Sat, 26 May 2007
Introduction: In this podcast we take a look at some of our recent blog content.
Gordon: Mike, you recently published a blog titled Web 2.0: RSS Explained. You did not actually describe RSS but referenced some online content that is just excellent. Can you fill us in?
Here's a link to a great video created by CommonCraft - a consulting company focused on helping companies and organizations integrate online communities into their businesses.
All organizations would be wise to adopt CommonCraft's core belief:
"that, in the future, organizations will rely on their community of customers to remain competitive".
Amazon, YouTube and digg are great examples of businesses that not only value their community of users, but have built a business model around that community.
In just under four minutes, the video provides a simple, easy to understand explanation of RSS - a technology that I and many other have become dependent on to get our news and information. The video also uses a a really clever presentation method - yet another alternative to the overused powerpoint slideshow.
Mike: Gordon, you wrote an interesting blog on Proximity Marketing and the use of Bluetooth devices. Can you fill us in?
Gordon: Most of us have a pretty good idea of what Bluetooth is but before I talk about proximity marketing maybe you could give us a quick primer on Bluetooth.
Wikipedia defines it as follows:
"Bluetooth is an industrial specification for wireless personal area networks (PANs). Bluetooth provides a way to connect and exchange information between devices such as mobile phones, laptops, PCs, printers, digital cameras, and video game consoles over a secure, globally unlicensed short-range radio frequency. The Bluetooth specifications are developed and licensed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group".
"Bluetooth is a radio standard and communications protocol primarily designed for low power consumption, with a short range (power-class-dependent: 1 meter, 10 meters, 100 meters) based on low-cost transceiver microchips in each device".
"Bluetooth lets these devices communicate with each other when they are in range. The devices use a radio communications system, so they do not have to be in line of sight of each other, and can even be in other rooms, as long as the received transmission is powerful enough".
Simply put - short range, two-way and, up to this point for most of us in the United States, personal device to personal device communications. Many of us have Bluetooth capable cell phones and are using wireless earpieces for talking while driving or with our hands full. Most laptop PC's come with Bluetooth now and allow wireless attachment and sync with cell phones and other devices.
Mike: Gordon, how is this technology being used in Proximity Marketing?
In other parts of the world it's been a little different. Companies like BlooZone, are using Bluetooth applications to provide "location aware services" such as proximity marketing. BlueBlitz is another good example of one company that is developing some interesting Bluetooth applications. Here's a piece from their website:
"With MagicBeamer you can transfer any information or advertisment to a mobile phone or PDA. It's even possible to sell products or create prize games! And all that 24/7, all year long and through walls and shopping windows".
"The transfer of the data is done with Bluetooth(TM) technology. Your advantage: no transfer fees of any kind! It doesn't matter, whether you reach 100 or 100.000 customers. No matter what information you offer for download, the transmission is always free".
So what you may say - no big deal - it's like sending a text message. Well sort of - some of the content may be that simple however, the key word for the retailer is free! Think in terms of a retailer in a mall and let's say this retailer has purchased one of these Magic Beamers and placed an ad on it. Everyone that comes within range with Bluetooth enabled on their phone, PDA, laptop, etc and with the device in "discoverable" mode will get a message asking if they want to receive an ad from the retailer. Everyone! The retailer does not need to know email addresses or phone numbers - the customer just has to be in range with Bluetooth in discoverable mode. And..... it does not cost a penny in transfer/data fees.
Mike: Gordon, you recently blogged about something called Road Apples. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
I had an interesting experience while traveling a couple of weeks ago. I was in DC for the day and walking through Regan National Airport to catch my flight back home. I have a tendency to look down at the ground when I'm walking - as a result I find a lot of stuff (sometimes even money!) Well, I found what looked like a brand new 1G USB thumb drive. I scooped it up, went to my gate and, not really thinking twice, turned on my notebook and popped the thumb drive in my machine. I caught myself and said wait a minute, pulled it out and ended up tossing it into a trashcan.
On the flight back I got thinking about how careless I had been. I realized I could have picked up a Road Apple and am a little upset I tossed it because it would have been interesting to take a closer look. Here's how Wikipedia defines Road Apples:
"A road apple is a real-world variation of a Trojan Horse that uses physical media and relies on the curiosity of the victim. The attacker leaves a malware infected floppy disc, CD ROM or USB key in a location sure to be found (bathroom, elevator, sidewalk), gives it a legitimate looking and curiosity piquing label - and simply waits.
Example: Get corporate logo off target's web site, make a disk label using logo and write "Executive Salary Summary Q1 2007" on the front."
Let's think about this a minute. Was it a plant? It could have been. Here's my logic - I'm in Regan National Airport in DC - this is the quickest airport to get in and out of and is frequented by Congressmen, Senators, staffers, etc. I've run into my Congressman Richie Neal on a few occasions at National - they all use this airport.
A quick search on Amazon indicates I can buy 1G thumb drives for under $10 each and you can get through airport security with thumb drives without a problem - I think I've got 5 or 6 in my bag almost all of the time. Let's say a "social engineer" wants to do a little social engineering and decides to setup a bunch of drives with some malware that does something malicious. This person walks around and drops a drive on the floor every once in a while. For airport access these people would not even have to get through security which requires a ticket purchase - they could just scatter them around the baggage area.
Now let's say a staffer picks one of these drives up or a contractor, etc - someone with access to secure government networks. They pick the thumb drive up, bring it to work and plug it into their work computer. Or maybe they plug the thing into their laptop with classified information on it when they get home. Doing so they may have bypassed millions of dollars of perimeter security, firewalls, etc and provided malicious people with content, access, control, etc, etc.
We've all heard the stories about laptops being stolen with identification databases on them. Using a method like this computers don't have to be stolen any more. Transfer this same scenario to downtown Manhattan on a beautiful spring day like today or London or Tokyo.....
I low-level formatted the drive and then wrote back a bit image I had as backup. I wish I had saved that thumb drive....
Gordon: Mike you have some quick updates you wanted to share with us:
May 18th: FCC approves iphone - asked to hold pics and manual fro 45 days
May 16th: Tech blog Engadget posted a rumor on iphone Mac os x - apple stock price drops, many sell short, 4 bill market value drop
iphone release delayed from June until October and leopard OS from October until next year
iPhone and Apple's Leopard OS is on schedule for a June and October release respectively
May 13th - AT&T Wireless CEO Stan Sigman gives iphone to president of West Texas A&M University at commencement - Sigman is a 1970 WTAMU graduate
March at CTIA - AT&T Chief Operations Officer Randall Stephenson showed off an iphone during his keynote speech
Joost friends and family - lots of invites!
Google universal search - includes YouTube results - puts yahoo and Microsoft further behind
Gmail - PowerPoint integration begins to roll out
Thu, 24 May 2007
Short introduction: Today we’re here with Kim Grady. Kim is the
Founding Director and PI for the NetWorks, an NSF online digital
resource center. MATEC NETWORKS is one of 3 ATE manufacturing and engineering technology centers that offer a collection of resources
online. NETEC, MERC Online, are the other centers. MATEC NETWORKS is part of MATEC and located in Tempe, Arizona.
Gordon: Kim, what exactly is a digital library?
Well, our digital library is a convenient and easy way to locate
valuable resources for teaching and learning. It's also a way to
share self-created and favorite classroom ready resources.
Mike: Why another digital library, what is the need and mission and
Believe me, being an advocate of not reinventing the wheel, I asked
myself that question many times. What I have come to realize is that
NetWorks and the other online resource centers that are part of the
NSF ATE program are working together to "Beat Google." We are
aggregators of resources in our technology areas. Not only that we
have criteria for the resources that make it into our collections.
How many times have you been disappointed in search results on the
WWW? Either there is just too many to sift through or they are not
the quality or type that you need. With NetWorks you get the
resources you need for instruction. That's why we think we can be a
Gordon: What types of material do you collect?
Well, we focus on material in the Semiconductors, Automated
Manufacturing, and Electronics technology area so you will see
resources that relate to the science of semiconductor processing,
instrumentation and controllers used in automation environments, and
tons of electronics and electricity resources. You heard me use the
term, classroom ready earlier. Classroom ready means it is easily
implementable into a class or training room. You won't find a lot of
research papers for example on our site. We search for and create
material that can be used in an engaging presentation, a lab write
up, or a student activity. We also believe that material that help
faculty learn fits our definition of classroom ready so you will also
see things like reports on emerging technology and tutorials on hot
topics such as rapid prototyping.
Mike: How do you build your collection, what programs do you have in
place and what results have you seen so far?
Our NetWork and relationships, NetWorks staff of industry and
marketing professionals seek out resources using tools of their trade.
Our National Externship Program allows faculty to gain knowledge and
skills in emerging technology areas that can be brought back in to
the classroom and disseminated through NetWorks. To learn more about
the National Externship Program, log on to matecnetworks.org
Thu, 24 May 2007
Introduction: Mike Lesiecki is the Founding Director and PI for the
MATEC ( http://matec.org ), an NSF national center. With its partners in education and industry, MATEC develops programs, materials, and training that enables students, faculty, and technicians to continuously master the evolving competencies in science, mathematics, technology, and communications required by the workforce of the semiconductor, automated manufacturing, and electronics industries. MATEC is located in Tempe, Arizona.
Mike Q: Mike, what is the history of MATEC and how has it evolved over the course of its funding?
MATEC was established in 1996 as the 7th ATE center (today there are 33.) The center is a member of the division of academic affairs at
the college. Initially founded in close collaboration with the semiconductor
manufacturing industry the center made a strategic decision to expand
to electronics and highly automated manufacturing to better serve its
Today MATEC is an umbrella organization with distinct strategies to
develop relevant materials, provide faculty professional development
and to encourage awareness for high tech fields
The center houses the MATEC national resource center called
MATEC Networks as well as projects in highly automated
manufacturing and electronics funded by the NSF. Industry sponsors a
unique career awareness program called high tech U that is produced
by the center. The SAME-TEC national conference will be held for
the 11th year this summer in Dallas.
As you can see the center has evolved fro m a single focus to a
multiple project, multiple funding source model all designed to
support technical education at the community college level
First 10 years to develop material, next 4 years after that to disseminate
material, what has he done to make sure MATEC was successful in both of those endeavors.
First and foremost was the use of industry subject matter experts
coupled with our own instructional design and media people this
Just building the materials and electronic delivery system does not
mean people will come.
o We sponsored workshops and conferences for professional
development and we stressed incorporation of our materials into
o Our delivery system was web based from the beginning and
Networks, our resource center, now is designed for access to these
resources as well as national resources to help faculty find what they
need in a one stop fashion.
We seek strategic linkages with industry through SEMI, SIA, TPIC
and partners such as Intel and TI
Gordon: What are the products and services that make up the MATEC
We have adopted a modular approach and our core materials comprise
50 semiconductor, 24 electronic and 7 highly automated
Skill standards - Our NRC features these resources and others in a customized experience for faculty that includes unique opportunities for faculty externships.
Industry accesses our materials through a partnership with Semizone
- 10th and 11th graders experience high tech u
- Contracted expertise in curriculum development (SCME)
- Same-tec conference
MATEC's funding sources are wide, from NSF grants to industry projects.
Mike Q: How do all of those fit together to achieve MATEC's vision: to be the worldwide leader in education and industry collaboration, supporting the ongoing development of a highly skilled workforce?
I think the real key is the diversity of funding sources. We do not
depend on any single source. For example the Maricopa colleges fund
about 28% of our operations, grants about 50% and sales of products
and materials plus revenue from conferences and industry specific
projects provides the other 25%. That's the money side.
To support the ongoing development of the workforce it is all about
partnerships. Let me give you examples
o Albany NY
Also for partnership development our Resource center, MATEC
Networks under Kim Grady, has led the formation of a network of
ATE resource centers to help leverage their work and joint efforts.
In the end what does it mean to be a leader in this area? It means to
convene a partnership or to take on an initiative that no one school or
educational institution could do alone. And do this for the benefit of
Gordon: What is the rationale of Maricopa Community College District, a local community college, for supporting a national center in a local
We are very fortunate here, MATEC enjoys one of the highest level
of financial support given to a center by a host college. This is due in
part to the vision of the founding Chancellor and vice Chancellor,
now both retired, who felt a college could and should reach outside its
service boundaries and offer leadership on a national level. Today we
have a new administration and finances are tighter yet the
commitment to MATEC as an exemplary model is still very strong.
There are political questions that surround the roles and mission and
mission creep of a community college also.
This challenges us in turn to always look for ways to return value to
In the end the administration sees it as the right thing to do. For that
we are very thankful.
Mike Q: What's on the horizon?
Our national advisory board has nudged (well pushed) us towards the
topic of community college pathways to engineering degrees. This
idea is getting a lot of play and we hope to garner some significant
foundation support launch a national five year project. Stay tuned!
Mon, 30 April 2007
In this show we talk about making podcasts including software, recording equipment and posting options.