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Twitter & Penn State

What are you doing?  One million-plus Twitter users certainly want to know.  I discovered the increasingly popular social network after I noticed a few coworkers at my summer internship using the service.  Initially, I used the service to keep in touch with them after I came back to school.  Then things got a lot more interesting.  I began to discover people from all across the Penn State community.  It turns out that fellow students, professors, alumni and even Penn State services all have Twitter accounts.

The best way to describe Twitter is that it is like Facebook status updates- but better.  Messages are limited to 140 characters at a time, which gives just enough space for short and easily digestible information.  You can use the service from your cellphone, through a web browser and through any number of mobile devices.  To further explain the simple social network, I’ll test your SAT skills with a nice analogy: Followers are to Twitter what Friends are to Facebook.  Followers are people that have elected to see your updates in real time.  The “Following” category of your account lists the Twitter users that you follow, and therefore receive their updates.  Below you will find a list containing some of my favorite Twitter users around Penn State, as well as some other members of the Twitterverse.

Penn State People

@BlueBandSteve
Naturally, you should all follow me.  Like the name suggests, I am in the Penn State Marching Blue Band and my name is most certainly Steve.  During football games, I’ll post updates via cellphone about the score/conditions of the game.  During the Rose Bowl on Jan 1, I gave updates about the pep rallies before the game, the Parade of Roses and the Rose Bowl game.  Outside of football season, I tweet links to new blogs posts and cool stories around the internet.

@shcdean and @targuman
The Dean of the Honors College here at PSU has a Twitter account.  Although the @shcdean account isn’t really active, he does post more actively on the @targuman account.

Penn State Clubs/Services/Things

@PennStateLive
This Twitter account is great to keep up with Penn State News.  Penn State Live is the official online news outlet for Penn State.  Everything from research to events are covered on this website.  Following Penn State Live on Twitter is a great way to keep up to date on all your official Penn State News.

@PalmerMuseum
The museum you always pass on the way to class (but have never been in) has a Twitter account to keep followers updated on new exhibits and events.  Sidenote: It is definitely worth it to take a trip to the museum.  It is free and pretty cool.

@sraclub
The SRA Club (Security & Risk Analysis Club) keep followers abreast about the next cool event that they are hosting.

@OnwardState
The Onward State Twitter account updates you with the latest and greatest news and events around the Penn State community.

@IST2U
The official news source for the College of IST.

Other Great Twitter People To Follow

@BarackObama
The official Twitter account of President Obama.  This account remains the most followed Twitter account to date.  Though the account was most active during the campaign, I hope the President uses Twitter in the future as an avenue of news and conversation.

@CNNBRK
CNN Breaking News posts on this Twitter account when something groundbreaking happens somewhere in the world.

@NASA
To keep up with NASA missions, follow this Twitter account.  They post pictures, videos and other info from the space program.  If you every wanted to be an astronaut (or a space shuttle), follow NASA.

@MarsScienceLab
This account represents the mission to mars in 2011.  They were scheduled to launch a few months ago, but technical difficulties prevented a launch.  As this mission explores Mars, they will update the Twitter account on the fly.  Check out @MarsPhoenix for comparison.  When they found evidence of ice/water on Mars, the people following @MarsPhoenix heard first!  Pretty cool stuff.

A Final Note

I encourage you to sign up for a Twitter account.  To sign up, click here.  It is free and really simple to do.  Start following some of the above Twitter accounts to start your experience, and before long you will have a following of your own.  Be especially sure to follow @BlueBandSteve and @OnwardState.  If you have suggestions for cool Twitter users to follow, leave a comment below and I will update this post.  If you have questions, let me know in the comments.

This post originally aired on the blog Onward State on 2-3-09.

 

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University Park By The Numbers

As a connoisseur of useless facts and information, I was pleased to find an OPP website entirely devoted to stats about the University Park campus.   I thought I might pass on some of the more interesting statistics for those of you that enjoy extraneous information.  You can find the original page here and I credit the OPP for all of this information.

Real Estate

•    Penn State UP resides on 15,984 acres of beautiful Pennsylvania land.
•    758 buildings
•    49 rental buildings
•    15.5 million square feet total
•    Worth about 1.921 billion dollars

Building Details

•    79 acres of roof
•    10,010 exterior doors
•    2,262 classrooms and laboratories
•    7,123 offices
•    300 elevators

Transportation

•    14,000 parking spaces
•    31 miles of paved roads and streets
•    23 miles of paved walkways
•    1,810 streetlights

Flora

•    11,000 trees
•    25,000 flowers planted annually

Utilities

•    50 miles of water pipes
•    2.7 million gallons of water are produced/consumed daily
•    17 miles of steam pipes
•    218 fire hydrants
•    2,091 fire extinguishers

You want one more interesting fact?  Here it is (with proof):
The Sergeant-At-Arms of the U.S. Senate has the power to arrest the President if he violates the rules of the Senate.

Note: This piece debuted on Onward State on 2-5-09.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2009 in General, Penn State Events

 

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My Trip To The Rose Bowl

I just got back from my trip to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl and I wanted to fill my readers in on how it was.  I am a member of the Penn State Marching Blue Band (herein referred to as the “Blue Band”) and the University paid for the entire Blue Band to fly out for the Rose Bowl.  Below, you’ll get a day-by-day account of my experience.  Spanning from December 28, 2008 to January 3, 2009, my trip to the Tournament of Roses was spectacular in every respect.

Sunday December 28, 2008

Members of the Blue Band had to return to State College, PA the day before we actually departed for California to get some rehearsal time in.  Since we hadn’t met as a group in 3.5 weeks or so, it was pretty important we got a good rehearsal in.  We had rehearsal at Holuba Hall (the football practice facility) at 4:00 PM and again at 7:30.  We were given the finalized itinerary for the trip and went over some guidelines for the trip during these practices.  In between rehearsals, Clem’s Barbecue catered a fantastic, if gassy dinner consisting of pulled pork, grilled chicken, mac n’ cheese and baked beans.  Many of you may not know that Clem’s Barbecue has a strong following in and around Penn State for it’s delicious food.  All I’ll say is that I went to bed that night a happy camper with a full belly.

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Posted by on January 5, 2009 in General, Penn State Events

 

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Penn State Wireless 2.0 Upgrade

A friend told me recently that Penn State has expanded it’s efforts to upgrade their wireless infrastructure. Currently, students and faculty have to suffer through the arduous process of using a Cisco VPN Client to connect securely to Wi-Fi around the campus. This new system, dubbed Wireless 2.0 merely requires your Penn State User ID and password. The next generation of Penn State Wireless infrastructure now offers access points in the following locations (taken directly from the ITS information page):

  1. Willard Building (Entire Building and outside area between Schwab and Carnegie Bldgs.)
  2. Life Sciences Building (Ground Floor-available in six General Purpose Classrooms, #9 through #14 only)
  3. Telecommunications Building (Entire Building)
  4. Thomas Building (1st and 2nd Floors, and outside plaza area between Thomas and Ritenour Bldgs.)
  5. Business Building (Entire Building and adjacent outdoor areas)
  6. Ag. Science and Industries (General Purpose Classrooms and Portions of the Ground Floor, 1st, 2nd and 4th Floors)
  7. Food Science Building (Entire Building and Creamery Outdoor Seating area)
  8. Forest Resources Building (Entire Building and adjacent outdoor areas)

Before being expanded to these new locations, the Wireless 2.0 system was being tested over on Services Road by the Blue Band Building and IM Fields. By shedding the VPN client in the new wireless infrastructure, users can expect to see far less connection issues. The time that it takes to connect to the networks has decreased dramatically- from about a minute (with the VPN) to nearly instantaneous. Even better, coverage of Wi-Fi between buildings has been improved.

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A Look at Penn State Safety and Security- Interesting Facts

A few days ago I (and all Penn State Students) received an email from the University:

Dear Penn Stater:

This information is being provided to you in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the College and University Security Information Act and the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act.  In addition to providing you with some useful information concerning safety, security and health issues, it also describes some of the programs that Penn State has developed to provide a safe and supportive learning environment.

The attached documents contain the annual security report for your campus.  This report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus, and in certain off-campus buildings owned or controlled by Penn State, as well as on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.  The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies about alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters.

You may also review this report or the report for any of Penn State’s twenty-three campuses on the Internet at http://www.psu.edu/dept/police/. Click on “Clery Crime Stats” on the left side.

I’m fairly confident this email went straight to the trash cans of many students after they read the body of the message.  What this post aims to do is to relay some information from the official safety and security report that I found interesting.  All information is taken directly from the document, which can be found here.

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Posted by on October 6, 2008 in General, Security

 

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A Note About Copyright and Information Security At Penn State

In an email from the Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson:

Dear Penn State Student:

Welcome to the start of Fall Semester 2008.

As a student at Penn State you have many resources to help protect your privacy,
your personal computer, and your good standing as a student at the University.

You will want to be sure that you have installed anti-virus and anti-spyware
software to protect your computer. Both are available at no charge at
<http://downloads.its.psu.edu/

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Posted by on September 8, 2008 in Security

 

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Future Forum 2008 Part II

Second Panel Session- Energy in the Environment

This panel session featured professionals from Exelon Corporation, the MIT Lincoln Lab and Lockheed Martin.  This was sort of a spontaneous choice for me, as I had originally planned on going to another panel session.  I figured this might be interesting considering my interest in the environment and technology.  The speakers covered a huge variety of topics which covered a mixture of tech and environmental knowledge.

Heinz Lange from Exelon Corp gave us some insight about Exelon as a company and the things they are pioneering to incorporate the green initiative into their company.  Exelon is the biggest nuclear power provider in the country- with 19 total reactors.  Nuclear energy is a terrific carbon friendly way to generate electricity.  He didn’t talk about the possible drawbacks of nuclear energy, but the turning point for most people is the fact that they represent a possible safety threat.

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