Thursday, October 30, 2008

Office 2007 Ultimate

When Microsoft does something stupid, I am not afraid to call them out on it.

However, they've done something really really good at the moment, especially as far as the students of PCCC are concerned. Microsoft is making the Ultimate version of their Office 2007 software - which includes not only Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but also Publisher, Outlook, Access, and a few others - available at a low price.

The retail price is around $600 - and for students at schools including ours, the price is $59.95, for a legal, full copy of Office 2007. Compare this to the Student and Home edition of Office 2007, which only has Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and goes for $150 retail.

The site linked below does not list how long this offer is good for, but if you were considering buying a copy of Office 2007, here is the best (legal) deal you will ever find.

Web Link:
    (Note that even though this is not at, it redirects immediately to a Microsoft Web site - and I did get a letter directly from Microsoft about this, so I trust it)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spring 2009 Registration. Really.

Spring 2009 registration begins Monday November 3rd, believe it or not!

(Edit: The dates were wrong on the Web site - the correct dates were initially listed as 10/29, but they meant 11/3).

Basically, here's the deal. If you have 24 or more college credits completed, you can use the Web based registration starting 11/3. If you are not in that group, you can start doing in person registration starting next Monday, November 10th.

Either way, even if you do the registration yourself, you should start by seeing a faculty advisor in your major. The Center for Student Success (and the Wanaque main office staff) are generalists - they know a bit about every major - but only faculty in the major can tell you specifically what courses are offered during what semesters, or what courses transfer to what colleges and universities.

Once you've declared a major, you should be seeing someone in your major before you register for advising purposes.

For Information Technology and Computer Science majors, this means you can see any full time faculty member - myself or Professors Atshan, Bamkole, Siegel, or Yip. For other majors, you should see someone in that major. Bring a copy of your degree audit (you can get this in the portal under "WebAdvisor").

I always think that it is better to register early, so you get the schedule you want. Plus, even if you register tomorrow, you don't have to worry about payment until the beginning of next semester.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crazy Email Hoaxes

We get them all the time. Our friends or coworkers think it is a great idea to forward something - something that makes them angry, or makes them laugh, or something.

OMGWTF They are raising kittens in bottles like bonzai trees!!!! (Not really)

Bill Gates wants to give you money! (No, he doesn't). This little girl is lost! (no, this was resolved four years ago). Help me get money out of Nigeria! (No, this doesn't work).

These things invade our email boxes all the time. If I get an email that I really think is true, I always run it through a quick Web check. One site that does this very well is Snopes - the Urban Legends Reference Pages. This site has been around in some form or another since 1995, and is very reliable when it comes to anything you might think is, well, crap. For example:

Some recent examples of Web crap that I've heard include a false list of books Sarah Palin banned in her hometown of Alaska, a false claim about all of Barack Obama's funding coming fromMiddle Eastern nations, and other such things. It is election season, after all! Snopes is a great read, just for laughs, and also a great reference.

Web Links:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In Memory of Jessica Gelok

In the Fall 2004, I taught the College Experience course at our Wanaque campus. As usual, I also taught a CIS 101 course. Due to the meeting times of these classes, I had a few students that took both courses.

The College Experience class gave me a chance to get to know students a little better than the CIS 101 course does. I remember the first day having students introduce themselves, and I remember one woman who was a Human Services major. I was a little surprised, because many students at the Wanaque campus don't want to go in to Paterson to take courses, and in the case of Human Services majors, end up simply doing a Humanities major in preparation for transfer. I also remember that she was a little older than some of the other students - she wasn't right out of high school - and that showed in her work ethic in both classes.

Some students keep in touch, and others don't, and that's life, but many of the names remain with me. I was talking with a colleague yesterday, and he had the paper. I noticed the name Jessica Gelok somehow, and stopped him. The article stated that Jessica had died after being struck by a car on Route 23.

Twenty six is too young to die.

RIP Jessica

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Windows Home Server Trial

For those of you who are a little more experienced, Microsoft is giving out a free 120 day trial of their "Windows Home Server" product. This is a newer product geared towards home users with more than one PC in the home. This product was originally released in late 2007. It's an interesting idea, bringing the idea of a computer server in to people's homes. It may not take off for a few years, but it's certainly a forward thinking idea.

Web link:

Thanks to Saul for the link!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fat Fingers

When people post to Ebay, there are often times when they make a spelling mistake in the title. This is a way to find yourself some bargains. For example, if you search for Nitendo (instead of Nintendo) on Ebay, you will find a ton of results currently for people who misspelled these item titles. If I were looking for Nintedo DS games, for example, I'd find things at a much better price if there were less bidders, and if there is a typo, there will be less bidders.

There is a Web site called Fat Fingers (typos can sometimes be called "fat finger problems") that will search Ebay for typos and return a set of results with typos in the same. The net result should be a set of bargain auctions. If you're looking for something, it can't hurt to try!

Web Link:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day 2008. It's basically a coordinated effort by 10,000 blogs around the world to all discuss an issue and raise awareness of it. This year, the blogs are uniting to put a spotlight on world poverty. At first, I thought that this is a little outside of the scope of things I usually discuss.

However, I thought about it a little bit and I realize that it really is within my scope in many ways. I am blogging from the "have" side of the digital divide. The digital divide is basically the idea that the world is divided in to two groups - those who have technology and the ability to use it, and those who do not. My students and anyone reading are reading from the "have" side as well. Even if you don't have technology like computers in your home, you have access in other places - school, libraries, even while visiting friends.

We're incredibly fortunate. Many of us have cell phones (and most of my students remember to switch them off during class, so thank you all for that!). Some of us have iPods or other portable media player devices. Some of you have global positioning systems (GPS), so you don't even have to worry about getting lost when you're on the road. Even if you don't have that, we now have Google Maps or Mapquest or any of the other mapping Web sites that make this available.

I think we take these things for granted when there are places all over the world where people don't have these things.

Poverty, hunger, the digital divide...all sorts of things that most of us are on the good side of at this point. We've got roofs over our heads, food in our stomachs, and Internet available all over.

Speaking of hunger - there is a site sponsored by many different companies - if you visit the site and simply click on a button, well, at the end of the day, the number of clicks leads to food being given to the hungry and poor in the world. This site is 100% legitimate, and if you want to do more, any purchases you make through the site lead to more food being given to the hungry.

I guess the purpose of Blog Action Day was for not only the readers of the 10,000+ blogs who signed up, but also the authors.

Web Link:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall 2008 Transfer Events

Are you planning on transferring? If so, it can't hurt to go and talk to some representatives from the four year colleges. Even if you are not graduating this semester, you can ask them questions and get advice from them about how to prepare for their college or university.

Edit: There are Wanaque events, but they aren't listed on this announcement. Keep your eyes open for flyers, I guess.

The information sessions don't require any advance sign-up, so if you're interested, just show up and ask all the questions you have - after all, the four year schools are competing for you at this point!

There are also "immediate decision" days, which require advance signup - but the schools will tell you on the spot if you're accepted.

Web Link

Friday, October 10, 2008

Google's Best Logos

Google recently turned 10 years old. They even have a Web site for it! No word on whether they had clowns and balloons and a big ice cream cake.

Anyway, you may have noticed that Google will change their logo, based on certain holidays and other events. The Daily News recently sifted through the archives and picked out what they considered some of the best logos in Google history. There are some really clever ones in there, and I have to give Google credit for constant creativity.

I still can't believe that we've only known the word "Google" for 10 years.

Web Links:
Thanks to Sue for the heads up!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Wayback Machine

Did you know that used to be a Web based storage company? Much like some of the other companies like, it was a site that would allow you to have an online backup of your files. I know this because I actually used it back around 2001 or so.

What's very interesting (and educational, for a Web developer) is to look back and see how the design of Web sites and pages has changed over time. The Internet archive tool on - also called "The Wayback Machine" (a nod to the WABAC machine on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show) - has archived and continues to archive millions of Web sites. Want to see what looked like in 2001? Just search. It goes all the way back to 1996.

The part that is a little scary is that even if you deleted something off the Web, if they archived it, it may still be out there.

It's kind of sad to look back at my old Internet startup company's page and see how they get kind of desperate towards the end - it was apparent even on the Web site.

Web Links:

Monday, October 06, 2008

How to turn the tables on human resources

What you have on your Myspace or Facebook, someone can find easily.

Try this. Log out totally, search for your name. See what information you can see about yourself.

This information can be used in electronic warfare, as David Csuha discussed recently in his Security Sense blog, but also can be used in scenarios such as job hires, and often is! According to recent estimates, 20% of companies use social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook as part of the hiring process.

For example, put forth a cover letter saying how responsible you are, and a company may check up on you - Googling your full name in quotes may lead to pictures of you falling down drunk because someone tagged a picture with your full name on Facebook.

If you are job seeking and this is your Myspace picture, change it.

What happens if interviewers search Myspace - will they find a public blog you wrote saying "hey, I'm at work and it sucks here, but it's nice to be paid to hang out on Myspace instead of working"?

What sort of comments are your friends leaving you, and what do those things say about you?

Here are some examples of what can happen:
What's interesting is that you could even turn it in to a POSITIVE. If your Myspace or Facebook are well written, and you have a blog that details that you are really hopeful that your interview with company X goes well, and that you are excited about getting a chance to work with that company, it might be a good idea.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Identity Theft Made Easy on Limewire

Are you using Limewire or Ares or any of these file sharing networks?

Did you just click on "Yes" when it asked if you wanted to share everything?

Do you have a file on your hard drive with account numbers, school applications with your social security number, or a list of user names and passwords?

Ahem. That's not good.

David Csuha, a friend and one of the CIS department's part-time faculty, has an excellent "Security Sense" blog up, and he recently did a screen capture of what he found with no real effort on Limewire. It's great to see, at least, it's not only Americans that are lax about security - notice the address on the first file that is opened. If David can do this with the best intentions in mind, what can someone who wants to steal identities do?

(Answer: A LOT)

Oh, and this isn't hacking. This is the same thing as someone leaving a copy of your social security card on the copier for anyone to take. This is another example (like the Sarah Palin email situation) of how sometimes, no hacking tools are required to steal the most valuable thing you have - your identity and reputation.

Web Links: