The Final Post

Posted: April 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

This will be the final post for 125.

For the future of the internet, I strongly believe that it will be limitless, with loads of possibilities. The modern world now chases after social and digital media trends, and technology is accelerating at a tremendous pace thanks to all the heated competition and the need to supply consumers’ demand. This era holds the pinnacle of technology, and with that, the internet will be able to advance in many different ways, at an accelerated pace.

Just like in the video shown to us during the lecture on what the future of the internet (and technology, for that matter) will look like, technology will help pave the way for the internet to blossom even further. Touch screen gadgets with high speed internet connections, smart TVs, personal assistant Siri who is constantly connected to the internet, google glasses, and 4G connections. The world is being wired in. The question is not whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing for us, but that it is bound to happen. We live in a generation now where everyone moves forward with their lives not just physically, but also in a virtual space called the internet.

What I really like about this module is that instead of simple theory, the module was directed at a more practical approach. We learnt things that are very real in the world now, such as social media trends, politics and journalism. It was easy to absorb, and we were able to apply our own background knowledge of these topics, having experienced some of them first hand. Theory helped in clarifying some terms, like the difference between the internet and the web, which I once thought was one and the same.

For the more practical approach, I learnt more about the internet through with the lessons aimed at delving deeper into the topics, rather than simply scratching at the surface. For example, on Facebook, as a normal user, I know how to basically maneuver the site. However, the lessons showed me that there was much more to Facebook than simply social networking. Politics, e-commerce, and even legal settlements could be done over Facebook. The lessons provided me real time statistics and examples, and this allowed me a clearer picture of the websites I have been using and visiting on the internet all this time.

The lesson on e-commerce was especially intriguing and insightful. I am a frequent online shopper, but the lesson on e-commerce, especially the important things to have on one’s website such as an “About Us” page, was thoughtful. As a frequent online customer, I could not agree more. I do not intend to start my own business, but learning these details allow me to pay more attention to the e-commerce sites when I wish to purchase items online.

On the whole, the module proved very useful to me because of its practical approach and detailed examples provided to the students. I believe that the knowledge gained will remain with me, for as long as the internet exists and continues to expand.

With that, I conclude my final post. Thank you for reading.

Felicia

Battle of the Titans

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

From the customer’s point of view, I believe the competition seems to be rather heated up between Google and Apple, but Microsoft has totally fallen behind. Though it sure still tries to get back in the race.

I have lived and breathed Microsoft products all my life, and being someone who uses the computer and her mobile phone for at least 10 hours a day, that is saying something. After having had my Microsoft products crash on me time and again, and spending so much money trying to repair the products, I finally made the drastic decision to switch to everything Apple. I must say, it was probably one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Many people who steer clear of Apple products tend to believe that Apple sells their stuff at a really expensive rate. Though I must say, Microsoft seems to be the one overpricing its less-than-perfect products. Just comparing Apple’s iWork and Microsoft office says it all. Windows 7 is an improvement, as compared to Vista, though it does not stop Internet explorer, msn messenger, and more recently for the 125 video, windows movie maker from crashing non-stop.

I like both Apple and Google. I appreciate their innovativeness and passion for the products they want to produce for the audience. However, I do recognize that this may also be due to them having a smaller market share as compared to Microsoft (though this seems to be changing at a rather fast rate), thus it allowing Apple and Google more time to customize their products, as compared to Microsoft’s having to standardize all their wares. Something I learnt in Economics several years back when we studied monopolies and used Microsoft as a case study.

Apple has made me rather reliant on all their products. The way they integrated all their products together is a really smart move in my opinion. They have announced OS X Mountain Lion as the next in line for their Operating System series, and they have decided to integrate iMessage (a free messaging system that allows people to send unlimited sms and multimedia) from the iPhone, into Macintosh and iPad as well. This might just pose a threat to Microsoft’s MSN Messenger system.

“Apple’s most impressive stat continues to be its growth rate: Apple is not only huge, but it is growing at a rate far greater than its peers. And, even more incredible, its growth rate is accelerating. As a company gets bigger, or as a market matures, its growth rate typically falls. It’s only natural: The numbers get bigger, so the percentage of change eventually shrinks. But for Apple, during the Christmas quarter — its busiest time of the year — that hasn’t happened yet. This past Christmas, Apple needed to add an extra $20 billion in new sales to grow by 73%. The year before, it “only” needed to generate an additional $11 billion in new business to grow by 71%. To match this year’s growth — 73% — Apple’s December 2012 quarter would have to beat $80 billion in sales.” (From readwriteweb)

As you can see from the picture above, Apple stands at 73%, Google at 25% and Microsoft at 5%. The difference is huge. It is an incredible stunt to pull to be able to continue accelerating.

For 5 consecutive years, including 2012, Apple has topped Fortune’s list of 50 Most Admired Companies ranking, earning a score of 8.42. Google came in 2nd place with a score of 7.74. Apple ranked secured top scores in areas such as innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management and global competitiveness. It should also be noted that Microsoft did not even rank in the list.

I had my doubts that Apple would continue to prosper after the untimely death of Steve Jobs, but looking at the statistics and how the sales of iPad 3 are coming in record numbers, Apple does not seem to have any problems continuing to soar. Google is definitely up and coming as well, but like our teacher said, competition is good for us, since it keeps the prices down. Whatever may come in the future, I’m certain it will be Apple and Google will leading the way.

Felicia

Sources

http://mashable.com/2012/03/02/apple-tops-fortunes-most-admired-list-five-years-straight-video/

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/apple_sales_growth_rate.php

Digital journalism

Posted: March 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

Sarah Palin, Republican

Last week, we had lessons on the internet and politics. This week focused on the internet and journalism. As a side note, I have always believed politics is closely related and tied to journalism, whether it is that politics manipulate journalism, or journalism regulates politics. One way or another, they are two sides of the same coin in my eyes.

Interesting how even the public trusts journalism and politicians in such closely intertwined ways…as shown in the picture below.

Just as the internet has opened doors for many possibilities in the area of politics, education and many others, it has also done the same for Journalism. No doubt, in my previous post dealing with the internet and politics, I mentioned that censorship is still heavy in certain countries, and the government still regulates and controls news on the internet. News that are within its reach.

However, when you look at the infamous example of wikileaks, you will know not everything can be censored and kept from the public. The internet has thoroughly transformed how information is disseminated to the public and there are always more than one source the public can delve into for the information they require. How much can the government control?

So is the internet making journalism better? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Definitely debatable. This video below shows the economist debate on the pros & cons:

“Yes, the internet makes journalism better” by Jay Rosen lists the following reasons:

1) New journalism is created
2) Greater participation, the audience create the news
3) Lower costs

“No, the internet makes it worse” by Nicholas Carr lists the following reasons:

1) it has thinned the ranks of professional journalists
2) Decreasing newspapers
3) it has not created other modes of reporting news to fill the gap

At the same time, commenters have mentioned that the internet has increased the quantity of low quality journalism, namely, propaganda and opinion pieces. Despite this, Nicholas Carr believes that the prospects of online journalism looks pretty promising.

There is, however, also the issue of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Will it affect online journalism? Many people do seem to think so.

“ASNE (American Society of News Editors) members continue to change the way news is presented. We often aggregate information from other news sites and augment it with our own. And how we report is changing every day. We fear that SOPA will restrict our ability to engage in these activities and stifle our capacity to innovate when we most sorely need the freedom to do so.” – ASNE (Taken from the Washington Post)

Online journalism is partially made possible because the public play a great role in this, and they are able to spread news quickly through various different sources. However, critics are concerned that if the bill for SOPA is passed, online journalism will be hit rather badly. After all, if someone wants to post a link to some online news article, say on Facebook or Youtube, it would be considered an copyright infringement. Would this be damaging to online journalism? Seems highly plausible.

What do you think?

Fel

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/sopa-heads-to-a-vote-even-journalists-want-to-stop-it/2011/12/14/gIQAjDAduO_blog.html

 

We, the Online Citizens

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Internet politics.
In our  notes, it was written that the politicians, especially those in the USA, namely the democrats and the republicans have been using the internet as a source to fund their political activities. In other words; to reach out to netizens and this current generation of young people who uses the internet more often than ever seen before. It was just not too long ago that Singapore politicians begun turning their attention to the internet as well, such as the recent addition of the Online Citizen website -> http://theonlinecitizen.com/ This website has become a platform Singapore politicians use to try to reach out to the younger singaporeans, along with Facebook and Twitter.

During the previous general elections, Singaporeans flocked to the online social media sites to view the Facebook pages of various political candidates running for the campaign and articles just kept flooding the papers with regards to who is the most popular, or most liked politician on Facebook in Singapore. Other articles include certain scandals or more trivial encounters with the politicians on these websites. For example, Tin Pei Ling receiving criticisms by online bloggers and people associating and mocking her with the Kate Spade brand series.

“The Internet has certainly played a part in helping to disseminate information and facilitate discussion among the masses. This has led to people being able to come together in expressing their views even as they are prevented from gathering together physically. This is because of our strong online presence and a website that is dedicated to political discussion. Netizens are actively campaigning and making their voices heard.” – Dr Chee Soon Juan (Singapore Democratic Party), taken from the Satay Club.

So, has the internet lifted or help improve the constraints of democracy and freedom of speech and expression in the world?
This is highly debatable, as we well know. Look at wikileaks. Or the great “firewall” of china.

I did a small case study on the censorship of media and internet in Sudan once. One of the individuals my study covered was the story of Manyang Mayom, a journalist in Sudan who touches on sensitive government stories and tries to publish them, be it on newspapers or the internet.

Manyang Mayom

“He has been beaten, arrested, intimidated and harassed on numerous occasions by security services. There were occasions in which Manyang Mayom was so badly beaten, he had to be taken to the Sudanese capital Khartoum for treatment, with several repercussions with regards to his injured kidneys. He has also been accused of being a spy as well.” (taken from the Sudane Tribune)

There are pros and cons to every issue, and the ability to manipulate the internet as a political tool is one of them. Our world can often be manipulated by the power of the elites, and who is to say there are no masterminds controlling or suppressing the flow of information on the internet, despite it technically being a free-for-all platform to voice out opinions?
However, we also know that the internet is not really a platform where information can be kept under the lid forever. Something, somewhere is bound to give way eventually. The only factor to consider, is when.

Fel

Sources
http://thesatayclub.net/2011/04/dr-chee-internet-has-changed-politics-in-singapore/
http://www.sudantribune.com/W-Equatoria-assures-journalists-of,38236

The appeal of Multimedia

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

This post will reflect on the lesson on multimedia.

We now live in the age of videos, music, pictures, uploading and downloading, sharing; all built on advancing cutting edge technology. Schools, companies, be it profit or non-profit organizations, makes use of multimedia to sell their products or ideas to people. The reason being? It sells, period.

There is a huge market demand for multimedia. Social media websites are also built around this selling point as a major appeal factor for the mass audience. According to research, we have been told over and over again that people’s attention spans are stronger with pictures, videos, etc. Basically, multimedia. They learn better with visual effects, rather than plain words. Multimedia is an interactive experience. It is the exact same reason why we tend to use videos and pictures for our presentations in com 125. In addition, the ease and convenience of using multimedia are also major factors for its widespread appeal.

As for companies, the experience with their target audience has become a lot more customized, personalized and interactive:

“Companies are listening and learning from consumers and employees: “Now consumers can influence more opinions about brands, and our blog response unit monitors their conversations,” FedEx’s CMO Raj Subramaniam noted. This process has proven to be quite informative. FedEx heard customer buzz before Apple’s iPhone4 launch and prepared for increased shipments when the phone was available.” (Taken from mediabistro)

Some of the biggest, most popular and fastest growing websites on the internet that appeals to the general audience in our modern world today, such as Facebook and Youtube, no doubt knows how to make use of multimedia to sell their services to the public.

It is also not news to know that some schools in Singapore have started replacing plain boring text books with the iPad, citing reasons such as ease of access and improving a student’s learning ability.

“Nanyang Girls High School has spent S$135,000 (about $100,000) to buy 150 iPads for 140 students and 10 teachers in a pilot project. Users connect to the Internet using the tablet, and download books and course material. They can take notes on the iPad, and use worksheets.”It’s much more convenient,” said 14-year-old Chloe Chen, sitting in a classroom with her iPad in front of her. “Teachers can just tell us to go a website, and we can immediately go and do our work.” Seah Hui Yong, dean of admissions at Nanyang Girls school, said the iPad was chosen because it complemented a new method of teaching under which students are given more freedom to learn themselves, instead of relying solely on the teacher in traditional classrooms.” (Taken from Reuters)

Of course, precisely because of this very same appeal, using multimedia in classrooms can have its backlash, namely abuse, addiction and the digital divide. If students are allowed to depend so much on the use of multimedia on gadgets instead of textbooks, addiction would surely pose a problem in the near future. Furthermore, in some cases, schools may not possess the internet capabilities to support the heavy multimedia usage which uses a lot of bandwidth and demands high speed internet connections. From my own experience, this is extremely true of SIM.

Yet, multimedia continues to grow. One just cannot tell if social media strings multimedia along, or is it the other way round?

Fel

Sources:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/14/us-singapore-ipads-idUSTRE70D1MH20110114

http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/four-ways-cmos-of-major-companies-are-using-social-multimedia-to-engage-audiences_b28123

Self-made Video!

Posted: March 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Here is the post for the video as per instructor’s request ^_^

This is a tribute to the 2 leading characters from the recent korean drama that just ended its run in Korea this week, The Moon That Embraces The Sun. Congratulations to its very successful run, hitting a crazy high rating of 42.2% for its final episode! Singapore has bought the rights to import this drama in, so be sure to catch it, if you have not already!

Synopsis: Crown Prince Lee Hwon falls in love with Heo Yeon Woo, a high ranking official’s intelligent daughter who has all the virtues to be future Queen. However, despite their deep love for each other, the Queen dowager and her ministers set up an assassination plot to kill her, and remove her entire family from power. The plan succeeds, and the royal court shifts drastically in power. However, unbeknownst to everyone, the assassin sent to murder Yeon Woo saves her life instead. 8 years later, Lee Hwon is now King, and as fate would have it, he meets Yeon Woo again. The Moon That Embraces The Sun tells the story of a beautiful romance that blossoms even in the midst of politics and cruel intentions.

(here’s the link for those who rather watch on youtube: http://youtu.be/Vpp-oGFUqJ4)

I was unable to add certain scenes I wished to, and this is the highest quality & resolution that windows movie maker allowed me to publish without crashing on me. Sigh. Anyway, enjoy watching!

Credits:

The Moon That Embraces The Sun

Windows Movie Maker (helped me out by crashing a lot…)

Fel

31337

Posted: March 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Just like we get viruses, well, so do computers.

The lesson this week focused on viruses and hackers. I remember the video the instructor showed us in class, in which the person in the video introduced several methods to defend against viruses, though all I could think of at that point in time, was simply to switch from windows operating system to a mac operating system. After decades of using Microsoft based operating systems and computers, and leaving my data open to viruses, I finally chose to get a Mac instead. The amount of money I spent trying to repair my windows system was simply not worth it. From what I know, Microsoft is coming up with its own App store, and my friend cracked a joke, saying that the 99 percent of the items/applications selling in the App store would most likely be anti-viruses. I would not be surprised if that were really the case!

Of course, that does not mean to say that Apple (or Mac) does not get infected with computer viruses, but in all honesty, the chances are really low. After first getting my Mac, I walked into different computer stores and none of them sold anti-viruses for Mac operating systems. Most, if not all, were targeted at Windows operating systems. In the past, even getting anti-viruses for Windows was simply not enough. The computer still went down eventually.

In my opinion, the hackers are winning this war. For organizations that build and create anti-virus programs, it’s obvious that as an organization, their main motive is to gain profits. For hackers, however, though some are in it for the money, many of them are in it simply for fun and pleasure. They want to prove to others that they are the elites (just like the hackers said in the video shown in class on Thursday)

“The only difference between a hacker and a computer security professional is a paycheck” – Darren Kitchen.

Difference between Hackers & Cyber criminals

Back when I was doing a case study on comparing Google to other organizations like Microsoft in junior college, one of the major reasons pointing to Google’s success were these people who worked there, not for the paycheck, but simply for the fun of it. They loved what they were doing, and made it their life’s mission to ensure that speed was at its best when people are using Google search.

When SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) emerged not too long ago and shut down Megaupload, the massive online hosting & sharing website, the group of hackers known as Anonymous started hacking into many high security department websites from all around the world, including the USA’s justice department in retaliation. I believe it is really difficult to try and stop people who are in it not for the money and do not actually confine themselves to a strict set of rules like legal organizations do. They run the internet for the thrill and fun of it, and in Anonymous’ case, there are many supporters who back them up against SOPA.

The internet lives free, and hackers live freely on them. Hackers are not a phenomenon that will wash away with time, but instead, will only continue to grow as the lives of people become more and more intertwined with the internet.

For those who did not manage to catch what my group (1337) was saying on Thursday, 1337 means Leet. It is a language used by Hackers (examples of it include Pwned, Noob, etc). The name of my Blog, 71n6 is actually my name Ting in Leet language as well. 31337 (as shown in the pic above) essentially translates to Elite (or Eleet speak for some). If you already know English, and some other mother tongue language (chinese, malay, tamil) in Singapore, guess learning this could make you trilingual in essence? Haha.

Fel