Friday, November 13, 2009

Digital Divide?


I think I will throw up if I hear one more person mention this so called "Digital Divide".

Digital Divide as defined by Wikipedia:
"The term digital divide refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all... The digital divide may be classified based on gender, income, and race groups"

Black folks have been making excuses for years why we can't achieve and the "Digital Divide" is the newest excuse. Back in the 60s, Black folks had real discrimination, now Black folks are making barriers when none exist.

I used to own rental properties in the worst parts of Detroit. My tenants did not have a lot of money. They did NOT have a computer or internet access, but my African American tenants did have a big screen TV (bigger than mine) with the premium movie channels. The son had the latest $100+ athletic shoes and everybody had mobile phones. They were on the wrong side of the "Digital Divide" by choice. Currently, a netbook computer is less than $200.

In regards to this so called “Digital Divide”, I don't think there are large corporations sitting around conspiring to hold Black people back by limiting access to computers and the internet. The last time I checked, Apple, Microsoft and Comcast accepted Black folks’ money.

In a related situation, I started the Web Academy to help expose the masses to technology. This fall, the City of New York is hosting a computer application development contest. I decided to enter the Web Academy and I solicited my entire network of students, colleagues, friends and family to join my team to build an iPhone application. No experience was required to be on my team. You just needed to sign up.

About 85% of my network is African American, 10% Caucasian and 5% other.

Why is my iPhone development team 20% African American, 40% Asian and 40% Caucasian. I'm willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with me regardless of color or national origin.

So, did the "Digital Divide" keep African Americans from joining my iPhone development team? Is EHAM apart of the man’s global “Digital Divide” conspiracy to keep Black folks down? What do you think about this so called “Digital Divide”?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Down with Newspapers!


So, I just started the Web Academy which is a non profit organization designed to provide FREE web design classes and FREE web design services. The IRS has strict guidelines for educational non profit organizations to acquire a tax exempt status. These guidelines include but are not limited to:
Having a Board of Directors
Directors Annual Meetings
Bylaws
Non-Discrimination Policy
In addition, the IRS requires my educational non-profit organization to place an ad in a newspaper to notify the community about my non-discrimination policy. What is an ad in a newspaper? Oh newspapers, those things made out of paper, which are for reporting current events. Newspapers, those paper things which are out-of-date the moment the ink dries.

My 1st thought was: “I will use an online notification to broadcast my non-discrimination policy”. No, the IRS is strict that my notification must be in a local newspaper. Okay, so I chose the cheapest option. I decided to advertise my non-discrimination policy in my local newspaper called the Hackensack Chronicle. I was appalled to find out that it will cost me $234 to advertise in one addition of that newspaper. This ad will give me only about 17,000 impressions! For those of you who are not familiar with online advertising, I can buy 17,000 impressions online for less than $20.

All of these newspapers need to wake up because (1) most people get their news online for free (2) who would pay 10 times the money for the same reach (3) there isn’t any detailed analytics about who is reading the ads. With online advertising enabled with analytics, I know, age, gender, area code, zip code, city, and overall interests of every person who clicks my ad.

The Solution:
As an avid consumer of information, I would like to have instant access to every newspaper, every magazine and every book ever written in the past 1000 years to current. I am serious. I would be willing to pay $50 per month for this unlimited service. Consumers (like me) would access these works through a wireless "Kindle-like" device. The authors and publishers of these works would be compensated from the monthly subscriptions based on the number of page views of their works. So, if a consumer spends 50% of his page views on The New York Times, 40% on The Wall Street Journal and 10% reading Thomas Freeman's book "The World is Flat", then $25 would be earned by The New York Times, $20 by The Wall Street Journal and $5 by Thomas Freeman. This scenario would be an advertisers dream as ads would be placed in not only magazines and news stories but also the books. The analytics data available on readers would be advertising nirvana. As an example, an advertiser could target specifically women aged 40 and up who live in Boise, Idaho and work in the medical field who love country music. The publishers/authors would be able to charge a premium of this type of ad inventory.

The writing is on the wall. All of these newspapers and magazine need to change their business models or they will quickly be old news like cave drawings and clay tablets. What do you think?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are We The Borg?


So, I recently moved from Los Angeles to the New York city area . Upon arriving, my new place had no electricity. Oh no, 24 hours with out electricity for the Internet Guru. What is Imma gonna do?

No electricity? No problem for now because I powered up my laptop I noticed that a neighbor had not secured his wireless network. Cool, I was able to get on the internet. Thanks neighbor.

My laptop and Blackberry couldn't run indefinitely on batteries. So, I decided to charge them in my car. I don't have a car charger for my Blackberry but I have a portable car power converter which converts a car cigarette lighter into a regular wall outlet.

So, after a few hours on the laptop and talking on the Blackberry, I went to my car for some SWEET ELECTRICITY! With in 5 minutes of charging, both of my cigarette outlets died. What? What are the chances of that? I've used this power converter for 6 years with out incident.

No Blackberry, no laptop, no cable... It was like living in the 1970s or something. It got so bad that I wrote this blog entry using pen and paper.

I felt so disconnected. I felt like Hugh from the Borg on Star Trek. The Next Generation Star Trek fans feel me here. The rest of you are scratching your heads so please let me explain. Star Trek is a futuristic TV show which takes place in the 24th century. The Borg are a race of cybernetic organisms (half humanoid, half machine) who desire to convert all of humanity into Borgs.

There are millions of Borg but they are essentially one entity, one collective with one conscience in constant communications with each other.

There was an episode of Star Trek when the humans captured a Borg and named him Hugh. Our Star Trek humans then severed Hugh's "internet connection" with the Borg collective and Hugh "went out like a punk". Dude was pathetic and didn't know how to act.

Similar to Hugh, I experienced the disconnected feeling. I couldn't check my 6 email accounts, my Myspace email, my online bank statements, my online credit card statements, my stocks and 401K, or my Yahoo front page news. I couldn't even check or update my Facebook status. Oh no... I was disconnected from my collective and "Didn't know how to act".

So, my question to all of us: "Are we becoming like the Borg?"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Motivation behind The Web Academy



The 1980s:
My technology colleagues will agree, nearly 100% of us are self taught. In 1981 at age 12, my parents purchased my 1st computer which was a Commodore 64 that had 64,000 bytes of RAM compared to computers now which come with a minimum of 2 GB (2 billion bytes) of RAM. I learned how to program in BASIC on that Commodore 64 by reading the guide that came with the computer. After learning how to write conditional commands and loop commands in BASIC, I wrote a text based game which allowed the user to go on a “Dungeon and Dragons-like adventure”.

In 1986, my parents purchased an office PC for their business. That same year, I developed a game (called the Alpha Zapper) which helped the gamer learn how to type by shooting missiles in the form of alphabet letters at the gamer’s space ship. The gamer would gain points by typing the appropriate letter to destroy the missile. In 1986, I had the luxury of a high school (Walled Lake Western) which allowed me independent study time to pursue my programming passions. In addition, I used my parents’ office PC to develop this game. (Yeah mom and dad, when I was supposed to be running orders for your business, I was developing my game. That was 23 years ago, so I hope yall ain’t mad.)

The 1990s:
In the 1990s while in college, I had an idea of creating a web site which would allow college students and anyone seeking a job to post their resumes online. Simultaneously, this web site would allow employers the ability to find employees. The idea was called Resunet (Resumes On the Internet). I had no idea of how to reserve a domain name let alone build an enterprise level web based application like this. Well, someone out there did know and in 1999 Monster.com was formed and the rest is history.

Also, in the 1990s my fraternity brother (we called him DP) was just beginning medical school. I approached DP with an idea. I wanted to take all of the practical knowledge that he was learning in medical school and build a web site that would use a simple algorithm to diagnose patient ailments. We would call the web site DrDP.com. Due to my lack of serious web knowledge, we never completed this project. A few years later WebMD was created and again the rest is history.

Before graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Computer Science, I had one of my 1st opportunities to practice my "web craft". I was a lab assistant for Dr. Herman Hughes in the MSU High Speed Networking Laboratory. Using HTML, Perl and CGI, I created a content managed system (CMS) web site for Dr. Hughes before the term "CMS" had been used.

Millennium:
After my years of web development experience and my years of work experience with companies like Yahoo! and Netscape, I am in a unique position to assist the next generation of web entrepreneurs. What if a young person desired to build an application that ran on the iPhone and used Yahoo! Maps, used proximity detection technology such as Yahoo! FireEagle and other technologies to develop something that has never been seen or tried before? Where would this young person even begin? Well, The Web Academy is designed to solve this sort of problem with basic web development classes, advanced server side scripting classes, advanced database management classes and advanced application programming interface classes.

The Web Academy will teach our students how to stay current with technology and how to be self reliant to intellectually sustain themselves once they have out grown us. The Web Academy will be a simple door. The student has to walk through it.

With all of the talented young people in our communities I am hopeful that the big technology success story of the next decade will begin with a 22 year old talking about his/her experience as a 12 year old with The Web Academy.

The Web Academy is seeking students. If you are interested in becoming a student, please join our email distribution list at http://www.thewebacademy.org

Monday, March 9, 2009

HTML and Meta Data

Properly structured meta data on your web site allows the search engines to potentially better find content on your web site.





Special Thanks to...
W3 Schools
Web Developers of Detroit
Web Developers of New York
The Web Academy

HTML Forms

Accepting information from web site visitors is extremely important. Using HTML Forms is how you accomplish this task.





Special Thanks to...
W3 Schools
Web Developers of Detroit
Web Developers of New York
The Web Academy

HTML Frames

HTML Frames allow you to display more than 1 web page (and more than 1 web site) in a single browser window.






Special Thanks to...
W3 Schools
Web Developers of Detroit
Web Developers of New York
The Web Academy

HTML Images

What's the point of browsing the web if you can't see the pretty pictures. This video demonstrates how to add and manipulate images on a web site.






Special Thanks to...
W3 Schools
Web Developers of Detroit
Web Developers of New York
The Web Academy

HTML Links Overview

We have all clicked on a web hyperlink at least once in our lives. This is a demonstration of how to build hyperlinks in HTML.






Special Thanks to...
W3 Schools
Web Developers of Detroit
Web Developers of New York
The Web Academy

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Michael Jackson or Michael Dell


I was born and raised in Detroit... Motown... and in 2005 Martha Reeves from the 60's Motown group Vandellas was running for Detroit City Council on the platform of "bringing music back to the city of Detroit".... What? Are you kidding me? We've got enough "wanna be" rappers and she wants to add to this maddest? The worst part is Martha Reeves won and is a proud member of the dysfunctional Detroit City council. Meanwhile, cities like Mumbai, India are cranking out computer scientists by the thousands but Detroit has Marva Reeves. While Martha Reeves was "Dancing in the Streets" in the 60s, Mumbai was investing heavily in science education and it's paying off big time.

Fantasia Barrino who won the American Idol competition is functionally illiterate. That's right, she can't read and admitted her problem in at least one interview. She got lucky by winning the American Idol competition in 2006. Too many kids think they can be the next Michael Jackson when they need to focus on being the next Michael Dell.

To help counter some of this maddest, I am initiating a non-profit web academy here in New York city called The Web Academy. We will offer free web design classes to the community and offer free web development services to other non-profit organizations.
TheWebacademy.org

So, with the help of City College of NY and other local learning institutions, I am hopeful that we can crank out the next generation of web entrepreneurs.

The Detroit Web Academy to follow...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Yahoo! Mobile in a Science Fair?


In March of 2009, I had the honor of serving as a Computer Science judge in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair. The fair was open to all New York city area high school students. I was tasked to judge several computer science related entries. All of the computer science entries showed a high level of thoughtfulness, creativity and preparedness. The entries included but were not limited to: Ideas for a Better Electronic Voting System, 2D to 3D Face Modeling Application and an Application which used Game Theory to help small businesses succeed. None of these mentioned projects were 100% complete but they showed excellent promise.

At this fair, I was surprised that there were zero web/internet related projects. What!?!?!? Yes, EHAM the Internet Guru said it… A Science Fair in 2009 had zero web/internet projects. There were plenty of plant science projects, animal science projects and biology projects. These entries were not that much different from when I participated in science fairs in the 1880s (just kidding, I mean 1980s, but this plant science stuff was from the 1880s). This is a direct reflection of the teachers and mentors who are guiding these children. There is nothing wrong with plant projects, but it’s 2009! It’s time to up their game!

Up Their Game:
There are so many different web/internet projects that can be done today. Companies like Yahoo! have made it incredibly easy to build robust applications on their APIs and development platforms. API stands for Application Programming Interface, and is a tool which allows developers an easier method to build applications. Normally APIs are used to seamlessly connect the developer to a remote resource.
Yahoo! has dozens of API platforms and development platforms such as:
Fire Eagle: location-aware application services
Maps: image API which allows embedding of rich interactive maps
Traffic: real-time traffic alert information
BOSS: (Build your Own Search Service) is Yahoo’s open search web services platform
Blueprint: Mobile development platform

Kids love using their mobile devices. Imagine a science project which used Yahoo! Fire Eagle and Yahoo! Blueprint to create a “super cool” mobile phone application that allowed friends to connect in a unique way. So, in 2010 EHAM the Internet Guru will be sponsoring a science fair team to build cool mobile applications using Yahoo! APIs… The science fair ain’t gonna know what hit them!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yahoo! Web Analytics (Reporting Overview)

Yahoo! Web Analytics (formerly known as IndexTools) is an enterprise level web analytics tool that provides real-time insight into visitor behavior on your website.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Social Benefits of Scram Jets and Carbon Nanotubes


There has been a lot of talk recently about bailouts and the stimulus packages.
I had an opportunity to review several pages of the most recent stimulus package proposed by President Obama and it has promise but lacks the long term focus needed to drive development to match the development that lead to the greatest prosperity in U.S. history. The greatest leaps in advancement in our society occurred when we invested heavily into the sciences.

Billions were invested in a struggle to defeat the Nazis during WWII. Subsequently we were rewarded with the following technologies:
->Computers
->Nuclear Energy
->Plastics and Synthetic Rubber Technology
->Jet Engine Technology
->Advanced Rocket Technology
->Radar
->Canned Foods and Food Preservation

Billions were invested in the space race. The U.S. beat the Russians to the moon and consequently we were rewarded with technologies such as:
->Advanced Microchips
->High Speed Computer Networks
->CAT & MRI Technologies
->Advanced Synthetic Material Technology
->Advanced Optics (Scratch Resistant Lenses)
->Cordless Power Tools
->Freeze Dried Food Technology
and many other technologies…

When Neil Armstrong uttered the words "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", it was a little known technology contractor (named Motorola) that built the radio transponders for the Apollo missions to the moon.  Subsequently, this wireless communications technology helped to spawn the mobile phone revolution.

The United States has a golden opportunity to lead the world again. We as a country and a world leader should invest in scramjet technology and carbon nanotube technology.

ScramJet (supersonic combustion ram jet) is a new concept in jet engine design. In concept, a scramjet traveling a suborbital flight path could reach speeds up to Mach 24. In other words, a scramjet could travel from New York city to Tokyo in less than 45 minutes.

One of the things that prohibit us from exploring outer space in an unrestricted fashion is the huge costs to lift people and cargo into space. It costs about $11,000 to lift 1 pound into orbit. Space shuttle missions costs millions of dollars to operate. One way to drastically reduce the cost of space travel is the build a space elevator. The concept is very similar to children’s story “Jack and the Beanstalk”. In the story, Jack climbs a long beanstalk up into the clouds. With a space elevator, a satellite in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth would be tethered by long cable 105 miles in length.
Centrifugal force by the spin of the Earth would maintain the tension of the cable. Once in place, one could simply ride the space elevator up into outer space at a price of about $10 per pound. Currently, there is no known cable material which could withstand the stress induced by the space elevator concept. In theory carbon nanotubes could meet the challenge.

Carbon nanotubes are a concept in quantum chemistry which make for an extremely strong and light material. This material would be many times lighter and stronger than the strongest steel or titanium. Cables made from carbon nanotubes would be the center piece behind the space elevator concept.

The Benefits:
Potential scramjet manufacturers like Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas would see a huge increase in revenue which would spawn additional investments in research and development. Inexpensive space flights could lead to advancements in manufacturing, medicine, physics and agriculture just to name a few. Similar to the unforeseen benefits of the space race technology investments and the World War II technology investments, the benefits of developing scramjets and carbon nanotubes go far beyond the short term tangible benefits.