21 October 2014

Excel can be funny

I just wanted to share with y'all a whole new world of humor that we now have access to as people who can use excel. I encourage you to google "excel comics" or "excel jokes" and have a good laugh!

20 October 2014

Starters for database tools session


Using Excel Functions in Spreadsheets, and Data Management in Excel, About.com


you can also listen to a variety of German national and regional broadcasts as well. For example, if classics are your interest, you can try either Klassikradio, a national broadcaster, or NDR Kultur, a regional broadcaster from Hamburg. If regional broadcasts are your interest, you can try B5 Bayerischer Rundfunk, the radio service from Bavaria.


US Military Chips "Compromised" As military hardware uses more off the shelf components, it has become vulnerable to common exploits. CHRISTOPHER MIMS 05/29/2012 [Technology Review]


Hong Kong Company Moves Swiftly on Ultrafast Broadband - NYTimes.com, 05 Mar 2011. Hong Kong residents can enjoy astoundingly fast broadband at an astoundingly low price. It became available last year, when a scrappy company called Hong Kong Broadband Network introduced a new option for its fiber-to-the-home service: a speed of 1,000 megabits a second — known as a “gig” — for less than $26 a month.


Digital textbooks open a new chapter, By Gary Eason, BBC on 18 Oct 2011. South Korea's classrooms will be switched to digital textbooks over the next four years. South Korea, one of the world's highest-rated education systems, aims to consolidate its position by digitising its entire curriculum.


Supercomputers Ten million billion and counting Jan 31st 2012, 10:58 by J.D. | CHICAGO Every November and June, an independent organisation re-evaluates the 500 most powerful known machines in the world and ranks them at Top500.org. In recent years China and Japan nabbed most of the top five spots in a field where America once hogged the top ten.

Issues to ponder

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - note the URL and the domain

Data Display

14. Map of Alcohol Consumption Around the World


Starter on JPMorgan Chase Cyberattack

Hey everyone! Today I’ll be presenting a starter about the recent data breach on JPMorgan Chase. Here’s the link to the article from which I based most of my research on this topic. If you’d rather get a quick summary I also included a video below from a news report on this story. If you’re curious about other data breaches, Bloomberg provides a great visual of the most notorious ones that have occurred from 2005 to 2013. This does not, however, include the massive cyber attacks on JPMorgan Chase and Home Depot (because they took place this year). And finally, if you have an account with Chase (as I do) don’t worry. Just follow these common sense guidelines in this article. Basically, watch your account for strange activity and don’t trust e-mails asking for personal information, even if they seem legitimate and have information about you. 


One of the earlier blog posts mentioned the executive order that President Obama signed for EMV, a technology that makes credit card transactions more secure through a chip in the credit card. EMV has already been widely adopted throughout Europe and it is only a matter of time before it becomes prevalent in the US.

In one of my other information science classes, we were discussing EMV and I decided to learn more about it and I stumbled upon this article in the New York Times about Apple Pay. Apple Pay is one of the mobile payment technologies that is new in the iPhone 6 that relies on Near Field Communication to accept payments. Since President Obama's executive order, many merchants will have to update their payment terminals to accept EMV, and making the terminals able to accept NFC only requires a few extra bucks. Therefore, it may only be a matter of time before this technology is also integrated into our retail society. The previous attempts with Google Wallet have not been as widely adopted because Google did not spend as much time increasing the merchants that accept NFC payments. However, with the announcement of this executive order, the playing field for mobile payments might change. 

Task 03 grades are up

And you may find your gradesheets in the normal location.

If several of you don't see a grade for your task 03, it is because I don't yet have a task to grade. We may need to talk.

We seemed to have had a bi-modal distribution between those who had just about everything done correctly and those who didn't.  Those who didn't may wish to discuss their task with me at some early opportunity.

It seemed to me that those who didn't found themselves in that group due to not using the gradesheet as a checklist. The specifics for each component referred directly to some tool element. Also, the order they were in were instructive as one thing builds upon another.

This will be the pattern for tasks 04 and 05 as well.

Facebook's Mood Experiment

In my INLS 101, guest speaker John Martin mentioned Facebook's experiments on their user's emotions. The computer programmers at facebook created algorithms to filter out positive or negative facebook posts from friends to see if this would cause your mood to change. They would find out if it created a negative or positive mood depending on what the user posts. Some think this experiment was unethical because Facebook user's did not give consent to have their moods manipulated. Other's day facebook spells out that they will use your information in the terms and conditions when first create a facebook. I think the experiment is pretty cool and  I am not surprised with the results. I thin they should do more of these in the future-FB is probably conducting some now. Here is a webpage from SLATE magazine that details the ethics around  the experiment.


19 October 2014

Library Wars Manga

When I was in high school I read a manga called Library Wars. I found it interesting because it made the role of a librarian seem both dangerous and important. Though the manga portrays librarians as cool, it wasn't until after I entered SILS that I realize how interested I was in the role of a librarian.

I think it is worth reading because its main focus is censorship. The federal government is out to get rid of certain books that they find "problematic" which causes librarians to fight back by creating their own group. There are many deaths and sad stories but the optimistic main character makes joining the Library Defense Force seem like the greatest goal in the world! Everyone does their part to defend the right to read. Some choose to be traditional librarians, making sure the censored books are organized and hidden, while others, like the main character, choose to fight with weapons.

Tone Matrix

You can find the tone matrix here.

As for some music theory behind it, which I enjoy, the scale that's chosen for the matrix is actually a pentatonic scale. Essentially, that means that the tones in the scale sound a bit better when played together than a major or minor scale, which has half tones thrown in.

An alternative is called Plink, and it has a similar scale and note pattern, but it's in more real time. Check it out!


Love Comic Sans? Then this is the typewriter for you.

Although we are no longer doing document markup, I found a video that might interest some of you. We talked a lot about fonts in some of our previous sessions and many expressed distaste for comic sans. There are people who love this font, however, and would even go as far as buying a typewriter that produces letters in comic sans only. Take a look at this website if you’re interested. Here’s the link. Another web site I found asks whether you’re a “comic sans criminal,” meaning you use this font at inappropriate times. It provides a brief history of comic sans and advises you on when to use it. Take a look here.


Hi all,

I wanted to share a neat movie that my History of Libraries class just watched called "Storm Center," which stars Bette Davis as Alicia Hull, a small town 1950s librarian who accused of being a Communist. She refuses to remove a certain book from the shelves and is fired because of it, and has to face her town's paranoia and hatred.

It's based (VERY loosely) on "The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown," a real life story of a librarian who was fired for similar reasons, though her story also has ties to early integration and the scandals that accompanied it.

They're both great cultural pieces, and I'd be glad to lend anyone the book or help you find the movie.


18 October 2014

Protecting Data with Credit Card Upgrades

While perusing the Web for technology-related articles, I found an article from NYTimes that addresses the credit card fraud and data security breaches that have occurred in large amounts over the past year.  On Friday, President Obama addresses this issue and takes steps to protect citizen's data by signing an executive order that strengthens federally-issued credit cards and government payment systems.

This topic has been one that has come across quite often in my INLS classes, largely due to the fact that these breaches involve the processes of creating efficient ways to store and manipulate data, which is a large focus in information science.

Overall, I am interested to see the results of this executive order.  It may be in the best interest of large companies to adopt similar technologies that will have the same objectives and goals of protecting user data.  Further, it was interesting to hear how the President plans on sharing more information with the private sector in terms of identity theft rings and adding to the IdentityTheft.gov website.

Also, it was pretty entertaining to read that President Obama himself had his credit card denied at a restaurant due to inactivity and potential fraud.  According to the President, Michelle had to cover the bill with her own credit card!

Click here for the NY Times article.

Thanks for reading!

17 October 2014

Just Seeing Charts And Graphs Makes Drug Claims More Credible

from an NPR story, 17 Oct 2014. This is why we want to be accurate, honest, and skillful in creating charts from data.

When people see charts like this, they think the drug is more effective than if they just read about the data, a study finds.
Graphs and formulas say "Science!" to consumers, so much so that simply seeing claims about a new drug that were accompanied by data visualizations made people more likely to believe the claims.
The effect is especially true if people have a strong belief in science to begin with.
That's the conclusion of a study published online in the journal Public Understanding of Science. It includes three experiments. In the first, 61 people read a paragraph saying that a nonexistent new drug enhances immune function and reduces the likelihood of catching a cold by 40 percent. Half of the people also saw a graph that repeated the numbers but contained no new information.
Of those who saw the text and the graph, 97 percent said they believed the drug worked, compared with 68 percent for the people who saw only the text.
The researchers, from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, wanted to be sure that difference wasn't just because one group had the information repeated for them in graph form. So a separate group of 56 people saw the text and the graph, or the text plus an extra sentence repeating some of the information.
Again, the people who saw the graph rated the medication as more effective – especially those who said they believed in science.
Finally, the researchers wanted to make sure that the effect didn't just hold for visual representations of information such as a graph.
So a different group of 57 people received information about another hypothetical drug. For half, that included the drug's chemical formula. Those who saw the formula believed the drug would work two hours longer than those who didn't get the formula.
Even "trivial elements that are associated with science ... can enhance persuasion," the authors said. That's important in an era of sometimes-dubious health claims for foods and supplements as well as medications. Indeed, a Nielsen survey a few years back found that while most people say they don't believe the claims on food labels, they were more likely to believe claims backed by numbers.
Cornell behavioral economist Aner Tal, an author of the study, says there's nothing inherently illegitimate about product information, marketing materials or advertisements that include graphs or formulas. It's just that those elements make the marketing message more convincing. So he warns that it's important to consider the source of all that information, no matter the form it takes. Is it from the company itself or a source funded by the company? Or is it from an independent source?
He says it can't hurt to approach "science-y" information like graphs or formulas with a more critical attitude. But he doesn't know if putting your guard up can make you immune to the bias.

15 October 2014

Telling Stories with Web Archives

Michele Weigle
Associate Professor of Computer Science, Old Dominion University
Monday, October 27, 2014
Room 141, Brooks Building, 1:00 p.m.

Telling Stories with Web Archives

The web has become an integral part of our lives, shaping how we get news, shop, and communicate. When critical events occur, social media and news websites cover the stories as they break and continually revise them as the story evolves. Unfortunately, much of the content around these stories are vulnerable to being lost. Thus, web archives have become a significant repository of our recent history and cultural heritage. Content from web archives can be used to fill in the gaps in the live web about the evolution of the story of an important event.  This talk will explore the problem and describe our initial steps towards a solution.

Speaker Bio:
Michele C. Weigle is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Old Dominion University.  Her research interests include digital preservation, web science, information visualization, and mobile networking.  Dr. Weigle’s current research projects include an NEH-funded digital humanities project to allow users to archive dynamic or personalized web pages as they appear in the browser and an exploration of the use of web archives to enrich the live web experience through storytelling. She has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed conferences and journals and co-edited one of the first books on vehicular networks, Vehicular Networks: From Theory to Practice, published in 2009 by CRC Press. She has served as PI or Co-PI on external research grants totaling over $2 million from NSF and NEH.  Dr. Weigle received her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of North Carolina in 2003. From 2004-2006, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Clemson University. She joined ODU in 2006.
Host: Jay Aikat (aikat@cs.unc.edu)
Brett R. Leslie
Faculty Support
UNC Department of Computer Science
234 Sitterson Hall

A video about UNIX

I wish I had had this one earlier, but better late than never.

14 October 2014

US National Archives

Since a group of SILS students are going to Washington D.C. for fall break to visit the National Archives and other federal libraries, I thought I'd browse the Archives website and see what resources they have. What I found was an extensive collection of online records, including the recently-published 1940 census, and a great list of archive and museum exhibits available for viewing online including:

The Constitution
The Declaration of Independence
The Bill of Rights
Discovering the Civil War
Dear Bess: Love Letters from the President (Harry Truman)
Designs for Democracy
Israel's 50th Anniversary
A New Deal for the Arts (Great Depression era art)
President's Daily Diary (entries from 1963)
The Watergate Files
When Nixon Met Elvis

and a lot more!


I'm here to prevent productivity

Hey y'all!

 Please explore www.theuselessweb.com

My cousin just introduced me to this website. Its like stumble upon, but instead of stumbling through the whole web (where you might actually learn something, gross) it only takes you to completely useless websites! They are useless, but pretty fun. I have been to website gems such as cat-bounce.com, randomcolour.com, and my personal favorite koalastothemax.com.

Have fun!