Take the bus, find non-sleepy help with tech problems

Riding the bus now offers Unitrans passengers a new learning experience in campus technology.

A few ads above the seats caution passengers against using sleep-deprived roommates as tech support, or ask, "Need to get that class project done?" Some assert opinions: "The one free CD you won't want to use as a coaster."

These questions, plus answers about various useful IET services, are part of more than 80 new ads that Information and Educational Technology installed inside the Unitrans bus fleet during winter quarter.

Unitrans serves all of Davis and carries more than 20,000 passengers each weekday. The vast majority are UC Davis students, so IET aimed the eight new ad designs at them. The messages highlight the SmartSite online course and collaboration system, IT Express, Meyer Media Lab, audio-visual loans, Desktop Enterprise Solutions consulting, computer security, the computer rooms, and the free Internet tools CD--the one you'll use to download anti-virus or Endnote bibliographic software, not as a coaster.

IET normally posts a new crop of bus ads in the fall, but this past autumn IET donated its bus ad space to the "Peace Begins Here" exhibit at the UC Davis Design Museum.

The IET bus ads have won awards in three of the last four years from the Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services (SIGUCCS), which recognizes top college computing publications nationwide. Last year's ads won an "award of excellence" in the General Service Promotional Materials category, which includes handbooks, guides, and posters. IET will enter the newest ads again this year.

A few Unitrans passengers were particularly positive about the displays during a recent weekday ride.

Brett Fontaine, a major in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior, liked the IT Express ad that tells readers they can enlist the campus computing services help desk, and not have to rely on their roommates, when they have computer problems.

Ali, a biological sciences major who didn't want to give his last name, said the Internet Tools CD ad easy to read, and he liked its use of colors.

The security ad on identity theft--"There's only one of you, and we want to keep it that way"\024attracted computer science major Matthew Zweig. "It's powerful," he said, "although it took me a second to figure it out."

The latest ads were designed by Richard Wiley, a design student. Most of the copy was written by Philip Riley, who is studying sociology and communications. Both undergraduates work part-time for the Information and Events unit of IET.