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Archive for November, 2009

data mining good for development

by on Nov.16, 2009, under ICM 501a Assignments

After reading the articles and watching what I could of the video (it was broken I had to go through youtube) I have developed mixed feelings on what is known as data mining.  I am and always have been a strong believer in moving forward technologically and intellectually especially when it comes to anything digital.  When I first heard that Google was going to read my emails and put up ads based on what I type I was pretty pissed.  It was not long before I was actually seeing the ads cater to my ever email.  If I wrote an email about video games or FTP I would get ads talking about purchasing FTP servers at great prices!!!  I then realized this is a small price to pay to enjoy what millions of people call the best email service in the world.  I love Gmail and always will, am I afraid that they will use my data to destroy my personal image?  No, absolutely not, but I do expect them to tell me when they will be reading personal data such as emails or IMs and things of those types.  So far they have and I am still happy.  There is the other end to this argument though.  What about when that personal data falls into the wrong hands?

In the clip of the video I watched and based on Professor Halavais article it is pretty obvious that when sensitive information falls into the hands of someone who either you don’t want seeing it or someone who has no right to see it, bad things can happen.  For instance when applying for a job these days, you would be stupid to not expect a potential employer to Google you or Facebook your profile to see what type of person you are.  That is for the most part a non-issue for me, I keep the drunk pictures private and un-tag inappropriate ones and even further I keep all my profile pictures for the most part judgment free as far as my character goes.  The issue with this is that once the picture was tagged it could be saved and shared throughout the internet.  I am no one famous and I do not consider myself popular by any means, but thinking that an employer could simply stumble upon a picture of me that I untagged and deleted and choose not to hire me based on it is a scary fact.  According to Mayclim (2005), “A survey of executive recruiters found that more than three quarters used search engines when screening applicants, and more than a third had eliminated a candidate from consideration based on information they found as part of that search”. 

Another major issue is whether or not search engine companies such as AOL, Google, and Yahoo should be allowed to publish anonymous search records so that trends and valuable data can be mined from them.  A lot of people are adamantly against this, I for one am absolutely not.  If the data is kept anonymous and by that I mean there is absolutely no way to trace it back to a user then there is no foreseeable privacy issue.  The only outcome that could come from it at that point is progress and innovation both of which are important.  What does need to happen is that the search engine information needs to be kept under lock and key.  It cannot under any circumstances fall into the hands of people who could use it for wrong.

Overall, I do not believe that data mining is bad at all, it is incredibly powerful and valuable to users, companies, and the government.  Utilizing this data in the correct manner can only spell progress and innovation.  However there needs to be certain guidelines followed when collecting the data.  First and foremost, the user must be notifies, even if that means they must read the privacy policy.  I am not expecting to be told with flashing lights and bold words basically because I know they are collecting already.  Finally security is a must have, people who are not allowed access to this data should be able to even get a glimpse at it.  The data must also stay 1000% anonymous, no chance of tracing it back to anyone.  Maybe this is not possible at this point, but if loopholes now lead to an impeccable system later, then by all means count me in.

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Character Profile

by on Nov.03, 2009, under ICM 501a Assignments

The user needs would be to have a better insight into the division one world.  They need an easily access website that includes in- depth and honest information.  This will give the player and parents a better piece of mind when choosing schools.  NCAA.org is the biggest competitor and this site only provides athletes and their parents with access to university websites.  It does not, however, include insight and first hand experience and advice from student – athletes that already attend.  This site will allow one on one conversations and live blog chats with athletes that already attend the universities. It will allow these potential students to acquire knowledge they may not have gotten from visiting the college’s site, this will give them a better understanding of day to day life and activities.  This will ensure a more positive reaction to starting a new chapter of life.

Character profile:
Potential Student Athlete: Mike Richards
Sport: Lacrosse
Interest: Division I
GPA: 3.3

Psychographic: Confused and concerned about where to get answers on how to get into college and pick the university that best suites their personality and personal goals.  Also, Mike is seeking truthful and honest feedback about the university life as a student – athlete.  He wants to make sure that he can balance social life with academic life.  He wants to of course know how the team dynamic is as well the coaching style.  As a lacrosse player, he knows his schedule is demanding, he wants to get more information pertaining to workouts and practice and videos.  Socially, he wants to know how the student life is and how active the athletes are in the campus community.
Demographic: Maryland

Character Profile:
Parent of Potential Student – Athlete: Janet Richards

Psychographic:  Is concerned about what would be the best school academically as well as socially.  Additionally, Janet wants to know how the student athletes balance their hectic lacrosse schedule, especially in season, with the work load.  She wants to make sure that the dorms are safe and the surrounding area.  Aside from being on the lacrosse team are there other ways to get involved with student life?

Ways to use the site:
They can use this site to set up student – athlete profiles, establish relationships with current athletes, and give their opinions on the site and ways to improve the bridge of information between current and prospective athletes.  There will be a forum for parents to discuss issues and concerns with other parents and they can exchange advice as well as guide others with troubles they experienced.

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Video Post

by on Nov.02, 2009, under ICM 501a Assignments

Essentially in an awful mood when recording this.  I have hated macs for as long as I can remember, finally I try one out and guess what?  After 6 weeks the hard drive completely crashes, I lose everything.  The funny thing is my broken PC laptop started working the next day.  FML

Video for class

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Design, bringing the human element back

by on Nov.02, 2009, under ICM 501a Assignments

Humans have always been involved in the designing of the best products in the world the car, the computer, the phone and many other extremely important devices and machines.  However throughout the years designs have changed and usability has become a key issue in the success of any product.  As mentioned in the article by Tohidi in 2006, sketching is one of the simplest most cost effective way of organizing new ideas and explaining concepts to both yourself and to newcomers alike.  “It has been suggested that current UT practices tend to elicit more “reactive”, rather than “reflective” user feedback” (Tahidi, 2006).  This is an issue with sketches; you were most likely to get only reactions from the audience and not reflective constructive comments that lead to design changes and a better product.   Where this would be applicable in real life and to our project is essentially conducting a focus test even within our own group where we would sketch a user interface that we would like to use for the website.  This would enable us to combine the most asked for features and attempt to appeal to the most people at the same time.  In the TED video with David Kelley, he takes the next step which is including personality and behavior into the mix.  Things such as Prada dressing rooms where you can see how the product looks on you.  This kind of thinking is what needs to happen to both our website and the future or products to be successful.  One can not just think how the product is better than its predecessor but how it is different does it improve on the user experience as well as the ease of doing something?  These are the questions that need to be discussed in our group and within the companies world wide.

Since these articles are a bit dated and considering that technology ages a mile a minute now, the best example I would say is Apple.  They took a product that was mediocre and went for the personal approach, appealing to behavior and personality of the user.  A gamble that paid off huge and left competitors in the dust.  Companies like Microsoft and Sony are still trying to catch up.  Essentially what this articles and videos are saying is that human design is the best type of design, streamlining a product right to the marketplace is no longer effective, the product needs to be pinpointed or target to a specific audience and their behavior and personality.

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