Dwan’s Weblog


Hello University of Richmond

Posted in Main by ddj8 on September 12, 2008
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Greetings, and thank you for visiting my blog site.

The purpose of this blog is to develop my skills in web page design.   I am currently a student at the University of Richmond’s school of continuing studies.  I welcome any feedback, tips, recommendations, that will help me in designing web pages.   Please do not be too hard on me.  I am new at this.  Thanks again for visiting.

Dwan – Oh Mighty Blog Master   

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Internet & E-Commerce

Posted in Business by ddj8 on October 16, 2008

What does Internet & E-Commerce mean to you?  My initial thoughts of Internet & E-Commerce centered on any type of business transaction being conducted, mostly over the internet.  In my quest to obtain a better understanding of what Internet & E-Commerce is, I found my answer at www.Answers.com.   Their site explains it as “A type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, typically the internet.”

The pros and cons of Internet & E-Commerce.

While the benefit of enjoying online shopping, conducting business transactions, or conducting fanancial research may be appealing from the comfort of your couch one must weight the risk involved from this convenience.  How knowledgeable are you about the business you are dealing with?  Will your transactions reward you with the intended outcome you expected, or will you be a victim of an internet scam?  Do not believe that just because a site looks reputable, it is not in fact a group of people in Nigeria trying to scam you.

 

On the positive side of Internet & E-Commerce is the opportunity cost.  Conducting business online eliminates the time it takes to travel to a business location.  Making buying decisions are not as rushed. There is no sales rep trying to fast talk you into making a purchase because the shade of blue looks good on you.  Because the cost of overhead is lower for the retailer, this savings is passed on to the online merchant.  Bargain shopping can be done in minutes as compared to driving around town trying to find a better deal.

 

Overall, Internet & E-Commerce can be viewed as a time and money saving alternative to pounding the pavement looking for a good deal.  But as with any business transaction “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

A Day in the Life of Dwan Jackson

Posted in Technology by ddj8 on October 16, 2008

The first contact I had with a computer device today was turning on my office computer at 8:15am.  The obvious importance of my work computer, a Dell, is to enable me to have access to data to do my work.  Also, being connected to the office network allows me to share and received information.  Twenty minutes into my work day, my cell phones calendar feature reminded me that I had an Accounting test today.  Although the cell phone is a communications device, it has the same processes of a computer.  The importance of this device goes without saying.

 

Another device I came into contact with early into my work day is the Cisco Systems Telephone on my desk.  The telephone uses internet protocols and is connected to my computer via a LAN cable.  This allows for the consolidation of data and voice into a single network medium.  As lunch time approached, I went to the ATM; inserted my, card, punched in my pin, and within seconds withdrew enough cash to grab some lunch.  Interestingly enough, I recently watched a CBS Documentary about the government tracking financial transactions.  When transactions start having odd patterns of activity, it shows up on some government report.  I guess those three transactions I made for $1,000 at the ATM a few weeks ago set off a red flag somewhere, and now I have a file in a room with windows painted over in an ugly shade of green.

 

Throughout the rest of the day, I came in contact with the controls of the office elevator, the digital processor of the soda machine,  the service station fuel pump, a Virginia Lottery retail machine (ticket was a loser), and last but not least my home micro-wave.  I am sure there are many other things that work with computer technology that I came in contact with today; but these devices are probably so much a part of our daily activities that they almost become oblivious to us. 

A stark reminder of how we become so dependant on computers is when there are major power failures.  All of a sudden the cell phones, any computer system dependant on commercial power, and various other electronics we take for granted now seem like absolute necessities to maintain our normal functions. 

Computers in unusual places

Posted in unusual by ddj8 on September 24, 2008
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Computers in Humvees

(unclassified)

 

 CW3 Jackson, Iraq 2004

 

One of the most unusual places I have ever encountered a computer is in the United States Army’s M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee).  The computer is designated as the Blue Force Tracker (BFT).  I used the BFT on convoys in Iraq during most of 2004.  The BFT is widely used in vehicles, tanks, helicopters, and planes.

  

The BFT is a notebook-size, rugged, 12-inch diagonal daylight-visible computer display, seated in a bolted mount inside the Humvee front cab.  The BFT is operated by a cursor or touch screen.  It is part of a system of GPS, real time graphical representation of friendly forces locations, and integrated communications via radio.  The system delivers near real-time information to U.S. soldiers on and off the battle field. 

  

The BFT is fully interactive.  It provides military commanders, hundreds of miles away, the means to visually see how a battle is progressing, based on the locations of vehicles equipped with the BFTs.  On a larger scale the system can even provide real time data directly to the Pentagon.  During a battle, the BFT Operator can issue commands to field artillery units to destroy targets, locate distressed vehicles, among many other capabilities deemed inappropriate to discuss in this forum.

  

The BFTs are equipped in approximately 40,000 Army vehicles worldwide alone.  The price tag for the BFT is approximately $20,000.  This price does not include software, additional components required, and support.  A hefty price tag, but well worth the price as the BFTs have been contributed to saving many U.S. Soldiers lives in combat.

 

Source:  Janes Defense Weekly

Hardware

Posted in Hardware by ddj8 on September 15, 2008
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Obsolete out of the box.  Buying computers in this day age requires a bit of planning.  With the ever-increasing advancement in computer technology, new computers become obsolete after a few months of use.  A good example would be the new Dell Inspirion 1521 that I recently purchased for ASP.net development.  After a few months of using the computer, I realized that there was not enough hard drive, memory, and the over-all performance of the computer was not sufficient for the purpose intended.  Time to buy a more powerful computer.  That leads me to the topic of this blog.

 When purchasing a computer, consider not only what your currents needs are, think also in the long run what will accommodate your future computing needs.  Buying a computer with additional space for other accessories, hard drivers, and peripherals will pay off in the long run.

Where you buy the computer equipment is just as important as what you’re buying.  Be leary of on-line actions where thefts and scams occur.  Do some checking on whom you are buying the computer from.  Make sure it is a reputable company.  Try doing a Goggle search on the individual, and or company to see if others have had problems with the seller.   Verify what the return policy is  (if there is one).  What does the warranty stipulate (do you really need a two year extended warranty)?  A little common sense will save you money and heartache.

Buying over the Internet has become so convenient, and yet so easy for scam artist to rip you off.  Check with your financial institution if your purchases are covered if something shady happens with the trans action.  I personally do not use my major credit card when making online purchases.  I have  a pre-paid card just for Internet use.  That way if my card becomes compromised, the lose will be minimal as to what the current card balance is.  Since I rarely keep a large sum on the pre-paid card, the impact of losing is not as severe as compared to the major card with a few thousand dollars available on it.

In a nutshell, when thinking about buying computer hardware think about the long-term use also.  Keep in mind the industry is always coming out with something better; usually within a few weeks of you making the purchase.  Thinking ahead now might save you time, money, and not punching your hardware.

Software

Posted in Software by ddj8 on September 14, 2008
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Computer Software

 

I actually have written commercial software before.  One of my most popular programs I wrote and distributed in the late 90’s was a form filler software.  The software came in two types, one for the U.S. Federal Government Employment Application.  The other was the Commonwealth of Virginia Application. At the time I was marketing the software, internet distribution was something I had not explored.  The approach I took for selling my software was done on CD’s at local retailers.  Since this was a part-time endeavor, I did mostly after work, distribution was very time consuming for me.

 

There is a greater amount of overhead when dealing with physical software packages, as opposed to marketing it over a web-based application.  The customer support aspect alone was very time consuming when it came to providing updates and fix for errors since the medium was usually sent in the mail. The cost associated with physical software includes, the CD itself, packaging, paper documentation, shipping and handling and professional printing services.  Also, with each change in software meant the documentation being change; more printing required.

 

Given what I know about the internet, the knowledge I have acquired in building websites, and having the means to handle the financial piece of web transactions; the internet is the most effective and efficient means to deliver computer software.  Distributing computer software on a web-based platform minimizes cost and materials.  Documentation that once was printed on paper can be viewed in electronic files such as PDF or word document.  The time and cost of reproducing the CD is eliminated. 

 

Customer support for the software is maximized by providing quick and easy access to online tech support areas, usually allowing downloading of upgrades, and or patches.  There also is no expense in dealing with software package returns. The financial aspect of online payments means instantaneous exchange of monies for products.  Rapid delivery of computer software and hands free management of funds makes web-based more lucrative as compared to handling bulky CD packages.