In the past week I have noticed there were a few newspaper articles and blog posts on Wikipedia.

 

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Wikipedia is a free multilingual, open content encyclopedia project operated by the non-profit, Wikimedia Foundation. The site has been established since 2001, and is the fastest growing and most popular general reference work available on the internet.  It ranks number 7 on the top sites in Canada. 

Wikipedia has over 10 million articles posted in 253 different languages.  Just the other day, in a post by Mike ArringtonWikipedia had reached its 10 millionth article.

All of the articles posted on Wikipedia have been written interactively by volunteers from all around the world. The site can be edited by anyone, with an exception of a few pages, and that poses a problem.  

Dave Winer wrote a post on how random people think they have authority to write on Wikipedia, this is a problem because it creates invalid information and readers become wrongly informed. Just imagine how many people do it considering, we did it once as a class demonstration.

 

It has about 10-15 people who are actually paid employees of the company and they edit and monitor recently added content. Wikipedia wished to expand their staff to about 25 people by 2010. 

In an article found on the Globe and Mail website it stated that some people who contribute monetary donations to wikipedia thought that the organization is being reckless with the donations it receives, while others thought they should be spending more of the funds. Wikipedia needs the funds to keep their site up and running. This is why they seek out people who would like to donate to the site. Wikipedia is a site that needs to think of the long run because, according to most it is here to stay. Looking for donations is crucial for the sites operations. The donations keep the site in working order and pay the few employees on the payroll.  Alfred P. Sloan is donating three, 1 million dollar installments over the next 3 years. With his donation, he hopes that Wikipedia can become more financially stable in the years to come.

The sad thing is though, if wikipedia didn’t focus on donations they would have to go to the alternative of advertising on the wikipedia site. I don’t know about anybody else but I do not want to see any ads on the site. Ads just create clutter and confusion in my opinion. Hopefully Wikipedia will continue to look to its contributers for financial support, or we will soon be seeing ads on the wikipedia page.

 

Jen 

University Texting

March 27, 2008

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I was watching CBC news tonight and there was a story about text messaging. First of all before they even got into the story, I immediately thought their would be something negative about it. Nope, not the case at all, it was saying how some Universities are using text messages as crisis alert systems. So if there was a fire or something, the school would send out a mass text telling the students what happened and what to do. 

The flaw i find with the text message method is that not every student who goes to University owns one. I would say most have one, but not every single person enrolled at the University has their own cell phone. Also the registration for this system would be tough. I dont think there would be anyway to make students comply with giving their cell numbers out to the school. Another major factor would be if it would be possible to text that many people at once, I have a feeling the Island networks wouldn’t be able to handle something as massive as a university wide text message. Usually in times of crisis people are using their cell phones to tell people the news, this also holds up the telephone networks.

 Another problem would be students changing their cell numbers and constantly changing networks and what not and sometimes peoples’ inboxes are full and the message cant even be read. Besides all these negative factors involved the only cost incurred is the installation price of $2,500 for the system to be up and running.

In the news story it was also saying how UPEI is moving towards new forms of alerting students as well. Of course UPEI is not using this texting method just yet and i think it will be a while before that gets approved but UPEI is moving towards new alerts systems. UPEI is trying to implement alerts that would flash across the screen on all the computers on their network. They also want alerts to be on the main page of their site to pop up when disaster strikes and they want a phone line that can be called for info about the happenings. 

Im glad our University is thinking more about their students and what methods of technology that are most common to them. Hopefully we see some of these systems used in the years to come. 

I was reading into what other kinds of alerts the schools could use in a crisis and there are a few good ones but they would be fairly substantial in cost. Outdoor speaker systems, and Electronic Billboards are other crisis alert systems that would be effective. But again i dont think UPEI will be using these ones anytime soon. 

Jen

Obama in 30 Seconds..

March 16, 2008

When going through the required reading, I found one on Lessig’s blog that I found to be pretty interesting. It was actually a video entry, with the executive director of Moveon.org announcing a contest. First of all let me start off by saying that this isn’t the first contest that this site has put on. In 2004 there was a contest out to make a 30 sec television ad called Bush in 30 Seconds. It was a contest for filmmakers, writers, Animators, actors, you name it and you were welcome to submit a video, these videos basically mocked President Bush as much as they could in whatever way they saw fit. There were tons of entries and the winning video called “Child’s Pay” was aired nationally on TV and it was one of the most viewed political ads of all time. I was pretty impressed with the video, it didn’t mock Bush in a humorous way, and it was one of those videos that made you think.

Well now Moveon.org is putting on another contest called Obama in 30 Seconds, the only difference between the Bush and the Obama contest is that Moveon.org is in support of Obama so the videos have to be of the supporting nature this time. A panel of celebrity judges selects the winner too, and if you win the contest you get $20,000 for a new camera and what not and of course your commercial gets aired nationally.

This got me thinking about that chapter in Wikinomics on Goldcorp who seeked help from the Internet for help with finding gold in different areas. It seems that a ton of companies are seeking help from their consumers and why not? It is a huge resource for the company to use their consumers because not only is it convenient but it is free. Seeking input from your consumers and having a reward for it is a great way to utilize what is right in front of you, I mean who knows more about a product than the person who buys it. More and more companies are seeking input from their consumers and I think it’s a great way for companies to stay ahead on what their people want and how to give it to them.

Jen

Watch how to cook

March 9, 2008

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I noticed this post a few days ago on Guy Kawasaki’s blog, it was called A Lot to Learn From Start Cooking. It is a site that literally shows you how to cook something by showing it using a step-by-step process. I’m a terrible cook so I particularly enjoyed this site. It has a ton of videos showing how to make a bunch of different sort of recipes. It shows you the quantities of each ingredient, tells you what kind of cooking supplies needed, how long it should take to cook/bake and of course it shows you what the final product should look like. This site is very beneficial to those people, such as myself, that are visual learners. Though the videos on the site are quick, you can pause it while you gather your things and follow along. It is also an added bonus to do things at your own pace.

Another awesome feature of this site is that you can view the videos many different ways, through iTunes, RSS readers, TVTonic and you can also receive emails with the new recipes and demos available. 

While I thought this was a great site, it sure isn’t the only one out there. There are millions of other instructional videos on the web. You can pretty much think of anything and there will be a video on how to do it, whether you want to watch it or not is another story. YouTube has some out there, but I find that they are either not of particular good quality, and they are randomly added and inconsistent. It amazes me on how reliant we have become on the web to show us how things are done. In the past it was pretty easy to pick up a cooking book or phone a friend for a recipe for example and now it is just that much easier to look it up on the web instead.

Jen

Facebook for Baby

March 1, 2008

While reading through the required reading, I found Mike Arrington’s post on Totspot to be pretty good. First of all let me explain the Totspot site, in my opinion it is pretty much like a facebook for mothers and their babies. The mothers can post pictures of their babies on their page and pretty much document the baby’s entire childhood on the web. The parents can also have the page open to friends and family to check out or have them public for the entire Totspot members to see. Another feature of the site was that once you get all your babies’ precious moments and memories documented on the site you can order it in book form for a cost of course.

In my personal opinion, if I had a baby, I would not be putting pictures and a good amount of my baby’s personal information on the web. Like we talked about in class, once its out on the web it is hard to get it off there for good. And putting your child on the web cannot be a good thing, especially at such an early age, you never know who would be able to access their info. Also I think it would take away from the overall tradition of the baby book. Most parents document their child’s life in a book with notes, pictures, and baby’s first haircut and they add their own personal touches to the baby book. You just can’t get memories like that from the web.

Jen

DanceJam update…

March 1, 2008

So a few posts ago, I wrote about the new site by MC hammer called DanceJam, Well my friends, the website is now up and running. I checked it out and it was pretty good. I don’t even really like these dance shows, but this site is sorta good. The battles are a cool feature, the viewers can vote on who had the better dance off and critique them on it. My favourite is the enthusiastic Mc Hammer in the intro video to the site at the top left hand corner of the screen. Funny 

Jen

I was reading through Mike Arrington’s page and read about a site called StickK. StickK is a site that basically helps you keep your resolutions or commitments. For example if you wanted to quit smoking, the contract would say something along the lines of if you don’t quit smoking there will be a penalty. The penalty, if they fail their challenge, would be to donate money to a charity. You can also get friends and family in on it as your own support system to help you actually stay true to your commitment. In visiting the site, the sign up is pretty easy, almost anyone could do it, and you can customize your goals to your own specifications, which is helpful because you can go at your own pace with your commitment.   

I think it’s a pretty good concept. For the most part, people really don’t like to do anything unless there is a reward in the end, or they will do it if they know there will be negative consequences if not. I think the site will help some people achieve their goals/commitments if their stakes are at play. And I guess you wouldn’t join the site or sign the contract unless you actually wanted to say for example quit smoking.

I find it funny that they think that donating money to a charity is a punishment though, but that’s just me.

 Jen