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Academia still doesn’t get the social media revolution

Academia still doesn’t get the social media revolution

An assistant college professor named Zeynep Tufekci published an OpEd in the New York Times with the theory that social media is as helpful for organizing protests as it is hurtful to them. Because her understanding of social media is more Snapchat than Reddit, she offers that the Occupy Wall Street rally and the Tahrir Square protests failed to keep our attention because they were not organized in a fashion similar to the good old days of paper pamphlets and phone calls. New media, in her view, does not build infrastructure for “sustaining momentum.”

In fact, building new types of media infrastructure to support social causes has taken on a new urgency in places like Turkey, where the citizens’ access to Twitter has been limited. Business Insider reports people are getting around the ban by using anonymous VPNs and working text messaging services. Any website manager will tell you how dramatically their clients’ causes have been burgeoned due to the construction of strategic media infrastructure that innovates their old newsletters and brochures. History has shown again and again that innovation in technology evolves the way we effect change within our institutions – we just can’t fully appreciate it at the time. Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1445, but it’s the pioneering of how this process was used that impacted all our social and religious institutions in the centuries following. Antonio Meucci should have been credited with inventing the telephone, but it was Alexander Graham Bell who is commonly credited with inventing the device that commoditized voice communications.

Zeynep in The New York TimesProfessor Zeynep Tufekci joins a list of nearsighted educators (yes, they were all teachers) who just couldn’t grasp the impact of technology and the Internet:

  • In 1995 physics teacher Clifford Stoll famously wrote an article for Newsweek predicting the Internet would fail: “The truth is, no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher, and no computer network will change the way government works.”
  • In 2007 media teacher Bruce Sterling was quoted in the New York Times:
    “Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite ‘The Iliad.’ ”
  • In 1997, Gordon College trustee Ken Olsen was quoted during a 1977 World Future Society meeting in Boston:
    “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
  • In 1995, Robert Metcalfe, Professor at the University of Texas, published an article in InfoWorld with the following prediction:
    “The Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”

New media like Twitter and Facebook, according to know-it-all academia, does not build infrastructure for “sustaining momentum.” Time will tell the story of their errors.

How to make money with old domain names and websites

How to make money with old domain names and websites

Website managers are missing out on free money by ignoring their infrequently used websites and domain names. Services like CashParking will pay you up to 80% of the advertising revenue on your parked domain names and websites, although the upfront cost for the program means you better be sitting on a good URL. A better option may be Amazon Associates, which allows you to manage links and banners on your website or parked URL, earning up to 10% on purchases made during a user’s shopping session. Amazon offers total control to the website manager, and Darren Rowse claims to have made $119,725.45 by using their tools.

Where past empires were built on print, radio and television advertising, Google continues to rake in billions by evolving the advertising paradigm on the Internet. For this reason all website managers should be actively leveraging Google Analytics for the purpose of their bottom line. A website manager who doesn’t use Google Analytics is like a teenager without an iPhone.

If modern algorithmic marketing strategies seem overkill for what you want to do, just consider the way traditional advertisers spend money. Pick up a newspaper and it’s obvious what advertisements go where. Calculated guesswork for placing your own advertisements on a website are the same. For instance, segmenting a blog by categories of advertisements can align nicely with your own posting categories.

Don’t over complicate the advertising process. It starts as simple as placing your first banner and watching the statistics make you money or not. With success comes learning and before you know it, you’ll need algorithms to keep track of all the clicks.

Adobe kills hardware installs and users hate it

Website managers are showing their teeth a year after Adobe's money grab. Despite popular media outlets who endorsed Adobe's marketing blitz that customers would love it, customers clearly do not. Last year the mammoth software provider declared an end to the install and said they would move to a subscription model whereby users would be required to pay a monthly fee for access to their software. The model is nothing revolutionary, but it does challenge the bank books for struggling website managers and small businesses who will see the cost of running software skyrocket because of the change. For Adobe Dreamweaver a one-time install ($239.88/year) versus the cloud-based annual subscription ($239.88/year) suggests you'll be paying a lot more for the cloud-based solution over time. Adobe counters that the software includes automatic updates as well as...

How to counterfeit money

How to counterfeit money

Photoshop has a built-in algorithm that locks the program when an image of money is opened. Google offers a plentiful selection of stock photos to get the counterfeiter started, however.

According to the Secret Service website it’s not illegal to take pictures or scan United States Currency provided that it is used to print counterfeit money “of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of the item.” The bill also has to be printed one-sided, then the digital copy destroyed. Photos of coin, in their original size, may be used for any purpose. The only legal way to counterfeit money, according to the United States Secret Service, requires counterfeiting nickels and pennies. Here’s the official invitation:

Anyone who manufactures a counterfeit U.S. coin in any denomination above five cents is subject to the same penalties as all other counterfeiters. Anyone who alters a genuine coin to increase its numismatic value is in violation of Title 18, Section 331 of the United States Code, which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

The Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group (CBCDG) is responsible for pressuring Photoshop and most photo editing programs to adhere to its counterfeit deterrence system (CDS).  While Photoshop doesn’t let you import images of currency, there’s no preventing coinage.

Despite the Secret Service’s invitation to counterfeit nickels and pennies, history proves the government unfriendly when the minting goes beyond a simple garage hobby. New Jersey native Francis LeRoy Henning pawned 100,000 nickels before drawing the ire of Uncle Sam. His 3 year jail sentence and $5000 fine didn’t warrant the investment.

2014 Oscar Predictions

Our predictions will follow this overview of the 2014 Oscar nominations. “Gravity” is gonna get most of the awards this year, and I won’t dwell on it except to say I love going to the circus. The lion tamer (George Clooney) is always entertaining, handsome and heroic, but it’s the high wire act of Sandra Bullock that gets the ooos and ahhhs. I go to the circus about once a year and that’s gracious plenty. There’s nothing complicated or interesting about the circus, but it’s damned fun and the kid will love it.

The Academy's nominations included no outstanding film for 2013. “American Hustle” had the best plotline and could’ve been called “Argot Part II” for its pressure cooker pacing and 1970s depiction of government conspiracy. Christian Bale is always good and Amy...

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