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Backup Post And A Little Jambalaya

 

Before I dig any further, I must admit that I’m a little overwhelmed with the integration of all this new technology into our daily lives and that’s why my last post may have seemed a little scattered. Jumping from my iPhone, to iGoogle, to gamers and bloggers so quickly, when each of them need an entire blog, I’m looking for more time and faster, more efficient technology and losing references of focus. Everywhere I click, there’s a blogger and OMG I’m one of them!

 

Today’s media has a new flavor. There has always been a little sugar and salt, but bloggers are adding a new spice called Opinion to daily news. Just like the great selection of salads at McDonald’s, I’m loving it! ;-P The best thing about blogging is knowing that there is no official rule book, so that huge cloud of objectivity is thrown out of the window. Opinion matters because it’s spicy and people want that extra taste, like hot sausage in jambalaya.

 

That’s why I think washingtonpost.com is smart to feature bloggers on its site, in the mix with so-called objective news articles. Readers want to know key issues and bloggers are giving it to them, so why shouldn’t washingtonpost.com take advantage of this as a company on a mission to share news with the public? Getting too caught up in objectivity, as many journalists and readers have done, can be an obstacle in the search for the truth. I won’t get into the popping ethical issues with all this on our stomachs, just yet.

 

Today’s washingtonpost.com is like a steaming bowl of New Orleans jambalaya with thousands of baby spoons. Bloggers are everywhere, discussing political campaigns, health issues and other issues in the media. In fact, I sometimes get articles confused with blogs, so forget it and just give me the whole bowl because it’s all going to the same place anyway, right?

November 7, 2007 Posted by | Blog, bloggers, Life, News, opinion, Politics, washingtonpost.com | 1 Comment

Get Hip: Who Needs The Old Shovel When There’s iPhone?

 

The buzz on the internet today is that new technology is giving individuals and companies more tools and indefinite options. 

 

So you know, now that I’ve got my iPhone handy everywhere I go, I feel fully equipped for today’s world.  I’ve never had a Blackberry, but I hear those are great companions too.  I’m a little frustrated with AT&T’s service—I have a strong signal when I’m at work in Greenspring Valley, where NO ONE can get reception.   But, at home I have to stand near a window and wave the phone around to catch a piece of a signal.  Anyhow, my signal doesn’t usually stop me from using my web tools, I just can’t talk on the phone (which is great because the pricing suggested a low-minute/unlimited web access plan in my opinion, so that’s what I went with).  Still, I feel strong when I have my music, pictures, videos, messages and documents clenched in my hand and my trustworthy (darn, TWO YEAR contract) Verizon Wireless phone in my purse.

 

I haven’t explored all the possibilities of my new little friend, because I’m still in the process of getting fully hip to iGoogle and my new Gmail account.  Google Alerts sends me D.C. news highlights all day and Google Reader feeds me new articles and blogs about my iPhone, Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia as they post. 

 

Getting hip to gamers is quite hard for someone who never had a Nintendo, but now I know that it’s essential to understanding personal and corporate messages.  I did have a Gameboy a long time ago, but I only played Tetris, Super Mario Bros. and PacMan.  Finally, one Christmas I got a Sega Genesis, but it was far too late.  I missed the Nintendo, so I was completely out of the loop and only mastered Sonic the Hedgehog, the game that came with Sega, because that was the only one I had.  Much later I got an Xbox and used it mainly as decoration under my television and occasionally to hurt my thumbs during Tekkon battles. 

 

Now I’ve been introduced to Second Life for the second time, this time in more depth, and I’m staying tuned for information about Barack Obama’s campaign in the virtual community as part of my Media Relations course at Georgetown.  When my mom first told me about Second Life, I didn’t believe that people really spent money in Second Life, for fun.  I’m still curious to know what these people in Second Life are doing and why.  And I’d like to know if there’s a secret I should know about, but I don’t have the patience to find out through my avatar, so I’ll do my own investigating.

 

I’m not the only blogger who is doing investigative work out here.  The Washington Post features an excellent blogger, Michael Dobbs, who aims to get to the truth of memorable, false statements in The Fact Checker.   Clear and concise, he includes a quote, an image of the speaker and identifies problematic statements.  Dobbs goes on to give all known facts related to the subject, revealing bogus quotes from political figures and others we should all be able to trust.

 

Now I’m off to see what else my buddy and I can dig up.

November 7, 2007 Posted by | "truthiness", Blog, bloggers, iPhone, technology | 6 Comments

Wikipedia All Day

I can’t seem to get off this Wikipedia topic.  I’ve been depending on it as a pretty reliable source for getting quick information on things I’m unfamiliar with, and since I felt a need to defend the site, I was so glad to read the October 16th posting, Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Period.

 

Research doesn’t have to be so overwhelming, laborious and time consuming, thanks to the Internet and Wikipedia.  When someone mentions the Baltimore Speakers Series and you don’t know what she is referring to, look it up on Wikipedia and see if it’s up there.  Who knows and who knows what else?  That’s the beauty of this thing.

 

We are all looking for information, and a team effort in the digital world is revolutionary.  Wikipedia is a huge collection of topics, information and links that should be available to all of us.  Sure, there are grammatical errors and other disruptions, but in the big window Wikipedia is a great source and I love it.  Sure, it forces us to look for other resources because of all that “truthiness” stuff.  But shouldn’t we be digging and getting different perspectives from different resources anyway?  I think so.

 

With RSS feeds kicking into high gear, consistently giving information to individuals on select topics, the need to search isn’t so apparent.  But let Wikipedia remind us all that we can’t forget about Google!

 

At the rate we’re moving today in terms of technology, language, medical advancements, etc., it’s about time we develop a public database and work as a team to document a collection of valuable information that’s easy to access and update.  I struggled with Wikipedia’s self-proclamation, “The Free Encyclopedia,” for a long time, but it all makes perfect sense to me now.  Imagine a free encyclopedia that is constantly used, edited, discussed and updated as often as a status changes in the world of Facebook.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | "truthiness", Blog, encyclopedia, Facebook, technology, Wikipedia | , , | Leave a comment

Why NC Central University Should Step Up the Wikipedia Game

As an NCCU alumna, I’d like to see my alma mater rise above the stereotypes of Historically Black Colleges/Universities and Wikipedia.  NC Central is a nationally accredited university with one of the best Law School’s in America and an award winning print and online campus newspaper, Campus Echo.  With such a strong focus on community service and a clear mission to prepare students academically and professionally to become leaders, NCCU should definitely step up the Wikipedia game.

 

While analyzing the edits contributed by people who are connected to NCCU, I found plenty of disruptions, including grammatical errors and silly insertions.  Central’s disturbances to Wikipedia stand out since there are only 168 contributions from the school—not many compared to neighboring school, Duke University, which is connected to over 10,000 contributions. 

 

NCCU is a leading, influential university and even though we can’t fully trust the site, Wikipedia should be taken seriously given its popularity.  Tons of people rely on information from Wikipedia, so the site is yet another dimension of learning, a community movement, where good character and integrity win.  Corrupting information on Wikipedia related to the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Decolonization should not be part of NC Central’s agenda because it misrepresents the university. 

 

In fact, it doesn’t appear that NCCU has an agenda regarding Wikipedia.  Even though the school’s page is part of Wikipedia Project University, Project Durham, and Project North Carolina, Central has made no major efforts to get its ‘Start-Class’ rated page up to par.  Only 12 small contributions to the academics, external links, notable alumni and executives sections have been made to NCCU’s page, by NCCU. 

 

Most NC Central contributions to Wikipedia focus on updating the pages of hip-hop and r&b artists, producers and songs.  That’s cool, but thank goodness no one judges NCCU’s priorities based on Wikiscanner evidence!  I felt a sigh of relief when I came across two cases of NCCU edits that removed vandalism/profanity.  I was also impressed with the edits made to Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport since they support Project North Carolina.

 

So, in an effort to make Wikipedia a more trustworthy site and to instill internet etiquette (still a new concept) in all students who attend my alma mater, North Carolina Central University should value its opportunities on Wikipedia and take charge.  The Campus Echo has started an excellent path for NCCU’s credibility online, but I think it’s time for us Eagles to spread our wings. 

 

 

October 30, 2007 Posted by | NCCU, Wikipedia, Wikiscanner | , | Leave a comment

“Truthiness” and Other Mess

 

Who is a teacher?  Who is an expert?  Who are we to believe either of them?  And heck, where can the truth be found and what in the world are facts?

 

I remember an incident that happened thirty some years before I was born.  My dad, then an elementary school black kid in the mid-1950s, sat in his class full of white students in Los Angeles, California only to look up to his teacher’s finger pointed straight at him and hearing the factual sounding statement, “You are a Negro.  You have no history.”  Remembering this incident, my dad began to question every authority, teacher, book and word that he heard or read.

 

I’m still struggling with the concept of this “truthiness” term that Stephen Colbert plays around with to describe what people know without the help of evidence, facts, or intellectual thought.  It’s funny because I make up words as they are needed, and I love to throw a “ness” on the end of just about anything, but never would I have thought of coining the term “truthiness.”  The truth in itself has always been blurred for me as the daughter of an African-American studies/political science professor who questions and challenges what is represented as the truth in culture, politics and history.  What we choose to accept as the truth must always be questioned, researched and verified before it gets buried under a lie.  With that being said, I can only accept the term “truthiness” as a “temporarish” word, representing the twisted, endless road to the truth.  “Truthiness” must be the first step in arriving at some agreeable conclusion, but it certainly can’t be the last.

 

All this talk about “truthiness” reminds me of writing research papers at William G. Enloe High School and North Carolina Central University.  Of course all papers required sources and teachers made it clear that using the internet was not acceptable, unless the author could be proven reputable.  I wondered how any author could be trusted for that matter.  The complete history of black Americans was left out of all of my U.S. History textbooks and if I hadn’t been encouraged to think for myself I’d still believe everyone who said Christopher Columbus discovered America.  Ha! 

 

On top of all this mess, there’s 9/11.  We certainly can’t just accept what history books have to say about the devastation that occurred that day.  Sure enough, information is leaking that suggests our government had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.  Do a little of your own research on YouTube or just google the mess out of 9/11 and see what you find.

 

And when you find something you like, go ahead and add it to Wikipedia if it’s not there already.  Why not?  We’re all googling and searching for the truth anyway.  Just keep in mind that no one can be trusted and we all have to think for ourselves whether we believe in “truthiness” or not.  Darn.       

     

October 17, 2007 Posted by | "truthiness", African American dilemma, Blog, Google | , , | 2 Comments

Do You See Any Signs of a World Wide War?

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said to Congress, “war is not only being fought on the ground in Iraq but also in cyberspace.”  If we’re not smart, this world wide web could become a world wide war.  I’m talking about internet addicts and dummies-everyone in the whole wide world needs to watch out. And what about older people who are not computer literate and, therefore, less informed about the dynamics of the internet?  Do these people, as well as the addicts’, simply believe what political elites tell them?  Or do they think for themselves?   

 

People are using the internet in China, Korea, the Phillipines and Africa.  There are people online all around the world sending quick messages and getting information fast on computers, laptops, hand held devices and ear pieces.  This is really changing our behavior as human beings.  Many of us are running out of patience, sharing our private information, and becoming literally attached to the web and lost in the world of cyberspace. 

 

Wow, U.S. forces are on a mission to attack Iraq’s internet connection!  But internet connections can be restored at the click of a mouse and Iraq continues to use the web as a major media outlet, just as other countries do.  The U.S. is pretty bold to try to cut the wires of the world wide web, don’t you think?

It looks to me like we need to work at creating some type of massive understanding of www.  The Bill of Rights for the Internet would be a good start at laying out laws for this messy web.  At least people in the United States would feel a little more comfortable about their personal rights and information online.  But all I can really see is potential of a bigger problem in the distance.

October 9, 2007 Posted by | bill of rights, cyberspace, Iraq, world wide web | , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Leave Hip-Hop When It’s in Trouble

I have hip-hop on my mind, as I often do, because I am hip-hop. I grew up with hip-hop, listening to people like Da Brat, Lil Kim, Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie and Tupac, to name just a few. I’m guilty of writing down lyrics and memorizing songs in junior high school because I loved hip-hop. In high school I listened to freestyle battles at lunchtime and on the bus. I’d like to testify that I have gone to college and have a good job with my hip-hop.

 

The loudest voice in today’s black community gets a bad rap, which disappoints me. A lot of rappers have gone from talking about guns and violence to flaunting their money, cars, and clothes. Some rappers talk about selling drugs and degrade women by calling us bitches and hoes and some say “money over bitches,” and rhyme about pimping women.

 

People seem to pay most attention to the bad rap, and for all the wrong reasons. I pay attention to the affects of slavery, destroyed families, segregation and poverty on black people that are overlooked, but well represented in hip-hop. Curse words and materialism distract many people from hearing messages that are essential in understanding the African American position today.

 

The fact is, many black males are failing in school and going to prison at an alarming rate, and I’ll step out there and say that nearly all of them want to be rappers or involved with the entertainment industry somehow. More black women are succeeding in the professional world than black men and the gap is increasing. Collectively, black women are uplifting the statistics of the black community with our hip-hop and hope for more opportunities given to black men with no role models.

 

Many black women still have not given up on hip-hop. Never would I abandon black men under any circumstances because I am hip hop. When I listen to rap I hear black people with high aspirations who use similes, metaphors, word play and yes, profanity and slang to describe their lives. Why stop recording history? Hip-hop is my soul and it represents the African American dilemma of my generation and I’ll rap it, dance to it, and blast it in my car as long as it lives.

vixen-cover.jpg

This blog was inspired by the editor’s note in the September 2007 edition of Vibe Vixen.

October 5, 2007 Posted by | African American dilemma, Hip hop | , , | 2 Comments

Google World

 

Should we be afraid of Google? With its huge information database and variety of applications, like Gmail and Google Earth, the company has broken a lot of ground since its public launch in 2004. Google Web Search holds 50.8 % of the market share over Yahoo and Live Search. Many would argue that people are becoming dependent on Google and losing their privacy at the same time.

 

We have to be careful not to mistake Google for the only web search, or else our perception of news and information will be limited. There are plenty of other search engines out there and if we take advantage of as many as possible, a dependency on this technology will be helpful. John Battelle breaks down the power of search engines, which he calls the source of intentions, in The Search, but he focuses on Google because the company is setting high standards.

 

The Search makes a good case for the possibility of Google to become the main source of information for everyone. Partnered with NASA Ames Research Center, Sun Microsystems and Time Warner’s AOL, there’s no telling what Google will try to pull off in the years to come.

 

I assume that there is nothing I can’t research using Google’s search engine. It’s a quick way to get select information, so I use it as questions come up throughout each day because the home webpage is and convenient.

 

Here’s a list of useful Google tools and applications…

 

Google Web Search

Gmail

Google Maps

Google Maps API

Google Earth

Video Search

Image Search

YouTube

News

Weather

Calendar

How to…

World Clocks

Map

ToDo

Dictionary

Wikipedia

Games

More…

 

Sure, there are some privacy matters that Google has to address in terms of pulling information into its database that one may not want to be there and protecting social security numbers and financial information, but the bottom line is taking advantage of such a large source of information is beneficial. After all, Google’s mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google’s website does just that, allowing users to personalize their Google home page so that news and information related to selected topics is brought to the forefront and to search through queried blogs, videos, images and more.

 

There is also talk about Google branching out into the social networking world in competition with Facebook and MySpace, using its Earth application. Google Earth, in short, allows users to see different locations of the world from the perspective of a satellite on their personal computer screens. I imagine that combining the Earth application with a social network will create a new set of privacy issues to worry about.

The fact is Google has the potential to branch off in many different directions with Earth and all of its other features that I have listed above.

 

Don’t be scared of getting linked into Google. Instead, focus on personal integrity, the value of networking, and take advantage of the information that Google provides..

 

September 26, 2007 Posted by | Blog, Blogroll, Google, The Search | Leave a comment

3 Reasons Why Facebook Is Out of Control

 

If you are not already on Facebook, you might want to get with the program while it’s free and before it becomes too complex for nonusers to try and understand. Over 34 million people are members of Facebook and speak a foreign language to nonmembers who are simply trying to keep up with the name of the social internet website. I’ve heard, “What is it, myface, spacebook, facebook?”

Facebook is constantly evolving and as a member myself, I don’t know all the perks because it’s updated frequently and new applications are added daily. Facebook has become something like an addiction for many users and when compared to its launch in 2004 as a tool to connect Harvard University students with each other, Facebook is a networking community gone wild and here’s why.

 

The Facebook Platform

 

There are over 3,500 applications on Facebook that allow members to personalize their pages and interact with friends. Top Friends is very popular, allowing users to display favorite friends on their page. And the Moods application is fun too, because it allows users to update how they’re feeling using visuals.

 

But if all you want to do is display your mood, pictures and friends’ profiles then you might want to stick to Myspace. (Obviously, I’m a Facebook fan.)

 

The Facebook Platform, available since May 24 of this year opened a huge door to a gigantic space for facebook members and developers. Facebook Platform gives a template for developing applications that use Facebook features. This means companies can expand their relationship with consumers to the walls of Facebook, but only if they can come up with applications that get the attention of target users.

 

Marketers have a new option, but it won’t be that easy to stand out in the midst of thousands of other applications that users can choose from. This is where the chaos goes into overdrive because the life span of a Facebook application on a member’s page varies while users are constantly updating and upgrading their pages by downloading and deleting applications as their moods change.

 

The Facebook Platform makes way for who knows how many more applications that will continue to advance as companies are able to modify the website with new technology. I’m sure there are a few users out there who ignore notices of new applications and stick to traditional “facebooking,” but I’d bet they’ll get suckered into at least one of the thousands that poke them the right way.

 

RSSReally Simple Syndication

 

Facebook is now using RSS with more than its news and mini-feeds that keep users up to speed with activity on their networks. The website allows companies to use RSS to determine target Facebook users and to send their messages through creative applications and advertising.

 

Members can add applications like RSSBook to their profile, which gives a directory of news and information feeds that users can subscribe to. And this is only the beginning of the Facebook community and RSS.

 

SMSShort Messaging Service

 

SMS allows Facebook members to send and receive cellular text messages from their page, and companies like Intomobile are taking advantage of this technology while users now have the option of being available to facebook friends even when not logged on to the website.

 

SMS along with RSS feeds and the Facebook Platform are stretching the capabilities of Facebook and there is plenty of space to roam. The bottom line is facebook continues to get trickier and more complex each day. It’s a networking playground and I plan to keep up with its advancements, as well as those of other social networking websites because I’m curious to know what millions of people are getting themselves into.

 

 

 

 

 

September 13, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Facebook, Myspace, Social Network | 2 Comments