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To Catch a Plagiarizer standard

I’m not a young pup anymore. Not that I’m nearing retirement anytime soon, but I find it amazing how much things have changed in the academic world since I first started my bachelors degree in 1996. I can’t prove it (yet), but I can almost guarantee that students in grades six through twelve have no real experience or knowledge of encyclopedias. I remember being envious of friends of mine who had those books in their houses. All that knowledge right at their fingertips, and here I was going to the library, LIKE A SUCKER! Now that I am working on my third spin as a student through the academic world (just under eight years from my last exit as a ...

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How Starbucks is Revolutionizing Mobile (micro) Payments standard

For those of you that have not been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you may have patronized a Starbucks and seen a customer scan their phone at the checkout and then somehow magically get coffee without ever paying. What is this wizardry that is going on? I mean, you’ve seen people pay with pretty looking cards that have a Starbucks logo, but that’s clearly a gift card, not some magical electronic thingie. This magical pay-by-phone is not only a convenience for regular customers, but it’s Starbucks’s way to push mobile payments forward while device manufacturers do their best Benny Hill trying to implement mobile payments. Enter the Starbucks app (and Passbook integration). Sure, techies love ...

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The Phoenix Project, a Novel for Today’s IT Professional standard

Today is a great day for aspiring (and perhaps current) IT leaders as The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford is now finally available and shipping. If you are in any way connected to anything related to information technology, this book should be on your reading list for Q1 2013. I read the final manuscript in a matter of days and could not put it down. This book is modeled after the iconic manufacturing title, The Goal. But instead of an overweight scout causing an enlightening view into the theory of constraints (poor Herbie), it’s a failing IT department in a business outpaced by competitors. All of the classic themes of today’s IT issues are explored ...

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So you want to guest post? standard

Bloggers get pelted with requests for guest posts all the time, and I’ve had a string of relatively strange ones lately. They all start with something like this: Hi, I’m Scheizenfreud McGilicutty and I love to write. I saw your website and I was wondering if you allow guests posts? Here are some samples of posts I have done on other blogs. Let me know if we can work something out. Then this is followed by seemingly unrelated blog posts like “The Top 10 Ways to Check your Email” or “A Home Security System You Can’t Miss!” It’s SPAM, but targeted SPAM. It’s not quite targeted enough where someone had to type out an email specifically for me, but it ...

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Preying on National Disasters: Today’s Get Rich Quick Scheme standard

Earlier this week we started to see warnings from news outlets, bloggers, and other media warning people about scams to collect money in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Unsolicited calls asking for donations, websites that seem to appear official, and random numbers you can text to donate money automatically start to pop up and disappear quickly. So if you are in a giving mood, how do you find the good ones from the bad ones? The first thing to be wary of is someone calling your phone and asking for money. It can be a great reminder, but if you want to guarantee your money gets to people in need and not into someone’s pocket, go find your charity of ...

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The Only Customer Service Script You Will Ever Need standard

I have had a few run-ins with some customer service departments in the last month that drove me a bit crazy (and one that went QUITE well). There are several indicators that the economy is getting better; one of those being as the economy gets better, customer service gets worse. There is apparently less of a need to deliver service because if I defect, there are others waiting in line to take my spot as a “valued customer.” I’ve always scratched my head when people talk about how big-box retailers kill small businesses. I disagree. I think it forces small businesses to both innovate and fill the service gap left by those big-box retailers. Small business owners that cannot retool ...

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