Archive for December, 2006

SJSU Podcasts

December 30, 2006

Sweet I just found out that there is a podcast for the Physics 50 lectures here at SJSU.  I found that out by looking at the SJSU Podcasting wiki here.  It’s pretty cool, but I think there are more out there if video podcasts count.  Do video podcacst, or vodcasts, count?

Anyways I had heard of this wiki before but I didn’t care at the time because I wasn’t interested in podcasts, but now I’m more interested.  I ran into it this time using del.icio.us while searching for SJSU.  In the past I usually just used Google, Google Blog Search, and Technorati to find cool stuff, but I’m starting to appreciate del.icio.us.  You can search links by the tags that others have given them, and results are ranked by how many people have bookmarked the link.

SJSU Wiki

December 30, 2006

SJSU Tower

I’ve been working on an SJSU wiki on students.wikia.com.  Here is the current link in case anyone wants to add content to it.  I’ve had a lot of time on my hands during break and I’ve been dying to get involved with something online.  I’m not sure if anything like this has already been attempted but if so please let me know so I don’t duplicate effort. So right now it is part of students.wikia.com but I have applied to have it turned into a private blog, editable only by students with SJSU email, with its own domain, sjsu.wikia.com.

I needed a couple of pictures of SJSU to represent our campus.  I found a picture on Flickr, the one displayed above, and requested to use it.  Turns out it was a former SJSU journalism student Jennifer (Guin?) who was the webmaster for The Spart.  Anyway she was very nice and let me use the picture, but it’s also really worth looking at all of her pictures of SJSU here.

Online Lectures

December 28, 2006

Here is something cool to do over break. Do more studying! Seriously though, some of this stuff can be pretty interesting. There are podcasts and even vodcasts of lectures from schools like Stanford and Yale available for free. Most of you probably already know about this but it’s just really come to my attention now that I’m playing around with this iPod. I’ve downloaded podcasts onto my computer before, but I didn’t realize how well they integrated into iTunes.

iTunes Podcasts Screen

I found this site, Open Culture that has podcasts broken down by category including University lecture podcasts, and most of the podcasts have an iTunes link that will automatically add the podcast to iTunes. I also like that they have foreign language podcasts, although they don’t have the language I want. I’m going to the Phillippines in a couple of weeks and I’d like to know at least a few phrases in Tagalog first. But I’m even more interested in vodcasts. I found this lecture series vodcast that might be cool for computer scientists. What would be really cool is if all the classes I took at SJSU had vodcasts so that if I missed a class or had a subject I was having troubles with, I could go back and review the lectures. It would be cool if I could create a vodcast like that next semester actually. Of course I’d have to get the instructors good graces first.

Open Culture Podcasts

Academic Renewal

December 28, 2006

There is still a good amount of time before the next semester starts at SJSU, but it’s never to late to start thinking about it.  Many students at SJSU work or have something come up during the semester, making it harder to do as well at school as they would like.  If the last semester just ended that way for you, you’re not alone.  The important thing is to not be discouraged, and learn from your past mistakes.  So if you got some bad grades last semester and you are planning to retake a class, you should use Academic Renewal

The reason you want to use Academic Renewal is because otherwise you will still keep your old grade.  If you use Academic Renewal your original failing grade will not be counted in your GPA.  The key to Academic Renewal is that you must sign up for it by filling out this sheet and having it signed by your new instructor and turning it in to Student Services Center before the add deadline is over.  The add deadline for Spring 2007 is February 12, according to the calendar found in the schedule of classes.  If you do not turn in this sheet by the deadline you will not get Academic Renewal, which would be a shame because it’s easy.  New students should make sure they spend plenty of time over break reviewing SJSU and specific department policies to make sure they are doing everything they should be.  There are many interesting rules that can easily make it difficult to graduate if not heeded. Reading the rules can help to avoid those mistakes.  The instructions, policies, and procedures included with the schedule of classes are a great place to start.

Converting DVD to iPod Video

December 28, 2006

I got my girlfriend a new black 30GB iPod for Christmas.  I had to help her get some content onto it at first.  All of the CD’s that she had ripped to her computer were in WMA format but that wasn’t much of a problem because the iTunes application automatically converted them to ACC format which works on iPod.  She also hasn’t taken off the plastic cover in front yet because she wants to get a clear protector cover for it first so the screen won’t scratch.

ipod.jpg

The main problem I had was getting some video on the iPod without buying it from the iTunes store.  I didn’t want to buy anything new; I already own the entire Lord of the Rings DVD set and I wanted to put it on her iPod.  You’d think that Apple would include some sort of software to download a DVD onto an iPod but they don’t.  I guess they’d rather people buy new content from their store.  I ended up spending 40 dollars on a third party piece of software that made the whole process pretty easy.

pqdvd.gif

PQ DVD to IPod Video Suite is what I ended up buying and it is pretty easy to use.  The lower right hand box gives you instructions along the way which lead you all the way from inserting the DVD into the drive to syncing your iPod with iTunes.  Some of the other applications I tried out were kind of complicated because there were different checkboxes were you had to choose which parts of the dvd you wanted to record.  This one was much simpler.  It actually starts the DVD and goes to the menu so you can change the settings like turning on subtitles or commentary in the normal way you would when you watch the DVD.  Then you start the movie by pressing play and then start the recording at the place you want it to start.  I think most people could easily use this program and I am happy with it so far.

Christmas Events

December 22, 2006

For those of you looking to do something the next couple of days before Christmas, I have two suggestions.  One is Christmas in the Park, in downtown San Jose, walking distance from SJSU for those of you who are still around campus.  The other is the Charles Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  I went to both in the last week and had a good time.

Christmas in the Park is pretty standard fair stuff that most people know about.  It is at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, which is the park across from the Tech Museum and it is free.  There are a bunch of Christmas exhibits displayed and a live band playing Christmas music.  Plus they have carnival rides set up including a Ferris wheel.  It’s a fun cheap date.

The Dickens Fair is very cool, but a lot of people have not heard of it.  If you like the Renaissance Fair you will like this; it was created by the same people.  The people who work there dress and act like they are characters from the works of Charles Dickens.  For example, the Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge roam the halls together as if from a scene in A Christmas Carol.  I’d definitely recommend it, but it will be more expensive, could be up to 20 dollars admission, and you will probably want to buy food or gifts there.  The food is very good, they have stuff that is supposed to be from that period.  We got in for 10 dollars each because we came at 4 PM and they close at 7PM.  They are only open for one more weekend, the weekend of Christmas up to Saturday, so go soon.

You can also see my pics for both events here and here.

Soapbox Prophet

December 21, 2006

Soapbox

I spoke too soon about the lack of an SJSU online community.  Andrew Venegas left a comment on my post that was pretty enlightening.  The fact that this guy even read my post shows that he is doing some serious Technorati searches.  I have been reading his blog, Soapbox Prophet, because it is one of the most interesting blogs from SJSU students that I have found.  Anyway, Andrew pointed out to me that he has drop down lists of links to SJSU bloggers including, students, teaches, and video blogs.

I read his post “SJSU Bloggers Wanted” in which he invited other SJSU bloggers to be coauthors with him on his blog.  I think it is a really great and interesting idea and I’ll be sure to watch carefully.  The drop down lists Andrew provided are also extremely cool.  I have searched for SJSU websites and blogs in the past and I haven’t found near the amount of sites that are listed there.  So if you are interested in finding more about the online SJSU community the Soapbox Prophet is a great place to start.