Tag Archives: technology

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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Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

Week 11:
B) Medosch argues that: “piracy, despite being an entirely commercially motivated activity carried out in black or grey markets, fulfills culturally important functions” (Reader, page 318).Discuss ONE of these arguments while giving an example online.

The good, the bad and the ugly. Nobody likes pirates. The only pirate people like is Captain Jack Sparrow, from Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m guessing a large factor is because he is, after all, Johnny Depp. Pirates hijack boats, kill people, steal jewelry and money. They terrorise people. Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, simply because pirates terrorise the area.

But alas, those are not the only pirates. There are pirates who are seemingly less dangerous, but have the ability to cause damage too! Yup, I’m referring to pirates who make copies of movies, videos, video games, and sell them off at a cheap price.

Who has…
1) bought a pirated DVD/VCD/video game etc.
2) watched a movie from an illegal source? Torrents, DVDs…
3) played video games off a pirated web host, or on an illegal stream server?

This list isn’t exhaustive.

I found this images online
piracy
Credits to 

File sharing
Credits to Tim Groeneveld

As the above images state, by making a copy, you aren’t stealing the movie. But what about the money earned from it?  Shouldn’t it go to the producers and actors?  Why is it going to you?

People are wondering why these few dollars would impact the film industry. But statistics don’t lie. The movie industry lost US $25 billion worldwide to date (Movie Piracy Losses by Country 2011). These few dollars add up to billions lost.

A total of 141,030 jobs were lost in the US due to piracy (Ernesto 2006). How would you feel if ALL of your family members lost their jobs due to piracy? And you were the one contributing to their loss of a job because you joined your friends for a stay over and you guys watched pirated DVDs all night long?

That changes things doesn’t it?

However, with the cons of piracy, some the pros too. Medosch (2008) argues that “piracy… fulfills culturally important functions”, and this can be expanded in the next few points

1) By watching pirated movies, you’re  able to obtain knowledge once not available to you (Medosch 2008).

2) The “poor” will have equal access to what the “rich” have. Why should the rich be allowed access to information, while the poor are deprived? Piracy thus, helps close the gap between social classes.

3) By obtaining newfound knowledge, it does close the gap between culture, race and country. We feel more connected with the rest of the world, watching, reading, doing what they’re able to do. Like Medsoch (2008) argues, it’s not always about the money. We now have unlimited access to everything.

4) Piracy has created jobs for the jobless and uneducated. What they’re doing may not be right, but what other choices do these people have?

Take Indonesia as an example. Children with tattered clothes and no shoes are selling pirated DVDs. What other choices did they have? With no education, with no money for education, how can the poor be educated? And because Indonesia’s government is corrupted, the poor do not get help. Surely it’s the government’s job to help these people. And in a really warped way, does this then mean the government has played a part in piracy too? At least, with the small amount of money earned, they can support themselves, and hopefully be “less poor”. It is a naïve thought, but fact is: piracy has helped create jobs, as much as it has destroyed jobs.

Most may argue that the cons outweigh the pros, just because money is lost, jobs are lost, people aren’t being ethical.

What are your thoughts on piracy? Do you agree that in some way, it has helped the world move forward together? For those who want a good read on piracy, here’s a link. The comments made gives great insight too.

References

Ernesto 2006, Torrent Freak, viewed 19 May 2011,.” target=”_blank”>http://torrentfreak.com/the-cost-of-movie-piracy-to-the-us/.

Medosch, A 2008, ‘Paid in Full: Copyright, Piracy and the Real Currency of Cultural Production’, in Deptforth. TV Diaries II: Pirate Strategies, London, Deptforth TV, pp. 73-97

Movie Piracy Losses by Country 2011, Havocscope Black Markets, viewed 19 May 2011, http://www.havocscope.com/movie-piracy-losses-by-country/ .

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.

Pretty and useful

Attribution Some rights reserved by daniel_iversen

This image sums up interactivity on Web 2.0

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, .

Tutorial 2+1 – Web 2.0 VS WordPress

Web 2.0 is very much based on “interactivity” and “user-generated information”, unlike its predecessor, Web 1.0. WordPress is a good example which applies the concepts of Web 2.0, specifically those drawn out by Tim O’Reilly.

Customisation – Branching-tree interactivity
Wordpress is simply a platform (and perhaps even classified as a tool) where people can create blogs or microsites easily. To aid commoners like us who are unfamiliar with HTML coding, web hosting, etc., WordPress has provided users with a wide range of “predefined choices” such as a selection of fonts, themes and layouts to allow customisation to our liking. It has also given us “privacy choices” where we can: 1) Make our postings publicly available to everyone 2) Make our postings exclusive to only friends or a selected few 3) Lock our postings to passwords

This is a form of close interactivity between human (us in this case) and computer where we are prompted and presented with choices by the latter and have to make decisions (or give the computer directives) instead of merely being allocated with a standardized template or webpage design.

User-generated information
Writing on your own blog is like writing and editing for Wikipedia – though probably less serious or factual. You are feeding the internet with information about your personal experience, thoughts, life and death situations, etc. The point here is: Blogging sites such as wordpress are fuelled by user-generated information. If no one wants to write or no one wants to read and comment, there would not have been blogs.

Thus, WordPress relies heavily on user-generated information. Apart from blog postings, there are also means for interaction with other users who in turn generate information for your blogs through comments, feedbacks, ratings, etc. Again, the focus is on interactivity, both between human and computer as well as human and human (just as what Web 2.0 was meant to do!)

Value-added services (which increases interaction)
There are too many value-added services (which WordPress provides) than we can name. However, we have chosen a few to discuss here. Firstly, WordPress is not only a blog where people access to read and write. It pulls together a network of sites which can be accessed through this single platform or portal. We particularly see a network of social media outlets available as widgets (based on preferences) to your blogs such as Facebook, Twitter, Meebo, YouTube and Flickr. Thus, you can not only update your blog through postings, but also through video and photo uploads, “tweeting” and facebook updates. In addition, you can also engage in a conversion with your friends while working on your blog through instant messaging.

In addition, blog subscriptions and file sharing are available on WordPress. Therefore, you can form a community or pool of bloggers and documents to be shared with others.

Lastly, WordPress can also be accessed through other devices such as Iphones and Android phones which increases mobility and connectivity.

In all the instances mentioned above, we can conclude that WordPress is providing value-added services that may or may not be directly under their server to promote interactivity between users and outsiders.

Sustainability (WordPress part of the story)
For WordPress, sustainability is not a problem. Personal blogs which are allocated for free help WordPress gain revenue by selling personal information (fed by users when they sign up or write about themselves) and advertising space. More importantly, WordPress sells their platform and services to big corporations who want a network of microsites which is easy to use, manage and track*.

*In Singapore, MediaCorp (Media Corporation) engages with this service to help them manage celebrity and channel blogs.

For Produsers who want empowerment and MORE
Produsers are better known as people who produce for and consume media (in this case, Web). They churn out videos, articles, etc. to publicly air their views or showcase their talents in hope of recognition and support which in turn empowers them. However, as mentioned in lecture, how far can interests bring these produsers? WordPress, alongside many other blogging sites, allow bloggers to engage in commercial activities such as posting on behalf on advertisers. Prominent blog produsers are selected to represent brands and companies to sell their products**. And many of them have taken blogging as their career! Other examples include YouTube singers who eventually get contracted by Itunes to sell their music in digital form or paid subscriptions to access blog contents. All these money-making possibilities make produsge sustainable.

** One such blogger is Xiaxue (who unfortunately uses blogspot): xiaxue.blogspot.com

Done by: Andy Ng, Ng Lye Ee, Charmaine Tai