Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Top 10+ People to Meet When You Get to Campus

Top 10+ People to Meet When You Get to Campus

1: Your academic adviser -- Meet early, meet often, document everything.

2-5: Your teachers

6: The Dean -- Meet once, then just say Hello in the hall-way.

7-10: Your cohort

#11: (Bonus) - Your IT Support Person

Academic Adviser Meeting Goals

  • Evaluate any previous coursework (AP or transfer credits) 
  • Create your educational plan based on your aspirations, interests, and values
  • Set academic goals, set plans, and work towards those goals
  • Understand your academic program requirements
  • Set your next meeting

Meeting with your Teachers

It does not have to be elaborate, try inviting your teacher to a "Professional Coffee". Ask questions about the school, the curriculum, your specific classes, and learn how to succeed in their class. Uncomfortable with the idea... then have your cohort invite the professor.

Meeting with the Dean

The Dean leads the department and usually is responsible for curriculum planning and development, staffing, evaluations, and budgets. Introduce yourself to the Dean and discuss your overall plan for your education. Make sure to ask about conflict management (class waivers, problems with other students, teachers, etc.). Don't raise every small problem to the Dean. But, when you bump into a problem that is not being solved by teachers or academic advisers, the Dean is the next point of contact. Establish the relationship before you need help. 

Meeting with your cohort

College is not a trivial matter. Some schools have adopted specific programs to ease the transition into college. Schools might offer freshman orientation classes, "Freshman Success Communities", "Freshman Learning Communities" and study groups based on academic curriculum. If your school offers these programs you should seriously consider joining. If not, you should seriously consider creating one of your own. Find 3-4 other students with the same major or minor, and start meeting for study sessions. Throw a little recreation into the mix and you might start life-long relationships.

Meeting your IT Support Person

If you need network connectivity, are planning to take online classes, use BlackBoard  eCollege, Sungard Higher Education, or other academic/education service, the IT Support Person is a valuable friend to have in your address book.

For example: Austin Community College has many different campus locations and each has quirks for getting logged into their network. Big tip: write down the instructions to connect... on paper, and try them a couple of times when you are not on a deadline. Also, learn how to disconnect (for safety) when you do not need a network connection. 


LinkedIn – Professional Networking

LinkedIn – Professional Networking

Charlie White of Mashable presents a terrific Infographic: “How Are People Really Using LinkedIn

 White points out that Executives use the service in a very different way than entry-level workers.

Executives use LinkedIn to promote their business, and entry-level used it for job searching. It is interesting that “Keeping in Touch” and “Industry Networking was similar between the the two groups. Co-Worker Networking shows an interesting gap: executives 13% and entry-level 23%.

Executive might need to focus on networking where they are… and maybe watch a few episodes of Undercover Boss.

“How often do you access LinkedIn?” 39% responded, “less than once a month” or “never”. 100 million users, but 39 million come to the site less than every 30 days? Then again, 18 million are not aware that there are ads on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn might need to be concerned with stickiness and with the feedback from Jonathan Blum of TheStreet: LinkedIn IPO Arrives as Users Log Off. Blum opines that LinkedIn suffers from stale information, services that are not well defined, poor content curation, and increasing competition. He also admits that he hasn’t been to the site in months.

Que sais-je?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

SmartPhone as Tablet Replacement - 10 of 14 is Not Bad

SmartPhone as Tablet Replacement

Brooke Crothers relays interesting survey results in "How many devices can a smartphone, tablet replace?"

  • Alarm clock: 61.1 percent
  • GPS: 52.3 percent
  • Digital camera: 44.3 percent
  • Personal planner: 41.6 percent
  • Landline phone: 40.3 percent
  • MP3 player: 37.6 percent
  • Video camera: 34.2 percent
  • Newspaper: 28.2 percent
  • Radio: 27.5 percent
  • Desktop/Laptop computer: 24.2 percent
  • Gaming device: 20.8 percent
  • Books: 20.1 percent
  • Internet service at home: 19.5 percent
  • DVD player: 14.1 percent
Of course, the question becomes, how WELL can it replace those items? I have used my iPhone for many of these tasks, but have to rate the following as poor:
  • GPS – have you ever gone outside of cell coverage and needed a map
  • Newspaper - news in snippets only, I still get a Sunday paper
  • Desktop/laptop -  nope, still own and use both types
  • DVD player - not yet, but soon. Netflix is trying to kill the DVD and streaming might be the only way to see movies

I would not surprised if:

  • Apple discontinues the smaller iPods after this winter (the iTouch will remain)
  • GPS devices all add wi-fi and browsers to avoid extinction (Garmin is nearly there with their newest models)
  • More Smartphone docks start appearing for regular charging and syncing
  • Hotspots finally gain traction for instant network tethering

Taxing the Rain

Taxing the Rain

SmartMoney Reports: A 20% Tax on Cell Phone Service?

“In some states, that's already the case. A House committee will vote today on a proposal to keep cell phone taxes from rising further.”

Zoe Lofgren (D., Calif.) is trying to stem the tide, but legislators are addicted to OPM (other people’s money).

With carriers stripping unlimited data from their menu, and politicians discovering new ways to tax the phone (the ability to access and transfer data) it begs the question: When will they start taxing the air?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Barbells and Dumbbells

Barbells and Dumbbells

Richard Morgan of The Deal Magazine interviews Bernstein senior analyst Craig Moffett (LinkedIn Profile) in an article titled: “The End of Mass Media?”

image“As for the telecom sector, Moffett recognizes the future will rise or fall on smartphone adoption. Yet this market is already experiencing what he calls a barbell -- "where affluent customers rapidly adopt iPhones, 4G services and richer and richer data plans, while those at the bottom end of the market are furiously trading down, to the benefit of the pre-paid segment." What's more, it's a barbell with a disturbing tilt: "In fact, at this moment in the smartphone adoption curve, annual revenue per subscriber is declining." …

“For a media industry that has never before encountered the limits imposed by poverty, the way out is not at all clear. What is clear is that the country's top quintile has carved out so much for itself that the bottom two can no longer pay their way. And what we've come to know as mass media may soon be no more.”

The Trend is Your Friend, Until it Ends.

Cheaper, faster, more functional phones and personal computing devices, are clearly a trend. Cheaper data plans, cheaper internet access (whether Cable, DSL, or Wi-Fi) are not the trend. Craig Moffett describes how the power user is driving up prices for the typical user.

But the LA Times Opinion piece “Technology: the end of all-you-can-eat wireless data plans” puts the bottom line in place: “I don't blame wireless carriers for seeking to make the heaviest users pay the most for data plans. All of their customers in a given coverage area share bandwidth with one another, and those who stream video take up more of this shared resource than those who are just sending tweets. And network operators say a small percentage of their customers are responsible for a hugely disproportionate share of the traffic.”

So, are we working with a normal supply/demand curve? Or, has “data inflation” created a  bi-modal (barbell) distribution?

Moffett may want to extend his prediction to include the various flavors of Cloud computing. 

  • How will cloud based services like SkyDrive, iMatch, DropBox, Google Docs, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc. survive when distribution costs explode? 
  • How about the quasi-social sites with large data transfers (think photo uploads to Facebook, flicker, Snapfish)? 
  • Will Joe Consumer end up a dumbbell - paying higher rates for the convenience of the cloud?

Maybe the Music CD and DVD movies will make a comeback.

Que sais-je?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Maybe Joe Dirt was Wrong (more on social mullets).

Latkatukka - Maybe Joe Dirt was Wrong (even more on social mullets).

Mat Honan of Gizmodo, “I Flunked My Social Media Background Check. Will You?”
“We ran background checks on six Gizmodo employees, including our editor in chief Joe Brown, and all but one came back clean. When it doesn't find anything incriminating on a potential employee, it simply issues a notice that the employees passed (see below) and doesn't generate a file.
And then there's me. I flunked hard. When that happens, Social Intelligence creates a report, which it would then send to an employer. And if you don't get a job because of your social media report, you can request a copy. Mine's filled with delightful details, like "subject admits to use of cocaine as well as LSD," and "subject references use of Ketamine." Basically, I may never work again.”

SEE MEDIA GALLERY with the details from the report.

Xolotech advocates for a Social Mullet. But this new technique to conduct background checks is troubling. See our articles on Signaling and Latkatukka. In the meantime, if your cousin is posting stuff that you would not share with your grandmother (or that you might not share with your college teacher), you might want to send him a private message call him, then lock down your privacy settings on Facebook.

Que sais-je?

Unfair for employers to dig into your personal life online and use it against you? 

Well, A) This is 2011, get over it. You should assume that anything you post online, send in an email, tweet, text message, or otherwise digitally communicate will eventually be seen by anyone and everyone. 

But, B) Social Intelligence is only reporting based on the social network activity that is publicly available. You have the power to lock down your online life to minimize the information available to the general public.”

Social Intelligence HR website:


That's a lot of freaking money!

"That's a lot of freaking money!"

Karl Denninger of Seeking Alpha (Wikipedia Profile, sorry his blog appears dead, and his Twitter Account is just an egg) discusses Data Plans in “Sprint is on the Warpath”.

“Let's face it folks - $100+ a month is more than $1,200 a year per person for what is now considered "standard" wireless services. Where the hell is the money going to come from to pay for all of this? Add in another $50-100 a month for cable TV and Internet and suddenly the common family of four is looking at somewhere around $3,000 or more a year in communication service charges!”
data pic
"That's a lot of freaking money!"

Karl Denninger is correct. 

Xolotech is frugal (bordering on cheap). T-Mobile pre-paid offers 1000 minutes for $100 on a no contract annual plan. A basic phone is under $30. Maybe a phone should just be a phone. Wireless data transfer from the carriers is only going to become more expensive. In any case, learning how to use Wi-Fi connections to reduce data transfer across your 3G or 4G connection is a very smart use of time. 

Surf globally, connect locally. 

Que sais-je?


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations

A Man’s Got to Know His Data Limitations

Is your Unlimited Data Plan about to go Marguerite Reardon from Signal Strength on c|net has a solid summary: No unlimited data plan? Help! (FAQ).

Maggie Reardon's Back of the Envelope Calculations:

“Here's a little guide put together by Verizon to give you an idea of howimage much data certain activities eat up:
  • Email (text only) = 10KB
  • Typical Web Page Lookup* = 1.5MB
  • Audio Streaming = 40MB/hr
  • Low-Resolution Video Streaming = 200MB/hr
  • High-Resolution Video Streaming = 400MB/hr
  • Digital Photo download/upload (Hi-Res) = 1MB”

Pay special attention to her suggestions on changes to email settings, restricting use to Wi-Fi connections, and apps to help you track usage.

Bottom Line: 

What content providers giveth, the carriers will taketh away (or charge huge fees for access).

The cloud is fine, until they figure out how to tax the rain.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More on Social Mullets

Latkatukka - More on Social Mullets

Stephen Shankland of DeepTech posts on C|net news, "Here it is, in brief: I want to offer public commentary on the tech world through Google+, but I don't want my ceaseless techno-talk to clog friends' and family's Google+ streams." How a Google+ Gap Keeps me on FaceBookSeparation of public and private, work and social, shared and protected activities will continue to be a challenging topic.  

Xolotech has posted that Facebook and LinkedIn serve different purposes (See: Latkatukka). Rocky Agrawal of TechCrunch adds to the discussion via an article: “When Google Circles Collide

“Google is absolutely right when it says that there are multiple circles in people’s lives. There are certainly many in mine. The way I’ve solved it to date is to just use different social networks for different social circles. I’m careful about who I accept into different groups. For example:
  • Facebook. Generally I have to have met you in person and would consider a friend in a broad definition of the word. This includes random friends, co-workers past and present, classmates, friends-of-friends. I don’t accept friend requests from strangers or people I have only met once at a conference.
  • Twitter. Obviously anyone is welcome to follow me. I will follow people who engage in topics I care about.
  • foursquare. I limit foursquare friends to people who I have met and I’m likely to spend time with. Of my friends on Facebook who are also on foursquare, I’m only foursquare friends with half of them.
  • LinkedIn. All about search for a job, business development and recruiting people. I accept LinkedIn requests from people I’ve worked with, partner companies, people I meet at conferences, etc.”
This seems like a lot of work to solve the problem of which information is shared with which friends. Maybe a phone call would be better.


Test Yourself - Digital Learning and Digital Working

Success in the digital work world includes online education. 

Classes with the same syllabus and the same teacher will be very different based on the how the class is delivered. The ability to work in a distributed team environment is a necessary skill in the modern workplace.

Your learning style may not work with all delivery styles. So, try all three versions of classes: the traditional classroom setting, the 100% online class, and the hybrid class. Hybrid classes might meet at the beginning of the semester and periodically through-out the semester with much of the work conducted online. 

What should you look for: 

  • Can you deal with isolation? 
  • Are you disciplined enough to meet deadlines? 
  • Are your communications skills solid?
One of my employers was pressed for call center space during their peak selling season. We ran a test to see what challenges would face our Customer Support Representatives if we let them work from home. We would  provide them with a connection to the company, a laptop and VOIP connection to take calls. 

The key learning: The same people that thrive in a noisy call center, struggled when working from home. All of the social interaction was gone: team lunches, team meetings, contests, and water-cooler conversations. 

The work-from-home agent would be a different person than are normal CSR, and our HR department had to figure out a new hiring profile. 

Will you be effective as a road warrior, or should you be in an environment with higher interaction? There is a difference between Myers-Briggs Extroverts and Introverts.

Que sasi-je?


Monday, July 4, 2011

“How to Run Your Business Online for $10 and a Google Account”… works!

“How to Run Your Business Online for $10 and a Google Account”… works!

Matt Silverman posted this terrific guide on the American Express OPEN Forum, then re-posted to Mashable in September of 2010. 

HOW TO: Run Your Business Online with $10 and a Google Account

The instructions were very clear, and with the addition of a few paragraphs of content, and a dozen photographs, Gelsey Kennels was up and running. The puppies were born on April 16th and traffic ramped up in May and June.

Gelsey Dashboard

Gelsey Kennels placed print and online advertisements in Austin, Waco and Houston. The Stats module shows exactly which ads were effective and which were not. In 60 days the site collected 1600 page views, and seven of eight puppies were placed, including two puppies that went to Syracuse New York.

Gelsey Dashboard 2

The Austin American Statesman advertisement cost about $80, but the $10 website filled a key role:

  1. It was up and running 24 hours a day so potential customers could check in whenever they wanted to -- we got email with a 2:00am time stamp, which is much better than a 2:00am phone call!
  2. The content covered 95% of the basic questions, reducing a lot of unnecessary contacts. The most common request was for additional photos of specific puppies.
  3. Using email as a means to communicate, also allowed Gelsey Kennels to do some research on the buyers via signature blocks, domain names and Google search on their names.

It was interesting that several scammers tried to make contact with Gelsey Kennels. Blocking email addresses was very effective at ending the scam noise.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Loading the New Laptop - Top 9 Apps

You do not have to look far for a recommended list of applications for a new laptop. Here is my short list:
  1. Adobe: Reader, Flash, Air, Shockwave
  2. Microsoft: Office 2010, Live
  3. Google: Chrome, Toolbar, Picasa
  4. Firefox
  5. LastPass
  6. Amazon Kindle
  7. Cute PDF and FTP
  8. Wise FTP
  9. Apple: iTunes, Quicktime
Then a full import of bookmarks (into three browsers) and voila, a super functional $450 laptop.

Did I miss anything?