SnapChat Review

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I have a dirty confession to make.

I really like Snapchat.  I say this, confident in the fact that absolutely nobody wants to see me naked (sexting).  I have been exchanging messages back and forth with a small group of people for a few weeks now.  The app is fairly responsive and doesn’t bog down on my iPhone4.  Taking and annotating pictures is a fun way to communicate.  I tend to take pictures of objects, rather than “selfies”, to keep it interesting.  Account creation was fairly simple.  One snag that I did encounter was adding friends.  The app will scan your contacts for current members but it is not 100% accurate.  I had to add some people manually by asking for their username.  The addition of Snapchat Stories allows users to share content for up to 30 days.  An interesting change for an app based on short-lived communication.  I urge others to check it out and to not be put off by the bad press the service has received.

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TECH 637 Reflection

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What was different about this course?

This course was different in that it challenged me to think about my writing.  I have always seen writing as  avery personal affair that was with not to be read or solely between me and the teacher.  This class forced to put write a blog post and be ok with it not being a complete thought.  It is ok to put your thoughts on a blog, odds are no one is going to read it anyway.  On the off chance that you do get someone to read your thoughts on a blog post, it will be because someone was interested in what I had to say.

Favorite topic(s)?

My favorite topic was that of organizing content in this digital era.  As was apparent in class, I love to organize.  Organization and structure helps me in my daily activities.  Knowing that there is a great movement out there of people who are interested in the organization of this new world is fascinating.  Maybe I can do some more study in this area and contribute to some of the research/ideas.

Personal takeaways?

This 1 semester increased my online presence to levels I thought I could never achieve.  I was always a “lurker” online.  Now I have close to 40 Twitter followers and I have connected with probably over 100 individuals.  I also have connections with people that may be able to provide assistance as I move through my dissertation and further in my career.

Crowdsource to Help Uncle Sam

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Several weeks ago we discussed sourcing on the Internet.  In my daily travels across my usual online haunts I came across a new crowdsourcing platform sponsored by the Air Force.  The Air Force Collaboratory is an attempt to solve 3 newly declassified military problems.  I think this is a novel approach to solving defense related issues.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  Let’s see what the “masses” can create.

The Joy of Organization

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“A place for everything, everything in its place.”

– Benjamin Franklin

This week in class we discussed organization.  It may sound a bit strange but I love organization.  During our discussion we even delved into my laundry organizing strategies.  My sock collection was an interesting point of conversation.  This all started because we had reading selections from David Weinberg’s book, Everything is Miscellaneous.  I am now interested in reading the remainder of the text.  The book went on to discuss how and why the Internet is organized the way it is.  I can’t wait to read on and find out better ways to organize, mmm…glaven!!!

Video

Too Much Phone Not Enough Smart

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To me, this video explains how some people are way too dependent on their phone.  The subject wakes up to an alarm on their phone.  Call me old fashioned, but I like to use a “real” alarm clock.  I don’t want my phone anywhere near my bedroom unless absolutely necessary.  The main character spend the rest of the 30 second ad with their nose buried in their phone.  The finishing touch…waking up in a beautiful, new vacation spot and looking at your phone!!!  Here’s a tip:  If you are on vacation (that is what we’re advertising here), TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!

There is a big, beautiful world out there to be explored.  Unplug every so often.

Twitter Archiving

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Disclaimer:  I did not create any of these tools.  I am merely a deeply grateful user.

Spring semester 2013 I was taking a qualitative methods course taught by Dr V.  It was in this course that I learned of the vast research potential of Twitter.  I was immediately captivated with the idea of collecting tweets and analyzing them.  The search was on for a data collection tool!  Due to Twitter’s 2 week timeline, I spent many nights scouring the web for a tool that would allow me to collect tweets and analyze them offline.  I was offered a demo of Radian6 but this wouldn’t do the trick as I need more than just 1 time access.  In my vast Internet searching I came across the site of Martin Hawksey.  With the power of the Internet I am now deeply indebted to this individual.  This post from the site provides a link to a Twitter Archival tool using Google Spreadsheets.  Avoiding the risk of being repetitive, I will not detail the setup steps as they are presented in the post and accompanying links.  Other bloggers have contributed with step-by-step written instructions as well as a detailed video.  The trickiest part for me (sadly it wasn’t too difficult) was creating the Twitter App.

After following the instructions, I have been able to run over a dozen successful Twitter archives.  My oldest and largest ongoing archive started in April 2013 and contains over 6000 unique tweets.

If you have questions or need help with this tools, hit me up in the comments or via Twitter.  I will do my best to provide assistance or point you in the right direction if I don’t know the answer.

Getting old is not for the weak.

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My wife ran 33 miles this weekend.

For me on the other hand, health and wellness has not been very good this week.  I woke up Sunday at 3AM with a raging headache and sore throat.  I spent the rest of the day coughing and struggling to stay awake.  By bedtime Sunday night, at 8:30PM, the cough was in full force.  Night 2 with little to no sleep.  I managed to make it to work but I only lasted until Noon.  By bedtime Monday night, a little bit closer to 9PM, the cough had subsided a little and I was finally able to get some sleep.  I spent Tuesday home from work resting and recovering from the cold.  Wednesday morning got off to a normal start and at 7AM as we were walking out the door I stopped to put something in the trash.  I felt a slight twinge in my lower back but I didn’t think anything of it.  By 9AM I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and having difficulty walking.  At 11AM I called my wife and begged her to come get me as I was unable to stand or walk.  I managed to shuffle in a bent over position, down three flights of stairs and roll into the car.  After a trip to urgent care, an injection of painkillers and muscle relaxer pills, I am now able to stand at almost a 45 degree angle.  I am now confined to the couch waiting for another round of drugs to work their magic.  I’m too old for this “stuff”.

 

 

Starting Instagram

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After hearing a presentation about how great Instagram is I decided to give it a shot.  All of the Instagram pictures that I see appear to be of people having a great time.  Count me in!

Getting started was not an easy feat.  I consider my self a technically literate person.  I spend most days solving other people’s technical issues.  My skill level should not be an issue.  Instagram has a webpage.  Why, I don’t know?  You can only log in to your existing account, not create a new one.

Off to the phone I went.  I downloaded the app which was easy enough.  Upon opening the app I was given the opportunity to register for an account. Eureka, I found it!  The next page asked if I would like to link to my Facebook account.  Yes please, 1 less password that I have to remember and I like that.  My phone thinks for a few seconds and the screen populates with info from my Facebook account so I proceed to hit the Next button.

“Please Select a Screen Name”

What? Didn’t you just connect to my Facebook account?  Not so fast, it did pull my info but I still needed to create an account along with a new password.  I created a new account, while hoping I remember the password, and finally got access to the app.

Time to see what all the fun is.  I took my first picture, something boring in my office, and was then presented with a myriad of filters.  Holy Filter Overload!  Lots of options that I need to explore.  I made it through 5 filters and decided to just pick one and move on.

Score, first post completed and updated to Instagram.  But wait there’s more,I can link my account to my other social media sites.  I have the option of linking to my Facebook account… … …

Didn’t we already do this?

I linked to my Facebook account as well as my twitter.  We will see how this goes.

Happy Instagram-ing!

 

Kaggle.com Review

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I recently tried a new Social Media tool for a very unlikely group, Data Scientists.  When you think about scientists in general, “social” is not the word that comes to mind.  Most of a Data Scientist’s work is done alone and on the computer.  After reading Eric Siegel’s book this summer, I have become fascinated with predictive analytics.  PA is the process of using data to make future predictions.  In his book, Siegel talks about the website Kaggle.  This site allows organizations to post projects, in the form of competitions, and see who can create the best predictive models.  Teams from all over the globe can sign up to compete to win bragging rights or even a cash reward.  Along with various projects, Kaggle offers a lively community with a forum to post questions and comments, a leaderboard for different projects, a blog and wiki and even a place for those interested in finding a job as a Data Scientist.

It may sound overwhelming to think about data and predictions but initial models can be built using Microsoft Excel and basic algebra.  Kaggle offers a great starter competition with walkthroughs and suggestions.

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Twitter Chat

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I had the unique opportunity to participate in a Twitter Chat last night.  The event was organized by a current Doctoral student in Student Affairs, thus the hashtag #sadoc.  It was a great way to involve people from all over the country in one discussion.  The moderator was in Oregon while many of the other participants were spread across the East Coast and Midwest.  The format was  rapid-fire question and answer.  The moderator would pose a question in the form, Q1 etc?. This would quickly be followed by answer referring back to Q1.  Along with unique answers, participants also reinforced ideas and suggestions.  I picked up some great ideas and also gained a few followers due to my witty remarks.  As a results, I am now following some more people.

Overall, it was a great experience and a new way to participate in a conversation.