Student presentation, discussion question and other posts
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Michael J Smith

Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA)

For my presentation I decided to focus on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which received a lot of news attention a few weeks ago and will again in future months. On January 18, 2012, thousands of sites participated in a blackout to protest against the proposed bill. Major Internet search sites, such as Google, are against the bill because it would affect what websites they can allow their users to view and they feel the bill’s end result is to essentially censor the Internet. The bill is very complex and vague in many areas and is a work in progress as technology has so vastly grown in the past decade. Companies and industries are losing millions of dollars as people create sites making available copyrighted material. Many of us use these sites today or have in the past to download a movie or music. If passed, this bill would affect millions of Internet users and go far beyond just cracking down on certain companies.


Bonus Activity: inciteXchange

Today I went to inciteXchange in Alter Hall. I listened to J. Meejin Yoon speak. She is an architect, designer, and educator. She is the founder of MY Studio, co-founder of Howeler + Yoon Architecture, LLP and Associate Professor with Tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yoon spoke about some of her past projects and current projects she is working on right now. One project she spoke about was called the Mural Arts Light Drift in October 2010. This project was set in Philadelphia in front of Boat House Row on the Schuylkill River. The project created a field of lighting elements that drew viewers into a playful engagement with the artwork, the river, and each other. The lighting elements were shaped like orbs or buoys and were equipped with electronics that allowed them to respond to a viewer and to communicate with each other. The orbs used on land sensors to detect the presence of a person and relay a radio signal to the corresponding orbs in the water, allowing visitors to transform the lighting behavior and color of the orbs in the river. The purpose of the project was to bring the public to the water and engage the viewers with something they have not seen before.

Overall I thought the inciteXchange event was very intriguing. It opened my mind to new ideas that I have not heard of before and i learned of projects going on in other cities as well as Philadelphia that I did not know of prior to coming to this event. It is interesting to see the different projects and ideas that people are working on around us. These projects all centered around creating change and doing something out of the ordinary. This is an event I would definitely come to again and would recommend others to come to, especially those individuals who head businesses in order to create new ideas and spark innovation within their companies.

Presentation: Rolltop

For my presentation I decided to focus on a new technology product we could possibly see in the future. Technology is constantly changing as companies and people search for new innovative ideas. It is astonishing to just look back at the past decade and see how rapidly technology has grown and the capabilities it gives people today. Companies have gone as far as looking for ways to organically grow microprocessors and store information in atoms. A technology product I came across is called the Rolltop. The idea was first introduced last year and has since seen 3.5 million hits on Youtube and over 20 million comments. It has caught the attention of not only the public, but countries from all over the world. A team of people with backgrounds in areas of IT, design and business administration came up with the idea. They first wanted to demonstrate a vision and concept to get feedback from people and they were overwhelmed with the amount of responses they received back. Because of the such high demand for the possible product, they are now in the stages of making this product a reality. Currently they are in the middle of the partner identification process and development of a final technical Rolltop design, including pre-selection of electronic sub-parts and hardware platform design. The website for Rolltop is


Is this an idea that could really be made into a reality?

If so,

Is this a product you would consider buying?

What would be the price range for such a product?

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“Google Gets in Your Eyes”

There are recent rumors that Google is in the midst of developing a pair of glasses that would allow people to connect to the Internet and perform a variety of other features. The glasses would allow users to connect to the Internet and include a global positioning system as well as a phone. It would also be able to display user readable content. There is speculation that the Google glasses will run a version of Android and will have a front facing camera and flash. Users will have to tilt their heads to scroll and click on the glasses. The glasses will also feature a voice input and output, and may have up to 8 GB of storage.

The link to the article is “Google Gets in Your Eyes”


Is this a product you see yourself buying in the future?

What purposes do you think these glasses could serve in society? *There is already speculation of the military using glasses like these

Google Gets in Your Eyes

Facebook Sets Historic IPO

The Wall Street Journal just recently published an article called, “Facebook Sets Historic IPO” by Shayndi Raice. The article explains how CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and many other Facebook employees are taking the company public by issuing an initial public offering (IPO). Facebook’s advertising revenue has grown to $3.8 billion in 2011, up from $264 mullion in 2008. The company is also projected to reach an annual revenue of nearly $6 billion. Mark Zuckerberg has surrounded himself with mentors to help for his lack of business experience in operating a company and has made the correct decisions thus far in growing the company’s revenue, but will this be enough. IPO offerings always catch the public’s attention, but they are not always a good investment. This IPO is one of the largest ever to reach the U.S. market as Facebook is valued between $75 billion to $100 billion.


Questions to consider:

1)    How do you think Facebook will fair on the open trading market? Is this a good investment?

2)    Mark Zuckerberg is only 27 years old and has been criticized for his lack of business expertise outside of what he knows about technology. Can Zuckerberg steer Facebook in the right direction and maintain its current growth?

3)    Do you think Facebook will remain popular for years to come or slowly fad as new forms of social networking are created?

No More Sit Down Meetings!

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “No More Angling for the Best Seat; More Meetings Are Stand-Up Jobs” by Rachel Emma Silverman. Stand-up meetings are now becoming part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth or laziness. The objective of stand-up meetings is to eliminate long-winded conversations and have people get straight to the main points. Too often meetings ramble on for extended periods of time and little is resolved in the end. This leads people to stray off topic and begin fiddling with their phones or other materials at hand. We must remember, peoples’ attention spans are very short, so it is important to keep everyone as actively engaged as possible. This isn’t a completely new idea as the military first used this technique years ago and many companies have since followed. Companies have reported that stand-up meetings have improved the productivity of their meetings and more employees are actively engaged and like the change.



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Questions to think about:

What do you think of the use of stand-up meetings?

Will this be the new trend for meetings in companies?

Have you ever worked at a company that has used this technique?

FBI plans to monitor social networks

An interesting article was just published that detailed news of the FBI’s potential plans to monitor social networks. This comes with increased scrutiny as the public worries that the U.S. government is over stepping its boundaries and in effect trying to censor the Internet. The FBI wants to use social networks like Facebook and Twitter for keywords and clues to possible cases of terrorism and other crimes. They also feel these sites will allow them to peer into the future and catch potential crimes ahead of time as they can monitor certain people and do a timeline analysis. Here is the link to the article: FBI Monitors Social Media Sites



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How do you feel about the U.S. government becoming more actively involved in social media? Is this good or bad?

Do you ever wonder how many other people see what you post on social media sites besides just your friends?

Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Coming to the iPad

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that described the process many companies, as well as Microsoft, are taking to make Microsoft Office programs available on the iPad. These new applications would allow iPad users to effectively create and edit various documents/spreadsheets, but the apps do not allow users to send the documents by email yet. We have already seen the iPad’s popularity and demand increase. More and more applications are being created for these tablets that are allowing users to do their every day work on. Do you think the iPad is going to replace the traditional laptop in the coming years? Would you use an iPad to write papers and create presentations on?



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