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Robert Scoble wrote a post about professors banning Google and Wikipedia as sources for research papers. He compared these professors to those who banned “newfangled Macintoshes” back in his day.

I completely disagree with this comparison. He is comparing the use of tools to sources of information. I fully support the professors who ban the use of Wikipedia and Google as sources for college research papers.

Wikipedia is a great place to get some quick, general, and shallow knowledge about a topic that has no bearing on their professional career. For example, one could look up the history of Nintendo for their own personal interest but should not use Wikipedia when writing a paper on Nintendo’s affect on the US television market.

The problem occurs when you are writing a research paper for college. Wikipedia does not give you enough depth of information or have any authority behind it. You have no idea who edited it or their bias. Wikipedia does have a decent amount of the facts cited, but then a student should read that website/book/article and cite accordingly. This would provide them with a broader and deeper view of the topic, and the professor would not know that they used Wikipedia. The problem is that they are getting the article in Wikipedia and then the research stops there. That does not give them an extensive enough view on the topic. If they do use Wikipedia, they should take the extra steps and follow the citation links at the bottom of the articles. Some of the time, this will lead them to more credible sources with more information. It is their duty as the researcher to determine if these articles are coming from a credible source.

Additionally, many colleges and universities offer a wide array of databases to their students*. Many college students pay for the use of these databases, yet choose Wikipedia. They should instead go to their library and ask for some assistance with these databases and in finding and determining credible sources.

I was actually shocked that Robert said that Google was a good source for research. Recently, he posted some videos describing that Google is doomed because it is spammed by SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO creates the same theoretical problem when a student searches for credible sources through Google. The first three results may be very relevant but not unbiased. They will be able to obtain good articles and research, they just have to wade through most of the optimized sites and those that have a financial investment in the topic. Many college students don’t understand this and believe that the top three results are the most credible. They will then use articles from WebsiteX.com instead of a professors article on Profsite.edu. If they do choose to do an internet search, they might want to try Google scholar and search scholarly articles that have been published and reviewed. While they are at it, they should just use the many databases that are offered by their library*.

Overall, I believe that students are using Wikipedia and Google as a crutch when doing research papers. Those are both places to easily obtain information, but by themselves are by no means sufficient. By banning the use of these websites for research papers, professors are helping their students to research credible sources.

[Original Article and Scoble’s Post]

* I do know that some students may be at a disadvantage because their University does not offer these sources.

After a long downtime, I’ve decided to change what I am going to do with this blog. I started it out as a place where I could talk about whatever I wanted. The posts were usually based on what I felt that day. I have decided that I will be giving this blog a more concrete base upon which to write my posts.

The posts will now fall into 5 different categories; websites/services, software, games, movies, TV, and music.

Websites/services

The blog will mainly cover different services offered on the internet. I will be giving a basic rundown of what the service is. Then, I will give examples of how I use it and how others might use it. I will also be providing links to more information about the service. This will help you to find out about the many different services offered on the internet.

Software

In additions to web services I will also be covering some of the software that is offered for the Mac. This will by no means be an exhaustive list of all software offered on the Mac. The main purpose will be to get people familiar with different pieces of software and how they might use it in their life. Again, I will be providing links to places where you can find more information.

Games, Movies, TV, and Music

These will not be a large part of my blog. I have chosen to include these categories because they are other passions of mine and I thought they would be a nice change of pace every once in awhile.

I hope that this new direction will appeal to a lot of people. Hopefully it will show you different things that you never knew you needed. There is a large amount of resources out there and I hope this will make them a little more manageable.

I was just reading a Wired article (link) about lonelygirl15, aka. Jessica Rose, when I came across this great paragraph. The best is the very last line.

There’s something about Jessica Rose that the webcam loves. Her distractingly large eyebrows and small round face are bent and stretched by the fish-eye lens into a morsel of beauty that fits perfectly in a pop-up window. That’s not to say she isn’t pretty off camera — she is — but every step she takes closer to the cam multiplies and enhances her looks. It’s a face made for the browser screen.

That last line is kind of interesting, it sounds very similar to the line “she has a face for radio”. Judging by the first part of the paragraph I’m sure that’s not what the author meant, but it is funny none the less.

If you haven’t checked out the lonelygirl15 videos, they can be found on YouTube.

This was in the news last week that Starbucks is raising its coffee by like 5 cents or something like that. This is all the stuff made by the barista and behind the counter. For some reason I just can’t believe the reason they give us for the price raise. They claim it is because of the increase in manufacturing costs. Overall this wont effect me as I rarely drink Starbucks anymore, but none the less it is still crazy. One last thing. I strongly urge all of you that drink Starbucks on a daily or close to daily basis to stop. First of all they are extremely fattening and over priced to begin with. It is a little bit of espresso and a lot of warm milk. Think of all the money you will save if you didn’t buy Starbucks as often. You can go invest that in a coffee maker and regular ground coffee and still get your caffeine intake and save money at the same time. Good luck to all you Starbucks addicts, and I really hope this price increase doesn’t break the bank.

After crunching a few quick numbers, if I am correct about the price increase being 5 cents and you drink Starbucks on average about 3 times a week then it will cost you $7.08 more in a year to keep on drinking Starbucks.

Hey everyone. I just wanted to inform everyone that I will be updating this site again. Feel free to stop by often and see what I have to say. This will be updated in conjunction with my other website. I hope you have a great day.

This is the new site for my Ramblings blog.  Please note the new address.

https://folie.wordpress.com

Also the address for the RSS feed is:

https://folie.wordpress.com/feed/

Also head over to my other site to check out my photos and other various things like my software blog.

It will soon be illegal to rip your CD’s on to your hard drive to put onto your iPod. Well, it will be that way if the RIAA has their way. I have ranted and bitched about them before, and I am not about to stop. If you know me, you have most likely heard me bitching about this new issue that has arisen. As we all know, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding copyrighted music ever since Napster first appeared and brought P2P widespread. Since then the RIAA has gained a lot of power and started enforcing laws against piracy. One thing that has always protected the user is what is called Fair Use. Fair use is the way that you can use copyrighted material legally. Included in this is creating backups for your CDs onto a hard drive or onto a CD-R/RW. The RIAA has now decided that this should no longer be considered fair use and that consumers that have legally purchased CDs should not be allowed to create backups onto their hard drives or on blank CDs. This also means that you would not be able to put music onto and iPod or other Mp3 player because that would no longer be considered fair use. Now you may be asking yourself how the record company can justify this. I mean, if I purchase a CD I will want to have a back up incase my dog suddenly decides that CDs taste as good as his dog bones, or even if any other terrible thing may happen to my disc. The RIAA believes that CDs are so inexpensive that if you disc gets damaged you can go out and purchase the CD again and that there is no need to back up your music. I don’t know about you, but $15 isn’t exactly what I call inexpensive. Especially compared to the outstanding cost of $0 that it costs to backup your music. I will agree with the RIAA that piracy is bad and that copyrighted material should be protected but they should not try to rip off the consumers that support purchasing of legal music. I guarantee that if they pass this law we will see a significant rise in illegal downloads. This is just asking for people to steal music. The RIAA is basically saying that we should come support them and buy the CDs that they sell, but the second you need help because you scratched your CD then you are on your own. They do not wanna hear anything from you unless you are coughing up cash for a new copy of that CD. This is ridiculous and should not be allowed. It is because of moves like this that the public tends to despise the RIAA. This just shows what can happen when someone gets obsessed with the little power they are given.

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