Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final thoughts....Finally

With my Business Writing class coming to an end, it was asked that we talk about our thoughts on social sites and what affects it has on business today. Technology is becoing more sought after as a way to communicate not only within a company but also when it comes to seeking perspective employees. This not only creates a "closer relationship" between employer and potential employee but also give employee access to private information about the employee. This can be good and bad, depending on what is found I guess.

There are many social sites out there like Facebook and Twitter where potential employers can find information about you. When we post to sites like this, the last thing on our mind is whether it will do harm to us later. I think I need to start thinking about this more often so I do not incriminate myself later. When I enter the professional world, I want to be seen as a professional inside and outside of work. I think a great place to start that mindset would be on social sites. These sites may be somebosies first impression of me, might as well make it a good impression.

As much as I dont like the whole idea, social media is a part of business. There are good and bad things about it. One good thing is that it allows business's to get information out there that others are interested in. Information that might draw potential customers. The whole world uses the internet, why not advertise there? A bad thing about social media and business is the fact that it's hard to hide information that you do not want others to see. I think that everybody has the right to have fun or to be silly on occasion. When we decide to share this on the internet, it's there for everybody to see. I don't feel I should have to fear somebody seeing this information.

How do we get around it? The best safegurad would be to not share your drunk, skinny dipping excursion you had over the weekend on Facebook. If you don't put the information out there, then there is no information to be found. As some begin to enter their professional careers, it's time to start looking at social media from a different perspective. A perspective which gives potential employers a positive outlook on you and what you can do for their company.

I do not agree with social media being used for business decisions but I can't change that. My best practice will be to tread lightly and understand that the information I put on the web is not only being seen by my friends. Does it mean that I want to? No. Does it mean that I have to? I think so. Whether we like it or not business and the internet are going to intermingle permenantly and there is nothing I can do about it. I say, just make the best of it. You may be surprised what the outcome will be.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chapter 14

There are many important aspects when writing a paper. One of these is repitition. When we write it's important to maintain the same layout, font size and design throughout your paper. This not only makes the paper more appealing but also keeps the reader interested. If you wrote a paper that didnt maintain a continious layout, the reader may be turned off immediately. 

When I think of layout the first thing that pops in my mind is alignment. We use alignment to make sure everything matches down the left and right sides of the paper. If we did not align the columns things would look out of place and all over. We also align columns to make it easier to read, you can see exactly where paragraphs begin and end.

Writers also use various styles and sizes of font when writing papers. Writers use different sizes to seperate tiltles and headlines from the body of the paper. The titles and headlines are often put in bold to better seperate them from the rest of the paper. It allows the reader to quickly find what the article is about. Different styles of font are also used depending on the audience and intended message of the paper. The writer will choose different styles based on their preferences. Its always important to maintain consistency when choosing fonts to maintain a good look throughout.

Shhhh, listen.

People often have so much to say they forget to listen. I found an article that touches on listening and its benefits. The first topic is to concentrate when you listen. People often listen but also think about other tasks while listening. When doing this type of listening we may miss key points that the person is trying to convey. When listening we must concentrate on what the person is saying so we can walk away with accurate infromation.

When listening to a person talk, dont make early judgements. When people make early judgements they may lose interest in what is being said no matter the importance. Hear the person out and you may be surprised at what they have to say.

Another important thing is to ask questions. This will not only clear up any doubts you may have but will also pull more out of the person doing the speaking. By doing this we may walk away with more infromation than intended. Listening is a very important task in any jib. By following some simple guidelines, people can be great listeners and carry more away from the conversation.

College dropouts becoming more popular

I am 34 years-old and am attending college to hopefully better my career. On a daily basis I find myself wondering if this is what will work for me. I mean, I sure do hope so, spending thousands of dollars on my education, I hope it's worth it. Many students are leaving school for other reasons according to The Dropout Dilemma. Students spend alot of their high school tenure working on getting into college. Once they get to where they want to be they begin getting homesick and start missing what they know best, home. The student in this article began confining himself to his room, emailing back home and not doing so well in school. College is not what they had expected, many want to just get back home to what they know best.

The article suggests some options to help make the transition to college easier. One thing is to try to join activities. The article describes some people as not being "social butterflies". These people resort back to their dorm for comfort because they do not like approaching new people. The article suggests joining activities and groups to aid in meeting new people.

Another suggestion is to take a course such as University 101 ( yes, its an actual course) to learn how to adapt to college and to take advantage of what it has to offer. College is not an easy experience, by coming out of your shell and trying to things it can be the best experience of your life.

What Twitter is to me

Twitter is becoming a huge tool in peoples everyday lives. Anywhere from finding information to sharing thoughts of your own, people look to twitter as as a way of sharing information. You can look on facebook and find links to twitter posts. Sitting around watching television you see twitter hash tags. Twitter is everywhere and seems like its getting even bigger. In this article, the author discusses what he originally thought of twitter, what twitter is today and what its becoming. He found himself a skeptic at first thinking "the idea that something intelligent, something worthy of mindshare, might occur in the space of 140 characters", its no more than a text message. He finds himself more drawn into the concept today, using it himself. It's a datafield, able to give answers to everyday asked questions.

Ok, terrific, we now have another social search engine. I am a skeptic as to what it will become and also of its "ease" of use. I find it easier to search what I need on google. I can find the same infromation, more information, on the topic I am searching. I am not totally against twitter but feel there are easier ways to find the information. Maybe I just dont get it, maybe it will grow on me. Right now, I dont care for what it is and would rather look elsewhere for the information. Twitter may someday be great for me, ehhh, I doubt it. I will steer away from the whole thing and stick to what I know best.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Remember Ethics when Writing

Chapter 9 talks about Developing an Effective Style. There are 2 items which caught me attention: Adapting sentences for non-english listeners and remebering ethic guidelines. When we speak to an audience, have a coversation with others or write a paper we must always keep in mind who our audience is. The Untied States is a diverse area. There are many different origins, religions and languages. When we write or speak to others we must keep in mind that they may not understand some of the words we use. Using ethics when we write is important so everybody can understand what is being said. This includes using words that are understandable as well as adapting our writing to other langugaes. Here in the U.S. we use a lot of slang. This slang used is not always familiar to the listener. Try to use words that are common. By doing this, you will get your message across much easier.

The impact of the Occupy Protesters

This article discusses what the furture of the Occupy movement could hold. We have all seen it on TV, the police vs. the protesters. This is becoming an all common scene. People who are trying to stand up for "income inequality" are constantly being punished for their actions, so it seems. With the unemployment rate so high the protesters have nothing but time. The effects of the movement could last for quite some time. IS anything being done? It seems the White house is becoming a little more interested. They are beginning to dicuss the matter more than in the beginning. It just seems at times that the protesters are just looking for an oppurtunity to claim brutality, or act like they are standing up for something. The author of this article was at a camp,"when I dropped by the park, about 20 people, including some who looked disheveled and homeless, shared food and barely listened to a speaker with a graying ponytail who denounced New York as an “illegitimate police state.” These people do not seem like they care what the message is. But when the oppurtunity arises to stand against police, they are steady on their feet. I am with what the protesters are fighting for, just seems at times their goals are elsewhere. I believe this can be handled differently, or at least ought to be. Will the protesters message accomplish anything? Only time can tell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GPS, Changing the Future of Farming

Precision Ag systems are the future of farming, products that allow farmers to focus on other tasks while GPS does the work. Farming used to be done with a horse and a single tine plow. Farmers worked with equipment that placed one seed in the ground at a time. Today, farmers can easily spend $500,000 on just one machine setup. The newest craze is precision farming.
GPS is used as the basis in precision farming. All activities done in the field are georeferenced, meaning they are marked by a geographical point on the earths’ surface. Farmers can choose from different signal levels depending on the accuracy desired. The different signals John Deere uses are SF1, SF2 and RTK. RTK is the most accurate with sub-inch accuracy. With extra equipment to buy, RTK is the most expensive choice. With these different accuracy choices, farmers can tailor them to their needs. The more accurate the signal means more money to be saved.
What is precision farming? With the use of GPS, precision farming equipment allows farmers to monitor how much product they use all in one convenient system. Farmers used to have to visually look and see where they have planted. On the next pass, they would line up as best they can to use as little product as possible. When lines cross, they begin to overplant, using more product than desired. Today, they let GPS do the work. Precision farming offers everything from assistance lining up the machine to more advanced options like putting seeds at precise points on the earth. Customers use displays and GPS globes to monitor what they are doing. The GPS system allows the farmer to physically see where he has planted to help prevent overlap. Precision farming does not just apply to planting. Farmers use it for harvest, to guide their tractor and for spraying.
Guidance systems are used to accurately position machines. With the use of GPS, machines can drive themselves across the field. There are 2 main benefits to this:
·         Allows the farmer to focus on other tasks like monitoring what he is planting
·         Also tracks the machine on a preset line to prevent overlaps
John Deere uses an Auto Trac System. Farmers can setup an initial guidance line. There are several lines to choose from: straight track, circle track and AB curve just to name a few. After doing the initial setup, the farmer can engage the guidance system and let the tractor do the driving. This will free up the farmer to monitor his equipment and the task all while driving hands free. This is a great option for farmers who multi-task while farming.
Another aspect to precision farming is desktop software. When farmers perform different tasks in the field, this can all be recorded. This data can be saved to a removable drive and then brought to their computer for further research. Agricultural desktop software has many benefits. Farmers can see what product they have put down, and how much of that product. They can bring the Harvest data back to the computer and see what areas did well and which did not. Once they have this information gathered, they can see what needs planted differently and what areas need no attention. Different geographical locations have different soil types and weather conditions. Desktop software gives farmers an edge by allowing them to make smart decisions on how to approach the different circumstances. The desktop software gives farmers an edge over different conditions from year to year which allows for a less wasteful season.
What are some of the benefits to precision farming? The bottom line is money. Using precision farming techniques allows for a more precise planting season which accounts for less waste and more productivity. Not only are they spending less time in the fields, but they are putting fewer seeds in the ground, getting greater yields in the process. One would think that precision farming is best used in larger operations, this is not true. According to the, there are less expensive options for the smaller farms. This allows them to perform the same money saving tasks at a much smaller scale.
We have discussed only a small fraction of the options precision farming offers. Technology is advancing at a pace that exceeds expectations. This is just the beginning of the future of farming. As time progresses, precision farming will allow farmers to save more money and time than ever before.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gathering information

In Chapter 6, it discusses gathering reasearch. This is a crucial second step. It's important to gather resources before we start writing to become more knowledgeable about your topic. This will also help gather a starting point. The fisrt step is to decide what information you want to find. When you decide, you can narrow your search and find the information that pertains to your article.

Once you know what information you want to find you need to be sure this is the information you want to pass on to the reader. Does this information reflect your message? Will it convey the information to the reader? You want to be sure your resources are " relevant and credible". If the information is not relevant, you can very easily get off track. This could turn the reader away and influence your credibility. It's important for your research to be relevant.

Lastly, when gathering information, you must follow ethic guidelines. When data is gathered, we must be sure that the information does not need others permission to use. This could be in the form of a patent, trademark or copyright law. These laws can range from using a companies name or slogan to copying anothers work. Another important aspect is crediting the sources your ideas came from. Your information you gather will most likely come from another source. When you grab somebody elses idea, you must document where that idea came from. Following these guidelines will help ensure you gather the right information.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Accepting readers' comment/concerns

In Chapter 5, it discusses listening to the audiences thoughts and disagreements with what they have read. When you write something you can't expext that everybody will agree with what you write. There will always be a skeptic who has their own opinion on the topic. By blocking the skeptisism out, you are only increasing their doubt. You can avoid this by answering questions to give the reader insight on the topic. Your readers may also argue their point against yours. The book uses productivity as an example. The reader may think that their idea will increase productivity. It's important not to argue that point but to persuade them that your's is correct. When you try to argue that point, you are only discouraging the other person. Make sure you have covered all your bases, done the research and understand the topic you are writing on. By doing this, you are more likely to persuade the reader rather than pushing them away.

I often times do the opposite. When someone does not agree with what I have said, I automatically go on the defensive. This only creates a heated argument. I think that by listening to the other person instead of shutting them out, I can persuade even the biggest skeptic.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Foreigners vs. Native workers

According to this article, foreigners are recovering from the recession faster than native workers. While native workers unemployment rate went up (1.2 million jobs lost), foreign workers unemployment rate went down (gained 656,000 jobs). The reason for this, immigrant workers are more acceptable to the lower- skilled, lower wage jobs that are offered. They need to send money back home. Any means they can find to get this done, is the avenue they will take. Even if this means accepting a low-paying job. Looks like their sites are more on making the money instead of how much they make.

In the society we live, luxury items are rather important. I look for the best paying job so I can have the best toys. But like the song goes, "Mo money, mo problems". My job search is very stressful. THe jobs that I pursue are more often than not, out of my league. Why? I want to make great money. I should take lessons from foreign workers, take that lower paying job and set the luxuries aside for now. Get my foot in the door and work my way up. Maybe I should rethink my thought process and the job hunt would not be so stressful.

How does immigration effect me?

Immigration and how it effects "me" is a very important topic. The talk is that immigrants lower wages by accepting lower paying jobs. In doing this, it allows for less competition in the job market when it comes to wages. The companies are going to take the immigration worker over a native-born worker. This is because the immigrant worker will accept the lower wage, preventing competition from others. In this article it discusses this topic and how it actually does effect wages. The census is that, in fact, the presence of immigrant workers, has little effect on wages. According to the study, wages are 2.4% below where they would be if immigrant workers did not exist. This is surprising to me. I think in the future I will research a little before I go jumping the gun.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bad choice affecting business

This article speaks about Netflix and it's decision to raise prices. This has affected it's customers and ultimately the business' bottom line. Netflix decided to raise the cost of mail order movies from $10 to $16. So, it seems a lot of people dropped Netflix out of protest.Should they have?

Originally Netflix had an idea to separate their online business from the streaming business so they can keep these business as 2 different entities. This was reversed when customers complained about the separation. Along with this separation came price increases, another factor that made customers unhappy. Eventually Netflix decided to keep the two sides of their business as one and not separate the two. They did however maintain the price increase. In October Netflix stated that they lost 800,000 subscribers in 3 months. (NY Times Oct. 2011)

More and more companies are increasing prices on all kinds of different products. Anywhere from candy up to cars. People are growing tired of this trend. They are beginning to stand up for what they feel is just another hand in the bank account. By leaving Netflix, customers are sending them a message that they are fed up with these bad business decisions. While prices do need to increase on occasion, a 60% increase is uncalled for.

People are fed up. Its time for change. Companies must realize what this does to their customers and ultimately their bottom line. By customers standing up, we are sending them that message.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ahhhh, Relief

Struggle, Struggle and struggle some more. We struggle to get an education with our busy lives then have to struggle to repay that education. Looks like there is a bit of releif in sight. My wife and I, when not enrolled in school, spend a small house payment on paying back our student loan debt. Granted I knew this when I got the loan but the education was a must. Repaying it is a stressful, life-long event. Knowing there is help coming our way, puts a smile on my face.


There is a right time for everything, if you miss it by a week you may miss the oppurtunity that should have been yours. It passed you right on by. Now, on the other hand, you could have been there at the right time for said oppurtunity and scored big. Is this luck? I doubt it. You had what was needed when it was needed.

Some people say,"You are so lucky" when you score that big position. Luck had nothing to do with it. You had the skills the company needed when they needed it. I don't feel luck is the factor but more in the timing of the oppurtunity. As earlier said, if you would have been a week later, that oppurtunity would have passed you by.

I don't believe in luck, some people do. I believe in seizing the moment, if you don't the moment will pass you by, lucky or not.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm watching you

Over the past decade Information Techonlogy has excelled. We went from running a simple querry on a computer the size of a room to microchips the size of an ink pen point. People went to businesses seeking employment just 2 years ago. Today, most of the job search is done on the internet. I can find, apply and setup interviews all from the confort of my La-z-Boy. Ahhhhhh!!!

Now, today, it seems that the employer is growing closer to finding us for that potential interview. They are taking the hunt out of the search and coming knocking on the cyber door. Terrific!!! Now I can just sit back and wait for my next interview to call.

Personally, I would prefer the peer-to-peer contact of the job search. Gives me some real "face" time. Let's me see who I am working for and gives me a feel for the type of company they are. Technology is great but some things should be left for the greater good of human interaction.