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Entries from January 1, 2008 - January 31, 2008


Introducing: The HackCollege Newswire

We like free stuff just as much as any other college student. We're going to try to do our part to give back to all college communities everywhere, especially those without Internet access. We are offering all HackCollege content for free to reprint in any college newspaper. We're calling this the HackCollege Newswire. We may not be any Associated Press or Reuters, but we love what we do and we want other people to love us too.

We also dislike institutions just as much as any other college student, so we tried to be honest with ourselves. Here's our reasoning on why we're giving our stuff away for free:

  1. HackCollege is not a money-making venture.
  2. Our content is not currently syndicated in print.
  3. It's 2008, not 1957.

We know what we're doing is weird, new and untraditional. We won't change the way people think about media (we're not that pretentious), but we might sway a few. We know what it's like to struggle for content and we want you to fill your space with quality, not house ads and irrelevant national news.

If you are on on staff for sort of college media publication, please visit the HackCollege Newswire homepage for more information. As with anything on HackCollege, if you ever have any suggestions, please email us straightaway.


Treat Yourself: Register Your Name's Domain Name

One of the best ways to control your first-page Google hits is to register a domain name under your own name. If yours isn't available, try adding your middle name as well. For example, mine is

Once you've registered your personal web page, you need to decide where to redirect it. It might be a little expensive to get buy hosting for this site if you're not going to do anything with it. Here are a few ideas on where to redirect your resume site:

  • Your LinkedIn profile

  • Your blog

  • Your Facebook/MySpace profile (be carefule about this one)
  • or
  • a random lolcatz website

So hop over to GoDaddy and register yourself.


HackCollege Podcast Episode 15: Maple Syrup

It's back to the couch with a fancy new HackCollege "product" release and some extra hilarity.

Topics this episode include:


Outside HackCollege: A Students' Reaction to the MPAA

From time to time, I write for's tech section as a junior correspondent of sorts. My most recent post, published today, is a reaction to the MPAA overestimating the effect of student piracy and the rest of the web media--in turn--hastily criticizing the MPAA. The point of my quick post is that people are looking at the wrong parts of the argument. Check it out:

"We're Not Thieves Just Cash Poor Consumers" []


Student Leaders: Implementing Twitter and Mozes for Student 2.0 Communication (Part 2: Mozes)

This is the second part of a two-part post about using mobile technology on campus. Check out yesterday's first part here.

It's the night of your campus' "battle of the bands" where the students vote on the best band. The last band plays and leaves the stage. Out come the paper ballots of 8.5x11 crudely paper-cuttered into fourths or halves. Or you'll need to rush back to your dorm room and vote online. I have just received a transmission from the years 1964 and 2002 that kindly requests their voting methods back. What your student organizers need is Mozes.

Mozes doesn't have anything to Red Seas, prophecies, or animated Disney movies but it's so awesome the only adjective suitable is "biblical." It overlaps a little with yesterday's topic of Twitter. I first saw Mozes in action at an Ignite! Seattle event last summer; their execution was flawless. You'll see why

Here We Go (Now)

Mozes is an SMS-based system that allows anyone to send texts to an address to communicate some information. The Mozes backend gives the people receiving these messages a great way to organize the hundreds of texts received. What does that mean if you don't like reading technical manuals in your spare time? With Mozes, your student organization can conduct polls and display their results in real time. Hello, 2008.

Display the results in right away. Avoid voter fraud. Reduce the amount of work for yourself. Save paper. Save trees. Save the world from mass extinction. Use Mozes.

For This Recipe You Will Need

If you're using Mozes at a live event, here's what you would need and what you would do:

  • Laptop with WiFi

  • A Projector

Configure your event before the first band starts playing. Once the bands leave the stage, fire up the projector to the event page with large directions, e.g. "Text 'EMOBAND' to 40987 to vote for EMOBAND." Once you close the poll, you have your results.

Get Jiggy With Mozes

Mozes can go much further than just a one-time battle of the bands application. Like I encouraged in yesterday's part 1, get creative. Don't forget to let us know how you've worked it in the comments.


Student Leaders: Implementing Twitter and Mozes for Student 2.0 Communication (Part 1: Twitter)

No matter which campus you're on, student leaders have a tough time motivating students to attend events. While some attendance problems may stem from oversaturation, how most events advertise themselves is very 20th century (in the worst way possible).

I wrote a post titled "On Campus, the Disruptive Facebook Flier" for the tech blog about Facebook fliers back before students' brains started ignoring the left-hand sidebar. Back when HackCollege was first starting out in late 2006, one dinky $5 flier gave us thousands of visits. Those numbers are 1/100th of that these days and people are frustrated, especially organizations already strapped for cash.

And thanks to Facebook applications and lost cell phones, very few people pay attention to events. What was once reliable, free promotion is just white noise. So what is an on-campus event promoter to do? As always, we recommend you turn to technology. This post will make the case why your associated student body, club, or secret society needs Twitter.

The Pitch

As a standalone product, Twitter is dumb. Really dumb. It's a "microblogging" tool that just wants its users to constantly answer the question "What are you doing?" Scanning through the Twitter public timeline, you'll see plenty of "I'm doing homework" or "I'm washing my car." Tell me me something: who the fuck cares?

Okay, but let's say you put this in the hands of the tech-headed student body leader. With the proper promotion and hopefully some word-of-mouth spread, you can get your campus instantly connected. Twitter allows updates to be sent out via SMS and IM, 2 of the easiest ways to get in touch with just about any student. With enough students signed up, any information could be spread around campus in a few seconds.

Implement Twitter on an event night and you've got crowd control. The second tickets go on sale or sell out, every student subscribed to the said organization's Twitter feed will know where to go and what to do. Hell, you could even offer a few free tickets held over as an incentive to get people to use this program. That should be enough to motivate students to sign up for (yet another) service.

Why Twitter?

Good question. Twitter's bare-bones approach makes it ideal. It does one thing and it does it well. You can plug it into Facebook, put in on the club's site, and subscribe to it via RSS quite easily. It's a mechanism-based messaging service, rather than a feature tacked onto a larger system. Something like Facebook mobile might be nice, but it's tougher to blast messages to all subscribers.

Twitter is boring (for me) when it comes to personal updates, but is perfect for student organizations.

Is Your School Already Using Twitter?

If your school is already using Twitter, let us know in the comments! Let us know if this post influenced you to try it our on your campus! Oh, and friend me on Twitter; I don't have many Twitter friends.

And stay tuned for tomorrow's part 2 post about using a little something called Mozes.

Jan232008's Gigantic List for Productive Students

Earlier today, posted a whopping article about software, blogs, and online tools for students today. We are pleased to be a part of the list. Check out the article and support our friends!

The Ultimate Student Resource []


HackCollege Podcast Episode 14: Back in LA

The whole team is back at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and they've found a couch. Scott's a little under the weather from his appendectomy, but still deftly operates the camera nonetheless.

Topics this episode include:

This episode's music: