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Blog Entry #4

Topic #4—A-Cold-War-Invention&id=770340

Searching the internet on the relationship between the Cold War and the birth of the internet itself, I have found two conclusions. First, I found that the internet was established as a way to get ahead of the Russians in the Space Race after they had launched the Sputnik in 1957. And second the internet was launched as a way to save information in case of an impending attack.

Sputnik being the first manmade object to orbit the earth stunned the U.S which in turn felt the need to prove that America was more technologically advanced than Russia. Unfortunately the U.S was not having the same success sending rockets into space as Russia was at the time. The American public was getting frustrated and demanded that something be done about it.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was then developed by President Eisenhower in 1958. The idea behind the “pre- internet” was to keep military secrets safe in case of a nuclear attack. Another idea behind it was to prevent technological surprises meaning the president didn’t want the Russians revealing anything more technologically advanced than the U.S. The first internet was called ARPANET which really developed in 1969. As time progressed the internet’s technology grew and its users reached 550 people in 1981, by 1984 it had 940 users. By then the internet had developed into much more than a military secret.

Without the launch of the Sputnik President Eisenhower may have never needed to launch the development of the internet. I believe computer systems and the internet itself would have eventually developed into what it is today but may have developed at a much slower pace. The technology may have even been abandoned somewhere between 50 years ago and now. Bill Gates may have never had the idea to develop the Microsoft operating system to guide users while using a computer and Steve Jobs may have never given us the IOS operating system on the Apple Macintosh. Overall I believe the public can partially thank the Russians giving us the need to get ahead which has over time developed into what the internet is today.


Blog Entry #3

Topic #3

(The Video) Deb Roy: The Birth Of A Word

I agree with Bob McChesney in that we have come to a point in our history in which we have to opportunity to do something amazing using technology. The video of Deb Roy proves that there are people out there who are trying to do just that, something amazing. Watching the video I believe Roy and his team are most definitely in the right direction. Roy has come up with a system of video cameras and microphones that he has set up in his home to document every moment of his son growing up. He ran the cameras eight hours a day for three years and recorded 90,000 hours of home video. The video was sifted through and then used to show what words his son learned first and why. His son’s first word was ga-ga which is what he associated water with, over time ga-ga formed into the actual word water. By breaking the videos down and analyzing them Roy was able to construct a 40 second time lapse of his son learning to use the word water. From ga-ga to water.

By using this same format Roy was able to analyze how language connects to certain events which in turn provide common ground for people and how we learn as children. Roy started using tv content analyzing the structure of tv episodes and commercials. He collected 3 billion comments a month from social media sites and placed them in order according to event structure, common ground and conversations about the two. Linking the two shows the content which in turn shows the cycles that drive the overall behavior. Essentially meaning that starting with one event a person decides to tweet about it or update their Facebook status which in turn causes someone to comment on that tweet or status which brings more people into the conversation which then drives those people back into the original media text, causing one large media cycle.

I believe there are people out there, scientists, professors, media activists who are relentlessly studying media and social media to find a way to somehow fully understand how the media affects the world. Within the past few years social media sites have blown up, so many people use them and I don’t think we completely understand what links for example, the average American college student with someone in Australia. It wasn’t so long ago that in order to talk with anyone overseas you would have to hand write a letter to them or wait for a certain time of day or night to call them because of time differences. Today a person can jump onto Facebook type out a message and press send, done they have their message in a matter of seconds. Most smartphones are connected with Facebook and Twitter meaning that the message that person just sent wouldn’t just go inbox on Facebook it goes straight to their cell phone so even if that person is away from their computer they still receive the message right in their hand. I believe Deb Roy is a media pioneer and is helping the world better understand our own behavior around communication.

Topic #11

Piracy in the music and film industry has been an increasingly problematic issue in the United States and abroad over the years. As file sharing becomes more accessible online music artists and movie actors as well as producers, directors, composers basically everyone who had been involved with the development of that song or movie don’t get paid. In France there is a law called the 3 strikes law which means the government looks out for people illegally downloading content from the internet, three strikes and they revoke your internet privileges. A website in Europe called PirateBay was taken down because they were providing free pirated songs and movies.

Some top ranking officials among the music and filed industry blame the lack of education on the increase of piracy. Many people believe that because it is available on the internet for free and because “everybody does it” it’s okay to take. In fact there are plenty of websites that provide music legally. Amazon, iTunes and Rhapsody are just a few companies that provide legally downloadable music. If you just want to stream songs without paying Pandora is also available online. Recent services like the Cloud allow users to store their content be it music, books, movies and more in a digital world where it can be accessed from anywhere.

Because there isn’t a legislation holding internet service providers responsible for pirated websites like PirateBay, ultimately other websites will continue to be established. Users will become aware of its existence and it will flourish until it is told to shut down. In other parts of the world there is a performance right built into the song when it is recorded meaning radio stations have to pay a royalty to play the song. This isn’t the case in the U.S because radio stations already feel they provide enough promotional support just by playing the song.

In the end the music and movie industries in the U.S have suffered great loss in revenue because of the internet. It is easier now than ever to stream movies, live TV and music for free over the internet. In order for record and movie companies to bounce back and regain the lost revenue they must figure out a way to keep up with the ever changing demands of technology.

Topic #2

The financial crisis in Europe doesn’t have many people in the U.S concerned at this point in time. As the article states American exports to Eurozone countries only amount to 3 percent of the U.S overall economy but a financial bailout in Europe could cause a Lehman Brother’s like problem. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. was the fourth largest investment banks in the U.S before 2008 when the company filed for a chapter 11 bankruptcy. This created a financial panic in the banking world because essentially no one knew what to do and there was a freeze on the financial system because of all the uncertainty. This example shows exactly what Europe is trying to avoid.

I like how the article breaks down the problems with Europe and compares them to what we have experienced in the U.S. It explains how like California, Italy has experienced bad governing which has led them into a financial crisis. Mississippi is like Greece and other smaller Eurozone countries that have been living off of richer countries to keep their economies afloat. The richest country in the Eurozone is Germany which is compared with Wall Street here in the U.S. None of the struggling countries share a bailout plan which in essentially means they may be on their own.

The people who are risking the most and will be suffering the most are the citizens in the poorest countries of the Eurozone. If their economies go under, imports and exports will be effected which would lead to lower wages for workers. With depression like characteristics people could be forced out of their homes. Hypothetically, if these countries had chosen a neoliberalism type of government maybe this situation wouldn’t have happened. Believing in neoliberalism means a country believes in promoting privately owned companies and believing that “the people” run the economy.

Without having been controlled by big business or having big shot government officials running the country, making sure their pockets are full and everything is to their liking before the people’s has led to the demise of these country’s economies. Having an economy run by citizens of a country may or may not be the best idea but obviously something hasn’t been working which has led to the decline of the poorest countries in the Eurozone.

Topic #9

The role of technology, more specifically social media has been very helpful in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. Facebook and Twitter have allowed the message to spread throughout the country and the world and it lead to the resigning of former president Husni Mubarak. Some people may feel that the hype around social media websites is negative and leads to unnecessary movements like Occupy Wall Street. Others believe that social media is a way for people to voice their opinions publicly and legally. Using websites like Facebook and Twitter allow for peaceful uprisings and protests without protesting in the streets slowly gathering supporters. Once it is clear that a Facebook page declaring some kind of protest gains enough followers it becomes clear that the next logical step is to gather all of the supporters together in one spot to voice their opinions.

The 2011 Egyptian “Facebook Revolution” was preceded by the 2009 “Twitter Revolution” in Iran. With both of these revolutions social media played a few important roles in successfully spreading the word of the revolution in Egypt and Iran. Social media helped to spread the word about the political problems each country had at the time. Because the word was spread over the internet the process was more peaceful then it would have been if people had taken to the streets earlier. Social media also allowed people to debate with large amounts of people without having to get together in large groups. The article says that in Egypt it had been illegal for groups of five or more people to meet. Lastly, social media helped aid the Egyptian and Iranian Revolutions because it allowed people to plan their protests very easily and anonymously. Shoot a quick e-mail or Facebook message to a few hundred people and done, a gathering at a certain place has been planned for a specific time.

Topic #8

The use of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have been on the rise for a few years. Many people have flocked to these types of websites to take advantage of how they work, allowing millions of users to connect and socialize with each other without leaving the comfort of their own home. These websites have become so popular in fact that they may have contributed to a decline in other “traditional” web traffic like shopping sites and email outlets like yahoo. As a result other companies are finding it harder to reach out to consumers to promote brand recognition and capture their interest in the products they have to offer. This has lead companies to change their idea of advertising.

One reason why Facebook and Twitter have become so popular is the fact that they are free to use. They also pride themselves on privacy, they allow users to make their homepage as private or open as they wish. Clicking on someone’s name and all you see is a blank page, no picture and just a name seems like that person’s identity is pretty closed off to people they don’t with to interact with. In the world of advertising that is not exactly the case, the advertisements people see on their Facebook homepages are there for a reason. Companies are able to access user information through Facebook in order to place ads that are relevant to that particular user. For example, I have written on my personal Facebook page that I enjoy snowboarding. For the past month I have had the same advertisement on my page promoting a pair of snowboarding goggles. I admit that I have clicked on the ad because I like them and was looking for a website that sells them but the ad leads to some weird website that wants me to sign up for something. Pointless advertising.

I feel like in a way companies are taking advantage of users through media websites like Facebook because when we sign up for the service we are told that everything is free, which it is but also there has been hype over privacy on the internet. I don’t particularly remember being told that whatever information I write or post on my wall will be sent to ad agencies that sell services that apply to me. I’ve learned my lesson on Facebook ads, they always go to websites that want your personal information and money.

Topic #1

The effect of technology on children has been an increasingly heated topic over the past few years. As it continues to grow and change, technology has gradually made its way into the hands of younger generations. Personally, I’ve seen children as young as toddlers using smartphones, iPads, iPods and laptops. The younger children may not know exactly what they are doing with these devices but just being introduced to them at such a young age makes ensures that they won’t know what life is like without them.

I believe my generation to be one of the first generations of children to be introduced to technology at a young age. My first introduction to technology was in middle school, 8th grade keyboarding which is nothing compared to what today’s children are being introduced to. Practicing keyboarding skill in middle school didn’t affect my social skills in any way in fact it may have increased our social skills. Computers were new technology in school, it was fresh, new and fun to us. Kids were always asking to be excused to “hang out” in the computer lab.

Obviously as technology progressed and became more advanced kids became more interested and engulfed in it and today kids are completely surrounded and sometimes dependent on different forms of technology, most commonly video games and smartphones. The article provided through the link above talks about the positive and negative effects technology has on children, specifically socially. The article approaches the topic mostly from a social constructionist point of view because the author points out more negative effects than positive.

The author points out that as technology progresses the younger kids get when they are first exposed to it. There are less and less children who aren’t technologically savvy and that most if not all of these kids can’t imagine life without technology. The author goes on to say that this does in fact effect children’s socialization. Most would rather stay inside and play video games then run around outside with their friends. This inevitably has led to a higher percentage of obesity in children which in turn can affect their self-esteem around other kids.

Also, news and media outlets are more accessible to parents through the use of technology. Apps on smartphones and tablets and online news articles make it easier for parents to be exposed to the heightened negativity in the news. This in turn has some parents weary of allowing their children outside to play with friends for extended periods of time. Consequentially more parents encourage playing inside where they can keep a safe eye on their children.

Topic #5

According to McChesney’s “Will the Internet Set Us Free” article, he states that “the internet is crucial to the global integration of the economy.” Meaning that the internet is a tool which we can use to connect with all parts of the world any time we want. Websites like Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media sites at this time. The internet is always expanding, in order for these particular websites to stay on top they must also expand to the public’s needs and wants.

TV is one source of media that has been around for generations. TV used to be the newest technology for users to catch up on weekly and daily news. TV took over the popularity of the newspaper as a media outlet. Today, the internet is taking over as the primary media outlet as the TV once did. Anything can be found on the internet. My own personal internet use far outweighs my use of the TV. I usually use the internet while watching TV until I get bored with one or the other I sometimes switch. Any questions I have about any topic I Google, even when I misspell a word I Google it to find the correct spelling. I also use Google to find the phone number and address to companies or when I have a question about anything I bring up Google on my laptop or cell phone.

I use for all of my news related questions. For example over summer when the earthquake hit Washington D.C the first place I went to after feeling the shock waves was MSN. Sure enough, across the top of the screen in bold red and white letters, 2.3 magnitude earthquake hits D.C. Of course as the day passed we later found out it was in fact a 5.8. The next website I went to was Facebook to see if anyone else has experience the same thing I had and yes there were tons of people commenting about it, everyone was commenting on other people’s status etc.

Another website I find myself using more and more is I use this website to watch football games on my laptop when they are not being aired on cable. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan living in New York, the priority of airing a stupid Giant or Jets game seems to be more important. On this website I can watch any game that is being aired that day from all over the country.

I completely agree with McChesney’s thesis. If there internet and everything in it weren’t as readily accessible to me as they are right now I wouldn’t have known about the earthquake in Washington D.C. The most I would have known were rumors passed from one person to the next which always changes as it passes through more and more people. Without the internet, as lazy as it sounds, I would have to find a dictionary and look up the spelling of a specific word. I wouldn’t have information easily available from Google like, how to make homemade pizza. And lastly without the internet I wouldn’t have been able to watch every Eagles game, just the few that have been aired on primetime.