ETC Blog Gets a Facelift

IT's Academic screenshot

Welcome to the new ETC blog! Most of the writing and all of the keywording (is that a word?) are mine. The photography is Lorene Lavora’s. But this latest incarnation of this blog owes its look and feel and remarkable functionality to Michael Muzzie, Senior Web Developer in OIT’s Academic Services. It is our collective hope that members of the University community will like what they see here and then contact Michael to start their own blogs!

For more than 15 years, Princeton University has sponsored a series of technology seminars. Part of the outreach efforts of its IT department, these Lunch ‘n Learn seminars invite customer friendly speakers with varied affiliations to explore a wide array of cutting edge technology topics. During the past five years, Lorene Lavora and I sought to transform the existing series into fully integrated outreach, with these blog posts, very high quality podcasts, RSS feeds, and through Facebook, all in all a demonstration of how a small outreach office with sophisticated collaboration tools can leverage its resources.

In late 2006, Lorene and I created the first version of IT’s Academic, the blog you are reading. Then, in January, 2007, Princeton began to share podcasts of its LnL seminars freely through its iTunes site. The remarkable result has been more than 100 million downloads in just more than two years! Even the early podcasts remain very popular.

A worldwide audience appreciates access to the kinds of activities that occur at institutions of higher education like Princeton. After most LnL seminars, we have produced stories for the blog that contained links to the podcasts, Lorene’s amazing photography, and links to the speakers’ slides. And we encourage session attendees and the public to sustain the enthusiasm of the seminars by posing questions to the speakers.

The most popularly downloaded talk has been Assistant Professor of Music Dmitry Tymoczko’s Geometry and Music. There, he demonstrated that major and minor chords map onto a circle in perfect 3:4:5 triangles. In April 2008, Princeton’s new Director of the Broadcast Studio, David Hopkins gave a session on the “New World of Digital TV.” After only one week in iTunes, his podcast was downloaded more than 330,000 times.

Two years ago, Lorene also created a comprehensive presence on Facebook that provides a summary of upcoming events, easy links to the podcasts and photographs, as well as an RSS feed to the stories in the IT’s Academic blog. We invite you to become a friend of that Facebook Page.

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