Archive for November, 2012

Blog Entry 12: Conclusion

It’s been an interesting but exhausting semester, and I’ve come to the end of my blog entries. If there are indeed any followers or readers, I thank you for your support and hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my insights and opinions on various internet-related issues.

Overall, here are what I covered and some comments on how I feel about them now, at the end of the module:

  1. Web Browsers – Google Chrome: I still use Chrome, and I must say that it really is the best browser on the market at the moment. I do not, however, like the constant call for greater synchronicity, and am unlikely to ever sign into the browser with my Google account.
  2. Social Media – IM, VoIP, Video Chatting Services: Mainly because I don’t brush my hair unless I absolutely have to, I don’t really have a habit of using video chatting services like Tinychat. I do, however, appreciate VoIP programs, which allow me to hold extended conversations with people both inside and outside the country, without breaking the bank.
  3. Social Networking – Facebook Addiction: Facebook is not a necessity to me. I could remain perfectly contented not logging into my account for weeks on end, and my friends can attest to that.
  4. e-Business: I think online businesses are great ways to establish your name and build a customer base before expanding into a brick-and-mortar storefront.
  5. e-Learning: Now that it’s part of our academic reality, e-learning is much less an enjoyment and more a method of improving efficiency.
  6. Internet Tools: All I have to say about this is that I have way more fun than I should with Windows Movie Maker.
  7. Internet Security & Malware: Still hate malware to the core, and still greatly appreciate the daily hard work of my antivirus program.
  8. Multimedia on the Internet: I believe that hypermedia will enjoy an increased use in the classroom in time to come.
  9. Politics & the Internet: Politics has certainly experienced a facelift thanks to the convergence with the internet, but the impact within Singapore is still not as widespread as it is in other more liberal countries.
  10. Journalism & the Internet: Citizen journalism is neither all bad nor all good, and it really depends on how people use this new power to share their thoughts and feelings.
  11. Future of the Internet: The best – or worst – is yet to come.

So yes, that’s about it. Goodbye!

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Blog Entry 11: The Future of the Internet

The internet has certainly come a long way since its inception. No longer is it limited to military or corporate use, with most people in today’s industrialized countries owning at least one, if not several, electronic devices capable of connecting to the World Wide Web.

Many services and knowledge bases that just ten years ago we could never imagine obtainable from the internet are now ubiquitous. And with the advent and subsequent prevalence of social media, privacy has taken on a whole new definition. Instead of keeping our own secrets, we now expect the social networking sites to keep them for us. We get angry when personal information we shouldn’t really be sharing in the first place becomes leaked to strangers. (Of course, I’m not condoning the constant changes in Facebook’s privacy settings – I find that a gross invasion. I’m just saying that we should also take responsibility for what we say and do on SNSs, making sure that we don’t share anything we don’t want outsiders to become privy to.)

The main trend that bears watching pertaining to the future of the internet is Web 3.0, also known as the semantic web. In this version of the internet, the computer, rather than humans, is generating new information, and users will thus be able to sit back and let the machine do everything for them. While this may sound appealing to some, I cannot help but be reminded of the scenario portrayed in the movie I Robot. Set in 2035, anthropomorphic robots used widely as servants for various public services are controlled by V.I.K.I., a supercomputer whose artificial intelligence eventually grows to the extent that it gains independent consciousness. V.I.K.I comes to believe that humans are incompetent of taking care of themselves, and should be protected at all costs, even if said protection involves killing some of the people.

Thereupon arises a question – will Web 3.0 follow in the footsteps of V.I.K.I? Is such a situation really a distinct possibility in the near future?

I guess one can only wait and see.

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Blog Entry 10: Journalism & the Internet

The convergence of journalism and internet has led to interesting developments in the writing world. No longer does one have to hold an appointment in a prominent newspaper or magazine to broadcast his or her views and opinions – with the right platform and a reasonable amount of followers and subscribers, citizen journalists can make an impact comparable to that of a professional journalist.

Perhaps that’s why media elites have been expressing worries regarding changes in their industry. According to a poll conducted by The Atlantic and National Journal, 65% of media insiders feel that journalism has been hurt more than helped by the rise of news consumption on the internet.

Truth is, I can’t help but feel that the rise of the internet as a journalistic arena has somewhat marred the sanctity of writing. Quality takes a backseat to quantity as some non-professionals proclaim themselves writers based on stuff they posted on sometimes unregulated blogs and forums. And while there are, of course, many brilliant amateur writers all over the internet, for every amazingly articulate citizen journalist are more of what many unflatteringly label as “keyboard warriors”.

The desensitization of people as contributed to by the merging of journalism and the internet is another issue that causes me discomfort. About a week ago, I was on the bus with a friend, going back to school after having lunch. Along the way, we encountered a traffic jam revealed to be caused by a traffic accident – the driver of an ambulance had somehow lost control of his or her vehicle, crashing it right into the road divider. Now before the scene even came into view, the woman sitting in front of me had already whipped out her iPhone in gleeful preparation. She then proceeded to take quite a few pictures from various angles as we passed the ambulance. Her satisfied smile as she settled down to upload those onto Twitter (wasn’t peeking, just that the angle was right) really disturbed me.

Of course, effects related to the conjoining of internet and journalism are not limited to negative ones; positive impacts are also abound. Some such impacts include the ability of citizen journalism to help local newspapers endure by making the latter more interactive, thereby increasing the connection between readers and the publication, as well as the capability of citizen journalism in broadening the type of events covered by the media, since traditional reporters are not omniscient.

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