Flipped Lecture: People Power

Tags

, , , ,

Image

People Power documents the affect social media has had on our lives and through interviews with the founders of Napster, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook explains the rise of Web 2.0 and the cultural, commercial, and social impact this means of two-way communication has had on society. The program also looks at how traditional media companies have alternately rejected and embraced the Web at different times, as evidenced by the recording industry’s suit against Napster and NewsCorps’s purchase of MySpace.

First coined in 1999, the term Web 2.0 describes web sites that have gone beyond the static pages of early web sites and utilised technology to allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis and video sharing sites

Australians are now some of the most active social media users in the world and much of the user content based sites have broken down the influence and power that the traditional forms of media once possessed, such as Rupert Murdoch’s news empire and the music industry

The latest Australian social media stats show that almost half of the Australian population is signed up to Facebook. Although it doesn’t stop there as we continue to embrace new social tools such as Instagram, a photo sharing network, which quickly grew to 100 million members globally. As social media use continues to expand across the country it imparts a new sense of social power upon its users known as the ‘people power’ concept, which was described in the documentary. It refers to the change from one way communication where in the past the media has dictated what we as consumers see and instead now relies on its users to provide content for their sites and to create ‘networks’ and engage in conversation with other users.

However critics such as Andrew Keen author of the 2007 book Cult of the Amateur argues that Web 2.0 has

“created a cult of digital narcissism and amateurism, which undermines the notion of expertise by allowing anybody, anywhere to share and place undue value upon their own opinions about any subject and post any kind of content, regardless of their particular talents, knowledge, credentials, biases or possible hidden agendas.”

Being a big user of social media myself I tend to disagree with Keen and instead think with the rise of social media and public platforms that it has very much given the world a new form of free speech. I believe the internet is now more relevant than ever and has become a more diverse tool for both research and entertainment.

Flipped Lecture: Search

Tags

, ,

Image

Search is an interesting and historical documentary which looks at some of the high tech innovations and economic advances of the Internet through the development of search engines focusing on companies such as Yahoo and Google, which have helped to revolutionize modern-day society.

Stanford University students, Jerry Yang and David Filo together in 1994, founded the first well-established search engine known as Yahoo! As Yahoo took off and continued to grow they began to see the potential economic gains that could be delivered from developing a relationship between the internet and advertising. At first a little weary, Yahoo decided to expand and in 1995 introduced banner advertising. There is no denying that Yahoo were innovative with their ideas and took advantage of an opportunity to make serious money on the internet. However in doing so they managed to get carried away and “stopped caring about the search”. They lost sight of what had made them popular initially and opened the door for another competing search engine to take over the top spot.

In 1998 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, also from Stamford University, co-founded Google. This search engine had a far “more user friendly, webified format”, which immediately appealed to users. They got rid of the pop-ups and banner advertisements and instead integrated ads into the search results and recorded users’ search terms, or “keywords”, and cleverly sold them to companies and advertisers.

Google has gone on to deliver the world’s top search engine, the most popular mobile operating system and arguably the best advertising platform in the world. In January of this year, Google announced it had earned $50 billion in annual revenue for the year 2012.  Google co-founder Larry Page describes the perfect search engine as one that would “understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want”. Google has continued to focus on developing such an engine and along the way has redefined the way people worldwide view and use the Internet.

To learn more on the history of Google watch this short 4min and 30sec video by Watch Mojo

Flipped Lecture: Browser Wars

Tags

, , ,

Image

Browser Wars is a documentary from the four-part series Download: the true story of the Internet. Written and presented by John Heilemann, the video explores the “vicious power struggle” between Netscape and Microsoft, which took place in the mid 90’s.

In the beginning, the World Wide Web was not so worldwide and instead was just pages of text which were only accessible to a specific niche of scientific researches. It wasn’t until 1993 when Marc Andreessen along with a group of young “geeks” from the University of Illinois realised the potential of the internet to be consumed by the masses. They developed the world’s first web-browser, Mosaic, which has  been widely accredited for kick-starting the internet revolution.

Looking for a new business venture billionaire Jim Clark made the founders of Mosaic an offer too good to refuse. They joined forces to form Netscape and in 1994 created the world’s first user friendly web browser called Navigator.

Everyday people checking out the World Wide Web for the first time usually did so with Netscape Navigator. It was the most popular software for searching around the emerging internet and in 1995 dominated the market.

Netscape’s success could no longer be ignored and on December 7, 1995, Microsoft C.E.O. Bill Gates having once himself dismissed the Internet as a passing fad sent a memo out to his employees. Known in the industry as Pearl Harbor Day, he named Netscape as a target and outlined Microsoft’s aggressive new approach to the Internet. Along with a team of top-notch programmers he went on to build Internet Explorer with the sole intention of dislodging Netscape.

Although this was an unfair fight and Microsoft had clear advantages in the browser wars, one simply being an issue of resources. Having begun with nearly a 90% market share and a great deal of public goodwill Netscape was a relatively small company and derived the bulk of its income from what was essentially a single product, which left the company financially vulnerable.

Jim Clark states in the 2008 Vanity Fair article How the Web was Won that:

Microsoft was making it very clear that they were going to kill us. We were trying to negotiate deals where Compaq and Gateway and all these P.C. manufacturers would bundle our Web browser. And Microsoft threatened them. Microsoft threatened them that if they did they would revoke their license to Windows. So, needless to say, everyone backed off.

Unfortunately for Netscape, its competitor proved to be too powerful and in 1997 the war was declared over and Microsoft had reigned supreme.

As a documentary, Browser Wars gives a good overview of the events that took place during this incredible social and technological revolution. It did however become apparent through further research that this video fails to credit any of the technological achievements made outside the United States. however  having no prior knowledge of the debates surrounding this historical development, Browser Wars was informative and incredible interesting.

A Guide to a Non-Squeamish Valentine’s Day

Tags

, ,

Using my subscription to Broadsheet Melbourne through my RSS Feeds I stumbled across this great article by Ellen Fraser about how to avoid the clichés of Valentine’s Day. I found this article refreshing and really enjoyed the sarcastic undertones throughout the introduction.

Oh dear. It’s here again. It’s only the beginning of February and already you find yourself surrounded by red crepe paper visual merchandising and special dinner deals that can only mean one thing.

Throughout the article Fraser mentions a number of activities that are slightly left-of centre to ensure that you and your loved-one don’t have to endure another cringe-worthy Valentine’s day. The activities recommended in the article are:

  1. Ghost at the Shadow Electric
  2. Sex in Ceramics at NVG
  3. Bounce
  4. Onsen Ma
  5. Studley Boat Parkhouse

Click here to view the full article


Dealing With Comments and Spam

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.

With the Internet so accessible these days I found it necessary to implement a copyright license to my blog. As I do not want to allow modifications or commercial use of my work I found the above CC license to be the most suitable for this particular blog.

I have also utilised one of WordPress’ many settings that assist with managing unwanted content and have opted to view all comments before they are posted on my blog as a way to avoid spam and unwanted comments. I also intend to make use of the WordPress delete and block functions when I find comments to be obvious spam as well as inappropriate or offensive.

In saying that I welcome people to post relevant comments on my blog and look forward to engaging in conversation with a variety of different people.

Search Engine: A New York State of Mind

Tags

, , ,

Using the topic of New York City I was able to compare and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different search engines. The three particular search engines I looked into were Google, DuckDuckGo and Instgrok.

Google

Image

Google Search was by far the most efficient search engine out of the three and provided me with the most relevant and up to date information on New York City. There were plenty of sites that came up in the search that provided useful travel information including up-coming events, accommodation deals and popular restaurants. Unlike the other two search engines Google also has predicted text when you type in your search inquiries, which helps to speed up the process. Google search has a very clear layout and is extremely user friendly. It not only provided me the most useful information on my topic but also managed to achieve this in an entertaining and dynamic way.

Rating: 9/10

DuckDuckGo

Image

I found DuckDuckGo to be rather unsophisticated and outdated in comparison to Google search. Although the web pages/sites that appeared were relevant and provided me with necessary information about New York City. The results however did not show the date the pages were last modified, therefore I was unsure as to whether the information that was provided on the sites was going to in fact be current. With no thumbnails or images appearing on the search page I also found DuckDuckgo to be rather monotonous and uninteresting.

Rating: 7/10

Instagrok

Image

I found Instagrok to be extremely overwhelming and aesthetically unpleasing. This search engine was also the slowest of the three. The graphics were also very basic and gave the site an amateur feel. The information provided was far more simplistic than that of the other two search engines and seemed to be targeted towards a younger demographic. Instagrok also included journals, key facts, quizzes and a glossary which would did not seem relevant for a generic search.

Rating: 5/10

From my experience I would rank these particular search engines as follows:

  1. Google Search
  2. Duckduck Go
  3. Instagrok

To set Google as your default search browser:

  • Open your browser’s preferences
  • Go to Search Settings
  • Change your default search engine to Google

Google Alerts: Crazy in Love!

Tags

, , ,

Image

In modern day society the internet has not only become a means of communication but also a vital research tool. With just the click of a button we are now able to access a wealth of knowledge from a number of different sources on just about any given topic. Although due to the sheer amount of information that is accessible on the internet searching for content, blogs, current news articles that are of personal interest can become quite tedious and time-consuming. To overcome this issue Google offers a tool called Google Alerts which provides you with email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your pre-determined criteria.

I must admit I have a guilty habit of following the lives of celebrities and am fascinated with even the most mundane details about their personal lives. Having not used Google Alerts in the past it has proven to be an effective way to keep up to date with all the latest Hollywood gossip. I was recently emailed this article about Beyonce and her upcoming interview in Vogue magazine.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/gossip/la-et-mg-beyonce-blue-ivy-vogue-interview-20130212,0,2786737.story

Having a huge obsession with Beyonce and her life both in front and behind the spotlight, I found this article particularly interesting. I enjoyed being able to read an exclusive sneak peek of the interview that will be in the March edition of Vogue and find out intimate details on her thoughts on becoming a mother to Blue Ivy and her experience during child birth. I am looking forward to reading the entire story once it is published in vogue and also learnt from reading this article that Beyonce has an HBO documentary which is set to be released sometime this year.

Video

Gone Goodbye

Winner of the 2009 Grand Prix short film festival, Gone Goodbye is a highly stylised film which explores the themes of relationships and privacy in a unique and surprising way.

Directed by Keith Rivers, the film utilizes long takes to help create emotion and build suspense for the viewer. The editing used throughout the film is also quite simple allowing the audience to focus on the narration, which gives the piece momentum and helps drive the narrative. The camerawork in the film is still and the majority of the shots are taken from high above the ground to create the illusion of floating, which becomes relevant when the balloon is revealed in the final scene. The use of music is also very prevalent throughout the film and adds to the atmosphere and depth of the piece.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Gone Goodbye and found it hard to believe that it was made in less than 100 hours. It is a beautifully crafted short film that explores a number of different themes using incredible cinematography and a thought-provoking plot, which helps to immerse the viewer in the story.