PowerUp

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It was inevitable that it would happen. PowerServe now has a blog.

Not much available in terms of content, yet. (Most of it comes from my own blog.) But we’re going to be adding articles, features over the coming weeks & months (as time permits) that will give readers a better idea of who we are and what we do. So, stay tuned, and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

New Media and Higher Ed

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As a geek, I take for granted the technology that I use on a daily basis. I read RSS feeds through FeedDemon several times during the day. I blog occasionally. I visit Wikipedia several times a week either to look up information or to make sure spammers aren’t screwing articles of interest to me. I also listen to a number of podcasts, such as Desiring God Radio and LostCasts. I use these technologies to stay abreast of the latest news, trends and technology out there that is important to me. Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis: these are all “tools” that would be extremely beneficial for use in Higher Education.

In preparing for my speech I learned a lot about new media technologies and their use in higher education and, frankly, I was surprised by what I learned.

Of the 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia, only three had a publicly available (i.e. on the homepage, news or admissions page) RSS feed – Armstrong Atlantic University, University of West Georgia, and Darton College. Only two of the 35 schools had podcasts – Armstrong Atlantic University and Georgia College and State University.

Why aren’t schools taking advantage of these new technologies? Based on the feedback I received from workshop attendees it comes down to:

  • Cost
  • Server Capabilities/Restricitions
  • Technology Access
  • Knowledge/Implementation Limitations

The good news is – many are in the process of implementing some or all of these tools into public and private portions of their website. This is good news for students, faculty and alumni alike.

By utilizing technology that is out there, and gaining in popularity, they can avoid having to play catch up once the general public “adopts” them.

Fear

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We all fear something, be it death, snakes, spiders, etc. My fear is public speaking. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, though, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.
I conquered my fear by giving a presentation at the Georgia Educational Advancement Council Summer Conference at Augusta State University this past Friday. I’m still amazed I agreed to speak at the engagement with so little time to prepare, but given the topic – New Media 101 (Blogs, Wikis, Chatrooms, and more) – I felt like I could handle it. In attendance at my workshop were 40-50 University System of Georgia employees from institutions all over the state. I had no idea what their depth of knowledge would be, no idea what the format of the discussion would be… I just showed up to do my best. A few minutes in, it was pretty evident that there would be a consistent back and forth between what I was presenting and questions from the attendees. This worked out perfectly.

I was worried going in about doing well, mis-speaking, getting something factually wrong, etc. – but in the end, I did okay. I built all of these “worse case scenarioes” up in my mind trying to defeat myself before I even got started. As my boss told me before going into this… “You’re the expert here. You know this stuff. You’re going to do alright.” And he was right.

I survived the presentation, got over my fears of speaking in public, and sent people on their way equipped with the knowledge I shared in my presentation. Thank God. :)

10 Years

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I knew today was “important” somehow. I graduated from Denbigh High School ten years ago today. On June 16, 1996, we were holding commencement exercises at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. If you had asked me then what I’d be doing now, I probably would have told you “working for the United Nations”. I was young and idealistic and fresh off a number of Model United Nations conferences. I didn’t know any better back then ;)

A reunion has been planned for August 11-13, with activities scheduled all weekend long. On Friday night there will be a Meet and Greet at Jillians at Waterside. On Saturday afternoon there will be a cookout at Newport News Park. On Saturday evening there will be an Adults-Only party at the American Legion Post in Denbigh. To close out the weekend, those who’d like to can meet to attend church services together, and meet for brunch afterwards.

If you’d like more information on the reunion activities, visit the Denbigh High School Class of 1996 Yahoo! Group.

Flock Revisited

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Last October, I blogged about the availability of the first Flock Developer Preview. After several months of silence, the Flock team just unveiled the first Public Beta (0.7) of Flock.

With the new release, Flock’s also inveiled a new site design (Nice work, Mr. Veloso.) What sets Flock apart from other browsers is the inclusion of “social” web services within the browser. The tight integration with del.icio.us and flickr and blogging are pretty sweet.

My initial impression of Flock was that it was a nice browser – and the social aspects of it definitely set it apart from Firefox and Internet Explorer – but I’m not sure how well the general public will take it. I’m not sure how I feel now.

Because it’s been quite some time since I last used Flock, I’ve decided to give Flock another try. We’ll see how it works out…

New Media 101

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I just found out today that I’ll be making a presentation at the Georgia Education Advancement Council (GEAC) Summer Conference on the campus of Augusta State University next Friday. I’ll be speaking about “new” technology – blogs, wikis, podcasts, chats, etc. – and how they can improve an institution’s ability to communicate with alumni, prospective students, etc.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity.

Moving

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Barring any unforseen problems, Kim and I will be the proud owners of a new home this afternoon. I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of it over the past few months, but today’s the day we’ll be able to finally call it “home”. Building a home has been more than a little stressful, but our Stephanie Kernaghan (our realtor); Rosemary and everyone at Medallion Homes (our builder); and Marsha Wilson at Augusta Mortgage Co. (our lender) have all been more than helpful. Having said that, posting might be sporadic over the next several days as we move into our new home.

A Lesson in Customer Service

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While shopping for a suit this past weekend, I stopped by the Men’s Wearhouse here is Augusta. I was immediately approached by a helpful salesman named Eric Sherry. Eric was knowledgeable and friendly. He was able to tell pretty early on that the store didn’t have my size, but he didn’t hesitate to refer me to a store that did. A day later, I called Eric back to see if there would be any way possible for him to measure me, so I would be able to provide the place he recommended with my measurements. He was more than happy to help out. Talk about great customer service! As luck would have it, Men’s Wearhouse did carry a great pair of size 15 shoes in stock, and I was more than happy to spend the money with them to get them. Eric went above and beyond to help me out, without the guarantee of any sort of sale, and turned me into a grateful customer. Now that’s great customer service.

If you need a suit, tuxedo rentals, etc. stop by and see Eric and the staff over at Men’s Wearhouse. They’re located in the Augusta Exchange shopping center, 263 Robert C. Daniels Jr. Pkwy. or call (706) 736-1794.