Category Archives: UNC-G

Google will now sign HIPAA BAA for Google Apps…

A very significant development that I’d missed. Last month, Google announced that they would sign HIPAA Business Associate Agreements (BAA) for Google Apps. This is a significant sign of maturation in the cloud, and was important competitively for Google, since Microsoft will do the same for Office 365. As the HIPAA Security Officer for UNCG (a Google-adopting school) this is potentially a very big thing. We, like many universities, are a HIPAA Hybrid Entity (parts of the institution are subject to HIPAA and parts are not). We have HIPAA responsibilities in some of our clinics as well as our Student Health area. I’ve not looked at the BAA so I can’t speak to the terms, but this is quite interesting.

Thinking about retirement and next steps…

Planning is important as one considers retirement. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and have now, as of last week, publicly announced my intent at work. I’m stepping down from my post as an Associate vice Chancellor at UNC Greensboro effective 12/31/13. That’s several months away, but I wanted to give my boss time to think about how to parse and refactor my portfolio and plan for my replacement. I actually told him several months ago that this was in the works, but we’ve now, as of March 28th, made a statement at a department-wide town hall meeting, and I’ve started to tell my campus colleagues.

While I like my job and am still turned on by technology, I’m looking forward to spending time doing what I want to do rather than what I have to do. I’ll have over 30 years of service to the State of NC by the end of the year, and am looking forward to spending more time at the beach, more time traveling, more time standing in a river waving a flyrod, more time catching up on my reading list, more time teaching myself a few new programming languages and applications, and other deferred projects.

I’ll continue to teach one class per semester at UNC Chapel Hill as long as they are willing to retain my adjunct appointment, and I look forward to being able to devote more time and energy to teaching. I do have to sit out one semester due to state rules about re-employment but that will just give me time to recharge the batteries. I’ll also evaluate consulting opportunities (and have some feelers out), but I won’t be looking for anything that will get in the way of doing what I *want* to do.

I’ll be holding down my regular gig until probably October/November, and then will begin a knowledge dump with my eventual replacement. It’s going to be both an long and short nine months, I think…

Welcome, 2010…

OK, so it’s already January 12th…it’s still early in the new year! 2010 is off to a good start. We’ve got both kids back out of the house again, off at their respective schools, so peace and quiet reigns. I’ve been trying to keep on top of communications and planning for my new BSA role as District Chairman. I think that the key is to do what I need to do right when I think of it; if I let it sit, too much time will pass and I’ll also stand a better chance of dropping a ball. Electronic communication will be important, and I plan to try to use Skype for conference calls, and also leverage either the current Yahoo site or a Google group. We’ll also make use of collaborative editing with Google Docs. I’m gearing up to teach at UNC-CH again this semester in my role as an adjunct in SILS. Last semester was the first time in 10 years I’ve not taught a class, and I feel energized to do it; it’s been good to take the time off. I’m working on getting my vacation schedule set up and coordinated with my colleagues at UNCG. I want to be sure that I get some time for shad fishing in March, Bassclave in June or July, and beach time in August. Time flies, and the cold weather we’ve been having will be gone soon, and the fish will be biting. I do plan to try for some trout in early February. There’s a local pond/lake that gets a trout stocking during the winter. I’ll be giving that a try this year. What’s that whooshing sound? Time rushing by 😉

Snow in the south…

One nice thing about snow in North Carolina…things tend to shut down for a day or so when it snows. Yesterday, it poured rain all day, but changed over to snow about 10PM and dropped 3 or 4 inches of fluffy powder here in Chapel Hill. Got out for a walk with the dogs, the woods were quiet and still. I’m at home today enjoying a “snow day” as UNCG is closed for the day (more snow west of here in the Greensboro area) and we have a nice approach to adverse weather. If the University is closed, then faculty and staff and students stay home; staff don’t have to make up time. Think I’ll go grab a cup of tea!

Planning a conference is hard work!

Well, my wife has been successful in passing along her cold to me…fortunately, I waited until this afternoon until UNC CAUSE 2008 was over to crash! UNC CAUSE is:

“… an organization composed of the management and staff of the information technology based unity of the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina. The organization exists for the purpose of promoting and facilitating cooperation, information exchange and technology leverage between the campuses of the UNC System in all areas related to information technology. The activities of this group are recognized, supported and participated in by the UNC General Administration.”

This year it was the turn of 5 schools in the UNC System “central region” to host the conference. I was asked to chair the planning team. We booked the site a year ago. I recruited staff, and we started meeting in the late winter of 2008, planning logistics, program, social events, etc. This year’s event went very well; we had ~350 attendees, plus over 30 vendor corporations as sponsors, with over 100 staff attending as well. Kudos to my great planning team, including representatives from NCCU, NCA&T, UNC-Pembroke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and my institution, UNC-Greensboro.

We had 18 vendor presentations, about 60 campus presentations and numerous Birds-of-a-Feather sessions.

Whew! Now, back to the office tomorrow and try to catch up (assuming I can stop hacking and sneezing).

iPod Touch

My old iPod was getting flaky, and I used it daily to listen to podcasts from the Economist on my commute to UNCG. I needed to “lifecycle” it, so I looked to see which model to go with. I wanted more than the 8GB of storage on the nano, so I looked at the Touch. I liked what I saw. I could get 16GB or 32GB (though the 32 is a bit pricey). I liked the 802.11x connectivity of the Touch, and had seen some iPhones that belonged to my friends, and I liked the OS/user interface. I decided to buy a 16GB model, though if I use it for videos I might want the bigger model, but I needed to compromise on price. One nice thing is that you can recycle an old iPod (even a non-working one) at the Apple store and get 10% off a new iPod. Cool.

Now on to the iPod Touch. This is really a cool little device. I’m very impressed with it both as an iPod and as a little computer. The email client is excellent. It imported the IMAP configurations for my 4 accounts from my Mac, and connected right up, even transferring the passwords from the Mac keychain (it did ask!). I’m using it for Gmail, for .Mac, for UNC-CH and UNCG IMAP services. Even supports Word and Excel attachments (and pdf, of course). Safari does a really nice job of browsing. The “multitouch” interface is outstanding. The web interface to Gmail works very well, if you prefer that for email. The widgets are useful, and things work like you expect intuitively. It’s interesting to be able to watch youtube videos, but that’s a real time sink 😉 .

One thing that I didn’t realize was how much smaller (thinner) the Touch is compared to the iPhone. While I like the cellular connectivity of the iPhone, the coverage of AT&T’s network (outside urban/highway areas) leaves something to be desired, and I like to be able to use my old Motorola CMDA-based RAZR from whereever I am. The iPod Touch is a great compromise device. I hope it finds its niche. I really didn’t appreciate the utility until I tried one out.


Discussions at the office re: security cameras (due to some thefts of computers from labs, etc.) got me to thinking about webcams, video motion detectors, and so forth. Not as a solution to the problem (that’s outside my area), but from more of a “that’s a good idea, there oughtta be a way” perspective. It seemed to me that there ought to be some easy-to-use software that took advantage of the cameras built into today’s Macintosh platform (my computer of choice!). I went looking and quickly came up with a link to EvoCam. This is a nice piece of software (yes, I did pay my $25). Tons of options & features, for logging, for publishing to web sites, for emailing pictures, etc. Easy to use. I did have to think about about how to configure the SMTP service for port 587 (no config box for that, just use something like “”). I tried to use it with the Google SMTP service, but that uses SSL and Evocam doesn’t support that. I sent an email to the Evocam support address and had a response back in minutes. I just used another SMTP service.

As a test, I’ve put up a page (no longer working) that takes a picture of me in my office every five minutes. Not very exciting 😉 but I’ve gotta remember not to pick my nose now!

This should work when my laptop is docked and I’m in my office at UNCG, but obviously won’t when I’m away. I don’t think it will work transparently with the laptop’s built-in iSight, since I’ve got it configured for the external iSight that sits on my Apple Cinema Display.

I took the very easy way out and hosted it on dotmac, since I could just tell Evocam to save the picture on the directory that’s exposed to the web. Could have done it on another server from my “” domain and used FTP, but this was the simplest way to go…

New Elliptical Trainer…

Well, on Thursday the 10th, our 5-year old Elliptical Trainer (a Horizon Fitness Endurance 200) broke its main axle for the 2nd time, and went to the recycle bin. I’d replaced the axle once before (cost about $150) and had replaced several other parts (several pivot tubes!) over the time we’ve had it. My wife is a serious user of these machines, doing 3-5 hours per week. We’ve sure gotten our money’s worth on that old machine.

I’m a bad shopper…I like to buy 😉

So, we jumped in the car after supper and drove to Dick’s Sporting Goods, where they had a sale on ellipticals going on. Of course, we didn’t like the cheap model, and ended up with a Horizon Fitness E700 (on sale for $799, which seemed a reasonable price based on my knowledge of the marketplace — and over the past year or so, we’ve surfed around a bit looking at different machines). I don’t normally go for an extended warranty, but knowing how much this machine will be used, we added a 3 year warranty for $129. Supposedly they’ll even replace the machine if it’s a lemon and they have multiple service calls on the same part. Seems like a good plan.

It’s a great elliptical! Smooth, and gives you a really great workout. I’ve only done it once (I usually use our Nordic Trak), though I use the Ellipitcals regularly at the UNCG gym.

College visits…

Off today on some college visits. My youngest son, Jeff, is considering Guilford College and UNC-Asheville. Visited Guilford this morning. I was very impressed. A small school, but beautiful, spacious campus (over 300 acres). Things got off to a good start when we drove up in front of the admissions building and they had a parking space reserved with a sign with Jeff’s name on it. Nice touch! I was very impressed with the programs and the facilities. They have about 1400 traditional students and 1000 “non-traditional” older part-time students. Spent about two hours there. Jan and Jeff did an open house at Guilford in June, but I’d never been there, though I work not 5 miles away at UNCG.

I’m writing this from Asheville, NC, where we’re staying for the night. The UNCA open house starts first thing in the morning. We decided to splurge and stay in downtown Asheville in the Mariott Renaissance hotel. It’s just across the street from the Thomas Wolfe memorial, and just a block from the Asheville downtown area. Asheville seems to have a very vibrant downtown, lots of restaurants, theaters, bars, etc. Had some great pizza at Mellow Mushroom. They must have had 50 or 60 beers on tap, including about 20 from local microbreweries. I had a couple (or 3) from the Highland Brewing company, their Oatmeal Porter and the Gaelic Ale. Two of the Gaelic Ales, in fact ;-). Looking forward to visiting the UNCA campus in the morning. That’s all for now!


Am really enjoying the new job.  Wish the drive were a bit shorter, but 50 minutes is not too bad by metro standards, even if it’s a bit long by NC standards.  Lots of stuff to learn!  Wall to wall meetings; trying to stay caught up on email etc.  Am just about finished with the campus “world tour” of major client stakeholders, and then should have some time to try to be proactive.  I continue to be really energized, though, about the opportunity and the possibilities.  More later, on this and other general topics, as I get somewhat on my feet…