The main reason why I registered for Digital Frontiers was that none of the honors classes seemed interesting/useful to me. Foreign languages are too much work, calc and physics weren’t even fun the first time and magic classes shouldn’t be on the list.
I was surprised with how much material we ultimately covered in the class. While a lot of the materiel overlapped, it was generally new material for me. Compared to all the other classes I’ve taken, Digital Frontiers has been by far the most effective. Problem Solving with Computers took a whole semester to teach me a few shortcuts I could have learned in less than five minutes. Man’s Food and Micro Econ taught me that it is best not to watch lectures because Smokin’Notes will teach you a month worth of material in an hour or two.
Before this class I was a skeptic. I thought Twitter was a completely useless adaptation of the Facebook status update and that social media was a way for people to be unproductive and burn time, kind of like WOW. Now i can see the value of Twitter and how social media can be used for something other than growing crops.
I was most surprised by the quality of the speakers we had. They are all legitimate success stories and some of them are so successful that they were kind of intimidating. A few times I even felt bad that they were there. As if we weren’t worthy of their time. I liked the idea behind Second Life even though it looked really primitive. I think if the developers can make it more visually appealing they will see a lot more growth.
I took Warrington Welcome last semester but I think Nikolai did a better job of explaining to us how to succeed in college and life in general. I started writing down my goals and giving each a deadline and it has helped a lot. Not only is it more difficult for me to procrastinate but now I don’t forget my short term goals either.
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The world’s greatest innovations have never been exclusively created by one single person. They have always been built upon someone else’s work; modifying somebody else’s great idea and making it work for you.
Yet some people believe that the internet stifles our creativity (Elton John amongst them). We can access lifetimes of research and work with just a choice phrase punched into trusty old Google, why would we possibly want or need to think? Are we so bombarded with other people’s great ideas that we can no longer create our own?
I seriously doubt it. Would that mean that libraries, reference books, and textbooks are also impeding our ability to create and think? It provides us with a base for our own ideas, just as HTML, PHP, and other coding languages do for web developers. More traditional inventors weren’t/aren’t required to reinvent the wheel for their own innovations so why is the internet held to a different standard? Inspiration can come just as easily, if not more so, from online sources than more traditional ones.
The idea that the internet actually promotes creativity isn’t even restricted to web developers. Not too long ago, creating a new business was a pretty big deal. Tons of time, money, and effort had to be put into a new idea; not that it still isn’t now, but the internet has made entrepreneurship a whole lot easier. Ideas without financial backing withered away, but now you can share your ideas with the world for free or not very much at all. If your idea is truly creative, then it will stand out.
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What if you could keep your house cool during the steamy summer months without spending hundreds of dollars on electricity? Now you can with the amazing SolAir! This revolutionary A/C unit is powered by solar panels lining the roof of your home. Solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels in quickly gaining support and popularity. Some states such as California even provide rebates to make the process of going solar more affordable. It’s easy to set up your own solar system. There are dozens of guides avaliable to help you streamline the process.
The SolAir system will help you save on energy costs during the hotter months and may even give you the opportunity to sell energy back to the power company during the cooler months. While similar solar powered A/C units exist, none are as practical as SolAir. The Coolerado unit is highly efficient but has no way of being integrated in to the central A/C system of a home. The Greencore unit can be connected to central A/C but is too large. It’s only being used on Navy bases. The average person doesn’t have the capital, the space or the need for such a large unit.
With angel investor funds for capital goods all that is left is marketing. Luckily green energy has a large online community following that we can take advantage of. There a several facebook fan pages such as those for Sustainable, Renewable and Solar Energy, each with thousands of followers genuinely interested in our product. Then there is the American Solar Energy Society which has a blog we can utilize. Once the people learn how we can help them save money and the environment all from the comfort of their air conditioned home, they will be more than happy to purchase our product.
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Globally, the average penetration rate is about 25%. One in four people are internet users, a number that has grown by almost 400% in the past decade. Africa and the Middle East are the fastest growing regions while North America is the slowest. This is because of the global digital divide between the rich and poor countries. Penetration rates in wealthy nations such as South Korea are already as high as 65% while in poor nations such as Bangladesh the rate is less than 1%. The main language of the internet is English, followed by Chinese and Spanish.
While nations such as Iceland do not censor the internet, some such as North Korea try to control as much of it as they possibly can. Methods of internet censorship include IP blocking, DNS filtering and redirection, URL filtering, packet filtering, connection reset, web feed blocking, and reverse surveillance. The effectiveness of these methods is questionable as users seem to find ways around them such as proxy servers. They heavy censoring nations do so for political reasons. Authoritarian regimes see the internet as a threat to their power. Burma and China are afraid free speech will turn the public against them so they censor things relating to democracy, freedom, and political blunders they may have made. Many other nations censor material such as child porn.
I believe that some nations will continue to heavily censor the internet because they feel they have to in order to survive. As long as those governments are in power, censorship will not go away. While I don’t like the idea of internet censorship, I don’t see anything wrong with censoring certain things such as child porn. The question is where to draw the line on censorship. Such a powerful tool can easily corrupt any government.
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User generated content can be great if it is guided in the right direction. Businesses can allow their customers to advertise for them, for free. If properly managed, UGC can increase brand loyalty/recognition, awareness of new products/events and ultimately profits. On the other hand, when it is allowed to get out of control it can destroy everything.
When businesses don’t guide the conversation on their page they will sometimes find themselves overrun with irrelevant UGC turning their page in to a huge mess. A certain John Deere branch in Switzerland had this exact problem with their Facebook fan page. They never made it clear that they were a specific branch in Switzerland. Thousands of users joined and posted content, virtually all of them from the U.S. The users seemed to be under the impression that they were on the page for the main corporation. While this misunderstanding increased the traffic to the page, it didn’t benefit the Switzerland location in any way. Any UGC that may have been relevant to the Switzerland branch got lost in the sea of posts from the U.S., making the page completely ineffective.
Another problem with this fan page is that when you first get to it everything is blank. You get directed to the wall with a filter set to show only content by John Deere. The problem is this business didn’t post anything so all that is there is a recent activity statement saying that John Deere joined Facebook. You have to set the filter to “John Deere + Fans” to see all the comments by Americans saying how much they love their big tractor. John Deere should really consider creating a fan page so that the 137,800 fans of the Switzerland branch’s page have somewhere to go. Otherwise these loyal followers will get the impression that John Deere has no interest in them while continuing to spam John Deere Switzerland’s page.
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Most business know that they need to invest in internet technology. The problem is that many don’t know what they should be doing. With Google Analytics business can find out what works and what doesn’t. This way they will know what to focus their money and attention on and what to drop. They can learn which ads are brining in traffic and which ones aren’t. Businesses can even learn which ads bring people who actually have an interest in them and which ads bring people who leave seconds after arriving.
Sites get their traffic from search engines, not from people directly typing in their website. Since people won’t just naturally gravitate to their sites, businesses need to know how to attract their target audience. Many advertisers have tools to help businesses pinpoint this target group. This makes ads much more effective because they are being seen by the people they apply too. A business that sells textbooks can advertise exclusively to college students rather than wasting time and money posting ads everywhere to be viewed by middle school kids and middle aged adults.
Web analytics is the process by which businesses can interpret all the data they have about their sites in order to market them more effectively. Businesses that chose to ignore this tool will not be maximizing their potential and may not be around for too long.
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If people can’t find you by searching Google, you might as well not exist. In today’s world, everything is found through search engines. If you are the MSE Program and people can’t find links to you when they search “MSE”, you have a big problem. It especially sucks if there is another MSE Program at your university. Our MSE program is the Entrepreneurship Master’s Program at UF. When we first started working on this project. We thought we were going to be working with the Material Science and Engineering Program because that’s the first thing that came up when we searched “MSE”. Hopefully, creating enough value for our customers can help us overcome this.
One way to create value and attract attention is to provide free services. Lecturefox provides lectures from top universities for free. The MSE Program could post a few lectures from the curriculum just to give people a taste of what the program is really about. Or the MSE Program could team up with the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The CEI has resources which can help draw people towards the MSE Program. Their podcast series could be promoted in the hopes that some of the people using it would eventually take an interest in the MSE Program. Since having a website alone isn’t enough, the MSE Program needs to provide services to people just to get them interested enough to consider services they have to pay for.
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The stock market is a network where economic transactions occur. The world’s largest stock exchange, the NYSE, has a market capitalization of over $30 trillion. Aside from several crashes, the only major disruptions to the NYSE were WWI when the exchange closed for two months and a bombing outside the building in 1920 which killed 33 people.
Technological innovation has had a huge impact on how stock markets operate. Just a few decades ago, in order to make a trade a person had to call their broker who would then have to call their representative on the exchange floor. This was very expensive and time consuming. Now, thanks to the internet and personal computers, people can sign up for accounts with discount brokers and can trade for themselves. Most people have heard of the expensive discount brokers such as ETRADE and TD Ameritrade, both of whom charge $10 per trade plus fees. Brokers such as TradeKing cost half as much and can even provide better services. Others like Interactive Brokers will charge from $.01 to $.001 per share traded but will not walk you through the process like the more expensive brokers do.
Average people now have the ability to bypass a traditional broker and can make instant trades. This is making it slightly more difficult for Wall Street to profit off of the investing public. Some people even make a living day trading from their home, competing directly with Wall Street. Online tools such as NYSE OpenBook allow people to see in real-time the exchange’s limit-order book. This is the tool that the big Wall Street firms use to a see where supply and demand imbalances are and to predict where prices will move.
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On Thursday when my professor told us that we were going to create value with a stack of post-it notes, I thought of selling origami. Sometimes it can be hard to think of value beyond a monetary form. Our idea called “Speak No Evil” was to help raise awareness about racism by getting people to either pledge not to use racist words or to write down their feelings about those words. A lot of people were reluctant to participate. Maybe the post-its led people to question how legitimate we were. We didn’t have anything printed to prove that we were serious about what we were saying so people may have thought we were just weirdos asking them to write about racism on post-it notes. Those who did take us seriously actually appreciated what we were doing. Some wrote elaborate pledges and even included their own experiences with racism. Stomping out hate speak, one post-it at a time
Creating value can be difficult when resources are limited. Having corporate sponsors can make things a lot easier. CauseWorld is a phone app that allows people to donate money from Citibank and Kraft to whichever cause they choose. By “checking-in” to local business, participants gain karma points which they can then donate to the cause of their choice. Causes range from planting trees to donating to the Red Cross’s efforts in Haiti. It’s really easy, I can “check-in” to dozens of businesses without ever leaving my dorm. Donating to a cause feels good, especially when you’re donating someone else’s money.
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My name is Jeffrey Canary and I am a first year Finance major who plans to switch to accounting. Officially I am a member the Student Finance Group but because of a class conflict last semester I was unable to make most of the meetings. I went to a few meetings of the University Economics Society which was fun. I don’t have much background with technology which is why I chose to take this course. As of now I am a PC guy but I have never really tried out a Mac for more than a few minutes, although I do have an IPhone. Facebook is as far as I go in terms of social networking and I have been neglecting my account for the past year or so. Twitter doesn’t make any sense to me. I have never used it but as far as I can tell, it’s the same thing as Facebook status update. My hope is that this class will improve my tech skills so that I will be able to do things like build a website. I took CGS last semester expecting to learn something useful and was sorely disappointed. My favorite company is the NYSE Euronext. Recently I have begun investing online and have made some money. The NYSE gives people all over the world the opportunity to invest in a fair, highly competitive way and I think that’s a great thing. [More]
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