Category Archives: informal posts

Bullying: not just face to face

Has anyone seen this?

Who’s the bully here? The small guy (Ritchard Gale), or the big guy (Casey Heynes)?

Well, whatever the reason was, I’d like to draw your attention to a bigger issue.

This is bullying that occurs in everyday life. It was fortunately/unfortunately, caught on video.

With the internet, have we brought bullying to another level? Cyber bullying has occurred in many places online. Random trolling on the internet, leaving nasty comments on blogs, forums. Even on formspring, where users get to ask questions, and remain anonymous. Or tumblr, maybe even blogging platforms like wordpress.

The worst part? You’re able to remain anonymous. When you hide behind a screen, anything is possible.

Like the song, Santa Monica, by Savage Garden

“But on the telephone line I am anyone
I am anything I want to be
I could be a supermodel or Norman Mailer
And you wouldn’t know the difference
Or would you?”

You’re able to leave comments that can hurt, you’re able to be an imposter, act as someone else, and hurt somebody.

Does the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” still apply in today’s context?

People have committed suicide due to cyber bullying. For various reasons too. Sexual preference, looks, family background, social status.. the list is never-ending. You can read http://www.truecrimereport.com/2010/01/phoebe_prince_15_commits_suici.php and http://www.momlogic.com/2010/03/soccer_star_commits_suicide_over_cyberbullying_formspringme.php

This doesn’t just happen to children. A friend of mine, was being cyber bullied. At her workplace. Yes, it even takes place with adults. Some of her colleagues started a facebookgroup, asking people to boycott her. Now, however the problem may be, or seem to be, bullying should never take place. Much less cyber bullying. It’s anonymous, cowardly. A fellow colleague who knew about the group, told my friend about it, and somehow, my friend’s boss got to know about the issue too. I don’t know how grown ups deal with issues like these, but I hope that something can be done.

How then, are we able to stop cyber bullying? Are we even able to stop it? Or, if it’s not possible, should we educate children from young, on how to react to bullying, and cyber bullying? Should they be educated on the consequences of their actions?

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uses of technology

I don’t know how many of you read other comments by my readers, but this was regarding the post i made on technology. You can view it here

A reader left a really thoughtful comment, and I feel the need to post it here.

“…the more important issue about the advancement of technology is the problem of social isolation. Are people becoming more socially awkward with most of their time spent in the cyber world? How will this affect our society in the future?”

What are your thoughts?

Personally, I feel this is linked to the fact we make use of technology to replace regular meet ups with friends. When I’m waiting for the bus, I text, I’m in my own world, I listen to music. I don’t even bother looking at those around me.

I don’t feel it’s good for a person’s development, as we rely more on technology to live our lives, rather than enjoying the environment around us. We don’t stop to appreciate the beauty of the world in its glory. Let’s say the sun is setting. Instead of gazing and appreciating it, we bring our cameras up and start snapping away, then posting it on twitter or facebook.

I wonder how many hours each of us spend on our mobile phones, music players, or the computer. Maybe it’s time we cut back on it, and start noticing people around us. (=

Technology: make or break?

Burning question in my mind.

Does technology, keep people together? Or does it pull them apart.

Here are 2 scenarios.

scenario A

A father goes overseas to work. With the “invention” of 3G, he is able to make calls to his family using a data plan, with the help of Viber, an application for the iPhone. Applications like FaceTime is also used, and he is able to look at his family while speaking to them.

scenario B

X and Z used to meet regularly for supper, because it was their only way of communication, besides talking on the phone. With technology, they now can message each other, update each other on their whereabouts (foursquare), random bits of information (twitter), and send each other pictures immediately after taking them (whatsapp, bbm, sms). They no longer see the need to meet as they are able to update each other on their lives. Messaging each other becomes a weekly affair, or as and when they are free to text.

How does this work then? This thing, this.. seemingly intangible thing, otherwise known as technology. Why I say it’s intangible? Sure, you can hold a phone, carry your laptop, use a satellite.. but how does the information get transmitted? How does your word document get sent to another person?

Weirdly, this technology may just be the thing that pulls people apart. How many of you have friends who got dumped over a text message, or a phone call? What happened to being sincere in whatever you do? Or wishing the person a happy birthday over a text?

While sending text messages and making phone calls are good, does it help create an imaginary closeness with that particular person? You may be able to talk on the phone all day, but it’s really different from meeting the person, in flash, having a conversation.

It’s been said that only 7% of what is said in a dialogue is verbal content (Booth 2008). The rest of our message lies in the way we act. Our tone, facial expression, the way we sit.

In this way then, how do we put our emotions into text, or pictures? Sure, we have emoticons to help, but do they accurately reflect our feelings? Not everything can be represented with emoticons. I, for one, prefer meeting with my friends, because friendship is important, and technology just cannot replace the physical contact.

I used to joke with my friends. With technology, we would not need to meet. We used to meet up weekly for a game of Mahjong, where they would head to my place and stay for the night. However, with Viwawa, an internet portal which has other games, along with Mahjong, we may just agree for a time to meet up online, after all, we can always chat in viwawa, and if we want to look at each other, there’s always group chat in Skype!

Look at this post. How many applications and services have I listed? Of these, how many of them do you use to keep in touch with your family and friends? Does it act as a substitute, or does it aid your relationship?

That said, it is up to each individual to decide how they want to use the technology presented to them. You can use it as the tool for social interaction, or, you can use it as a tool to aid you in keeping close contact with your friends. (=

What’s your take on this?

Reference

Booth, C. W, 2008, It is What You Say, Not The Way You Say It, viewed 10 May 2011, < http://www.thefaithfulword.org/whatyousay.html&gt;.

Rulture Cremix

UHHH WHATTT DID I JUST DO THERE.

Oh year! Remix culture! Tried my hand at remixing words, obviously now I know it’s not my forte, and I should concentrate on doing other things..

Music has been revolutionized in a couple of ways, from the sharing of music files online (Russell, Ito, Richmond & Tuters 2008), people creating mix tapes, or even putting two songs together to form a “new” song, otherwise known as remixing.

How does this remix culture affect the music industry then? People still listen to songs, people are able to earn money from remixes, music is still being made.. BUT.. this is what we didn’t know! The music industry’s revenue has gone from US $14.32 billion, to US $9.65 in a span of 7 years (2000 – 2006) (Russell 2008).

That’s more than a 50% drop…. Yikes. Not sure how it happened, but for the next trivia, I can come up with a few reasons..

The sale of CDs has declined from 942million to 614 million, also from 2000 – 2006 (Russell 2008).  Reasons.. hmm

1) YouTube. Why buy CDs when you can search for the song on YouTube? You can listen to it all day long..

2) listentoyoutube.com. Wanna listen to your fav song on the go? This website allows one to download just the audio bits from YouTube.

3) Torrents. Think that YouTube’s quality isn’t that good? Torrents allow one to download songs in the original high-quality form..

4) file sending over msn, email. If you plop your CD into your computer, you can ‘drag’ the songs out onto your desktop, and play it with and music player (VLC, iTunes, Windows Media Player). That same way, you can send the song file to your friend, or upload it on YouTube (see the vicious cycle now?)

What about remixing songs? Did that kill the music industry? Or did it help make the industry better?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

I feel that remixing has actually made the music industry better. I don’t have any statistics with regards to an increase of band popularity or sales due to remixes, so my opinions are on a personal level. I know damn well that without remixing, I wouldn’t have heard the name of many songs, and bands, and I would have never become a fan!

Take the band, Norwegian Recycling. I first heard their song How Six Songs Collide, when a friend sent it to me.  And from there, I went on to search the titles of the 6 songs, and subsequently went on to search for the singers and bands… I’ve yet to buy their album as I’ve never seen it in stores, but I sure would.

One friend, Joshua Simon, has been doing remixes. By himself! Yea, it’s really cool. He did the beats, even made videos… he has a great voice, and his remixes don’t cover just new songs but even older songs.. and I feel, hey if you mix both together, “old” songs won’t be forgotten!

Here are a few of my favourites.. (=

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/f55eT5lU9Ao&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Remixes provide a fresh approach to old songs, new twist, sometimes a new melody… and the singer really does affect the portrayal of songs… well, that’s my opinion. Not convinced that remixes are better? Let me hear your thoughts!

References

Russell A., Ito M., Richmond T., & Tuters, M. 2008, ‘Culture: Media Convergence and Networked Culture’, in Kazys Vernelis (ed.) Networked Publics, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.43-76.

Mad about Bauhaus

I don’t know how many people got a chance to actually realise how design can make a whole difference to how things look.

While getting my diploma, I had the chance to do a few design modules, and I sure loved them to bits. Hey, designing over writing, any time! I first learnt about Bauhaus. A concept, a school, a design, a font, a simplistic nature.

I was told to do a brochure based on Bauhaus, and unfortunately I’m not able to share it in soft copy because my computer erased all my data (back up your files regularly!). Doing the project made me realise how easy, yet difficult it was to learn the concept. Simplicity, design. Form, function.

Three primary colours: red, yellow, blue. 3 shapes: triangle, rectangle (or square), circle. Add in two most basic colours, black and white, and you’ve got yourself a concept.

by AB Design

my poster looked somewhat like this, except that instead of colour clashing, the words were in black.

In another module, we were told to do a website based on the title “Journey”. I decided to do a journey on Bauhaus, as I was intrigued by its nature. I did my research, focusing on the timeline of Bauhaus, from when the school started, till it closed, the teachers, the types of art in school. It was the best decision ever. The design had to be kept simple, the work I was doing was something I was actually interested in and has a passion for. Hard work paid off, and I got an A for the project.

It amazed me, how Walter Gropius could manage to come up with something so simple yet beautiful: Bauhaus.

Here’s some information which I thought was interesting, focusing on the school. (=

Timeline:

1919: Bauhaus was founded by German Architect, Walter Gropius. Bauhaus was a school and combined elements of arts and design.

1925: The school moved from Weimar to Bessau

1928: Gropius stepped down as director, Hannes Meyer took over

1930: Meyer stepped down due to pressure from the right-wing government. He was replaced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe There was political instability in Germany, and Miles relocated the school to Berlin.

1933: The school closed down.

Teachers:

Walter Gropius – founder of Bauhaus

Paul Klee – specialised in book binding and stained glass

Wassily Kandinsky – used geometrical elements and encouraged “free painting”

Josef Albers – introduced students in the school to the principals of handicrafts. Designed furniture and glass

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy – Headed the typography workshop and metalworking studio

Arts:

Colour theory, metal work, typography (hence the font Bauhaus), weaving, pottery, textiles

How many buildings have we seen? And how many have been influenced by Bauhaus?

Here are a few images of architecture  which have been influenced by Bauhaus.

Credits to Jeffrey Howe

Credits to Peter Visiontay

Photo taken by me at Docklands.

Next time you see anything of interest, take a step, and think about what could have possibly influenced that particular design. It could be anything. From a vase, to a handbag, the interior of the house, brochures, the list goes on.

I hope that there’s someone out there who loves Bauhaus as much as I do. I’d love to do a / go on a geek discussion / excursion with you!

Fonts: a love hate relationship

Put your hands up if you actually feel that fonts make a big difference!

Personally speaking, I HATE Times New Roman. It’s a Serif font, which means letters come with squiggly bits at the end of every letter. It’s the standard font in the USA, and pretty much everywhere else, especially for reports.

Here are some examples of serif fonts (in their own font). I typed them out and took a screenshot.

I prefer sans-serif fonts! Cleaner, easier, prettier! Arial and Helvetica are my personal favourites.
Here are some examples of sans-serif (in their own font), which I typed out too.

Does it matter? Serif, Sans serif? What’s the big idea? As long as it’s readable (unlike wing dings), it’s fine, right?

Wrong.
It actually makes a difference.
Serif is usually used for printed work, because the little lines and squiggles help make letters more individual, more recognizable. It makes each letter more distinctive.

Sans serif, on the other hand, is better for online work. This sounds really technical, but printed words have at least 1000dpi (dots per inch), while online words has a dpi of less than 100. Because the resolution is smaller, it makes serif characters harder to read, due to its complex shape (lines and squiggles).

FYI: for images, printed images have at least 300dpi, online images are usually 72dpi

FONTSPEAK: which font is the most used for brands?
-durmroll- HELVETICA! HOORAY, A SAN SERIF FONT! –throws confetti in the air-

I won’t go on about the research of the most commonly used font, but here are some really recognizable brands using Helvetica. Clicking on the images opens in a new tab. All photos are from the web page itself.

Nestle


So the next time you look at notices, designs, or anything that uses lettering, stop and ponder if the font used helped to make reading better. (= If not, how else could the message be conveyed better?

Ps: yes, I’m really glad my font layout in this blog is sans-serif.

Reliant on technology

2011; everything is readily available online. As they say, “Google is your best friend.” Whatever you’re unsure of, just google! Weirdly, Google is actually a noun. But our usage, well, we’ve changed it into a verb. Back to the point, googling to find answers… When I used to have a problem getting online, I wanted so hard to Google what was wrong with my Internet settings, and how to set it right. Obviously it didn’t work because.. to access Google you need an internet connection. Sigh.

We’re becoming very reliant on technology, especially the internet. Many of us carry blackberries, iPhones, Androids, and other smart phones that allow us to get online using 3G while we’re outside. Whether we’re waiting for the tram to arrive, waiting for our turn in a queue, as long as we have nothing to do, we’ll whip our phones out and fiddle with them. Then I pause and think, what about others who don’t have phones with them? What do they do while commuting from one place to another? After all, a good 40% of the world’s population do not have mobile phones (Yoskowitz 2009). This, however, is a steep decrease, compared to 2002, where 86% of the world’s population did not own a mobile phone (Yoskowitz 2009).

With the amount of applications (apps) for our phones, it’s no wonder we’re always entertained. We can’t sit still doing nothing. The blackberry has over a thousand apps, while the iPhone has over 350,000 apps (kgb answers 2011; Apple 2011). Application genres include games, fashion, entertainment, sports, news, stocks and shares and even the weather.

I guess with all these services at the snap of our fingers, it’s no wonder why we’re so reliant on technology. Part of me feels like detaching myself from technology, no mobile phones when I’m out, no internet when I’m home. Wait, no using the computer to watch videos either. Doubt I’ll be able to do that for a week, but who knows? One day, when everything falls apart, we’ll be forced to live like how we did before technology. We’ll have a hard time adjusting back to it, but I’m pretty sure we’ll do fine when the time comes…

References
Apple 2011, Apple, California, viewed 24 March 2011, .

Kgb Answers 2011, Kgb, New York, viewed 24 March 2011, .

Yoskowitz, A 2009, AfterDawn, viewed 24 March 2011, .