In one of the earliest posts on this blog, we discussed Web 3.0 and the endless possibilities that would open up in the future; well, here we are again!

Before we go any further, check out this neat little post: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Future-of-Internet-Search-Mobile-version/59175

The concept of being able to access the internet simply via a piece of glass might have sounded impossible a year or two ago, but with the rate of advancement that we are experiencing, it may very well come reality, much sooner than you’d expect. Being able to hold a piece of glass over an apple, and have it tell you the nutritional contents, or being able to hold that same piece of glass up to a building and being told which floor a certain company is found on, this could all become reality.

Because of the internet, information now transcends all barriers of time and space. The speed and availability of information now make devices such as the one above a real possibility. In fact, Google has recently come up with the ‘Google Glasses’, which would allow users to search for information by simply looking at an object or person.

The future could even see real time translation of speech, with audio input being detected, instantaneously translated, and subtitles displayed on the glasses. See this video below to get an idea of what could be possible!

While the internet currently connects over 2 billion individuals, think of a future where billions of individuals, appliances, items, and a limitless bank of information are all seamlessly connected. The wealth of information accessible to humans and devices would reshape the way the world functions, and the way in which we conduct our lives.

While communication theorists often say that the internet is pervasive, that it has the ability to work it’s way into facets of your life. This is undoubtedly true now, and as the possibilities expand, so will the pervasiveness! But just how much is too much? Do we need to take measures to ensure that we remain in control of the internet? Or could there be a future where the internet controls us?

Reflections:

This course has been incredibly informative and engaging about the internet. It has allowed me to see the possibilities that the internet offers, and given me some practical tools which have been instantly applicable! It has also reminded me about the flip side of the internet, and that while something may be good, too much of it can also be a bad thing!

The internet is a great tool for learning, communicating, interacting, and many other aspects of our lives. It would be foolish not to make full use of all the capabilities it offers, while at the same time, one must be wise and adequately protect oneself.

So there we go, here’s the last post, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

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This. Means. Warrrrrrr!

Posted: April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s no secret that Microsoft, Google, and Apple are like a trio of feisty rabid badgers, ready and waiting to have a go at each other. What seemed like three different companies having their own separate areas in specialized markets has become a free-for-all war.

In one corner: Microsoft. As wise industry veterans, their near-monopoly on software and operating systems give them a rather comfortable position. This stranglehold on their market share is unlikely to be loosened easily. While they may not advance in leaps and bounds, their steady and slow growth is more than enough to maintain their deeply entrenched consumer base.

In the other corner: Apple. Flashy, trendy, savvy, and knows how to make a splash. Their cutting edge innovation in product design and vast variety of offerings has made them one of the most valuable companies ever. iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro… The list goes on. Experts at drawing the spotlight onto themselves, they’re the ‘cool kids’, and their following remains ever-increasing. Three or four years ago, barely anyone had a MacBook. Today, almost every University student in Starbucks sports one.

In the remaining corner: Google. The proud, cocky, new kid on the block. Aggressive, fearless, and looking to step on as many toes as possible. Exhibiting all the symptoms of the ‘pride of youth’ and living out their personal fable, Google continues to push the limits. With no apparent regard for traditional boundaries, they have dipped their fingers into almost every facet of the IT market fathomable. They’ve even gotten the ex-DARPA head Regina Dugan on board! From their world-dominating internet search engine, to phones, operating systems, video sharing, and an endless list of internet tools.

While traditionally, Apple and Microsoft seem to have drawn lines in the sand on the territories they compete in, Google seems intent on trampling on everyone’s turf and taking the fight to the old superpowers. And realistically speaking, they seem to have the best chance. It remains to be seen if Apple will continue to thrive and innovate in the absence of their leader, the late Steve Jobs. Microsoft seems to lack the impetus to push new frontiers and seem content to hold on to their current position. That leaves us with Google, who seem to be willing and able to try just about anything.

It will be exciting to see how this plays out in the coming years, as Google begins to delve into Operating Systems and phones. As a consumer, open war and competition between these companies offer the potential for an exciting slew of new products headed our way. Ultimately, who will prevail? Will Google ever be able to chip away at Microsoft’s seemingly unassailable market share, or innovate at the level that Apple does? Only time will tell.

Leave It To The Pros

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

R-E-J-E-C-T-!

Jack is a professional journalist. After spending an hour trawling the scene of the riot and gathering interviews and notes, he hurries back to the office. Two hours later, he hands in his first draft to his editor who yells at him, and throws it right back. Two hours later, he hands it in again, and it gets thrown back, again. Five revisions and twelve hours later, Jack’s article is FINALLY published in a half-paged column on page 25 of tomorrow morning’s news.Jill is a blogger. She happened to be at the scene of the riot. One video, five photos, and ten minutes later, her one-page article is up on her blog, and she’s received 30,000 hits. Even before Jack has started his first draft. And calling this a form of ‘journalism’ simply irks Jack to no end.

Professional journalists have long shunted the fact that ‘mere untrained common folk’ have the ability to accurately report the news. In fact, they abhor the possibility that these ‘amateurs’ could one day replace professionals. However, the reality is that the internet provides an avenue for just about anyone with a camera phone and a laptop to become a source of the news. Anyone can take a photo or a video, and plaster it across a blog accompanied by their description of the event, and fire that content out into cyberspace. Institutions no longer have a monopoly over the creation of media and news content; a fact which is unsettling for many professionals.Common concerns raised by professionals often include (1) the objectivity of ‘unprofessional’ reporters – gasp! common folk might present skewed and biased views, (2) the accuracy, quality, and currency of the news reported, (3) the fact that there is virtually no control or filter over what people may post or claim – a lack of gatekeepers.

You What?!

In terms of objectivity, while it COULD be said that news institutions may have a higher level of objectivity and professionalism, we all know their foremost directive is to serve the interests of their owners, shareholders, or those who control the media (MEDIA HEGEMONY!!).

Citizen journalists also tend to get more ‘up close and personal’ to events. A news crew could take possibly an hour or more to arrive at the scene of a riot, while a random blogger could happen to be at a cafe across the street, and run over to take a video. Many examples include people near or on the scene of the tsunami in Japan, or the riots in Tunisia; of whom provided valuable footage and pictures that no journalist would have been able to obtain.

While citizen journalists may not be held to the same ‘high professional standards’ as career journalists, there is a value to their work. Professional agencies should look to work together with them, and take advantage of the currency and the freshness they bring to the table, while still serving as gatekeepers on what information to endorse.

With the advent of the internet, it is undeniable that there will be an increase in user-generated content, particularly in the area of news. Will informal news ever replace the professional journalists that we know? Or is there a healthy balance/cooperation that can be struck between the two camps for the benefit of the consumers?

Make You Or Break You

Posted: March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

The internet is playing an increasingly larger role in politics than ever before. On top of the regular campaign speeches and ads, politicians now have to contend with the internet as well. As we have witnessed in various recent elections – ranging from the Singapore General and Presidential Elections in 2011, and the Presidential Elections in the USA in 2008, the internet has become a key component of successful election campaigns.

There are a number of things that the internet affords politicians which play to their advantage:

1. Accessibility – The internet brings the public ‘closer’ to the politicians. Via the internet, the public is able to keep track of the going-ons in the life of their candidate, and stay updated with the latest news. It helps to reduce the distance between politicians and the public. Sites such as FaceBook and Twitter also help politicians to appear more ‘personal’.

2. Massive Reach – The nature of the internet offers politicians a far greater reach than any other form of media. They are able to reach out to a massive number of people with ease, at a relatively low cost. It’d certainly be far cheaper to create a YouTube video or Tweet, than printing 10 million fliers.

3. Rapid Spread Of Information – The internet allows information to spread. Fast. Politicians are able to reach their supporters or the public faster than ever before – rather than having to wait for a press conference, they can simply get online.

That said, the rate at which information spreads on the internet is a double-edged sword. The internet is extremely volatile, and while it could make a politician’s career, it could quite as easily break it.

Negative information spreads like wildfire. Far quicker than positive information. Numerous politicians have had their reputations tarnished over information released on the internet. Met with a vicious backlash from the public, some have even been forced to step down. Opponents wait in the wings for politicians to slip up, capture their mistake, and blast it across the World Wide Web. A prime example is the video below!

The Arab Spring Revolution

We have also seen the effect of the internet in the Arab Spring Revolution; where one by one, the governing authorities in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have been brought down. Some of my friends were living IN Tunisia during the revolution; they experienced the rioting, protests, and curfews. One of them mentioned that the internet was one of the key factors in propagating the revolution, and quickly getting that information out to the world at large.

As we have seen, the internet presents many advantages to politicians, but also presents just as many drawbacks. If used correctly, the internet could bring about a great political advantage, but if caught on the wrong side of it, could cause utter wreckage to a politician’s career, or even the entire government. Has the internet caused politics to become more open, honest, and transparent? Or has it simply opened up another avenue for more political games and deception; where haters are simply waiting for a mistake to pounce on?

Advertisements have an incredible ability to instill or arouse desire inside of us, regardless of whether we really need the product in question; or not. More than ever before, companies now employ multimedia in the creation and presentation of their advertisements. Ads are no longer limited to paper or listing information. They now have the ability to be interactive and engaging.

I remember when the Apple iPad 2 was released. And I thought to myself… That’s stupid. Who in the world would want an iPad… Then I watched the Apple video. Which left me feeling ‘Oh my… I’ve gotta have one of those…’

Apple use of multimedia in advertising has been one of the strongest points of their marketing strategy. Their product videos aim to amaze, intrigue, and stir up desire. And very effectively so. In recent years, they have been known for their high-quality videos, with extremely creative concepts and a superb level of production.

Multimedia can be defined as media that encompasses a number of different content forms. These include a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video, and even interactivity. The combined use of several types of media helps to create an entirely new experience.

In the case of the iPad 2 video. The images of the iPad in action, combined with the convincing monologue from Apple’s lead designer, tied together with music and imagery, come together to create an engaging experience. No doubt, Apple’s use of multimedia to engage, inform, and advertise has been an important part of their success.

Multimedia has the power to enhance a viewer’s experience, regardless of what the subject matter is. Apple has understood this and harnessed the power of multimedia to create convincing and engaging advertisements and concept videos. Even a video about a simple item such as an iPad cover (yes, just the COVER… not even the iPad itself) turns into an opportunity to ‘wow’ their customer base.

While Apple has definitely been at the forefront of employing multimedia in their marketing, many other companies have caught on as well.

To end this off, check out this amazing Olympus Pen Video!

Pass It On…

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Macs are impervious to viruses. Or so we’ve been conditioned to think!

In end-February 2012, The Telegraph released an article stating that Apple Mac users were being warned about a Trojan virus that could breach their systems via vulnerabilities in JavaScript. Apple then released an update that would plug the gaps soon after. So what’s the deal? Aren’t our Macs supposed to be invulnerable to pesky viruses, unlike our inferior Windows PC counterparts?

Waaaay back when I bought my first Mac in 2006, I sincerely believed that my sleek silver companion was invincible. However, as The Telegraph has reported, that certainly isn’t the case! Why then, do Apple Computers have a reputation for being impervious to viruses, while their Windows counterparts carry a stigma for being virus magnets? There are several reasons.

1. Market Share – There were over 4 million new windows viruses in 2011. Compare that to just 50 for Macs. Why? Well Windows still holds over 90% of the world market share for computers. Simply put, you can’t hit that many people with a Mac virus, so it’s not worth a hacker’s time and effort.

2. Unix-Based File System – The Mac OS is based on Unix. For some reason, this means that the file system and kernel is harder to infect. Self-replicating programs (viruses) are not able to get in and start to multiply without some form of action or authorization (obviously tricked) from the user. These often come in the form of downloads (like Codecs from Porn Sites).

3. Built-in Security Measures – The Mac OS features a whole slew of built-in security measures that protect your system against virus attacks. Well… So does Windows. Here’s the key difference. Your Mac OS comes with all these measures TURNED ON by default. Your Windows system comes with all these TURNED OFF by default…

4. Frequent Updates – Apple’s frequent software and OS updates ensure that the latest vulnerabilities and exploits (successful hacks) are quickly dealt with and sealed up. This keeps viruses and hackers at bay.

It's not even a real virus...

So, while the Apple Mac isn’t entirely impervious to a virus attack, the chances of one happening are still pretty darn low. As long as you don’t click on anything stupid, as a Mac user, you should be fine. The downside to this? While we don’t detect and suffer from Windows viruses, we do unknowingly pass ’em on. Windows, sucks to be you!

Pro Tools 10

So this week, I decided it was about time to start learning how to use Pro Tools (our CSE111 software project was due soon). Pro Tools came with an interactive demo session, which was supposed to teach a new user how to get the entire software up and running, and equip a new user with some basic editing skills. So here’s a quick rundown of my experience with e-learning.

Pros:

‘One-to-one’ Attention – It was just me, and the demo.

Comfortable Pace – I could pause the demo at any time, rewind and replay if I felt I missed anything, or if something wasn’t clear. I could learn at my own pace to make sure that I fully understood before moving on. Now imagine asking your lecturer to repeat the same point five times…

Portable – I could learn anywhere. It wasn’t restricted to a lecture hall or classroom. Or in this case, a recording/engineering studio.

Interactive – The demo was interactive. I could try certain things, make mistakes and get corrected, or have the demo show me exactly what to do. I was able to learn by actually trying. Certainly beats having someone talk at you for 90 minutes.

Cons:

Rigid – The ‘flow’ of the lesson is restricted by the software programming, and the programmers interpretation or view of how the subject should be taught. While the demo was interactive and able to respond to certain situations, the software’s responses were limited to situations which were anticipated by the software/demo engineer.

No Outlet For Frustration – What can you do when the demo explains something in a weird way, or you simply don’t understand it? You can’t yell at it… I came so close to smashing my laptop on many occasions as I simply could not figure out what the demo was trying to do.

PROTOOOOOOOOLLLLSSSSS

Conclusion:

Digital Media can make learning more effective than the traditional classroom methods. The accessibility, portability and customization afforded by e-learning adds to a better learning experience. The interactivity offered by certain forms of Digital Media allows the learner to learn by DOING or TRYING, which is no doubt infinitely more effective than simply listening to a lecture on Pro Tools (I’d DIE if I had to learn all that via a lecture…). With the ease of access to learning materials on the web today, we have the resources to learn more effectively through the use of Digital Media.

Despite these advantages, the pitfalls of a lack of human touch, and inability to adapt to situations still stand. Can learning through Digital Media ever fully replace the traditional teacher and classroom? Or are they meant to act as a supplement to the way we learn, and enhance our educational experience?