Bradhuther’s Blog

Readings 7: Mobile Technologies
January 8, 2009, 12:04 am
Filed under: Assignments | Tags: , , , , ,

The Camera Phone

The camera phone is an invention that can be used for both good or evil. This article explains how the person who created the camera phone first used the invention. his baby was being born and he wanted to record it so he simply just took out his phone, snapped a picture of her, and posted it on the web for his family and friends to see her. This would be an excellent example of how the camera phone could be used to something good. An example of something bad that happened due to the camera phone found within the article was the example of women in Saudi Arabia. Women would unviel themselves in weddings or other events and someone could snap a picture of them with their viel off which was a form of disrespect to their religion. They could be shunned from their community or looked down upon by society if this image were ever to get out. I think no matter what the invention is, people will find flaws and ways to turn it into evil. Although camera phones can both help and hurt us, they are still a ground breaking invention that has shaped society today.

1. How do you think camera phones could help the world?

2. Are camera phones just another invention to contribute to our invasion of privacy?

A World of Witnesses

This article was very interesting and made me think about cell phones in a different way. It begins by explaining how text messaging is becoming a very important tool in the technological world today. People use texts to inform other people, form groups, and even make plans to meet up. I learned the world of text messaging is even more in-depth than that. This article showed me all the numbers around the world people can text and recieve so much information from pollen counts to weather reports. I didn’t realize that there were so many different numbers you could text and recieve so much information until reading this article. It also discusses the camera feature on phones and discusses the Rodney King incident. I believe camera phones can help people in distress and uncover many things that a bulky video camera could. The cell phone is a very popular techonological device with many features and is shaping the way we live and recieve our information. I feel like every week there is a new feature for cell phones and i can only imagine what they can do for you in 10 years.

1. Did you realize before reading this article how many numbers there are to text to recieve different information?

2. What new concepts or ideas did you learn about from reading this article?

Always-on/ Always-on-you: The Tethered Self

This article was created in order to explain how our electronics are tethered to us and we are so dependent on them for everything. It starts out by describing a group of MIT student that carried around a portable laptop special electrical glasses and other electronical devices teathered to them. The author relates us and our cell phones and computers to them. We are connected to our cell phones more than ever and we use it for virtually almost everything. We can look up stock quotes, play video games, turn to bots for comfort, network with people, etc. However, with all these endless possibilities, it is hard for us to turn off our electronical devices. Because we do so much with computers and cell phones, we are very dependent on them and find it very difficult to pull the plug for even a weekend. The cell phone has changed the world so much even in the way we talk to people. When we talk in public say at a coffee house, we would turn to the person we are talking to and saying something quietly in his or her ear. However with phones, we often see people putting their finger in one ear and yelling into their phone without any recognition there are people all around him listening and being bothered. The article describes the virtual life we live in and how we are dependent on techonology in almost every aspect of our life and because of this, we are in fact, addicted. I myself find it nearly impossible to turn off my electronic devices or not use them for more than an hour. I am always on my computer and looking at my cell phone. I can even relate this article to our class by saying how dependent i am on the computer to fulfull a class for my major in order to recieve my bachelors degree! I bet if you said this to someone ten years ago they would think you were absolutely crazy, but its true. Technology has come a long way and because of that people stay connected and put it at the center of their life.

1. Do you think our electronics are too “tethered” to us?

2. Why do you think we are so dependent on our cell phones in this day and age?

 Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004, AND
Eight Reasons Why Blogging Will be Bigger Than Ever in 2009

According to this article, an opinion is voiced pertaining to the pointlessness of blogging. The author believes that if you have a personal blog, think about getting rid of it. People are more into business blogs and blogs involving current issues. The author also believes that blogging on other blog sites such as political sites is pointless as well. Since there are so many blog posting there is a small chance people will even see what you write anyways because as more people post, your post goes down the page making it difficult for people to see. I was a little confused as to what the author was trying to convey in this article other than blogging is pointless. From what i understood he explained that you have more of a chance to be heard or seen on Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, or Flickr. I think blogging is a good way to express your feelings still if you are into it. I don’t personally blog other than for the class but i can see why people do. Its just like keeping a diary, people don’t have to read it, sometimes people just want to get their ideas down. However, the second article disagrees with the first in every way possible. The author of this article explains that blogging will be bigger than every in 2009. They explain that you have to choose your blogging site carefully. They also discuss how blogging is the best way to creating an online identity. Obviously these people have two very different views about blogging and the future of it. This article relates to the previous ones on mobile technologies because it also shows how we are so connected to the computer and phones. Wether its on our phones or on our computers we can constantly update our blogs. Blogs are a great example of how we are connected to technology and use it for many different things, one of which is to keep the world in contact with our daily lives, which can be shown through blogging. It explains how technology has changed and is ever changing and how we are part of that change.
1. Do you think personal blogging will be more popular, less popular, or equally as popular in 2009?

2. Do you believe ideas, emotions, and stories are better expressed through sites like Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, and Youtube compared to blogs? Why or why not?



Reading Assignement for 12/30: Part 1 of Readings 3: DIY and Web 2.0

The Machine is Us/ing Us

The computer has become a major part in the life of everyone that helps us and harms us in many ways. This was a very creative video that showed some of the functions the computer preformed and what it does that makes us want more. Digital text is very different from written text because not only does it contain meaning, but it also could contain links that send us in other directions. The world of the internet is very complex with many different stems that branch out to different things. For example the word angry might be underlined in an article read online. You can scroll over the word “angry” and a window could pop up explaining what angry is or it could link us to another page explaining anger. I think the video was trying to show us that the computer learns from us by monitoring what we look at. I’ll use face book as an example of this. Tons of people use Facebook especially college students. The people who work for Facebook could see how many people click on the link every day, showing its importance. Also, it could even see what we write to people because a lot of the things we put on Facebook are available to the public. In my opinion, this video basically was trying to show us how the computer can be dangerous and how it hold such an important role in our lives. It also was showing us how the computer and the internet are very powerful tools that are readily available and can be used to our advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it.

1. What did you think the main point of this video was and what it was trying to display?
2. Do you think that the things we do on the computer or more monitored than we think they are? By this I mean do you think there are people on the other side watching what we do online at all times?

Watch this 10 minute video of Clay Shirky

(based on his book Here Comes Everybody for which there is also a blog, FYI)
The central theme about this video was love and helping others. Clay Shirky explained how the internet can be a very powerful tool into helping other people, voicing opinions, and innovation. He explains how he believe through commenting on message boards and blogging for companies can help give businesses better ideas for innovation and restructuring their companies. He compared these concepts to a Japanese shrine that was constantly being rebuilt as tradition to holy grounds. He explained how the internet and message boards are constantly rebuilding on ideas and concepts and keeping them going. He also explains how love is important as is caring and sharing. The central idea of this video was about how networking can help other people with problems as well as innovations for businesses, corporations, and companies. I do believe that networking could help businesses and it also makes the general population be more involved in their company. It gives people a sense of self-worth. I am for the idea of Pearl and message boards and think it’s a great way to safely voice your opinions and suggestions.

1. Do you think message boards and blogging for companies is an effective way to promote innovation?
2. Something that came to my mind when watching this is if someone posts something on a companies message board and the company that reads it puts that person’s suggestion into effect, will people be wanting recognition of their suggestion?

Read the Wikipedia entry on Do It Yourself

Do It Yourself refers to depending on yourself to complete a task rather than depending on other people to do it for you. The article argues that there were always people who were handy and did things themselves such as repair men, and there were also people who spent money to have people do something for them. The people who would spend money to have something done for them greatly exceed the number of people who do it themselves. Before the computer, do it yourself mostly focused on manual jobs around the house and business. Do it yourself People would perform repairs around their house or business would hire outsourced people to perform different tasks. However, with the growth of the internet, do it yourself has been given a new broader meaning. There are websites that strictly focus on doing things yourself, as well as magazines. If someone has a question about how to fix a sink that is leaking they can simply go online and post an entry on a message board and within minutes, could receive a number of different responses from other people who specialize in sink repairs. Not only does this save people money, it also gives them knowledge from people who specialize in the repair or learned from trail and error. Not only does online do it yourself websites help people, magazines and television shows strictly focus on projects. They help people get a better understanding of the task at hand and give them an insight as to how to approach the problem. I think do it yourself websites, TV shows, and magazines are great interactive tools that help people save money and gain knowledge.

1. How has technology change the “do it yourself” attitude?
2. Since the growth in popularity of the internet, do you think more people have been attempting projects by themselves rather than hiring people?
3. Do you think “do it yourself” websites could help businesses?

Listen to the first two excerpts of James Surowieki’s book:Introduction to The Wisdom of Crowds (MP3 downloads)

These excerpts were about an anthropologist/scientist who specialized in statistics named Fracis Galton, who tested the genealogy of people. There was a contest going on in town that involved guessing the weight of livestock. There were trained butchers and farmers guessing the weight but at the same time, the majority of the people were not experts in the area and just common townsfolk with different jobs. The people were to look at an Ox and guess its weight after it was butchered and dressed. After everyone had their votes in and received their prizes, Galton took their tickets and began to run his experiments. He wanted to see if the results yielded a bell shaped curve, resulting in a normal distribution. Much to his surprise, after putting the numbers in sequential order (highest to lowest), he began to calculate the mean, or average number. The average number was in fact, 1 pound away from the actual weight. This test demonstrated that even the average person can know something an expert can not and that our common knowledge may be more extensive than we think. The excerpt also discussed how crowds influence us and how many experts argue the idea that crowds can accomplish tasks more effectively than experts.

1. Do you think people who are not experts in a particular field help people who are in that field?
2. Does this excerpt make you think of the internet, message boards, blogging, or the “do it yourself“ concept? If so, how?
3. Do you think people’s knowledge is underestimated or taken for granted of in society today?
4. Do you agree when people say “chasing the expert” is a mistake?
5. Do you believe people that people learn better in groups or crowds? Why or why not?

Read: Nicholas Carr’s article: The Ignorance of Crowds

This article was also about crowds and peers and how they contribute to the internet and in turn businesses and databases. There has been many programs out there that have been set out for peer to peer sharing of information such as Wikipedia, Linux, and Bazaar. These websites enabled people to sign on and post things and help other with problems they might have. Some of the benefits these websites have are the diversity of the approaches to problems from different people. Everyone has a different approach to something and may have looked elsewhere for their information or help. As I said in the other article, people can see what others have done by trail and error or extensive research. However, these websites are also negative because it is hard to monitor what people say and whether it is true or not. Also, although the style of the websites are decentralized, most of them have a centralized power where things are monitored and looked into. That central power may find it difficult to read everything due to the massive amounts of input people put into their website. Another negative to Wikipedia and sites like it are since they are free and anyone can join, the material is often disorganized and poorly-written. In my opinion, this article explained how these sites are great tools but central authority is very important when starting a peer-to-peer or peer-to-business website.

1. Since anyone can post on Wikipedia, do you consider it to be a good source for information?
2. Do you think these sites need to strengthen their central authority in order to improve the reliability of the information on these sites?

Read: A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia as a Reference Source

This article was closely related to the previous article on peer-to-website sharing by explaining the negatives of Wikipedia. It argues that since anyone can put information up, it is not a reliable source. There is cases going on right now about weather to ban Wikipedia from citing in colleges. They argue that it is not reliable enough to cite and people are learning or could potentially adopt incorrect ideas or meanings. It all started in a Japanese history class over a war that was started and how the students had false information in their papers due to information cited from Wikipedia. I already knew that Wikipedia could not be counted for a valid source of information, but I do however believe most of the information on the website is in fact true, at least the things I look up (such as town demographics, band information.) I never use Wikipedia for school so even if the information is false, the things I look up on it are not very significant either way. I do believe Wikipedia should be banned from college papers and tests because of the lack of reliability.

1. Do you think Wikipedia should be banned from college citations?
2. What do you think would make Wikipedia a more valid source for information?