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Monday, March 26, 2001

  • Proposed: 'a safe place' for new ideas
  • Computing courses set for April
  • It's the last week of classes
  • Some tricks for web pages

Rave cards were the model for these postcards issued by public health officials in several parts of Ontario last year in a campaign against "binge" drinking. The campaign, aimed at people aged 19 to 24, was accompanied by a survey of students at four campuses, and 30 per cent of those surveyed said they had noticed the campaign. It will be repeated this fall, staff from four health departments said in a panel discussion at UW last week.

Proposed: 'a safe place' for new ideas

The vice-president (university research) will tell UW's senate tonight about a proposed new company that will offer "a pre-incubation program" to nurture ideas developed by faculty, staff and students.

A report in the senate agenda explains that "Innovate Inc." is "a novel approach to business 'pre-incubation' within a university setting. Its goal is to encourage and nurture the entrepreneurial activities of faculty, staff and students associated with UW. An important secondary goal is to demonstrate new and effective approaches to technology transfer of university knowledge to productive application.

"To achieve these objectives, a not-for-profit entity will be created that is governed by UW. The pre-incubation program being undertaken by Innovate builds upon and reinforces UW policy concerning intellectual policy, specifically that it belongs to the individual who has created it.

"By providing pre-incubation services, Innovate will help UW entrepreneurs develop their venture concepts in preparation for presentation to the investment community." Services can include courses in entrepreneurship, an "idea evaluation process", business plan preparation, mentoring, and events at which ideas are put forward to catch the interest of investors.

Says the report: "Innovate will help entrepreneurs to develop their venture concept, create business plans, sometimes develop initial prototypes and begin development of the venture team. Once the venture has matured to the point at which the entreprenurial team is comfortable putting forward their venture concept, introduction to potential investors will be facilitated. It is through these investors that the venture will progress to the next stage of venture incubation."

It notes that "To add value from the entrepreneurs' perspective, Innovate must be a 'safe place' in which to explore the potential of start-up ideas. Critical to this goal will be the code of confidentiality and behaviour agreed to by all participating parties."

The company will have both entrepreneurs and investors as "members", and "will make it easier for innovators and investors to locate each other, and do this while minimizing disruptions to normal campus worklife.

"Although no claim is made that the ventures emerging from the pre-incubator program are without risk, we will endeavor to better prepare innovators for the incubation process through our research and teaching."

Vice-president Paul Guild says he is keen to get existing local associations and professionals involved, rather than duplicating what they're already doing. With that in mind, he's meeting with Waterloo mayor Lynne Woolstencroft this morning to brief her on the proposal.

Today's meeting of the UW senate starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. Other agenda items include the annual report of the library, an update on the projected move of the architecture school to Cambridge, announcements of this year's distinguished teacher awards, and new regulations about part-time status for PhD students.

Funding for summer jobs

The Ontario government says it will spend $53.1 million this year "to help young people find work, or create their own business this summer as part of the Ontario Summer Jobs program". News release

Computing courses set for April

The information systems and technology department (IST) is offering computing courses in April to UW faculty, staff and students. There's a new course this month -- "Scientific Graphing Using DeltaGraph and KaleidaGraph".

The following courses are part of the Skills for the Academic e-Workplace program, and are offered to faculty, grad students, and staff with instructional responsibilities:

The library is also offering the course "Keeping Up With Your Research Literature -- Electronically" in April.

Information and a course registration form are available on the web. New courses will be taught every month, and advertised at the same Web location.

It's the last week of classes

Teachers and students alike will be relieved and terrified to realize that the term is rushing to an end. Friday will be the last day of classes in the engineering and math faculties; in the other four faculties, next Monday and Tuesday are also class days. And then comes the cruelest season, with the first exams scheduled for Friday, April 6.

As usual at this time of year, the library has announced extended hours. The Davis Centre library will be open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. The Dana Porter Library will open at the same hours and close one hour earlier than Davis. These extended hours begin today and continue through Friday, April 20, when winter term exams wind up.

Today is a landmark date in the process of admitting students to Ontario universities for next September. It's the target date for the Ontario Universities Application Centre to deliver high swchool students' first-term marks to the universities where they have applied. And then, as OUAC tells applicants on its web site,

Once they have received the required academic information, the universities may make conditional offers of admission to you. If they do, these offers will be based on some combination of your final and midterm OAC grades as well as marks for Grade 11 and Grade 12 courses. For further details, please refer to the INFO magazine available from your counsellor. If you receive a conditional offer of admission, you will have until June 13, 2001 to decide whether or not you wish to accept the offer. If you wish, you may respond (accept or decline) to the offer before the June 13 date.
"We'll be making a limited number of offers by the end of this week," and more in early April, says Peter Burroughs, UW's director of admissions.

The religious studies department will hold an end-of-term reception for its students this afternoon (4:30 in the "chapel lounge" at Renison College) and present a number of scholarships and annual awards.

The news organization "uwstudent.org" will hold its annual general meeting at 6:30 tonight in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre. "All UW students are associate members," the organization explains, and that entitles them to be at the meeting. To become a full voting member costs a $5 fee.

The Graduate Student Association will hold its annual general meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Needles Hall room 3001.

Wednesday looks like the busy day this week. A sampling of what's scheduled:

Some tricks for web pages -- by Carol Vogt, information systems and technology

Sixth in an irregular series of how-to articles from the Electronic Workplace Group in the information systems and technology department

Automatically forwarding a web page

Have you ever had the experience of having to move a web page from one location to another? It's easy enough to change all the links to that page that might occur on any of your own pages. But what if people have the location of the old page bookmarked? You would like to allow these people to find the new location of the page. Accomplishing this is actually quite easy.

Suppose the original page was at http://www.old.location/index.html and the new page is at the location http://www.new.location/index.html. Replace the index.html file at the old location with one that has the following line in the document HEAD:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;URL=http://www.new.location/index.html">
This line instructs the browser that after 5 seconds, it should automatically load the page specified in "URL=". If you want the transfer to take place immediately, you can replace the 5 in the above line with a 0.

However, not all browsers will carry out automatic transfers, and you may want to let people know that the page has moved. Therefore it is probably wise to leave the transfer time at about 5 seconds, and to add content to the page that states something like:

This page has moved to the following location (and then state the new URL). Please update your bookmarks. You will be transferred automatically to the new page in 5 seconds. If your browser does not support automatic forwarding, please click on the above link.

Finding out who has links to your page

You can't find out who might have bookmarked your pages, but you can find out how many, and which, web pages have links to your pages. Any numbers found in this way are purely estimates, because they come from search engines, and hence only pages indexed by the search engine will be counted.

One search engine that let's you find out who has links to your site is fast. On the fast home page, along with their standard search box, is a link that takes you to their Advanced Search page. Their are many searching options there. One of the advanced search boxes is the Word Search, where you have the option of setting a "Must Include" in the "link to URL"

Suppose I wanted to know how many pages have links to any page in the IST web space. In the Word Search box, I would pick "Must Include", in the search box I would type www.ist.uwaterloo.ca, and I would request that this string appear in the "link to URL". Hitting the Search button informs me that there are 1272 web pages that the fast search engine knows about that contain references to pages on the IST web server.

But wait a minute; many of those references come from other pages on the IST web site, or at least from other pages at UW. Can I eliminate references from other UW pages? Yes, further down on that page is a section called Domain Filters. In the Exclude box I can type uwaterloo.ca. I am now asking fast to search for any page in its index that links to a page containing "ist.uwaterloo.ca", but the URL of the page with the link must not contain the string uwaterloo.ca. Clicking the search button at this point tells me that there are 647 pages, not at UW, that contain links to pages on the IST web server. A picture is available on-line that shows the parameters I filled in on the form to come up with these numbers.

The above example searches for references to any page in an entire site, but the search could be narrowed to a single page. Simply place the complete URL of the page in the search string box.

Carrying out further searches at fast, I find that there are 5,474 links to the UW home page from off campus pages, and there are more than 105,000 links to all UW pages coming from off campus.

Having a "Date Last Updated" automatically added -- with thanks to Martin Timmerman, IST

It is good practice to always include a "date last updated" line on all your web pages, because readers want to know if the information they are reading is current. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to forget to change that line when you update the page. However, you can add some special commands to the web page, asking the web server to substitute the modification date of the file for the commands. To use this facility, you would add the following statements to your HTML file.
  This page was last updated on
<!--#config timefmt="%B %e, %Y"--> 
<!--#echo var="LAST_MODIFIED"-->
When the web server loads this page, and displays it in a browser, it will produce output that looks like: "This page was last updated on January 22, 2001." If you were to modify this page on April 8, the next time someone loads the page, this is what they would see: "This page was last updated on April 8, 2001." You won't need to remember to change the date yourself, and the readers of your page will always know that they are reading current information.

These commands in a web page are examples of what is called a Server Side Include or SSI. There are many SSI functions, one of which is to load standard information, such as a header navigation bar, into all of your web pages. To learn how to do this, and for more information about SSIs, please see the document Server Side Includes.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Friday's Bulletin
Copyright © 2001 University of Waterloo