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Future of the internet

15 Apr

Since the invention of the internet in 1965, it has advanced so rapidly. In less than 5 decades, it has gone from a military tool to an indispensable tool for many. In fact, the internet is the main culprit for making many of us slaves to technology.

In the past, getting access to the internet would only be through a computer. Now we can do so using our mobile phones, mp3 players and gaming devices. With increased access to the internet (practically 24/7), more transactions will be done online and this will increase the amount of sensitive information and one’s reliance in the cyber world. Hence, I feel that in the future of the internet, cyberterrorism will rise. This might lead to decreased anonymity and increased accountability for internet users. However, this would also mean that there would also be increased surveillance and freedom of speech would be reduced.

Also, another future which I envisioned would be the use of 3D technology while surfing the internet. Many of our technologies have shifted from 2D to 3D. Movies are increasingly filmed in 3D.

Televisions have also adopted the 3D technology.

And now, handheld games devices such as the Nintendo 3DS.

So, why not the internet?

Lastly, going online would be made much easier. No, I don’t mean having access to the internet through any kind of devices. I mean, we won’t even need a mouse, keyboard or even our hands to surf the net! A research scientist believes that

“users will soon tire of depending on a computer interface, and having to fish a device out of their pocket or bag to access it.”  He also predicted that “users will tire of having to manipulate an interface with their fingers. Instead, they’ll simply manipulate their various devices with their brains.”

Imagine the ability to surf the net using our thoughts! This research has been tested on a monkey and watch the video to see how successful it is! (:

The downside to this is, chips would have to be implanted in the brain. Hmmm, how many people would want that? Perhaps in future, someone will invent something else which would totally eliminate the implanting of the computer chip!

Right now, we can only guess and make predictions. But hey who knows? When our kids read this, they might be like “oh man, this is so old school!”

Credits

1) http://pcworld.about.net/news/Jan172005id119314.htm

2) http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9141180/Intel_Chips_in_brains_will_control_computers_by_2020?taxonomyId=11&pageNumber=2

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Facebook narcissism

7 Apr

Are you narcissistic? Facebook tells it all!

For this week’s post on anything about the internet, I decided to share a rather interesting study on Facebook.

In class, we learnt about the freedom and the benefits that the social media has given us. The opportunities are endless and almost every social situation we have in reality can be mimicked online in some form or another. The internet is now filled with great efficiency and unimaginable global reach. However in our excitement to embrace the power of the social media, many fail to realise the other indications brought about by them.

A study done by York University revealed that there is a positive relationship between the level of narcissism and the number of times a person checks his/her Facebook page. This is because Facebook provides the perfect climate for narcissists to “monitor their appearance and how many ‘friends’ they have, allowing them to thrive on ‘shallow’ relationships while avoiding genuine warmth and empathy.” Furthermore, the site can also be used as a self-promotion tool.

The study also likened the use of Facebook as an online equivalent to staring at oneself endlessly into the mirror.

I feel that narcissism has been used too loosely by youth today up to the point that its meaning is diluted. Narcissism, in its true essence, is a personality disorder where one is excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity.

I have seen enough Facebook profiles to prove the validity of the study. There are times when I get irritated with how my entire news feed is flooded with posts of just one person. I  have friends on Facebook who do a daily ritual of posting perfectly well photo-shopped pictures of themselves and their outfits, fishing for compliments. I also have friends on Facebook who constantly flaunt about how awesome their lives are and blabber about their endless love for their other halves, only to disappear from their accounts when their lives are not as happening as before. Seriously, it’s damn irritating.

In addition, I feel that the study can be applied to most forms of social media, and not just Facebook alone. Almost all forms of social media have the ability to allow users to promote a perfect image of themselves.

I believe a point we must note is also an individual’s access to Facebook. This might be a limitation of the study which was not considered by the researchers. It is definitely inevitable for someone with access to Facebook 24/7 (eg, those with a Blackberry or iPhone) to be more active on Facebook than those who are limited by the use of Facebook only at places with internet access. Therefore, the reflection of a person’s usage of Facebook may not be a true indication of their level of narcissism.

Although I find this study interesting and pretty entertaining , I am not deterred to reduce my use of the social media in any way. I believe that it is still useful to keep my loved ones updated about my life. The benefits the social media provides us with far exceeds the costs it brings.  Users of the social media are not only youth and the technologically savvy people, but also educational institutions and workplaces. In this interactive internet age, not participating in the social media will only make one look like a hermit and be isolated from the masses.

Seriously, how can one ever avoid the social media?

Narcissistic? So be it.

Credits

1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1310230/Facebook-users-narcissistic-insecure-low-self-esteem.html

2) http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20016136-501465.html

3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

Internet & Journalism

31 Mar

For this week’s blog post on the internet and journalism, I decided to start off with this video (:

The internet and journalism.

Two completely different entities invented for different purposes. The question should never have been about internet versus journalism, but internet and journalism. Together, these two can achieve so much more!

Who would have thought these two completely different mediums would merge into one?  The web’s effect on news reporting is considered the most clear evidence that this is a revolutionary technology. News editors are no longer the gatekeepers to information. The costs of distributing information have almost completely disappeared. News are reaching the masses almost instantly and the news is first-hand, garnering more interest.

I’m talking about citizen journalism. It gives us freedom. People without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others. A definite interaction can also be seen with the media through polls, comments, and questions directed to the article.

Citizen journalism epitomizes the belief that the experiences of people personally involved with an issue. We get the whole inside view of the event. Traditional reporting is usually state-owned and has the tendency to present a skewed point of view. By granting access to anyone to cover the news, citizen journalism presents a more persona view of events
and has the potential to cultivate communities of people with a
common interest. Through blogs, citizen journalists have broken
stories about political corruption, police brutality, and other issues
of concern to local and national communities. Citizen journalism also forces contributors to think objectively.

One of the most established citizen journalism websites in Singapore would be Stomp.

As much as I would like to applaud Singaporeans for embracing this new form of journalism, I have to say that Singaporeans would have to be more mature about the kind of content they would consider news. Easily, three quarters of the ‘Hottest Topics’ or ‘Most Commented’ posts on Stomp.com is trash. It is more of a platform to embarrass people or companies who’ve crossed your path. Take a look at the comments on these ‘news’ on Stomp.com and you will see countless of senseless arguments  about nonsense. Where is the objectiveness in personal view?

I’m sure many of us are familiar with this big hoo-ha sometime back.

Yes, go ahead and criticize. The NS boy is not manly enough, he’s spoilt and lazy.

We get it already. Why do people still keep harping on it?! It irritates me to see that this is the kind of news which will generate the most interest on citizen journalism sites.

Haven’t we forgotten about the up and coming GE, or any other more pressing issues in our society?

Youth & Politics

23 Mar

Singapore is reputably a nanny-state nation. Our foreign counterparts know of our ‘motherly’, yet strong political system which brought us from rags to riches in an incredibly short span of time. However, our people have also been criticized to be too accepting and frightened of our political system because of the lack of involvement in politics. This is especially so for youth. Hence for this week’s entry, I will go into 2 main reasons why I think Singaporean youths are generally apathetic towards politics.

1) Strong emphasis on personal success

The first reason could be that the extremely strong emphasis on personal success and the key to success is getting a good education.

This leads to intense competition in schools and universities. Many youth are too engulfed in their pursuit for success to care about other issues like politics. It has been ingrained in our minds that a proper education is the path to success. With so many assignments and projects, how is it possible for us to fork out time to care about politics? In addition, the constant stress on an all rounded education means that many youth are also forced into joining co-curriculum activities (CCA) which occupies much of their time. CCA is even graded and this can be useful to help you get into tertiary institutions of your choice. Not only do you have to have several achievements and recognized awards in your CCA, you also have to have a minimum of 30 hours of community involvement in order to achieve a decent grade.

Hence, we youths just have too much at stake. In school, we have our education to pursue. After we graduate, we have our careers to establish and families to build. With the influx of foreign talents, many of us feel threatened and believe that our space in the society is dwindling. We want achieve all we can now and fight our way to success at all costs.

At the end of the day when we are finally satisfied with our lives, we’ll go. .. “Politics. What?! When did I even have the time to care?”

2) Restrictive government

Another reason (which I mentioned briefly at the start of this post) which i deem more appropriate is that our government is very restrictive and many of us are afraid of violating any laws. Many Singaporean youths are afraid to voice their opinions or disgruntlement against the government for the fear of getting convicted. Even writing an entry on our personal blogs such as this one, forces us to self-censor for the fear of repeating similar cases whereby bloggers get fined or jailed because of the content on their blogs. If we don’t even dare to voice our opinions on our personal journals, where else can we do so?
Also, many of us have the mentality that voicing our opinions will not work. Being young, we feel that the government will not take our views seriously. This reduces the motivation for us to get involved in politics. A famous case I will use to illustrate my point is Tin Pei Ling, the youngest People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for the coming general election.  Instead of embracing new talent, many Singaporeans object to her involvement and news reports label her as being ‘too young and inexperienced’. Reports make her look as if she got to where she is today because of her networks and it is not based on her own talent.
Because of this picture, many netizens were quick and ruthless in labeling her as materialistic and spoilt. Seriously, can’t she have a life too?
With such negative feedback received, why would any of us still want to get involved in politics? Would it work if we were to get involved?
That’s why, we’d just sit back, relax and let the old people handle the job as always. Why bother?

Multimedia & Marketing

17 Mar

Through the use of multimedia, many companies are able to build brand awareness and loyalty in unique and powerful ways. Also, through various websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, these messages are able to go viral very quickly, reaching out to a wide array of masses in a short period of time.

Of the many different companies which use multimedia to market their products, I personally feel that Apple has been extremely successful. Even before Apple’s newest products reach our tiny little island, a huge hype is already created and many people would queue for hours just to be the first to get their hands on their newest gadgets.

Take a look at the iPad2 advertisement and you’ll see why (:

I believe Apple’s success in marketing their products through the multimedia can be explained using the AIDA model.

1) Awareness

To attract customers, the video uses an upbeat tune with interesting graphics to display the specifications of the iPad.

2) Interest

In the video, Apple raises the customer’s interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits of the iPad 2. They continuously emphasized how much the iPad2 has improved since its predecessor, the iPad. This increases interests for people who already own the older version of the iPad, and also those who have yet to own one.

3) Desire

The video also convince customers that they want and desire the iPad and that what it can provide will satisfy their needs. The constant use of people in their everyday lives (i.e, girl and grandma with birthday cake etc.) also helps to build common ground with the audience, making their persuasive appeal a stronger one.

4) Action

Although the action step is not explicitly stated in the video, the above three steps will, and has convinced many that they should take action to purchase the iPad2.

Comparing this to a flyer or a newspaper advertisement, the use of multimedia wins hands down! It is interactive, intriguing, personalized and engrossing. It is no wonder so many companies have shifted to using multimedia to market their products.

Cybercrime In Singapore

9 Mar

Although we live in a country who is reputably famous for the incredibly long arms of justice, criminals still lurks amongst us.

As mentioned in my post in Week Four, the ability to remain anonymous online gives the perfect climate for cybercriminals to strike. Under a fake identity, people basically think they can do anything and everything they want. Just browse through forums and social networking sites and you can see how bold and outrageous some people can get. With the convenience and flexibility of the internet, many people are going online to do their shopping. This brings me to a case which happened  in 2009.

The Straits Times, August 14 2009.

Believe it or not, many people get scammed on a daily basis through blogshop transactions. There are just so many ways to get scammed.

As a buyer: item not received, wrong item received, item does not fit description/picture etc.

As a seller: money not received, buyer claims item is not received and demands for refund when he/she actually received it, buyer provides fake payment details etc.

And why is it so common? Because all it takes is a blog, things you can/want to sell/buy and that’s it, you are a seller/buyer. No rent, no costs, no obligations, no responsibility, nothing. When something goes wrong, people just delete their accounts and create a new one.

This case created a big hoo-ha back then in the blogshopping community because it was the first ever case which actually saw some police action involved. It was the first time people realized that it is possible to catch scammers despite bogus accounts under a fake identity. This created the implementation of more stringent rules to verify the integrity of blogshop sellers. This includs the mandatory feedback count which has testimonials from previous buyers.

An interesting thing to note about this case is, the woman who got prosecuted is a student studying in SIM.

Isn’t it scary how the apparent anonymity of the internet, plus greed, can make an average student just like my peers and I, succumb to crime?

This serves as a wake up call for me to be more wary about who I am dealing with online. Most of the time, I do review the seller’s feedback before making my decision to purchase and I believe it is quite an effective way to prevent myself from being a victim of cybercrime. In addition, dealing only with established websites can be another preventive measure.

It doesn’t take much to be a little more careful does it? (:

References

1) http://www.asiaone.com/Business/SME%2BCentral/eBiz%2BHub/Story/A1Story20090814-161136.html

2) http://k-sayuri-scam.blogspot.com/


Google Tools & Windows Movie Maker

6 Mar

I’ve always known the existence of Google Earth since it emerged in 2005, but I never knew there is a flight simulator embedded within the programme! What’s really cool is that it takes full advantage of Google’s extensive satellite imagery, making the whole experience a surreal one.

After starting the flight simulator, a pop-up appears and it requires me to choose my aircraft and start position.

After which,  my flight begins with a take-off from a runway. HUD (heads up display) which is basically the green stuff appears on my screen. These provided me information on the wind speed, the direction I was headed to, the altitude and the speed I was flying at.

It was an interesting experience indeed. However, it is not an easy flight at all!! In fact, I never landed :S

Despite countless attempts, every single flight I had landed up as a crash landing. I found out that if a user maneuvers the flight carefully, he or she can even fly the plane underwater!

I feel that this is something worth trying. It’s pretty fun, it’s free and it allows me to get a bird’s eye view of popular landmarks all over the world.

On another note, my experience with Windows Movie Maker is more successful (though tedious) in its first attempt as compared to my Google Earth flight simulator experience. For the purposes of this entry, I shall dig out my very first Movie Maker video.

I remember working on this video for days!

It was not easy trying to ensure the flow of the music and pictures. After choosing all the pictures and songs which I wanted to include in the video, I realised some of the file types were not compatible with Windows Movie Maker and I had to use an external programme to convert the files. Also, doing the transitions was such a painful task. I wanted to make sure every transition was different and adding transitions messed up my time line.  The music started later than it was suppose to and the time each picture had during the video was reduced, resulting in countless adjustments I had to make.

However, I never regretted doing this video because it brought so much joy to my friend and it introduced me to Windows Movie Maker. I have since created a few other movies using the programme and each time I do so, I explore new things which can be done.

In my opinion, it is definitely one of the most user friendly and idiot-proof movie maker programmes around.

Give it a try if you haven’t! 😀