Friday, February 11, 2011

Privacy and the Internet? Not possible...

     This is my discussion topic this week.  Privacy.  I will keep this brief, because there are far too many avenues we could all go in with this issue.  Let me just say this: Privacy is a thing of the past, but it doesn't mean that we are in big trouble.

     Facebook, Google, MySpace and so many social networking sites (if not all) clearly state through their Statement of Rights & Responsibilities and Privacy Policies what is theirs and what is ours, what they give out and what they won't.  It is a bit scary when you actually find out what those things are, however.  Advertisers need information, geographic, gender, interests, hobbies, what games we play, what sites we visit and so on, in order to target advertise to each of us.  (That is what those little ad boxes are doing on the right hand side of Facebook, by the way).  So is our privacy, gone or not?

     The part that gets me all the time are the companies making money to 'protect us' from these things.  Here's an article about how to protect yourself that will blow your mind.  Make certain you scroll down until you get to the part where the companies will help you remove information from Google, Yahoo, and the like.  It is astronomical the price they charge...Click here

     The discussion has been in full swing on my college board.  What do you think?  Do you use social networking sites?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Read-Write Culture...What do you think?

     I had an interesting week.  In my Computer Literacy class, we are discussing copryrights, mashups and such.  When are artists being overtaken by the 'free sharing' culture of the Internet?  Are they losing money?  What is really happening out here in cyberspace?  Well, this was my discussion this week.  We will see what responses I get from my fellow classmates.  Meanwhile, put your two cents in.  What do you think about this issue?

    Creative expression is our culture and has been for many years. Lawrence Lessig, an author and Professor of Law at Harvard University certainly thinks so. In his video, Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity, he uses a few humorous and very true stories about John Philip Souza, Lord Blackwell and the broadcasting industry to illustrate that our culture has gone from Read-Write to Read Only. (Leesig, 2007). Check it out!

Larry Leesing - Laws that Choke Creativity

     This is important in today’s world, because in the 21st century we are trying to return (due to the Internet) to a Read Write culture. User generated content is everywhere with the click of a mouse. You Tube, UStream, Flickr, Renderosity, Vimeo, and so many more rely on user generated content or sharing as it were. We were taught as children to share and share alike and oddly, this concept has extended now to border-line (if not completely) pirated copies of mash-ups and copyright violations that exploded all over the Internet for the past six or more years. The laws are definite about it. Copyrights protect artists from losing their rights to their property, legally. However, the users don’t seem to care about that little law anymore. It is now called Creative Commons and copyrights are being updated to fit our newer read write culture. I personally like the idea of Creative Commons and protecting creative expression. Quite a conundrum, I’ll admit, but it is necessary to find a way that people, all people, can express their creativity (without profit) and provide entertainment to others. So, in conclusion, yes, yes, yes, we should have read write culture and creative expression without the threat of law suits.

     Moving into a read write culture however will not be easy for companies and artists who want to (and should) make money for their creations. Demand and supply is our capitalist culture and has been for many decades. I remember when I was growing up and showing a song from my new record to a friend was very exciting. I would even dream up ways for the song to mean something to the characters I created in my head and added lyrics to it also. Not to mention, once we could record those songs, I gave them to others and recorded them myself from others. Was I pirating? Yes, of course I was and so were my friends. Back in the 1980s when we were doing this, though, it wasn’t on a global scale. It was in a house and we knew about it. We didn’t worry that the record companies would knock on our door and demand money for that music. As a matter of fact, I can honestly say I never even thought about it. It was sharing – like we had been taught by our parents. They always said: ‘Share your toys with your friends.’ We just shared our new toys and today the kids are sharing theirs. Is it bad for the artists and the companies? Maybe, but again I harken back to those sharing days of ‘old and one thing rings true. I listened to an album or song by an artist my friend showed me, I recorded it, and yes, I even went out and bought the next album sometimes because I didn’t want to wait. This type of sharing today opens up big worlds of trouble to those artists, since I can download a song, do a mash-up with a video to it and put it up on You Tube. Now, I’m a pirate. Believe me, if I had recorded a song back in the 80s and did the same things (using unbelievable slow means to do so), I would still have been pirating. It didn’t change, now we know everyone does it and with better, faster, more efficient software. Here’s the real question: If I started to like that artist because someone shared a song with me, is that good or bad for the artist?

     Of course, it isn’t that simple. Mash-ups are changing the intellectual property rights in a very real way. We are in a user generated content culture or ‘read write’ whether the law has caught up or not. The craze is not ending and people are not stopping. It seems to be the law now that needs to refine its thinking, not the users. We haven’t rethought it since I was a kid. I think we are in the midst of a revolution with creativity, imagination, good or bad driven by the user. The channels have been opened and a flood of material just keeps coming. Creative Commons Licensing has introduced a way to protective our creativity and our work, but it isn’t the only solution. Digital Right Management (DRM) seems to have been the answer for movie and music companies for the past few years, but it, too, doesn’t seem to be a solution. Itunes announced back in 2009 that it is DRM free and will upload older songs as such, as well as provide those songs at a discount for people who have previously downloaded them. (Breen, 2009). This is an enormous break-down of the system for DRM. It also brings up the question posed here in this discussion to us: Should DRM’s be utilized? In my opinion, simply no. Again, it is not a simple issue. However when researching DRM technology and what is happening in the world today it was very interesting what I found out. DRM is installed on OS platforms, such as Vista to run Blu-Ray and HDTV technology. I don’t know how extensive Microsoft has placed DRM into Vista, however I do know that DRM is being ignored and overwritten. There are cracks available easily online (and illegally), as well as YouTube videos which actually explain how to convert DRM music into MP3’s (just as illegal).

     The revolution online is very large and very involved within our society today. It seems not many think twice about sharing a file, song, video, or doing mash-ups. DRM should be eliminated and it should be accepted that we have (and have been for a few years) a Read-Write culture. The Internet and software applications are the tools, but the people have made it into an ever-growing, changing, communicating, global platform for creativity, imagination and sharing. If the companies are waiting for this revolution to go backwards, I think they will be extremely disappointed and in turn, will be guilty of what happened with ASCAP in 1945 when they lost the battle with broadcasting. (Leesig, 2007). The people already revolted. I challenge everyone to look at this revolution of creativity as an opportunity instead of something lawyers, courts, and corporations can attack.

     I have to say that these discussions could spark a deep, even heated, debate if anyone wants to get involved. Creative Commons is here, so the read write culture has won one battle. Interestingly enough, this argument comes up when the ones on YouTube that become ‘celebrities’, make money and go on national talk shows promoting their material, which is obviously infringing on the artist’s copyright.

Breen, C. (2009, Apr 7). DRM-free ITunes: What it means for you. PC World. Retrieved from

TED (Producers). (2007, Mar). Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity [Videorecording]. Retrieved from

Until next time...

A new look?

I am already bored with my background for the blog.  Yea, it doesn't take long.  So how this look?  Give me some feedback!  Thanks.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Everybody knows a about a petabyte? WOW!

Here we are in 2011 and we have so much technology, it is comping out of ears, literally.  That would be blue tooth devices, of course.  In my new class, I finished English Comp II (got an A, yea!!!!) and am now moving onto Computer Literacy.  At first I thought this class will be boring for me, since I know computers and I have been working with many programs for many years.  I would even say I am computer savvy.  Luckily, it has been very interesting.  Not (OMG, I'm amazed, interesting) but I am learning things.  I learned and joined Diigo, ScreenCast, and found several fun sites, too.  How about Pandora Free Internet Radio where you can set up your own radio stations? (I have My Angel 80s Mix Station and Broadway Station) Here's the link if you would like to check it out:  (By the way, I am using Diigo on a sidebar to locate my bookmark for Pandora.  Technology at its best!)

These types of services are great and it does take time to see everything that's out there, if there is such a possibility (which I doubt).  The Internet is one petabyte large (almost), or as I learned if you had one petabyte in your computer, you could download the entire Internet or in computer terms, 1024 terabytes of storage.  By the way, Avatar (the movie) takes a petabyte of storage, so don't download the full movie yet! Here's the link to that reference:

Okay, back to school.  I am working on a research paper and PowerPoint Presentation on Open Source Software (that's what I picked).  Anybody out there use open source?  I downloaded Open Office from  It's free, software!  Send me your comments, opinions and issues.  I would love to know.  

This week we are having a discussion in class about the new technology and how it affects us.  Here's mine:

There is so much information I learned from our textbook, Chapter 1-5, that I had to stop reading and start processing everything.  I love computers, technology and all the extras we can have in today’s ever-changing marketplace.  Currently, I own a computer with 160 GB hard drive, 1.6 Ghz of clock speed and 1 GB of RAM with a disk drive and LCD monitor.  I want to upgrade to more RAM soon since I work on videos and such.  I also need a better graphics card, like Nvidia.  My printer is a scanner, copier and printer.  I will not be getting a new printer since this one is only a few years old.  I also have an external hard drive with 500GB of storage that I rely on heavily when I am traveling and away from home, however I do need to purchase a terabyte external hard drive soon, (however I would love to own a petabyte external hard drive, which is currently being developed, because I could have almost all the music in the world) since I have used up over 75% of my current one.  I will be changing my cell phone shortly due to my cell phone plan having this capability.  I will be searching for one with better megapixels for picture taking and videos.  I have internet access on my cell phone, of course, but do not use it now.  Also, I have a GPS application on my phone that I will continue in the next few years. 

This part of the discussion was hard for me, since there are so many features/components/form factors that could be available in the next three months, six months, and a year.  I believe that the trend is certainly leaning towards more advanced smart phones with higher memory capacity, new operating systems, more storage on external hard drives, better applications and add-ins, to say the least.  I did find out about some exciting advances regarding emerging and brand-new technologies.  NVidia has launched its ‘Tegra 2’ chip for this year’s release.  This ‘super chip’ as described by NVidia CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, will enhance cell phone technology. (Venture Beat, 2011).  Optical technology is also an option in the future, since Intel is currently developing ‘Light Peak.’ “It connects computers with other devices using high speed optical cables running speeds to the tune of 10 gigabytes per second-twenty times faster than a standard USB cable.” (Rajarshi, 2011).  There is also a new Blackberry phone that is coming out soon and technology that is trying (or seems to be) catching up to the recently released Apple I-Pad.  Dell has also released the first laptop that has a Dual core Neo processor called ‘Inspiron.’  I believe we will be seeing more and more of these types of laptops that can compete with dual and multicore processor PC computer.
One of the biggest changes that have occurred in technology end users has been that many opt to use their cell phones for the internet and most of their daily computing needs rather than a PC.  The number seems to be small (only 30%) but it is growing.  This means that new technologies will have to focus on cell phones, but will continue to make strides in computer processing components, such as the above mentioned optical technology.  I believe that many of the companies mentioned are looking for the fastest paradigm for the market.  As with optical technology it has come down to ‘how can it be made cheaper’ to both manufacturers and end users.  The market is flooded with technology now that many do not know how to use, so emerging technologies that change the core of the platform, computer, cell phones and such will be difficult to market to end users who are baffled and confused by technology that all ready exists.  This will be the big challenge in my opinion.  Microsoft has announced it is working on Windows 8 for a possible release in 2012, although Windows 7 was just released in Oct, 2009.  So I guess my only question now is:  When are the crystals coming to our computers?
Processing speed and memory will be of the most importance to me, because I store many, many video and audio files on my computer.  As I said, I have used 75% of my 500GB external hard drive (I did this within a period of 6 months) and need to upgrade to a 1 TB soon.  So technology that advances the capability to provide more clock speed and run more efficiently, such as multicore processors are where I am headed.  Next generation RAM (beyond DDR3) that allows more memory would be great.  I’ve also thought as far as software is concerned all applications should contain the ‘make it perfect’ button.  Although it is just a joke, it may just happen someday.  I would love to see if we thought it was perfect. 
Utilizing applications is my mainstay, I love trying new things and beta testing when I get a chance.  I download trials for Microsoft and use the applications whenever I can.  The most important ones for me in the future will be making Office (in particular Word) better with each new edition.  The current Office 2010, which I saw a comparison with Office 2007 (I currently have)  on You Tube, gave me a sense that the application has just added some features, but nothing mind blowing or worth it to change to 2010 at this point.  One of the biggest advances I am interested in is storage space.  I want to go to Petabyte or at least a few terabyte external drives and internal storage.  I realize it is a little off since even one petabyte seems to be a ridiculous amount of space needed for running software now. 
I began with a personal home computer in 1995 and to say that it has changed my life would be an understatement.  It has revolutionized my life.  I use my current PC to create higher productivity with my novels, stories, communication and of course, in college.  I love working with the word processing and graphic applications, email, Google talk, Google docs and all the features of the Internet.  Utilizing IGoogle as my homepage has made finding tabs and websites, such as my student portal available to me at a click.  I recently received my external hard drive, which is very portable and so small, I carry it in my purse when I working away from home.  It is very convenient and extremely helpful.  I suppose the only risks are that I have gone so far in the hardware storage on my drives that it is possible I could lose data.  It has happened before, however, I like to back things up at night (especially my little external drive, which is an automatic function).  The other risk would be identity theft, which is terrifying to me over the Internet.  This is a real deep rooted risk we all have, I am certain. 


Rajarshi. (2010, May 28).  Is optical technology coming of age? Global Thoughtz. Retrieved from

Takahashi, D. (2011, Jan 5).  Nvidia’s tegra 2 aims to power a new generation of super phones and tablets.  VentureBeat. Retrieved from

Technology and Lifestyles. (2011, Jan 7).  CES 2011 NVIDIA’s tegra coming out party.  Technology and Lifestyles. Retrieved from

That's it.  If you could get through reading that, you're good!  Well back to the grind, even with the sleet and snow here in New England, no online classes ever close...keep safe on the roads today and watch those weather reports on your blackberries and smart phones.  That's technology working!

Until next time...

Groundhog Day -- Yea, Phil didn't see his shadow!

Here we are on Groundhog Day, which for my age means that Bill Murray movie where the day keeps repeating over and over.  In reality, though, it is about the day we find out as modern humans content on not believing in myth and right towards legendary myths!  This year, Punxsutawney Phil, our illustrious host of this day, was pulled out of his comfy, little hole in the ground by men wearing suits and top hats.  Then placed on a wooden circle-thing and bribed with some food.  For a moment, there was a hush in the crowd as the leader of the Punxsutawney (PA) Groundhog Club told everyone that Phil predicted the Steelers would win the Superbowl AND (as almost a secondary newsnote) that he did not see his shadow.  Here is the newscast all about it, should you wish to see.

Well, this post may not be all about online school and studying, but it is interesting to note that after modern science and technology has developed planes, trains, automobiles, solar windmills, new energy, and computers (with every gadgets and gizmos) we still look towards the groundhog for a weather predication. It might not be such a bad idea, since it was announced on the news this morning that Phil's predication is 40% right, while the National Weather Service is 51% correct.  Not bad for a groundhog!

I will have a new blog post about school, studying and new technologies emerging on the market, since I am taking a computer class right now.  Onto counting down the days until Spring!

Until next time....