April 24, 2011

Entry 12: What does the future hold for the Internet?

“In only a few short years, electronic computing systems have been invented and improved at a tremendous rate. But computers did not ‘just grow.’ They have evolved… They were born and they are being improved as a consequence of man’s ingenuity, his imagination… and his mathematics.” — 1958 IBM brochure

The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media. Here’s a video by the European Union to better explain the future of the Internet and the evolution from web 2.0 to web 3.0.

Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom. With this, here’s a video about the grim future of the Internet by pro net-neutrality organizations.

Ultimately, through technology, we hold the reins to our own evolution.

For the first time in history, it might be said that there are moral implications in the act of evolution. The Internet is an extension of our senses and our minds, and its progress is propelled by our own creative and intellectual efforts. The future of the Internet will be shaped by millions of choices and decisions by people from all walks of life. Designers and programmers like us have the advantage of technical skill and specialized knowledge. Given the increasing presence of the Internet in our lives, our choices can have deep reverberations in human society.

To end this blog and this semester of fun and a experience filled learning journey with in you class Mr Abel Choy, I leave with you a funny parody of the first video on the future of our digital age!

Entry 11: Cyber Slacking

Ever just walked in the office and the first thing you do is just check your Facebook and Twitter page? Followed by watching the latest trailers on YouTube all whilst chatting to your friends on MSN Messenger? Before you know it, it’s 5pm and it’s time to knock off and go home. Amount of work completed? Naught. This is the definition and epitome of cyber slacking; a waste of company resources and your time and effort to work hard and excel and get the promotion that you have been yearning for. In this new digital generation of ours, it has given birth to an extraordinary phenomenal; cyber slacking.

This is exceptional and unique to our generation where we are extremely interconnected to all the things we like through the use of the Internet. It is also a current and growing dilemma among corporations, whom efficiency and productivity have gone down, causing company losses, which can eventually lead to retrenchment, Thus creating a vicious cycle back to the employees themselves. Here’s a video of cyber slacking by news corporation CBS on the problems of cyber slacking in the workplace.

With this becoming a growing dilemma in companies, it has promoted them to take more deterring and regulating actions despite it being unpopular among employees. According to Wikipedia:

Many firms employ surveillance software to track employees' Internet activity in an effort to limit liability and improve productivity. Other methods used to reduce cyber slacking include installation of proxy server to prevent programs from accessing resources like Internet Relay Chat, AOL Messenger Service, or some online gambling services, strict disciplinary measures for employees found cyber slacking, and carrot and stick measures like providing free or subsidized Internet access for employees outside of working hours.

This video about a company in the United States is one such example.

With this, cyber slacking can become a problem if companies do not assert enough control over the use of Internet in the office. However, employers must also understand the limit in which how much control they can assert. After all, humans are not robot input machines and we are not made to work every single second the moment we step into our offices. That is not how our brains were created to function. A few minutes of rest periodically can still allow room for productivity to flourish within the workspace.

Entry 10: The changing role of Journalism in the Internet era

Journalism used to be confined to the boundaries of paper, television and radio. But in this digital age of ours, the birth of the Internet has changed the face of journalism. Here’s an introductory video of how Internet has played an integral role in journalism.

With this, the question now is will journalism be able to seamlessly integrate itself and keep pace with the evolving digital age or will it just slow to a halt and degrade the integrity of journalism itself? Chris Ahearn, president of Media at Thomson Reuters shares his opinions on the critical issue journalism in the Internet age:

First, journalism is not synonymous with newspapers and today the discussion has focused too much on newspapers alone. Second, journalism will do more than survive the Internet Age, it will thrive. It will thrive as creators and publishers embrace the collaborative power of new technologies, retool production and distribution strategies and we stop trying to do everything ourselves.

I agree that the bold will survive and the timid will fail. However, the newfangled aggregators/curators and the dominant search engines are certainly not the enemy of journalism. Nor are they the salvation. They do not always refrain from doing evil in their pursuit of profit and audience. And they do fail to “do unto others” at times -– some do steal and use complete or near-complete copies of our and other work and use ad networks such as AdSense to unlawfully monetize without sharing.

We see a world that opens up the newsroom and news gathering process to allow the highest quality and valuable content to flow better from creators to publishers. This new network of syndication is predicated on serving the needs of publishers and their audiences – not what one organization or another simply wants to produce. It is inherently multisource, with rights defined and carrying multiple revenue streams, be they subscription, a la carte, bulk purchase, link-back or revenue sharing. This is a network based on choice and it must be collaborative.

This is the B2B content network the world needs now – and that is what we are building.

We see this platform as an open network that applies consistent metadata to create “intelligent information” designed to help publishers and broadcasters better manage their own and 3rd party content. This is not about locking publishing partners down or blocking search engines – but is about helping all content producers to develop new revenue streams as both a publisher and syndicator of their content. It is about letting the creator choose the most appropriate monetization model for he or herself. We fervently believe that value must always be conferred to the original creator – whoever that is, big or small, incumbent or insurgent.

It will allow publishers to right size their coverage efforts and stop wasting resources on writing the umpteenth undifferentiated story that is available elsewhere. Let’s be honest, too much resource and money is spent on regurgitation as opposed to unique and differentiated labor. It will allow creators to specialize on meeting the unique needs of their audience and will foster creativity. Coupled with responsible behavior by all participants in the link economy – and I do mean all, both incumbent and insurgent – we will see the evolution to a new golden age of journalism and much, much more.

Future of Journalism

With so many differentiating methods of receiving news, be it via Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, online news websites, and even citizen news, traditional journalism has to accept all these changes and adapt themselves to it. In this digital age of ours, it allows us to watch first hand of crisis or world events happening thousand miles away and really observe through the eyes of the average person and the honest opinions that rumble within them. What do YOU think will happen to journalism in the future?

Entry 9: Politics in the Internet

Politics have now gone broadband and wireless! Politics around the world including Singapore and the United States have set up accounts in social networking and media sites with the aim of reaching out a wider audience and the younger Internet savvy generation. In addition, it diminishes the communication gap experienced by pervious administrations and their respective voters. Here’s a video about the impact of social media in American politics.

The Obama victory in the 2008 presidential elections was truly a remarkable feat that set new benchmarks for people who set their sights on impossible goals. The whole excitement surrounding the election has definitely brought about changes in American politics and this entire experience can definitely lend tips to other governments who are planning to use the same tool that Obama used that contributed considerably towards his victory: Social Media.

Here are videos of President Obama using social media to his advantage.

The White House even has it's own Youtube page!

The success of social media in Obama’s campaign definitely provides a great learning point for other governments who wish to go the same way. While the results of social media usage might be unpredictable to begin with; if used wisely social media can become an unrivalled medium that can change the face of national politics.

Entry 8: A Visual Orgasm

People only retain 20% of what they see and 30% of what they hear. But they remember 50% of what they see and hear, and as much as 80% of what they see, hear, and do simultaneously. -Computer Technology Research, 1993

What is multimedia? Multimedia is a fusion of any of the combinations of text, graphics, sound, animation, and video with links and tools that let allows the presenter to navigate, interact and communicate with the audiences through the means of a computer. When you allow the user (the viewer) to control what and when these elements are delivered, it is interactive multimedia. When you provide a structure of linked elements through which the learner can navigate, interactive multimedia becomes hypermedia.

Although the definition of multimedia is simple, making it work can be complicated. Not only do you need to understand how to make each multimedia element stand up and dance, but you also need to know how to tie the elements together using educational multimedia computer tools. If done properly, interactive multimedia excels in leaving lasting impressions in the teaching/learning process. Retention rates increase by 25% to 50%.

To practice what I preach, here’s a video on what multimedia is all about!

Importance of multimedia

Multimedia is fast emerging as a basic skill that will be as important to life in the twenty-first century as reading is now. In fact, multimedia is changing the nature of reading itself. Instead of limiting you to the linear presentation of text as printed in books, multimedia makes reading dynamic by giving words an important new dimension. In addition to conveying meaning, words in multimedia serve as triggers that readers can use to expand the text in order to learn more about a topic. This is accomplished not only by providing more text but also by bringing it to life with sound, pictures, music, and video.

Multimedia will help spread the information age to millions of teachers/learners who have not yet used the computer. Multimedia educational computing is one of the fastest growing markets in the world today.

Fueling this growth are advances in technology and price wars that have dramatically lowered the cost of multimedia computers. The growing number of Internet users has created a larger market for multimedia. The new tools are enabling educators to become developers. Noting how multimedia is used to enable individuals to create course material, that once required teams of specialists, individuals can now produce multimedia desktop video productions.