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December 13, 2008, 5:53 am
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What is RSS by alrosa

You said 2 months ago:

This is a great description of RSS. I just started noticing the RSS Feed options on a lot of the websites I visit. I ignore the option because I figured it was some little techy perk that I really didn’t need. Needless to say that it is very helpful and a good way to soak in some info quickly! I requested the RSS Feed on the blogs for our class so that whenever one of you writes a new blog I get notification and can comment on it. I appreciate the time you took to explain!

-Dawn

krworks said 2 months ago:

On the one hand, I think RSS feed is a great way to publicize a website or a blog that might not necessarily otherwise get a lot of hits (such as a small business, or in my case, an art gallery that wants to publish pictures of works in upcoming shows). However, if someone just uses a blog for fun, for general information, or for class purposes, then I think it can be kind of creepy that just anyone can subscribe to be updated on everything we post. It’s weird to think that as technology progresses, so does our access to other strangers.

todsouth said 2 months ago:

I think RSS is a great tool. I normally go to specific websites everyday to see if there has been anything updated. If only they used RSS, I would have to go through my normal procedure everyday!
It is helpful at work. As I stated in my Blog, our department uses RSS for the various information that is updated from time to time. We also Podcast various meetings so everyone can see who is saying what. It really makes it hard to deny things when there are many people who are listening to what is being said!
I still believe that the use of RSS is highly under used. I know I would use it more if the sites I visited had RSS as an option. Maybe shortly people will catch on.

annwill said 2 months ago:

I learned a bit more about RSS after reading your blog post. After taking a look at http://www.faganfinder.com it appears that RSS is not really complicated. This site also indicates that the acronym can have a variation on the names. To name a few according to this site, there is “Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary, or a variation on one of those.” While there are different versions, most RSS feeds have no problem from one version to another. One particular point to note is that there is a similar and improved format quite like RSS called Atom. There are advantages and disadvantages to using Atom, but the major difference is that for Atom, “it is also able to carry more complex information, and it is consistent across the syndication, storage, and editing of information.” This site notes that most everything applicable to RSS on their web pages are applicable also to Atom, but notes that to learn more about what is specific to Atom go to http://www.atomenabled.org.

My Comments « Annwill’s Weblog pinged 3 weeks ago:

[…] What is RSS by alrosa […]

My Comments « Alex Rosa’s Weblog pinged 3 weeks ago:

[…] What is RSS, 2008/10/04 at 8:22 […]

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Computers in Emergency Vehicles by alrosa

You said 2 months ago:

Alex,

That is amazing that the use of computers has cut down response times by over 30 seconds. I’m sure for many that is the difference between life and death. I had noticed that many Police Officers now have laptops in their vehicles. I know that many of the Policeman that I’ve had in my past HR classes noted that the transition to using networking and computer technology in the car had huge resistance from some of the older people on the force. It requires such a training effort…but in the end it’s completely worth the investment.

I also saw on the news that Chesterfield county officials have new technology (aerial scanner and a networked laptop) in their cars to catch people who’s liscense plates indicate that they haven’t paid their taxes.

todsouth said 2 months ago:

Unfortunately, due to the terrain where my department operates, we cannot use a wireless system in the entire area. We do have some stations that use a mapping system in their first due pieces that shows them the quickest route, hydrants, and other water sources. The system also allows for fire pre-plans to be downloaded for further emergency needs.
All stations in my areas can receive text alerts to calls before they are dispatched. This allows us to respond before the dispatchers can dispatch the call using the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch).
We will not be able to fully use technology until the hardware is in place throughout our area. With the shape our economy is currently, it still may be some time before we can get the much upgraded equipment in place.

annwill said 2 months ago:

I think the flip side to quick emergency response through modern technology is a system such as Onstar which can indicate when and where an emergency such as a car accident or heart attack has occurred. At http://www.onstar.com I looked at some of the quick bullets about this great service now available due to advancements in technology. When an automobile is involved in a crash, sensors can give critical details to the response team on call. This is significant if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to give verbal details by mobile phone. I would like to mention some very fascinating facts I did not know about this type of system until I went to this website. A crash report comes up on the emergency response team’s screen which tells the status of the air bag, whether deployed or not. The maximum velocity (speed) at the time of the impact is indicated. Whether or not the vehicle has rolled over or had multiple impacts is indicated. Even the direction of the impact, such as front or rear, is indicated. This type of information is key to those on the way to assist with physical trauma as they race to grab emergency equipment and can determine ahead of time if other emergency service is needed, such as a medical helicopter for transport. Key elements are recorded in real-time details!

My Comments « Alex Rosa’s Weblog pinged 3 weeks ago:

[…] Computers in Emergency Vehicles, 2008/09/25 at 4:50 […]

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Databases .. what would we do without them? by mikereining

alrosa said 1 month ago:

I use facebok almost daily, thank god I’m not addicted like many of my friends. I think it’s great for keeping in contact with old friends that I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time. Life takes us all on curious and sometimes confusing paths and I think it’s awesome that there is a database setup that let’s us keep in touch with people that shared something in a point in my life. The best part of it is, it’s very user friendly. You don’t have to be a IT tech in order to navigate it, everything is there with just within a click of a mouse.

Leigh Ann said 1 month ago:

I also use Facebook on a regular basis. As I live around eight-hundred miles away from where I grew up, Facebook (which I have only joined over the last year) has become pretty much the only way I am able to keep up with people I knew when I was younger.

I have found the site is fairly user friendly, although it was somewhat of an adjustment going from their earlier interface to their recent change. However, it’s easy to see why they changed the look of the website– with the set-up the way it is now, the ads displayed on the side of each page refresh far more often.

You said 1 month ago:

I use Myspace and Facebook daily for personal things. It’s really awesome to be able to keep in touch with old friends and family. They have really improved how you can query their databases to locate specific people or a group of people.

Another interesting use of the Myspace and Facebook database is for recruiting or promoting.You can list jobs for people to view, but you can also do a search to using queries to cue in on certain age groups, interest groups and geographic groups. There have been many studies, including one I conducted last semester, that show that recruiters have great success using these social networking, database based, sites for recruiting and promoting their organizations.

It’s nice to read what an “IT guy” has to say about this. This week was a bad week for our “IT guy” at work!

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What is Phishing? by rsjblog

You said 2 months ago:

I’ve found some of the worst Phishing scams to be through ebay and paypal. These Phishers usually play off of people’s pre-existing fear of being defrauded OR they actually find people who have been frauded already. They will tell you there’s been a breach and to verify that everything is ok and they’ll ask you to enter information. It’s horrible…most of the time the intent of ebay and paypal phishing is not to steal money but to steal someone’s user info so they can parasite off of someone’s account and sell illegal merchandise without their own identity being sacrificed.

-Dawn

scoutmstr25 said 2 months ago:

I have often wondered what phishing is. I am very careful when I am on the internet because I fear that someone is on the other side just waiting for my information. There is a lot of junk out there that can lead you into the wrong direction. I am afraid of inputtiing any credit card or social security information. It is very hard to catch a cyber criminal. They could be anywhere in the world. Sometimes they can just a virus which can be very harmful to your computer. It can potentially ruin the hard drive and corrupt any files. I always make sure that I have a good antivirus software to protect me.

rsjblog said 2 months ago:

Ahh.. adding comments to my own blog… network security is such a large topic that I feel compelled to point out a shortcoming in my rather short overview on phishing. Sometimes they are really, really good. McAfee did a demo on a phishing scheme sometime in the Oct/Nov time frame of last year. The e-mail bait was dead on… didn’t ask any person information, just gave you web site link to click on. The key was that their URL was one character difference from the legit URL. Unless someone had memorized the URL, they would never had realized they were being directed to another site. The bogus site looked identical to the bank’s real one. We actually looked at both of them side by side. All the bogus site would do is ask for your account info, just like the real bank, and then send you and error message stating that your password was incorrect and redirect you to the legit site. That’s it. From the user experience point of view, you entered your password, got kicked back, tried it again and continued on your way. Even the manager of the AVERT lab said that he would have never picked up that it was a phishing scheme. Today these kind of things are big business and the bad guys can be sophisticated and professional. It’s a good idea to enable phishing filters and be cautious about clicking on a URL embedded in an e-mail. Better to go to you bank using your own bookmark. Also, the AVERT guy said that in a McAfee survey, they found the general public had got the message about not clicking on links in e-mails– the majority of respondents would copy and past the URL into their browser– unfortunately, that is the same as clicking on it. So don’t do that either. And don’t get me started about certificates… I could go on, but I have accounting homework to do.

mikereining said 2 months ago:

Phishing is most certainly a dangerous nasty scheme we all need to be aware of. I’ve also received the ones posing as ebay ads and paypal as well and I do nto have accounts with either of them believe it or not. The sad thing is that I have seen many elderly fall prey to this. These people just tried to keep up with society and almost immediatly got taken advantage of. A small few are going to ruin the internet for everyone if we are not careful.

alrosa said 2 months ago:

Thanks for the eye opener. I’m always on the go and do everything on line, from banking to even my grocery shopping (sad I know). I can’t start to tell you how many times I’ve turned off my phishing filter without thinking of the consequences. It’s amazing how easily they can get all of my important information. Great post and great follow up comment. I know as for myself, I’m going to try and be a little more careful when using the internet to access my information because of this post.

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Wireless Internet in McDonalds? by todsouth

You said 2 months ago:

Todd,

This “new” McDonald’s brand is a very interesting concept. In many countries McDonald’s has had this cafe appeal for years. I think as companies such as Panera and Starbucks have succeeded in the US market McDonald’s saw the light. The option of WiFi helps them add to the new modernized feel of the restaurant. They’ve decided to focus more on customer service and a diversified menu. McDonald’s has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to strategy & I think this is going to be a big hit for them! Also, I learned last semester that many of the busiest US McDonald’s actually utilize call centers to take the orders, so that their window people can focus on quality and service. It’s a very high tech system (hardware, software, telcommunications) through which they’ve seen something like 1% error in orders.

-Dawn

scoutmstr25 said 2 months ago:

I too was shocked to see wireless services offered at a McDonalds. It was not the nice cafe style like in your hometown but your average McDonalds. I could not believe it? I thought who on earth wants to be at McDonalds any longer than they want to. I changed my attitude when I installed wireless technology in my house. I loved being anywhere in my house and having the capability to use the internet. Now we can extend that technology outside our homes and into the restaraunts. I am not so sure if I really want to eat my steak next to the computer though.
Pretty soon I have a feeling it will be everywhere. We will even be able to use the restroom and surf the net. It may even get as bad as the cell phones. People have to have them everywhere they go.

Dwan said 2 months ago:

I first realized McDonalds offered wireless internet service on a June 2008 visit near Bowling Green, Virginia. My initial surprise was 1- this back-woods community actually even knew about wireless technology, and 2- that it would be advertised on a McDonald’s dollar menu. While I am sure the good people of the town that shall go nameless here are aware of wireless technology, the patrons who happened to visit McDonalds on that particular day would appear to be more interested in farming equipment; let alone they try to eat fast food and check their email.

During the entire course of my meal, I not once observed anyone looking up current stocks values on a laptop while munching on oily fries. This is not to say that McDonald’s fries are oily. I happen to love their fries. But as much as I savor McDonald’s fries, I can’t see myself typing on the keyboard with oily fingers. Why someone would want to have all sorts of fast food dropping on and into the crevices of their laptop is beyond me. Also, does McDonalds really have that much space that patrons can just sit around surfing the internet while others are looking for a seat to much on their yummy fries. Who does McDonalds think they are, Starbucks?!?

mikereining said 2 months ago:

I too am intrigued by this rebranding effort of McDonalds. The inclusion of wireless internet at least speaks that they are trying to keep pace with the growing technology. This to me goes right along with their McCafe idea and concept of soft leather couches and Starbucks esque atmosphere. I for one, as a person who does not go on vacation without a laptop, have at least forgone this perk in restaurants (I am a frequent visitor of Panera where they also have internet access). The last thing I want to do while I enjoy a bagel and tea is to look at a laptop. I prefer some peace and quiet and a little a people watching to start my day as opposed to yet another scan of my email. I think the practicailty of this medium in heavy doses everywhere depends on the individual in the end. I recently gave my wife a trip out of town on her own and had our two girls for the three days. (wow that awesome!) Much to my enjoyment I was invited along with my wife’s friends to a place called Pretend Town where you can let your kids sort of roam free and play while you just mill about and chat. The environment is very secure and the kids love it. Much to my dismay though, there were about 3 mothers sitting at laptops on wireless access … ingoring their children. Is this where we are headed?

krworks said 2 months ago:

McDonald’s has definitely had some serious re-branding by providing WiFi. I think that by doing this the company wants to stray away from the fast food stop-and-go , probably in hopes to expand its clientèle.

First they bring in lower cost premium coffees and soon-to-be espresso drinks, progressing to a “McCafe” (as Mike so cleverly puts it). After adding in WiFi access (and free at that!!), they are inviting people to sit and relax, utilizing their environment and, hopefully, buying into more of the McProducts. This strays far from the psychological idea that McDonald’s use of red and yellow causes people to order and leave, not wanting them to loiter. I would definitely choose McDonald’s over Starbucks to hang out in and do work since I can get cheaper coffe and free internet!

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Your Writer by mnd103

You said 3 months ago:

I love learning remarkable quotes…keep them coming!

T said 2 months ago:

Great site! D

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All-in-One Printers Pros/Cons by tchrwannab2

Robert Johnson said 2 months ago:

I have one two and really love it. We don’t use the photo printing capabilities too much because my wife likes to get them professionally printed. Other than the gloss of the paper, I have a hard time telling the difference. I don’t use the scanner/printer as much as I would have thought; but, when I have needed it, it was a real life saver. The only real limitation that I have noticed is that cost and speed of printing regular text. It’s designed to be able to do all this cool photo graphics, but when I just need to print off 100 pages of text, it’s slow and those ink cartridges are costly. That’s probably just me, because I like to print so I can read. I find it difficult to stare at a computer screen and read for hours.

You said 2 months ago:

Ashley,

I also own an all-in-one printer. I have found that I have as many quirks and costs associated with my all-in-one as I had with all three devices I was using before to perform the same functions. This type of device is just such a convenience and time saver for a student or anyone in a creative profession. I’ve also found it be so nice to have extra space on the desk that was originally occupied by a printer, scanner, fax, and camera dock. It is hard to really monitor the ink expenditures, escpecially if you’re not an everyday user. It is true that it’s a complete disaster if one function goes down because the whole printer is down. This is why I keep my old devices stored away. That’s also the same for any other all-in-one devices such as a dvd/vhs combo or a flat screen tv/dvd player combo. As the technology improves so will the negatives…until then I think a extended warranty is the best idea!

alrosa said 2 months ago:

I think I’m one of the few people still left out there that actually has a dedicated laser printer for text, and photo printer for pictures and a stand alone scanner. I don’t know why, being that I use none of them professionally. I think it has more to do with my addiction to just buying a new piece of electronics. I think the only I’d be worried about is the drawbacks, if any that an all-in-one would have. Would the pictures be as clear and the text be as crisp if you were to use seperate components.
The one big advantage I do see is just the space saving ability the all-in-one has. I might start shopping around for a more versatile all_in _one, please let me know. It will be nice to regain some of my desk space back that all the extra components take up.

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The Mojave Experiment by alrosa

Robert said 2 months ago:

Ever since the TV commercial came out I always wondered what was up. How do people evaluate an operating system through looking at some canned functionality. Absolutely ridiculous! A real low point for Microsoft. Well, scratch that, it validates a run in I had with them a few years ago. I will explain. A few years ago I was part of a team looking at a document repository solution. The specs stated that it had to facilitate a couple of terabytes of data. Microsoft was touting some software that ran on NT. A few hours after the big meeting with them I got a frantic call from my HP representative. I had purchased a number of servers from her over the years and we had a good working relationship. She said that Microsoft had called her and demanded that she supply hardware at cost so that their solution would come in under budget. Further, they told her that if she didn’t give them an at-cost price they would not recommend HP hardware. Real classy.

todsouth said 2 months ago:

From my own perspective, I don’t think that Vista is too bad of a system. When I purchased my laptop last year, it came with Vista on it. I was hesitant at first but as I used it, I got used to all the differences.

It is the same for me whenever we try to change something in the fire service. Someone may have come up with a better, easier way to do something and because we have done it a particular way for 40 million years it doesn’t change. I guess that is why I try to have an open mind about change. It’s very hard but necessary to strive towards providing better services to the community.

I am by far not a computer expert but I do believe that I look for the same feature that most everyone else looks for, ease of use. If it is not easy to use then most of the end users will not use it or go with something else. So if it gives you more features and is still easy to operate you should have the best of both worlds.

You said 2 months ago:

Alex,

I’m a little behind in the way of software upgrades; I just upgraded from XP to 2007. I do know that many of my professional colleagues had a fit when they converted to Vista because of the major hang-up that occurred.

I think you completely right about the validity of doing focus groups to curb bad press. They obviously conducted those sessions knowing that they would air them at some point.

As we read in this week’s PowerPoint, developers are always trying to “improve” upon softwares and make them more compatible with intranets and Internet. Organizations are really going to have to take it upon themselves to offer major IS/Software tutorials prior to a software conversion. Software companies come up with products that they know there is market for; obviously Vista programmers were more interested in capability and not ease of use. Future generations will probably not have such dramatic reactions to these sorts of issues because they are so tech savvy.

I do think Mojave was nothing but a scam, the same as the new “I’m a PC” commercials. Very nice post!

-Dawn

scoutmstr25 said 2 months ago:

I enjoyed reading your post on the Mojave experiment.I too wrote a post on it. I thought that it was very interesting. To my surprise many were against the whole experiment. They claimed that it was wrong to cheat the people. One critic said that had this experiment been used to sell an Apple product, Apple would have taken a lot of heat for this. The same critic thought that it is unfair that Microsoft could get away with all this.
I too recently switched from XP to Vista. I am one of the few that like Vista. I also did not rush out to buy it as soon as it came on the market. I waited until Vista had all of its kinks worked out.
I have enjoyed all the options that it allows me. I also like the ease of storing videos and pictures.

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How does a GPS work? by todsouth

You said 2 months ago:

Todd,

That is interesting to learn about NAVSTAR. I never realized that during that time in the past there was secrecy surrounding the intent of the satellites. Working in the wireless industry has really opened my eyes to how dependent the public and government are becoming upon GPS capabilities. It was not too long ago that Verizon Wireless banned sales of any non-GPS capable cell phones…which apparently happened for numerous reasons, one of which was government pressure. GPS has saved many people’s lives and helped many people and the technology seems to only improve with time. It’s a delicate technology I think…the combination of user friendly software and very powerful satellites.

-Dawn

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A Day in the Life of Annette Branch by annwill

You said 2 months ago:

Annette,

I would dare to say that gas pumps and ATMs are the most publicly used computer hardwares. After learning about how hardware works from our class resources, I bet those machines require 24 monitoring and maintenance. It’s also startling how vulnerable out information is for big business to use…and predators! Nice post!

-Dawn Holden

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