2&4 Purdue Students
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  • Have A Happy Friday: A boy and his dog

  • Blocking Unwanted Links to WordPress-based blogs

    This blog runs on a WordPress engine, as do many others including sites such as Techcrunch. Because it is sorta/kinda the default go-to blog engine, people have learned how to exploit it. Blog owners like traffic, and in particular, traffic that results in behavior that meets the end of the blog itself. For this blog, it is getting readers interested in entrepreneurship, mobile, technology, and fashion. Comments are nice but since the relaunch very slim. But that will come with time.

    I have been watching where traffic has been originating from, and noticed something disturbing. I had a whole bunch of links going to wp-content/uploads/2008/02/spore-logo.png. Since then (2008) the blog crashed on the server and I had to reload, so the spore-logo.png file didn’t even exist when I looked on the server as it should not. Seems I wrote a blog entry prior to the crash about the game Spore, and a whole bunch of Spore-related sites, instead of getting their own Spore-graphic for their sites, just link to mine. This is often done to save bandwidth on their end. I tried to preclude a number of these sites from accessing this blog by a .htaccess entry in the WP folder on the blog server that looks like:

    • order allow,deny
    • deny from 200.43.192.89
    • deny from etc.
    • allow from all

    That, although it’s supposed to, didn’t stop inbound links to the spore-logo.png file that did not exist. See the first graphic below with the arrows to incoming links. So I made a huge png file (second picture below) using Word and named it spore-logo.png and put it in the folder wp-content/uploads/2008/02/ where the inbound links point to. It wrecked havoc on the sites. See the screen shots below :-) We’ll see if this fixes things by brute force! Hank {Update: After two days, no more links :-)}

  • The Accidental Entrepreneur

    Cheeming Boey is an artist.  He grew up the son of a bird farmer in Malaysia.  He didn’t do very well in school, especially in math and English.  He says that in Malaysia,”if you’re terrible at math, you go to art school”.   His father was disappointed, but Boey liked art, so he was happy.   After graduating from art school he studied animation in San Francisco.  He was hired as an animator for a video game company and worked there for 12 years.  A few years ago while he sat outside sipping coffee at a coffee shop, he had the urge to doodle.  He couldn’t find any paper, so he began drawing on his Styrofoam cup with a Sharpie.  He liked the smooth feeling of drawing on Styrofoam and he became addicted.  He began to draw on plain, white Styrofoam cups all the time.  He kept the cups and put them all around his apartment and his office space.  A friend of his asked what he was going to do with all the cups? Boey answered “sell them”.  His friend responded “no one’s going to buy that crap”.    Boey was determined to prove his friend wrong.  He first thought was “I could probably get 20 cents for one of these”, but then decided to think bigger.   He spends a few hours or a few months working on his art, depending on the design.  His 4 cent cups now sell for up to $1200  apiece on Etsy.  The challenge is that the cups are fragile, and sometimes, after having spent many hours creating a design, the cup breaks.  “The difference between a dream and reality is just doing it” Boey says.  Some people want to become entrepreneurs and find a way to become one.  Others become one by accident, and it seems it was their destiny.  Beth Carroll

    Side note:  His story has helped boost sales for Sharpie. and he has unwittingly saved many non-degradable cups from going to the landfill.

  • Tech Tuesday: Biomimicry, Sharks & Entrepreneurs

    Last week I had lunch with a group from Lafayette’s IveyTech to discuss innovation in the classroom. During the conversation, one of the profs from IveyTech, James Gordon, mentioned a great TED presentation in which a material was being developed to preclude bad stuff from growing on surfaces.  He later provided the TED link. It is well worth every reader viewing! In it, the presenter, Janine Benyus , speaking on the topic of Biomimicry, said the following:

    How does nature repel bacteria? We’re not the first ones to have to protect ourselves from some bacteria. Turns out that — this is a Galapagos Shark. It has no bacteria on its surface, no fouling on its surface, no barnacles. And it’s not because it goes fast. It actually basks. It’s a slow moving shark. So how does it keep its body free of bacteria build-up? It doesn’t do it with a chemical. It does it, it turns out, with the same denticles that you had on Speedo bathing suits,that broke all those records in the Olympics. But it’s a particular kind of pattern. And that pattern, the architecture of that pattern on its skin denticles keep bacteria from being able to land and adhere. There is a company called Sharklet Technologies that’s now putting this on the surfaces in hospitals to keep bacteria from landing. Which is better than dousing it with anti-bacterials or harsh cleansers that many many organisms are now becoming drug resistant. Hospital-acquired infections are now killing more people every year, in the United States than die from AIDS or cancer or car accidents combined, about 100 thousand.”

    Sharklet Technologies is a very interesting example of unintended consequences + entrepreneurial mindset = business startup. Dr Anthony Brennan, a Material Science prof at University of Florida, had a gig with the United States Navy to investigate innovative ways to preclude algae and other marine life from fouling ship’s bottoms. Fouling results in drag which in turn reduces fuel economy costing more $$$ to deploy assets. He noticed that submarines are shaped much like whales, but whales have marine growth all over them. (See photo at left from here:) Now here’s where the entrepreneurial mindset comes in. He speculated if not whales, are there other sea creatures that DO NOT appear to be infested with marine growth? And thus, a shark skin-based solution was arrived at and a new company started that has the running room to have a huge impact on many industries, including one that I am personally interested in, keeping the bottoms of sailboats free of marine growth. When your top speed is but six knots, and bottom fouling can easily take a knot or two away from this, you are talking huge speed reduction percentages.

    Our sailboat the Halcyon, a 27 foot Hunter (pic below) is in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico moored in our slip on Padre Island, Corpus Christi, TX. In this environment, all such watercraft must be hauled every two to three years for a bottom job that takes time and money (for our boat on the order of $3,000 by the time the Fat Lady sings). I’m all for this technology, and what it portends for the future. Thanks to James for the lead! (and watch the TED video!) A couple more links on the subject are included below. I also sent Sharklet an email today for more info about what’s up with boat bottoms but nada yet. Hank

      Info on Sharklet product http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFIj1G_DuAU

      And here’s a NOVA film on shark skin and how it does what it does:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCVCr-gS1WM&feature=related

      that is related to Sharklet Technologies.

  • Mobile Monday: Mobile Friendly Blogs

    From the bar chart to the left, note that second only to texting, users when asked to rank the importance of Smart Phone functionality specified Internet. Furthermore, the number of Smart Phone owners using their devices to access social networks (like Facebook – there’s an App for that) and blogs (generally NOT an App for that) is steadily and rapidly increasing. See graph below. Add to this mix the announcement last week that Google is factoring in as a plus those sites optimized for mobile, and you have a strong case that more than lip service should be paid to making certain your web site is mobile friendly, AND your blog also. Specifically, Google stated “ads that have mobile optimized landing pages will perform better in AdWords and drive more traffic.”

    After reading about the freight train called mobile screaming down on blogs, and added to this that in the US in the last 12 months Smart Phone users have increased their blog reading on their phones by 70%, and in Europe by 60%, I easily came to the conclusion that this blog needed to be mobile friendly. Next came the easy part. I did a Google on plugins for WordPress (this blog’s engine is WordPress) +mobile and was immediately directed to WPtouch. Reading some more I quickly discovered good reviews, so using the Plugin search capability built into the WordPress dashboard, I obtained the WPtouch link and installed it using defaults.

    So now if you visit this blog on your Smart Phone, or tablet (tested on Android 2.2 LG, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, Samsung and Asus tablets) you will find a mobile-friendly presentation. How cool is that. Free and easy. Admins also like that! Hank

     

  • Have A Happy Friday: The Best Wife Ever

    This one’s in from my BIL Jerry earlier in the week – thanks Jerry:

  • Mobile App Builder Magmito

    I now have two semesters under my belt during which students in my classes were required to develop Apps using Magmito. The first class, ENTR20000 (Intro to Entrepreneurship & Innovation) developed an App (five total) on a team basis to support their submission to Kickstarter for financing. This semester, students in my MGTM64900 (Global Marketing Management) class were required to develop an App (27 total) to house their Resumes/CVs.  I have also programmed several for myself. (Corresponding QR to right.) So roughly, I have a data space of 40 or so apps constructed using the Magmito tool.

    The good the bad and the ugly:

    • Good: It just works. And it works across a wide range of host Smart Phones including yes, the iPhone. Again, you can develop apps that load on the iPhone without going through the other evil empire, iTunes.
    • The bad (not app’s fault IMHO): Students have difficulty with the layout of verbiage to place on “pages” more often than not running into the left margin. They have difficulty with updating their app once posted, although mine seem to work as advertised.   Students can’t seem to fathom how to make an icon of the required size (pixel dimensions) that look “smart” to represent their app on the host device. How severe is this? Fully 11 of 27 MBA students used the default globe icon for their app, even though they were forewarned by me that doing so would result in a grade reduction for their App-effort. In comparison the 5 teams in ENTR20000 pulled this off without a whimper or admonition to do so. (See screen shot below for actual icon examples. The screenshot is from actual App installation on my Asus Transformer tablet running Android 3.1.) By not creating a unique icon for the Smart Phone, they are missing out big time on a branding opportunity.
    • The ugly: The free version of Magmito is ad-supported so it is understandable that ads are present. However, placing the Magmito ad at the bottom of the App-screen quite often blocks links or entries further down on the page making it impossible to use cited links/read text without scrolling up and down. But hey, it’s still free, and $99 for the full version won’t break many banks. Check it out. Hank

     

  • Marketing 101 from Whole Foods

    “Whole Foods Market (NASDAQWFM) is a foods supermarket chain based in Austin, Texas which emphasizes “natural and organic products.” The company has been ranked among the most socially responsible businesses and placed third on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s list of Top 25 Green Power Partners…In 1978, 25-year-old college dropout John Mackey and his 21-year-old girlfriend Rene Lawson, borrowed $45,000 from family and friends to open a small natural foods store called SaferWay in Austin, Texas (the name being a spoof of Safeway). When the couple were evicted from their apartment for storing food products in it, they decided to live at the store. Because it was zoned for commercial use, there was no shower stall, so they bathed using a water hose attached to their dishwasher. Two years later, John Mackey partnered with Craig Weller and Mark Skiles to merge SaferWay with their Clarksville Natural Grocery, resulting in the opening of the original Whole Foods Market on September 20, 1980.” [Lead quote and logo from here:] WFM now consists of about 299 stores in three countries, USA, Canada, and UK . With sales of around $10 billion and over 45,000 employes, WFM  is a force to be reckoned with in the retail food industry.

    Stroh Brann, one of the entrepreneurship instructors in Purdue University’s Certificate Program, recently sent a Fast Company link on article by Martin Lindstrom entitled “How Whole Foods “Primes” You To Shop.” It is a great article on just how the little and not  so obvious WFM marketing incentives impact and change your shopping behavior. It is well worth a read. I suggest you also read the comments, which, as usual, provide greater insight into their marketing effort. Thanks Stroh. Hank [PS: Here a link to a great analysis of WF's London opening.]

  • Purdue Student Photographer Videographer Artist – Daus

    Firdaus (Daus) Aziz is a junior at Purdue University, majoring in Actuarial Science and Statistics. He is also in Beth Carroll’s ENTR2000 (Intro to Entrepreneurship & Innovation) class. From a town in Malaysia named Kuala Terengganu, it takes Daus two days to travel from his home in Malaysia to Purdue. (His travel is to the Indy airport, Houston, Moscow, Singapore, Kuala Lampur, and then six hours by car. See Google Maps capture at bottom.) Daus is also an avid Photographer/Videographer (A link to his Picasa page is here :) . A video he recently made of Purdue’s campus is embedded below. To make the video, he used a Nikon DSLR D7000 camera, a Flycam 5000 stablizer, and 1.8/35mm, 1.8/50mm, and 2.6/11-16mm lens, along with iMovie for editing. Daus is at the very beginning of an entrepreneurial effort to start a photo-video-based business. Should you need such services, consider his startup. You can contact him: mohdfirdausaziz@gmail.com, or azizm@purdue.edu; his FB page is here. Hank

    [Daus asked that I include the following info about his background: “I actually started with writing actually, started with blogging, then poems and later song lyrics…. here (is) a sample poem that I wrote(:)
    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=318850593268
    .. (at the) end of 2009 I bought my first camera. Then started making video…Thanksgiving 2010. … my idol is Yunalis Zarai. She is a singer from Malaysia, started only from posting her own songs in Myspace, and now she’s even got a recording label by Fader Label, New York. …writing poems, songs, taking pictures, making videos, they all have one similarity. all of them are subset(s) of Art.”

  • Have A Happy Friday: And Ride the Bus!

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