Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Internet Info Conundrum

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

It has recently been horrifically called to my attention that finding certain information…and seemingly basic information at that…can be quite a complicated endeavor.

For a class project, we were required to find gas prices for every gas station in town. The class split up into pairs and each pair took a different zip code and began to research the particulars for every station in their region of town.

It sure didn’t take very long for us to realize that, for the most part, some information on the internet can suck in the accuracy department. There were a bewildering number of complications for such a simple task.

There were 3 different gas stations listed to occupy the exact same address on Google maps, there were gas stations that don’t even exist listed, there were gas stations that do exist not listed, and several stations were listed as being in multiple area codes, which everyone knows is only possible in parallel universes and horror movies.

This whole project was a horror movie when it came to finding accurate information.

Eventually, we all got through the labyrinth of incorrect information and safely to the safe harbor accurate facts…but it was certainly a lot harder that it should’ve been.Someone definitely needs to start regulating the accuracy of facts listed on Goggle maps and like resources. This is ridiculous in the age of instant information we live in today.

So, what do you think? Should Google and other companies be forced to fact-check their information before the present it to the public as accurate?

The newest rage in education is the online degree. You can’t hardly turn on the TV these days without seeing some sort of commercial for Everest College or DeVry University or the like trying to pound what a great idea it would be to get an online degree from them down your throat.

Honestly, I view these ads with the precise skepticism and haughty derision as the late night infomercials prodding me to buy Mega Hits of the 80’s. Although, I have to concede that they employ much better actors than said infomercials and they actually almost persuade me to the notion that getting an online degree might just be a good idea after all.

But, is it?

That’s a tricky question and it almost definitely depends on who you are as an individual.

For some people, such as people currently in the workforce with a family to support, an online degree would probably be a great idea. An online degree largely revolves around your hours and allows time for you to complete work at your leisure. That would allow you to keep your job and continue to provide for your family while getting your degree.

However, there are some distinct drawbacks for the rest of us. The main and most important one would be that online degrees rely largely on theory. Students can expect to complete a mountain of book work and exercises pertaining to the theory of their field. In some fields, that’s just fine.

However, in an application driven industry such as Mass Communication, this would be impossible. There’s no way you could learn to do the things we do from a book. It’s because of this online students will have trouble stacking up in the real world against those with a traditional degree. It’s a shame for online students that more fields aren’t solely based on theory.

 

It has become a semi-common occurrence in this age of social media and prominent online personas of  rather reserved private individuals for potential employers to employ Facebook “creeping,” as my brother would so articulately put it, as a sort of background check. However, the line of both moral and ethical issues become swiftly blurred in the pursuit in what is a truely acceptable form of invasion of privacy.

However, the recent trend has not seen potential employers only stop at searching what has been publicly plastered to the world’s wall, but also the incorporation of scanning the private e-mail accounts of current employees, as well.

Wait…what?

Yes, that’s correct. Now, not only your public information is open to investigation by “the man,” but even the most deeply personal e-mails in your private account are subject to search at the sole and (most of the time) ironically indiscretionary  discretion of the corporation that employs you. Admittedly, now the Twitter trolling and such tomfoolery seems increasingly more mundane.

Excuse me, Mr. Corporate America, sir. I don’t feel like you have owned my soul enough today. I just don’t feel like a mindless drone quite yet. It’s not enough you grudgingly pay me minimum wage to do the grueling tasks you can think of without as much as a thumbs up in my direction. Would you like to come home with me and rummage through my sock drawer, as well? Only then can I feel like I have been adequately robbed of my identity.

I mean, there has to be a line drawn somewhere. This seems like way too far. I’m promise you I’m not speaking ill of you, sir, in my e-mails or trying to build a bomb or plotting world domination with Pinky and the Brain so stay out of my e-mails. There’s no reason for that. If I have something to say, you can find it right here.

Crime Prevention

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

In my previous post, I touched a little bit on Internet crime and how ramped it’s running all over the World Wide Web. That part along the seriousness and danger linked to such activity is undeniable. Well, then…so what do we do about it?

There has to be some way to stop them. Good always triumphs over evil, right?…Right? There always had to be a Batman to foil the evil schemes of the Joker.

In this case, there are several. There are lots of different ways you can go about sandbagging your defenses against even the most diabolical of cyber fiends. it really just depends on what kind of crime it is you wish to deter.

The first and most simple step to almost all fortified citadels is the want to update and maintain your  protection. If you’re lax in your defensive practices, then of course someone will take advantage of you. It works just the same as in real life, if you halfheartedly throw on some armor, someone is going to stab you…and stab you…and stab you, until you finally get tired of being stabbed and do something about it.

Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes in this era, however, the one I think is most generally applicable is something called Digital Fraud. Digital Fraud is basically and evil way to use Photoshop to create all sorts of fake documents, i.e. checks, birth certificates, letters, etc. And you thought airbrushing models was bad.

Fortunately, the ways to stop this are very simple. No matter how a forger tries, he will never be able to exactly replicate the original document. The easiest way to stamp out digital fraud is to create some sort of complex design such as the watermark prominently featured on late modeled paper currency in the United States. The more complex a design is, the harder it’ll be to replicate.

However, there is one way that is easier to protect yourself against digital fraud. Knowledge is power. Learn about digital fraud and other Internet crimes. Arm yourself against fraud. Educate yourself!

Internet Crime

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s no secret that the world we live in today is full of crime. Some people steal, some people murder, some people defraud other people for millions of dollars. It seems now that the dark under belly of society has now found it’s way into the internet. But I suppose that’s about par for the course with people these days.

If there is a loophole in something, a flaw in the system, people will eventually and most definitely try to exploit that weakness. It’s just the way the world works today.

The internet was created with the purest of intentions. Upon it’s creation, the internet was meant to link people from all across the globe and aid in the sharing of ideas and communication the world over. However, it didn’t take long for people to start trying to exploit the internet as a tool to screw people over.

Today’s internet is one that is to be used with caution and constant awareness lest we be caught off guard by someone trying to steal our money or our identities, stalk or even harm our families. There is this Prince in India that is constantly trying to give me a fortune if I would but just give him all of my private information. It’s a shame I can’t trust him because that would be an awesome deal!

Blurry Fair Use Guidelines

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

It seems that the thin line separating the legal fair use of copyrighted material the much frowned upon copyright infringement is eroding. The laws are so blurry these days that it’s hard to tell who is using other people’s ideas legally and who is breaking the law. So this begs the question:

What is fair use?

According to Dictionary.com, fair use is defined as “the conditions under which you can use material that is copyrighted by someone else without paying royalties.”

Ummm…Okay…

What are those conditions?

In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

So can you see how this can get confusing? What exactly is in play and what will land you in jail are often separated by just a minor technicality or two. It’s scary to think that you could just be attempting to borrow someone’s work for a class project or something and if you don’t use it precisely in the correct way, the book gets thrown at you.

In recent years, this has become much more of a problem that it had been because of the wide range use of sampling and remixing. So please pay attention the next time you want to borrow your favorite scene from “Aladdin” because that 30 second clip could cost you an awful lot.

Fair Use or Plaigarism?

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s no secret that in today’s musical world if anything will sell, it will likewise get ripped off. It’s also no secret that this practice isn’t exactly new. In fact, the act of “ripping off,” as it is not-so-affectionately known in the music industry, has been used for decades, encompassing the music of industry legends like Michael Jackson, Journey, Def Leppard and the Beatles.

Here’s a nifty little video I found that exposes the great many songs who have ripped off the opening piano chords from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” The crazy thing is that most of us wouldn’t have even recognized the stolen chords without them being waved in our faces.

 

I feel like the fact that the ripping in this video occurs only over a few simple chords, make these songs okay. I’m sure people would like to split hairs what is and is not okay to do. However, I believe that had journey never came out with “Don’t Stop Believing,” these songs would still probably exist as they are because the progression of the borrowed material is so simple that it’s almost generic in a way.

However, Vanilla Ice’s smash hit “Ice, Ice Baby” is a completely different story. He overtly ripped off another famous song, “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. Listen for yourself.

Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure”

 

Vanilla Ice – “Ice, Ice Baby”

Seriously? He stole the whole identity of that song. That should be a crime.

Uses and Gratifications Theory

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m pretty sure Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler and Michael Gurevitch were completely on the right track when they came up with the Uses and Gratifications Theory. To find evidence of this theory at work today you have to look no further than me. I’m almost certain this rings true for everyone else, as well.

When I want to be entertained, I go to Pandora and jam out to my Skillet channel or I click over to Netflix and watch the latest movie where anything blows up and people die in a very cinematically satisfying but not so realistic way. (Firefox says cinematically is not a word but let’s just pretend it is.) I am a guy after all. When I’m in the mood for a little social interaction, I go to Facebook and start a chat with a random person that I probably haven’t talked to since high school.

This is just human nature. In a weird way, we are very needy and temperamental as human beings and we need to be coddled and catered to even when we are 23 years old. We want what we want and we want it NOW! Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. It’s okay though even if we are spoiled brats because the world does revolve around us after all.

For a cool article on the Uses and Gratifications Theory, please check out http://matei.org/ithink/2010/07/29/what-can-uses-and-gratifications-theory-tell-us-about-social-media/.

 

Social Media Vs. Communication

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

In the beginning, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were created to help add to the communication channels that already existed. However, it seems to me that their intended results have harbored some ugly repercussions, as well.
The worst side effect of social media is the rapid deterioration of our spelling and grammatical skills as a society since social media became popular. It seems fewer and fewer people really know how to communicate effectively anymore. Everyone wants to abbreviate things and take shortcuts around the English language. It’s really sad because it seems no one wants to actually take the time to speak anymore. Everyone can’t be bothered to take the time to speak English correctly. Lots of people these days, especially the younger generations, seem to think that idiotic phrases such as “l8r” and “2moro” are actual words that can be easily incorporated into the English language. It’s really not cool because these are the people be leading our country and the world in the not so distant future, these will be the people making all of the decisions and making all of the breakthroughs that will shapes the world for generations to come. Hopefully they won’t take that responsibility too lightly because they are the leaders of “2moro.”

Stranger Interview

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

For our interview, Jasmine and I interviewed Nick Clayton.

http://soundcloud.com/arron-littleton/final-nick-interview