Carpe & Helpme: A Survey

There are at least 258 public mailing lists serviced by Olin’s Mailman system. Included in this vast number of lists for a student body of under 400 is everything from classes to clubs, politics to Pokémon. Yet, a huge portion of the students’ inboxes are taken by just two mailing lists: carpediem and helpme. Given these lists’ powerful place in our daily lives, a survey was sent out in June to subscribers of these lists in an attempt to define public opinion and guidelines about them, and our email system in general.

The quantitative portion of the survey, where respondants rated their agreement with statements on a scale of 1 to 10, seemed to show that users were dissatisfied with the existing use of carpediem and helpme. Although they sometimes felt like they could not contribute to the lists, almost all users felt invested in the lists’ success. The sheer number of emails was percieved to be too much across the board. Despite these feelings and apparent mood of annoyance, most respondents thought that emails should be sent to the lists that currently receive them.

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Shibboleth

I have watched human facsimiles
wither and fade with the passing of the hours Seen glittering neon how-do-you-do’s fade like news past its years and yellow like that great amorphous mist

Watched myself, the perpetual vinyl
turning, turning, turning to a stop
With all the click and clacks and scratches and screams of an honest and proper player

Felt the gurgling-churning of the yet-to-be and watched the horizon before itself floating over and past the glitzy Hasidics.

Known the weniger-mensch in its rise
and grasped the undertow as it did the same Contemplating freeform in a spiral of time Floating under and over and through, though never really breaking, and always truly bound

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Tips From Customer Service

This past summer, I had an internship with Shareaholic – a small (less than 10 person) startup that provides a free app you can add to your blog. The app allows viewers to share a webpage to many different social media services across the globe and provides the viewer with recommendations for other pages on the website they might also join. About 1 month after I started, Shareaholic released an “upgrade” of this app in their Word Press plugin.

You all know the burning wrath of change. Innocent people are suddenly swept into a raging panic. Where did their app go? How were they supposed to edit things? Why was nothing working? Why did we ruin a perfectly good plugin?!?! So when the customer service inbox shot from 20 to 200 emails in just one night, Shareaholic stuck me on customer support duty. For two months.
Imagine answering emails for 7-8 straight hours per day from people all over the world. I have never met them before, nor will I likely ever come in contact with them again. Some speak English, some barely speak English, some send you emails in their native language, requiring “Google translate” before I can continue.

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Updates from the Illustrious SERV Board

Welcome back, everyone! The SERV board is incredibly excited for another great year as we support, encourage and recognize volunteerism, in case you forgot where the acronym comes from. Beginning this semester, we will be publishing an article in Frankly Speaking each month to keep you better informed about our accomplishments and upcoming events.

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A Candid Conversation with Jialiya Huang

A Candid Conversation with Jialiya Huang about hardware development, working with co-founders, and what it feels like to get a company off the ground.

sept2013_tesselJialiya Huang, class of 2013.5, founded Technical Machine with Tim Ryan, class of ‘13.5, and Jon McKay, class of ’13, this summer. The company launched Tessel, their first product on September 5th, and is both thrilled and innervated by all the interest the Tessel has received already on Hacker News, Hackaday, and Japanese Slashdot.
Full disclosure, I’m working for Technical Machine too– mostly on press and marketing at the moment. But it was still a great opportunity to speak with Jialiya at length about the future of hardware development and her personal goals in starting a company.

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Try a Club, Find a Passion

Larger universities throughout the country have more clubs than Olin has students – UCLA clocks in at more than eight hundred clubs, while Harvard boasts about four hundred. Finding a way to test out all of those clubs would be a daunting task to any student.

Olin is different because you can try out nearly all of the clubs if you want to! (However, you would be crazy to be in them all.)

At the beginning of each academic year, the upperclassmen show off their favorite clubs during Club Fair, so that all students (new and returning) have the chance to see what each has to offer. It might remind you of Candidates’ Weekend, only this time the weather will be better and you can actually join the clubs. There are dozens of student clubs to see there, from long-standing clubs like Olin Fire Arts Club to new clubs like Dr. Who, which is barely two years old.

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