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Welcome to Webgrrls Wisdom, a blog to find commentaries about women's careers, business, technology, and the industry.

Posts written by Pauline

Eleven Years of Google

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Technology,Usability

When I found out that Google just celebrated its 11th birthday last weekend, I couldn’t help but think about how integral it has been to my Internet experience, and the experiences of countless of other users all over the world. I find myself using Google as my main online search site whenever I want to find something fast, and I am always amazed how much more extensive and precise the results of my web searches are compared to those performed on other sites. It is believed to be the most visited site on Earth, which should come to no surprise to anyone. Even the word Google is a household name because it is unique and easy to remember.

I use Google News when I am looking for the latest headlines, Blogger when writing for two different blogs, and Google Earth when I am interested in determining what the surroundings of any location in the world are. I also use Google Maps when figuring out driving directions, but this function alone has been problematic for me in the past, because I must admit I have gotten incorrect directions from it. As a safety and when I have time to look up directions, I check at least one other site to compare the routes and determine which I will trust and follow more. I am also a big fan of Picasa when sending and storing photographs to friends and family, which alleviates the fear of losing images forever if my computer or laptop crashes and I haven’t backed up all my data. I am avoiding the latter, just in case.

Looking back at the good, the bad, and everything in between, I have to admit that the Internet has been a very interesting place since Google was conceived and launched to an unsuspecting public. The online experience would be a very different place if it never existed, and that would not have been a  good thing.

Google has been an integral part of my Internet experience, and as a search engine it is the closest thing to perfection I have seen on the Internet. If the company keeps doing what it is doing while striving to innovate and improve all of its services and programs, Google will continue to be on top for years to come.

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Too Much Information on the Internet

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Networking,Social Media,Technology

We all know someone or at least have heard about people who put too much of their personal information on the Internet.  There have been numerous reports of people who are fired or refused jobs because potential employers find objectionable images or other details about them on their FaceBook or MySpace pages. I have always been conscious of keeping my personal information to a minimum in the public view. For example, when someone searches my name on the Internet, they only find some articles I have written and some of the social networking sites I have accounts with. My address is no where to be found; if I am required to identify my location, the information is as general as I can make it.

Many of the following tips are common sense, but I think they are worth mentioning.

·  In addition to your address, try not to put your phone number out there too. This obviously doesn’t apply to small business owners who want to promote their businesses. Still, e-mail addresses are ideal because you can always adjust your spam filter and block addresses if needed.

·  Setting your relationship status on FaceBook or MySpace to anything you want isn’t a problem, unless this information is something you don’t want other people in your life to find out about. If you are in an “open relationship” and one of the people in it are not aware of this, you may not want to publicize this. If you have the option to set your social networking sites to a private setting (accessible to friends only or completely private) then do so.

·  As mentioned earlier, any objectionable images of you (or those which can be construed as objectionable) should be taken down from public view, or placed on more private pages. Remember, even if you think your grandmother will never see the crazy vacation pictures you posted a year ago, I wouldn’t take the risk. After all, someone else could always print out them out or show them to her on their computer or cell phone.

Just be careful when you are on the Internet. The virtual space may seem imaginary because we cannot stand in it or experience it on a tangible level, but it is very real…and it can backfire on us if we are not cautious.

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Online Journalism: It’s All Been Said Before

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Social Media,Technology

It isn’t news that most of us get our news via the Internet these days. If you have a computer with online access, it is much easier to find the latest news on national and other news sites that are far too numerous to mention. My father still gets the Wall Street Journal seven days a week, but when I am home I hardly (if ever) look at it. It is just easier to go online and find the latest news. What makes it so much more popular is that news is constantly being posted and updated every hour, if not every minute. Just refresh the Google News page and you can often see new stories listed ahead of the one you were just looking at.

But the idea that there is “too much of a good thing” does apply to the bounty of free, online journalism. The constant need to put the latest news on the Internet can affect the quality of the writing or ignore the credibility of the sources used. Many news sites (alternative, national, and international) have reputable journalists providing content, but there are those other sites that have questionable contributors with dubious writing and editing skills. I have seen a quite a few spelling, grammatical and even factual errors when reading articles online, but these can easily be corrected; once an article is published in a traditional newspaper or magazine, any errors are there to stay.

Last year I attended a conference on the future of micro-blogging and online news sites as a whole and was surprised to find that many of the attendees where in the advertising industry. Obviously, the tensions in the room were high; I almost expected a screaming match between one of the panelists and an advertising executive in the audience. The general consensus of the panelists was that a new advertising model must be developed to adapt to the rapidly growing online journalism industry. Journalists, editors, graphic designers, photographers, and all others that contribute to online content should be paid, and I also believe that traditional advertising methods must change. When one disgruntled audience member suggested charging visitors to online news sites a small fee, many others balked at the notion. I just don’t see it happening; what I do know is that the “powers that be” have to think of something. Online journalism is here to stay; and no one wants to pay for it.

What are your thoughts on the online journalism and its future?

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Forty Years of the Internet—Maybe

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Networking,Technology

No one can agree on a specific date when the Internet truly began. Some believe that its birth occurred forty years ago, but you don’t have to be an expert in the subject to know that the various aspects that make up the Internet were invented at different times to make it what it is today. Now it is a life line of communication throughout the world; many teachers use the Internet to assign homework and reading materials to their students, businesses rely on it for communications and other work-related tasks, and many people like me use it for just about everything. I can remember a time when I didn’t have a computer, or even an email address. My communications consisted of phone calls and letters exclusively. Now I have to sift through my teeming inboxes of several email accounts to find non-spam correspondence. I don’t have rose-colored glasses when I think about time before the Internet was a well-known household term, but I do know that I had less of a tendency to stay home for extended periods of time back then. Information is at our fingertips, and that is great, but we all know that too much of a good thing can have opposite effects sometimes.

This Labor Day, and just after the unofficial 40th anniversary of the Internet, I find myself respecting the technology and the people behind it (too numerous to count) who created this virtual medium that has truly contributed to the world of communication and globalization. There really is no going back, and I look forward to the future of the online communications and technology.

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Learning French Via the World Wide Web

written by Pauline Karakat
Pauline Karakat
Topics: Education,Tech Tools

I just completed taking French classes in New York City, which set me back a few hundred dollars. I was happy to pay, because it motivated me to resume my plans to become bilingual. I have my text books from college, my recent French class, and copious notes that I continue to pour over. Still, I know that when my class finished, I had to keep up my studies. There is no teacher to tell me to finish homework and study all the verb tenses. I know that I will be relying on the World Wide Web, in addition to other traditional resources, when it comes to my continuing studies in French.

The infinite resources to be found on the Internet seem limitless, but I think I know which sites I can rely on for my language studies. In addition to a few online language lessons, I have found the complete French language series entitled French in Action, which came out in the late 1980s and was developed by a Yale University professor. As a child, I remember watching re-runs of the series, which was completely in French and was centered on a young French woman, her family, and friends in Paris on PBS. The language immersion technique is very effective, and I am very happy to have found it online so I can watch and absorb the lessons at my own pace. 

The best sites to help me with “on the spot” language learning are the online dictionaries. I usually alternate between WordReference.com and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Not sure what the future tense of the verb savoir (which in English means “to know”) is? I usually find myself on verbe2verbe.com or Conjugationfr.com to make sure I spelled my conjugated verbs properly.  I prefer the former site because it gives the most accurate definition of the verb in English. I have also found that if I spell the word wrong and there are no direct matches given, a list of other, similarly spelled verbs appears in the left-hand column. For someone who needs as much as I can get, I am very grateful for these useful additions.

If I can help it, I will not let the dust settle on my French language lessons again. With the help of my own personal resources, the library, conversations with French-speaking friends, and the World Wide Web, I may one day be able to call myself bilingual.

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