clarityandlight's blog

Technology and Human beings

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This article is very interesting. Written in the wake of the VTech incident, the writer cautions us against rushing to to either blame or promote technology overly much (video games or better technological methods of communicating).

To quote - "As a culture, we are very bad at thinking about technology. We look to it either as something to fear or as a panacea for the flaws of the human condition. Technology is neither. It is merely an extension of our own wills and capabilities."

I think this relates back to our readings about how we view computers and technology in context with ourselves and our interactions with it. He warns against projecting fears on to technology and reminds us that we are the sentient beings and responsible for our use of technology.

The Pirate Bay

I am not sure if the person who did the presentation on copyrights and downloading the other week mentioned this. To tell the truth, they could have talked about puff the magic dragon and I would not remember at this point. My brain is too fried - curse you finals week!

Anyhoo, a prosecutor in Sweden has vowed to file charges against The Pirate Bay on the grounds of breaches of copyright law. Apparently this group of people are BitTorrent's foremost trackers and were raided about a year ago, when police confiscated servers and other computer equipment.

Art and new media

When we discussed things that the syllabus/class seemed to be missing that we would like to see, I think someone mentioned art and new media.

Here's a complaint that contemporary art institutes just aren't keeping up with the times. Instead of using all sorts of technology - video, audio files - at their disposable to give people a slice of what the museum is like, they seem to be stuck on using only images.

I'm wondering if this doesn't show a little resistance on the part of m

Mistaken identity

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I mentioned earlier in the week how people are using new media to try to piece together a picture and make sense of the person who committed the killings at VT. Professor F. also mentioned how the media were using FB to find the friends and family of those who were part of VT and pursue them for information.

But did anyone hear about this guy?
Basically, he was mistaken for the killer because he matched up a lot on a lot of the same points (was student at VT, Asian, gun-nut, recently broken up with girlfriend, etc...)
And the whole thing got blown up to massive proportions, mainly due to the fact that the news was able to get around very quickly because of new media. At the time, people were desperate for information about what was going on and they would hear about the supposed killer on forums, blogs, youtube and even the news. And they then rushed to view this guy's blog and point fingers.

PC - 'personal' computers

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Just to bring us back to the events at VT earlier this week...
We've discussed how those involved have and could have utilized new media to alert others and keep up with what was going on...
On another note, I read on the news about how the police are now trawling the shooter's past online activity to try to understand his motivations. They've gone through his google searches and looked at his profiles on Myspace and Facebook.
I think this brings us back to how much of ourselves is tied to technology. When someone passes away, their personal computer is just as personal and revealing as the room they lived in.

Survey

Our readings from the PEW Internet and American Life Project are fairly relevant to the sort of thing I'm attempting to explore in my term project. I was wondering if there were any similar surveys done on people from our age group. While I'm still looking into that, I've also made up a simple survey based off of the one used in 'The Strength of Internet Ties.'

Please try to get this out to people via email/notices?
It's only got 10 questions. We have a variety of students from most of the 5 colleges in our class so I'm hoping I'll get a spread of data.

Here's the link:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=168593698477

Who's being banned?

We were discussing in class today how in the past users or certain sites/programs were banned due to limitations on bandwith and how that focus has now shifted to copyright infringement and illegal downloading.

This article made me think of how maybe in the future, energy consumption may be the center of that argument - limitations may be made based off of CO2 emissions caused by users?

Proposal

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just so people know where to find it..this is what i started out with...
http://machines.plannedobsolescence.net.51-2007/node/153

After more thought I think I might not focus on Facebook alone. Going on the critical project bent, I still want to examine social networking and community on the internet, but also explore how they are formed and how one is able to create an identity for themselves in such a space. Are sites such as Myspace a way of bringing the chaos of people roaming about on the internet into order? Because of the anonymity, total or partial, offered by the internet, do people choose to present an 'idealised self' online as opposed to a honest portrayal? Do people trust those they interact with on the internet more or less than they would people they meet every day?

Gendering cyberspace

In class today, we talked a little about how cyberspace is gendered, usually female. I remember that people had some reaction to this. It made me think about other forms of technology, such as GPS where the voice is female and if there is anything significant about that.

I've been trying to do a little reading on cyber feminist theory, and I think the idea is that women's liberation and technology took off and found 'identity' at approximately the same time, and thus share a parallel path. Man has in the past, been the dominant, whilst female and machine are the submissive.

I don't have

Proposal

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I guess my term proposal is going to be fairly similar to my mid-term project proposal.

As you can see, Prof. F noted (last batch of comments, bottom of page) that the issues I originally wanted to explore regarding Facebook were too broad to cover in the amount of space we were given for the midterm, so I augmented my focus and only discussed the issue of privacy, free speech and appropriate conduct between students and college administration.
While doing research for the mid-term I came across some really interesting stuff that fit into my original proposal that I would like to explore, so I'm thinking that's what I'll do for my final term project. Also, looking ahead on the syllabus, there appear to be some readings that I feel could be a good basis for analysis for the Facebook issues that I want to explore. This proposal feels a bit like a rough sketch, hopefully as the semester goes on, with more readings to springboard off on, I'll be able to pinpoint more specific areas and points that I want to put in my project.

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