Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Score one for Windows . . .

So far I'm really enjoying my Mac conversion. Couple things have been a little discomforting though. For example, yesterday I was giving a talk at Educomm and was planning on using my Mac to display. Preparing the talk was easy...I used a combination of Keynote, Photoshop and Powerpoint under Parallels...very natural...But I forgot to bring my "dongle", the essential piece of conversion hardware to allow a Mac to connect to a standard VGA display...Arghhhh!!! Fortunately, the speaker before me was also an Apple user, and she graciously lent me hers...So the friendliness of the Apple community overrode the awkwardness of the dongle requirement....

But, it appears to me that Finder, while it has a nice interface for connecting to ftp sites and displaying the files therein, does NOT ALLOW writing to the ftp directories. I tried a few things, and did a little Google searching, but it appears this is just the way it is...

In the end, I went into Parallels and accessed my ftp site through the Windows XP explorer...Dead easy and very clean...Would have expected the Mac to work the same way...


Monday, June 18, 2007

WWDC . . . and an Apple for me . . .

A Steve Jobs performance is never to be missed and last week's Keynote at the Apple WorldWide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco was no exception.

It began with a nice bit from John Hodgman, starring as PC from the PC/Mac ads, pretending to be Steve Jobs. Dressed in jeans and a Steve Jobs signature black mock turtleneck, PC tried hard to convince the crowd that Apple was in fact closing up shop due to the incredible success of Vista. The partisan crowd ate it up... But I have to admit that after Steve was finished, I had to consider the possibility that Apple is out innovating everyone else in the desktop/personal computing space.

I enjoyed my 8 minutes of fame later in the day as part of the State of IT. My talk focused on the amazing difference that Apple's iTunes U has made in getting ASU's podcasting capability to market quickly. (While the State of IT presentation is covered by Apple confidentiality restrictions, I made remarks similar to my State of IT thoughts in a recent podcast (transcript).

No doubt about it, Apple is pretty hot right now. The iPod redefined music... Leopard is amazing... the iPhone promises to be a breakout device. Sales of MacBooks are really brisk... and getting brisker. Apple stores rule as a shopping experience.
So as of last week, I have officially switched. Over the course of a couple of days, I migrated all my files to a MacBook Pro equipped with Parallels. So far I'm really impressed by the experience. I'm running Outlook side by side with Safari and iChat, and so far its the best computing experience I've ever had.

Plus I can now identify with the cool kid in the ads... I've always been a sucker for the cool kids.


ASU and ItunesU

My name is Adrian and I am the University Technology Officer at Arizona State University, one of Americas largest and fastest growing universities serving metropolitan phoenix and the citizens of Arizona. Under the leadership of President Michael Crow, we are developing a new vision for American higher education, something we call the New American University. A new gold standard for access excellence and impact that judges a university by the quality of its output, not just the quality of its input; a university as proud of who it includes as who it excludes.

I’m here today to briefly describe for you how Apple is helping Arizona State University use technology to improve its academic excellence, increase educational access, and accelerate ASU’S impact on its community and the world.

There was a time when Universities were leaders in technology innovation. Certainly there are people in this room old enough to remember when people got their first email address in a .edu domain; when the largest networks were among the buildings on campuswides, the bits travelling over cables lovingly twisted and pulled by university it staff. Some of the first online applications were self service were college registration system and online card catalogs in university libraries.

But in the last decade, with the accelerating consumerization of high technology, universities have long since lost the lead. Consumer technologies are no longer watered down versions of industrial grade capabilities. Consumer technologies are now setting the pace, and along with it they are setting the expectations of our user communities. In the case of universities, the digital natives that are our incoming students expect us to provide a technology experience at least as good as the leading consumer edge. And educational institutions around the country are struggling to meet those ever-escalating expectations.

Over the past decade, Universities have moved from the technology drivers seat, to the back seat. As the innovation curve that leaders like Apple are on continues to accelerate, without serious help we may soon find ourselves on the side of the road watching consumer technology’s leading edge disappearing in the distance.
At ASU, we believe the answer to regaining the technology initiative lies in changing our focus from Context to Core.
As Geoffrey Moore, of Crossing the Chasm fame, defines it, Core activities are the ones that distinguish your enterprise, the ones that set it apart. In the case of a university then, a core activity is one that brings us new students, or attracts world class faculty, or helps students to succeed.
Core activities you must do for yourself. No one else can distinguish your institution for you. And everything else is context for that core.
One of the reasons IT shops today find it increasingly hard to compete with the consumer experience is that what was once core has rapidly become context. We still spend 80% of our time on infrastructure, storage, networking and content distribution. None of which will distinguish our university. There's almost no time left over to apply the leading edge to our Core activities of teaching, learning and research.
If technology is to matter ASU, our shop has to climb the value chain, leave the enabling infrastructure to others, and focus 80% of our energies on the core. The value added application of emerging consumer technologies to the central academic and research missions of the university.
And as we shift our focus to Core, we believe our context must come from strategic technology allies like Apple -- consumer technology powerhouses who are setting the pace of innovation and who operate at scales far beyond our own.

ASU's new technology strategy was featured in the 2006 Holiday Edition of The Economist. In that article I said that using leading edge consumer technologies is like getting technology from an advanced alien culture. Nowhere is that more true than in the case of ASU's partnership with Apple around Itunes U.

The democratization and explosion of rich media authoring promises to revolutionize education. But as new capabilities for creating, sharing and displaying content roll out in an endless stream, institutions struggle to put the supporting infrastructure needed to store and distribute this new content.

With iTunes U, it’s as if ASU got to skip a few grades. Itunes U lets us jump right over the part where we design and build a university owned and managed delivery system that would be a poor cousin to iTunes and go right to the head of the class -- to use all the power of Itunes itself, to showcase and distribute ASU's rich media content not as a shadow of the leading edge, but with the very same rapidly evolving tools and services that Apple is using to help redefine the whole world's media experience.

Because of iTunes U, ASU can forget about the how and focus on the why; focus on the myriad ways that these new kinds of content can advance the mission of the University, enrich the learning experience, and reach out to the community in powerful new ways.
iTunes U has provided President Crow and the rest of our University with a new platform for communicating the New American University's message of excellence, access and impact to our community and the world. The New American University channel allows us to reach out to  communicate a message of change throughout our community and around the world, and keep everyone interested in this new vision for American Higher Education abreast with its progress in the Valley of the Sun
iTunes U has also provided ASU with a new and powerful vehicle to communicate the excitement of higher education to K-12 students around Arizona and around the world. In the same store where aspiring students find the latest from their music idols, podcasts like ASU's innovative "Ask A Biologist", put middle school students from around the country in touch with what skilled science educators can teach them about their world and their own place in it.
Finally, ASU has been able to use the iTunes U infrastructure to create a highly integrated rich media experience for its faculty and students. Professors can easily create course specific podcasts to provide access to lecture materials, or supplement the class experience with timely discussions that all feed to student ipods and powerbooks seamlessly thorough the iTunes client.
All of this adds up to acceleration for ASU. Apple's Itunes U has made it possible for ASU to distribute its content on a state of the art system that defines the leading edge, but without losing control of our brand, our content or our domain.
It's allowed us to focus on how this technology can attract new students and help our current ones to succeed. We're doing our part by instrumenting our campus for capture and ensuring our network can deliver this new content where and when its needed. And helping our students and faculty find new and productive uses for what this technology revolution enables.
iTunes U.... technology from the advanced alien culture that is Apple, ....helping ASU meet the higher education challenges of the 21st century


Friday, June 08, 2007

House Committee on Science and Technology

The role of technology in reducing illegal filesharing: A university perspective

June 5, 2007

Dr. Adrian Sannier

University Technology Officer

Arizona State University

Thank you, Chairman Gordon, Ranking Member Hall, and other Members of the Committee for giving me an opportunity to describe for you Arizona State University's use of technology to reduce the incidence of  copyright-infringing filesharing on its campus networks.

As one of the nation's largest universities, with over 65,000 students attending its 4 campuses in the metropolitan Phoenix area, ASU provides its students, faculty and staff with an extensive and evolving array of computing and communications services. These services have become a core enabler of the University's academic and research missions.

To govern the legitimate use of these services, ASU developed an Acceptable Use Policy for its computing and communication services that expressly forbids their use to transfer or exchange files when that transfer or exchange would infringe on copyright. Users of the University’s computing and communication services must electronically agree to this policy as a condition of connection. The policy explicitly forbids the use of university communications or computing infrastructure for any unlawful communications, including "threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography, copyright infringement and harassing communications".

I am pleased to report that, despite some news reports to the contrary in the popular press, ASU has a relatively low rate of complaint about the illegitimate use of its network from copyright holders such as the RIAA. ASU’s complaint rate, which is the number of individuals alleged to have distributed copyrighted content per thousand students, was only 0.52%, the lowest among the 25 institutions for which the RIAA released data this past Spring.

In a recent letter to University Presidents around the nation, the RIAA outlined a set of four best practices that they recommend universities employ to prevent or reduce student exposure to lawsuits and/or Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices. ASU was an early adopter of each of these best practices, and they are the cornerstones of ASU’s successful containment efforts.

The first recommended practice is to educate students about the do’s and don’ts of downloading and copying music and other copyrighted works. ASU incorporates these topics as part of our new student orientations, our residence hall orientations and our twice yearly information security week orientations.

The second recommended practice is to offer students a legitimate online service, one that provides an inexpensive alternative to illegal file-sharing. Beginning in July of 2005, ASU was an early adopter of one such service, a digital entertainment network designed specifically for college students known as Ruckus. ASU's subscription provides its students with downloadable access to 2.75 million songs, full-length feature films, short-form video, sports clips, and music videos, as well as access to a social network site focused on the network.

The third recommended practice is to take appropriate disciplinary action when students are found to be engaging in infringing conduct online. Under the terms of ASU's Acceptable Use Policy,

upon receiving notice of a violation, ASU may temporarily suspend a user’s privileges or move or delete the allegedly offending material pending further proceedings. A person accused of a violation is notified of the charge and has an opportunity to respond before ASU imposes a permanent sanction.

In addition to sanctions available under applicable law and ASU and regents’ policies, ASU may impose a temporary or permanent reduction or elimination of access privileges to computing and communication accounts, networks, ASU-administered computing rooms, and other services or facilities.

The RIAA's final recommendation encourages universities to implement a network technical solution to restrict, filter, or curtail peer-to-peer file sharing. Any technical solution must balance the rights of copyright holders with the legitimate uses of the university’s network and its users’ expectations of privacy and academic freedom.

Beginning in December of 2000, ASU's first attempt at a solution was a network monitoring solution from Packeteer. ASU used the Packeteer product to monitor network data streams and use the protocol information contained in the streams to prioritize traffic. This allowed ASU the amount of university bandwidth devoted to peer-to-peer traffic to be strictly limited. Over a five year period, ASU invested more than $250,000 in the installation and maintenance of this solution, which was purchased and maintained solely for its role in protecting the interests of copyright holders. In 2006, as the legitimate traffic volumes continued to increase, requiring a concomitant increase in investment in Packeteer, ASU began to look for a different solution.

After evaluating several different products and approaches, we have finally settled on Audible Magic's CopySense Network Appliance. The CopySense product does not disable peer-to-peer networking services or restrict the bandwidth available to them. Instead, the CopySense Appliance treats copyrighted material as if it were a computer virus on a P2P network. It works by blocking the exchange of copyrighted content while allowing legitimate files to transfer unobstructed. While our technical team was skeptical of the approach at first, our initial tests convinced us that the CopySense approach would provide us with a viable solution.

We installed the CopySense in spring semester without fanfare. It was configured to reject any traffic identified as registered commercial music, likely commercial music, likely commercial film and TV, or likely commercial software. It began rejecting about 5% of the overall network bandwidth immediately, identifying that traffic as the exchange of copyrighted material. Despite the interruption in network transmission, there was no noticeable increase in calls to our helpdesk, and we received no complaints about network performance for legitimate purposes attributable to the CopySense product.

Overall I would classify our adoption of CopySense as one of the easiest technical adoptions we have undertaken and that it has thus far caused very little disruption in our community.

The list price for the CopySense product at ASU's scale is just over $200,000, but ASU expects its costs this year, as a Pioneer Reference Account, to be closer to 1/2 that price.

While we at ASU are pleased with our new technical solution, we remain concerned about the potential for an ongoing "arms race". Peer-to-peer services have evolved to defeat effective counter-measures before and it would be foolhardy to believe that no further evolution is possible. As long as this "arms race" continues, universities will continue to be called upon to spend scarce resources procuring and deploying the latest technical counter-measures and expending time and energy in the protection of copyright at the expense of the value-added application of emerging technologies to the core missions of the institution.

We therefore applaud the progress that Apple and others have made in developing new and more effective business models for the consumer friendly distribution of electronic content and look forward to the day that these improved services make copyright-infringing file exchange unattractive to all but the fringes of our community.

Thank you again for the opportunity to share Arizona State University's experience with you.




This week I went to Washington, to testify before the House Committee on Science and Technology about the university perspective on illegal filesharing. My testimony resulted in what may be the worst picture ever taken of any person, at any time, ever.

ASU was invited to testify before the committee to describe its approach to illegal filesharing on its campus. In my remarks, I outlined how ASU uses a combination of education, enforcement, legal alternatives, and network management to contain copyright infringement by members of its community. I also pointed out to the committee that while potentially effective, the protection offered by any given technical measure is temporary, and that the "arms race" of escalating counter-measures needed to combat evolving file-sharing programs over the long term is an increasingly expensive proposition for universities.

I believe that the only permanent solution to illegal filesharing must come from the marketplace. Its hard to sell CD's when they are no longer the product that customers want to buy. If more companies follow the example of EMI and Apple and begin to offer products in forms that customers want, at prices customers are willing to pay, illegal filesharing will move back to the margins and out of the mainstream.

At least that's how it looks to the goofy guy in the tie with his eyes closed on CSpan2. What's with that smirk anyway?