Blog entries

This page contains all the blogs from the whole semester.

Social Networking Wiki

by jenstanjenstan (18 Dec 2008 19:27)

For my term project for BIT330, I researched the Social Networking Industry. My Wikidot site gives insight to an analyst in the industry on about how to go about finding information on social networking.


The whatissocialnetworking gives a brief background of social networking. Due the nature of my topic and the fact that it is such a new industry, there is not much background information on it. Therefore, this page does not contain as much writing as some of the other topics’ background pages.

Search Tools

My main sources are all on one page and sorted by tabs under each search tool type. For most of the different Search Tools, I didn't evaluate many different ones under them. This is not because I didn't spend a large amount of time looking into others, its just that my topic was not very easy to find information on. A lot of the search tools were hard to navigate through to just find technological information.

It was impossible to weed out all of the aspects of social networking that were not business and technological related. For example, some of the things I looked for were new updates and applications added to social networking websites, as well as new social networking websites. Many of the searches also included criminal reports and news stories such as "Facebook Group Creator detained by Croatian Police" or "Court Rejects appeal over student-teacher drunk MySpace Pics." I could include in the search query to not include some key words (which I did in some cases such as [-friends] and [-romance]), but there is no way to predict everything. For example, one day when I checked my RSS feed there was about 20 results related to a priest being prosecuted for something on MySpace. I never thought to put [-priest] in any of my queries.


My blogroll contains a variety of resources, including websites on social networking, which I found to be the most useful. However, there aren't many sites just devoted to just social networking. Therefore, I had to use some with broader topics such as social software, which were still a lot of times more useful than other searches. Also, the news searches under each of the main players is a Yahoo Pipe of a combination of news searches.

Current Events

I focused on the three main players, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, for the timeline of current events. Under each individual page is events that pertain just to that site, and then I pooled all of these together for the Cumulative Timeline. I figured this would be most useful, especially to compare who is coming out with new technologies and staying on top of the industry.

If I had more time…

I would’ve liked to make my wiki look prettier. The layout was very basic and transparent, which was good because it made it easy to navigate. However, I would’ve liked to learn to use other modules and tools to make the layout more advanced and impressive.

Oil Wiki

by roopakroopak (11 Dec 2008 05:37)


My wiki site focuses on the oil situation in the U.S. and how it relates to the world. My goal was to provide statistical information that would give a very clear view of consumption and production in the U.S. and then closely follow current events. I felt that providing too many statistics would overwhelm an incoming analyst. Therefore, I spent the majority of my time following the news and giving short summaries of the major events occurring each week.

The site

The homepage of the site is very simple and requires no scrolling down. I decided that any pictures I could use on the front page would not really contribute to the goal of the site. I included a basic description of the goal of the site, listed the major pages, and included the most recent current events that I found relevant. I also included my custom search engine on the front page because I wanted to make it very accessible. There is a lot of detailed information that can be found and it is hard to predict exactly what information would be most helpful for a new analyst, so I wanted to make it very easy for a new analyst to utilize my best resources to find any specific statistics needed. There are also dropdown menus at the top of the site listing each page.

The U.S. Oil Consumption page provides basic information needed to get an overview of oil use. As mentioned above, there are a lot of statistics on oil consumption by week and region that could be used for very specific purposes, but this page gives a very general overview for someone completely new to the subject. The bottom of the page provides several images to show how U.S. consumption relates to the world. This fits the overall goal of the site because it shows the current consumption and then provides a basis for comparison.

The U.S. Oil Production page provides basic information to get an overview once again. This is mostly meant to provide a comparison to the consumption statistics to demonstrate the current dependence of the U.S. upon other countries. The bottom of the page has images showing World production to provide a basis to compare the U.S. statistics to.

Current events are the main focus of the site because they provide the most useful information. They are on one page with a complete list of all the events I found relevant from August through early December. The reason this page is the most important is because it is the best way to predict future changes. Considering that the U.S. oil situation is so strongly affected by the rest of the world, there is a lot of value in keeping tabs on any news in major oil-exporting countries. I have provided a short summary under each headline. I decided it was best not to give my views on each event to maintain the objectivity of the site. However, reading about the major events of the last few months is essential to gaining a broad perspective of the current oil situation. Instructions are included on how to stay up-to-date on current events and how to find updated statistics for the site.

The resources are listed on individual pages by type and also compiled onto a complete list. I have detailed the types of information that can be found on each of the resources. The resources are separated into pages by type so that the new analyst can learn the benefits of different types of resources and explore them separately.

The final dropdown menu lists my blogs from the semester. The subjects of the blogs are listed as opposed to the title so that the analyst can easily determine the type of resource discussed in each blog.

My Considerations

There are several things I decided not to include and others that I would have liked to add. I thought it would not be helpful to include videos on the site because videos on the topic tend to focus on cars driving and tend to push an agenda. A new analyst should be presented with the facts and current events that lead him/her to draw conclusions. Being led to specific conclusions or viewing propaganda-filled videos would not allow a new analyst to freely interpret the objective information because it would already be framed in his/her mind.

I feel that the use of themes would have helped bring my site to life more. Though I believe my site really benefits from its simplicity and the logical organization of all of the pages, it would seem more interesting if it were more visually appealing.

Also, looking back I think I should have provided more resources that would allow a new analyst to see the views of experts in the industry.
I would obviously need to provide a wide variety of expert views from opposing angles so as not to push the analyst toward certain beliefs, but I think they would help an analyst gain a better understanding of the potential consequences of current events.

Apple Wiki

by dpnickdpnick (10 Dec 2008 06:07)

My Wiki discusses Apple Inc. and provides information on how an analyst show follow the company. Apple is a very interesting company; a decade ago they only produced computers, and now they are the leaders in music players, a growing leader in the phone industry and digital music sales, as well as other consumer electronics.


Going through the Wiki

I put in a lot of effort to make sure that my Wiki was formatted to be easy for an incoming analyst to go through. My start page tells you to first look through my Background page, which gives a brief background of Apple and its three main products. Every page on my Wiki has a button taking you back to the previous page, and the main pages have home buttons (example up above) to take you to the homepage. After learning about the background information, the next step is my Reports, where I have made a report every week since the beginning of October. Every day I went through my Blogroll and looked for the most important articles. When I found a good article, I read it and provided a brief summary in Reports. This was meant to be a representation of the type of information an Apple analyst must analyze.

But the real bread and butter is my Sources page. I spent a lot of time simply organizing the links on this page to make it best for the reader (who's probably never heard of any of these) to follow. For each resource, I discussed how it applies to my search, how I used it and how well it worked, as well as additional information. I felt like since we are writing to another person, it would be much easier to read and understand if I worded it in an articulate paragraph as compared to the strict template in the syllabus. I contemplated adding an evaluation number in addition for each resource, but it didn't really fit with the format of my reviews. Just because I give a resource a 3/10 doesn't mean it's a bad resource, it normally just means that I didn't like it. I know that if I saw a 3/10, I probably wouldn't even try it out (and I want the incoming analyst to try every resource). Therefore, I stated my experience and what I thought, but always encouraged the reader to experiment with every resource for himself/herself.

Side Notes

  • For my General Search page, I didn't include all of the techniques we learned. I could've written pages and pages on all the techniques and their applications. I decided to only cover the basics, but I included two additional resources (Google and Yahoo examples) to provide all the syntax available on the Web. I know I personally would not want to be bombarded with pages of search syntax (I would just get lost). The most important thing is that I discuss all the useful syntax I used for my project (this is what's most helpful for the analyst to learn).
  • I didn't include any Deep Web resources because they were not applicable for my project.
  • I was able to effectively include all my links in the Top Bar Menu, so I left my Side Bar Menu simple.

While creating each source took a significant amount of time, I would say the most time consuming part of my Wiki was the Reports. Each week I filtered through all of my RSS feeds, found and read articles, and summarized them. In total, I probably analyzed about 70-80 articles in about two months. This was pretty difficult given that I had to write blogs, do exercises outside of class, and work on my homepage, Background and Sources pages all the meanwhile.

If I Had Extra Time?

I am content with how my project worked out and I think I did a good job allocating my Wiki workload throughout the entire semester. For this reason, I don't think I would've accomplished that much more with extra time. My one change would've been to work more with Feed43 and Yahoo Pipes. Of all the resources we've covered in class, Yahoo Pipes is definitely the best (in my opinion) and you can do so much with it! I wish I would've done more experiments with Yahoo Pipes (I did make three Pipes, but I had a lot more ideas). Additionally, I had a mountain of trouble when we went over Feed43 and therefore decided not to use it for my project. If I had extra time I would've experimented with Feed43 and included it.

Thanks for the great semester!

Investment Banking Industry Wiki

by bryblumbryblum (10 Dec 2008 03:59)

My last blog entry of BIT330? My last interaction with Wikidot, ever? (I know, Professor Moore is cringing when he hears that. Don't worry, I promise to use Wikidot in the future). Well, here goes nothing…


What is the topic of my final project?

The industry I decided to cover is the investment banking industry. Interestingly enough, the "investment banking industry" crumbled during my time covering the industry. In fact, the final US investment banks became "bank holding companies," ending a long era of the storied investment bank. I guess I should have covered a less important industry?

How is my Final Project Wiki organized?

I tried to organize my Wiki in a way that was clean, easy to use, structured, and uniform. As described on my home page, there are three main sections in my Wiki:

What else would I have done if I had more time?

  • After watching everyone else in the class present their Wiki's, I wish that I had spent more time formatting my color schemes and making my site, well, prettier. However, the point of this project obviously wasn't to make a pretty website and impress the professor with your CSS knowledge (I don't even know what CSS is!) - it was to evaluate useful information resources. So, I don't really feel that bad.
  • Generally, I wish I had more time to evaluate each information resource. Each resource has so much to offer, and I feel like I didn't have much time to spend talking about each resource. Oh well. Next time.

What are the best parts of my Wiki?

  • It is well-organized and very user-friendly.
  • I include indexes of all of my important sections, allowing the user to view all articles of a particular category at once.
  • My evaluations of my resources are uniform and honest. And I give a letter grade!

What are the worst parts of my Wiki?

  • I have a great Blogroll. I really do. But, for some reason, I can't make it public from the website. No matter how hard I try (I've spent at least 2 hours), I can't get them to send me a confirmation e-mail to make it public. I don't know what to do.

Alright, that's it. Let me know if you have any questions. I enjoyed completing the project - it was fun to stay so involved with one industry for an entire semester. I actually learned so much. Can't say that about too many other projects I've done this semester.

- Bryan

Music Wiki

by schmidkeschmidke (10 Dec 2008 03:26)

The topic of my wiki site is the music recording industry. I chose this industry to study and take a closer look at because new things are always happening within the industry and I am a big fan of music. I found the topic to be pretty interesting throughout the semester and I was able to use a lot of web-related tools to stay on top of the news.

From my wiki site's homepage you can get to all the important pages that pertain to my project on the music industry. The homepage has a convenient table of contents for easy navigation to different pages. In addition, the top tool bar has drop down menus through which you can access every page. Provided at the bottom of my site's homepage is a link to the custom search engine I created. I have compiled all my best resources into this custom search engine and it does a great job of finding the great information about the music industry. After the homepage comes an assortment of pages that really give a good and in-depth analysis of the music recording industry. I provide great background and facts on the music industry which I then used to complete a five forces analysis. Another important page on my wiki site is comprised of my analysis on Universal Music Group (UMG). Of all of the businesses that are involved in the music industry, UMG is the best performer. I thought an analysis like this was necessary so that any analyst who might be studying the industry, could see what the best performing company was doing to be successful. After my complete analysis on the music industry I list pages for ongoing events and my web resources. The ongoing events page shares some of the most interesting articles I found during the semester through the use of web search tools. The last page of my blog compiles all of the web resources I used throughout the semester that helped me stay up-to-date on the music industry. These resources were key to me providing good background for my analysis.

Walt Disney Pictures Wiki

by Susan KennedySusan Kennedy (10 Dec 2008 01:45)

I loved working on this project!! This wiki is supposed to provide an overview on the state of Walt Disney Pictures as it stands today, its affiliation with Pixar, and its current and upcoming projects. Some of the other parts should include suggested search techniques and presentation elements. These objectives should be made clear in the "About Me" and "My Research" tabs. Be sure to visit those tabs because there is a link in there that isnt found anywhere else on the site. (i.e. What this research does not cover)


  • Something I have always been really interested in is presentation. That tended to something I highly prioritized. I ended up spending excessive amounts on this (almost to the point of insanity). As a result, I had less time than desired to cover everything that I wanted to. Some of the topics that I would have loved to cover were:
    • Alternative Search Engines
    • Meta Search Engines
    • News Sites

In all honesty I couldn't have worked that much harder on this site. I guess part of it is that because the concept is so strait forward for Americans, that I thought it was important to focus on the site itself so that this site is differentiated from similar sites out there on the web.

  • I ended up added a lot more to my custom search engine. Lots of the new links were alternative search engines. Sadly, I ran out of time to discuss this and add more details to the search engine page.
  • Also, some of the topics ended up being covered less in depth than I would have liked, simply because the whole project ended up being so time consuming. I ended up spending around 17 hours on the project this weekend alone. I am sorry for not completing it better.
  • The content I did towards the end of the semester will probably look a lot better than the content at the end (once I had direction). Sorry about the inconsistencies.
  • If I had more time I would have loved to polish this site up even more.

Key Parts

  • There are lots of good details in the Background portion of the site. Be sure to look at all of the sections.
  • I spent a lot of time going over the Sources that I used for my Disney Blog entries. These sources were put into RSS feeds in several different ways: either RSS, dapper, or yahoo pipes. I tried to organize my blogroll based on how the feed was created. If you click on the links in the sources review page, you can see all of the details. I loved Yahoo Pipes and almost wished we could have spent a little more time on it in class.
  • The This Site tab also has some really good stuff in it….my favorite parts are in the Presentation Elements tab.

Most of the site should be pretty easy to navigate, but I am sorry if it isn't….I forget that for people that havn't used it might be confusing.

Thank you again for all of your effort this semester, this really was the best class I have taken in college!!!

Start Up Wiki

by dylanbdylanb (10 Dec 2008 00:22)

View The Wiki

For my project I created a guide for potential entrepreneurs who are interested in expanding their idea into a product and also acquiring funding for their startups. I tried to do this by examining some general information, some issues effecting the industry as well as new interesting startups.


  • Blogroll - I loved some of the resources that I picked up in my blogroll. These were really interesting and I'll continue to read them every day. This is a field I am already interested in so I found reading day to day industry news to be very interesting.
  • Custom Search Engine - Before I only knew that custom search engines could be made to search a personal page, finding out that I could search other peoples pages was news to me. I really liked how this came out and it's very useful.
  • Pipes News Feed - I really liked setting up the Pipes News Feed. Incorporating an RSS feed into the wiki site is very cool and a feature I didn't expect.
  • Organization - I think there is a good organizational structure of my wiki. There are categories and they can be called onto a page to make a list. I really like this functionality of the wiki.
  • Current Events - While there isn't really a stream of news that you can follow for a specific company, I really liked looking at some of the issues that pertain to the startup community. New ways of marketing, issues that affect the community, and things like that were really interesting to follow and there were lots of good resources for these.

Things I would have done differently

  • Get the organization setup earlier. Late in the project I changed a lot of pages into categorized short articles that could be called. I should have done this a lot earlier.
  • Done more with the design. I was frustrated most of the time that I had to use the wiki code and this held me back from trying to be creative with the template. Often times when I would write my articles I would find I had typed <a href=" instead of [[…
  • Do a different topic - I thought my topic was a little hard to follow because at times it was too broad. It was hard to focus on specific issues. The other problem with my topic is that I didn't find a lot of media type stuff. There isn't a lot of music or videos about entrepreneurship that I found to be that interesting.

Overall I really enjoyed the project. I loved learning a new interface like wikidot and think it was a worthwhile experience. It would be cool to see more collaboration between wikis because I think just creating your own wiki kind of defeats the purpose of the wiki idea. Maybe have group projects in the future to really embrace the collaboration on a wiki.

My aerospace and defense wiki

by mlrossitmlrossit (09 Dec 2008 23:29)


I really enjoyed putting together my site on the Aerospace and defense industry. This is an industry that I've always been fascinated by, and this project has only increased my interest in this area. With that said, I wish I could have devoted more time each week to working on my site. Between other group projects, interviews, and recruiting events, I didn't get to add the amount of information that I would have liked to. However, I do believe that I provide a lot of relevant information that would benefit any incoming analyst.

Things To Look Out For

I actually included this "What To Watch For" description on my site. Basically the following list describes the areas and facets of my project that I am most proud of:

  • Extensive use of images/video
  • Provision of pertinent industry-related links
  • Extensive use and provision of resources
    • Name and access information
    • Frequency information
    • Example queries
    • Example return information
    • Evaluation score
    • Use of screen shots to present information efficiently
  • Informative "About" section
  • Overall organization of website
    • Simple
    • Descriptive
    • Efficient

If I Could Do It Again

If I had the opportunity to do this project over, I would try to keep up with current events more. The A&D industry is one of the busiest known to man. I don't think there's a day that goes by where a major defense contractor does not release some sort of press statement. Just yesterday I learned that President-elect Obama is considering the elimination of NASA's Constellation program, which I discuss in detail. Clearly this would be a huge blow to the aerospace industry, and the three firms in particular that are working on the program. This exemplifies why I wish I could have included more information on current events. Other than that, I would have probably included more videos, as the A&D industry is one that is best seen and heard rather than read about (think of an F-35 taking off vertically).

Mortgage Industry Wiki

by (user deleted) (09 Dec 2008 22:56)

My Goal for the Wiki

The main purpose of my wiki was to inform my reader of why the mortgage industry is so relevant and how they can stay up to date with new information. We were exposed to so many resources this semester and I wanted to show an incoming analyst how to utilize these sources and what I learned through my experience with them.


One of the best features of my site is its simplicity. There are not a million tabs or overwhelming amounts of information on the main page. I neatly organized the site into three main areas; basic information, current events, and resource evaluation. This makes the site very user-friendly and information easy to find. I think my instructional guide provides a nice overview of where to begin and how to navigate through the site.

My use of RSS feeds was one of the most important parts of my research. I didn't have a large number of feeds, but rather very specific, customized feeds that definitely provided the framework for current events. I included my blog roll for the user to access these particular feeds and assess them for themselves. Additionally, the timeline of recent events has a lot of good information to understand how frequently things change in the mortgage industry. I spent some time developing the recent events and deciding what information was relevant for the site. The ones that I choose provide excellent insight into the industry.

My Custom Search Engine is probably the most effective tool on the site. I liked my choice of sites for the search engine (a blend of small, large, and frequently updated sites) and the pre-defined keyword query. For an incoming analyst, I wanted this to be one of the focal points for his continued research.

The resource evaluations were obviously an important part of the project and I feel my evaluations gave extremely helpful insight to each tool. I did not necessarily follow the format indicated on the rubric, but I did cover all of the information required for each one, in addition to my personal opinion or anecdote depending on the resource. I experimented with most of the resources in class and discussed a personal quarrel I had or feature I loved for most of the resources.

If I had to do it again…

I would have allocated more time to my current events page. I like the content of my information, but if I had more time, I would have like to display the information in a table or chart. Additionally, I could have included more background information for people unfamiliar with the industry. My background summary catered more towards someone who had a previous understand of the industry. Of course, I could have always included more images or visually appealing graphs/charts, but that is just being picky.

Overall, I think it serves as a great resource for someone who wants new information on the mortgage industry and provides an incoming analyst with the necessary tools to do so.


The URL's for some of the pages do not align with the title of the page. This was because I created the page with one title, then re-named it later as I re-organized my site. I hope it doesn't cause any confusion.

SEMCOG Transit Panel Wiki

by thauckthauck (09 Dec 2008 21:50)

I have enjoyed putting together the transition wiki for the SEMCOG Transit Panel. My wiki is designed to explain to a new panel the current public transportation systems in use in Southeast Michigan, as well as the plans that currently exist to upgrade the transit infrastructure in the region. I tried my hardest to design my site in a practical way and lay it out exactly as if I were actually employed by SEMCOG. That being said, I am pretty pleased with the way I was able to blend a conversational tone with a practical resource, meaning that for the future user the site will be informative as far as background is concerned, but also helpful because I clearly lay out and emphasize how to handle certain aspects of information retrieval.

News Section

I think that for this topic, the most important type of information that is going to be retrieved is news. Let’s be honest: there is nothing flashy about transportation in Southeast Michigan (have you seen a SMART bus?) and I think my conservative site design emphasizes the information aspect. News is clear on the front page and draws the user’s attention to stories that I selected myself from my news feed. Notably, I added a decent amount of articles about local politics related to public transportation as SEMCOG is a government organization. That was the tone I chose to set for the news area, but obviously this section can be changed by the new user.

E-mail Alerts and Page Monitors

I used page monitors and email alerts to keep track of relevant information as well. When using more general sources like email alerts, I found it was important to be specific in my queries in lieu of the recent developments in the auto industry. Unfortunately for my purposes, the word “Detroit” is interchangeable with the Big 3, so queries on [Detroit|”southeast Michigan” transit] or something like that, is going to retrieve a lot of information that does not pertain to my topic at all. I revised my email alert and noted why I did that and thus gave guidance to the new transit panel on developing more targeted e-mail alert search queries.

Current Transit Plans and Videos

Finally, I am particularly proud of the fact that I was able to incorporate videos into my “current transit plans” section. I thought it was important that when describing these kinds of crazy concepts with videos that clearly demonstrate how they will fit into the existing infrastructure of the region.

Finishing Thoughts

After seeing how some people so clearly were able to set up tabbed browsing pages on their wiki's to discuss search resources, I might have considered adding something like that to my wiki. While I do like how conversational I am throughout and think that I do eventually touch on how to use the resources that are appropriate for the SEMCOG transit panel, it might have been a neat cool to offer such a clear analysis of the available resources.

Overall, I enjoyed working on this project. It allowed me to combine my academic interests in business and emerging technology with my passion for creating stronger urbanized regions.

Internet Infrastructure Wiki

by tmuirtmuir (09 Dec 2008 20:01)

My wiki is on the topic of Internet Infrastructure. I thought that it would be an interesting topic for this class because in BIT330 we obviously dealt so much but ignored the physical side of things. When Ben Lewis from Google came in to speak and mentioned so many times how expensive bandwith and servers can be I thought that it added a little bit to my project, just to get the topic on to the minds of people.

Overall, the topic turned out to be less interesting than I thought it might when I picked it as a topic. I picked it just shortly after Comcast's bandwith limits went in to place. Right around that time a lot of media attention was being given to this event and the rise of HD on demand content and video sites like YouTube requiring more and more bandwith. However, shortly after that people just stopped caring so much - as they so often do.

What Went Well

The home page serves as a really nice portal to the site. It gives a nice summary of the site as a whole and provides direct links to any part of the site that a person viting for the first (or second or nth) time might want to check out.

Also, I like the overall structure of the site. I think that my wiki does a really good job of embracing the wiki format - providing lots of links on every page, embedding images and video, and making navigation as easy as possible. From the Top Bar Menu you can get to any place on the site that you would want to from any other. The history section is completely encapsulated and isolated from the current events section which I like because it prevents people from wandering off to something they might not want or be interested in. Unless they go to the Top Bar and navigate away on purpose. The sources are also accessible from any page on the site - both from the top bar menu or from a link at the bottom of every page with information so that they can know where my sources came from and how to find more themselves.

The Current Events half of the site is certainly the strongest. RSS Feeds brought me most of the information for the whole site, and they were obviously more useful for here than in the history section.

Network Neutrality is the best part of the Current Events section. It has the most information, by far the most interesting content and I really like the way that it is laid out. It uses some video resources which are very relevant and I think that helps make the site more accessible to more people and can keep them engaged without just clicking through and missing everything that might be important.

The sources section is simple and straight forward. Pick which kind of topic you want to get more information on and you can find out what I did and how to do more yourself. It isn't nearly as nice as Jennifer Stanczak's Resource Page (which I thought was awesome and deserved a shout out) but the format is straight forward, consistent and accurate.

Hindsight is 20/20

Well, honestly, first of all if I had to do it again I probably wouldn't have done it internet infrastructure. The topic just wasn't all that interesting much beyond the surface. Network Neutrality was far more interesting and I think it would have probably made a better topic on its own, and I think that shows on the site.

My inner nerd did find the history section pretty interesting. Packet switching and all the technology that went in to making the internet what it is today is pretty interesting, but I don't know how many people agree with me on that. Anything more complicated that what was in the wikipedia article was already starting to get out of my depth and I have a programming background already. I'm not sure how much this appeals to Joe Googler that stumbles on my site, but maybe that isn't the point.

All that said, I am mostly pleased with the final product. There's a lot of good information to be had there, and all compiled in one place that you won't find anywhere else on the internet.

Airline Industry Wiki

by laytosplaytosp (09 Dec 2008 14:02)

My Wiki

I did my wiki on the unstable, inefficient U.S. airline industry. The contents of my site are fairly basic and easy to follow, but I will highlight some of the more interesting parts for you:

  • Home page: I wanted to make the home page easy to follow and a good introduction to the rest of the project. I used both the top and side tool bars as ways to explore the wiki. I added a few images to make the page a little more attractive.
  • Instructions: I provided two instruction pages…
  1. Background information: My thought process was that if the new analyst would want more information on the background of the airline industry he or she could utilize some of the resources that I found most interesting. I wanted to emphasis how different the tools used for the background information and the currents events are for the airline industry. Thus, I separated my instructions for each.
  2. Current Events: Basically I had the same thought process as above (background information.) I provided a screen shot of the email alerts that proved to be useful in the finding of on-going developments in the airline industry. I explained the process I had to go through in order to stay on top of the daily changes in the industry, in order for the new analyst to know what he is getting into.
  • Current Events: There are a couple features about the current events that I tried to make pretty cool. I put them on the home screen in order to emphasis the importance of the developments of the airline industry. It is an ever-changing industry and with all that has happened recently I wanted to make it clear they were easily accessible. I also put them on my side tool bar, which takes you to a page that has all the current events listed in order. Lastly, when you access the current events through the top tool bar it lists all the on-going stories with their pictures.
  • Custom Search Engine: I really enjoyed this part and screen shots as you can tell. I liked being able to develop something that portrays my knowledge on the topic.
  • Time Line: Although it looks fairly simple, this part took a good amount of time to develop and find all the necessary information. I was pretty proud of it when I was finished.
  • Information Resources: This part of the project was challenging. I wanted to illustrate that the tools that can be useful for the overall topics are different, so I put them in a tab view.

There is a lot more that I wish I could have done with the project given more time like changing the format of some of the pages to be more interesting. Additionally, I would have liked to provide more background information that pertained to the time line like have the different dates like to a page that depicts the impact of each event. I may still do all these things just because of all the time I have already invested in it why not have it be the exact way I want. I hope you enjoy my wiki!

Software-as-a-Service Wiki

by BrianHeM10BrianHeM10 (09 Dec 2008 06:07)

Goal of the SaaS Wiki

The purpose of my Wiki was to inform an industry analyst about what is Software-as-a-Service, why it is important, and how to stay up-to-date with the latest news. Due to many different aspects and companies within the SaaS industry, I chose to focus on only four of biggest players - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and After evaluating a set of search tools and relevant RSS feeds, I provided the industry analyst with a tutorial on how to use my Wiki to its fullest potential and continue following the SaaS industry.

Highlights of the SaaS Wiki

Side and Top Menus - I believe my menus were designed well and fully emcompases every element of my wiki. The side bar was meant to get the viewer to background pages and some outside sources. The top bar was focused on elements of the Wiki that had multiple pages.

SaaS Background Page - Of any individual page on the site, I think this is my favorite one. It is extremely informative and concisely explains why SaaS is important.

Current Events (Home & SaaS 4 News) - I put a lot of time into providing current events over the last 2 - 21/2 months. The page tabs look very nice and lets all the articles be on one page without overwhelming the viewer. Also, as discussed in class, I used the @URL technique for the "date" attribute to backdate pages when necessary.

BlogRoll/RSS Feeds - Compiling, following, and evaluating 30+ feeds was very time consuming; however, all of these feeds are pretty good and interesting. Also, these feeds incorporate how I took advantage of other tools (Yahoo Pipes, Bloglines, Google News, etc) to create my own RSS feeds.

SaaS Search Engine - The SaaS Search engine was very helpful and produces some great results. It's performance was very surprising and am I am happy with how it turned out.

Wiki Aesthetics - Overall, I think my Wiki is very easy to read and is organized well. I generally close down websites that either don't look right or are tough to read, so I made sure I spent time making my Wiki look good enough for people to stay and read it. This was shown through the organization of my home page, the menus, and the design-aspects of my resource evaluation.

In Hindsight I Wish I…

  • Had dedicated some time to more "fun" SaaS news. There are ton of really cool new SaaS applications that just get lost in the shuffle. Instead of spending time on (which ended up not having much information), I should have made my fourth "area of interest" be more general.
  • Had more time to deeply evaluate resources. I focused more on evaluating a lot of resources instead of writing a really thorough review of each one like a real reviewer would. I could have spend 3-5 hours on most of the resources but instead had to spend only 10-15 minutes (tops).
  • Created a more unique site theme. I would have liked to use some CSS knowledge to create my own custom theme, graphics, buttons, etc.
  • Been able to work on it with a partner. It would have been fun to be able to discuss to the news and jointly evaluate resources.

Alternative Energy Wiki

by Eric BrackmannEric Brackmann (09 Dec 2008 04:22)

Well, as you know, my wiki dives into the fun and exciting world of alternative energy in the US. Some of the content is more fun and exciting than others… Nonetheless, there are few things to note while looking around my site.

  • I think the over look of the welcome page is nice. I used tables… It also had a pretty good introduction to the topic and displays current events, my blogs and the site’s tags.
  • The special RSS tools page goes over how I utilized Yahoo Pipes – my Alternative Energy Super Pipe is pretty cool.
  • The ongoing news is pretty interesting; it certainly gives you good picture of what is going on right now.
  • Page monitors were basically useless (it’s kind of funny - you can tell how frustrated I got with page monitors as you read how I used them).
  • Generally, I tried to provide an analysis of the tools we used in class as well as the actual sources I found. Most of the pages on the left hand menu (the tools) include sections on how I used the tool, what I got, examples of what I got and, finally, my evaluation of the tool. It’s organized by tool, rather than topic, to try and drive home the importance of the tools.
  • That being said, I then also organized the content by topic (energy quick links at the top) to facilitate actual future research. Unfortunately, the content is not linked. I would have liked it to be, but I just didn’t have the time… Maybe I’ll do it over break just so I can say I did.
  • I would also take a look at my custom search engine. Not only is actually imbedded in the page, but it also builds on the work of others by utilizing a meta site in its search.
  • Finally, I also added Google Adsense ads to my site. I don’t expect to make anything, but the ads are there nonetheless.

Have fun!

New Ways to Search?

by bryblumbryblum (06 Dec 2008 17:24)


“ ‘Other Search Sites’? You’ve got to be kidding me! There are more search sites than the hundreds we’ve already gone over? It never ends!” Those were my thoughts as I glanced at the schedule before last week’s “Other Search Sites” class. We’ve already covered news, information, pictures, videos, people, maps, and music. What is there left to search?


In my opinion, the most useful tools taken from this class are ones that supplement various search tools that we’ve already learned about. At first glance of the list of “other search tools”, my eyes were immediately drawn to the “Wikipedia search” section. Why? Well, I think I’m obsessed with Wikipedia. It’s definitely my favorite website. Every bit of important information in the world is on Wikipedia – it’s amazing. If a genie were to grant me one wish in my life, I would wish to have all the information in Wikipedia implanted in my brain. How cool would that be? I would know everything. Sorry, tangent, but it’s true.

Anyway, my one gripe with Wikipedia is it’s search function. In order for Wikipedia to pull up an article, you had better know the correct spelling. If you enter a search spelled incorrectly, Wikipedia doesn’t offer similarly spelled searches or even suggestions on other articles. Instead, most of the time you get a “no page with that title exists” message. What a pain, huh?

Well, two sites attempt to fix this problem: PowerSet and Cognition. Both websites use “semantic” or “natural language” to organize and search documents in Wikipedia. They study the meaning of entire sentences rather than the relationships between keywords, allowing users to type queries as fully-formed questions as opposed to keywords.

Let's test it out

To test the accuracy and usefulness of these tools, I thought of a simple question to test:

In what year was John F. Kennedy born?

  • PowerSet: Got it right away, and even put my answer in a special box up top. Nice! Powerset Results
  • Cognition: Did not give me the answer right away. Just gave me a few related articles which were generally unhelpful. Cognition Results
  • Google: The answer was located on the first page of results. I didn't even have to click to see the answer. Google Results

Who is the current coach of the New York Giants?


My Concluding Thoughts

Well, maybe I don’t really get the point of the websites, or maybe they just aren’t fully-functional yet, but ultimately, I don’t see them being very useful. The concept of semantic search is definitely interesting and innovative, but to overtake Google is a nearly impossible feat at this point. In both of my search examples, Google was able to give me the answer, while the other two were iffy in their success. Wikipedia is always one of the top 3 search results in Google anyway. Overall, I like Powerset more, as it is more user-friendly and seemingly more accurate. Cognition, on the other hand, needs some work. Regardless, I’ll still use Google for all of my queries. With a little more tweaking, however, the other two sites may be able to hook me.

YouTube Competes?

by bryblumbryblum (06 Dec 2008 17:23)

I like to think that I have pretty good top-of-mind awareness regarding web tools for certain functions, especially after completing the most part of BIT330.


Let's play a little word association.

  • Best search engine? Google.
  • Best online encyclopedia? Wikipedia.
  • Best social networking site? Facebook or MySpace.
  • Best place to search RSS feeds? Well, that's debatable, but I would say Bloglines.

Pretty accurate, I think. But when it comes to the next two questions, I may not be as good as I think.

  • Best place to search and watch videos? This one is easy, YouTube.
  • Best place to search and listen to music? Without paying? Ummm. Well, you can't really search on Pandora. YouTube again? I'm not really sure.

Like probably 99% of the world (totally guessed on that stat, but I imagine it's true), YouTube was my top-of-mind preference for performing a video search. However, after further investigation during the Videos and Music Search Class, I was shocked to discover that YouTube is not the highest performing video search site. As it turns out, a video search website called Truveo provides more relevant search results. Who knew?! I had never even heard of the site.

How was it determined that Truveo was "better"? Well, it wasn't the most scientific study, but of 11 students who rated YouTube, Truveo, and Blinkx on a scale of 1-5 based on search result relevancy, Truveo got the highest score! Here are the results:

Site Student rating Average Score
Truveo 4,5,5,4,2,4,5,4,3,4,4 4.00
YouTube 5,3,4,4,2,2,5,2,4,3,2 3.27
Blinkx 4,4,2,3,2,4,2,2,3,4,3 3.00


Why is the AOL-owned Truveo better than YouTube? Well, I rated it higher. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Better design The Truveo homepage is cleaner-cut, better-organized, and less cluttered than the YouTube site. This allows for more efficient searching.
  • Better searching Truveo is equipped to search for more for professional videos than for amateur viral videos. This is perfectly aligned with the recent trend of users searching more for professional videos.
  • Better strategy Instead of jumping into the pool of YouTube wannabes, Truveo has focused on helping users find videos, not "broadcast themselves," as YouTube promotes.

Well, this marks a first in BIT330 for me. I will officially be switching from a go-to website for the first time.

Goodbye, YouTube. Welcome, Truveo.

Thoughts On the Google Visit

by bryblumbryblum (06 Dec 2008 17:22)

I’ll be completely honest here- as a senior student who is graduating in a few months and is in the home stretch of 16+ long years of class, it’s pretty difficult for me to pay attention and stay interested in class. Of course, I am talking about other classes, and not BIT330, which is always interesting.


That being said, last week’s “Google Class” was easily the most interested and engaged I’ve been in a class this entire semester. I was asking questions, was fully interested in the answers, and did my best to participate in class discussion. Surprised with myself while I was leaving the class, I decided to come up with a few possible explanations for my actions:

  • I have never interacted with a Google employee before
  • I love Google as a company, and am fascinated by their vision, breadth of product, and level of innovation
  • I had a large iced coffee that day, instead of my usual small iced coffee
  • I was extra motivated in BIT330 because I had received a “60” on my project progress report the night before, which was the lowest grade of my college career!

The presenter, whose name I completely forgot, went over a selection of Google products and ultimately explained the costs and revenue-adding aspects of the product. Prior to this class, I knew that “ad revenue” was Google’s main source of revenue. However, I had no idea that ad revenue provided Google with over 95% of their revenue! It’s pretty incredible that Google is paid over $20 billion a year just to put ads on their website. Can you imagine explaining that fact to someone 25 years ago? They would be baffled. Anyway, I figured that I would go over a couple of the products and the most interesting facts about them:

  • Google Toolbar
    • Costs: Design, development, distribution, bandwidth costs
    • Revenues: Widespread use of the toolbar strengthens the Google brand image and companies with other products pay to have their product as a download option bundled with Toolbar
  • iGoogle
    • Costs: Design, development, speed optimization, fees to developers who design widgets for iGoogle
    • Revenues: strengthens the Google brand image, increases the chances that Google is used as a home page, makes Google more marketable for advertisers


So, why does Google continue to innovate and create free products? There is really one goal. Popular and useful products lead to more site traffic, which makes Google more marketable to companies to advertise on their website. That’s it!

Since they have been successful thus far, it only makes sense Google will continue to innovate and to provide free services in place of for-pay services. For example, it makes sense that in a few years, Microsoft Office will be obsolete because of the free Google Docs service. In my opinion, this will ultimately present a huge antitrust problem in the Internet in a few years. I think that Google will eventually knock out so many businesses, that they will be hindering commerce in some way. Regulation? Not yet. But in the distant future, I wouldn’t count it out. You heard it here first.

Ask Top Searches In 2008

by samooresamoore (04 Dec 2008 18:46)

Here is the year end summary from of their most popular searches in 2008.

The X-Rated Daily

by dpnickdpnick (03 Dec 2008 23:13)

There was a pretty funny article in the Daily today about Google Analytics. I figured I'd share since it's relevant to what we've covered in class:

Beyond Google - Other Search Engines

by BrianHeM10BrianHeM10 (03 Dec 2008 20:33)

Since the beginning of this decade, Google's presence in our daily lives has quickly grown from a cool new website to part of our daily routine. Google is synonymous with searching and people go to Google to find something general or IMDB to find information about anything movie/TV related. But, there has to be other options out there, right? Indeed, there are - very small search engines that make Live, Yahoo, and Altavista seem as large as galaxies.


Google may be one of the easiest to use and is generally pretty reliable, but these niche search engines each seem to provide a unique feature that makes it worth using. It is very similar to Starbucks vs the local coffee shops. Every Starbucks is the same - same Fritalian-named drinks, same flavors, same tastes. Across the street is that little coffee shop that only exists in that one location. Although Starbucks is pretty good, it's blandness in variety helps accentuate the unique flavors and menu choices at that little coffee shop. Even the most avid technologists will continue to use Google - it's too good not too. But, Google's simplicity makes visiting these smaller sites exciting, interesting, and useful.

Let's check some out.


SearchMe is a visual search engine where the results displayed are actually images of the website (reminds me a lot of Windows Vista AERO 3D Tabs). My first query on Live Mesh did not work out very well - there were a lot of results that were not too relevant and the visual search tool was tough to understand (need some higher-resolution images).

On the flip side, I had great success when searching for Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing. Sites I was told to look at included Enomaly's info on EC2, ODE's original news release about EC2, and Web Strategist's guide to EC2.

The information from SearchMe was pretty good, but the interface is gimmicky. It forces to click on links and it opens them in news windows, which is pretty annoying. SearchMe is a great example of something unique that is fun to visit but does not add value or efficiency.


Cognition is a Wikipedia search tool that helps you answer specific questions (instead of trying to find a specific page). It displays results from a variety of pages, not just one. My best query was What is SalesForce AppExchange?". When you click on a result, it takes you to the Wikipedia page and provides color-coded highlights related to your query. Awesome stuff!


Cuil claims to be the world's biggest search engine and specializes in ranking pages based on their precision instead of popularity. I am not really sure how Cuil could have a database three times as large as Google's, but I guess I will take their word for it. When you first get to Cuil, it looks like a very simple search engine based on its relatively basic front page. After you click 'Search', that feelings of simplicity quickly disappears.

The results page is far from ordinary. Besides the fact it displays results very elegantly and the information is relevant and useful, the interface is extremely smooth (speedy & agile). I really liked how it groups alternative things you can search for (Google Base, Google Trends, Google Video) - but it searches for them within the original results. I was very impressed with how the "exploration" categories were not just related to the original search term, but also accurate macro-categories (Web 2.0, Silicon Valley, Search Engines).


SiloBreaker is a search engine that aggregates all sorts of multi-media results. The idea behind it is pretty cool, but I think the idea is a little too broad. The search result pages are extremely overwhelming and unfortunately the content is not very precise. For example, my query on Live Skydrive produced just about nothing about the topic. I got a very interesting link about Kumo (the rumored-but-really-official new name for Microsoft's Live Search) that sent me to a result page dedicated to the topic, search industry, and trends. In summary, the site is cool to try out, but nowhere near as "usable on a daily basis" as Cuil & Cognition.


Kosmix is another "other search engine" that displays results very similar to SiloBreaker. However, Kosmix seems to mix-in some elements of Mahalo into is result pages. Results are split into six categories: Basic Resources, People & Community, Shopping, Visual, News & Blogs, and Conversations. There is a lot to cover in one query, so I'll focus just on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Basic Resources - The Basic Resources section is split into three sub-areas: search engines, profiles, and references. Search engines are basic Google results, profiles uses Crunchbase data, and references pulls information from Wikipedia.

People & Community - The "social networks" element of Kosmix seems to be confusing. For this particular page, it displays book results about MS CRM. I think it's from - which looks like a social networking reading place.

Shopping -Displays products (in this case, software and books) related to the query.

Visual -The Visual results need to be seen for one's self. The fact that it displays documents (PDFs, DOCs, and XLSs) about the topic is really cool.

News & Blogs - Uses articles from Associated Content (SalesForce & Microsoft's War of Words, blog posts from BlogCatalog (Naviants CRM Blog, and blog comments from Backtrack (Facebook CRM?.

Conversations - I've never seen a search engine use Yahoo Answers, so this was pretty unique. The results were not that relevant. I liked the Forum posts from OMGLIGI; but, forum post searches are pretty strange because the vast bulk of them are "in the deep web". Got a good post about SAP CRM vs MS CRM.

In a nutshell, one search from Kosmix can take about an hour to really take advantage of. I spent about 40 minutes browsing this one query which is a testament to Kosmix' depth, uniqueness, and preciseness. It's much more helpful for research about a topic than a random search though. Great tool.


One of the reasons you're at this site is to discover a vast array of ways to find and monitor information on the web. Hopefully the descriptions (and usefulness) of these five "alternative" search tools makes it very clear that to search effectively, you must go "beyond Google".

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