, extend open office, watch high quality television over the Internet, rip DVDs to friendler formats with Handbrake and more!