I think it's time to give this ole blog a refresh. Maybe a complete overhaul, not only design but function as well. We shall see what is to come during the next few weeks (read that as months)...
Why hello there blog. Its been far too long since you have received an update. In the past year I've developed a pretty successful campaign on OurStage (as my last post described). Some artists featured have gone on to play with the likes of Bon Jovi and have songs chosen as the theme songs for major tv shows.
I have also recently taken up photography. I'll start posting some more consistent posts and shots.
Lately I've spent most of my time doing work for OurStage.com. Today, our partnership with MTV Networks was announced, a huge opportunity to the thousands of artists on OurStage and throughout the world to get their music out to the masses.
It's awesome to be involved with such an incredible project and opportunity as this. I've been the project manager for a promotion we've done called Needle in the Haystack. As part of it, we've interviewed bands, done Tweet & A's and created video's featuring artists who have not quite hit their prime. By pushing these artists on the OurStage and MTV social networks we hope to give the artists the help they need to excel to the next level.
To kick off the initiative, each week MTV will spotlight an emerging artist bubbling up on the OurStage platform in a feature called "Needle in the Haystack" (NITH). Each NITH artist will be interviewed by MTV Music bloggers and promoted heavily as an "artist to watch" across MTVN's sites and through social network channels, including the official MTV Twitter feeds.
What an opportunity. Who knows what the months to come will hold.
So, it's not everyday the President of the United States makes a surprise visit to your college campus. Now grant it, this was for political reasons and close to one of the most swing areas of Boston. Regardless I was the first of my friends to rise and get our place in line at 9am on a sunday morning. At that time, there were probably only about 150 people in line, max. Rumors were 1,100 people were getting in so it was looking good!
Three and a half hours later, there were probably 600 people in front of us (friends bringing friends) yet I still wasn't really worried. The line was moving and students began saying "Wow the line for a Northeastern vs BU hockey game was worse!" — they must not have known the line was at least a half mile long. Soon enough, people were walking down the street, or hoping right off the T and pushing in the front of the line. Many of these people were grown adults!
Even NU students waiting for tickets for the biggest game of the year waited in line with little problems but grown men and women couldn't admit defeat when the saw a few thousand people beat them to the 02115?
So although, my amigos and I were unable to get into the event, we still had fun nonetheless, and the experiences of the day were pretty cool.
Well, 2009 sure has flown by! One of my many New Years resolutions involves frequent updates to this blog, and here is my first.
So, lift your glasses in the name of a better year, cheers!
Oh Boston. Yes, I know kinda lame but here's how I roll:
I'll select the best entry at the end of the day today!
A few weeks ago I asked a simple question: How do you blog?
"I've been using Wordpress. I switched from Blogger and to be honest I am not crazy about Wordpress. I've just begun blogging, so maybe it's because I am new."
"Wordpress.com has been good to me, but it is starting to hold me back. I want bigger and better, I want more, I want freedom. Understandably, WP.com can't offer me this."
Personally, I've used just about everything and for awhile stuck with Wordpress because of it's wide array of plugins and customization. This was much easier said than done and often required the knowledge of professional programmer and would probably take me months to complete.
I switched over to Squarespace almost 6 months ago and now I would never go back. For example, the interface for editing or changing anything is in place on top of your site and allows easily manipulation for an instant preview.
Even editing this post is done right on top of my blog! How cool is that?! Now of course, you may have to pay for a tool like this, but for all the work that goes into creating something like this, that's fine with me! Most importantly, it's web applications like this that prove how amazing the internet has become and progressed over the years. I can remember the days when people began using google, not just because it worked because there was nothing on the page to load. Compare that simplicity (which still stands to this day) to that of web apps like Gmail and Squarespace. Pretty amazing.
By now you've probably heard Bamboo Shoots first big hit, Hey Girl (no not an OAR cover). Man this band is moving fast. After entering a MTVU contest in late 2006, the band gained the attention of major record producers and not only won the contest but soon were signed to Epic Records in the summer of 2007. The band took their time writing, recording and mixing an album sure to be a hit. With the full force of Epic and years of preparation, their September 29th release should be pretty solid. Take a listen and check out their live VMA tour performance.
The buzzword is known by anyone watching television, reading the newspaper, or even just walking down the street. Twitter. Companies such as CNN and FOX talk about their twitter account, attempting to get into the "action." Articles have been posted about Twitter already beginning to die, yet user registration is up, and gaining steam each day. I created a twitter account a few years ago when I read about it, but never used it, simply because no one I knew was using it.
Soon through Co-op, I realized I could connect with people in the industry I should be studying and reading about in order to become successful in the future. When events occur such as the death of Michael Jackson, often word can spread quicker online via twitter than any other medium. Here at Northeastern, students following the food service on campus were able to try out the new cafeteria prior to it's opening when it announced free meals. This powerful tool may not be the next big thing (yet) like google or facebook, but it's definitely getting up there. With the changing wave of communication on the internet, who knows what will come along next.
As you may, or may not know, I pretty much live at Northeastern year-roud. And for me, that's fine. I love it there. No need for those 4 months summers, I'd rather finish up a Co-op and take a few classes. However, it was nice to step back and enjoy my week and a half long time off from the pressures of Boston living. So here's a quick summary:
MegaBus to Hartford. Lunch with Dad. 4 hour drive to Philly. Hanging with friends. Flight to Cincinnati. Few days with grandparents. Drove Mom 10 hours back to Philly. Relaxed. Watched lots 'o movies. Went into Philly for a cheesesteak and some good times with friends. Relaxed. Saw one of the best concerts of my life, Chester French, Taking Back Sunday, Weezer and the glorious Blink 182. Chilled. Spent quality time with the parents. 6 hour drive to Boston?
Simply put, that's what I've been doing, and it's nice, but I really miss the university. Fresh faces will soon be showing up on campus and although they may slow things down in the dining hall and get in the way occasionally, it's refreshing for us all to see the new and old return to campus again. Working from home, working at school, planning events and living a life become a tricky bundle to handle so this fresh air makes it more enjoyable. Who knows what this next year will hold in store, but I am sure of one thing: possibilities are endless.
Now, with all these possibilities are a catch that I encountered worse than ever this past year: how to manage a career and a relationship. I mean, personally, I feel I will mesh with the correct person that will be at the same level of both. I feel they're both quite essential to live a happy, fulfilling life. I will, however, put love on a pedestal and say it is more important and can fill other voids, but at this point in my life I am looking to balance both. I've received some amazing opportunities in college and accepted almost every single one to better myself in a career for the future. This sometimes make me wonder if it's too much, if maybe I'm involved in too many clubs, activities and jobs. I enjoy keeping myself occupied. Of course I leave the nights to themselves for discovery with friends and relationships however I sometimes struggle with throwing up the white flag and saying, "hey I just need some time to myself." Any thoughts? How do you manage your life of a career and a relationship?
As you may or may not know, I use Squarespace, an amazing blog manager. For years I've worked with wordpress and a few other blog platforms. So, what do you use? I'll show of Squarespace soon and see what you all think.
Time, we all wish we had more of it. There's no secret of how to gain back that precious thing. I'm told you have less and less of it as you get older, SCARY! Therefore, the time we do have, we must use the best we can and maximize your ability to GTD!
Now as you can see, I have a few emails in my account. I guess that's what happens after having a Gmail account for more than 5 years and using that ever so helpful Archive feature! So how do you manage things you need to do in your email account?
Personally, I've found Lifehacker has some great tips on this from time to time, especially their recent post on Multiple Inboxes! Now, I modified their setup to be something a little more fitting to me, and this is what ensued:
Sorry so much is blurred out but you get the general idea. I have quite a few accounts in my one inbox.
If you use multiple accounts, setup labels, then use filters to apply the label automatically when you recieve email that should be going to that address. For example, any emails sent to my school address, get a NEU Email label.
As for the multiple inboxes, I have additional "Superstars" that allow me to easily add things to the boxes on the right. It works great for remember all those emails I need to take care of. I often also email myself little things to do later.
Now the one thing I miss about a real mail client is multiple signatures, one for each email address. Gmail only allows you to have one. The easy way around this is to use "Canned Responses", yet another Gmail Lab project. Once you install the lab, open up a new message. Type out your signature exactly as you want it to appear, I usually hit return a few times at the beginning to automatically add a space. When you're ready, click on Canned Responses, and go under Save, hit New Canned Response. From now on, type out your email, the go click on your canned response to have it spit out at the end of your emails!
Really, it's up to you, but Gmail and Gmail Labs provide alot of awesome tools that you can use to keep yourself organized and professional.
In the past 10 years the strives we have made with mobile internet is extraordinary. As I write this, I'm sitting atop a double decker Megabus to Hartford, CT. By, the way, if you ever get the chance to ride their bus', definitely get there early. The reward for your time is front row seats at the top of the bus which, I must say, are pretty awesome.
Now of course, Bus' with wifi have been around for a year or so now and it really is a great technology that gives college students like me a cheap way to get between cities, where I can be entertained or do work at the same time. Obviously, with these new incentives, they're even trying to capture a nitch of business professionals who don't mind a bus and the added amenities make it all worth it.
For years, easiest way to get mobile internet was tethering your cell phone to a laptop. Widely available today, this technology was long unusable due to slow transfer rates and the ever increasing amount of data needing transmitted through the browser. With upgraded cellular service towers and providers moving into the 4G realm, we can now have a decent quality internet connection in many places.
So of course, cell providers are hiking the costs of these services, usually charging $50 or more for modern tethering plans. In light of all this, we see a new form of technology being developed. Mobile hotspots such as the MiFi are coming to most providers combining the mobile wireless internet and wifi, router broadcasting, giving a group of people wireless browsing, anywhere they can get a cell signal.
As many of us may not need these services at this time, they definitely provide a mobile working or entertaining environment for those who purchase the service. We can look for the speeds and qualities of the service to improve, and hopefully the prices decrease.
So, you may have noticed it's been quite some time since I last wrote. I've been working on a new design from behind the scenes. A few majors changes include the twitter box on the left, banner at the top AND the new mikespla.in domain. Yes, you can goto my site by typing in mikespla.in into your browser. Cool huh?
Enjoy the update! New posts coming soon!!
While many of my peers have been in class under traditional schooling methods, I've worked for 6 months in the field of my choice, doing something of my choosing to better my future career. This Cooperative experience is one of the keys to the education and success of students here at Northeastern.
As I started my first coop at OurStage, a music competition website, I was a simple intern answering support emails, listening to lots and lots of music and blogging. It seemed nearly daily, a new task would fall under the category of things the interns should be doing. Of course, this was fine with my fellow intern, Jason and I; we wanted to get involved as possible.
Now in the music industry, many interns start out by taking out the trash and stocking the fridge. OurStage was the complete opposite, each staff member welcomed us gratefully. Using skills in web programming that I've developed over the course of my life, I quickly became a goto figure for getting things done that were not complicated enough to goto the development engineers.
I'm very grateful for all the opportunities provided to me by the company and I hope to continue a strong working and business relationship with the company. When I speak to students at Northeastern about coop and their careers, I always emphasize doing something they love combined with something they do well. I love music, and I'm good at web development. I wasn't hired for the skills I have however they came in handy throughout the experience and beyond.
Coop, one down, two to go. Sorta.
When I speak to potential students and give tours here at Northeastern, there's a big question many students ask me: Mac or PC. My answer: which ever you like more and feel you could use every day. My choice is Mac and I'll try to share why.
WWDC has came and gone. Apple made some amazing updates to their product line and have updated their iPhone/iPod software. Also, come september, we'll see a new version of Mac OS called Snow Leopard, which make some strides the abilities of the OS. You can now get a MacBook for under $1000 as a student. A MacBook Pro is just slightly more, but well worth it since it now has a nicer screen and SD card reader (and many other features of course).
Many people say that's quite a bit of money for a computer, and you're right it is, however you get what you pay for. Personally, I enjoy the dependability of my Mac. Just over 2 years old now, my 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro is running just as good as the day I got it (actually faster because of a slight upgrade). The most common thing I hear from anyone who owns a computer is, "it stopped working today and I don't know what to do!" I've found this not to be a big deal with a Mac, you can take it to the apple store and they'll give you a pretty decent answer. I once had a fan, screen and battery replaced in 4 hours. Quite impressive!
I've found Mac's to generally just work! If things go wrong and something happens, just make sure you have an external hard drive hooked up and Time Machine running. Time Machine is a key part to keeping everything backed up on your computer. Not only does it back up your files, but it saves all versions when it backs it up. You can literally step back in time to each backup and see the files. You can also restore all your files if you need to reinstall your os for any reason. (Can you say easy?!)
Soon enough we may be hearing about new iPhones, iPods, Mac's and operating systems. There could be quite a bit announced tomorrow. With the launch of the Palm Pre this weekend, apple has a bit to do, however they may soon diminish some of the Pre hype. Who knows.
Check out this WWDC wrap-up of rumors:
An email sent in the early 1970s looked very similar to one sent on the Internet today. (Wikipedia)
Hmm sad, isn't it? Over 30 years and there's little change in the way people communicate online. Now of course, technology has changed, now there can be attachments and html however, it's still the same boring message. What email lacks is fluidity. People can create software and applications that allow users to organize their emails but the messages are still fundamentally separate messages.
In 2004, Google privately launched their widely popular email service Gmail. The goal of the project, still in beta to this day, was to change the way we email. Emails were formed into conversations allowing for easy separation of messaging. Another key aspect to the service was the near endless amount of space, you should, "never have to delete a message!" Five years later and I have over 25,000 emails archived, easily searchable instantly. This is great, yet I may be emailing other people, who do not have gmail or who do not understand the whole conversation format.
This is where Wave comes in. As they said, "Wave is email if it were created today." Now I'll admit, wave is a tricky thing to explain. Let's imagine you're in a classroom back in the wee days. Your teacher says, "Go write your goals for the year on the baord," and follows up by asking three other members of class to do the same thing. The teacher walks to the board and corrects spelling and grammar on your goals. Imagine this blackboard as an interactive email message. You can post "waves" aka content (like an email message) and send it to multiple people. These people can message the whole "wave" about the content or even make changes to your content. These are instantly visible to you and everyone whether they are online at their computer or not (when I say instant, I mean you will see their cursor change the content, as you saw the teacher in the classroom correct spelling). The teacher calls on your friend Billy to write his goals on the board however Billy doesn't want to do so. You lean over to Billy and ask his goals, he tells you he wants to work on his reading but he doesn't want everyone in the class to know. This knowledge is only shared between you and him, yet is part of the whole grad scheme of the class, although the teacher nor the rest of the class know this. This is another great feature of Wave, users can create side conversations within a wave that is not necessarily shared by the entire group, yet in your version it will appear no different, forever.
Now, in a day where Social Media is a buzz word, members of generation Y who are looking to get into any socially oriented business will use tools such as this to better communication. The executive board for MEISA at Northeastern University connect with email to remind each other of deadlines and things we must accomplish to succeed in the world. Many of us use Gmail to help with the mass confusion however we have no real way to share the same information, visible to us all at the same time with each other's ideas and edits.
In a day where Tweets are an instant way to share information, everything is getting faster and more live. With Wave, the future is in your browser. Should we say goodbye to email? Will the digital form of communication phase out as it did with the cassette tape and 8 tracks? First of all, a few decisions still need to be made before these questions will be answered. Will Wave users be able to communicate with Email users? Will there be a cross over, as gmail converts emails into conversations? There is a fine balance between opening up for email and still drawing people to use the protocol.
People will always doubt technology but I feel as though the team behind wave has spent quite long designing the fundamentals of the system. Of course, it's not open to the public yet and I'm sure many more questions will be answered prior to the opening. One things for sure, to a new generation just starting to use Email, this will be a welcome and a change, if executed correctly, that could change the basis of communications forever.
As tickets for the Blink 182 summer tour sellout (as I write this) I sit here comfortably having gotten tickets days ago for the show in Philadelphia. The days since the split of the band have left many fans wondering would they return? We all now know the answer to that. It appears as though the bands really back together, no reunion tour BS where the members gather to get some more $$.
Although, the trio had a somewhat lame Leno appearance, we can hope this was prior to the practices the band has been writing about all over twitter. The band has quite a bit resting on this tour, assuming they have a new album releasing later this year.
Now when it comes to the other bands on the tour, I feel they did have a great balance. The bands include: Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Taking Back Sunday, Panic At The Disco, The All-American Rejects, Chester French, and Asher Roth.
After Weezer's recent music video, which may be one of my favorite of all time, I'm quite excited to see them open. Panic At The Disco opened for Jimmy Eat World a few years ago and really didn't impress me, although they put on a good show. This year, however, the timing could not be more perfect. The bands new album lands Tuesday, titled New Again, and it shows a completely different band that I really look forward to seeing.