Alumni Participation Matters

June 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

From an email I received today from my old college Dean:

“I am concerned about a giving trend I have been witnessing in recent years, and I hope you can help. The percentage of alumni supporting Olin has been falling. In the year 2000, 31% of our alumni supported Olin. This fiscal year, only about 17% of our alumni have made a gift, and the downward trajectory has been consistent in the intervening years. This is not just an Olin trend, it is an industry-wide one, and I’d like to turn this statistic around. I want Olin to be an exception to this trend. Alumni participation in giving matters to our rankings. It matters to our students. It matters to me.”

Should read:

“I am concerned about a giving trend I have been witnessing in recent years, and I hope you can help. The percentage of alumni hired for jobs that utilize skills learned at school and pay adequately has been falling. In the year 2000, 31% of our alumni supported Olin. This fiscal year, only about 17% of our alumni have made a gift, and the downward trajectory has been consistent in the intervening years. This is not just an Olin trend, it is an industry-wide one, and I’d like to turn this statistic around. I want Olin to be an exception to this trend. Alumni participation in giving matters to our rankings. It matters to our students. It matters to me.”

The title of this particular message was “Alumni Participation Matters.”  You’d hope that “Alumni Success Matters” would be a far more pressing and salient issue.

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Speaking Doglish

April 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

I liked reading this: http://www.howieconnect.com/dog_moron.htm

It’s about the folly in trying to teach things to dogs while you’re speaking English (they, naturally, speak Doglish).  It’s kind of marketing themed, which you may not enjoy.  And it’s kind of long, at least, for an article on the internet.  But there’s also a tornado watch going on outside, so if you’re cooped up and looking to burn time like I am, you’ve got a quick fix.

I’ll live forever

March 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Apparently, that earthquake in Chili was so strong that it actually shifted the Earth’s axis and made days slightly shorterSeriously (via Matt).

So every day is shorter by 1.26 microseconds.  Which means a few things:

  1. We’re a few millarcseconds closer to fiery molten death by earth plummeting into the sun.
  2. In the event that such an apocalypse is more than a few generations away…we’ll all live longer!

Figuring I’ve got 70 good years left in me:

(1.26 microseconds/day) * (365.25 days/year) * (70 years) / (1,000,000 microseconds/second) = .032 seconds!

Too bad I just blew 10 minutes thinking about this.  Wasted opportunity.

TED Talks

February 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thoroughly enjoyed this new TED Talks video with speaker Blaise Aguera y Arcas.  Those familiar with the site probably remember Blaise for his presentation of Photosynth from a few years back.

And those familiar with the Wachowski brothers probably remember their prophecy video series “The Matrix” from a few years before that.  Seems like we’re getting there.  Better make time today to go out and befriend some robots.

Steering Wheel Laptop Desk

January 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

In-credible!

wow.

This is actually for sale on Amazon.  Too bad I didn’t find this until after Christmas.  I bet I could’ve find a few enemies to spring such a gift on.

Seems like most of the commenters there have caught on to the ruse, if you’re looking to burn 15 minutes with light internet bemusement.

The Internet of Yesteryear

December 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

Today’s adventure:  Hunting for websites I used to visit in the late 1990’s, that pretty much haven’t been updated since the last time I went there.

www.pinkmonkey.com

www.stickdeath.com

maddox.xmission.com

and a couple still in use:

www.imdb.com

www.craigslist.org

What else?

Lost Phones and Facebook

November 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

No, fortunately, I didn’t lose my phone.  Or drop it in a puddle of beer, or worse, in the urinal while trying to send a text message.  Or drunkle it away (Brian’s invention, my definition).  No, it’s in fine standing on the kitchen table.

But I did get a Facebook invite today for a phone dropped in the toilet.  And a friend lost her phone to the otherwise exhilarating David Guetta concert earlier this week.  And one of Zach’s friends destroyed his phone’s screen in a bout of debauchery last night.

The whole Facebook event thing worries me.  Not that Facebook doesn’t already have access to an obscene amount of personal and private information, but that folks regularly create events asking their friends for their phone numbers.  I’ve never fully understood the true harm in letting a stranger know my phone number, but I inherently feel like it’s not necessarily something I’d like to give away for free – or at least, allowing access to people who aren’t looking for me specifically.

Case in point: I just typed “phone” into the Facebook search, and filtered to Events.  To no surprise there’s over 500 pages of “I lost my phone and need your number” or whatever cutesy spin on that that folks like to use.  And just like that, I’ve got ten to a hundred phone numbers per page, with a first and last name attached, a decent guess on location based on area code, a decent guess on demographics based on profile picture, and best of all, a few of their friends’ names and corresponding information.  Cakewalk for telemarketers:  “Hi Chris, your friend Robert Johnson recommended I give you a call and that you’d be interested in….”

And I can only imagine how much of a huge, huge underestimate 500 pages is.

My phone number is available on my Facebook profile page, which is public.  And on the Press Releases and Media Kits that Eleven Magazine distributes widely.  I hope that if someone is looking to speak to me personally, they’ll be able to do so.  But I’m quite skeptical about leaving my number out for vague general consumption in the cloud, like so many other users are doing.

Obvious solution for you:  If you’re invited by a friend to one of these “events,” just take out your phone and call them!  That’s the point anyway, isn’t it?

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