October 31, 2008, 03:56 PM ET
A law professor at Harvard University has filed a counterclaim against the Recording Industry Association of America, arguing that a statute it is using to sue Joel Tenenbaum, a student at Boston University, is unconstitutional, Computerworld reports.
The RIAA had sued Mr. Tenenbaum for violating the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 — by allegedly copying and distributing copyrighted songs. But according to the law professor, Charles Nesson, that criminal statute cannot be applied to a civil case in federal court.
Mr. Nesson is challenging both the RIAA’s use of the law and the law itself. It gives the RIAA prosecutorial authority and “unbridled discretion” to sue millions of people, he argues, according to Computerworld.
This challenge to the RIAA, the magazine says, is broader than many recent ones that focus on the group’s means...Read More
October 31, 2008, 12:51 PM ET
The University of Minnesota topped the world record for single-day flu shot vaccinations on Tuesday, and it may have the popularity of Facebook and YouTube to thank for giving its effort a little extra push.
In all, 11,538 shots were administered, surpassing the Guinness world record of 3,271 set in 2006 by a Florida hospital. Just before taking its poke at the world record, the university sent out an invite to students on Facebook and posted a low-budget advertisement for the event on YouTube.
In the short video, the university’s mascot, Goldy Gopher, wildly hunts down students and forces a giant toy syringe into their arms. “Don’t make Goldy chase you down to get your flu shot,” the video’s narrator says. The simple ad has been viewed more than 6,000 times since it was posted on October 23.
The university also received 2...Read More
October 31, 2008, 08:23 AM ET
Orlando, Fla. — This year’s Educause conference was as big as ever, despite a bad economy that is starting to impact travel budgets. The organization, which focuses on higher-education, drew more than 7,300 people to its annual meeting, but the sluggish economy was evident in the exhibit hall — many technology companies that usually tout their coolest new gadgets here instead focused their pitches on how their products could save colleges money.
The cost-cutting theme also emerged in several sessions. (This year Educause made video from select sessions available live, and then archived the videos immediately afterward, so you can see the best talks for yourself.)Read More
October 30, 2008, 03:05 PM ET
Orlando, Fla. — Cloud computing is very much in the air here at the Educause educational-technology meeting. Everyone is talking about the benefits of using software kept someplace on the Web, rather than on your desktop.
Everyone, that is, but Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s general manager for U.S. public-sector education. “We want people to have the best of both worlds,” he said over lunch here. “Flexibility is key. We want scientists to be able to start a Word document in a shared workspace with colleagues in a cloud, and then get on an airplane, where they don’t have access to the Web, and finish it on a laptop.”
So Microsoft is offering extensions of its Office suite to do just that. The company has also created a cloud-based program called Live Mesh. With the free service, people can synchronize files on a Web site with those on their PCs’ desktops, their Macs, their iPhone...Read More
October 30, 2008, 02:36 PM ET
The University of California at San Diego and the University of British Columbia are starting to work together on “green cyberinfrastructure” — computing techniques that will improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The two institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding that says they will work together on green-IT issues.
Doug Ramsey, communications director for the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, or CALIT2, says the universities are also hammering out an agreement on how to share money to support green-IT research.
Green IT is becoming a hot topic, and San Diego has shown some leadership on the issue with the opening of a new supercomputer center that is designed to save energy. Research in...Read More
October 30, 2008, 09:47 AM ET
Earlier this year scholars at the University of Richmond unveiled an innovative Web site that displays county-by-county election data from U.S. presidential elections since 1840. Now their project’s been Googled.
In an effort to get more exposure for their data just in time for election day, the university’s Digital Scholarship Lab spent the past few months working with Google engineers to embed the data into Google Maps and Google Earth. The results are now part of Google’s election Web site.
In a statement released today, Rick Klau, a manager on Google’s Elections team said, the company hoped other universities would use the Google...Read More
October 29, 2008, 03:49 PM ET
No presidential candidate has yet courted the robot vote, but a six-foot-tall humanoid with a square head, flashing eyes, and a Barack Obama T-shirt is campaigning this week at the University of Florida.
Three engineering students — Camilo Buscaron, a sophomore; Bryan Hood, a junior; and Andres Vargas, a graduate student — built ObamaBot in two weeks with spare parts and $250 of their own money, according to The Independent Florida Alligator, the university’s campus newspaper.
The robot is operated by remote control. It stands on a Segway-style powered wheelbase and can rotate 360 degrees, as well as wave its arms (and the campaign signs attached to them).
“We’re trying to get people aware of the early voting and get people to vote who wouldn’t have voted otherwise,” Mr. Hood told the Alligator. “We all know that robots represent change and the future.”
October 29, 2008, 02:55 PM ET
The president of the University of Missouri system is donating $1-million to help finance a project to link students, professors, and administrators at the university’s four campuses by creating virtual conference rooms, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The president, Gary Forsee, and his wife donated half of the $2-million needed to install the new high-definition Cisco TelePresence system, which officials expect will save time and money by reducing the number of trips taken between campuses. Mr. Forsee, a former chief executive of Sprint Nextel, became the system’s president last February. —David DeBolt
October 29, 2008, 01:47 PM ET
Washington — Last night the founder of JuicyCampus.com, Matt Ivester, gave a talk at Georgetown University and fielded questions from students who are critical of the site. Students around the country have lambasted the site, saying the anonymous forum is full of personal attacks, false and malicious statements, and hate speech.
It was the first time Mr. Ivester had agreed to speak on a campus, and he said in an interview before his talk that he knew he would face an angry and critical crowd.
He was right. More than 100 students showed up, and just about every question was hostile. At first Mr. Ivester only responded to questions that had been written down in advance by students and that were read aloud, but near the end of the evening he agreed to let students approach a microphone to ask their questions...Read More
October 29, 2008, 12:41 PM ET
Colleges that want to fight piracy without resorting to draconian peer-to-peer clampdowns might be intrigued by an Ars Technica report about a new project that aims to turn illegal downloaders into legitimate consumers.
But there’s no way to know yet whether Brilliant Digital Entertainment — a venture started by an Australian music-industry official and a former employee of KaZaA — will have a hit or a flop on its hands. Here’s how the service, called the GlobalFileRegistry, is supposed to work: It intercepts illegal attempts to download music, movies, and software, and then redirects would-be pirates to online stores that sell the same content. If all goes as planned, writes Ars Technica, “the new customer has legal software, piracy has been averted, and everyone goes home happy.”
But there are a couple of potential sticking points, as the Web site goes on to point out. For starters, the...Read More