Thing Extra: Improving UMW’s Outreach Through the Internet

June 15, 2010

We had an in-class assignment where we had to think about what make our university stand out and how we can emphasize these distinctive features on the internet. Here are ten things my group came up with. (We had question 2 on the worksheet)

1.)Upload images of the campus to the web

2.)Upload a video tour of the campus

3.)Create podcast sample lectures from our most notable professors

4.)Create an easier portal to the club blogs

5.)Create a forum or comment area where students can freely make comment about the university

6.)Create a blog (or microblog) where new events are updated and shown to the public

7.)Point and click virtual map of the campus

8.)Submit our University webpage to or some other social awareness site or social bookmarking site

9.)Create a virtual UMW in a virtual world like second life

10.)Create a wiki that professors can edit and add pages about any course they are offering or any projects they are working on

-Andrew Henson & Erin Wuepper

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing Final: Image Sharing

June 14, 2010

Today we have the last thing for this course. That thing is image sharing. I have used image hosting sites in the past. I have used Photobucket and Flickr which are given in the class blog. I have also used ImageShack and TinyPic which don’t require an account to upload images (though it is easier to find you pictures again with one). I don’t have much to say on this topic, so I guess I will just examine the differences between different image sharing sites.
Photobucket was the first image sharing site I ever used and the one I use most often. You can search for an image by keyword without having an account, but you can’t upload your own images without one. Once you upload an image, you can edit the picture. The site gives you some editing tools such as fix red eye, crop, resize and rotate. You can add effects, text, animations and layers. It is sort of like a mini Photoshop. It also has an EZ Collage button which allows you to create a collage with any of the images uploaded to your account.
Score: 9/10
-Need to create account +Extensive editing +EZ Collage + Group Albums –Doesn’t seem to have “favorites”
Flickr also requires a login, but it is the same as your yahoo account login. I haven’t used Flickr in a long time, so it took me a few tries to remember our family login. Flickr is set up more like a social networking site than Photobucket. It has groups, contacts, sets, galleries, archives and favorites. They also have image editing, but they lose points by just redirecting you to Picknik’s  image editor. The free editing abilities are a lot less extensive than Photobucket’s. You can rotate, crop, fix red eye and sharpen it, but not much else. To get more editing abilities you have to buy an upgrade to Picknik Premium.
Score: 7/10
-Need Yahoo account +Social Networking Abilities +Favorites -Lame borrowed image editor
The last image sharing site I decided to review is Picasa. I haven’t used Picasa myself. The first time I heard of it was when the Google search engine just recently allowed for you to use your own backgrounds from Picasa. This isn’t surprising as Picasa seems to be owned by Google. Unfortunately, I can’t try it out because it required me to download some software and I am currently using the university’s computers. Apparently you download the software and it allows you to upload your images to the internet. Looking at its editing features, it has more abilities that Flickr’s free services, but not as much as Photobucket. Because your album is on your desktop, there are a lot of ways to organize and hide images.
Score: 8/10
-Must download software +Pretty good image editor -Doesn’t seem to have groups + Favorites +Good organization abilities

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing }14{ : Awareness Tools

June 10, 2010

Today’s topic is about awareness tools. I honestly have never had a problem with adapting to technological change. It only took me a few seconds to figure out the new e-mail system when we shifted from the old EagleLink mail to WindowsLive. It only took me a few hours to dump Internet Explorer, decide I hated Firefox and adapt to the incredible shiny Google Chrome browser. I recently got rid of my old 15 inch laptop that ran Windows XP and bought a media laptop with a 17 inch screen and Windows 7. I have also never gotten a headache when switching between the ever expanding set of game consoles sitting in the corner of the family room.
When it comes to the internet I have a few websites that I regularly visit. I usually find new sites by recommendation from people on the forums I visit. I don’t really see the relevance of awareness tools for me, but let’s look at them anyway. Typing in awareness tools into Google didn’t really give me the results I needed, so I decided to look at some of the sites provided on the class blog.
The first I looked at was Slashdot. I used to read Slashdot when I first discovered the internet in middle school. It looks a lot different from what I remember. I looked for a page with a short summary of what the site is about. This page would usually be on a FAQ page, but their FAQ page is rather daunting and unhelpful in that arena. I guess I don’t need one, since it is quite obviously a site where users submit technology related news stories and other users comment on them.
I talked very briefly about Google News in Thing (11).
Fark is a site that I have heard about, but never visited myself. Their FAQ  page was a little more helpful than Slashdot’s. The first mini-paragraph tells you what the site is about, “The first thing you should know is that isn’t a Weblog., the Web site, is a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site. Every day Fark receives 2,000 or so news submissions from its readership, from which we hand-pick the funny and weird notable news — and not-news — of the day.”
I actually think that I might visit Fark again, because it seems like a pretty humorous and cool site, but I don’t know if I am ready to change my opinion on awareness tools.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing }13{ : Forums

June 9, 2010

Today’s topic is forums. This is another topic that I am pretty familiar with. The time I don’t spend on the internet watching streaming videos and reading web comics, are mostly devoted to reading and occasionally posting on forums. In the past I have been both a moderator and an administrator on several forums. The forums I was once a part of are long dead by now, but they were fun when they were active. I used to participate in many forums dedicated to play-by-post role-playing. If you don’t know what that is, Wikipedia has a great article on it. One of these play-by-post forums I was particularly proud of lasted about two years and I was one of the two gamemasters running the site.

This was back when I still knew html, but we really didn’t need it thanks to the free forum hosting sites ProBoards and InvisionFree. ProBoards was useful, because it was very simple, had many pre-created themes and you could change your display name at will (which is useful when you are role-playing). InvisionFree was a little harder to get started and didn’t have a flexible display name function, but it allowed more customization of your display picture.

Outside of geeky creative writing experiments, I have also been on several fan forums. Almost all web comics I have read have had their very own forum. Moderation can be as harsh as suspending users for typing in all lowercase letters to no moderation at all. I like open forums with very little moderation, but still present to get rid of the adbots and phishing scams.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing (12): Cloud Computing

June 8, 2010

Today’s class talked about cloud computing. I hadn’t really heard this term before, but it seems to be a technology that I use a lot. In class we had to edit a Google document by adding screenshots to the text. The hardest part of that exorcise was getting my “Print Screen” button to work, but otherwise it was very straightforward. Like with the previous topic, I don’t see Google Docs being immediately useful to me, but it may be good to know about for the future. To be honest, I don’t fully understand what cloud computing is, even after reading the Wikipedia article on it. From what I get of it, cloud computing is a system where one rents space on someone else’s server, so they do not need to host and maintain what they upload to that server themselves. Something like Google Docs allows multiple users (if invited) to edit a single document in a similar way that you edit a wiki.

There is also something called the “7th International Cloud Expo” that will be held November 1-4 in Santa Clara, California. It seems like a fairly big deal for something I never heard about. Their site is pretty amazing looking. This is what they have to say about the expo from their homepage: “No one can take full advantage of cloud computing without first becoming familiar with the latest issues and trends, which is why the organizing principle of the 7th International Cloud Expo on November 1-4, 2010, is to ensure – through an intensive four-day schedule of keynotes, general and breakout sessions, and our bustling Expo Floor – that attending delegates leave the Santa Clara Convention Center with abundant resources, ideas and examples they can apply immediately to leveraging the Cloud, helping them to maximize performance, minimize cost and improve the scalability of their Enterprise IT endeavors.”

I also found a “Cloud Computing for Dummies” book, so if I get really curious about what exactly cloud computing is, I can always go to the library.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing (11): RSS

June 7, 2010

Today’s topic is RSS feeds. I already knew about these, because the little subscribe icon appears on every other site I visit and a good portion of the Google Chrome extension library have something to do with making Google Reader prettier and easier to use. I have never actually subscribed to an RSS feed myself, because there are only three sites that I check regularly for updates and they all update by the end of the week. Most of the stuff I read and watch on the internet is part of a series that is already finished and no longer updating, but I see the appeal of RSS feeds to those who mainly use the internet for new and constantly updating information and entertainment. Since I don’t use feeds myself, I mostly ignored the little icons that appear on some sites. I decided to look around to see what sites allow you to subscribe to an RSS feed.
News feeds:
This page from Google News finds new articles from news blogs and categorizes them into different RSS feeds. It has feeds for top stories, U.S. news, world news, business, sci/tech, entertainment, sports, health, and “spotlight”.
Blog feeds:
Blog-Search seems to be a directory site for blogs. It has a page where all the blogs in its directory that support RSS feeds are listed in categories similar to the Google News page above, but it has a lot more categories to choose from.
Video feeds:
YouTube offers a lot of feeds to subscribe to. You can subscribe to a specific user or a tag word. It also has feeds for recently added videos, recently featured, top favorites, top rated, most viewed, most discussed, the YouTube blog and many others.
Looking around, there are very few sites (that actually update their content) that do not offer a subscription to an RSS feed. I still don’t feel the need for me personally to use it, but it is nice to know what tools are out there.Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

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Thing Project: Google Flu Trends

June 3, 2010

When I was writing my research paper about how the internet has affected the health industry, I originally wanted to briefly write about the cool little Google gadget, Google Flu Trends, but couldn’t find a good way to bring it up. Google Flu Trends was launched sometime in November 2008. It didn’t get a lot of attention, but I found it very interesting when it first came out.

So, what is it? Well, Google already keeps track of what terms people search for the most. That is why, when you start typing into a Google search bar, that a little dropdown appears with suggestions about how to fill the rest. Google Flu Trends specifically keeps track of search terms related to the flu and where those searches are coming from.

From Google Flu Trends’ “How does it work?” page: “We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for “flu” is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries are added together. We compared our query counts with traditional flu surveillance systems and found that many search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in different countries and regions around the world. Our results have been published in the journal Nature.”’

Google Flu Trends’ FAQ page explains more in detail how the site works. Nature’s article on Google Flu Trends also offers a little more information.

Over the past two years since its launch, Google Flu Trends has received conflicting reports from News blogs that say the site is just as good, not as good, or sometimes-but-not-always as good as the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) surveillance data:

Scientific American – “Google Flu Trends” Found to Be Nearly on Par with CDC Surveillance Data


UPI (United Press International) – Google Flu Trends not as accurate as CDC


The Wall Street Journal – Google Flu Trends Good At Suggesting, Not Pinpointing, Flu Cases


EmaxHealth – Google Flu Trends Not Accurate, Still Good Tool


All of these reports were posted May 17, 2010. I am willing to believe they were all reporting on the same study, but the headlines seem to contradict one another.

What seems to be the general consensus is that Google Flu trends isn’t quite as accurate as the CDC, but it is less expensive and easier to get your hands on. If you are just someone who is curious about the chances of your neighbor making you sick the next time you greet them, I recommend checking out this useful site.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing 00111001: Video

June 2, 2010

Today’s topic is videos! This is the second biggest thing I use my internet for. I have uploaded my own video to YouTube in the past (for a class project), but I have no idea what I called it or what my username was at the time. I have watched videos from almost all of the video hosting/searching sites listed on the class blog (Blinx, Video Google, Hulu and YouTube) as well as other sites such as SideReel (video searching), Video MySpace (video hosting), MegaVideo (video hosting) and many others. Some of it was perfectly legal original content and some of it… wasn’t.

One great thing about video uploading and sharing is that you can find great original content that will probably never make it to the TV. One of my favorite sites for that is which contains many different weekly-to-monthly “shows”  one of the most popular being “The Nostalgia Critic” who does weekly, snarky reviews of old movies. Another is which has “Red vs. Blue” a long-running comedy series using pre-recorded audio dubbed over video footage from the game series Halo.

On the not-so-legal side, I was able to find a full-length movie for a class on the Chinese video hosting site, Youku (with Chinese subtitles!) . I am sure it is possible to find any episode of any show online somewhere, even if you can only find it on a site hosted by another country.

I have also used the internet to watch Japanese cartoons (anime) that have not been dubbed and licensed in the US. (This time with English subtitles!) Fansubbing communities can be found all around the web and no one seems to care until the material they work with becomes licensed. Even then, it seems like an impossible battle trying to take down all the (now illegal) videos. YouTube is pretty good at taking down illegal content, but with so many video streaming players and upload sites, there is no way to get rid of them all.

I am not sure where I stand on that issue. I could take the side off the companies who are potentially losing viewers because of the internet, but then I would be a hypocrite. With how easy it is to upload and share content over the web, maybe it is about time to start thinking about other ways to make money off of videos that takes in to account that those who wish to, can now find the material for free.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing Otto: Podcasting

June 1, 2010

Today’s topic is podcasting. I don’t know a whole lot about it, because I personally don’t listen to them too often. I feel uncomfortable listening to people talk without having anything to look at. I have trouble talking on the phone for similar reasons. I have seen podcasts on some of the sites I regularly visited, so I am not totally in the dark about what they are. I decided to google around see if I could find more information.

I found a site called Podcasting News  which  is set up like a regular news blog, but features news about podcasting and other vaguely related news (such as iPad and iPhone news).  Looking at their side bar, they have separated the podcasting news from the other news and further separated it into news dealing with “Audio Podcasting”, “Corporate Podcasts”, “Educational Podcasts”, “How to Podcast”, “Making Money with Podcasts”, “Mobile Podcasting”, “News Podcasts”, “Podcast Directory Sites”, “Podcast Distribution”, “Podcast Hosting”, “Podcast Quickies”, “Podcasting Events”, “Podcasting Hardware”, “Podcasting Law”, “Podcasting Networks”, “Podcasting Research”, “Podcasting Services”, “Podcasting Software” and (finally) “Podcasting Statistics”… whew!

Podcasting Tools shows you how to podcast, what software you can use for podcasting, the history of podcasting, the uses of podcasting, what podcasting actually IS and a lot more. Some of the site just links to other pages on the web, but it seems very useful and I would probably go there if I wanted to create my own podcast.

Typing “podcast” into google books gave me 1,127 results despite the fact that the term is less than six years old. Most of the book results were manuals on how to podcast, but I also found books like Career Building Through Podcasting.

Searching on Google Scholar gave me many more results, especially about the uses of podcasting for lectures and academics in general. One good example is this article by Peter Ractham and Xuesong Zhang called, “Podcasting in Academia: A New Knowledge Management Paradigm within Academic Settings”.

Not that I ever doubted its uses, but it seems that podcasting can be a very useful tool for the distribution of information. I still prefer video however.

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing Sette: Virtual Worlds

May 28, 2010

Today we explored virtual worlds in class. To be specific we played with the virtual world “Second Life” . To start out, I had to choose a name for myself. I decided to make my first name Blob, because… well… why not? I had to choose a last name from a list, so I chose Gloom and became officially Blob Gloom. I then had to choose from a set of avatars that can be changed in the game proper. I played with my avatar for around 20 minutes turning various parts of my body invisible and matching male torsos with female legs and whatnot, but I eventually settled with a relatively normal female avatar with a combination of clothing from different avatar pallets. When I was done playing with that, walking through walls and learning how to fly, I went to the various libraries and islands given in the hands-on activity. They were cool looking and showed off all the features the site offered, but mostly I was distracted at how odd the world looked as it loaded the island and people piece-by-piece. I think Second Life has its uses and certain types of people may enjoy this type of environment, but I am just not one of those people. I don’t particularly enjoy social interaction all that much and it seems to me that Second Life is just one giant game of pretend, but with more loading and polygon people. I have a certain respect for MMORPGs even if I don’t play them myself and I can respect the uses for Second Life even if I don’t fully understand the appeal.

I went to Google Scholar to see exactly what professionals use Second life for. I found an article called “Second Life: an overview of the potential of 3-D virtual worlds in medical and health education” that talks about some of the libraries I visited in the hands-on activity. I didn’t read all of the article, but apparently “HealthInfo Island” was entirely funded by a $40,000 grant from the US National Library of Medicine (NLM)/Greater Midwest Region of the National Network to provide consumer health information services in Second Life. Obviously someone thought this project would be beneficial.

There are a few other papers on virtual worlds and Second Life in particular. This article states that virtual worlds like Second life could be beneficial for research in the “social, behavioral, and economic sciences, as well as in human-centered computer science”. This article is about how museums and museum-like activities in Second Life have evolved and how they compare to similar activities in real life. I suppose there really are benefits to virtual worlds like Second Life even if I myself don’t particularly enjoy them.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing VI: Evaluating Internet Research

May 26, 2010

The last topic was about finding information on the internet. Today it is about checking to see if this information can be trusted. I’m actually going to do the hands-on activity for this one, since I can’t think of anything to write about myself.

The goal is to check out,, and by searching for “violent crime” in each of them and see what types of sites you get. gave me mostly “.gov” sites presumably all from the United States government. Some examples of sources that I picked up were the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Rankings, U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet and the Sex Offender Registry. Most of these sites look pretty official and since I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything, I would trust most of the data I find at these sites. I don’t know how useful this search engine would be for anything non-government/police related however. Typing in “cartoons” did give me more than 76,000 results, but a disproportionate number of the links on the first three pages were about editorial and political cartoons., of course, gave me a bunch of news sites. Example sources are Daily Review Online, USA Trends, New York Times, The Associated Press and the Christian Science Monitor. I’m a little more suspicious of some of the sources for this search engine. Although a lot of news sources claim to be “fair and balanced”, their reports are rarely peer-reviewed articles. Not being Christian myself, I might feel that the Christian Science Monitor articles are too biased to use for a college level research paper, for example. Although maybe not as professional as most of the sites obtained from the unclesam search engine, it seems to retrieve information on a larger variety of subjects and with many more points-of-view. is the search engine I am most familiar with outside of just plain It gave me mostly information from peer-reviewed journals. Some examples from the first page are Science Magazine, the American Sociological Review, The American Journal of Psychiatry, the European Economic Review, and The Journal of Legal Studies. I find these sources the most reliable so far. They seem to be less biased than the results found on unclesam and news. It seems to return a wider variety of subjects than unclesam, but slightly less variety than news, because most of the articles from scholar are studies or reports of some kind. The only downside to using scholar over the other two is that the sources tend to be a little older. is different from the google search engines, because it doesn’t search the web for different sites containing the search phrase, but searches its own database for the page with the same title as the search phrase. It only returns one article on the subject and this article is the combined effort of a bunch of anonymous people that may or may not be professionals on the subject in question. Its article on violent crime is relatively short and may not contain the information you were looking for on the subject. Although the article is the effort of many anonymous people, they do tend to leave sources for all the information they add to the article. It is then your job to look at the sources and see if they are legit and unbiased. I wouldn’t use Wikipedia as a primary research source, but Wikipedia has a wide variety of subjects to choose from and it may be a good place to get an idea of what the subject is about before searching for good research materials.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing V: Internet Research

May 26, 2010

Today’s topic is about using the internet for research. I am sure we have all done it. I would not believe you if you told me that you had never tried to fill out a resource requirement with as much web sources as possible. This is because searching the internet is an incredibly fast and easy way to get the information you need. I have never gone to the library once since I entered college. That is because I have been using the schools databases, Google Scholar and Google Books to find all the information I need from professional sources. The practice of using the internet for research is so widespread that Wikipedia has its own article for it.

E-How has a page on how to get a job doing internet research. Apparently there are many jobs that require internet research skills and this article lists several areas where internet research can be applied in the job market. I also found “The Journal of Medical Internet Research: The leading peer reviewed journal for health and health-care in the internet age”  while researching for my first paper. This journal seems to specifically target those searching for health related topics on the internet. It has all of its volumes since it started in 1999 published online and although you can view the articles in html for free, you must pay $9 per download for the pdf or $4.92/month for membership which gives you the pdf for free. These are just some sites that recognize the importance of internet research. Although it is true that anyone can post anything they like online, there are ways of finding out if the information is legitimate or not. The internet allows you to access more information, faster. I hope to see more material posted on the internet for lazy college students like me in the future.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing Four: Wikis

May 24, 2010

Today’s topic is about wikis. I feel like I am more familiar with this topic than all the previous ones, because I actually use wikis pretty often and I don’t just mean Wikipedia. I have never really edited a wiki before this class, but I have certainly searched for and read several. I mostly use them for help with different videogames. Unlike other gaming sites like GameFAQS and IGN , wikis tend to get more in-depth about the characters and mechanics of the games since each one would have its very own page rather than a small section of a walkthrough.  One of the largest videogame wikis is Bulbapedia which now has over 16,000 articles all pertaining to Pokémon. Every single game has its own article as well as every single one of the 498 different Pokémon in seven different languages. This is an impressive amount of information about one franchise.

One of my personal favorite wikis is Golden Sun Universe  dedicated to the videogame series Golden Sun. It is a lot smaller with only about 1,000 pages, but I found it slightly more extensive. Taking the page of one of the main characters of the game and pasting it into Microsoft Word gave me 24 pages of text! Those are some dedicated fans! Looking at the history for the page I can see that the article was the work of around 20 different people. The little booklet that came with the game only gave the main character two sentences.

Golden Sun Universe is hosted by Wikia which operates using MediaWiki software. According to their “About Us” page they are the largest user-generated media company and a top 100 web property. On their main site they show categories for wikis about entertainment, gaming and lifestyle which take you to a list of the top wikis for that category (or subcategory). I think wikis are the best for finding information about media of any kind. Official websites are often small and not as extensive as wikis and forums are harder to navigate. I like how fans all over the world are able to edit and add to pages without having to jump through hoops and go through much hassle. It certainly makes finding information a lot easier.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing Three: Social Networking

May 24, 2010

Today’s blog post is supposed to be about social networking. The hands-on activity for this one didn’t offer a lot to write about, but I did get some inspiration from the readings of the privacy rights for social network users as mentioned in that section. So, today’s blog post is going to talk about the concerns of privacy when using social networking sites. As you can imagine, privacy is a rather big deal when it comes to social networking. On very few other sites do you give out so much personal information as you do on sites like Facebook and MySpace. A lot of the time the personal information doesn’t stop at your name and age, but pictures, addresses and phone numbers are often given out for the entire community to see. This is not to mention controversial opinions and anything else you wouldn’t want your boss, teachers or boyfriend/girlfriend to see. According to the Daily Tech, one in three people who have posted on social networking sites regret doing so and I can understand why.

According to Top Tech Reviews, the Wall Street Journal recently conducted a report in which they found that many popular social networking sites including Facebook, LiveJournal, MySpace, Digg, Xanga, and Twitter were sharing personal information with advertisers. This wouldn’t be such a big problem if it was just statistics it was sharing. These sites could easily obscure profile ID numbers as well as usernames, but they don’t. In fact, Facebook not only gave out the username of the person’s profile, but also information on the people viewing the profile and anyone who clicked on the add. People were angry, not just because advertisers were given powerful tools to target them with, but because personal information that they thought was protected was now being shared with possibly thousands of strangers. It just goes to show that nothing posted on the internet should be considered private.

Information Week gives us a study given at the second ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Online Social Networks in Barcelona, Spain which is even scarier. According to the study, these social networking sites are not only giving your profiles to advertisers, but could be leaking your entire internet history to them. I am a little fuzzy on how it works. It has something to do with header identifiers and cookies, but the point is that advertisers or whoever else the information is given to can find out everything you do online. Although most of these sites admit in their privacy statements that they give out non-identifying information, very few people realize that your identity can easily be derived from information that is supposedly non-identifying. Even if you don’t give your name and address on your profile, these things can be found out through your daily internet activities. You may talk about privacy settings on certain networking sites, but here is a quote from the Information Week article, “Many social networking sites provide privacy controls to limit information disclosure, but the report found that between 55% and 90% of users — Wills suggests it’s closer to 70% on the lower end — of social networking services keep the default privacy settings for allowing strangers to view profile information and 80% to 97% keep the default privacy settings for viewing friends.”

I’m not posting this to scare people away from social networking sites. I just thought it was interesting (and a bit scary) to know exactly how public your “private” data can be become.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing 2: Microblogging

May 19, 2010

For our hands-on assignment in class today, I was asked to sign up for a Twitter account. I am not a particularly social person in the real world and even less of a social one online. I did not have a Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or even a regular forum account and I didn’t have a blog until it was required of me to make one for this class. I don’t really have much to say to people and I don’t really do anything particularly fascinating in my day-to-day life that I feel needs to be shared with others. However, for this assignment I have made a Twitter account. My username is evilblob, but I don’t plan to post much if anything on it. I am following NASA‘s Twitter account as the institution the activity asked me to follow. I’m actually not that interested in NASA, but I am not really that interested in anyone.

Now for the third part of the activity: search for a topic and report on my blog what I found.

– Google Chrome is planning to release their own web store for web apps to rival Apple’s AppStore (I’m interested in this stuff):

-It has been leaked the Apple’s new iPod Touch will have a 2-Megapixel Camera:

-Just recently a Japanese couple have been the first couple to be married by a robot as reported by Orange News on May 17th:

I kept my searches to technology, because they returned less pointless opinions on the topic and more actual headlines. As you can see, I found out some pretty interesting stuff that might not necessarily appear in a news feed, but I still feel that randomly typing things into Google search would return a lot less unrelated comments and give me the full headline rather than a truncated, barely readable snippet.

I could tell you what people thought about the topics, but most comments were something like, “that’s hilarious” or “I’m saving up to buy a new iTouch right now!” For the news about Google Chrome’s app shop, I just found a bunch of users who posted the same headline and no real comments on it. I suppose the point of Twitter is to read the opinions of your friends and anyone else your following on what is going on in the world, but I don’t really get the whole “it feels like reading a book of a person’s life” feeling. I just found it kind of annoying and boring.

I guess the other side of Twitter is keeping track of what people have to say about their day, but if their life is so fascinating that they need to tell the world about it, I would much rather hear about it in full on LiveJournal or on a (non micro) blog rather than in multiple, short, unreadable sentences.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Thing 1: Blogs

May 18, 2010

For my first real post on this blog, I decided to do the “hand’s-on activity” given under Thing 1: Blogs of the CPSC 104 class blog at

Step one was to go to Wikipedia’s page on “blogs” ( and find three things that I learned about blogs from reading the entry.

-For one, I knew that in 2002 U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was forced to step down due to accusations of racism. These accusations apparently came about due to comments he made praising some of U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond policies which included racial segregation. What I didn’t know was that these comments by the former Majority Leader and accusations against him were only given media attention after bloggers first broke the story and got the internet community talking about it.

-Second, I did not know that Israel was one of the first national governments to set up an official blog. The  Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has apparently set up both a political and video blog as well as have a Twitter account on which they held a worldwide press conference on the Israel-Gaza Conflict.

-Third, apparently people have been sued on defamation and liability charges for stuff posted on their blogs. According to the article, by 2009 U.S. payouts related to blogging totaled $17.4 million.

Step two was to find a club or organization that has an up-to-date blog at and write down the name of the club, the URL of the blog, and a brief description of the blog.

-Well, I found a club whose last blog post was April 27 which is pretty up-to-date. It’s the Geography Club’s blog and it is surprisingly (to me) extensive and informative. Their blog is at It has separate pages for descriptions of the club, the duties of the club’s officers and a symposium schedule. Their latest posts were about receiving the club t-shirts and who the newly appointed club officers were.

Step three was to see if I could find three blogs that seem to have an impact in an area associated with my major and to give the name and URL of each. Since I am a Computer Science major, finding blogs dealing with my major was not very hard.


-Coding Horror:

-Computer Science Teachers Association:

This activity wasn’t particularly hard and it was pretty informative. I would suggest others give it a try if you want to know more about blogging culture and how it relates to you.

Categories: Uncategorized.

May 18, 2010

From: CC BY -NC 2.0

Categories: Uncategorized.