SVSU should adapt to support new technology
November 19, 2007 —
It still happens occasionally, usually towards the twilight hours. I'll be sitting in the RFoC or on a couch in the Student Life Center updating my calendar when I'll hear what has now become such a familiar phrase:
"Oh my God! Is that an... iPhone!"
The phrase that used to be replied to with such pride is now replied to with my minimal acknowledgement and a whisper if you're lucky.
"Uh... yea," I might now say, not even lifting my head to view my captive admirer.
Having such a marvelous device can be somewhat of a burden. I find myself wishing sometimes that I wasn't the only one on campus with an iPhone. If I'm not, then I'd be relieved, and I'd love to meet some of my fellow iPhoners. Simple tasks such as checking my mail make people think I'm showing off. I hear the whispers, and oftentimes I want to just yell, "I'm just checking my mail, leave me alone." The device did lead me, however, to a peculiar SVSU policy, one I'm not sure will sit well with many technologically inclined students.
Whenever I'm on campus and I decide to hop on the internet, I'm greeted with a prompt asking me if I would like to connect to SVSU's wireless network 'Registration.' Knowing that I cannot connect through the device, I'll casually exit out of my internet application, go into my settings, and turn off my wi-fi. One day however, I decided to be bold: I decided to contact the University's main IT guy.
I asked him how I could connect to SVSU's wireless network via my iPhone. It seemed like an honest request. I figured, I'm a student, I help pay for the network, I should be allowed to join the network. Not so fast. He informed me that iPhones do not support the type of authentication SVSU uses.
I wasn't upset, I simply figured because the device was so new, SVSU's IT department hadn't had time to fix all of the bugs. Later that day, a page on the SVSU ITS Web site that explained the iPhone situation further. This time, I wasn't so thrilled. Here's what he wrote to me in an email this week
"Bottom line is that it is up to the vendor of the equipment to provide the needed update. It is not the responsibility of the University."
Forgive me if I seem out of touch, but I just can't see Steve Jobs rising up in the middle of the night before the iPhone launch day, slapping his forehead and exclaiming, "Oh! SVSU! We forgot to support the type of authentication they use!" Seriously, does anyone see this as a responsible position? It seems inherently backward to me. I don't know, maybe he's a Windows guy.
History has repeatedly shown that organized institutions are the last groups to implement the latest technology. This is unfortunate, however. Has anyone tried to program their notebooks to use the SVSU's wireless network? That's a day and a half right there.
This whole iPhone debacle is reminding me of my grandmother and how we have to slowly wean her off of her electric typewriter. Surely there has got to be a better policy. I'm sick of policies that act deathly afraid of new technology. What are administrators afraid of?
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, I mean, look at CardMail. SVSU doesn't have the best track record when it comes to technology. Then, of course, you have the pesky "change your password" rule (make sure it includes a number!).
I swear sometimes the University gets a kick out of treating us like we're five years old. Even students at Delta College can access a wireless network with their iPhones.
It's time to think twice about new technology and its implementation at SVSU. It's time to be more like Bill Gates, and less like Grandma.