Tag Archives: review

End of Semester: MIST 7500

mario-jumping

Woo hoo! The semester is over! A professor asked me once what I learned in MIST 7500. This is an interesting question for me. I came into the Master of Internet Technology program with over a decade of experience in internet technology. I didn’t expect to learn a lot and I was disappointed. It turns out I actually did learn a lot, not about technology though, rather about how technology is applied and used in business. I learned these lessons from the professor and a few guest speakers sprinkled throughout the semester. I found that this was the key insight that I didn’t know I needed.

The application of internet technology in business was the focus of the first several classes. We learned about the The Business Model Canvas, SWOT analysis, and Porter’s 5 Forces Model, among others. These abstractions of business serve to simplify and focus what an organization is all about providing managers and stakeholders with a framework to make decisions. Applying these analytic methods to my work has enabled me to focus my limited time and effort to the most effective part of the problems I am presented with.

The most notable guest speaker in my view was Colleen Jones. Her focus is content strategy, a nascent specialty that leverages analytic methods and scientific research to determine the most effective strategy to leverage web content to achieve an organization’s goals. In the 90s and 00s the focus of web strategy was simply to have a presence on the web. Recently though innovation has abstracted many of the technological hurdles away clearing the way for Colleen and her analytical methods. With her book Clout: the Art and Science of Influential Web Content (reviewed here on this blog) and her consultancy Content Science she has become one of the foremost thought leaders in Content Strategy.

Another speaker I thought was interesting was Jason Lannen who discussed auditing and controls in IT. Working in the government this hit close to home. Almost everything I deal with on daily basis has to do with some level of auditing and controls. Hearing how this is handled in the private sector provided me with insights enabling me to contrast my experience with his. This made me a lot less frustrated with many of the challenges I face at work.

On the technical side of things Dr. Piercy’s lessons served to reinforce what I already knew and fill in the gaps of the things I didn’t. We learned about the role of the W3C and other standards governing bodies that bring order to the chaos. I coded my first Java program in years, a great exercise for a .NET C# developer. Furthermore we learned about cloud computing in the Amazon environment, big data, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and the fundamental building blocks of the technology the Internet is based on.

All in all, I feel a lot less full of crap.

Book Review – Clout: the Art and Science of Influential Web Content

As a web developer, I don’t get very close to the content. In fact, over the years, I’ve become blind to it when coding clients’ websites. It might as well be “lorum ipsum” gibberish like that found on Microsoft Word templates. Granted without this content there would be no websites for me to work on. Well…at least there shouldn't be. There are many sites out there that put the technical effort into the coding and treat the content as an afterthought. Content should in fact come first, before coding. This requires developing a proper content strategy and a plan to implement it.

In Clout, the author Colleen Jones concisely outlines the methods and techniques that will aid the development of a successful Content Strategy. There are numerous real-world examples that support the core principles of context, rhetoric and psychology. She advises content creators to turn off their fire hose of information, suggesting effective, proven tools to reach people. These techniques are proven to filter out the static.

This book is a top resource regarding the implementation of content strategy. Clients who are inexperienced or non-technical usually don’t understand why developers can’t make the gibberish better. Content just isn’t our forte. Clout is a well-researched and authoritative source for developers who want to help their clients make content work.

You can find out more about Colleen Jones at her blog, Winning Content. She also is runs a boutique consultancy, Content Science, that practices what she preaches for clients such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Footsmart, among others.

Why Android on the HTC Incredible Ruled in 2010

In 2010 my crap Windows 6.5 phone got upgrade to an HTC Incredible from Verizon and I couldn't be happier. Originally I was hoping to buy a Nexus One but then along came the Incredible. It had similar specs plus a better camera. Since then I've used the hell out of it and I've always been able to get it to do what I want it to. After rooting it I was able to make the wireless hotspot functionality work with Verizon caring. Shocking. Below are is a list of the apps that made the HTC Incredible RULE in 2010.

Gmail – I have both my personal Gmail and my Google Apps account (for Oliver Media) available from the Gmail app. As slimmed down versions of Gmail go, it RULES.

Google Voice – I love this app because it allows me to have one phone number. This phone number rings at my office, phone and Skype. The free SMS allow me to dump my SMS plan with Verizon saving ~$6/month. I also get crappy text transcribing of voicemails.

Foursquare – For some reason location-based social media makes the dopamine flow and chill the OCD. As of this writing I've built up quite the little empire of intersections and homes. Foursquare FTW.

TweetDeck – This app has had me since the BETA. As Twitter apps go this is my favorite. It's got an endless timeline and it's laggy like other Twitter clients I've used. I configured it to post to Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz. Much love to TweetDeck.

Kindle App – The high resolution of the AMOLED has finally made reading on a phone an enjoyable experience. I can now read books on my Kindle and pick up where I left off whenever I have some time to kill. The WisperSync functionality makes it seemless.

Cardiotrainer – This app gets the credit for helping me lose 10 pounds this year. It tracks all my runs using GPS and encourages me to keep it up. There something about it that makes running into a game. It's seemless Facebook integration allows me to brag about running too.

Flybys – Ever wonder when the Internation Space Station is going to fly over? Probably not but this app will tell you. That's all I got. Space FTW.

Sirius/XM – I'm adicted to Opie and Anthony and this lets me listen to it with my headphones anywhere. Especially good because that show is NSFW. You need to have a subscription to XM.

 

I'm sorry, I just can't stop talking about this damn phone. Love it.

Impressions of a HTC Incredible Froyo Update

Android Froyo

I got impatient yesterday and manually downloaded and installed the Android 2.2 (Froyo) update for the HTC Incredible on Verizon Wireless. Since then I’ve been playing with the new features and I’m quite pleased. There have been numerous updates which add significant value to the Android platform on the spiritual successor to the Nexus One. The best part is I think my non-techie wife actually wants one.  Too bad we recently renewed her contract with a “feature phone” and she’s locked in for a several more months. Without further ado here’s the run-down of my opinion of the notable features.

720p HD Video…ON A PHONE

I shot a 15-second sample video during my evening commute. Moving at 55 mph the train made a good subject.

Performance Improvements and Web Standards

This feature is quite nice. Web browsing is much snappier. For a mobile browser the JavaScript and standards compliance are quite impressive. It scored an astonishing 93/100 on the Acid 3 test (considered the current benchmark for browser performance and standards compliance). Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 only scored a 12/100…so go figure. Switching between apps is much smoother too.

WiFi Hotspot

I was initially most excited about this feature. Unfortunately it requires you to purchase a Internet plan from Verizon for an additional $20/month. You could potentially avoid this by rooting your phone but Verizon may get wise to your scam and shut down your operation.

“Update All” option in the Android Market

Anyone who has an Android phone and has suffered through updating each app, INDIVIDUALLY, can appreciate this.

Flash 10.1

It works great, I watched some live.twit.tv on my phone just to be sure. I can sum it up with SUCK IT Steve Jobs.

Overall I’m very pleased with my HTC Incredible with Android 2.2. Thanks again Google and keep up the good work.