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December 6, 2010
Mark Zuckerberg et al. seem to find endless joy in making us learn a new user interface (UI). It is once again time for a major Facebook UI update. This time it's profile pages that have received a major overhaul. My first impression: I like it. Unlike previous UI changes that were overwhelming shocking in their approach, this redesign feels right.
December 6, 2010
Classes are over, so I’m breathing a sigh of relief, right? Well, in a word, no. Now we hold all the meetings that could wait until the end of the semester. Now we clean up the mess in the office made by being too busy to do so all semester. Now we grade. Now we get sick (not on my to-do list, but my son spent two days at home last week with a nasty cold, and I fear it may not be far off for me, either). Now people call with questions that have been answered three times already, but not recently. Now it’s time to send out reminders for next semester.
December 6, 2010
Last week Cornell University's Office of the Dean of Students and Cornell Information Technologies hosted a forum to discuss technology and student life. Below is a slightly edited version of my contribution.At the end of the last forum, as we sat around with each other at the tables, one of the students looked over at me and said, "I finally figured out who you are, you are the DMCA lady!"
December 6, 2010
A lot of ink has already been spilled over the recent French report from the Montaigne Institute “Gone for good? “ that addresses the issue of the French academic expatriation towards the US. Although press articles are generally more nuanced, most of the titles chosen to cover the report are quite catastrophic. A few examples include a headline in the newspaper, L’Expansion, “How France let its brains leave.” Le Monde announced that “The best researchers always choose the United States” and Le Figaro joined with “French brains prefer the United States”.
December 5, 2010
Six billion for Groupon from Google would have been a stupid number. A stupid deal. Google got lucky that Groupon is so greedy. The fact that Google was willing to pay so much money for Groupon is seriously concerning. I have hopes that Google will use its stock wealth to do smart things. I have hopes that Google will avoid an eBay like purchase of Skype - but maybe I'm wrong.
December 5, 2010
My college is planning a major student survey for the Spring. We’re drawing up questions that we think could help shape budget priorities over the next few years, assuming there’s actually enough money to have some level of discretion. (That’s far from certain.) We’ve got several of the usual questions: have they seen their academic advisor, how often do they use the library, etc. I suggested one asking whether they have internet access at home, so we could get a sense of the degree to which more open computer labs might help.
December 5, 2010
During October, November and December each year I tend to serve stuffed pumpkin four or five times. That means I end up with quite a few pumpkin seeds.Now, pumpkin seeds -- salted and roasted -- have always been a favorite snack. When I was a kid, I looked forward to eating the seeds even more than I did to eating my Halloween candy. Of course, when I was a little kid, I didn't have to separate and wash those seeds, I just had to eat them.
December 5, 2010
I am not in a position to gauge whether Cathleen P. Black should or should not be granted a waiver from the normal credential required by NY State law in order to serve as New York City Schools Chancellor. That responsibility lies with New York Commissioner of Education. If she is qualified, she should receive the waiver. If she is not qualified, the waiver should not be granted. And yet, the actual conclusion regarding the granting of a waiver is neither the first alternative stated above nor the second.
December 5, 2010
For several years during my early 20’s, I kept a journal that I called the “Read Me Journal.” There are three volumes, all written in floral hardbound notebooks, with the words “Read Me” scrawled across the front in black nail polish. They are all fat and include various newspaper and magazine clippings, drawings and a few dashes of perfume to supplement the handwritten account of my life. Each has a detailed table of contents, written in A.A. Milne style, beginning with the words “In which…” They also include handwritten comments from my friends on whatever I had written.
December 5, 2010
When I was growing up, a vacation meant two weeks in Florida visiting my grandparents. Delray Beach, with its palm trees, warm beaches in midwinter, poolside restaurants and hibiscus hedges, seemed like another planet to this suburban NY kid. Most of my friends also visited relatives over school breaks; some of the more affluent went skiing in Vermont or Colorado, or on a Caribbean cruise. Only occasionally did we hear about someone going to Europe or Israel. Africa and Asia really were like other planets, as far as we were concerned.

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