Reflections on the Course

Mar 10

A course on Writing Interactive Media sounds like the opening line of a funny joke. Teaching how to write for the Internet could involve lessons on misspellings, making up vicious rumors, and insulting people across the globe from the comfort of their couch. None of these topics, however, were covered in this course.

Instead, the course focused on writing with clarity of meaning. Throughout the last seven weeks, I focused on composing my words succinctly and accurately. These lessons are important for writing for the web as Internet readers are quick to judge a source’s credibility and are even more quick to lose interest in a wordy and poorly-written argument.

I also practiced giving and receiving constructive criticism. This is much more difficult than it sounds. I wanted to let my classmates know how to improve their writing without hurting their feelings. My classmates were very thorough in their feedback of my writing. These comments were often helpful, but sometimes felt hurtful. Being able to listen to my critics and accept their opinions for what they were was a maturing experience which I will retain for my future endeavors.

Lastly, my final project allowed me to consider something which is extremely important to job seekers like myself: my online presence. I believe that I prepared an effective plan for strengthening this presence that I intend to execute as proposed.

This course was indeed a helpful and insightful look into the skills necessary for professional writing or simply for writing as a professional.

Smartphones Get Viruses Too

Mar 07

This article describes a move Google made to remotely erase malware apps downloaded from the Google marketplace onto Android enabled smartphones. This move marks an end to the erroneous notion that smartphones can’t have malware. It’s a sad day for little green robot lovers everywhere!

Brown on the DL

Mar 07

The major question mark in the Phillies lineup this season is Dominick Brown, the team’s right fielder. Brown has some big shoes to fill (both literally and figuratively) with the loss of 6’5″ Jayson Werth to the free agent market. Sadly, before Brown has had a chance to prove himself (he went 0-15 in spring training so far), he has broken his hand.

It has been a matter of debate all off-season as to whether or not Brown was ready for a spot in the Phillies lineup. Now, hopefully, the team will find someone with some big league seasoning. Jermaine Dye is a great hitter (.274 lifetime batting average, 325 career home runs) and has the speed to play the tiny right field found in the Bank. He didn’t get a contract last year and was a mere bystander throughout the 2010 season. Maybe it’s time Ruben Amaro picks up the phone and gives J.D. a tryout!

Slideshow Script

Mar 04

[Slide 1] Thank you all for coming to this presentation. I am Desiree Rappaport, but I am better known online by my Zazzle and CafePress store names, NuclearSwan.

[Slide 2] Today I will be proposing a website that will benefit my online persona by reconciling it with my store’s persona.

[Slide 3] Because as you will soon see, NuclearSwan is an established online store.

[Slide 4] On Zazzle and CafePress, I have sold over 1,600 orders of t-shirts, wedding invitations, coffee mugs, magnets and so on.

[Slide 5] This shirt, for example is one of my particular favorites. It shows hot dogs as they are prepared across the country.

[Slide 6] This t-shirt would make anyone comfy on a cold winter night. The “Sleep Button” is inspired by Microsoft Windows, which gives you the opportunity to put your computer to “sleep” to conserve energy.

[Slide 7] The “Knock Knock Knock Penny” shirt is sold on CafePress in a special section of merchandise inspired by CBS’s Big Bang Theory.

[Slide 8] All of the attention created from these products is great for NuclearSwan’s online reputation, but what about the woman behind the scenes?

[Slide 9] I hope to improve my online persona in order to advance my career.

[Slide 10] This is a Photoshop collage that I have featured on my online portfolio in a section of self portraits.

[Slide 11] This graphic image illustrates my talent with Adobe Illustrator.

[Slide 12] This charcoal drawing shows that my talents are versatile.

[Slide 13] And now you will see my current websites, which feature my merchandise, but not necessarily my own talents.

[Slide 14] This is my Zazzle page, which lists items in order of popularity and does not necessarily showcase my best designs. This page has had almost 70,000 hits.

[Slide 15] This is the Cafe Press home of “Knock Knock Knock Penny.” On CafePress, it is necessary to create a new page for each design as no product type can be repeated in each store.

[Slide 16] Neither of these pages is sufficient for establishing my reputation for product design on the web.

[Slide 17] I also wish to update my logo for reasons that will soon be clear.

[Slide 18] This is my current logo. It is colorful and cute. It sends the message that Nuclearswan is some kind of brand, but it doesn’t really say much about what Nuclearswan is or what it represents.

[Slide 19] What I seek to convey with my new design is the idea of artful craft and elegant design.

[Slide 20] I have designed a new logo, which I believe conveys these ideas.

[Slide 21] This is my proposed new logo.

[Slide 22] This logo is hand-drawn and artistic. It does not look like the work of an amateur.

[Slide 23] The image is a swan with a nuclear warning sign. The word “NuclearSwan” written in a handwriting font emphasizes the brand. The ideas of artistry and hand-crafting are conveyed in both word and image.

[Slide 24] I have created a page in my portfolio to showcase some of my designs.

[Side 25] As you can see, this page is very simple and neat.

[Slide 26] The images, however, are not clickable and this may be a disappointment to some users.

[Slide 27] Also, the images are not enlargable. Ideally, when the images are clicked, they should pop up enlarged and in a new window.

[Slide 28] This would allow the images to be viewed in greater detail.

[Slide 29] There would also be links to the products so that the user can see how they are sold.

[Slide 30] Thank you for your time and attention. I hope that you will approve this website proposal.

COMICally Bad PowerPoint

Feb 27

Seth Godin’s article, “Really Bad PowerPoint,” describes the kind of bad PowerPoint that we encounter more often than not: boring slides filled with white space, black text and bullet points up to your ears. To understand the true comically bad PowerPoint presentations, one must consult a genuine expert: Dilbert.

Powerpoint Ninja, the online “Master of the Presentation,” has graciously gathered a collection of the best horrible PowerPoint presentations from the Dilbert Universe. These comic strips depict horrible presentations that leave their audiences literally asleep in their chairs. The slideshows depicted are unclear, nonsensical and dole.

These comic strips are humorous, but they also serve as a warning about the perils of terrible PowerPoint presentations.

If you wish to jazz up your presentations and have an extra $20 laying around, one way to accomplish this would be to license an original Dilbert comic strip for your business meeting. Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, has made this task simple and efficient with an online order form.

NuclearSwan: Portfolio Site Proposal

Feb 27

History Speeding Up

Feb 23

With the situation in the Middle East changing every day, it has become obvious that history is speeding up. In the blink of an eye, a protest turns into a revolution and a revolution is won. The citizens of Egypt were promised democracy in the coming year and are displeased that it will take that long. There is talk of hurrying the election. Other countries in the Middle East and North Africa take up the cause of dethroning tyrants and their own despots begin to number their days. Soon the entire Arab world will change. No one knows if it will change for the better or for the worse, but what is certain is that this change will be swift.

These kinds of political and social changes once took hundreds of years to accomplish. The Crusades dragged on for centuries while the world wondered what would become of the Holy Land. Our contemporary communication systems have enabled not only rapid advances in technology itself (today it would be laughable to be seen with a flip phone) but with the entire history of the world. The Internet has allowed people living in isolated dictatorships to learn outside perspectives and insights. Protests are staged through online communication. Those protesters assemble and quickly change the world. We keep track of the constant barrage of news stories about the unrest. Wondering what will happen next. The news stories of today are the history of tomorrow.

Social Media Advertising

Feb 22

There are many businesses and individuals that benefit from social media. Food trucks tweet their locations, store announce “flash sales,” and major companies offer money saving coupons. One social media campaign that transcends its media is the Wheat Thins TV commercial campaign. This campaign is inspired by messages that are posted on Facebook and Twitter. The messengers are approached by a television crew with a pallet of Wheat Thins and are confronted about the comments they made about the product. After this campaign started, there were a slew of people posting messages about how fake the campaign was. This led to a commercial where one of the complainers was approached by the Wheat Thins crew. These commercials are extremely entertaining. They blur the line between the real world and the anonymous nature of social media, where people feel free to make silly and often inconsiderate comments.

In my online t-shirt business, I have Tweeted and Facebooked my new products many times. I have a special referral link through which I earn an extra commission. Though I have posted these links many times, I have actually never had a sale through them. (Remember, I’ve had over 1,600 orders.) It’s pretty disappointing that all the Tweeting and Facebooking produced no actual sales.

Still, the price is right for this kind of advertising. So my plan is to continue to advertise my new products in this manner.


Feb 20


For several years, I have built an online presence on websites like Zazzle and CafePress through the identity: NuclearSwan. I propose to take my portfolio to the next level by creating an official homepage for NuclearSwan.


My Zazzle store, NuclearSwan, made its first sale on March 23, 2009. Since then, I have had over 1,600 orders for my unique designs. All of this was accomplished at literally no cost to me. The only things I have invested in this business were my time and imagination.

My online presence is my only resource f0r generating online sales. I have had success marketing exclusively through my Zazzle and CafePress stores, but these sites look somewhat unprofessional. Zazzle automatically sorts the items in my store by popularity. Some of the most popular items are unimpressive looking ones where people insert their own picture into a blank item. Although I can manually change this ranking, I believe that since these are the most popular, showcasing them may help sell my products.

Now that I hope to establish a professional portfolio for my future career in interactive design, these blank products do little to display my best designs. For my own personal portfolio, it would be best to create a new website that will advertise my online persona in the most professional light possible.

Furthermore, my current Zazzle logo shown here:

Old Logo

is in desperate need of an update. I would like my logo to convey the idea of handcrafted artistry and professionalism and I do not feel that this logo sends that message. I have created a new logo which I hope to feature on the new website:

Proposed New Logo

I believe that the work I put into this project will help me to establish a far better online presence which will, in turn, help me in my future career.


Create a professional website to showcase the product designs of my online persona, NuclearSwan. Create a new logo that will give the user a sense of all that NuclearSwan has to offer.


Personalize a WordPress theme using CSS and HTML to create a dynamic website.

Phundraising Idea

Feb 20

Like many professional sports franchises, the Phillies raise and donate money to charities. According to their website, Phillies Charities, Inc. awards grants to local charities. Phillies fundraising events include annual events such as the Phillies Phan Fest, the Home Runs For Heart event and, new this year, the Phillies 5K Run.

I propose a Phillies Charities Inc. fundraiser to raise money for local food bank charity, Philabundance. It would be called the Phillies Pheed Charity Bake-off. At this event, local amateur pastry chefs would pay an entry fee to compete in categories such as best Phillies-themed cake, best cookies, best dessert, and best soft pretzels. Spectators would pay to meet Phillies players (who would judge the event) and to purchase the contest entries.  This money would help to feed local families in need.