Skip to main content

Preparing for 2011-12

I'm preparing for the 2011-12 school year, which this year means learning new software systems, university philosophies, and everything that goes along with any new job in today's connected world. I hadn't really thought about the comparisons until this month, but I am noticing how my issues at work aren't that different from those of my wife at her office.

Group scheduling and management software varies from okay to horrible. I've used several different "groupware" platforms. The new employer uses Novell GroupWise — at least until school starts. Right before school starts the university will be switching to another platform. Not the best of timing, but that's reality in any organization.

The university is also migrating to new learning management software, new Web servers, and a new collaboration platform. What could go wrong?

It's strange how dependent we've become on our networks. My wife and I have struggled with synchronizing calendars between several computers, PDAs, and phones. That's the new normal, apparently.

My wife's employer uses Lotus Notes, an Oracle management system, and a content management system, among other applications that help employees share and plan collaboratively. Of course, there are glitches. Sadly, we accept the problems in every setting because that's the nature of software — at least as we have come to expect it.

I'm not comfortable with shared data; I like my data on my computer. Sharing used to mean sending data on an as-needed basis to people, but now everything seems to be out there on a server somewhere. That means things can go wrong and probably will.

I'm sure the university will transfer data (at least most of it) successfully to new platforms. There will be problems, not the least of which will be training the employees on the new platforms.

It is easy to forget that what we experience on campus is exactly what employees everywhere experience.

I love technology, but it is complex. That's true on campus and everywhere else.


Popular posts from this blog

Slowly Rebooting in 286 Mode

The lumbar radiculopathy, which sounds too much like "ridiculously" for me, hasn't faded completely. My left leg still cramps, tingles, and hurts with sharp pains. My mind remains cloudy, too, even as I stop taking painkillers for the back pain and a recent surgery.

Efforts to reboot and get back on track intellectually, physically, and emotionally are off to a slow, grinding start. It reminds me of an old 80286 PC, the infamously confused Intel CPU that wasn't sure what it was meant to be. And this was before the "SX" fiascos, which wedded 32-bit CPU cores with 16-bit connections. The 80286 was supposed to be able to multitask, but design flaws resulted in a first-generation that was useless to operating system vendors.

My back, my knees, my ankles are each making noises like those old computers.

If I haven't already lost you as a reader, the basic problem is that my mind cannot focus on one task for long without exhaustion and multitasking seems…

MarsEdit and Blogging

MarsEdit (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Mailing posts to blogs, a practice I adopted in 2005, allows a blogger like me to store copies of draft posts within email. If Blogger, WordPress, or the blogging platform of the moment crashes or for some other reason eats my posts, at least I have the original drafts of most entries. I find having such a nicely organized archive convenient — much easier than remembering to archive posts from Blogger or WordPress to my computer.

With this post, I am testing MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software based on recent reviews, including an overview on 9to5Mac.

Composing posts an email offers a fast way to prepare draft blogs, but the email does not always work well if you want to include basic formatting, images, and links to online resources. Submitting to Blogger via Apple Mail often produced complex HTML with unnecessary font and paragraph formatting styles. Problems with rich text led me to convert blog entries to plaintext in Apple Mail and then format th…

Screenwriting Applications

Screenplay sample, showing dialogue and action descriptions. "O.S."=off screen. Written in Final Draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A lot of students and aspiring writers ask me if you "must" use Final Draft or Screenwriter to write a screenplay. No. Absolutely not, unless you are working on a production. In which case, they own or your earn enough for Final Draft or Screenwriter and whatever budget/scheduling apps the production team uses.

I have to say, after trying WriterDuet I would use it in a heartbeat for a small production company and definitely for any non-profit, educational projects. No question. The only reason not to use it is that you must have the exclusive rights to a script... and I don't have those in my work.

WriterDuet is probably best free or low-cost option I have tested. It is very interesting. Blows away Celtx. The Pro version with off-line editing is cheaper than Final Draft or Screenwriter.

The Pro edition is a standalone, offline versio…