Welcome New Faculty! (and a ‘welcome back’ to old faculty, like me)

Greetings! Welcome to Wayne State. In the next few weeks and months you’ll be bombarded with tons of information about every imaginable aspect of being a faculty member here at Wayne. I’d just like to add to the deluge by introducing myself and my role at C&IT (the central computing division of Wayne State).

I’m a faculty member in the Linguistics program, with an appointment as full Professor in English. I work on phonological theory and phonetics. But I have a (not so secret) second life as Faculty Liaison to Computing and Information Technology. Part of my role is to serve as an advocate for faculty issues inside C&IT, and another part is to explain C&IT ‘stuff’ to the users.

I’m interested in general policy issues on computing and academia, and wider questions such as how computing interacts with questions of privacy, copyright, online teaching, mobile technology, the usefulness and safety of ‘the cloud’ and similar questions.

I write a blog entry on one or another of these issues roughly once a week during the semester, and less frequently over breaks and the summer period, although I’m on campus pretty much all of the time.

C&IT provides the basic networking that permits you to connect to the world of the Internet, and runs the central (‘enterprise’) services that keep the university going: Blackboard, Pipeline, and Banner (a system you will probably only interact with indirectly, but keeps track of all official university data, from grades to payroll to which health insurance option you have chosen). Blackboard and Pipeline get their data from Banner, but most faculty don’t deal with it directly.

You can get a general sense of what C&IT does here, and the complete list can be found here (scroll down for the complete list).

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns related to computing on campus and I’ll try to help, either by directing you to the correct point of contact, or, in some cases, getting things fixed myself. You can find me either in C&IT or in English.

NASA Video Removed from YouTube for Copyright Violation (but it was THEIR video)

If ever anything illustrated the bizarre world we live in under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), it’s this story.

Scripps News Service took NASA’s news feed about the landing of the Mars Rover and put it on YouTube (it’s government-produced, and therefore immune to copyright). Then, YouTube’s automated ‘copyright search engine’ found NASA’s original video and deleted it, because it purportedly violated Scripp’s copyright. Yes, you read that correctly.

The problem has since been corrected, but apparently this isn’t the first time Scripps has charged NASA with stealing its own videos. The whole story is here:

http://mashable.com/2012/08/06/nasa-mars-youtube-blocked/

and here:

http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/8/6/nasa-s-mars-rover-crashed-into-a-dmca-takedown