Monday, November 25, 2013

13: Summary

Here is something fun and cool for the summary page! :D

For the whole article, click here!

The video talks about machines and through machines, we are able to harness the power of the internet. However we must always remember that what the internet cannot replace is the HUMAN TOUCH. We are physical creatures who need love. If all we do is isolate ourselves through the use of the Internet, that is a very lonely existence.

What the Internet has done for us is to bring people worlds apart, closer to each other. It is a wonderful tool for gathering and sharing information. It has given every individual an opportunity to be heard. Through social media, the world has become a global village, literally; sharing gossip and information, cool news through the click of one button.

I would like to thank Abel for all the lessons that he has taught us. Your cold jokes are very cold and sometimes I don't even get it but we appreciate your humour. Thank you for being accepting toward us even when we sleep in your class.

This class has opened my eyes to many different parts and themes of the Internet. However I wished there was more of a structure for the lessons and many we could have small assignments leading up to a final assignment instead of betting all our results on a final paper.

12: Future of Internet

I was always a big fan of science fiction movies such as Star Wars, Minority Report, Tron, Ironman, The Avengers, X-men etc. And one thing that they all have in common is that they allow us a tiny peek into our possible future.

Everyone is amazed by the possibilities about what they future might bring. I am excited as well, however, I am also concerned by how hackers might evolve. As technology improves, so do the skills of the criminal side of the internet.

Through increase in technology, we might now be victim to them and private information available to them, because of our faith in the Internet an technology.

Hacking our future world:

Geraldine Hamilton: Body Parts on a chip:

Because of the improvement of technology, healthcare has been upped to a whole new level. We have new routes and new techniques and new technology to discover to help us live a longer, healthier and happier life. Men mostly fear death, but now mankind might have a shot at living really long lives. The irony is that many sicknesses and diseases are caused by the aftereffects or side effects of technology etc. Fingers crossed that technology will be on our side and we will get "health boosters" in life that will miraculously keep us alive for a longer period of time.

11: Internet Business

In the fight to own the Internet, companies like Google do everything in their power to increase the productivity and creativity of their employees. It is obvious through the lavish offices owned by many internet-based companies. Everyone knows how Google ensures that its workers are spoilt for choice in terms of food, leisure and comfort. However, because of these great incentives, it expects its workers to come up with the most effective solutions that would increase the people using their search engine.

Cafe in Google, Dublin

Meeting room in Google, Dublin

Conference Room in Google, London

Other companies are not far behind. Facebook, even though it is only a social network, or a form of social media, it has great influence over its users. It can compete with Google in terms of depth of knowledge of their users. However in terms the things that can be done on the different platforms, Google has a wider stretch. But since the main revenue for Google is its ads, Facebook stands a fighting chance against them. Before we continue, shown below are some of Facebook's offices. 

Facebook India

Facebook Singapore

Facebook Singapore

Facebook and Google are each other's competitors in the online advertising business. The majority of Google's profit is raked in through the AdWords and AdSense. However, with the rise of Facebook, they need to be really careful. In 2010, Facebook's ad revenue hit $1.86 billion dollars. 

The projected income for 2011 was $4.05 billion internationally (from advertising), of which only $2.19 billion would originate from USA. Below are some charts charting the revenue from advertising from Google and Facebook. 

The above charts were taken from this website: here.
This will now lead me to talk about how Google is micromanaging their employees and making them look at every detail in every aspect of the company.

The Forty Shades of Blue Experiment.

In its bid to become the best, Google analyses all their decisions on the basis of data collected. This is how choices are made at Google, that is, according to Douglas Bowman. In his own words;

Bowman, Google's visual design leader, left Google (the ultimate dream company for many) after deciding that he would not stand decisions about design based on user data. He continued;

The point of the matter is, Google cares about how their users view them. If small tweaks and adjustments would make users more willing to respond to links, they are willing to test this idea out. They care enough to make and experiment on small and minute details of their company, in hope that users would like them more.
In terms of level of interestingness, it would be very cool to just test things out and record the data, analyse data before making a decision. However, if all decisions had to be made in this manner, it would be very tedious for employees and difficult for them to just get anything approved since the process is so long. However in terms of making revenue, the company might be just wasting resources. 
For the companies, Google and Facebook, they come up with apps and improve their design to increase revenue. However, for us we see on a "fun" or "interesting" level. Apparently every decision that users make online have been calculated and tried and tested by the thousands of Google employees. If Google has to test out forty shades of different blues and hold debates about the pixel width, then the industry must be so competitive that they are forced to do things like that in order to stay at the top of their game. 

10: Internet Journalism

In class, we watched a video about a reporter, Paul Lewis, who was covering human rights stories that he had very little evidence. He needed more proof that the events happened in order to report them. He tweeted that he needed proof and if anyone did they should contact him. His tweet was retweeted and found several witnesses of the events and was able to write his story. He then went on to explain how citizen journalism, or crowd sourcing could be the future of journalism. 

Citizen journalism is known as public, guerrilla, or street journalism. This is based on the common citizen playing an active part in collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news and information. Citizen journalism can be very biased as citizen journalists are not trained in news reporting or presenting information in the best manner. Through their "goodwill" they might make things worse instead. 

Examples of citizen journalism gone wrong are "RIP Morgan Freeman"or "RIP Jackie Chan" and the recent "RIP Rowan Atkinson", famous viral announcements by citizen journalists that were totally wrong. Freeman, Chan and Atkinson are all alive and well. 

Citizen journalists are the trendy "in-thing" right now. People believe that journalism should not just be run by news organisations who filter news for them. They want the news for "whatever it is". There is a danger in the fact that through such means, there will not be a dedicated news source who is established and responsible for their information, there will also be possibly legal issues if the reported news is wrong. People and companies get hurt. 

However, I believe that citizen journalism also brings out many stories that we do not get to see in the news. It brings news to the people from the people. There is a very honest approach that readers appreciate. 

An interesting article i found online was about how many online journalism sites were closing down. There is room to discuss why these sites failed and why there might not have been any support for them from the public in terms of funding.  (

The story of Anas Aremeyaw Anas

Anas Aremeyaw Anas is a Ghanaian investigative journalist who is famous for using his anonymity as a tool for his investigation. He focuses on human rights and anti-corruption issues. In his speech in TEDtalks, he says repeatedly that he can only hope to change society and change the government only if he brings out the hard core evidence. He then produces video footage from his hidden camera and shows it to the audience. He is only able to do such journalism and give proof of corruption and evil activity through hard core evidence. He places his life at risk and writes stories that shake the country and expose evil in his country.

Through internet tools such as YouTube, we are able to view his story and find out what is going on with him wherever he is. His line of work is dangerous and many things that he has to uncover he has to uncover himself. For him, such information does not come through the internet or through social media sites. This kind of information requires him to physically go through the situation and experience before he can write a report about it. This may be due to the fact that he is living in a developing country and the people to not have as easy internet access as we have in Singapore.

Also, since the things that he reports on are so underground, and often illegal, citizens might not be as willing to share such news with the public. Citizens might also not feel a need to poke or prod in issues they feel are 'dangerous'. Their primary concern might be just to survive.

In Anas' case, the internet journalism may only be able to aid him up to a certain point.

9: Internet Politics

Politics by itself is a very complicated and loaded issue. And when it comes to what sort of power the Internet holds against politics? Nothing.

Even though social media did not bring about the Arab Spring, it played a key role in the demonstrations. The communicative power of social media platforms were essential to the success of the revolutions.

It is the people who wield the power. It is the people who, through the internet, get empowered and get things done. In Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, protests were organised through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has been used to schedule protests and Twitter to coordinate. Youtube has been a key channel for the world to watch these protests, recorded by the locals.  These tools have allowed the distribution of information essential to organising a movement that helped overthrow oppressive, dictative authorities.

Through the use of social media, fear has been broken. People have the ability now to connect and share information with like-minded individuals in their own country. Through social media, they can share feelings, emotions and sentiments about the status of their country. It is through discussion brought together online, that the concept of overthrowing the government can become reality.

Social media has, according to Professor Hussein Amin of mass communications at the American University of Cairo, "provided activists with an opportunity to quickly disseminate information while bypassing government restrictions" for the first time.

For more information, check out these articles:
Twitter Revolution
Effects of the Arab Spring

8: Multimedia


Everyone loves free! Here are some cheap alternatives to multimedia tools that we can use.

If you are new to this popular photo editing software, then here is a short introduction. Photoshop is a professional software meant to edit photos. You have the ability to adjust the lighting, the tone and colour of the image, control the smoothness of surfaces and more! It can manipulate the quality of the photograph. Below are some examples of what photoshop can do.

The alternative: SPLASHUP
They describe themselves as the only full-featured, free range online image editor. It has a similar layout to the photoshop one. They have extra tools that you can use for a much cheaper price as compared to photoshop. For other free photo editing software, check out here. 

Microsoft powerpoint is a slideshow designing software that comes in a bundle with the other Microsoft  software. It is user friendly and popular among noobs. It even comes with templates that make the whole process uncomplicated and fun! Soundslides is slideshow hosting system that is affordable. It is designed for users who do not have web space for posting slideshows. It is flexible and easy to use and gives users the option to make their slideshow into a video. Users can even add audio tracks and sync them with the images. 

the alternative: PHOTOPEACH
PhotoPeach is also web-based and it is user friendly. PhotoPeach directs you to upload photos from Facebook or Picasa. The free version limits each user to 30 photos, and you would need to subscribe for more. The three dollar a month premium subscription allows users to upload music to the slideshow and customise transitions between photos. 

 It is a professional non-linear video editing software. It up to 99 audio tracks, multi-camera editing for the purpose of combining video from multiple angles. It also comes with a range of video transitions, video and audio filters. It has a manual colour correction filter and a selection of video scopes and generators.

the alternative: iMOVIE/ JAYCUT
iMovie is a user friendly program included in every Apple laptop. It is a free program that can be used to create professional looking videos. It has basic features that every users need. JayCut is an online editor that allows registered users to upload and edit their videos for free. Images, audio tracks and effects can be added in. The video can be shared online or downloaded to the computer.

Have fun experimenting!

7: Internet Security

I am sure everyone has heard of WikiLeaks. I, like everyone else heard about how this website "leaked" information to the government. I do not know how this works and still do not know how it works. However, what I want to point out is that the Internet is forever and whatever you do, good or bad is etched in internet history. Time and evidence proves that what is on the internet that has supposedly been erased can be retrieved through many ways. 

Julian Assange, believes that his work and organisation, WikiLeaks, will change the world. Below is a video in which a short clip is shown to the audience. The short clip shows American soldiers shooting innocent citizens and laughing about that. 

This only further proves that what is recorded and stored offline or online (especially), can be hacked and  the information 'leaked' to outside sources. If the government databases can be hacked, what more can we say to that. We are just ordinary systems with (often) only a basic security system at home. There are many things that we do not know yet about the internet.  

Sun Tzu said that 知己知彼百战百胜。Which means that we need to know ourselves and our enemy if we want to win. In this case, we might think we know alot about ourselves, even if we really do, we do not know the internet. It is so huge and big, and through class, we have realised that there is so much  potential and unknown space in the Internet. 

Even though we are still unfamiliar with all the inner workings of the Internet, people still choose to do many things online. Online banking, filling in random forms, giving out information freely, not being conscious of decisions that are made when they are online... etc.

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