MSS October 1999 Monthly Report

Last edited: 07 August 2001


Work has begun on working with the students in the use of the digital camera and scanner in the production of their term project web pages. I meet with the students, one-on-one, typically outside of school to have them each individually learn to operate the camera.

On a hike into the mountains of Kitti in early November I passed the camera off to Perelini Perelini at one point. Later, back at campus, I found that someone had taken the digital camera out of its plastic bag and taken some good pictures of other students. I view this as evidence that the students have become comfortable with the technology. On this field trip I also pilot tested the use of a Global Positioning Satellite system unit and altimeter. I hope to develop a proposal for the New York Botanic Garden on the acquisition of such equipment for use in courses. These two technologies would complement the other technologies I've integrated into the Botany course.

During October I began utilizing email both to distribute information to my students and to receive work from my students. The College web site provides full support for my students including syllabi and almost all assignments. Almost all of the students have become comfortable with using the Internet for research.

Work in earnest has begun on some facets of the New York Botanic Garden project with the collection of plants by Francisco Sohl. The College is providing access to the drying cabinet and is storing plant specimens in its herbarium cabinet.


No further work other than supporting the existing software in the laboratory has occurred.  The purchase order for LiveMath 3.0 went out in the second week of November.  The math web pages remain, for now, on Compuserve.


Throughout the month computer help desk type assistance has been provided to the faculty and staff of the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics as well to students in the science/math computer laboratory. 

Excel assistance has been provided on an ongoing basis to Yen-ti Verg-in, Ray Verg-in, and Anca Dema. Each is working at their own level of comfort with the program. Yen-ti and Ray are also dealing with the complications of having a Mac at home at PCs at work. Assistance with email has been provided to Don Buden.

Both Brian Lynch and John Gann continue to use the new Kodak Digital camera.   Brian continues to use the camera both with his marine science students and on research trips into the mountains to collect gobis (small stream fish). I accompanied Brian and Don on one very rain sodden trip into the mountains of Madolehnihnw.

Lab Matters

In mid-September a re-conditioned print cartridge was loaded into the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 6P printer.  As of mid November this cartridge continues to function properly.

The laboratory monitoring work-study crew has completed their hours. I shoulder the bulk of the laboratory supervision load.

Chair John Gann has suggested that a survey be done of all students exploring issues such where do the students go to do what sort of computer work. The suggestion arose out of a discussion of student use of email by night in the A204 computer laboratory. The possibility that students prefer working in a particular lab over other labs or locations was discussed. Questions might include, "What lab do you go to for email?" "Why?" "What lab do you use to type papers for English courses?" "Why?" "What lab do you go to to print papers?" "Why?" "Where do you go to do Internet research?" "Why?"


Internet support and assistance continues to be provided to Morgan Solomon as part of the Pacific Algebra Network.  Morgan comes out to the College to access the Internet support for the Hawaii Algebra Learning Project. The PAN group however, has been relatively inactive during October and on into November. At this point few members are actually contributing messages to the system. The lead computer coordinator, Dave Brauer, has moved to a new project, and the new computer coordinator, Kavita Rao, appears to have less of a stake in the project. The curriculum coordinator, Barb, will be on Pohnpei in early December.


A flow chart was prepared diagramming some of the flows of data and information for the Office of Admissions and Records database. This flow chart was prepared in order to assist Gordon Segal in his preparation for his recent trip to Portland to meet with potential database vendors.

IEP Conference

As a complication of my class and computer lab support schedule I was unable to attend many of the math sessions held during the IEP conference. What sessions I was able to attend appeared to be very productive. Many matters of miscommunication appeared to be cleared up by the face-to-face opportunity that the conference afforded.

It is my opinion that whether one campus accepts that another is doing a "quality" job depends a lot on personal trust. Theoretically course content is kept synchronized by course outlines. Whether one believes that another campus is actually implementing the outline is, however, a matter of trust. Without meeting each other and talking to the personnel from other campuses there is an uneasy haze of suspicion that another campus might not be honestly implementing the outlines. Meeting face-to-face provides an opportunity to discuss matters openly, to watch the other person's expression on their face, a chance to build that critical but elusive element of trust. The IEP conference assisted greatly in building that trust among the mathematicians of the COM-FSM system.


As more faculty members get access to the Internet via the College server, there appears to be a need to run a workshop in building and posting web pages to the local College server. As of 16 November Don Buden and Jazmin Gonzales have been added to the system. Prior members include Brian Lynch and John Gann. The account is being collected and passed over to Hazel Kurapati and Anca Dema are awaiting APC units for their computers. Yen-ti Verg-in, Ray Verg-in, and Mihai Dema await cabling work or NIC cards or computers in their cubicles. This is all being handled by the departmental chair at this time.

Campus Wide Internet Use

The following graph depicts campus wide Internet Use for the week of 07 November 1999. This graph has been covered in a separate email. I report the graph here only to record the recommendation that we might be able to effectively double our Internet bandwidth by signing every new student up for a College email address during registration.

Transition Issues

I am applying for the transition position at the College.

Skills Self-Development


Began attending a course covering the Linux operating system, specifically focused on shell commands.

Worked with W3C's Amaya browser briefly in mid-October. Although the browser is not yet ready for prime time (only supports 256 color palette, no Java support at this time), it is an intriguing proof of concept. It is the only authoring tool for MathML, a set of tags for laying out mathematical equations in web pages. Until Internet Explorer supports MathML (likely in version 6), Amaya must be used to view MathML pages.


October is the month of my annual physical examination. Last year I check in at around 150 pounds with a chloresterol level of 160. The year before I had been both less massive and had a chloresterol of 154. Prior to coming to Micronesia my chloresterol had been measured at 138. This year I weighed in at 146 pounds and my chloresterol was 138, my high density lipoproteins ("good chloresterol") were 51 and my low density lipoproteins were 70 ("bad chloresterol") for an overall ration of 2.7.

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