Katie's thoughts

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Internet encyclopaedias go head to head

After reading this article, I am more shocked that the founders of Wikipedia are not making or currently trying to make a ton of money, than that Wiki is almost as accurate as encyclopedia Britannica. Accuracy in numbers. I also found it amusing that editors of Britannica such as Tom Panelas, claim that they have nothing against Wikipedia. But how can that be, Wikipedia is a direct threat to their business and their jobs

Fatally Floawed: Refuting the recent study on encyclopedic accuracy by the journal Nature

This article is simply PR. Spinning an article to make Britannica look good and Wikipedia and Nature’s study, look bad and inaccurate. Britannica claims, that not only was Nature’s claims about Britannica’s inaccurate articles wrong, but that Nature examined articles in Britannica that were not even in the encyclopedia. Other flaws in Nature’s report Britannica points out are: That the headline is misleading, that Nature said Britannica omitted information but really Nature just never saw the rest of the article, and that nature failed to distinguish minor inaccuracies from major ones. When researching a product, it is very important to read both sides of the story. One can not just take Nature’s word as fact, it is also important to look at the rebuttal from the product’s company. Literate consuming!

Wikipedia

The article about Wikipedia on Wikipedia is very informative about Wikipedia. I think it is unbelievable that is funded by donations and run by volunteers. I also think it is incredible that it has six million articles. Even if Wiki is not as accurate as other sources, it is a great jumping off point in research, or just everyday information that is desired.
The fact that Wikipedia’s own article on Wikipedia has a paragraph on its flaws, shows that though not accurate, bias is avoided, as a result of everybody being able to add and edit articles.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

SORRY I POSTED IN THE WRONG PLACE THE FIRST TIME!

The Open Source Definition

Although this definition explains what criteria open source software must comply with, I do not fully understand what open source software actually is or what some of the criteria is. For example, source code. I do like how the definition gives rationales for what open source software has to comply with because it tells why it is important instead of just stating what it is.



United States: The Truths and Myths of Open Source Software

I think it is interesting that competing Universities shared improvements to computer software. The article defines what open source is, which helps me a lot. It is a philosophy or method designed to encourage use and improvement of software. This is done by making sure anyone can copy the source code (which I still don’t know what it is) and modify it freely. The article also clarifies, (but because I didn’t know anything about this, it explains) that software cannot be open source and in the public domain because open source depends on copyright law to restrict the use of software. Also, that open source licenses are enforced. As I would have suspected, this article discusses that open source is a controversial issue with intellectual property rights, but that GPL grants recipients of software the permission to copy, distribute and modify the program. I do not know what GPL stands for, however. Also, distributors are allowed to charge for this “free” software. Although, after reading these articles I am a little more informed about open source software, I am still for the most part confused, and am excited to learn more during the presentation.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Kid With All the News About the TV News

I was shocked to hear that executives in the TV news business check Tvnewser, which is created by a 21 year-old. Brian Williams! The part about when his girlfriend dumped him was hilarious. It is amazing how something like this, a blog, what started out as a hobby over Christmas break turns into something this big. But it is understandable considering that he has connections to people all over the field and it is one spot to check what competition is writing about and story ideas. It seems like he is so busy, and always connected (he turns off his cell phone for 15 minutes and has messages from ABC and CNN) no wonder his girlfriend broke up with him.

DMCA

Copyright Office Lists New Exemptions

I can see why the exemptions would significantly help librarians because they now can copy things for educational use. They are now allowed to copy audiovisual works to make compilations of work to be studied. They are also, now allowed to computer software, to preserve it, if the program is no longer on the commercial market, and it is necessary to access a work stored in that format. I particularly like the cell phone exemption. Now you don’t have to get a new cell phone when you switch services (which is impossible to do but that is another story). The exemptions show that the DMCA is an overbroad act and it is good that exemptions are being made.

Digital Land Grab

I liked the opening of this article, talking about how the parodies of Alice in Wonderland contributed greatly to its reputation. I was also really surprised to learn that Alice in Wonderland is the most cited after Shakespeare and the bible.
Jenkins also points out that if this was going on today, on the internet, ceist-and desist letters would be sent out immediately. And that this is a shame because the parodies are a labor of love. Jenkins also discusses that “we rarely ask whether such tight regulation of intellectual property is in the public interest.” I understand that companies want to make revenue over their product and they do not want the reputation of their product out of their control, but to not let fans have their fun is a shame. Maybe fans should be allowed to create whatever they want, if there is a disclaimer saying it is their creation not the studios for example.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

High Stakes Battle Over Net Neutrality

This article explains the main question in the Net Neutrality debate; should the government be able to Internet delivery services from charging premium rates to content providers who want their information to be first? Net neutrality is a term used to mean that all information on the Web is equal. Is anything ever equal? The opponents argument that the little guys will get weeded out concerns me. I don’t like the idea of Walmarts putting small shops out of business. This is the same idea. This is also like television being dominated by a few corporations, which also scares me. Opponents argue that the internet will fail from lack of investment if they can’t develop a price structure that allows a good return on investment.

Congress Must Keep Broadband Competition Alive

Lessig argues that though the question of network neutrality had been and issue in Congress for more than a year, policymakers still don’t understand it. However, he believes Google buying Youtube will bring this issue to the foreground. Lessig explains that without network neutrality, network owners would get to pick what content would flow quickly and which would not. In a way setting the agenda. He also argues that there is an absence of competition in broadband connectivity, and that this puts new applications and content on the Internet at risk. He says, the better the “public internet” is that less valuable premium service becomes. Making the internet worse for a higher premium rate seems very wrong to me. Lessig argues that the best legislation would be that broadband providers are forbidden to favor scarcity over abundance, I agree.

Government Surveillance and Political Participation on the Internet

Krueger in his article argues that research done on political participation lacks because it generally assumes that ordinary citizens are not affected by government surveillance. He argues that a decade ago this would not be so problematic, however in today’s world where the internet is a vital source of information, with the passage of new anti-terrorism laws after 9/11, and therefore the increased monitoring of ordinary citizens, research on how surveillance affects ordinary people is vital. Krueger explains Foucoults idea of a Panopticon and later applies this theory to the internet. He explains that internet surveillance by the government conforms poorly to some aspects of Foucolt’s Panopticon. For example, internet users can watch their watchers. Krueger then makes a hypothesis and conducts an experiment to prove it. He says that for people who disagree with dominant political opinion, the belief that the government monitors would result in higher political activity and that those who do not disagree with dominant political opinion would not be affected. I disagree with this. I think that even for those people who do support dominant political opinion, political activity would increase on the internet in support of the governments monitoring. The results of the experiment show that government surveillance is problematic even for ordinary citizens, and therefore needs to be researched. He also found that government surveillance promotes resistance on the internet. He did not mention how surveillance affected people who support surveillance. Lastly, Krueger comments on the PATRIOT act, saying that whatever the safety benefits are with this act, it will politically energize opponents to the government, within the US. I agree with this, however, do the cons outweigh the pros of this act? Will the energized opponents to the government as a result to resistance really become as dangerous to the country as terrorists?

Monday, November 20, 2006

No cell phone for 24 hours

I always feel liberated when I do not have my cell phone with me. Traveling I have realized that our society is completely dependent on the cell phone, and that this changes the social structure of society. Abroad, or at least to the places I have gone, college aged students can not afford the expensive cell phone rates, so therefore structure their social life differently. On a weekend night friends will just show up at each other’s doors to see what you are doing. And once a group of people goes to a bar that is where they stay. There is no social pressure to meet up with different friends at different locations. And I have found that, for the most part, the people I came in contact with knew how to make the best out of situation better than my friends at home do.
All this was affirmed to me when I turned off my cell phone for 24 hours in the United States. Everyone around me was calling other friends at different bars and leaving to meet up with each other. I did not have this ability, so I stayed put with the group I was with, at a bar I don’t really like. But because I had no choice, I made the best out of the situation and talked to people I would not have normally talked to. Early in the evening I also knocked on my friends doors, instead of calling them on their cell phones to see what they were doing, and ended up having a good time chatting before I went out. This in person contact would never have occurred if I had had my cell phone on. Also, today I had made a lunch date with my friend over the internet. He told me to call him when I got hungry because he was going out. When I told him I couldn’t do that because of our little experiment his reaction was one of shock. “Well, then how are we going to meet.” He said. This made me laugh, because before cell phones, everyone needed to make meeting times and locations, but nowadays people don’t even think about that as an option! The one thing I did not like about turning off my cell phone was that I had no way to call home, because I do not have a land line. I wrote them an email, but I am a momma’s girl and that is not sufficient. I am used to calling home a lot throughout the day, and I did miss that! But over all, not having a cell phone I found liberating!

Friday, November 17, 2006

FEED

This book, a satire that exaggerates today’s society into a satire, is scary and comical at the same time. Many events, and plots in the book can be seen as different statements Anderson is trying to make about our society today and the society of the future. Specifically looking at the character Violet, who was homeschooled and got her feed late, one can see statements being made about the digital divide and also about older generations. As a result of being poor, Violet got her feed late. Therefore, she is “out of the loop” compared to Titus and his friends. In today’s society this happens with access to computers and the Internet as we have discussed in class. Is this a statement that Anderson thinks the digital divide is going to continue to grow?
In addition, Violet, for the most part, and more then Titus and his friends, is critical of advertisements and of the feed in general. This can be attributed to Violate getting the feed late.
Violet for the most part is critical of the advertisements and the feed around her because she got the feed late. Violet often makes Titus and his friends uncomfortably conscious about what is going on outside his little bubble. Here I can see the connection being made about different generations. My parents always talk about what life was like before cell phones, and always remind me that I can turn my cell phone off, and actually live. Who knows what we are going to tell our children to turn off, or what life was like before X,Y, and Z. The older generations serve as a wake up call to what is going on with younger generations and technology, as Violet is to Titus.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Mode of Information and Postmodernity

Poster makes the claim that electronically mediated communication, what he calls the mode of information, is replacing familiar modern subjects, creating an unstable identity. Electronic culture, he believes challenges old culture. Poster warns that the instability may challenge modern social institutions and structures. Poster also discusses the difference between print versus electronic communications. He says with electronic communications the subject can only be partially understood and is repeatedly reconfigured at different points of time and space. He believes that electronic communication removes the speaker from the listener and brings them back together at the same time due to enormous distance and temporal immediacy reducing the capability of cognitive control over surrounding objects. He sites commercials as an example of this.

For a Cultural Future

I really like how Micheals starts his essay with a specific example of a aboriginal tribe and their local broadcast channel that leads into his main question, how to respond to the insistent pressure towards standardization, the homogenizing tendencies of contemporary world culture? Micheals in his essay has a negative view on how postmodernity’s affect on indigenous culture. After taking many classes on this, I agree with Micheals view. I like Michaels point that given the Australians governments policy of promoting media centralization and homogenization, the Yuendumu’s station, which is used to promote their culture and language, will be overwhelmed with national media service and not survive. He continues that this surely will be one more example of Aboriginal intractability and failure of effort; even though the whites influence caused their failure. I like how Micaels is using the historical conflict between Europeans and aboriginals to make his point about television, postmodernity and homogenizing of culture. Michaels also addresses many important issues. For example, when non-aborginal people film an aboriginal ceremony who sees the money made? He also brings up the debate of corrupting culture. If an aboriginal tribe performs a ceremony to make money is that authentic anymore?

The Future Looms

I find Plant’s writing complicated to follow. This is a feminists piece on technology. She is relating weaving, women and cybernetics together, while telling the story of Ada Lovelace. Plant defines cybernetics as the science or engineering of the procedure that is the virtual reality of systems of every scale and variety of hard and software. She believes that the machine and the women mimic their humanity but that they never become it, they both tend to mimic man but both become more complicated then man.

The Mode of Information and Postmodernity

Poster makes the claim that electronically mediated communication, what he calls the mode of information, is replacing familiar modern subjects, creating an unstable identity. Electronic culture, he believes challenges old culture. Poster warns that the instability may challenge modern social institutions and structures. Poster also discusses the difference between print versus electronic communications. He says with electronic communications the subject can only be partially understood and is repeatedly reconfigured at different points of time and space. He believes that electronic communication removes the speaker from the listener and brings them back together at the same time due to enormous distance and temporal immediacy reducing the capability of cognitive control over surrounding objects. He sites commercials as an example of this.

For a Cultural Future

I really like how Micheals starts his essay with a specific example of a aboriginal tribe and their local broadcast channel that leads into his main question, how to respond to the insistent pressure towards standardization, the homogenizing tendencies of contemporary world culture? Micheals in his essay has a negative view on how postmodernity’s affect on indigenous culture. After taking many classes on this, I agree with Micheals view. I like Michaels point that given the Australians governments policy of promoting media centralization and homogenization, the Yuendumu’s station, which is used to promote their culture and language, will be overwhelmed with national media service and not survive. He continues that this surely will be one more example of Aboriginal intractability and failure of effort; even though the whites influence caused their failure. I like how Micaels is using the historical conflict between Europeans and aboriginals to make his point about television, postmodernity and homogenizing of culture. Michaels also addresses many important issues. For example, when non-aborginal people film an aboriginal ceremony who sees the money made? He also brings up the debate of corrupting culture. If an aboriginal tribe performs a ceremony to make money is that authentic anymore?

The Future Looms

I find Plant’s writing complicated to follow. This is a feminists piece on technology. She is relating weaving, women and cybernetics together, while telling the story of Ada Lovelace. Plant defines cybernetics as the science or engineering of the procedure that is the virtual reality of systems of every scale and variety of hard and software. She believes that the machine and the women mimic their humanity but that they never become it, they both tend to mimic man but both become more complicated then man.