Should Courts Be Able To Subpoena Facebook Posts?

Continuing in my string of news posts. Recent headlines brought to light a case in Edwardsville, IL where a lawyer is fighting to have material from Facebook posts released as evidence.

Facebook representatives point to the "Stored Communications Act" which prohibits the release of information, even with a subpoena.

The lawyer for the defendant in this particular case feels that "Facebook friendships" may have impacted the investigation of an incident which involved several police offers.

Could get interesting if they push this one to a higher court system.

Here's a link to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch article:

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When Headlines Sound Like a Die Hard Movie

This recent news blip caught my attention:

"... software downloaded through cell phones stole passwords, intercepted e-mails and created havoc. Soon 60 million cell phones were dead. The Internet crashed and commerce collapsed."

Realistic scenario?

Wait there's more:

"The U.S. isn't prepared to respond to an attack on its computer networks that could cripple communications and electrical power systems..."

This is where this newspaper article "Cyber Attack Would Strike the U.S. Hard" [STL Post-Dispatch, 2.17.2101] starts sounding eerily Hollywood. In fact this scenario specifically has already been adapted to the screen in the form of "Live Free or Die Hard."

© 2007 - 20th Century Fox

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What Are People Looking For Online? What Are They Willing to Pay For?

When you're thinking about launching a blog OR developing a web-based business. It doesn't hurt to check into what type of content and services people are actually looking for online.

Entertainment and media seem to be the biggies--whether thats music, movies, games, video OR online newspapers, magazines, radio or blogs. Here are the actual breakdowns from The Nielsen Company. The link below will get you to the full research findings.

Percent of global online consumers who have paid OR would consider paying for various types of content online – Fall 2009
Theatrical movies57%
Professional produced video (including current television shows)50%
Internet-only news sources36%
Radio (Music)32%
Social communities28%
Radio (News/Talk)26%
Consumer-generated video24%
Source: The Nielsen Company.  n=27,548

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Top Social Media Sites

Which social media sites should you sign on with? If you are in business, which should you adopt for tools for marketing your goods and services? If you are in public relationship or marketing---which sites are best to learn to use for your clients?

One helpful guide in determining which Social Media platforms to follow is a list of the Top 50. I found such a list recently in Website Magazine. They also had the list posted on their website.

This list appeared in Website Magazine's Feb 2010 Issue
you'll also find it on their Website.

While there is some duplication of types of social media (facebook/myspace; flickr/photobucket) the list is still very helpful. I would highly recommend signing on and gaining a basic understanding of the top 10 sites mentioned here.

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STL Post Dispatch: "More Tech Gadgets But Less Etiquette"

I used to speak to companies about "netiquette" and the development of "ePolicies" for workplace use of e-mail and Internet. While we create new technologies to make us more efficient, sometimes that is not the case.

This article, which appeared in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, highlights a recent survey commissioned by Robert Half Technologies which suggests that workplace etiquette is on the decline. To blame: cell phones, smart phones, laptops, e-mail, social media and the like.

You might get a kick out of the "five different types of tech-etiquette offenders."

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How Much Data Do We Digest?

Accorcording to "How Much Information? 2009 Report on American Consumers" by Roger E. Bohn James E. Short http://hmi.ucsd.edu/pdf/HMI_2009_ConsumerReport_Dec9_2009.pdf 

Americans spend a huge amount of time at home receiving information, an average of 11.8 hours per day. 

• Bytes of information consumed by U.S. individuals have grown at 5.4 percent annually since 1980, far less than the growth rate of computer and information technology performance. 

• Roughly 3.6 zettabytes (or 3,600 exabytes) of information were consumed in American homes in 2008. Americans spend 41 percent of our information time watching television, but TV accounts for less than 35 percent of information bytes consumed. 

• Computer and video games account for 55 percent of all information bytes consumed in the home, because modern game consoles and PCs create huge streams of graphics. 

The streams of data they measured came from TV, Computers, Print, Phone, Radio, Movies and Recorded Media.

The majority of our reading is done off computer screens. The most data-intensive activities we engage in are video games.

Lot's of interesting info in this study. Check it out.

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Blog Writing Basics

This is your advertisement. This is the headline. This one line has to grab the reader and make them want to read your blog.

Blogs are personal and language can be more expressive in this way as well. That said, you still need to strive to write well: use proper punctuation, paragraph forms, and grammar. Be sure to spell check and proof read your articles before you post. You blog posts do not have to be paper length. Use only as much copy as you need to express your idea for that entry. Vary length from post to post. If you have a larger article you might write a tease for your blog and then link to the full copy as a PDF or DOC posted on your website or on GOOGLE DOCS.

Identify key terms that are associated with your body copy. You might even create your key words prior to your body copy using them as a loose outline. There should be terms that carry from your TITLE, to your BODY to your LABELS. These are essential in getting search engines to catalog your blog.

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Blogger Tips: Embed YouTube Video

Many of the popular social networking and media sites offer the tools you need to add a LINK or EMBED their content into your BLOG or WEBSITE. YouTube is no exception.

Let's say that I want to embed a video I found on YouTube that shows a Lindenwood Football event.

1 - First I'm going go to YouTube and look up: Lindenwood Football

2 - I located a 9 minutes video vignette entitled: Lindenwood Football vs. Langston 2009. I then link to that video page.

Note: YouTube does have many ways to SHARE this video via many social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others. But these will not help you with your BLOG or WEBSITE.

3 - Look to the right of the video. You will see to binding boxes. One marked URL and the other EMBED. For this example we are going to select and copy the EMBED code. Before you do this, however, click on the snowflake-like box to the right of the EMBED code. Here you can select the MODE in which you'd like to present. I'm going to click SHOW BORDER and select the GREEN option and 445x364 for my size.

4 - Now I locate where I want to EMBED the file in my BLOG editor. Swap over to EDIT HTML mode. Past in the code and hit PREVIEW so I can see what this will look like. Now I can do any fine tuning with spacing in COMPOSE mode and then add my LABELS and PUBLISH POST. 

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Blogger Tips: How To Link to an MP3 or Embed a Flash Player

So lets say you are on your favorite band's site. They have posted a MP3 for consumption by the general public. And you want to share the song with your friends. There are a few things you could do.

1. Set up a link to the artist site and instruct your reader where to find the file.

Example 1a:
I was just on Jason Caddell's site (formerly of Dismemberment Plan) and found several MP3s on his PROJECTS page. I especially liked the first song mentioned: "Dear Rockville"

Example 1b: I was just on Jason Caddell's site (formerly of Dismemberment Plan) and found several MP3s on his PROJECTS page. I especially liked the first song mention: "A New Spelling of My Name."

Example 1c:  I was just on Jason Caddell's site (formerly of Dismemberment Plan) and found several MP3s on his PROJECTS page. I especially liked the first song mention: "A New Spelling of My Name." [Listen to MP3]

2. I could also embed a custom FLASH player to play the song. There are a number of free FLASH jukeboxes out there. The one I'm choosing for this exercise can be found at: http://www.labnol.org/internet/design/html-embed-mp3-songs-podcasts-music-in-blogs-websites/2232/

I am going to highlight and copy the embed code. Change over to EDIT HTML mode in Blogger and paste in the player where I want it.

Example 2: I was just on Jason Caddell's site (formerly of Dismemberment Plan) and found this great song:

Two things you will need to do with this code. First off, you will get an error message about code not being closed. You will need to ad a tag at the end of the code snippet you grabbed from the labnol.org site. Second, you need to cut the text MP3_FILE_URL and paste the full link to the song.

Now you have a cool flash player embedded in your blog.

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Blogger Tips: How To Embed A Google Map

For this exercise we are going to want to embed a map to a location. Maybe you're telling people about a concert location, a restaurant you're reviewing, a festival, where you go to school.

Since this course is at Lindenwood University, I'm going to embed a map showing the campus.

1. Go to Google and click on Maps OR go to http://maps.google.com

2. Type in: Lindenwood University Saint Charles MO

3. Set up the map preferences to how you want to present it: zoom, pan, select whether you'll have a street map, satellite view or terrain map.

4. Once you've got the map how you like it click the LINK button on the upper right edge of the map.

5. If you want to just set up a LINKto the map you can do so very easily. First select the link text from the Google map.  Next you'll want to  highlight the text that you want to link. Select LINK in Blogger and paste in the link information.

i.e. I currently am teaching the Internet course at Lindenwood University [click for map].

6. I can also embed the map in my blog. To do this I am going to select the text on Google maps that says "Paste HTML to embed in website." Then I switch to EDIT HTML mode in Blogger and get my mouse where I want to place the map. Paste the text here. Then toggle back to COMPOSE mode.

View Larger Map

Now I have a map embedded in my blog.

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How to Set Up A Blog at Blogger.com

There are a number of options when it comes to free blog sites. For the sake of this exercise we are going to sign on for a blog through Google's Blogger service.

Once you have set up G-Mail, signing on for other Google services--Profile, Picasa, Blogger, etc--is a snap.

As for setting up a blog:

1 Visit www.blogger.com

2 Click on the orange CREATE A BLOG button. Like is says, "It's easy, and only takes a minute."

Note: You may wish to take the take the QUICK TOUR or VIDEO TOUR and learn about MORE FEATURES by click the appropriate text links.

3 CREATE GOOGLE ACCOUNT provide a valid e-mail, password and your set to go.

4 NAME YOUR BLOG to start with your site will be http://yourname.blogspot.com take some time to come up with a good name. Try to make it fit with what you'll be blogging on i.e. http://favoritefilms.blogspot.com or http://travelwithlogs.blogspot.com or http://companyname.blogspot.com.

Note: You can also purchase a URL and have it point to your blog. Then the name will appear like a regular website with a .COM, .ORG, .INFO address.

5 Choose a template. BLOGGER offers a number of templates to start with. All of these can be customized to a limited degree using tools that they provide. You can also download blog templates from other sites and import them into BLOGGER at a later time.

Now you are set to begin blogging. We'll talk more about advanced blog tips and writing for blogs in future posts.

- MH -

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Questions You Need To Answer Before You Launch Your Blog

Before you launch your blog, consider... 

1.  What is your ultimate goal in starting a blog?

2. Who is your audience?
3.  What do they want to hear?  What do you have to tell them? [Determine style and content for your blog.]

4.  Use
http://www.technorati.com and http://blogsearch.google.com to find other blogs on the same topic.
5.  Read blogs that cover similar topics to yours. Leave comments. 
6.  Make a list of key words for each entry. Include key search terms in your body copy.

7.  Be consistent with your blogging. Plan to blog 2-3 times a week.

8.  Blogging should be
fun. Something you enjoy to do.

- MH -

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Poor META data can drive people away; good META data can increase Website rraffic.
META Data consists of a TITLE, DESCRIPTION AND KEYWORDS that are placed into the code of every web page to be seen and read only by search engines
GOAL of writing META Data is to à enable Search Engines to accurately index page.

Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, AltaVista, index all web pages on the Internet by looking at the META Data + CONTENT listed on each individual web page.
The more accurately the META Data (TITLE, DESCRIPTION, KEYWORDS) matches or reflects the unique content on a page, the better the ranking of that page in Search Engine search results.


Review the content on your page and list the words and phrases and themes that best represent the content of that page. Try to choose words or short phrases that people might type into search engines to find that page or information about that subject).
Basic Rules:
TITLE: The TITLE and META TITLE can be similar – however their roles can be slightly different. You should be under 10 words (30-60 characters), summarizing the content on the page. Include one or two of the most important keywords from the content of that page. Be engaging & interesting, causing people to want to visit that page.
DESCRIPTION: With the META DESCRIPTION expand upon the meta title, describing in more detail what’s on the page. This will appear on the search engine’s search results page “describing” your web page. Be under 15 words, 110-150 characters is good.
KEY WORDS: List META KEYWORDS in priority, from most important to least important, separating each keyword or key phrase with commas. Never repeat key words more than 3 times. Using approximately ten keywords is more effective than having a long list of keywords. Never use keywords that have nothing to do with the content of the page they’re put on, but instead use meta keywords that match the content (actual words) on each individual page.

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Search Engine Scavenger Hunt

Here's a little drill to see how well your search skills are:


Google–Image Search
Find: Babe Ruth's late-1920s baseball bat into which he carved 11 “gunslinger” notches each representing a home run.
Provide URL:

Find: Indian Food in/near Saint Charles, MO.
Provide URL:

Find: Best rates for a flight from STL to LAX. 1 Adult. Depart 2/25. Return 3/2.
Provide URL:

Use the "Wayback Machine"
Find: Saint Louis Cardinals Web Site 1996; 1998; 2000
Provide URL:

Find: Latest News about iPad
Provide URL:

Alta Vista
Translate: Saint Louis Zoo website into Japanese.
Provide URL:

DMOZ Open Directory
Find: Drill down to find a listing for an e-commerce magazine.
Provide URL:

Find: “Who ‘Dat?” And what’s all the fuss about it?
Provide URL:

Ask (Jeeves)
Ask: Where is the SPAM museum?
Provide URL:

Search: Eminem. Locate link to Shade 45.
Provide URL:

Use Google to find...

Definition of: inchoate

Calculate: 12 – 45 + 53 * 2.4

Google Map: Buenos Aires
Provide URL:

Find Video: Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks on Grammys
Provide URL:

What’s the Saint Charles weather forecast for Friday?

Use Google Scholar to locate an article about “Media Convergence.” Provide the top result.

What is 120 pounds in kilograms?

Whether for entertainment or research we use the Web to conduct research and find answers to a variety of questions.

Where is Francois Truffaut from?
Who is his favorite film director?
What is the name of his film about one boy’s escapades in Paris?
Check the Lindenwood and Saint Charles Public libraries to see if they have this film?

Who wrote the communist manifesto?
Where can I find full text of it online? (Provide URL)

Provide URL of “official” movie site for Children of Men:
Provide link to film detail on IMDB:
Who directed the film?
Find me a link to a PDF copy of the script:
Who wrote the book (by the same title)? 
How much does the film cost on Amazon?

Super Bowl
What number is this years superbowl?
Which teams are playing in the Super Bowl?
Provide links to the official websites of each team--
Team One:
Team Two:
What channel is the game on? What time does it start?

Find Lyrics
Fill in the following lyrics and find which Michael Jackson song they are from.
The foulest ___________ is in the air

The funk of ___________ thousand years

And grizzly ___________ from every tomb

Are closing in to seal your _____________.
Name of Song: ______________________

Find Syllabus
Locate a PDF for a syllabus of “Foundations of the Internet” class and another college.
Provide URL:

Find Template File
Find a business card template for Adobe Illustrator.
Provide URL:

Public Relations
What is website for the Public Relations Society in America?
What is the name of the “student” version of that organization?
Which Saint Louis College hosts a chapter of the student version?

DDB Worldwide, BBDO, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Leo Burnett are all examples of _______________________________.
Find their websites (Provide URL).

Who was Martha Graham?
Which “pop diva” was one of her students?
What is the name of the DVD of her work released by Criterion?
What are the three films featured on that DVD?

Some of the countries where students in this class have lived include: Lebanon, Brazil, Congo, Zimbabwe. 
Find flags for each and past them into this document.


PBS Frontline DIGITAL NATION: Life on the Virtual Frontier

This is a great program which details how the internet and related technologies are impacting our families, along with the way we educate and do business.

The website set up for this program is: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/
You can view the full broadcast at: http://video.pbs.org/video/1402987791

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Google: Anatomy of a Search Result

I recently stumbled upon this page on the Google Web Master site.


It walks through the various aspects of the Google results--Page Title, Description, Reviews, URL, Cached, Similar, Search Wiki and Site Links.

It also explains searches related to: Images, Video, Maps, Products and News.

Very helpful for both people who use Google as their primary search tool; and for those who develop blogs and websites and want to code for optimal search friendliness.

- MH -

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Google Search Basics

When it comes to conducting research on the web there are plenty of search tools to choose from.  That said there are roughly 10 BILLION ONLINE SEARCHES performed each month. Roughly 7 BILLION of those are conducted using the Google family of search tools. So understanding how to use Google is critical both for finding information; and for web developers--critical knowledge for being found.


You can just type a search in, like: Apple Pie Recipes
Or maybe you are looking for: Iowa bike trails

When you do this it is looking for: Iowa, bike, and trails.

To search for a string of words you group them in quotes: "ask not what your country" 

You can fine tune your search by subtracting search terms.
For example I want to find information about: coffee
When I submit the search I get Starbucks in my results.
So I type in: coffee -Starbucks
By using this search term I get coffee results minus any sites references Starbucks.

Let's say I want to find a medical dictionary or a glossary of mythical terms.
Search: medical ~dictionary or mythical ~glossary

If I want to find a definition I can enter: define:heretic    (NOTE: no spaces)

Say I'm interested in booking a flight between two cities.
Just enter the cities: Saint Louis Orlando

If I want to search for a term on a specific site.
Enter: course schedules site:www.lindenwood.edu

Or if I need a particular tax form: Form 1098-T filetype:pdf

Google can also be used as a calculator.
Enter: 25 +4 -2 *7
Enter: sqrt 84
Enter: 35% of 96
Enter: 3^5 (3 to the 5th power) also 3**5

You can also use Google as a conversion tool.
Enter: 500 Euros in USD
Enter: 200 lbs in kg

Looking for someone's phone number or address?
Enter: phonebook: firstname lastname state

There are many more features built into Google that you will discover as you work more with this valuable search tool.

- MH -

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