Monday, October 31, 2011

SU Alum Builds Twitter Community for National Geographic Photos

View this article on the Information Space Blog here...

[caption id="NatGeoPhotos" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Follow @NatGeoPhotos for updates"][/caption]

When I think of National Geographic, I think of a magazine that took up a couple shelves worth of space at my elementary school library and was only ever looked by a group a boys looking (and giggling) at the frequently featured photos of naked indigenous people. In my life, National Geographic stopped playing any kind of contributing role when I graduated from elementary school and stopped having “free time” in the library. Recently though, I’ve found NatGeo has played an increasingly more relevant and interesting role in my day-to-day life. More specifically, the  @NatGeoPhotos twitter account has not only garnered my interest but continues to captivate it.

Orange Nation: An Alum at National Geographic

You can imagine my excitement when I learned that the @NatGeoPhotos account was run by a Syracuse University alum. Graduating from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a Masters Degree in Arts Journalism, Janna Dotschkal is now the mastermind and voice behind the National Geographic Photo account on twitter. She received her undergraduate degree at  Baylor University, where she pursued and completed a Bachelors degree in Philosophy. After graduating, she knew she wanted to get into videography and photography at some level; that’s when she came to Syracuse.

After graduating from Newhouse with her masters, Dotschkal went out into the world looking for what most recent graduates go looking for- a steady job. She found herself cold calling a staff photo editor at National Georgraphic, having heard about an internship in the photo department. Unfortunately, the internship was dropped and the position never filled. So, she quickly began working at a non-profit. It was only a few months later that NatGeo came knocking at her door.

Monday, October 10, 2011

GraFighters Launch

Picture this: You are in a the middle of a lecture, group meeting, or trying to do your homework. Unable to concentrate on the material at hand, your pen starts to stray. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be your notes or homework assignment is covered in an epic collage of inked characters;  some are big and strong, others little and clever, and maybe there's even a self-portrait stick figure or two. Have you ever wished that you could breath life into these characters and your college-ruled canvas would turn into a battlefield of graphite champions and ballpoint pen-powered villains?  GraFighters, a Syracuse University startup, has made that dream a reality for #2 pencil wielding doodlers everywhere.

graFighters: An Online Game for Hand Drawn Characters

What is graFighters? Dave Chenell (@Dave_Chenell), co-founder of graFighters and iSchool graduate student, explains it as "an online game for doodlers that brings your drawings to life."  I couldn't have summed it up better myself. Dave and co-founder Eric Cleckner (@cleck) first had the idea to bring their characters to life during the 2009 spring semester while taking an iSchool course called Virtual Business 3.0. They were given an assignment to develop a business plan for 2025 and as Dave puts it "graFighters was one of our tamer ideas." Rather then waiting sixteen years, here they are two years later with a fully functioning, awesome product that is true to their original vision.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Keller Williams: One Man & His Twenty Digit Orchestra

See this post over at here...

Remember that kid in elementary school who was the first one to figure out that he could make a farting noise with his armpit? He was probably the same kid who was figuring our how to make strange sounds with his mouth and imitate animal calls instead of learning his multiplication tables. Keller Williams was, with almost no sliver of a doubt, that kid and he has perfected making it work to his advantage.

Although, at first appearance he seems like your regular dog and pony show of a guitarist, ultimately, the music and show he produces puts him on level of musician and showmanship that other guitarists only dream of reaching. If you closed your eyes while Williams was on stage at the Westcott this past Friday night, given the amount of music that  you were you hearing, you would have expected a full band (two guitars, bass, drummer, percussionist, horn section, and jaw harp player at the very least) to have been on stage. However, when you opened your eyes, there was Keller Williams, by himself, laying down and looping tracks with at least 6 different instruments and his vocals all in real time.

Friday, October 7, 2011

#WTBI: Exponential (Potential) Awesomeness

See this post over at UNYStartups here...

[caption id="attachment_490" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Join the discussion on Twitter at #WTBI"][/caption]

Pitches have started rolling in and ideas are making their first few steps as possible startup opportunities. Some of the ideas will make you bubble with excitement while some maybe should be buried where they currently lie. Some are off-the-wall, drop-you-on-your-head zany while others are practical, sensible, and utilitarian at heart.

What they all have in common is the paths they will ultimately take are still hidden behind the fog of the future and any and all of them have the potential to make millions or come plummeting down like a meteor from the sky. You decide.


A bike sharing service like the ones that exist in Europe specifically developed for campus communities. One would register through the school website such as MySlice & student IDs would work to unlock the bikes and identify who is using that bike at any given moment. They would also indicate and the amount of time the bike is used. There would be stations all around campus and maybe in other popular locations ( i.e. In Syracuse: Downtown, Tops area, Wescott area, etc.) There would be an App that would work alongside this system to inform students if the bike station is full.

When's Lunch?

The first couple weeks of every semester can be a hectic time. Everyone is busy learning their new schedules and finding books. Scheduling lunch with friends can be a frustrating pain. How can you easily find times/places to eat lunch with all of your friends?The solution is simple. It's called "When's Lunch?" How it works is you upload your class/work schedule to the website. The site then creates a unique profile badge symbolizing your schedule. When your friends upload their schedules, the site's algorithm compares it to yours and generates a list of available times and places where lunch between friends would be most compatible. You will be able to tweak the settings to allow for >30min, >45min, or >1hour lunches. Also, it will accounts for location, giving you the closest eateries at the top of the list & multiple friends will be compare lists to allow for group lunches.