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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Same Story, Different Uses of Online Multimedia

The article To rebuild or not? Japan’s tsunami coast wonders was an interesting story written by AP journalist Tim Sullivan.  Sullivan’s article detailed the downfall of a coastal town named Kesennuma  that was ravaged by Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami disaster.

When the story hit the wire March 27, 2011 multiple online news sites picked it up.  Of all of the sites that posted the story MSNBC.com impressed me the most with their use of multimedia in the article. MSNBC used video, photo galleries, and interactive maps to improve the article for online use.

Underneath the title of Sullivan’s article even before the text started video about the disaster in Japan is made available to the reader. This video is a nice element of multimedia that can immediately engage a reader, but having it before the text took attention away from the article itself. Personally, I prefer the way statesmen.com presented the article in this regard.

In still images and image galleries statesman.com’s presentation was lacking considerably.  Statesman only presented three images on the left side of the article. Also Statesman.com had no related articles or image galleries anywhere else on the article.

MSNBC’s article had many more galleries and even an interactive photoblog related to the disaster in Japan.  MSNBC’s presentation was even more impressive in comparison to haroldonline.com’s presetation of the story. The harold’s story had one photo gallery and links to related stories, but no other options for interactivity with the article.

On top of everything else MSNBC’s article also had interactive maps and graphics that strengthened the story John Sullivan wrote. To make interaction easier MSNBC placed brightly colored tabs on the right side of their article that immediately jump a reader to video, text, maps, and related information.


Rising Gas Prices Could Change Consumers Buying Habits

As gas prices threaten $4 a gallon auto industry professionals are forecasting a change in consumers buying habits.

As gas prices have increased into the upper reaches of $3 a gallon auto dealers prepare for a change in customers buying habits.  Demand for smaller vehicles may be on the rise sooner then later.

Consumer buying habits tend to follow gas prices.  In early 2008 gas prices had increased to $4 dollars a gallon and more people were buying  fuel efficient vehicles.  That same year when gas dropped from $4 to $3 dollars a gallon demand for less efficient vehicles increased.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration there is a 25% chance that gas prices will raise to $4 a gallon this year. This increase is directly related to crude oil prices hitting their highest point in 2 years.

Until this price increase happens it is likely consumer buying habits will stay the same.

Pat Adams, a sales manager at Mankato Motor Co., said there hasn’t been a 2008 style push for smaller more efficient cars.  Adams attributes this behavior to drivers being better prepared for pump prices to increase. “But 4.50 gas could change all that.”

Once gas prices reach $4 to even $5 dollars a gallon concern starts to take hold of not just buyers but gas consuming companies as well.

Volk Transfer of Mankato has 14 diesel burning trucks that log over a million miles a year.  Increased gas prices could mean implementing speed restrictions and fuel conservation programs.

There is still realistic demand for large vehicles, but with higher gas prices looming in the near future people who own these trucks and SUV’s will be feeling the hurt at the pump.

$70 dollar fills of the tank are never fun.  Maybe as history repeats itself costumer buying habits will change with the mounting weight of gas prices.

Keywords: Gas Prices, Increase, Buying Habits

Minnesota Food Shelf Usage Increasing (grade;)this!)

With Minnesota food shelf usage tripling in the last ten years food shelves are looking for a big turn out for the 2011 Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.

Minnesota residents are relying on food shelves more then ever. Minnesota food shelf visits increased 25 percent from 2008-2009, the largest increase in 28 years.

The 2011 Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign is one of the most important fundraising drives in recent history. This annual campaign hopes to raise a combined 12 million pounds and dollars from residents of the Central Minnesota area.

There is a couple of ways of helping Minnesota food shelves at the local level. Leading food drives and donating money are effective ways of making a difference combating hunger in your own community.

Do not forget the 2011 FoodShare campaign is just beginning. The drive will collect donations throughout March and end the first week in April.

With over 723,000 Minnesotans hungry, every donation makes a difference.

Minnesota, FoodShare, Food Shelf


WhoIs is a tool everyone can use obtain contact information for the owner of a domain name. All that is required is the domain name of the website one wants to check out and shazam there is information about the site’s creator and admins. There is also useful information about when the website was created, updated, and even expires.
For some websites finding the person paying the bills is not that easy. Some sites only give the name of the sites registrar, or the company the site payed to create and maintain the domain name. Go Daddy.com of the infamous Go Daddy commercials is one of these companies. A curious searcher will also find a WhoIs server through the registrar. From this point one some websites are protected by privacy companies so collecting additional information is more difficult.
Even though websites can protect their privacy the possible functions of WhoIs is still impressive. The information collected through WhoIs can be used a variety of different ways both for a normal student writing a research paper and a journalist tracking down leads.
I think the most interesting use of this information is to verify the credibility of a web sites information. Instead of just reading the information posted on the site and make a judgment of credibility one can search the names of the site’s creator and admins to check if they actually have the background that they claim.
On this same track anyone can use the contact information to verify the websites legitimacy. In a more direct manner an interested party could track down the address listed on WhoIs to see if the building is real. All around WhoIs is a great way to find out the people behind a domain name thus learning more about where the information on the site is coming from.