a blog about technology management

North Loop History Hunt 2

Returning to my “then and now” theme I used the The Minnesota Historical Society database as source material again and looked at the area of north 1st street and 1st avenue north — 1st and 1st.  Look at my previous post to see what this is about.  Enough talk — on to the pictures!

Hunt’s Perfect Baking Powder Company, 100 North First Street, Minneapolis

The hunt’s building still stands, just a bit smaller and without the chimneys.  The building on the left is gone and the main building is not as long –count the windows.  The back was shaved off at some point.  The trees are a nice addition.

Hunt's Perfect Baking Powder Company, 100 North First Street, Minneapolis

Hunt's now

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Fryeshine Jar visit to Minneapolis

Alright, a little background here for folks that aren’t from Frye ’09.  Frye class of 2009 has a mascot, the Fryeshine jar, that has been visiting each of us from the group (that’s a list of us with our addresses inside the jar).  Every visit includes many pictures of the Jar’s adventures.  I decided to show off a couple of my favorite spots in Minneapolis.  Additionally on our email list there was interest in Mary Tyler Moore and the Mall of America so I included those too.  Click on any image to see a larger version.

Minneapolis Skyline

The day started with a nice vista of the Minneapolis downtown skyline from the roof of my building.  It was an unseasonably warm 50 degrees so I headed out with jar in hand.

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North Loop History Hunt

This is a slight diversion from my typical theme of technology.  I’ve had an interest in urban history ever since being introduced to Larry Millet’s  Lost Twin Cities book  in a College history course.  That book and his book Twin Cities: Then and Now (and other versions by other authors) have been like ice cream to me – I can never get enough.  I’ve even gone on his walking tours of Twin Cities neighborhoods which were excellent.  Having recently moved to the North Loop neighborhood I am surrounded by history.  So I decided to take a walk down Washington Avenue North both then and now.  The Minnesota Historical Societies database  is impressive and keeps getting better — it now has a mapping feature on the pictures so you can see all the images in an area.  All the old images come from there and are linked back to the source.  Click on any of my images to see a larger version.

Washington Avenue North from Hennepin

It’s safe to say there’s nothing recognizable at this busy intersection.  The buildings in the distance are too far away to anchor us.  A disappointing and realistic start, but it gets better.

Washington Avenue North from Hennepin

Washington Avenue North from Hennepin

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Minnesota Instructional Technologists (MinIT) 2012

I’m just back from the 4th Minnesota Instructional Technologists (MinIT) symposium this time hosted by Carleton College at the Weitz Center for Creativity.  My excellent colleague Barron Koralesky from Macalester College and myself started this group in 2009 (though we had been talking about the idea for two years before that).  It is a gathering of instructional technology professionals from regional Colleges and Universities.  We’ve done various formats over the years and keep on trying new formats — we’re an experimental group!

This year Carleton organized a large group discussion that was centered around topics submitted by the attendees during registration.  The majority of the schools are on moodle so we had much talk about transition to version 2.x.  Hopefully the few that weren’t on moodle yet will join the fun soon – <wink>.  Most of us are opening up our beta sites to faculty before fall so they can get used to the changes.  Early feedback from faculty generally has been good.  Even though moodle 2 has “moved the cheese” faculty are adapting and liking the new features and new user interface standards.

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Educause Security Conference 2012

I am recently back from the Educause Security conference 2012 — my first time going to that conference. I should note that I am the security officer for the campus so this was a great opportunity to connect with folks who have been doing this for a long time.

It was quite a good conference and, based on a few discussions with other attendees, one role of the conference is to leave you unsettled due to how many security threats there are.  I mean, there are a lot.  And hearing from large Universities (that have security departments of 3-5 staff) about how they need to manage multiple data breaches of personally identifiable information (PII) leaves one restless at night.  The challenge with large Universities is how distributed information and systems can be.  At a small College with a single central IT department there is more control over the systems housing institutional data (and clear accountability).

REN-ISAC (Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center) kept coming up and it clearly brings much value to its members.  First thing when I’m back in the office, join REN-ISAC.  One product I was very interested in was Cloudlock — enterprise control over your google docs domain.  You can retain docs after someone leaves, retain documents for legal discovery, audit access rights to comply with FERPA, HIPAA, PCI — just pick your abbreviation.  Of course it costs per user so this could offset any licensing savings you might be recouping with moving to google apps but it provides enterprise management tools that would make me rest easier at night.

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Frye wisdom 2 years later

This year at the Educause annual conference several of my Frye colleagues gave a panel presentation on their experiences post-Frye with attaining leadership positions (look in Resources tab for the PPT).  It was very informative and hopefully the video will be available online for all to see.  I jotted down many notes and had these take-aways for those looking to move into leadership positions:

  • When looking for a new position, know your strengths and your area of preference/comfort. Look for institutions and at position reporting lines that match those preferences.  For example, if you are academic computing focused, look for positions that report up through the Provost / Dean.  Also know what the institution is about and what its focus is.  You are looking for a good fit.
    • Also learn about other areas outside of your own.  Get on projects outside of your area.  You will need to know the broader view of IT to be an effective leader.  For example, if you work mainly on the systems side get on some academic computing project teams.
  • Know what stage of organizational development the institution you are considering is in.  Do they need someone to carry on what is happening?  Someone to fix something that is broken?  Someone to transform them?  Also know where your strengths lie.  An article in CIO magazine described 3 types of CIOs – operational, transformative, or strategic.  Know where your strengths or your goals lie.  Make sure the institutional need is a fit for you.  Organizations change over time and what they need change.
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