Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Final Response

The most important thing I learned was the abundance of some new forms of communication, primarily blogs. I thought we had some very good discussions on the blogosphere and we were able to look at some local ones through the second assignment. Also, searching Technorati was interesting. Being able to see what others are talking about is pretty cool.

I would like to have looked a bit more as to where technology might go. We certainly explored emerging technologies, but to see what this would mean for certain jobs and industries would have been interesting. Though I think we did a pretty good job at studying a wide variety of new media.

I didn't find the online politics to be very interesting. It could just be that I'm not into politics as much as most people, but I thought the articles and discussions were relatively obvious. However, online politics is something that will be showing up more and more, so perhaps it is good we discussed it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Week 9 Reading

"How VoIP Works" by Robert Valdes gives us a relatively clear explanation about how Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) works.

VoIP seems like a pretty neat technology as it will make long distance calls free. It also has some advantages over regular phones, such as it being much more efficient than regular phones.

Though I'm skeptical about the phone service being connected to the Internet. With frequent glitches and outages with cable internet, that would mean the phone would not work. Not having the use of a phone in an emergency would not be good.

VoIP seems like it may take over the phone market within the next few years, but I think normal phones are fine as is.

1. Do you use VoIP? If yes, do you like it?

2. Why will this technology take over?

3. What do you think is the biggest upside of VoIP?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

May 11 - in-class excercise

Cantwell's first impression on me was that she was not against the Iraq War. As a Demorcratic incumbent, that struck me as strange. McGavick's first impression was that he was a rich guy with little political background.

There does not seem to be much interaction on either candidate's website. There are ways to join email lists, send emails, and, of course, donate money, but there are no blog posts or ways of two-way interaction. Neither site seems particularly user-friendly.

The Iraq War is an important topic and it is much easier to find McGavick's position on the issue than Cantwell's. McGavick's site has a whole section titled, "Issues" where he shows what side he supports on critical topics. Cantwell's page does not have such a clear section detailing her position on those crucial issues. McGavick certainly makes his political stance more clear than Cantwell does.

I trust McGavick more because he seems to be coming out with what he believes. Cantwell is not quite as clear with her opinions. Does this mean I support McGavick over Cantwell? Certainly not. Though McGavick's website is more inviting than Cantwell's.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Week 8 Reading

"Wireless Revolution and Universal Access" from Trends in Telecommunications Reform 2003 by Michael L. Best, MIT makes an interesting point about "hotspots" emerging at fast food restaurants, coffee shops and airports:
"While the concept of a wireless hotspot inside a fast food restaurant is unlikely to conjure images of enhanced universal access, Wi-Fi and related terrestrial wireless technologies have actually been used to build network “infrastructure,” such as the point-to-point and point-to-multipoint links discussed above."
It's unlikely that the rise of these "hotspots" can lead to universal access, though it is a step in the right direction.

The article shows that it is possible for small, entrepreneurial rural service providers to employ low cost wireless connectivity to achieve financially sustainable operations. This is good news for rural countries to connect and seems succssful for those companies that are bringing wireless to small, undeveloped nations.

1. How essential is wireless internet in you life?

2. Do you take the internet for granted? Explain.

3. Describe some experiences using the internet in other countries.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Week 7 Reading

"Organization Man: Joe Trippi Reinvents Campaigning" from The New Republican Online, by Noem Scheiber has an interesting quote that I think relates more than to just politics. The article says,
"But Trippi is first and foremost an organizer--a man who has spent much of his career making sure the right number of bodies turn up on Election Day. 'That's the way [organizers] think,' says Beckel. 'They think about moving votes. In his case, where do you find [the votes]? Who are they? Where do they stand? If they're with us, get them; if they're not with us, forget about them.'"

This can also relate to any business. Companies want people to buy their product, owners want fans in their stadium and TV producers want people watching their show. It's interesting how this strictly discusses politics while it can really apply to all aspects of the marketplace.

It's amazing the success that Trippi and the Dean Campaign had with the internet. As a good way to compile names and raise the necessary money to try to win a major election, the internet has become the primary medium to reach voters.

The Role of the Internet in National and Local News Media Use” from Journal of Online Behavior suggests that the internet has become the medium that more and more people are using for their political information. The Internet's takeover of basic print media seems inevitable in all facets and will eventually wipe out the print media.

1. How will the internet continue to play a role in political campaigns?

2. As a voter, what is the most effective way you are reached by a political campaign?

Is the Internet now your source for political information? Explain.

In class excercise - May 4th

The Seattle Times' website has many RSS feeds. They have feeds for their top stores, the entire site and each section. Within each section -- say the sports section -- there are RSS feeds for each local team as well as feeds for certain sports categories. There were no blogs mentioned at this site and there was no registration necessary.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution website
is much like that of The Seattle Times. There were RSS feeds for nearly every aspect of the paper. Each section had its own feed and there were sub-categories of each section with an individual feed. Unlike that of The Times, the AJC had many blogs -- written by their staff -- that all had RSS feeds. There was no registration for this site and the blogs all seemed internal -- written by their writers.

When searching "Steven Colbert" in Technorati, there were thousands of results. Filtering by "truthiness" or "funny stuff" narrows the seach. Also, when giving the search less authority, it greatly widens the seach, while giving the search more authority narrows the search.

I typed in "newspaper decline" and Technorati found over 13,000 results. Clicking tags and blog finder yielded no results. www. gave over 100,000 results -- many more than on my specific search for my project. The blogs I found have very few links, meaning they likely aren't too credible. Searching on Google found far less results for It's less on Google because these are the sites that are linking to it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Week 6 Reading

Dan Gillmor's, "We the Media," brings up a really good point about the emergence of blogs and self-publishing. Before the internet, communication consisted of the printing press and broadcasting (one-to-many medium) and telephone which is normally a one-to-one medium. But as Gillmor says, "now we had a medium that was anything we wanted it to be: one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many. Just about anyone could own a digital printing press, and have worldwide distribution."

Gillmor also uses the Sept. 11 tragedy to illustrate the immediacy of blogs vs. traditional media. People in New York were able to publish their views of the city as the attacks were happening. With instant access to the sites, sounds and smells of the city, bloggers were able to tell their accounts of the attacks to an audience, while traditional media did not have the same access. While not discussed, Hurricane Katrina likely had similar effects on blogs and the media.

Mark Glaser's article on NPR's podcasting brings up a valid point about advertising. While still ironing out some kinks, advertisers need to find out who is listening and how often they listen to these podcasts to determine if a particular podcast is a worthy advertising vehicle. Podcasts are gaining momentum, but still seem like they need financial backing to be successful.

1. How will mainstream media react to the emergence of blogs and compete with this immediacy?

2. How do you think 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina would compare in the use of blogs to publish information?

3. Will podcasts eventually eliminate radio? Explain.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Week 5 Reading

"Markets are Conversations" from The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual by Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger makes a good point about the effectiveness and worth of actual people doing the work. The article says, "They (corporations) will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf." Companies can be very sterile and monotonous without real people. The article continues, "Most companies ignore their (people's) ability to deliver genuine knowledge, opting instead to crank out sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets literally too smart to buy it."

"The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head," by James F. Moore raises an interesting argument, but makes a claim that I disagree with. Moore says, "Thus the new superpower demonstrates a new form of “emergent democracy” that differs from the participative democracy of the U.S. government." With the recent immigration marches occurring for civil rights, I disagree that "emergent democracy" differs from participative democracy. I'm sure there was text messaging and blogging going on here.

The GNU Manifesto has some interesting discussion about programmers and their role in the development of Linux. There seems to be talk that programmers are losing their jobs and there is little value for the. Today though, it seems that programmers are doing well and there is a growing market for people entering this profession.

1. The Clutrain Manifesto says, "Corporate firewalls have kept smart employees in and smart markets out. It's going to cause real pain to tear those walls down." What are some ways to start tearing down these walls?

2. Explain some ways the individual contributes to this "second superpower."

3. Has the development of modern and current operating systems led to similar effects as the development of Linux did in the 1980s?