Welcome, University Business readers. Thanks, UB, for putting a link to my blog in your story about the cloud.

I was interviewed by University Business editor Tim Goral about IHE’s using the cloud. I hope the story is able to shed a little light about potential uses of the cloud in higher education in the future.

I’m glad Mr. Goral touched on security in the story, it’s a question I get a lot from people want to learn more about the cloud or are wary about security concerns in the cloud. This is a topic I’ll blog more about in the future, but here’s a snip of what I said in the story:

“There is some data, such as our student registration, that will always reside on campus,” he explains. “If you’re buying a cloud server and you are uploading code and applications, that’s no different than a server that lives in your data center. You are going to put the same protections on it that you put in your on-campus infrastructure. You are going to lock out certain ports, you are going to make sure you are always patching and getting the most up-to-date software, and so on. If your data is not secure on your own campus, it is not going to be any more or less secure in the cloud.”

I’d like to expand on these thoughts in the future. Thanks again to Tim Goral for including me in the story. If you don’t get University Business, you definitely should. Even if you aren’t in a financial area (I’m in web and marketing), it’s a great way to leran about challenges your institution will or are currently facing, and it never hurts to try to learn as much as possible about the different offices and functions of a college. I’ve learned a great deal in the years I’ve been a (free) subscriber.

Interesting side note, this is the third month in a row I’ve been in UB, and my fifth time over all. Here are a few links:

The Power of Podcasts, February 2006
Facebook Applications: Game changer? February 2008
Should You Twitter, January 2009
How to do more with less, February 2009
10 Questions and Answers about the Cloud, March 2009

Some interesting news from Flickr today. Flickr is now offering Pro users the ability to upload and stream HD video. In addition, non-pro users can now post videos. From the Flickr Blog:

Previously limited to our Pro members, video on Flickr is now available for all. Our free account members can now share 2 videos a month (you’ll need to install Uploadr version 3.1.4 — now available from the Flickr Tools page). So, this is a perfect time for you to check out video mode on your camera.

So, fire up those Zi6’s and get shooting. Here’s an example video.

Unsubscribing from an email list should, in theory, be a very simple task. I click a link and boom, I’m unsubscribed.

Lately, I’ve noticed a few sites handle unsubs in a way that really irks me. Back in the day, I signed up for some email thing at Wendy’s. The reason why escapes me at the moment, but they only send me things occasionly. As part of my push to rid my inbox of unnecessary stuff (been reading Power of Less), I decided that I no longer wanted to get emails from Wendy’s. I enjoy your salads, but don’t want your emails. At the bottom of the email, was an unsubscribe link. Here ’tis:

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I clicked on the link, and got taken to a web page. For most emails I receive, that one click is enough to get me off the list. Sometimes, my email address is shown and I can choose what types of communications I want to receive or which lists I want to be removed from. Wendy’s does none of that. They force me to manually enter my email address in twice. As always, click for a larger version.

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On one hand, it’s probably a good marketing move. When I saw that, I didn’t want to take the time to complete the form and thus I would remain on their list. Then I was annoyed enough to take screenshots and write a blog post.

What can higher ed learn from this? Sometimes people, be they prospective students, current students or alumni, want to be taken off an email list. We need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Sure, it stinks we can’t communicate with them any longer via email, but making the unsubscribe process simple and easy will hopefully allow them to leave with a positive feeling and, who knows, maybe come back and subscribe again.