Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Web 2.0 - reading for 9/24

In Tim O’Reilly’s article “What is Web2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software,” he explains the difference between Web1.0 and Web 2.0 and how Web 2.0 got started. O’Reilly starts off by comparing and contrasting Netscape and Google. He explains that Netscape was made to be sold as a product whereas Google never made an attempt to be sold, but rather to provide service for all users.

Prior to reading this article I did not understand what Web 2.0 exactly was. Though I am still a bit unsure, I have somewhat of an understanding as to what it may be as the article is concluded by an explanation of the 7 important characteristics of Web 2.0.

From O’Reilly’s article, I have concluded that Web 2.0 is pretty much created by us, as in anyone and everyone who interacts on the internet on a daily basis. A good example he gives in the article that have led me to this particular conclusion is the idea of blogging. A thing called RSS has enabled us to be able to subscribe to anyone’s blog and be informed as the author of the particular blog you are subscribed to updates his/her blog. With that being said, without people constantly updating blogs and other people logging on to read these updated blogs, there would be no ongoing interaction on the internet. It would simply be just a place where we can obtain computerized information. Being able to have blogs on the web allows us to interact with others on a different level. For an example, some people might use their blogs to write about personal things that they do not wish to speak to someone else about on a personal level, yet wishes that someone out there would be able to read it.

With the birth of Web 2.0, using the internet has become a great deal of advantage to us. Not that it was ever a disadvantage before, but there are far less limitations as to what we can and cannot do on the web.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Advancements of the media & web

In chapter 3 of Jason Whitaker’s The Internet: The Basics, he explains in depth about the new media and web production. This chapter talked about the development and advancements of the old media. In his introduction, he explains the two main differences between old and new media, which are the movement towards digitization and what the advancements of digitization have to offer in terms of interacting. He then moves on by explaining in categories the different topics in the web such as hypertext, audio/video, java scripts, HTML, layouts of web pages, and etc.
Today the web is used constantly in our everyday lives and more than half of us do not realize the works or history behind it. Through the movement from analog format to digitization, we are now able to achieve greater things such as having a wide variety when one is trying to make a web page.

It is fascinating to me how we have such technology and advancements to use such things as HTML to link from one page to another, and have the option of changing our font or color schemes while making our own personal web pages.

Although Whitaker takes this chapter and approaches to explain each topic of advancement with the before and after, I felt that this reading was difficult; especially for someone like myself, who is not familiar with the “works” behind the web.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

communicating on the internet (reaction to Kollock & Smith)

In the reading by Peter Kollock and March Smith called “Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities,” it discusses many issues having to do with communicating on the internet such as the problem of cooperation, the Usenet, social dilemmas in cyberspace, and managing the virtual commons. With the rise of the internet, a lot of good things have come out of it as well as the bad things. As I mentioned in my reaction to the first reading by Adams & Clark, people have become so dependent on technology that we no longer have to go out and do simple little things for ourselves. This would include communication. Computer-mediated communication systems such as the Usenet can be very helpful to us. However, it can also lead to some sort of miscommunication as well. As stated in the first section of the reading by Kollock and Smith, cooperation becomes very hard when you are communicating in the internet. Systems such as the Usenet enable people to filter out what they want and do not want to read. Therefore, while posting things on forums and sending out mass e-mails about a certain topic, there may be a lack of cooperation due to people not thoroughly reading everything there is to read about that certain topic. There was a short discussion in one of our previous class sessions about how communicating on the internet can alter the meaning of a message someone is trying to get across. A good example of this can be when we are e-mailing someone or instant messaging. It can also refer to text messaging. When communication is done only through text, you cannot hear the tone of the speaker’s voice or see their body language. I believe communication is more than just talking to someone verbally. You cannot clearly get your message across without the use of body language and altering the tone of your voice. As the conclusion of this reading state that “computers are being used, in effect, to manage networks of relationships between people,” I cannot say anything more than the fact that I agree 100%.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Defining Characteristics of the Internet (essay #1)

Due to the vast advancements of technology, we have many options and various forms in which we can communicate. Two major advancements within technology that is often taken for granted today are the internet and television. Because of the fact that these two mediums are available anywhere and everywhere, we take them to be a “necessity” and something that is just there. The internet and the television have their similarities as well as many differences. For starters, they are both forms of entertainment. We have things available such as soap operas, sitcoms, music channels, and etc on television while on the internet we have access to pretty much the same information the television has to offer. We can obtain information from watching the news on television, as well as going online and reading a news article off the web. Though these two technologies serve similar purposes, I believe the internet has a whole lot more to offer, as many other people may agree with me. In chapter 2, Adams & Clark refers to the internet as being a ‘macromedium.’
One major characteristic of the internet is that it is multimediated. Adams & Clarks suggests that the internet is multimediated because “when you visit a webpage, you most likely encounter a wide range of media: graphics, words, sound, and video.” (pg. 55) This statement can apply to when you turn on the television as well. You have different graphics, sounds, and videos while you are tuned into a particular channel on television. However, the television does not give you the option of having two channels on at once. Though there are televisions today that give you the option of having two split screens which are tuned into two different channels, you cannot hear the sounds coming from both channels at the same time. On the internet, you can have as many browsers as you want and you are able to surf the web at your own speed and pace. Also, while without the help of tivo and other recording devices, you cannot watch or save a particular show you were watching and fast forward or rewind to a part you want to rewatch or skip. However, while browsing on the web you have the option of pausing, fast forwarding, rewinding, or revising certain sites as many times as you want. As the television has set times and channels where a certain show is playing, the internet has the flexibility of allowing you to go to whatever website you want to watch, read, or listen to any content you want at any time.
A second characteristic of the internet is hypertextuality. Adams & Clark explains that without hypertextuality, the internet would be just like an ‘easier-to-produce television show.’ As stated in the text, hypertextuality is the ability to link one content to another. Hypertextuality gives us the option of being able to easily navigate from one site to another. The television does not give us this option since we have to channel surf and the only way of knowing what is on another channel is through the channel guide. Hypertextuality allows you to surf the web and end up on a website completely different from what you were originally looking for. This allows us to be able to come across different topics that may interest us, and would never have crossed our minds otherwise.
Another important characteristic of the internet is (a)synchronous. When we communicate synchronously, it means we are communicating at an instant, or at the same time. When our communication is asynchronous, it means it is not at the same time. The internet allows us to communicate while the television does not. Though the television is some type of communication, such as a news message being delivered to a mass audience, it does not give us the option to communicate back and forth at an instant. The internet allows us to obtain information at an instant while being able to put out information on the web instantly as well. The internet gives us the option to communicate one way to a mass audience, communicate one-on-one, or communicate in groups, via chat rooms, mass emailing, or blogs, as well as many other forms.
In my opinion, another defining characteristic of the internet is digitization. This enables us to store and transfer data more efficiently. An example Adams & Clarks gives in the reading is the use of MP3’s and CD’s. It was not too long ago when we had to go out to the store and buy CD’s in order to listen to our favorite tunes. It was time consuming to go out and buy the CD as well as another expense going out of our pockets. However, with the advancements of digitization, we are not able to download our favorite tunes in forms of MP3’s with just a click of a mouse and store it into our computer, MP3 players, and now we are even able to store it into our cell phones. The MP3 example is just one of many. Being able to digitize information by transforming them into bits has made communication a lot easier, faster, and convenient for us.
Finally, the last characteristic is interactive. This characteristic can somewhat go alongside the fact that the internet is multimediated. Being interactive gives you much more options than just channel surfing on the television or switching the stations on the radio. The internet gives you the option of interacting with another person or interacting with different programs. An example of being interactive on the internet on a personal level is chatting or e-mail. In the past, chatting and e-mail was only available through text, which means that you were not able to see or hear the other person. Then you were able to attach files, such as pictures, or sounds. With time, we are now able to chat by video or audio, which means you can actually see and talk to the other person on your computer screen without physically having to be in front of each other.
In conclusion, I believe the five defining characteristics of the internet are mulmimediated, hypertexuality, asynchronous, digitization, and interactive. The advancements of the internet have made it more convenient for us to communicate as well as many other things. Through time, I feel that the internet will be far more advanced that it will soon take over the roles of television, radio, and other forms of entertainment and communication, as it already has started doing so.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

reaction to chapter 2

This chapter explained the internet as a communication medium as well as the six key qualities of the medium. As the author stated, the internet is specified as a “macromedium.” This is simply due to the fact that the internet does not fit into just one type of category. There are many different forms and categories of communicating. However, we cannot categorize the internet into one specific group because there is such a wide range of ways you can communicate through and on the internet. The six key qualities of the medium which makes the internet a “macromedium” are mutilmediated, hypertextual, interactive, synchronous, packet based, and digital. As stated in this chapter, the internet is not just for personal communication uses. In most cases, the internet is for a large audience, such as thousands and thousands of people we may not personally know. The internet has become so vastly advanced since its beginnings that we can do countless number of things on it. For example, the world’s current events are available at an instant. We can shop for items online that are mailed right to your doorsteps. We can also write personal blogs, such as the blogs we are using for anyone and everyone in the world to read. The music industry is also facing a problem with selling records due to the fact that we can simply download any music we want with just a click of our mouse, as well as downloading movies and tv shows. Even the instant messaging and e-mailing as been updated by allowing us to voice chat and chat through a webcam to actually hear and see the person on the other side of the screen. I think the most recent advancement I have encountered is being able to order food, like pizza, online as well as doing your grocery shopping online from places like Stop & Shop and have it delivered right to your door as if you were shopping for clothes or other items. Though the advancements of the internet have done a great deal to help us, as every story goes, I feel there is negative side to the growing internet. There are many problems with our generation as the internet has become a “necessity.” For starters, people are no longer writing letters via air mail, there is no reason to pick up a newspaper to see what is going on, as well as people being lazy and sitting in front of their computers all day. But I guess those are the obvious matters. This is a silly example, but I think the movie “Wall-E” has a lot to say about people becoming more and more dependent on technology. I feel that technology itself is something that we are all so dependent and reliant on today that we no longer realize how to go out and do things for ourselves on our own without the help of technology.