Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring "Break"

Hello everyone.

After reading Satie's post below, I got to thinking that: how much break do we really get?

I will never be one to complain about a week off of classes, and I know it makes a huge difference when you are heading to Florida or Cabo to get out of the freezing Madison atmosphere every now and then, but is this break a really a break?

Let me explain a bit. I have a test and three papers due the week I get back to Madison. None of the work is too grueling, but work is work. I have decided not to worry one bit about any of it this week, but I can't imagine most people are on the same page as me. I just don't want to deal with the stress. However, think about the kids who are in Florida soaking in the sun all week, having a few sodas, and meeting a few friends. They will come back on a plane or long car ride exhausted. They may have the times of their lives, but is it really a break. To be honest, break is all about what you make it. I just feel like tests, papers, and projects are a little unfair to be assigned right away afterward. These are just my thoughts.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break!

Hey Everyone! Spring Break is right around the corner!
Whether you are going here:


Doing some of this for the week:

Or even maybe a little of this...


It will be nice to have a week off of school, a week out of the classroom, and hopefully a week back home!
Now that you don't have class for a week, do you find yourself on the computer more or less? Are you constantly checking your cell phone the same amount? Do you find yourself utilizing different types of social media with all your free time?

Let us know! And be sure to take lots of pictures for us !  
<3 Satie Klavin

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wikipedia Overload?

What percentage of the time do you think Wikipedia pops up on the first page of results when you enter a Google search? 100%? 95%? At least 3 quarters of the time, right? Actually no, its less than 50% according to a recent study.  The biggest reason Wikipedia doesn't appear more often is the types of searches being made.  There are two different kinds, "informational" and "transactional".  Of course Wikipedia dominates the results market in the informational category appearing on the first page 60% of the time but when it comes to transactional, people shopping for clothes, music, cars etc. they appear less than 40% of the time.  Yes, yes I know that these percentages are still pretty high for a single source, but relative to what the perception of Wikipedia on Google it is much lower. Wikipedia may not have the stranglehold on Google as people perceive, but none the less they are a powerhouse in the informative realm of the Internet and will be for decades to come.

Check out more about the study and its process here.
Wikipedia Study

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Online Overtime

Have you ever taken a college course online? Have you ever had an interactive class online? Do you have online homework assignments due every week? Have you ever sat at the computer, pounding the keyboard in frustration?

This week in class we discussed the "Do-It-Yourself" concept regarding education. In today's world, industries are moving more and more rapidly towards online sites, and surprisingly enough, institutional education isn't too far behind.

It's undeniable that today the value of a college degree just isn't what it used to be. More and more people are going to college, and more and more people are taking the necessary classes to get a degree online. The job industry is more competitive than ever, and college admittance is just as competitive.

I think this whole "DIY" college life is an interesting opportunity as well as a potential threat. The self-motivation required to sit down, learn, teach yourself the material will take you far in the real world. At the same time, what's stopping someone from just cheating their way through online education, grabbing their degree and running off into the world?

As our world is moving more and more towards the online-o-sphere, where do we go from here? (Did not mean to make that rhyme.) Do you think online education is a good thing, or is potentially threatening to the major educational institutions all over the world?

Satie Klavin

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Are We Really Ourselves Online?

Would you choose your profile picture to be one of you the minute after you've woken up at 8 a.m.? Un-showered, bed head, and a rough face? Or a picture of you from your awkward middle school stage?Would you post your most personal feelings when you hit low points as statuses or tweets? Chances are, the answer to these questions is No.

We choose only the best pictures of us to put as our main pictures online. The one in which we are wearing a cool outfit, our hair is done, our smile is nice, or one showing off an exotic place we've been to. We untag the "ugly" pictures of us where we were caught off guard, or ones that are embarrassing to us.

People choose what they post online as well, and it's always "the best". For example, if you are going on vacation, your class got cancelled, or anything cool that you can brag about, it makes a good status. Even if we are bored, but in a cool location, "OMG Arizona is soo much fun! Never want to go back to cold Wisconsin!" When in reality you can't stand hanging out with your grandparents in old people land for another minute and going home to see your friends would be really nice.

I guess the point of what I'm getting at is, most peoples' identities online are false representations. They might not be who you really are, but rather an awesome, "perfect" representation of whom you'd like to be perceived as. And this is because Facebook and Twitter and other social networks changed the world of first impressions. No longer may your first impression be in person, it might be on a computer screen of a stranger you have no knowledge of. So, we show off our best, whether it's a picture of us at our "best", or a post bragging about our "best" moments.

I just made this post to start conversation and get other peoples' thoughts on this idea of online identities. What are you opinions and concerns of this?


           There have been more than a few instances in my academic career when a book I need for a class is either way to expensive for what I intend to use it for and not available at the local library, so just like every other problem in my life, I turn to Google.  Many times it is very easy for anyone to go to a library and read the entirety of a book, but Google wanted to take that convenience one step further by creating a digital catalog of over eighteen million books.  They were quickly sued for copyright infringement and eventually settled out of court in which stipulations were created to dictate what Google could and could not do.  Without getting into too much detail, Google ended up only being able to provide one fifth of each book, for the majority of the books it digitized. Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig uses a great example to convey the potential impact of this cut in content due to copyright laws; he presents the situation of a child going to a library to do research for a project, “…You do not want them to have access to just 20 percent of each book they read…You want them to browse: to explore, to wonder, to ask questions.” Both my mind and my wallet sure would appreciate it if Google could produce the entirety of those eighteen million books.  In today's day and age or free online content, it is hard to believe this dream is too farfetched.  


Do you want to try this bowl of delciousness!?  Well you definitely can because it's available on state street at Red Mango.  Red mango is a frozen yogurt & smoothie shop.  What it offers are: All-Natural Frozen Yogurt in several different flavors, Fresh Fruit Smoothies, Probiotic Beverages, Artisan Hot Chocolate, and Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits.  Not going to lie, I visit here almost every week.  I'm addicted, but the on the bright side it's healthy for you.  Zagat ranked Red Mango #1 twice!  They were top ranked for "Best Smoothie/Frozen Yogurt" and "Top Healthy Options Within the Quick Refreshment Chains" in 2011.  If you have not been here before, I would highly recommend you take a visit!  You will probably become addicted, just like I have.

-Wrianna Besely

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Madison Media Mayhem

Hey all !
So today I was walking home from my Italian class, and as I went down the steps on the side of Bascom (a shortcut I secretly believe is easier than trudging up and down Bascom itself) I noticed what looked like a mini-photo shoot. It looked pretty neat, so I shamelessly stared as I walked by wondering, "Whassup?"

This little trivial event on my walk home got me thinking about all the different activities going on around campus every day. We are so fortunate to attend a university as diverse and teeming with activity as this one; I figure it's a shame to not take advantage of all the activities it has to offer!

I know it seems impossible to keep up with everything going on around campus, but every day I find myself discovering more and more links to life here in Madison. In today's Internet-saturated world, we are constantly exposed to news updates on Twitter, Facebook, via email, and on blogs. So, to make things a little easier for you, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite Madison-minded sites. Bon app├ętit !

Facebook - just type "UW Madison" into your search bar, click on "Pages", "Places" or "Events" and trillions of results will come up! BOOM Insta-info !
UW Madhatters
UW Madison Division of Recreational Sports
Der Rathskeller Union - Yellow Ostrich & Lower Dens 
University of Wisconsin Madison 

Twitter - simply type "Wisconsin" into your search bar and your Tweet-feed will be filled with cheese-friendly Tweets !

Badger Herald Shout Outs (I am obsessed; I really am. It's unhealthy.)
Things to do in Madison  (A little ad-saturated but still has some fun things!)
Madison Metro (Plan your trip! Super helpful!)

Monona Terrace (Branch out from the Memorial Union every once in a while!)
Olbrich Botanical Gardens (One of the top 10 most inspiring gardens in North America, NEAT-O!)

I hope this extensive list of resources encourages you UW students to branch out and try new things around Madison! Or maybe it will encourage some of you out-of-towners or out-of-staters to come see what fantastic things our amazing city has to offer!

Have you been to any of these places before? Do you find any of these social media sites helpful? Are there any other online resources you rely on to keep you up-to-date or in-the-know?

Share your sources!
Satie Klavin

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey readers! (Are there any?) Today I just wanted to give you a quick look at something that has come up in a number of my media classes. It is called the Long Tail. Some of you have probably heard of it, but I'm sure many people out there haven't. The Long Tail is basically the idea that for digital media, the large amount of less popular content being sold outweighs the popular blockbuster material in revenue. I found this video which can explain exactly what it is and how it works, but I think it is something that is really interesting to consider when using sites the offer digital sales. Enjoy!


See Who Is Tracking You Online

In every media class I have ever taken I have learned about the big bad companies buying and selling my information to one another.  I never really cared, cause hey what can I do about it? I don't even know who these mystery companies are. The fact is whenever you serf the net, websites are inserting cookies to extract information about you or at least observing the things you search for and click on.  The web browser Firefox has created a program that allows users to creep on their creepers. It is called "Collusion" and monitors the sites that set cookies to inform others of your visit.  A small button in the bottom right hand corner of the Firefox window is the gateway to finally seeing who wants to know everything about you.  The information "Collusion" provides is in a web format; the center of the web is the site you are currently on, and branching out into satellite pods are the sites that are potentially extracting your information without your knowledge. If you are a Firefox user and are interested in the sites that are receiving information about your online escapades, check out "Collusion".