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April 20, 2007

My Del.icio.us Experience

When we began using del.icio.us , I was excited because I enjoy discovering interesting sites and returning to them for further exploration. This tool provides an online place to store everything I find. However, I felt that it was repetitive since my favorites file on my browser could serve the same purpose. After exploring del.icio.us during the semester, though, I now find it a much more useful tool than I had originally anticipated.

One of the features I enjoyed about bookmarking with del.icio.us, as opposed to my computer, was that I could access my links from anywhere. Initially, I only bookmarked sites related to class. I tagged IT links, such as news stories about Microsoft Vista. Once while in the undergraduate library, when I wanted to get my blog post out of the way, I was able to access a story about Obama’s campaign announcement that I had bookmarked earlier, which was very convenient. Therefore, I posted all sites I routinely visited, whether they were related to class or not, such as “The Caucus”, a New York Times political blog, the Internet Movie Database, and Reel Classics, so that when I had spare time to complete work or enjoy myself, I could access my links anywhere.

Another feature I found interesting was being able to explore other people’s networks and discover new sites. For instance, on Amy’s network, I found a site from MSN Careers about how to find a first internship. Since I will soon begin an internship search, this tool proved very useful. The search feature was also very convenient because it returned results very specific to the search criteria, while other search engines, such as Google, often return any site that used the key search words, regardless of how relevant the site actually is to the topic in which I am interested. The search results are also even more comprehensive and informative than the ones provided by normal search engines. For these reasons, I often consult del.icio.us first when searching new topics.

When I first started tagging, I found that the lack of folders to organize my links made it very difficult to find sites I wanted to revisit. The bundling option under settings helped me group my entertainment and political stories together by putting similar tags in one category. Although this helped, the feature still had one problem. I could not include all relevant tags in a bundle because those tags were also used with stories that were irrelevant to the category. For instance, I used the tag “Iraq” to refer both to international stories regarding troops in Iraq and to political stories about Congress’ and President Bush’s positions on the war. Therefore, I could not include it under the category “politics.” However, this was a minor problem since I was able to group enough of the other tags to make finding relevant sites very easy.

Overall, I have enjoyed working with del.icio.us and look forward to using it more often in the future and discovering new features with which I am not yet familiar.

Posted by glovisa at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2007

Topic Developments and Concluding Remarks

During the semester, many developments occured with regard to our topics.

The presidential campaign, which Gita has been covering, has been heating up. Senator Obama officially entered the race in February, having an advantage in his positions on Iraq and a disadvantage in his lack of experience. But although the media coverage of him was very complementary, he needed to gain much more support before he could rival Senator Clinton for the nomination. He also needed to increase his numbers among African-Americans. Now, he leads Clinton among black voters as well as having set up an online fundraising effort in which people make small contributions to his campaign, nearly equalling her in terms of money for the campaign. It will be very interesting to see where his campaign goes throughout the next year.

The local news segment of the blog had a specific aim in creating its blog each week. That aim was to encompass all sorts of news events, which Michigan residents would find as relevant, interesting and even sometimes ammusing. By choosing a variety of stories from Michigan's current economic forcast to suspected Bigfoot sitings, hopefully this goal was fufilled. For these reasons, summarizing the developements of the local news stories as a whole would be very difficult; however, the collection of blogs could be used to illustrate the expansive and varying stories that can take place within a single state quite well.

Neha has been briefly updating the blog with important news from different countries from all around the world. BBC and New York Times have both been vital sources of information, which cover essential topics from countries like the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Iraq always seem to have the most explosive news, as it is deeply affected by American policies. Currently in Iraq, an alliance of insurgent groups linked to al-Qaeda says it carried out the deadly attack on the Iraqi parliament.In New York, the UN Security Council also condemned the bombing, describing it as a "heinous act of terrorism".

We have greatly enjoyed writing this blog throughout the semester, as it has increased our familiarity with current events and taught us skills that we can use to communicate with others about serious, work-related issues as well as lighter fare.

Posted by glovisa at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

Del.icio.us Bookmarks

For our del.icio.us assignment, we stumbled on some very interesting sites.

Gita, in relation to her blog topic Washington/Political News, found the New York Times political blog, "The Caucus" to be very informative, with entries regarding the candidates political positions, speeches, fundraising initiatives, etc... This was very helpful in finding news to write about regarding elections. For instance, she decided to write about Obama's fundraising numbers for the first quarter after viewing it on this blog.

She also found many blogs related to one of her major interests, films and television. She found TV Squad, which posts weekly reviews and news about episodes of The Office and Grey's Anatomy. She consulted this site whenever she missed an episode of her favorite shows. Equally interesting was the "Greenbriar Picture Show", a blog site about classic film. Posted on it were interesting stories about the movies. One featured Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall on location in San Francisco to make Dark Passage. A weekly feature was "Monday's Glamour Starter", about both highly regarded actresses such as Ingrid Bergman and ones less famous today, such as Veronica Lake.

Amy, in relation to her blog topic, Local News, found the website mlive.com to be extremely helpful. The website,whose slogan is "Everything Michigan," provides news stories and information on everything from the state senate to local high school sports. This site proved to be a huge help for generating ideas and stories for Amy to write about. The website Detroit News Online (www.detnews.com) was another bountyful source of interesting local news. Amy found that while checking these sites regularly for good stories, she also enjoyed reading the websites to keep her connected and up to date on the news in Michigan.

Aside from finding interesting stories on local news websites, Amy also found several of her del.icio.us tags by browsing the "popular" section of the del.icio.us website. There were numerous interesting, as well as useful, sites within the popular grouping with extensive variety. She never knew what she would find! Amy also took time to track her classmates del.icio.us accounts to see if they came up with anything particularly intriguing. In doing this, Amy found that you can learn a lot about people by scanning their bookmarks, which she found to be very interesting.

Neha found her stories on the world news by www.bbc.co.uk as well as www.nytimes.com. It was good to read about an issue from both the UK and American point of view. They give an extended coverage on the story, while trying to be as unbiased as popular. By having BBC as her homepage, she was always aware of important issues going on in the world and blogged on those she found most interesting.

Also, Neha found del.icio.us helpful in finding new and interesting sites. She enjoyed searching on the "popular" and "network" tab. She liked to search on categories she found interesting, such as movies, and found a variety of intriguing sites from critiques to movie clips. She liked finding blogs about stories that other people found interesting, as well as new updates in technology

Posted by glovisa at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2007

World News

Castro almost fully recovered

Cuban leader Fidel Castro is "almost totally recovered" from intestinal surgery last year, his ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said.The 80-year-old Cuban president had resumed a good part of his duties, Mr Chavez told journalists in Caracas. Mr Castro has not been seen in public since July 2006, when he handed power to his brother Raul.

His continued absence from politics has fuelled speculation about the seriousness of his condition. Mr Castro's health is treated as a state secret in Cuba, but Mr Chavez has offered a number of updates on his ally in recent months. "Almost totally recovered is the very reliable information that I keep receiving," Mr Chavez told a news conference in the Venezuelan capital.

Posted by mneha at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

Washington/Political News

"Stem Cell Bill Passes in the Senate, but Bush Promises a Veto"

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill that eases the restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The bill passed 63-34, with almost all of the Democrats and 17 of the Republicans supporting it. Many Senators, such as Orrin Hatch, expressed hope that stem cell research will lead to remedies for Parkinson's and diabetes. Polls show a substantial number of Americans support the research.

However, President Bush promises to veto the legislation, saying that it crosses a moral boundary that he feels should not be crossed. He vetoed similar legislation which passed in the Senate last year, the only time he has used his veto power while in office.

For more information, see the New York Times article.

Posted by glovisa at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2007

World News

Darfur Collides With Olympics, and China Yields

For the past two years, China has protected the Sudanese government as the United States and Britain have pushed for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Sudan for the violence in Darfur.

After being warned by the state to either tone-down its controversial content or face funding cuts, the Ann Arbor Film Festival said no thank you to the government and decided to decline funding from the state entirely.

But in the past week, strange things have happened. A senior Chinese official, Zhai Jun, traveled to Sudan to push the Sudanese government to accept a United Nations peacekeeping force. Mr. Zhai even went all the way to Darfur and toured three refugee camps, a rare event for a high-ranking official from China, which has extensive business and oil ties to Sudan and generally avoids telling other countries how to conduct their internal affairs.

So what gives? Credit goes to Hollywood — Mia Farrow and Steven Spielberg in particular. Just when it seemed safe to buy a plane ticket to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, nongovernmental organizations and other groups appear to have scored a surprising success in an effort to link the Olympics, which the Chinese government holds very dear, to the killings in Darfur, which, until recently, Beijing had not seemed too concerned about.

Posted by mneha at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2007

Washington/Political News

Obama's Fundraising Efforts Rival Clinton's

In the first quarter of the campaign, Senator Obama has raised almost as much money as Senator Clinton, 25 to 26 million dollars. Obama was the last to disclose his figures for the first quarter and has stated that $23.5 million is for the primary season. 100,000 people have donated, with many making contributions of $25.

The campaign exceeded the fundraising goals it set when it entered the campaign, as more people have come to the events than expected and low-dollar contributions have poured in online. Obama raised most of his money using the Internet, which does not directly translate to success, as Howard Dean showed in 2004.

For more information, click this link: New York Times

Posted by glovisa at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2007

World News

Top Bangladesh politician is held

Police in Bangladesh say that they have arrested the influential politician and former Law Minister, Moudud Ahmed.Mr Ahmed has not been charged and it is not clear why he has been arrested, but correspondents say that he has recently been accused of tax evasion

The head of the military-backed caretaker government has meanwhile confirmed that general elections will be delayed until the end of 2008. The caretaker government has launched a vigorous drive against corruption after its leader, Fakhruddin Ahmed imposed a state of emergency and cancelled national elections planned for 22 January.

For more information, click here

Posted by mneha at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2007

Local News

Bigfoot in Michigan?!

A bunch of trees snapped in two along a trail at Bay County's Tobico Marsh has some wondering if it's the handiwork of a bigfoot.

Last month, about a quarter mile from a parking lot for marsh visitors, Conley and friend Charles Robinson of Sanford say they found a group of 15-20 live poplar and oak trees that had recently been snapped off at a height of 2-10 feet.

Mike Evanoff, supervisor for the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bangor Township, which includes the marsh, said he doesn't know what could have caused the tree breaks.

Locals commented that it's common to see dead trees that have fallen down in the area, but these trees appeared to be alive and well. As of yet there is still no explaination to why the trees snapped

Stories of mysterious tree breaks blamed on bigfoot are abundant on the Internet, and have been reported in numerous states. Bigfoot is purported to inhabit remote forests in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, but sightings have been reported in Michigan and even Bay City, according to a Web site for the Michigan Bigfoot Information Center.

Posted by caldamyk at 08:57 PM

April 05, 2007

Washington/Political News

"In Hub visit, Gonzales defends dismissals"

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales deflected questions about whether he should resign after the firing of eight federal prosecutors while contending that he was not fully involved with the discussions that led to their firing.

In recent days, Gonzales has been under pressure to resign, especially after the testimony of Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Gonzales, who stated that the attorney general had participated in the discussions and the White House had a larger role in the firings than the Justice Department had contended.

Gonzales was in Boston to talk about the dangers posed to teenage girls by child pedophiles on the Internet.

For more information on this story, click the link above.

Photo from Abcnews.com

Posted by glovisa at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2007

World News

World Bank to decide its president's fate

The World Bank's president Paul Wolfowitz is facing calls for his resignation after it was revealed that a promotion was awarded to his girlfriend. Mr Wolfowitz said the way he handled the matter was a mistake and he apologised. This report from Justin Webb:

When Mr Wolfowitz took over the presidency of the bank, his partner, Shaha Riza, was an employee. Under bank rules, she could not work directly to him, so she was seconded to the State Department, but at the same time, given a large salary increase and a promotion.Even before this crisis, Mr Wolfowitz's leadership of the bank had been highly controversial. He clashed frequently with insiders who regarded his management style and his policies as unacceptable, in particular, his insistence that bank help for poor nations be tied in future to their willingness to root out corruption.

For more information, click this link: Article

Posted by mneha at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)