Friday, September 25, 2009

25 SEP 09: Mobi Slick

Today's blog entry should be brought to you by the letter M. I can't come out and declare it's sponsored by M, because in this day and age "Sesame Street" might file a protest -- even though I think that program lost its alphabet monopoly with the "What is G?" commercials.

M was the letter of the day Thursday at Columbus State University - as campus officials announced a new web area for people with mobile devices. Before Alabama's Governor becomes concerned, a "mobile device" does NOT refer to a slot machine casino near the Gulf coast.

The new secure web site will allow Columbus State students to obtain vital campus information on their cell phones and PDA's. I assume this includes a Blackberry - although if you handed me one to use right now in an emergency, I'd be in a Blackberry jam.

Columbus State computer geeks technology experts spent months developing a system to connect C.S.U. online elements with Google applications. The result is possibly a first for any U.S. college campus - which is surprising, because you'd think Appalachian State University would pioneer this. You know, "Appy State...."

Campus officials say the "Columbus State Mobile Apps" will offer all kinds of benefits to students. While walking around campus, they can review...

+ Class schedules. As if they're so busy studying for a 1:30 p.m. test that they'll forget they have a regular class at 10:30 a.m.

+ Academic records. Now you can prove to employers you're smart, without paying for a transcript.

+ Student financial accounts. Walk into the library with an unpaid fine, and your cell phone should play old country music songs.

+ Athletic events. Scott Miller may ask you to press the "lucky key" during the final minutes of the basketball game.

Columbus State's experts want to expand the Mobile Apps beyond all this. They dream of a secure system for students to chat with each other. Some of us can remember when this was called a restaurant booth in the student union.

The day even may be coming when Columbus State students will be able to follow classes via cell phone and PDA. Of course, this leads to a question - why even have classrooms? Can't the professor set up a teleconference from home?

Columbus State University students paid for this new mobile gadgetry through higher fees for "student technology." But for some, these new applications still may not be enough. They're hoping for a connection providing them free membership at eHarmony.

(For all the high-tech improvements, the C.S.U. communications system still isn't perfect. The news release announcing all this says it was "developed by Columbus University" - showing you still can't beat an old-fashioned set of proofreading eyeballs.)

Isn't it amazing how Columbus State University keeps making significant steps forward? This week alone has brought the first club football game, a new mobile device web site - and skeptics are waiting for giant TV screens to be set up across campus, with non-stop messages from President Timothy Mescon.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Readers from around the world visit "On the Flop!" <--

(The Riverwalk view from Golden Park, Thursday at 9:15 a.m. ET)

BLOG UPDATE: We posted these pictures Thursday morning, showing how flood water from metro Atlanta is covering the Riverwalk at Golden Park. The water level is still several feet below May 2003, when the Chattahoochee River was halfway up the stairs. If that happens this time, sales of kayaks in Columbus may skyrocket.

The Columbus city web site finally posted an alert Thursday about the closing of the Riverwalk. It also posted several keepsake pictures of flooding in the downtown area. But why does it seem to me like most of the photos focus on the Phenix City Amphitheatre stage being covered?

Forecasters say the Riverwalk could be covered with river water until next Tuesday. Until then, you're asked to please NOT go around barricades and walk too close to the Riverwalk. Take it from this jogger - Lumpkin Boulevard along South Commons is wide and dry enough for your morning exercise.

Hoping you stay high and dry, let's review other Thursday headlines....

+ Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle visited Fort Benning, to review base realignment construction. Cagle came here because Governor Sonny Perdue was seeing the Panama Canal on a business trip. Apparently the Chattahoochee River isn't interesting enough to watch right now....

+ The Columbus Health Department assembled a panel of experts, for a news conference on the H-1-N-1 flu. That's nice - but if Scrubby Bear wasn't there, should I really believe what these people say?

+ Employees of a Warm Springs restaurant complained to WRBL they've been under "Bulloch House arrest" since the owners were arrested for an alleged ponzi scheme. Workers claim they've even needed an escort from authorities to go to the restroom. Maybe the Columbus Tea Party's warnings about socialized health care are right after all.

+ Albany's WALB-TV reported the former Randolph County, Georgia school superintendent keeps showing up for work, even though he was fired three weeks ago. They should have checked this man for literacy when they hired him....

+ WALB also reported Georgia has 20,328 state-owned vehicles - more than any other state in the Southeast. That may sound bad, but consider this. Once Governor Perdue leaves office, the state probably won't need as many helicopters for governors to fly.

+ Richard Scrushy's fleet of classic cars was sold at auction in Birmingham. The highest bid for part of the former HealthSouth chairman's collection was more than $170,000, for a 1929 Cadillac with fewer than 5,000 miles on it. The lack of mileage is understandable -- because in some rural corners of Alabama, parts would be "borrowed" from a car to keep farm equipment running.

+ Carver clobbered Columbus in high school football 47-13. WRBL's Shawn Skillman noted the Tigers have been running more swing passes lately. If he's calling Coach Dell McGee a swinger, Skillman may be barred the way University of Georgia recruiters.

+ Instant Message to Richard Hyatt: That's an interesting idea on your web site - to name the new Muscogee County School District administration building. But shouldn't it really be named after John Phillips? Well, at least the executive washroom next to the Superintendent's office?

COMING THIS WEEKEND: A strange question we asked at the Warfighting Conference....

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