Category Archives: Thoughts

Magazine Subscriptions. Are You Going Digital?

I’m one of a dying breed. I’m a subscriber of print magazines. They’re cheaper per issue than at the store and I don’t have to hope that the latest issue is in stock. I’m also the type of person that likes the feel of paper in her hands. A challenge is presenting itself with the rise of electronic tablets (iPad, Galaxy, Kindle Fire, Nook, etc.). People like me, who like to carry reading material with them, are enticed by only having to carry the device and not numerous pieces of literature with them. No more magazines stacking up in the house. No more waiting for the mail carrier to deliver that precious issue. It’s right there instantly as soon as the company releases it. Whenever I get a tablet-how have I gone this long without one?-I will be moving to digital subscriptions.

Which side are you on? Are you a traditionalist that will want the real thing? Or, have you been itching to move to digital format?

9 Memorable Tech Moments of 2011

As we get ready to close out 2011 I wanted to do a recap of memorable moments from the last year. These are by no means the top 9 events. Just 9 moments that stick out to me.

  1. The passing of Steve Jobs. With his final resignation from Apple in August we all knew it was coming. That did nothing to lessen the shock though when every news outlet reported that Steve Jobs, the face behind Apple, was gone.
  2. AT&T buys out T-Mobile. Or maybe not. It was interesting to see the change in T-Mobile commercials upon the announcement of the possible buyout. They were rivals with T-Mobile constantly promoting the disadvantages of being an AT&T commercial. And then all of a sudden they stopped. Wouldn’t want to upset the parent company, huh? This deal had the potential to make AT&T the #1 player in the wireless game and brought upon fears of a monopoly. In the end that fear caused the FCC and Department of Justice to oppose it.
  3. iPhone 4S is released. With rumors swirling about an iPhone 5 being released this summer, Apple released an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Sure you could buy a white iPhone now and have access to the wonder that is Siri. But in the end it’s just an upgrade.
  4. Kindle Fire is released. Amazon hit the small tablet market with the release of the Kindle Fire just in time for the winter holidays. Amazon hasn’t released exact figures but estimates say that roughly 2 million may have been sold so far. It’s more than an e-reader and not quite an iPad but for many consumers this middle ground is exactly what they are looking for.
  5. Netflix splits services and increases rates. This summer Netflix decreed that their pricing structure was changing and the streaming and DVD by mail services (newly named Qwikster) would be separate. Qwikster was quickly cancelled and the service returned under the Netflix name. The pricing changes remained.
  6. GoDaddy loses customers over SOPA. As the list of supporters for the Stop Online Privacy Act was released it was noticed that one of of the major players in domain name registration, GoDaddy, was among them. A large backlash resulted. An internet petition was created and signed by many that claimed they would transfer all of their domains from GoDaddy by Dec 29th. On Dec 24th GoDaddy released a statement saying that they had removed their support from the current legislation but many are still transferring due to this and past GoDaddy actions.
  7. Playstation Network is hacked. As a PSN account holder this one affected my household a lot. The hacker group Anonymous broke into the PSN and accessed user accounts. PSN was shut down but users were told that it was a network glitch that was being worked on. A PR nightmare ensued because users weren’t told the real deal until weeks later.
  8. Blackberry outage. What started as a problem in Europe, Africa and Asia soon swept over to North America. For three days the Blackberry system was rendered useless. No emails, internet or messaging. As a result, I think it’s safe to say that many BB owners started making plans to move to Android or iPhone.
  9. Google+. Google launched a new social networking platform, and rival to Facebook, with field testing in June and beta testing in September. Google+ has been an interesting experiment. It’s easier to use and navigate than Facebook. The downside it that users are so entrenched in Facebook that only time will tell if Google+ can really be a “Facebook killer.”

So, what are your memorable tech moments of 2011?

Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.

Source: http://findingada.com/about-finding-ada/

Happy Ada Lovelace Day. A day where we celebrate women in STEM. I’m a techie, that much is obvious, but I didn’t start off in the computer world. I was actually a science and math geek who majored in Chemistry in college. The “hard sciences” have always been my thing and for a while I actually wanted a PhD in Chemistry. So, in doing my part for ALD, I want to profile Dr. Marie Maynard Daly.

In 1947, Dr. Marie Maynard Daly was the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in Chemistry. Her initial studies involved research into the heart and the effects of cholesterol and hypertension. She received her Bachelors degree as a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Queens College in Flushing, NY. Dr. Daly achieved her Masters degree after 1 year of study and ultimately her Ph.D. after 3. Her later studies were in proteins and she went on to teach at Howard University, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she retired in 1986.

Along with her research work she was a proponent of increasing minority enrollment in medical school and graduate science programs. She established a scholarship fund at Queens College in her father’s name in 1988. Dr. Daly passed away in 2003.

Source: http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/chemistry-in-history/themes/biomolecules/proteins-and-sugars/daly.aspx

Are Radio Station Websites Too Cluttered?

Have you ever gone to your favorite radio station’s website looking for simple information and left immediately because it was too cluttered? Was it difficult to find what you were looking for?

MIX 107.3

I’ve noticed that many radio stations throw a lot of competing elements on the front pages of their sites. Flashing ads and multiple sections with large type. Everything is important so nothing is.

95.5 WPGC

I understand that there are several goals that have to be met. Generating ad revenue. Providing information that a cross-section of visitors want to read. And what tends to be the largest goal, appeasing higher ups who want front and center placement.

94.7 Fresh FM

There just has to be a better way to do it. One that allows them to reach advertising goals but still has a user-centered focus.

So, what do you think? Are radio station websites too cluttered? Or are they reaching their intended audience?

Recovery

Well, I just spent the last two hours reposting old posts that were lost. About a month after my “Hacked” post my whole site was shut down. Some injection attack. I didn’t have a back-up and I KNOW that that’s one of the worst mistakes. Luckily Google had my blog posts cached. *sigh* Don’t want to go through that again.

Expanding the house

I forgot to mention that starting yesterday my site will encompass more than just web and graphic design. I’m adding photography, artwork, and any other creative interest that I have. I want this site to reflect more of me and eventually I’ll be going away from the current domain name and only using ravenmccandies.com. Stay tuned.

Canon 50D vs Rebel T1i

I’m in the market for a dSLR camera and the choice is narrowed down to two of Canon’s models. The 50D and the Rebel T1i. I have a point-and-shoot SD1100IS and it’s a great little camera. But, and there’s a big but for me, it’s not fast enough to catch sudden movements. It also doesn’t take the really crisp photos that I want. So, I know it’s time to move up a level to a “prosumer” camera. I thought, and read, and thought and figured out what camera I wanted. Then I read some more and got confused all over again. I have it settled now. After seeing the pictures that the Rebel line can take, I am sold. The Rebel T1i will the step up I need without being too bulky or too expensive. I woulld really like a 50D but you have to crawl before you can walk. I don’t have the extra time right now to take an inperson photography class so I’m learning on my own. So, while I’m solo learning I want to get a good foundation before I spend a lot more money on a camera in the 50D range. (The 5D range is WAY out of my league.) Now, it’s just a matter of putting in the order and getting my camera, lens and UV filters.

School is in session

In this field you can never stop learning so, in my Blackberry I’m keeping a list of all the training that I want to do. I recently found out that my department has an account with Linda.com. I want to move up the ranks and that will be an awesome resource. Some of the things that I’m thinking about are:

  • Color Theory/Basics of Design (I have one or two books at home that I need to re-read)
  • AJAX
  • Flash
  • JQuery
  • Moo Tools
  • Google Web Toolkit
  • XML
  • HTML5
  • Project Management (not indepth but some time management of projects)

So, it’s time to hit the proverbial books.

Conferences

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about going to a design conference. I feel that I could benefit from meeting designers outside of my local area. Sadly, due to finances I haven’t been able to go before now. I AM making a point to rectify this in 2009. Some early possibilities on my list are An Event Apart in Boston, and Future of Web Design which may be in November again. I just came across the website for South By Southwest but it’s in March and that timetable is too tight.

What do you listen to while working?

I’m a member of a few listserves and groups. A few months ago, on one of them, Lara Swanson asked what music we listened to while working. I sent in my responses but my entire list was a little too long for the final cut. LOL. So, I looked it over and re-sent her my top 10. I had completely forgotten about this until I did a Google search on my name and Lara’s posting showed up. This is my LONG original list. I’m sure there are others to add now. LOL

Linkin Park
Christina Aguilera
Outkast
Lupe Fiasco
Mary J. Blige
Estelle
Zap Mama
Erykah Badu
Raheem DeVaughn
Gnarls Barkley
Rihanna
Black Eyed Peas
Aaliyah
Shakira
Avril Lavigne
Gwen Stefani
Maroon 5
Nelly Furtado
Pussycat Dolls
Eminem
Gap Band
Earth, Wind & Fire
Con Funk Shun
Mint Condition
Crystal Kay
BoA
Daft Punk
Kanye West
Kelly Clarkson
Alicia Keys
Garbage
Michael Buble
Chrisette Michelle
Daft Punk
Prince
Gorillaz