Information; Renaissance or Revolution? defines Renaissance as “the activity, spirit, or time of the great revival of art, literature, and learning in Europe beginning in the 14th century and extending to the 17th century, marking the transition from the medieval to the modern world.[1]” The Renaissance lasted for a couple centuries, shaping what has come to be known as the modern world. Great artists and thinkers helped transform a brutal age, into an enlightened one. The effects of the Renaissance radiated through Europe, creating major shifts in art, science, music, religion, and humanism[2].

Revolution is defined as “a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.[3]” I’m not sure that the increase in the flow of information has been sudden and accompanied by violence, but I think that the sudden transmission of information has created a world where sudden and violent change is more readily possible.

The invention of the printing press gave birth to the Information Age. Never before had humans been able to spread information as far and as easily as they could with the printing press. Previous information had to be hand written or copied before it could be handed down or distributed, all at great costs and limited to those with the resources and power[4]. The printing press was the start of the Information Renaissance.

As the technology of the printing press continued to evolve and the means to which humans could communicate to one another, information began to flow faster and further. Today, the Internet has thrown the Information Renaissance into a full-blown revolution! No longer does the information have to be printed in a physical form, with computers and electronics, it can be instantly transmitted across the globe. No longer would it take days or weeks for information to trickle down and no longer would the power of information be controlled by large governments or corporations. Information has now truly become property of the people. There are parts of the world where governments still take great pains to control the flow of information amongst the people, but information always seems to find people who are looking for it.

The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools, but it’s also become one of the biggest liabilities. Information can flow freely in cyberspace, but cyberspace has limited ways of making sure that the information that flows freely through its veins is accurate, correct, and free of trickery. Misinformation flows just as freely as information, increasing the need for humans to be able to understand the difference between the two.


[1] The definition of Renaissance. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from

[2] Renaissance. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from

[3] The definition of revolution. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from

[4] The Printing Press. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from

Drones: Hype or Here to Stay?

In today’s high tech world, drones are becoming common place in a growing number of private sector markets, no longer limited to only the world’s most advanced military. As computer and electronic technology continue to become more powerful and become cheaper, more private companies are able to access and afford the technology to develop drones for private use. Some of the area where I have found innovation taking place in the development of drones are: security and surveillance, industrial and infrastructure inspection, shipping and delivery, precision agriculture, mining, search, rescue, and disaster management, and storm tracking and forecasting.

The first thing that people think of when they think of drones, is the military. The military has been developing drones for use in warfare for years and have some of the most advanced drones in the world. They use drones to spy on the enemy, intercept enemy communications, and more recently, they are using drones to deliver munitions to enemy targets. Because of the varying missions they are being designed for, the size and costs of military drones also vary. Some drones are small, man-portable units that are controlled by the soldier in the field to gather intelligence on the enemy. These drones are more similar to the drones that are available in the private market. For long-range missions, the military has developed large drones, the size of a full-sized aircraft, which are controlled from continents away that can deliver a wide range of munitions or long-range surveillance equipment[1]. Due to the high level of sophistication and costs, large drones are not see an often in the private sector.

Security and Surveillance

As I mentioned above, some of the first uses of drones in military operations were to gather surveillance on the enemy and this is one of the first private-sector uses of drones that I was able to find. Private companies are developing drones that are similar to military drones and marketing them to law enforcement and other government agencies to use as a means to gather intelligence from the air. Larger government agencies and police departments have been using helicopters for years, but the expense of owning, operating, maintaining, and staffing a helicopter is something that limits their use by large amounts of law enforcement agencies. The advantage of using drones over helicopters is primarily costs. Drones are allowing even the smallest of law enforcement agencies to gain access to aerial imagery that may provide vital intelligence for situations that may arise in today’s world. The downside of using drones over helicopters is the limited range that smaller drones can operate. Helicopters are able to remain in the air longer and quickly react to situations that may arise on the other side of the city.[2]

The recent increase in terrorist activities taking place across the world are also driving the use of drones in the security and surveillance market. Governments around the globe are spending more money and putting more resources behind the use of drones for law enforcement agencies.[3]


Utility providers have also used helicopters for a long time to inspect their electric lines, and gas and oil pipelines. Power lines and pipelines are often placed in very remote locations and cover large distances, making it difficult for inspectors to access them on the ground. Historically, these companies would contract an external firm to provide aerial inspections, but drones are changing the way these companies are going about doing their inspections. Again, the cost savings of using drones over helicopters is the biggest advantage. Another advantage of using drones is the fact that they are autonomously operated and are able to function closer to dangerous locations where companies are not having to take the risk of having a person placed in harm’s way. A drone is able to get much closer to a high-voltage power line to provide inspectors a closer look at the lines and towers. The smaller size of a drone also has the advantage of being able to get into tighter spaces where a helicopter can’t go.[4]

The Global Positioning System (GPS) has also advanced to the point where even the smallest of drones are equipped with GPS sensors. Another advantage of using drones for inspection is that they can track the drones exact location in real-time. The drones can also be programmed to automatically follow GPS way points to make the long inspection process quicker.

Shipping and Delivery

Similar to a large military, larger corporations are providing a lot of the drive for the development of drones in the public sector. Amazon is one of the companies that is driving this development with the goal of delivering their goods directly to a customer’s door by use of drones. Currently, Amazon has to rely on the current postal service infrastructure that they do not control to deliver their products. Having their own door-to-door delivery system would be a huge advantage to Amazon, reducing their reliance on other organizations. Having their own delivery system would also reduce the time it would take customers to receive their purchases, increasing the demand for Amazon’s services and increasing Amazon’s market share in the retail market.

Because of the high-profile nature of Amazon’s development of a drone-delivery system, they are increasing the visibility of the need for regulations on the drone market. Currently, drones are being used in a very limited roll and are not as visible to the average citizen, but if drones are going to be delivering packages to your neighborhood, the flight paths of drones are going to have to be limited to reduce the chance of clouding the airspace. This brings up one of the biggest downsides of developing drones from the private sector and that’s the fact that changes in the law could have and instant and devastating effects. Laws are being passed already that are requiring registration for drones and placing a growing number of restrictions on their use. There is a large risk that a company will invest large amounts of time and resources to a technology that could be totally restricted to the point where it would not be profitable.

Precision Agriculture

In an article written by Christopher Doering that was published in USA Today online, ”drones are quickly moving from the battlefield to the farmer’s field — on the verge of helping growers oversee millions of acres throughout rural America and saving them big money in the process.” Currently, farmers are having to rely on satellite technology, aircraft, and physically walking their fields to find signs of insect problems and watering issues that can affect crop yields. A drone will be able to save them a large amount of money and save them substantial amounts of time. Drones will also allow farmers to tailor their use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers based on the needs at a specific point in a field that the drones will be able to constantly inspect. The possible use of drones in agriculture lead the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International to predicts that “80% of the commercial market for drones will eventually be for agricultural uses.”[5]


Mining is also an industry that is looking to use the services if unmanned drones to save costs. Along with using aerial drones to inspect the outside of a mine, companies are starting to use tracked drones to descend into mines where it has become too dangerous to send a person. Having a drone lost to a cave-in is by far cheaper than having to organize an entire rescue operation, and drones don’t have a family that will miss them either. Drones are also a good fit because they are able to collect mapping and condition data that can be further used to plan out the mining operation.[6]

Search and Rescue and Disaster Management

With recent natural and man-made disasters, companies are starting to make drones to aid in the search and rescue of victims and to be used as tools for disaster recovery workers. Usually when a disaster happens, helicopters and aircraft are flown in to help search for and rescue people affected by the disaster, but that takes time to organize the response and it takes a large amount of resources to make it happen. Having smaller, cheaper, and easier to use drones that can use video camera and sensors to locate victims is a faster and cost effective solution. Along with the smaller size and price, more cities and government agencies will have access to drones and this will drastically reduce the time it takes to deploy them in the field. Along with the search and rescue function, drones will also be able to monitor the conditions, helping officials make quicker and more informed decisions on how to react to changes in the situation.[7]

Similar to the use of drones in mining, drones can go where people just simply can’t go and that was the case in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan. Drones where able to reach places that were not safe for humans to go so vital data could be collected to help officials access the situation. [8]

Storm Tracking and Forecasting

It’s hard to determine if this is a private sector opportunity for drones when a lot of the storm tracking is done by the government and the military. Some of the drones used for this task are drones that have been handed down from military use to NASA, such as the Global Hawk.[9] The cost to operate these drones is actually high compared to the smaller, private drones, but the biggest advantage to their use is their ability to get into the eye of a storm without having to risk the safety of a pilot and the larger expense of operating a larger, manned aircraft. The unmanned drones used by NASA are still large enough to carry a wide range of sensors to collect and transmit critical date back to the forecasters on the ground so that proper steps can be taken to minimize the effects of acclimate weather.


Drones are starting to be used in more and more different arenas in the private sector and that trend does not seem to be changing. People are seeing them more and more and more people are taking an interest in experimenting with their usage. For now, the average person that is interacting with a drone is for recreation as a hobby, but as companies continue to develop drone technology as a tool for productivity, more companies will start using drones to perform vital business duties. Drones are a cheap alternative to much more expensive manned aircraft and because of the low costs, more and more jobs are evolving into unmanned jobs. The biggest threat to drones, are laws. As mentioned before, laws that restrict the usage of drones could instantly turn a new, thriving business endeavor into an extinct one.

[1] Weinberger, S. (2014). The ultra-lethal drones of the future. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[2] Bond, M. (June 5, 2014). MultiBrief: Law enforcement experimenting with surveillance drones. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[3] UAV for civil security: Police drones, traffic control, monitoring, etc. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[4] UAV inspection for the Power and Utility industries. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[5] Doering, C. (2014). Growing use of drones poised to transform agriculture. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[6] 10 Incredibly interesting uses for Drones – Drone Buff. (2016). Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[7] Search & Rescue: UAVs / drones for fire service, monitoring etc. (n.d.). Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[8] Woollaston, V. (2014). Fukushima, the aftermath: Eerie drone footage reveals the apocalyptic wasteland of Japan’s abandoned east coast. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

[9] Richardson, B. (n.d.). Drones could revolutionize weather forecasts, but must overcome safety concerns. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from

Lights Out………and Everything Else Follows…..

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to people that everything is being controlled through the Internet. As IoT devices become common place and US citizens become ever more dependent on their smart phones and the Internet, it should become clear that even the huge things in our society are being controlled over the internet. What might not be as clear, the fact that one piece going down will have a domino effect on the rest of the system that we rely on.

It’s obvious that we are a society that runs on electricity. The entire country has become very dependent on power, without it, everything we have built will come to a grinding halt. Power goes down, communications end, Dr. Kovac won’t be able to get his Facebook messages, stores won’t be able to get shipments, and it won’t be long before people take to the streets.

One of the key points that Ted Koppel makes in the book is that we need to build security into our plans, not just add security after the fact. Keeping our networks secure should be the first thoughts into building a network. If the network is not secure, nothing on that network is secure. He also points out that no network is going to be totally safe and the amount of attacks and attackers is only going to increase, and so should the security measures.  If we don’t start to focus on network security, we are going to find ourselves sitting in the dark……

Cloud Computing Overview

What is the Cloud?

Simply put, the cloud is a network of servers accessible through the internet. This means that to access the cloud, all you need is a computer that is connected to the internet. The network of servers that you are connecting to is handling running the applications, storing the data, and providing the necessary infrastructure for everything to work and connect. This is the biggest advantage of moving to the cloud: our clients do not have to invest large amounts of time and resources (money) on building, managing, and servicing their own network and server infrastructure. Partnering with a cloud provider will allow our clients to focus less on the physical IT side, and more on their products and services. [1]I will highlight more advantages and highlight some of the potential weaknesses of the cloud later, but first, let me bring you up to speed on the basic services of the cloud.

Software as a service (SaaS): This is where applications are hosted and ran on the cloud infrastructure and accessed through the intent. Think of Google Drive, Salesforce, and other CRM clients. Advantages: 1.) Reduces the time it takes for users to install and configure the application on a local servers and individual access points by having the install and configurations set on a single cloud-based server, also decreasing deployment time. It also allows for new releases of software to quickly become available for customers to use by removing the need for customers and clients to download and install new releases. 2.) SaaS reduces costs by reducing hardware and maintenance costs and by allowing smaller and medium sized businesses to access software for a much lower licensing fee. 3.) Cloud-base software has high scalability where features and services can be quickly added or removed based on current needs and requirements of the customers and clients.[2]

Platform as a service (PaaS): This is where the cloud provide delivers hardware and software tools that are needed for the development of the applications as part of their service. Advantages: 1.) PaaS reduces the need and costs of having in-house hardware and software development tools. 2.) It also reduces the need for additional hardware and software required to provide operating systems, middleware (such as databases and servers), and security tools. 3.) PaaS provides quicker application performance monitoring (APM) so our clients can access user data more quickly, allowing better customer responsiveness.[3]

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): This is where compute resources are hosted on the cloud and provided on demand though the internet by our clients. Our clients are able to make adjustments and monitor their cloud-based infrastructure through a Web-based graphical user interface that serves as an IT operations management console for the overall network.[4] Advantages: 1.) Reduced costs to provide upkeep, ensure uptime, and maintain and upgrade hardware in an in-house network. It also reduces the cost of having too much infrastructure that is not needed 2.) It’s a completely scalable and flexible solution to infrastructure demands of our clients and their customers to quickly allow the change in size as demand increases and decreases. 3.) It’s a cost effect way of preparing for disaster recovery. If a disaster strikes out client’s facility, internet access is all that will be needed for our clients to reconnect to their infrastructure and data that is stored remotely and, in most cases, different physical locations.[5]

Advantages of Cloud-based Service.

There are several large advantages for our client to migrate to the cloud, so of which were covered in the details above, but let me summarized them here.

  1. Cost Savings: There are many ways in which the cloud can save our clients on time, resources and capital, the largest being removing the need for a large in-house network infrastructure. The client will also need fewer employees to manage their infrastructure and create, develop, and test applications that their customers are using to access their goods and services. Our client will also have fewer resources sunk into preparing for disaster recovery and business continuity in the case of worst-case scenarios.
  2. Flexibility and Scalability: The cloud allows our clients to quickly increase or decrease their infrastructure and software to better meet the demands of their customers. It’s also possible for our clients to make faster changes to the services they are offering and the cloud decreases the amount of time it takes for our clients to rollout these new changes to their customers, increasing their customer responsiveness. Scalability is tied directly to the pay-as-you-go model so our clients will only be paying for the services their customers are using, saving on resources that are not being utilized.
  3. Reliability: Along with being more cost effective, cloud-managed services are more reliable than in-house IT infrastructure. Most cloud providers offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which guarantee 24/7/365 and 99.99% availability that would normal cost our client’s large amounts of staff, resources, and time to meet the same requirements with their own, private networks. Along with providing reliability, cloud providers offer a high level of redundancy that would also cost our clients large amounts of resources. If one of the cloud-based servers goes down, our client’s data is accessed from a different server, drastically reducing downtime.[6]
  4. Manageability: Cloud-based services provide our client with web-based management tools so they can quickly make changes to their products remotely. There is no need for any of the tools or applications to be installed locally, reducing the demand on their IT staff. Again, this will all depend on the SLA negotiated with the chosen cloud provider.

Disadvantages of Cloud-based Services.

Along with the many advantages of the cloud, come some disadvantages. Many of the disadvantages of the cloud are also disadvantages of having an in-house IT infrastructure as well. Here are the disadvantages that I’ve found:

  1. Downtime: Having everything moved to the cloud drastically increases our client’s dependency on a constant connection to the internet. It also increases the amount of fail points where internet connections can be lost. Depending on where the cloud provider is storing our client’s data, there can be an increased amount of hardware that could fail, causing more downtime. Guiding our client in their selection of a quality cloud provider and negotiating SLAs will help mitigate this risk.
  2. Security and Privacy: This is the big one. Our clients will trust their data to an outside company. This means that not only is there a threat that someone might hack into their system, but it also means that there is a risk that someone inside their company might gain access to their data. There are ways to mitigate this risk on both our client’s side and the cloud provider’s side. [7]Again, a lot will come down to the SLAs and the trustworthiness of the provider, but these are risks that our client will also have with having an in-house solution, but in the case of using the cloud, providers are a better cost effective solution to combating data breeches. Managing data is the largest part of their business and they will have a better trained staff to handle the security threat. Where would you rather keep your money, in your house where you provide all the security, or in a bank where they have a much stronger and more secure facility?
  3. Vulnerability to Attack: In the analogy above, a bank would be a more secure location, but it is also a location that bad guys know will have what they are after. The cloud is similar and the cloud does increase the number or access points and vulnerable locations where a bad guy could get in, but again, security is going to be the bread and butter of what a cloud provider is doing. Having our client include us in the selection process for a cloud provider will be one of the best ways to insure our clients that they are making the best decision on migrating to the cloud.[8]
  4. Limited Control: Cloud provides are not going to be able to provide every single service that our client may be interested in. If hour client has an in-house system, they are going to be virtually limitless on the kinds of services they are going to be able to prove, but that limitless comes with a price. This is another talking point to have between our client and potential cloud providers.[9]

[1] Fee, J. (2013, August 26). The Beginner’s Guide to the Cloud. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[2] Sylos, M. (2013, September 18). Top five advantages of software as a service (SaaS) – Cloud computing news. Retrieved November 9, 2016, from

[3] Rouse, M. (2015, January). Platform as a Service (PaaS). Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[4] IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service – Gartner IT Glossary. (2014). Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[5] StateTechStaff. (2014, March 14). 5 Important Benefits of Infrastructure as a Service. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[6] Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing | LevelCloud. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[7] Seshachala, S. (2015, March 17). Disadvantages of Cloud Computing | Cloud Academy. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[8] Lukan, D. (2014, November 21). The top cloud computing threats and vulnerabilities in an enterprise environment. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

[9] Seshachala, S. (2015, March 17). Disadvantages of Cloud Computing | Cloud Academy. Retrieved November 10, 2016, from

Undergrad is to Masters as Masters is to CICS

As Dr. Gillette has said in class, “high school is to undergrad as undergrad is to a masters.” I would like to add a little bit to that: undergrad is to a masters, as a masters is to a masters in CICS.

I won’t say that CICS is the greatest Master’s program in the nation; I simply don’t have that level of expertise on the subject. I do have a previous Master’s degree from Ball State and I CAN say that the CICS degree ranks well above my previous program. The level at which the CICS program prepares graduates for success in the work place I believe is unparalleled here at the University. Just yesterday I had a professor in the Marketing department tell me that he believed that the CICS program is the best Master’s program here at Ball State.

I understand that different programs have different focuses on what they are expecting from their graduates, but CICS puts a large focus on preparing graduates for professional success. They have built a large network of connected alumni, evident from the amount of interests that employers show when it comes to hiring new graduates. I feel that my previous Master’s degree dropped the ball when it came to connecting graduates with prospective employers. I was in the second cohort to take the Digital Storytelling program and I’m sure that the program has improved in that department based on what I’ve heard from more recent graduates.

The Center’s focus on its core values also adds value to the degree that graduates earn. Creativity, Integrity, Communication, and Service are values that not only apply to the work done in the Center, but to all the work we will do in our professional lives. Employers are going to want employees that can creatively problem solve, take great pride in their work and conduct themselves responsibly with professionalism, value communication and understand it’s key role in our work, and employees that feel that giving back by adding value to the community.

I can’t speak for all the programs throughout the United States, but the focus of the Center to create leaders with professional competency and integrity puts this degree above the majority of other degrees from other programs around the country. The Center helps graduates learn these values by immersing candidates in an intensive and group-oriented curriculum that intensifies and pressurizes the learning environment. All diamonds are created under great amounts of pressure.

Stealing Science

We have all been taught throughout our extensive schooling that cheating is bad, horrible, unacceptable, possibly the worst act you could commit as a student. The penalty for cheating would be the most severe. Turning in the worst paper in the class would yield you more points than the person who got caught cheating. Cheaters would be called out, singled out, made an example of. You DIDN’T want to get caught cheating, you didn’t even want to think about taking the risk with a penalty that severe. Cheating could be a penalty that could possibly bring your educational endeavors to a sudden end.

Plagiarism: the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own (Google, 2016)

How does plagiarism play into cheating? I have always been taught that is synonymous with cheating. The origins of the word come from Latin word plagiarius, meaning kidnapper. This means that plagiarizing work is the same as kidnapping it, and we all know that kidnapping is a crime that also has the severest of punishments when caught. The value of one’s work or ideas has always been regarded to the level in which people value their own children. Work and ideas is what everything is built on, without the ability to protect these invaluable things, there would be no way to secure one’s future. What value would work and ideas have if there was no way to secure its ownership.

Plagiarism in science is not always as black and white as it might sound. If a scientist is working on an idea and runs into problems, is it wrong for another scientist to take over, introducing their own ideas? At what point does one person’s work become the work of another? To what degree do scientists need to cite previous work done by others? At what point does a scientist have the right to step in and claim plagiarism? What proves that an idea was the original work of a particular scientist? Would progress in science ever be made if people were not able to pull from other’s work? See, not so black and white.

History has many examples of instance of plagiarism that have had influences on the answers to the questions I’ve asked above. I’m curious how the idea of power and control influence the perception of plagiarism. At the end of World War 2, all the members of the Allied powers kidnapped as much of the research and development that the Germans had done in their advancement of their tools of war. Designs, prototypes, fully functional weapons, and even the scientists themselves were taken. Were these examples of plagiarism? Were the originators of these ideas given full credit for their work? Or did the perception of power influence peoples’ judgement of right and wrong?

Hitler himself coined the term assault rifle when he was shown the prototype of what was to become the world’s first intermediate caliber automatic rifle named the Sturmgewehr (German for storm rifle, as in, storm or assault the castle). A weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov took inspiration from captured German Sturmgewehrs when he designed his rifle that began trials in 1947, becoming the infamous AK-47, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, or automatic Kalasnikov, bearing his name and the year of introduction. Over 75 million AK-47s, and variants, have been produced and have seen, and will continue to see service across the globe in hundreds of countries. Even the flag of Mozambique has the outline of an AK47 on it. There are arguments out there that claim that the AK47 was an instance of plagiarism.

There are many more examples of technologies stolen from the Germans that have had huge impacts on the world. Things like the jet engine, moon landings, and nuclear weapons and energy might not have been possible without the possible plagiarizing of Nazi Germany.