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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 27, 2007 at 5:06 PM

No fallout from UW’s Apple iPhone blog post

A few commenters suggested last week that UW technology integration architect Tony Chang be flayed for sharing information about developing iPhone applications, but it’s not going to happen.

Chang caused a minor flap last week when he shared information from Apple’s recent developer conference. After being told that the information was secret, the UW removed the blog post, but not before it was spotted.

There were no repercussions. Chang’s job is safe, and Apple hasn’t said anything to the UW about the transgression, according to Chang’s boss, Oren Sreebny, executive director of the school’s emerging technology group.

Sreebny said the positive outcome is the group learned to be more circumspect on its blog.

I was glad Chang made the post not just because he shared timely information gathered on the public’s dime, but because it introduced me to the emerging technology group.

It’s a three-person unit started in January to look at upcoming technologies and help the school’s computing and communications IT group prepare and strategize.

Sreebny said they’re looking “just over the horizon at what’s coming soon that’s likely to be useful in our environment.”

The group is helping push out the campus wireless network, exploring online services and studying whether the school ought to create its own social networking service.

It’s also monitoring hardware needs. Recent surveys indicated that about 20 percent of faculty and staff are using Web capable devices such as smartphones and Blackberries, a number that Sreebny expects to grow to more than 50 percent within two years. Student usage of Web capable devices is lower and probably limited by cost.

As for computer usage on the campus, the group found that about 20 percent of the faculty uses Macs and even fewer students use them. Students are price sensitive, which is also why Sreebny’s not expecting a huge takeup of the iPhone at the school.

Sreebny said that while students may have laptops and wireless network access, they often opt to leave the computers in their rooms rather than lug them around.

Comments | More in | Topics: Apple, Education

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