I’ve noticed two interesting technological developments at EMU. This might be old news at other places, but it is news here, a school that is one of the poor step children universities in Michigan (at least compared to favorite children U of Michigan, Michigan State, and, to a lesser extent, Wayne State).
* EMU is going to have a contract with Napster. It’s going to be free for students in the dorms, $10 a semester for students off campus, and $7 a month for faculty and staff. I’m not that happy about the fee for faculty and staff, but hey, I don’t download that much music anyway. I don’t know if this is the sort of deal that is happening at a lot of other campuses around the country, but it seems like a reasonably good deal. And according to the FAQ of the web site linked above, EMU is doing this as part of an “educational effort” and also as an alternative to illegally downloads. That’s probably true, but I bet the “legal and supported” service will ease the crunch on dorm computer networks.
* Speaking of networks: This is the last week of classes around here, and the parking lot in front of the building where I teach was an absolute zoo. I could go on and on about that, but I won’t. Anyway, while waiting for a spot to open up (and one never did open up), I stopped and opened up my laptop. I had left my airport card/wifi connection on and was about to turn it off when I found a connection. I don’t know where the signal was coming from (the nearby dorms? an administrative office with an especially strong signal?), but I made a connection and I was on and able to look over a few student’s web sites.
I don’t know exactly what the moral of that story is, but I will say this: I think I have better internet connectivity in the parking lot than I do in my office.