Tag Archives: Tech News

Lunch & Learn: “e-Readers in the Classroom?” with Janet Temos, Stan Katz, Dan Kurtzer, and Trevor Dawes

Student with a Kindle

In the Fall term of 2009, Princeton conducted a pilot sponsored by the High Meadows Foundation, the University Library, and the Office of Information Technology, to assess the use of e-readers in the classroom. The reader used was the Amazon Kindle DX, a lightweight, portable e-reader with the capacity to hold approximately 3500 books, in three University courses.

The project aimed to explore the use of the e-readers in classes for which e-reserves were the primary readings. The printing of e-reserve readings at Princeton accounts for a large portion of printing in public clusters (total of 10 million sheets of paper last year). The e-reader pilot sought to target e-reserve readings and present them on an e-reader to see if printing could be reduced.

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Lunch & Learn: The Technology of History with Carla Zimowsk

GIS image

The Technology Manager for the History Department at Princeton University, Carla Zimowsk has provided technical support for the department for 10 years. Not trained as a historian or a GIS expert, she draws upon graduate work in organizational communications and knowledge management. As a result, during the past decade, she has come to understand the needs of those she supports.

“The faculty all have stuff,” she began at the March 24 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, “and it tells a story when pulled together.” In a trip to the Visualization Centre at the University of Birmingham several years ago, she suddenly realized the importance of visualizing data.

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Lunch & Learn: How to send a secret on a postcard: Public key cryptography with John MacCormick

Computer security graphic

Computers use an ingenious invention called public key cryptography to transmit secrets on the internet, even through public channels that can be observed by anyone. The approach is instrumental today to the secure flow of information on the internet and the whole realm of electronic commerce. There are simple programs that can monitor internet traffic, and even the simplest requests will flow through many, and perhaps dozens of computers. Unsecured transactions can be read by any malicious hacker almost as easily as if you had transmitted the information on a postcard.

In his March 3 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, Dickinson College Assistant Professor John MacCormick explained how public key cryptography works using some fun and easy-to understand techniques.

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Lunch & learn: An app a day: Tasty apps for iPhone and Android

droid.jpg“Smartphones are the new platform, and apps are the core,” says Douglas Dixon, an independent technology consultant, author, and speaker specializing in digital media. “In just a year and a half, the Apple App Store for iPhone users has surpassed 140,000 applications, and users have downloaded more than 3 billion apps. — Not bad for a new market that was created only a year and a half earlier.”

At the February 24 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, Dixon explored the range of apps being developed for these new platforms. Beyond rude sound effects and popping bubbles, developers are leveraging both the intelligence of handsets and the power of back-end cloud computing to provide new kinds of timely

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Lunch & Learn: The fruits of the Genome for society with David Botstein

helix.jpgIn the early 1980s, scientists began to wonder whether, with existing technology, we could determine the sequence of the human genome, that is, the sequences in the DNA that we pass on to our children. And would we be able to interpret the language of the Genome?
As it turns out, says David Botstein, that our estimates of the cost and the duration were just about right. And so, he pondered at the February 17 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar, just what did we get for the $3B spent to determine the sequence of the human genome?
We got not only the sequence of the human but also of 1000’s of other organisms, from yeast (12 megabases) and worms (100 megabases) through humans (3,300 megabases). The sequence of the human genome, the primary goal of the Human Genome Project, was achieved just a few years ago. Because our genomes are a string of 3 billion sequences of four chemical letters in the DNA polymer, the ability to obtain genomic sequences depended on revolutionary progress not just in DNA chemistry but also on the equally revolutionary advances in speed, capacity and versatility of digital computers.

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