Internet, Intranet, Extranet? What The F**k?

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.

Internet, Intranet, Extranet Defined

Might we delve deeper into the world of technology. The Ethernet, once ethereal now exists in every avenue of our lives.  We have heard the terms; Internet, Intranet, and Extranet.  Might do these mean to us personally and professionally? Perhaps, it is best establish a working definition for each of the platforms.  Countless experts have written on the topic, the features within the various systems, and the variance in use. Steven L. Telleen, Ph.D., Researcher and former analyst with Giga Information Group in Santa Clara, California explains the distinctions most succinctly. In The Difference Between Internet, Intranet, and Extranet Dr. Telleen writes, “Today I think of Intranets, Extranets, and the Web as collections of content. An Intranet is a set of content shared by a well-defined group within a single organization.  An Extranet is a set of content shared by a well-defined group, but one that crosses enterprise boundaries.” In an earlier observation, Telleen, stated, “The Web, in contrast, is an unlimited group.”  In his more recent characterization, that element is unchanged.  He does however, assert, “These terms may continue to evolve in meaning.”  

What is most true, and particularly evident in the Ethernet, change is a constant.

Change and Cyberspace Comes to the Corporate World

Today, in our travel through time and cyberspace, I hope you will appreciate, as I have come to; the study of electricity is analogous to the Ethernet.  Each validates the notion transformations are invisible to the human eye.  Turn a switch on or off and things happen.  Instantaneously, it would seem, if a toggle were moved in one direction the room is filled with light.  In another position, darkness pervades. An engine starts or stops.  Press the power switch on your computer, or click on your Internet browser, and the world (world-wide-web) opens up and lets you in.  We do not necessarily see what occurs; nay understand it.  Yet, our personal universe is altered.  

In commerce and cyberspace, change occurs in every moment.  Internet, Intranet, and Extranet conversions occur all around us and metamorphosis surrounds us.  Whether or not we are aware of these evolutions, the progression will affect us.  Indeed, it has.  Please consider your own corporation and communications within.  Electronic mails are ubiquitous.  Employees in your office likely scan, share, and collaborate on files.  Most companies have a website.  More have begun to acknowledge what is inescapable in modern-day societies, Facebook directs more online users than Google.

“Marketers must focus on social marketing in addition to traditional search, as customers have a multi-pronged way of finding information,” said Jeremiah Owyang, a Web strategist for the Altimeter Group, a San Mateo consulting firm with clients like Gigya. Mister Owyang went on to state, “The clear-cut channels of yesteryear are now an intricate set of connections.”  

As we all understand and live, presently, many of us “Go to Meeting” from the comfort of our homes, clothed in pajamas or jeans.  We “do lunch” at cyberspace cafés.  We talk through text or instant messages.  Colleagues in cubicles separated only by a few feet feel no need to leave their desks to make a statement, or request a file. Office workers prefer to send an electronic mail message.  

Communication through cyberspace is easier and effortless.  Yet, regardless of how we try to communicate a tone, the reader will interpret the essence through his or her own emotional reaction and respond accordingly.  Thus, the reality lives.  People relate to those they know personally, trust explicitly, and are friendly with, even if only on facebook.

This is the reason for the rise in Internet interactions.  The World-Wide-Web is a constant conversation unlike the Marketing monologue most businesses offer.  TurboTax has realized the strength of relationships off and by extension online.  This big business decided to dive more deeply into what reaps abundant dollars.

One of Gigya’s clients is financial software maker Intuit Inc. Seth Greenberg, Intuit’s director of national media and digital marketing, said the company is betting on social media to draw customers to its TurboTax Web site this year. The tax preparation program generates about $1 billion in revenue in the 10 to 15 weeks leading to April 15.

Half of TurboTax’s 20 million users are on Facebook and each has an average of 150 friends. Intuit is using social media to generate more buzz about the program through the sharing of product reviews and answers to tax preparation questions.

Greenberg coined the phrase “friend-casting” to describe how Intuit is using social media.

“We actually want our customers to be our best sales force, not us,” Greenberg said. “Enabling our 20 million-customer base to be a word-of-mouth army for us is much more interesting.”

Any of us might recognize as Mister Greenberg has: friends, family, and familiars talk. What someone we know says speaks volumes.  A recommendation, a referral, the thought that Mom, Dad, brother or sister might reject the services of a particular company because any of these individuals had a very bad experience, weighs heavily on the minds of corporate Executives.  Tycoons understand the tonnage known as brand awareness and appeal.

Weight of Brand Awareness, Brand Appeal, and the Affect in the World-Wide-Web

Moguls are mindful of the fact that each of us, in every walk of life is affected by the assessments others make.  No organization is exempt from public scrutiny.  Just as mothers and father search to find the best babysitter, our parents also model the need to evaluate a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker. Countless caregivers, before a baby begins to walk, will work to ensure that their child goes to the most celebrated school.  

An education company, a for-profit, public, or private institution must be concerned with what the customer base thinks.  Reputation is everything if a business expects to increase earnings, sustain salaries, and preserve profits.

Tycoons only need to imagine the influence of college graduates, parents, professional persons ages 35 to 54, who as of January 2009 represented a 276% growth rate amongst facebook users.  This percentage has doubled in a mere two-month period.

Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, guardians, and even we, as individuals, prepare our progeny and ourselves for the finest education.  Our careers capture our attention from the time we are first asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We wish to pursue the best and be the best from birth.  This is the reason that private schools test 4 and five year olds before an application to a prestigious program is accepted. The vast numbers who work to be Valedictorians speaks to the truth; be it for a business or a business school, a religious institution or an industry that works with private and religious school Educators, public opinions matter.

Hence, within a very short period of time, businesses, en masse, have built blogss.  Chief Executive Officers have also chosen to submit their thoughts words and muses.  Facebook and other “fun” and well-followed forums have served to expand Executives’ awareness.  Perhaps, this is why today, tycoons envision investments in Internet, Intranet, and, or Extranet applications.  Undeniably, the Industrial Revolution evolved into the Information Age and brick and mortar business have become far more mobile.  Today, we meet and greet our clientele through electronic mediums.

How did this happen?  Almost invisibly, advancements began behind closed doors.  The concept of global connectivity was first born in the August 1962.  It was not until 1972 three years after the formation of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a branch of the United States Department of Defense, that a research team successfully fashioned a computer-to-computer chat

By 1994, very little had changed with the exception of a report, entitled “Realizing The Information Future: The Internet and Beyond.” This document served as a draft for what would become the information superhighway. In April 1995, a true evolution occurred.

NSF’s privatization policy was terminated. The NSFNET Backbone was declared defunded.  Delphi followed by other commercial networks moved in.  Today, we are all connected constantly. If you doubt this, look at the numbers, as well as the reality you live.  Microsoft Corporation certainly has.

Who is online?  What do users do? How might Businesses Benefit?

A web-based company, YouTube, which in 2008 was only three years old, received 13 hours of uploaded video every minute!  Now, at the ripe old age of five, YouTube has 24 hours of video uploaded every minute!  In two short years, the number of uploads has nearly doubled.

In 2008, The Washington Post noted, “The site logs hundreds of millions of views a week.”  Can we begin to imagine how many people are online at YouTube at any given moment now that the site has grown even more popular?  Probably not.  Nor would most companies be able to comprehend the earning potential.  Nevertheless, what each of us likely know is that we have viewed a YouTube video or two.  Perchance, you saw one last evening on the news.  Indeed, you may have sent a tweet that said, “Wait until you see . . .” From January 2009 to February of the same year, in one month, Twitter grew 1382 percent!  

People of every age tweet.  Fastest Growing Demographic; women Over 55.  Men between 45 and 54 are not far behind.  Essentially, Facebook is Your Father’s (and Mother’s) Social Network. Still, neither may be your online home.

Perhaps, you are not amongst the 3 to 4 million that in 2008 used social network technology.  You may not include yourself in the later and greater groundswell of social media growth that occurred in 2009.  You possibly could not comprehend as Forrester Research reported in the Fall of that year, Number of Social Networking Users Has Doubled Since 2007.  

Indeed, this veracity has inspired Microsoft to integrate Social Media into its latest release.  In February 2010, banner headlines read, Microsoft adds social networking to Outlook.

The mammoth technology company has read the reports.  Microsoft moguls have acknowledged, businesses must think Tribalization.  They have tried and failed time and time again,  However, Microsoft has finally concluded they must fuse, or infuse the future into their business model.  Observers are reminded of the past; Microsoft came late to the Internet party.

Perhaps, you too, or your company’s Executives, might wish to evaluate the evidence Microsoft moguls appraised.  You may choose to be amongst the movers and shakers such as Bill Gates, who admittedly, ultimately realized, in what might have been one of those moments of verbalized frustration; it is wise to examine the energy that is electricity and the Ethernet.  

People-centricity, which more recently has become Microsoft’s mission, seems to have been born out of a recognition followed by abundant research.  President Gates’ insight might have been as my own.  Upon further investigation into Internet, Intranet, and Extranet applications, I had to acknowledge that one or each of these platforms are popular, preferable, and even, surprisingly, profitable.  After a quick scan of the statistics Microsoft’s most senior Chief Executive could have concluded as I did in an earlier time.  the question I most needed to ask was “What the F**K is Social Media?”

The answer, I believe lies in what was before and Only “One Year Later.” The Ethernet is electric.  To be effective, any Internet, Intranet, and Extranet system must honor the veracity visible in the numbers.  Please ponder the presentations.

Please stay tuned, or tune in again.  The next treatise on this topic will further examine the once unimaginable.  The Ethernet, just as electricity, is the essential element that moves modern-day civilizations, commerce and citizens worldwide.

References for Internet, Intranet, Extranet realities . . .

Teaching Tools and Technology; Students Learn With Laptops

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

As a child, I did not fear technology.  There was none worth mentioning.  Unlike today, when many children are computer literate, and school labs are filled with machines that allow pupils to connect to the world-wide-web, when I was young there was nothing.  Calculators were cool.  However, schools did not routinely furnish these.  Today, teaching tools are abundant.  Still, rarely does a District supply the equipment students might need to truly excel.  Certainly if they do, the child is not given the option to take the learning instrument home, until now.

Helping pupils achieve is our stated objective.  However, we are unwilling to do all that we might to accomplish this goal.  American schools on balance are average.  Perhaps, this is changing at least in some regions.

Students to get laptops in high-tech push
Hacienda La Puente school district will supply computers to those in 5th, 7th and 9th grades. 
Teachers also will get training.
By Adrian G. Uribarri,
Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2007

Some days, eighth-grader Luis Antonio Bonola skips lunch to type his assignments in the school’s computer lab.  Other days, he asks permission to skip class to use the lab.

Luis, 14, must use the computers at Sierra Vista Middle School because his parents can’t afford to buy one, he said.

“It’s hard because I can’t do the reports,” Luis said.  “Sometimes my teachers won’t let me go to the computer lab because I might miss the lessons.”

Soon, he won’t need to ask.  In August, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District will supply its fifth-, seventh-, and ninth-graders with new Dell laptops.  It’s part of a plan to give computers to more than 17,000 district students by 2013.  The program will cost the district about $1,000 for each computer.

“We’re trying to prepare our students for this world of global competition and online socialization,” said Michael Droe, the district’s chief technology officer.  “But how do you do that if they don’t have access to the technology?  The intuitive thing is, you need to provide it.”

I think this is wonderful.  When I was a child, I feared falling on my way to or from class.  I was not clumsy; nor was I an anxious child.  I was a stuffer.  I would do my class work and my homework.  I was a diligent student; however, I was not an organized person.  Notebooks with divider were nice.  I looked longingly at these each summer in the store.  My parents would purchase spirals and three-rings for me before school began.  They bought pencil cases too.  Of course, I had color dividers.  I would label these, one for English, History, Social Science, and Math.  I had all the supplies and pupil would want.  I just did not use these.

Every Autumn I would start the term with the best intentions.  I would look admirable at my classmates as they neatly placed their papers into the proper, folder, or file.  If I ever did that, I do not recall.  I do not remember a time when I was methodical in saving my pages of work. 

When projects were due, I did not need to say the treaded words “My dog ate it.”  Indeed, I never did utter that phrase.  I have remarkable stamina.  I am disciplined, to say the least.  I am persistent; I forever persevere.  Auspiciously, I have an excellent memory.  This is perhaps why keeping a calendar never made sense to me.  If I write a thought down, I forget it.  I remember dates easily.  I know when my class work must be turned in.  I also had a sense of where my coursework might be.  If I tucked my Math paper into my book, it was likely placed on the same page as the actual assignment.

Nonetheless, as much as one might say I had a method, as mad as it was.  In practice, it was a poor one.  If my book fell from my hands, or was pushed off my desk, I was in trouble.  I could go an entire year without cleaning out the pages stuffed into my text.  Even as an adult student, I did not improve.  My filing system remained the same.

Then it happened.  I was completing my Professional Clear Teaching Credential.  I was enrolled in a graduate program, when the rules changed.  I was told retroactively I would have to learn how to integrate computers into a classroom curriculum.  I was required to register for a class.  It was mandatory that I pass this program.  Stellar grades and mastery were the expectation.

By that time, I was old enough to have developed deeply rooted habits.  Technology was not part of my repertoire; nor did I want it to be.  I did everything I could to have this stipulation waved.  The Teacher Credential State Board was contacted.  The University heard my plea.  I entered into negotiations with every District and the Department of Education received my wrath.  Nothing changed.  The requisite remained.  I must meet the obligation.  Oh, and it was a duty.  The thought alone taxed my mind.  Technology, yiccih!

Interestingly enough, learning how to use a computer was the best thing that ever occurred in my life.  I am now extremely organized.  This is true when I am on the machine and off.  What I did on screen I now do in every aspect of my life.  I evolved.  That is the intent behind this new program.  Pupils and their teachers are being prepared to enter into the Information Age.

“It’s been an evolutionary conversation about how they can better prepare their students for the 21st century,” said Karen Bruett, director of Dell’s public-sector education and community initiatives. “We try to play the role of an integrator.”

Teachers, too, will play that role because the program pushes them to integrate curricula with technology. Hacienda La Puente is giving its teachers, who also will receive laptops, 80 hours of training.

“Our conventional way of teaching has to change,” said Mark Shin, a science teacher at Wilson High School. “That’s a hard thing for some teachers to swallow because we try very hard to plan.”

My own experience illustrates that truth.  Instructors that I know are still reluctant to use technology.  Electronic mail has crept into the consciousness of those that still shy away from computers.  Nevertheless, much of the marvels that technology brings are avoided.  Excuses are made, justifications to forego the benefits are offered.

The laptop programs around the country have had mixed results. As some school districts adopt them, others are dropping theirs because students abuse the computers or become distracted with them during class. Also, some educators are unconvinced that more computer access equates to higher academic achievement.

Teaching in a school with astonishing access and few restrictions to information I witnessed student engaged.  Any of the young persons could have been labeled as webmasters.  A few taught me maneuvers that were helpful in my work and in my personal endeavors.  It is my experience that when students are distracted, the machine is not what mesmerizes them.  Any point of interest is preferred when a lesson does engage a pupil.  Young persons have a desire to learn.  Educators must determine how to fulfill that innate need.

“A teacher who is attempting to teach, without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron.”
~ Horace Mann [The Father of American Education – 1796-1859]

“If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in the way the child learns”
~ Rita Dunn [Professor, Division of Administration and Instructional Leadership]

Granted, at times, no matter the curriculum, life hands a child lessons that diminish concentration.  I contend, if instructors and administrators accepted that a child is not a void to fill but a whole person, we might be able to reach those lost in the space of a paralyzing home life.  Computers, I believe give learners an equal chance to succeed, one those of lesser means might not have without assistance.

Past efforts have raised concerns about equal access. In 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California pressed the Fullerton School District to adopt a borrowing policy for parents who couldn’t afford to buy computers under its Laptops for Learning program.

At Hacienda La Puente, the laptops will be available free to all students. Those who attend class 95% of the time and whose parents sign an agreement also will be able to take them home, keep them over summer vacations and sign up for high-speed Internet access, also paid by the district. After four years of use, students can take ownership of the computers if a parent attends a $35 training course.

Shin, whose ninth-graders will be among those receiving laptops, said the program will help students who don’t have computers at home and are forced to go elsewhere for access.

“They have to struggle so much harder to complete an assignment than anyone else,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s impossible, but maybe they’re feeling, well, other people can do it at home. Why can’t I?”

Children compare themselves to others.  Adults do too.  As a young girl, I wanted to be organized.  I really did.  As I aged, I continued to crave a system for neatly storing information and accessing it later.  I needed a tool to help teach me, or more accurately, a motivator to assist me in teaching myself. 

You dear reader may say I was given a notebook and dividers.  Therefore, I had the device that could have changed my life.  Oh, were it so.  A binder does not allow a learner to produce a project; it does not provide the capability to create.  A folder does not help me compose or construct.  It cannot sing to me, speak to me, nor does it touch all my senses as a computer does.

I cannot draw, paint, make music, or write well with a folder in hand.  Indeed, if that had been possible I would not have had teachers mark my papers with a large red “F” and a comment saying, “Illegible. Do over.”  For me, rewriting a project did not necessarily improve the response.

The task was time consuming and draining.  I tired, thus lessening the quality of the text.  Although I long ago decided to print every word, in each and every document submitted for a grade, my block lettering is no easier to decipher than my script.

Life is challenging enough for a disadvantaged child, and we all are in some ways.  Even those that have all that they supposedly need struggle to connect to information in a meaningful way.  Those that cannot afford even the most minuscule of teaching aids truly fight for success.  The trials and tribulations of the impoverished are great.  Without quality tools they may never achieve.

If we, the teachers can provide an interactive instrument, one that speaks to the audio learner, provides text for those that acquire information visually, and stimulates the kinesthetic mind to act, oh what a wonderful world that would be.

If as educators we embraced this technology ourselves, imagine the lessons we would learn as we teach.
We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own
~ Ben Sweetland [Author]

Reference . . .

  • Students to get laptops in high-tech push By Adrian G. Uribarri,  Los Angeles Times July 9, 2007