Friday, August 29, 2008

It all started with a remote

My DVR at home in Maine was one of my friends. She knew when my favorite shows where on, she recorded them for me, she saved them for me, and she alerted me when a show was starting. Ultimately, she just never let me down. But, like my human friends, she had to stay at home in Maine. Once I moved to Florida however, I decided digital cable and a DVR were not in my budget. Therefore, I dusted off the 'ol VCR and have been manually programming my shows. Just for the record- I am surviving. Anyway, I've seen many a commercial related to the Bright House Networks digital cable service. Not only can you start a show over if you've missed part of it, you can partake in polls by voting via your own remote! How cool and interactive is that? I had been watching Bay News 9 one night, and some poll related to a political question came up on the screen. The instructions were to press *A* for option A and press *B* for option B, and the results would be displayed on screen later on in the broadcast. I thought that was the coolest thing (don't forget I'm from Maine and though it's a pretty neat state, and usually a test market for this sort of cool technology...I had never seen/heard of this.) Sure enough, later in the broadcast, X amount of people had voted via their remote and there were the results on screen.

I realize this technology, per se, is not new. For years we have been able to order a pay-per-view movie via remote. But, I think Bright house has taken this a step further. No longer does the remote control just your DVR box, it is connected to a larger network and therefore able to communicate with other users with polls.

Another point I learned upon reading this article, customers are not able to pay their cable (phone and internet-should they have that package) by, you guess it- their remote. Gone are the days when one has to wait for a paper bill to arrive, only to write a check and mail back a check. Of course, that option is still available, but for some, this new interactive connection is the newest and in my opinion more convenient way to pay a bill.

If we've come this far already with a DVR, and think about it, it was only a few years ago the TiVo was introduced. Imagine what another five or ten years will bring to the ever changing interactive DVR. Hopefully soon, a DVR will be in my future, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be participating in polls and bill paying!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Agg Aggre Aggregat ooooh don't hurt yourself kid!

I will be the first to admit I had never heard of an aggregator. To those of you out there reading this (Hi Mom!) and are thinking, "what the heck is an aggregator?" your wait is over and I will (try to) explain what one is. An aggregator is essentially a place where all of your subscribed news feeds hang out, in one place. Gone are the days when you go to CNN, People, St. Pete Times and so on and so forth just to get your daily bit of news. Now you can click on one site, and all of your headlines from the above mentioned site are there. Cool huh? I must say, after a couple of days of using Google Reader, I am hooked! I have subscribed to many of the sites I visit on my daily rounds of the net. I think I went a little overboard on my news subscriptions! I now read my local Tampa news, US/World news, celebrity gossip and sports all on one page. I had noticed the orange RSS logo at the top of web pages over the past couple years, but never pursued what it did or how it came to be. I honestly wish I had clicked it at least one before I was assigned. All this information at my fingertips, and I've been missing out!

One blog which I followed occasionally (as it was just stored in my favorites folder) is by my (favorite) professor at Quinnipiac, Pattie Belle Hastings. Her blog is used in class for the IDD (interactive digital design) students, but even as an alumni of her class, I still find myself there. She has included many helpful links and comments regarding the world of design.

Another blog which is now viewed daily in the Reader is there because, well, I heart the Red Sox. Boston Dirt Dogs is a blog about the Red Sox. Often times, the blogs offer a rare, raw glimpse into the baseball world. The world in which you wouldn't always see when just reading the sports section or watching ESPN. These writers get to the bottom of the rumors and gossip to share with the fans of Red Sox Nation (yes, even down here in the Sunshine state!)

The third (of many) is a graphic design blog I found, Outlaw Design Blog. I've noticed quite a few good tips and comments when I was browsing over it. I think this site will be useful to myself now it is on my Reader list, as I don't think I would incorporate it to my daily website rounds, but I will however read the headlines and see which articles peak my interest.

From my reader page, I have gathered some articles over the past few days, and compiled them into my Shared Items site. Feel free to browse the stories I thought were pretty interesting. I plan on updated this as often as I find an interesting article...and I hope I keep up with it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm baaaaaack

After a two year hiatus, I'm back to blogging. I am now enrolled back at Quinnipiac to earn my Masters in Interactive Communications. I am doing the online version of the degree so I can still live in Florida. I will be using this blog to post items related to my current class, Intro to Interactive Communications.

It looks like it will be a fun semester and can't wait to see what will come out of it!

Wish me luck :-)