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Showing posts from June, 2012

Change, Not for the Better

There are colleges and universities moving towards 120-semester-unit bachelor's degrees, down from 132 or more in many cases. Others are seeking ways to offer "accelerated" degrees in three years instead of four. Of course, the not-so-secret truth is that many students take much longer than four years to graduate as it is — for a variety of reasons.

Nationally, the four-year graduation rate from our state and regional public universities is 31 percent, according to Jeff Selingo, editorial director for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Private universities graduate a slight majority of their undergraduates, 53 percent, "on schedule" based on their degree plans.

Consider the following example, which is representative of graduation at state institutions nationally:
June 11, 2012. — Middle Tennessee State University is making efforts to increase its graduation rate, but still just over half its students are completing college within six years.

According to the T…

Data Ghosts of Hardware Past

8-inch floppy disk drive compared in size to 3.5" floppy disk of 1984 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Visalia Direct: Virtual Valley
June 4, 2012 Deadline
July 2012 Issue

Data Ghosts of Hardware Past

Iomega Zip disks were, depending on your experiences with them, the greatest idea of their time or one of the worst digital storage media ever sold. The Zip disks I own were purchased between 1995 and 2002; until recently, I was unsure why I kept them.

As this summer began and I was preparing to teach summer school, my wife stumbled upon a printed version of my website from 1996. There were several pages of text on the topics I would be discussing in class. My wife offered to scan the pages, which was a better option than retyping the content.

Then, I remembered we had an old Zip 250 drive and stacks of disks stored in a cardboard box. As readers of this column know, I encourage everyone to make weekly, monthly, and annual backups of their data. I’ve migrated data from one medium to the ne…