Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tablet PC's at SJSU video (I am in it!)

A team from SJSU recently made a presentation at the Educause national conference in Orlando, Florida. Reportedly there was standing room only for their presentation. I am very proud to be associated with this. Tablet PC's rock and have the potential to really change the way computers are used in education. ~Steve

This is really great stuff!
From Malu Roldan: Here are links to the video that SJSU Media Producer Bob Reynolds produced on SJSU's Tablet PC usage. Mary Jo Gorney-Moreno and I just came back from presenting it at the Educause national conference and it was very well received.

The links (you will need real media player:)
Broadband | Medium | Small (dial-up)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Remembering Rosa Parks

Fifty years ago, on September 15, 1955 I was born. Less than three months later Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on a bus to a white man. It is amazing to me to think that in just my life time's worth of time it was expected that she would. When asked to move to let a white bus rider be seated Parks refused. She did not argue and she did not move. The police were called and Parks was arrested.

To me, in the here and now, the idea that a person could be arrested for this and that it could be considered a crime seems absurd. Yes, we have a long way to go. Also, we have come a long way thanks to Rosa Parks and many who shared her courage. The day she died recently, a short time after my 50th birthday, is a sad day. We lost a genuine American hero.

SJSU statue

The statue of Smith and Carlos at SJSU is an important statue. It is a symbol of activism, but it is also a symbol of the struggle of black people in our society to be free and to break the chains of oppression that still bind them. This is an important icon for us all to see and remember. It was not that long ago that people had to give up seats on a bus, just because they were black. Thank you Parks and Smith and Carlos and so many more...

Bad case of truck itch

I have a bad case of truck itch. I haven't had it this bad since 1991. That is the year I bought my last truck. This was my fourth truck and my first four-wheel drive.

My 91 Explorer

In 1991, after Candy died, I needed a reliable vehicle for hauling around my three sons and a few of their friends. I didn't want something girly, so I bought the Explorer. Sue, Ken and I turned 100,000 miles on this truck on the north shore of the Columbia River in Washington. We had some great adventures in this truck. I made many trips into and out of "camp" in it. We did a lot of train chasing trips in it. We went to Canada and made a cross-country trip with the boys in it. One wonderful memory is when we stopped at four corners and laid the camera down on the exact spot where four states come together and made the photo of four Sloans in four states.

Susie and I dated in this truck. We fell in love on a trip to Mendocino in this truck. A family bought this truck when we bought the Integra in 1999. I have only made it to camp one time since then, in Jeff's Suburban. I loved the ability to go where no car could go, where no two-wheel vehicle could go. I never had to be pulled out of anyplace in my Explorer, it climbed great. With a manual transmission and a low-four gear it had a granny tranny that could walk up a wall.

My crazy dream now? I want to drive to Alaska. I want to drive to the Artic circle, to where the road ends. I want to drive to the top of the world, perhaps with Susie and a grandchild or two!

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Monday, October 24, 2005

We all have a voice in the world

Smith and Carlos Statue

With the emergence of enabling technologies, like blogging and podcasting. Everybody has access to powerful global communications tools to post ideas to the Internet. This seed change has marked the end of business as usual. Using search engines like Google and even more, Technorati these Internet posts can be found, linked to and remixed in ways unimaginable just a short time ago. It does not require the blessing of institutions to make these posts accessible.

The result is a good thing. This is a conversation where ideas are free and easy to give, get and rehash. Everybody must be able to join the conversation. It is everybody's loss to expect employees to check our brains at the door as we walk onto our jobs. Business, as the Cluetrain Manifesto says, is a conversation and businesses are no longer walled cities holding those conversations inside. Workers are empowered and have plenty to say. It is to everybody's benefit to let them have a voice.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What a weekend!

Right up there with a root canal!
On Friday I had a sigmoidoscopy [Link]. Yes, I would wish this on my worst enemy. It starts off by them giving you these two bottles of laxative to drink. In essence they give you the intestinal equivalent of the flu. If "the procedure" were not bad enough, the "medication" is far worse. I was sick for almost all weekend. I slept almost all day Saturday. I was not able to make my own bike ride. Finally today I started to feel better. I had to do something fun.

Today I test drove a Toyota Truck
I have been wanting a four wheel drive truck for some time. I loved the ability to go in the back country when I had my Ford Explorer. It was a great truck and I put around 150,000 miles on that truck. I have not had a pick-up since the F-150 that Candy was killed in. Before that I had a Chevy S-10 which Candy had totaled in an accident near Escalon. I loved having the campers and  made some great camping trips with the boys when they were little. But, after Candy died I needed a family vehicle. After Susie got the new Accord I inherited her old car, the 1999 Integra, which I gotta admit is a gas to drive. But, I want something that I can take camping into the back country. The Toyota Tacoma truck was also great fun to drive and it has surprising room to sit in the back. There is plenty of room for a little grandchild to go camping with grandpa and grandma. I took a picture of it with my camera phone. I would like to get a truck like this and put a camper shell on it. This is the first pickup I have driven in a long time.

Toyota Tacoma

Garage Sale Time
Susie, Diane and Fran had a garage sale this weekend. On the east coast I guess they call these tag sales. They sold a lot of stuff. It was a busy weekend.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Podcast: Greene's plan to change SJSU J-school

Steve Greene

Podcast thirteen, 44.55 minutes - October 19, 2005, Another conversation with Steve Greene.
To listen to audio, click here --> MP3 File Here
San Jose State University professor, friend and former co-worker Steve Greene [Link] discusses the future of SJSU's School of Journalism and Mass Communications (J&MC), his journey to four J-schools in four weeks and his proposal to reorganize J&MC. There's some pretty major changes being proposed by Greene and explained in this conversation, including a proposal to cease daily publication of the school paper, The Spartan Daily [Link].

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A train photo of mine ran on Altamont Press

BNSF Train in Mojave

A train photo of mine, that is better than the one shown here, ran in today's version of the on-line daily train E-newsletter Altamont Press [Link]. It was cool seeing it be used there. This is a neat web publication and a real example of the enabling ability of on-line delivery for niche markets.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

A star is born

Jeff on TV

At 6pm this evening Jeff was interviewed on Mortgage Magic, a show on the local Comcast Cable channel. It was great seeing him on TV. He did a great job and I was a very proud parent.

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Remembering last week's trip

Train at Woodford

Last week's trip was rich, with many fine moments and memories to savor. I loved chasing trains and spending time with dear friends and doing good and important work. All this and more was wonderful. I did a lot of photography and podcasting and even went dancing. It was rich, like a glass of fine Cabernet.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Last weekday whine and dine ride

Today was the last weekday whine and dine ride of 2005. It was a fun ride and we concluded it with a ride up Cat's Hill in Los Gatos. There I asked them to pose for a picture and a local house cat came up to check out the action.

Bike Buddies

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Great moments at the union convention

Hylah at the podium
It was a General Council full of great moments. In my opinion the greatest was the election of Hylah Jacques as Executive Vice President of CSEA. In my opinion she is the best of the best. She is among the hardest working, smartest, most honest, fair minded, kind hearted and all-around greatest people I have ever known, ever. Her election is a great victory even for the people who voted against her, because they could not have elected better. She is the best in my book!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Union business being done today

Union business being done today
Today is the day when most of the hard core business is done. Today we pass our budget and deal with changes to our policy and bylaws. Today we shape the future of our union. Then, we go home. It is intense work and a lot of folks are being heard.

Stephen Hughes at mike

Last GC Day

Happy birthday Steve Jr.
Today my oldest son Steve turned 29. For the first time. Happy birthday son!

The heart of the union
The union is more than meetings, contracts and representation. It is about people! At every GC we celebrate the friendships we have built with each other at a GC dance. It is great fun!

Kathryn at GC

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The CSUEU delegation

This is our CSUEU delegation to General Council 2005

CSUEU GC Delegation

The University Employee Delegation
These are the folks who are representing university staff employees at this statewide union meeting. They are fine hard working folks who are sincere, who care about the pay, working conditions and the benefits of university employees. I am proud to be associated with them.

More General Council Podcasts

Here are some recordings of conversations from early Sunday October 9, 2005; the second day of CSEA General Council 63 in Anaheim:

Conversation with myself [mp3 audio file link]
While brewing my morning coffee I ruminate about Andy Sterns talk to the CSU delegation, the events of the previous couple of days, this podcast and how emerging technology can be used in the labor movement.
Conversation with Donna Snodgrass [mp3 audio file link]
A brief conversation with Vice President candidate Donna Snodgrass about running without being on a slate of officers.
Conversation with Jennifer Oneal-Watts [mp3 audio file link]
First time GC delegate Jennifer Oneal-Watts shares her impressions of GC 63. Jennifer Oneal-Watts is from CSU Sacramento and is also that chapter's unit 7 rep and is on the statewide BU 7 committee.
Conversation with Hylah Jacques [mp3 audio file link]
A brief conversation while walking up to the voting room. Hylah is a candidate for Executive Vice President of CSEA.
Conversation with Russell Kilday-Hicks and Joseph Jelincic [mp3 audio file link]
Joseph Jelincic, the son of the CSEA president and Russel speak about this GC, CSEA politics and the elections.
Conversation with Ray Reynolds and Mike Roskey [mp3 audio file link]
Ray Reynolds is from DLC 789 and Mike Roskey is from DLC 767 of SEIU Local 1000. They both also are supporters of the Committee for a Democratic Union. They speak here about General Council and the common ground we all have as state workers.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

General Council Podcasts

Here are two recordings of conversations from Saturday October 8, 2005; the first day of CSEA General Council 63 in Anaheim:

Conversation with Rich McGee [mp3 audio file Link]
McGee is a member of the CSUEU Communications Committee and a chapter officer from CSU San Bernardino. McGee talks about Andy Stern's talk yesterday to members of the California State University staff employees union.
Conversation with Jay Jimenez [mp3 audio file Link]
Jimenez is a former Division Director of the then CSU Division of CSEA. He is the chair of the CSUEU Policy File Committee, serves on the CSEA Bylaws and Policy Committee and is the CSU Fullerton President. Jimenez talks about the CSU role in General Council and how that has changed over the years.

Andy Stern speaks to university staff employees union

Andy Stern "gets it!"

Andrew Stern at GC 2005

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern spoke with university employees Friday evening on the eve of the California State Employees Association's 63rd General Council. Stern gave a rousing come to Jesus speech about the importance of the labor movement. Then he stepped from behind the lectern. Stern listened as well as talked and the result was a very lively conversation. Stern, as head of SEIU, recently led a group of formerly AFL-CIO unions out of the AFL-CIO to form a new organization named Change-to-Win.

In his Friday talk Stern, whose SEIU is growing in union membership, spoke about why it was necessary for SEIU to leave the AFL-CIO. He answered the concerns of folks, like myself, who do not like to see the house of labor divided. He cited declining membership in the labor movement overall and the seeming unwillingness of the AFL-CIO to change its strategy to meet the demands of a changing world.

What really impressed me about Stern is that, he gets it! He referenced Freedman, who's book The World is Flat I am currently reading.  He spoke about globalization and the role of unions in a changing global economy. I was able to ask Stern a couple of questions about globalization and the public perception of the labor movement. Stern answered my questions. He spoke about global organizing to meet global markets, unions embracing emerging technology and how unions need to be reorganized to effectively organize workers globally. In short, I was very impressed!

Fiscal issues in CSEA
The California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) is one of four organizations in the California State Employees Association (CSEA). Kathryn Plunkett is on the statewide CSEA fiscal committee. Last night, after Stern left, she spoke to us about the ongoing struggle within the statewide organization over central support issues. Central Support is the CSEA entity that provides support services and coordinates activities involving all the four affiliated CSEA organizations. There is a big conflict within the CSEA affiliates about how strong and well funded Central Support should be. Kathryn is a long time close friend of mine. I spent a lot of time in Friday's fiscal committee meeting. It was a long day for Kathryn and a hard day as she and her allies were almost constantly being out voted on issues that are core for university employees.

Kathryn speaking to university employees

The meeting of university employees Friday night went to about 10pm. After the meeting we went to a hospitality suite where we discussed the day's events until the early morning hours of the next day. I had a great long discussion with CSUEU Chapter 307 president Jeff Baldwin. I like Jeff a lot and really enjoyed our conversation. Today, at 1pm, the 63rd General Council Convenes.

Friday, October 07, 2005

General Council Going Ons

I am at GC, the big university staff employee union meeting in Anaheim, and the pre-council committee meetings are happening. I just took this photo of Gus Lease, who is the guy I spoke to in my recent podcast with him [Link]. Gus is a great guy and I admire him very much!

Gus Lease Mug

I also just met Steve Aunan, the webmaster for CSEA. He is a sharp guy, and is a blogger, that is so cool! Here is his CSEA blog [Link]. I have taken this photo and another photo of Fred Cordova for a daily newsletter we are doing of the convention.

I will be posting more about the union meeting on my union blog [Link].

From Mojave to the Union Meeting

After Mojave, I went to Anaheim
I arrived in Anaheim today (this is being written Thursday night) and am attending the union meeting. Thursday morning I watched trains from, and blogged from, Mojave. It was a rail hotbed, and I saw tons of trains. This view is from my motel room in Mojave:

Train from Motel Six

The train action was really awesome. Later Thursday I slipped across downtown LA during the mid-day traffic lull and got settled in here in Anaheim for the big union meeting. It has been great seeing some of my old friends in the union. I met Perry Kenny and Steve Alari, I haven't seen them in years. This is going to be quite a convention! I even got to the gym in Anaheim, so I guess I am getting settled in.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

A big Wednesday

Madison is one
Yesterday was Madison's birthday. It is hard to believe my sweet grand-daughter is one. She is growing like a weed. I am on a trip to a union meeting in Anaheim today. I miss her and look forward to seeing her when I return.

From Mojave
It is a crystal clear morning in Mojave, California. I am sitting here next to the railroad tracks watching trains go by and sipping my morning coffee. Next to me is a Union Pacific freight train with three engines on it. Another train just went past, one of a parade of freight trains I have seen this morning. Mojave is not far from Lancaster and Palmdale but in terms of thinking it is very far. Lancaster and Palmdale are like the furthest reaches of the LA suburbs but Mojave belongs to the desert. In Palmdale and Lancaster there are Starbucks and 24 Hour fitness. Burger King and Motel 6 is as city as it gets in Mojave. Mojave is also a railroad town, a major junction for the two biggest California railroads and there is a constant roar and commotion of trains. But, despite the hubbub of rail activity here what owns Mojave is the wind. In the afternoon the desert zephyrs kick up and anything that can move even a little, does move. This is also the home of some of the most free thinking aeronautic folks in the world. The first non-stop non-refueled flight around the world, the first civilian flight into space and many more amazing flights took off from here. So it is the wind and the desert and the trains and the planes that make this place Mojave. Mojave is not LA in the least little bit. Mojave is just Mojave. There is no other place like Mojave in the world.

Train at Bealville

Yesterday I drove to south from San Jose to the Tehachippi mountains. I arrived in Bealville, California to find a train in the siding there. He was waiting for another train to pass in the opposite direction. So, I went to the top of the little hill there and photographed the train that came the other way. I know the routine there very well. I have been coming here for about 38 years taking pictures of trains. I have come here with my father, my wives and my children at different times through the years. I have seen trains with loved ones who have passed from my life here. Yesterday was my sweet grand-daughter Madison's birthday. Soon, it will be my grand-children whom I will take here.

Over the years I have shot many thousands of rolls of Kodachrome slide film here and other railroad places. Yesterday I shot my last roll ever. I finished that roll of film and switched to my digital camera. Then, I kept shooting. There is a tree on top of a hill in Bealville that overlooks the tracks. That would be a good place to leave my ashes after I die. It has a great view of the tracks and the passing trains.

Yesterday evening Elaine Whitebook took me to dinner to celebrate my recent birthday. It was great seeing Elaine. She is a really good friend. We talked late into the night. She was a regular on our whine and dine bicycle rides and moved south more than a few years ago. It was a very pleasant evening.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Great Help Desk Staff

Yesterday we had a training and I took the Help Desk Staff out to lunch. We went to Shalimar [Link], a local San Jose Restaurant where they trained me in the fine Indian Cuisine. They are a great group of young people. Pictured here are Kamlesh, Akshay, Kishwer, Pranav and Shilpina.

Help Desk Staff
Today I am heading south, to a big union meeting in Anaheim.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

A festive weekend

On Saturday we went to the Italian Festival at Santana Row. It was actually more like a craft show with a few Italian things thrown in. You could buy all kinds of nick-nacks but despite it being a very hot day there was no place to buy gelato and the wine booth sold wine made in Gilroy and the beer booth sold beer from Colorado and only one booth sold only one kind of pasta. They did have dancing there, if you like dancing on concrete. It was crowded and parking was a nightmare, other than that it was fun. The Vintage Wine Merchants [Link], a Santana Row wine merchant, had a tasting of Barolos, so we did get to taste some great Italian Wines.

Police Horses during fair
Sunday was a more relaxing day. We just relaxed for a good part of the day and then did some errands. I went for a mountain bike ride.

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