Thursday, May 19, 2005

So It Ends!

My participation in the final project was input in the conception of the idea and the handing out, posting of flyers around Marymount and Hunter College even though I don't go there. I also downloaded more flyers from Dr. Gilbert's email and posted them at my job as well as talking to as many professors as I could about it. Thanks Dr. Gilbert, May the Force be with you, that's corny.

Assignment #9

Walmart and Microsoft are pretty much in the same boat as far as I'm concerned, they want it all. They are the Evil Empires. Walmart is disguised a lot better than Microsoft just because on the outside it is just so consumer friendly. Everything is supposed to be focued on the consumer. It's a huge place with a huge selection, so you can pretty much buy anything you want there and their price are great. One of the many things that bothered me about the Walmart documentary was that old lady saying that she wishes she could have her Social Security direct deposited into Walmart because that's the only place she spends her money on. The other thing that pissed me off was that share holders get-together that took place in that arena, I swear it was like a scene out of Nazi Germany, with thousands of people all saying the same thing all standing in company line, what a f*ckin joke. To my surprise there aren't any Walmart's in New York City, thank goodness. You would think that a place like Walmart would have a superstore in Manhattan. What I didn't realize was the way that Walmart gets their prices down is pretty much through intimidation. There ask the buyers for a price like they did with "Rubbermade" and they better get it or you won't do business with the giant anymore, and companies can't afford to do that so they wilt under the pressure. In addition, the fact that Walmart is such a huge focus of small towns acroos the country, it really eliminates the "mom and pop" stores because they simply can't compete and sell items that cheap. Another way that they get their prices down is by paying their employees next to nothing, now where are these people is small towns where Walmat is pretty much the center of the town supposed to find "real work" with competitive wages? Not to mention that a lot of the manufacturing is being outsourced to places like China where they can also use cheap labor. I'm sure that the founder of Walmart's intentions weren't for his business to get like it is currently. I have to give Walmart some credit though, if anything else they are just a machine, they are so efficient it's sickening. Chris gives a good review of Linux and how it is more for the people than Microsoft is. One great point that was made in the documentary is the use of passwords. I really had no idea that passwords had the type of controlling power that it's said to have in the film. The fact that he made one fifth of his mates change their password to "enter" was just ingenius and was a big F-U to "the man". Lania also talks about the power of passwords but goes a little deeper, worth reading. Microsoft's bottom line is that they want to be the only one out there. They aren't like Walmart because they will charge your ass as much as they can, and they want to force you into buying it by making sure that they are the only thing out there. Sometimes I think our President has the same idea, "You are either with us or against us." Kiss my ass Bush Jr.

Assignment #8

Wikipedia says the phrase The Long Tail was first coined by Chris Anderson in a 2004 Wired Magazine article to describe certain business and economic models such as or Netflix. The term long tail is also generally used in statistics, often applied in relation to wealth distributions or vocabulary use. It goes on to decribe the relationship of the Long Tail and storage and distribution costs, "The key factor that determines whether a sales distribution has a Long Tail is the cost of inventory storage and distribution. Where inventory storage and distribution costs are insignificant, it becomes economically viable to sell relatively unpopular products; however when storage and distribution costs are high only the most popular products can be sold. Take movie rentals as an example: A traditional movie rental store has limited shelf space, which it pays for in the form of monthly rent; to maximize its profits it must stock only the most popular movies to ensure that no shelf space is wasted. Because Netflix stocks movies in centralized warehouses, its storage costs are far lower and its distribution costs are the same for a popular or unpopular movie. Netflix is therefore able to build a viable business stocking a far wider range of movies than a traditional movie rental store. Those economics of storage and distribution then enable the Long Tail to kick in: Netflix finds that in aggregate "unpopular" movies are rented more than popular movies." Jill delves further into Anderson, staing that the reason places like Amazon are so successful is because of strength in nnumbers, which is very true. When I shop for books the first place that I will go to is Amazon because of its huge selection and the ingenius way they utilize the public. They sell books and other products on their own, but what is great about Amazon is the fact that other people can sell their products and flood the market. Thus, driving down the price and everything is great for the consumer. However, I wonder where or how Amazon makes so much money if they never really get to sell their own product. For instance, a vast majority if not all itms that are sold by sellers are smartly priced cheaper than what Amazon is selling it for, consequently most people would buy the cheaper one. So, if they aren't selling anything where are they making money? Moreover do most corporations for the most part like the long tail or not? Obviously, it has its benefits but not many companies enjoy competition. Chris' Blog is worth looking at because it gives a more humorous view on the idea of the "Long Tail". One thing that Anderson's article about the Long Tail solidifes an idea that we all know, and that's that online shopping is the way to go. Online shopping gives you an immeasurable amount of outlets to shop from. You can do google searches for the items you are shopping for and without the hassle of travel, lines, or weather to get in your way.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Assignment #7

According to wikipedia a folksonomy is a neologism for a practice of collaborative categorization using freely chosen keywords. More colloquially, this refers to a group of people cooperating spontaneously to organize information into categories, noted because it is almost completely unlike traditional formal methods of faceted classification. This phenomenon typically only arises in non-hierarchical communities, such as public websites, as opposed to multi-level teams. Since the organizers of the information are usually its primary users, folksonomy produces results that reflect more accurately the population's conceptual model of the information. Adam Mathes says that an important aspect of a folksonomy is that is comprised of terms in a flat namespace: that is, there is no hierarchy, and no directly specified parent-child or sibling relationships between these terms. There are, however, automatically generated “related” tags, which cluster tags based on common URLs. This is unlike formal taxonomies and classification schemes where there are multiple kind of explicit relationships between terms. These relationships include things like broader, narrower, as well as related terms. These folksonomies are simply the set of terms that a group of users tagged content with, they are not a predetermined set of classification terms or labels. Deanna's point that folksonomies are good because it is one of the few things about the web and technology that are made by the people for the people is a great one. Jill on the other hand, questions the practicality of folksonomies for ordinary people. I would have to agree with her that the real benefits of folksonomies are more in line with organizational use rather than your average Joe. Organizations would be able to get their information out to an enormous amount of people within no time at all. They would be able to "tag" the information and disperse it the way they want to the right people in the right departments. What use would you or me need with that. A chain letter of some sort? For what purpose? Let's just say that I worked in the offices for a huge corporation like Apple and I needed to get my information out to everyone in the offcie and I could link is to hundreds of differemt sites, then folksonomies are where I need to be. One prime example of a folksonomy that Professor Gilbert gave in class is Ebay because through it you can list an item to sell and when you do you can list it within certain perameters, categories, or "tags" so one can find your item easier. In addition, the seller has the power to create and manipulate the description of the item as much as they want to better their chances of selling the item. Just imagine what would Ebay look like if it wasn't for folksonomies? It would be a complete mess. You would have to spend hours and hours going through thousands of listing in the hope that you will find the one that you are looking for. Thus, folksonomies are great for the advancement of technologies like the Internet.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Assignment #6

Chapter 3 of The Cluetrain Manifesto is called "Business as Usual" but the usual isn't seen often in this book. Jill's Blog goes into detail on Levine's background information in the first part of the chapter that I saw as boring and needless. I'm glad she did because I don't want to get into it. One of Levine's best points was that he and others like him are artists or craftsman in order to do unique work that people have never seen before. No matter what you pursue, whether it's radio, TV,sports , or fashion everyone has the potential to be an artist and make their voice be heard. He then takes it further to the authors of web sites whop are craftsman in their own right. The information that we can get from thses authors is different from normal media that we can get from TV because it's more raw, not doctored, or suger coated. Levine did a good jon of portraying that multi-task addiction that many of us fight. We must be doing five things at once. Corporations love this addiction because that causes us to spend more money on new multi-tasking gadgets like the Treo which a certain professor owns.
As good as technology as become it also has major downsides and Jean does a good job of describing what pisses me off about technology like the Internet. For instance, the most annoying case is spam and probably the most disturbing about all of this is that we have become so dependent on technology that it's scary to think of what would happen if there was a major catastrophic event that took it away from us. People in this society lose a cell phone and it's the end of the world. How about having a physical phonebook ? People goes nuts when something happened to their term paper and somehow lose hours and hours of hard work in a flash. How about making some extra copies? As afr as spam goes there is no full proof way to prevent them from getting to you because those companies that make spam protection want you to come back for more and spen more money when you get spam again. This is where Levine's idea of customer loyalty is involved. Corporations will use this customer loyalty against you beacuse they know when you need something from them you will go back to them no matter what. You can parallel this to clothing too, I'm sure that one would feel a lot better if they bought a shirt from Ralph Lauren as opposed to K-Mart or something even though the shirt quality-wise is exactly the same. Companies no this so you pay for the name, the $5 shirt from K-Mart is gonna cost you $30 at Ralph Lauren. The process is too far gone for anyone to take a real stand, and when Levine says that employees will talk to us about the companies, they aren't being honest. All they ae gonna do is feed us bullshit for the betterment of the company that is signing their checks, putting food on their tables, and putting a roof over their head.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Assignment #5

Chapter 2 of the Cluetrain Manifesto was a little more optimistic for me in the sense that it shows us that as far as the Internet goes, we have a voice. One example of this could be the use of blogs and they can be used to question things you see or read in the news. It can reshape the news in the sense that bloggers all around the world can be unofficial fact checkers of the news that have just seen or read. Deb supports this in her discussion of the Internet building a new world. One thing that has always bothered me that was brought up in chapter 2 is this idea of professionalism. No matter where you work, you must come in wearing a 3 piece suit, so you can go sit in your cubicle and be miserable. It the same thing about wearing your best when you go to church. Do you really think God cares if you go to his/her house to worship in an Armani suit. So does that mean that God doesn't like the homeless because they don't dress well? Can you do your job any faster or more efficiently because of the designer suit you are wearing. Professionalism isn't a material it's a mindset. It's coming into work on time everyday ready to work, not a $300 pair of shoes, or a new business card. You should watch the movie American Psycho in order to see "corporate professionalism" gone overboard. Lania gave a good example of the mocking of the "corporate professionalism" in her mentioning of the hilariously funny movie Office Space.
In addition, in chapter 2 Locke's questions what the web is for and Locke seems to think that the Web can be our opportunity as less than human consumsers to become human again and have a voice. He tells us that we don't realize how much power we really have. Locke promotes that we manage our world because he could help things in our lives like risk avoidance, smoothness, fairness, and discretionary attention. Just to elaborate on on of these points, risk avoidance is created in a managed world because nothing unexpected happens if you are managing the world correctly. Unfortunately, managing our world can't really prevent the insane idea of professionalism. One problem that Locke did a great job of stating was the problem of the "business" voice or the corporate voice. Our voice is what defines who we are and distinguishes us from all other people. However, our business voice is pretty much the same as everyone elses keeping with the company line. He says that managed business it what has taken or voices and I couldn't agree with him more, but I guess it's just all about swallowing your pride and collecting the check. The Web can give us our voice back, where we can say and do what we want. We don't have to stay in league with our business allies we can do what we want and question who we want. When are we finally gonna wake up to this?

Assignment #4

The first chapter of Locke's The Cluetrain Manifesto gives us a great insight of what the corporate mindset is really like. What's even more disturbing is that know this corporate greed is happening, but we just choose to ignore it. For instance, at my job we have to promote some contest that BMW is running in a joint-venture with our company. Now I have better and more important things to do at work than promote some bullshit contest. What this contest does is impede my work. Now what do I get out of it? Stress and a headache. What does corporate get out of it? Oodles and oodles of money. Do they care that their staff can't do their jobs as good as they use to because of this promotion? Nope, as long as they get their cash. This corporate mentality is also evident in the halls of our government . Isn't it ironic that the rich politicians who railraod the poor every chance they get in order to line their pockets with money, depend on these "poor" people to fight for our freedom. This also comes from a President who bought his way out of going to Vietnam and convinced idiots in America that his opponent wasn't really a war hero, unbelievable. Ofcourse, I'm not saying that all troops come from poor families, but very few troops come from rich families. Jennifer gave a great insight into the corporate mentality with the quote that she used in her posting. Another view into corporate's indiotic mentality towards concumers is displayed in Elena's blog post of chapter 1. It's a mentality that should be stopped but will never be. It's only going to get worse in the days to come.
In this first chapter of Locke's seems like a convoluted nightmare of rants and societal observations. I have to be honest, his praising of Internet geekdom was a little over my head and a little "loserish". However, he did make some great points. One obvious ones is that corporations really don't see people as humans, they see us as consumers and nothing more. Another argument of his that I have heard before is his comparison of the Internet's purposes now to its originally intended ones. The Internet has essentially become an enormous shopping mall and its true power and potential really haven't been explored by Interent giants like Yahoo. Who is gonna lead this revolution to find the true powers of the Internet and does the American public really care? We are so consumer driven a venture to find the Internet's true potential would probably turn many people off and they won't care until they are able to make money off of it. Locke seems to contradict himself though, he talks about the power of the corporation but also says that we have lots of power that we don't know about because of the Internet. He is also very very dry. He almost seems to say that all of these corporations are just trying to keep us in line, keep us happy enough for us not to revolt against them. He almost gives a "Matrix" or "Allegory of the Cave" feel to it. It's really a jumbled mess though, it would be better if he was giving part of it as a speech.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Assignment #3

"Unmade in America" by Barry Lynn, was very thoughtful and well done. It covers a growing problem here in America that many people don't know about, outsourcing. He made a great example in the cases of Dell computers as he described the fact that there assembly line strecthed from Dallas, Texas, to Malaysia, Korea, Taiwain, and China. It also strecthes through tiers and tiers of subsuppliers. And, a single missing shipment of components from one of these places can slow down the entire global operation, which is ridiculous to say the least. Consequently, after the tragedy of 9/11 our dependence on other countries severly back fired after we closed the borders. I'm curious to know if the fact that the value of the U.S. dollar has gone down so dramtically in the last year has anything to do with our globalization and rampant outsourcing. At some point we as a country have to stop depending on other countries to do our work because corporations don't feel like spending any real money on American labor. What Lynn is saying is that we don't know it yet but a lot of these countries (excuse my language) really have us by the balls, and you can make the case own part of our country. We need to wake the f*ck up! Can I buy a computer or talk to my credit card company and please speak to someone from this country who knows what the hell they are talking about. I call Dell for some computer help and I speak to a guy doesn't know a damn thing about computers and doesn't understand a word I'm saying. Logan made a good point by saying that our country keeps adding to this outsourcing by our materialism and consumerism. Meghan made a great point in saying that oursourcing goes against what this countries traditions and foundations were built upon by people like Henry Ford.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

3 Student Hyperlinks

After looking at all the student blogs, I've made some interesting findings. For instance, Dawn's Blog can tell you a site where you can get pretty much anything you want. Another interesting blog post is Meghan's even though she's a Met fan, she gave a good Spring Training update and one on the greatest athlete in all of sports, Lance Armstrong. The funniest post though is Joy's when I checked her link out I couldn't stop laughing and told all of my friends to go to it and see if love was in the stars for them.

Thursday, February 17, 2005