Open Source Software – Post #16

Open Source has been a revolutionary idea in creating a better quality, high reliability, lower cost software, and that is taken right from their mission statement. It the idea that anyone can research study, change and distribute software for free. In a world where everything and everything is copyrighted and legally owned by someone, open source almost seems like a crazy idea at first.

Open Source is not anti-copyright. The material they work with is copyrighted, it simply allows people to have the source-code of the software, and allows them to work on it to make it better, and then distribute it. It is a “peer review” of sorts. One website ironically enough that utilizes open source is WordPress!

Another Open Source Software that is widely used, and is the maker of the browser I am using is Mozilla. This philosophy in allowing a software’s user’s to tweak it’s code, is revolutionary in theory. The fact that the people who use a software the most would know how to best change it and make it better almost seems like common sense. When properly executed it can make a software great, but if miss used it can obviously caused unintended consequences, seeing as the software’s source code is able to be used by anyone.

There are regulations in place, and 10 different definitions that must be adhered to in order to use and protect source code including integrity of the authors source code and distribution of license.

 

In researching different open source software I decided to look into the Mozilla project, and Mozilla Firefox, the internet browser I use. It amazed me to see that Firefox is an open source software. Anyone is able to access the source code, modify it and distribute it. And I have come to find that a few different browsers have spawned from it, most notably being the internet browser netscape. It is such a different an unique concept to think that Firefox and other software is giving this access for free. But that is what makes something open source.

And Firefox is obviously doing something right as it is the third largest internet browser in the world, and growing. It is right behind Google Chrome (another open-source software) and Internet Explorer which is not Open Source.

I want to compare Internet Explorer which is closed source and Mozilla Firefox, because of how well Firefox, and even Chrome for that matter are doing and how Explorer is really losing it’s place in the market. While yes, as of 2012 Internet Explorer was 2nd in the market behind chrome and in front of Firefox it held 95% of the market at one time. It’s reliability is increasingly mocked, while Firefox and Chrome are praised for their speed and reliability. I think a big part of this is because Explorer has been against sharing it’s source code and allowing others to tweak it. Where Firefox and Chrome were built on the concept of sharing their source code and allowing others to change it.

I think open source will continue to be the way of the future. One of the Ted Talks I watched was Richard Baraniuk from 2007, he was discussing an Open Source for textbooks, to make a free online community used for learning. This is also a revolutionary idea, as thousands of dollars are spent by students on textbooks. It would make texts much more accessible, and therefore learning more accessible!

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Internet & WWW- Post #15

The internet is a huge collection of millions of computers all connected on a computer network. Hence why it is called the World Wide Web (WWW) which also starts one’s domain name, which I will get to a little later on.

This allows computer to communicate with one another. There are multiple connections that must be in place for a computer to connect to the internet. One of the first steps is using either a phone-line modem, a DSL, or cable modem which will allow your computer to talk to an internet service provider (ISP)

We can go even further and discuss how business and universities will use a Network Interface Card (NIC) to connect to a local area network (LAN) so that all of their computers can be interconnected like a computer server. Which allows more bits per second, which is needed to allow multiple business or university computers to all connect to the internet.

WWW and Domain Names,

And IP or Internet Protocol Address is uniquely given to every computer, and will sometimes change per internet session depending on the way a computer taps in to the internet. Every web page on the internet also has a unique 32-bit, four octet number. For example 209.116.69.66. could be an IP Address.

While this is an efficient way for the internet to work in connecting everyone to other computers, clients (receiving services- the usual home computer) or servers (provide services), it is not an efficient way for the average person to remember the website they want to go to. It would be nearly impossible to remember the IP Address to every website you would want or need to access.

So in order to make this easy for the average person Domain Names were born. A domain name is what we type in to access a website. For instance to access Moodle and our Online class I type in http://www.moodle.ramapo.edu

While we do not think about these domain names very often, they are actually broken down into 3 parts that so our internet browsers know where to access the information we want. First the WWW is the host name. It is the company hosting the site. While most are WWW, it does not have to be. This host name can be omitted when typing in the domain name. The actual domain name is the middle part moodle.ramapo, this is usually the “website” so yahoo, msn, google, howstuffworks, those are all the domain name. And lastly, the .edu, or .com/.gov/.org is the top-level domain name. So this is the basics of how the internet actually works.

WWW stands for the World Wide Web and is basically a “collection of hypertext documents” and the way they are accessed over the internet- credit wikipedia

The internet has really been in development since the 1950’s whether it was know than or not. Like I said above, the internet at it’s core is the ability to connect computers. It started out as simply building different protocols to develop internetoworking between computers. In 1982 Internet Protocol Suite was standardized and ISP started to emerge. And commercial use of the “internet” was born. (Credit Wikipedia)

 

The internet is incredibility powerful, and the use and possibilities for it are honestly endless. Without the internet, I have not doubt that computer would not be as popular as they are today. The ability for all of our to connect our computers and access different sites for information is what makes the internet such a beautiful thing. While trade-offs could be an invasion of privacy, and the ability for “hackers” to access not only personal documents, but sensitive data and information from business and government servers. With each passing day more complex protection against hackers and people who try using the internet in a negative way are developed. 

I think the pros far out way the cons. The ability for all of us to take this class right now are because of the internet. Human communication not only for personal use, but for university business and government (even military use) depend on the internet.

DIY QR Code- Post #14

I found a project on blog.makezine.com that showed users how to create personalized QR Codes. If you have never seen a QR code before it is like a UPC code except more digitized with black and white squares and specs. (I posted the QR code I created in the post before this) The cool thing about QR codes is that they allow users with smartphones to scan them and they are brought right to a website, or a page with more information, or even right to a place to sign up for something, or sometimes can give the user special deals or coupons. All depending on what the QR Code is being used for.

Alot more companies and manufacturers are using QR codes as easy and fun ways to reach a newer generation of people and give them more info on their products or services. You will find these on a lot of boxes of merchandise in different retail establishment. There is only so much room on these boxes, so as a way to get more information to the consumer, a QR Code will prompt the customer usually out of curiosity to scan it, and give them even more info.

This DIY project was easy, and I thought it was awesome that anyone can create a QR Code. It think this is great for people will blogs and such they are trying to promote, because like I mentioned QR codes typically spark interest and curiosity in people. So this project directed me to the website: http://www.qrstuff.com/

You then had to choose what type of data you are converting into a QR Code, a website URL, Social Media site, YouTube video, iTunes link etc. Then copy the link into the space provided. After this you have the option of changing the color of the code, or even putting visuals on the actual code, like a Facebook or twitter symbol embedded on it. Then simply select and output type: Download, Print, Email, or even the option of putting the code on different merchandise. And you’re all set!

As you can see in the previous post to this I posted my QR Code. You can scan this with a QR Code Scanner application on your smartphone. (It’s free in the app store) Once you scan it, it will bring you right to my wordpress page! Pretty awesome!

TechLab: Computers- Post #13

A world without computers is almost incomprehensible. This is especially true for those of us Generation Y’ers who have basically grown up with computers. Even for those people who did not grow up with them, but use computers now could never turn back and stop using them. My 88 year old grandpa does all of his bills on the computer as well as saves countless documents and pictures. With out the computer he would be lost.

When thinking of computers we cannot just think about our desk top or lap top computer, or even our smartphones for that matter. While yes, those are some of the most prominent and most used  computers we use, and directly effect us, those are also the obvious ones. But what about the less obvious ones that still have a great impact on all our lives? How about the calculator? Or  a cash register? ATM machines, cars, and so much more everyday technology. So much of our everyday life, and so much of the things we use everyday have some sort of computer associated with them.

All of these things are designed to make life easier, and make life more efficient. To bring this back to my own life, I cannot imagine doing my job without a computer. First, it would be difficult to have a major retail corporation like the one I work at without computers, because money handling and the cash register alone would not be possible without a computer, and it seems implausible to go back to manual cash registers and do the business we do. I am also in constant communication with district and regional management over email. Without corporate email, communication across the company would be very difficult, and much less efficient. On top of this I use the computer at my job for many different purposes, from ordering merchandise to transferring items to other stores, putting merchandise on hold, as well as creating signs. (Making signs is also done on a computer)

The things above are only a few of the things I have to do with a computer be it a desk top, or hand help scanner of sorts. I honestly could not imagine how anyone could efficiently do all of these things without the help of a computer. (Probably would need to hire a lot more people, which would also cost more money)

And when all of this is said and done, apart from using computers/phones for leisure, so much of my school work, and in the case of our class is done over a computer, all of these things would be so much more difficult to complete, and in the case of our class we wouldn’t be here taking an online class if there was no computer.

TECHlab: Electricity & Wireless – Post #12

I found all of these articles on Electricity to be really fascinating! We too often take for granted something so pertinent to how we live our lives. To look through the growth of electricity in A Century of Electricity, and see all of the many different players it took to get where we are today is amazing. The amount of different people who played some role in the discovery and invention of the many different uses of electricity is immense. To remember all of the innovators, and see how out their some of their ideas may have seemed at the time, to now where they are seen as brilliant pioneers who not only have us light, but the industrial revolution, and even all of our wireless communication.

To think that today filled with computers, smart phones, tablets, TVs, and everything else that run on wireless networks, it all started with electricity, radio telegraphy etc. Look at how far we have come in 100 years, from Morse Code, to text messaging. Articles like this tend to be pretty eye opening to our generation, who often forget how it all started!

Post #11 – Piracy- (music, movies, software, books, fonts)

Piracy is a tricky thing. As funny as that sounds, seeing as one would assume their is only one way to look at piracy. The thing is piracy can be so broad and used throughout so many different platforms and formats. One can pirate music, movies, books, software and much much more. Back in the day many people were simply not aware of the implications of file sharing. This was big in the music industry, as it was so easy to share a music file with a friend. And to many people they saw nothing wrong with this. If you go buy a CD you could technically “burn” it for as many friends as you would like and it is completely legal. So what makes the act of file sharing illegal? Fact of the matter is file sharing can share these files with the world/ So it’s not just one or two of your friends getting that music single, it is millions of people.

 

It has made the act of “stealing” something seem okay, because people do not think of this as stealing. And the same goes from programs, movies, etc. If you walk in to a music store and take CD off the shelf, you could be arrested yes? And most people would probably agree that stealing is wrong, and MOST people who do this file sharing would probably not go into a store and physically steal something. This comes back to the fact that since it’s not physical stealing, people feel that it’s not stealing. Or how about programs, really expensive programs such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, hundreds of dollars. Would you walk into the apple store right now, and take it off the shelf?? Probably not. But if I then polled people and asked would they download it for free off the Internet, form a torrent, I bet I would get a lot more yesses.

 

As far as music goes, I also feel passionately that we must support the artists and bands that we like, by actually purchasing their music. It is what keeps them in business making music! I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with music, and my family as a huge passion for music, or the fact that my mom is a singer/songwriter. But I find it wrong to use file sharing sites such as napster to get free music. I think too many people are not thinking about the consequences. They justify “stealing” music because, why should they pay for it, if they can get if free? Well why should anyone pay for anything?? And I hate the excuse, well people our age are in college and don’t have a lot of money. Okay, well I don’t see you stealing gas, or food, or clothes. So why is music okay?

 

I find this trend very unsettling, and I have to say I bet most of the people I know get their music, movies, and programs, from less then reputable sources, most likely free of charge. It is a disturbing trend that will continue, unless stricter regulations are put in place.

Post #10 – Most Important Technology to me

The most important technology to me and my life, as well as my future and professional ambitions, has to be my mobile phone.

The possibilities of a mobile phone are endless, and has already proven to be one of the greatest pieces of technology. It is not only a phone, but a portable computer in which any and all features of a computer can be used, but at the convenience of your pocket.

While I am not discounting the capabilities of regular desk top, or lap top computers, as I know they will be even more utilized in the home, and build into a homes core, it is the mobile phone that has changed our life and will continue to do so.

The smartphone will eventually, and is close to making wallets obsolete. I am already able to load gift cards on to my phone, as well tickets, including airline tickets. But soon I’m guessing within a year or two, we will be able to load our credit cards onto our phone. And while yes, I’m sure at first this could cause security issues, as with all technology there will be more advanced security measures, maybe even a finger print scan to ensure I am the proper user of the phone and credit card.

In and of itself the capability of using your phone as your wallet is huge. But I’m sure there will be even more applications created to aid in every day life. Such as controlling your homes internal computers with your phone. To an extent this can already be done, people can start there car, record TV shows, and control their heat and air system with there phone. I bet we can start our oven/meals, start the fire place, the shower and many more things, all with our phones.

Instead of going for a blood test, just put your phone up against your arm and let it scan for any issues. It sounds crazy. but when we think of it, I don’t think that’s too far off.

As far as professional ambitions, I think the phone will come in handy for anybody. It already as video chat capabilities, as well as note taking and picture taking. As well as the ability to email and communicate. But what is next? The possibilities are endless. Sending files over the phone, Video messages, communication is key any any profession, and the smart phone, will only increase the efficiency of any professional over time.

My Technology Future- Post #9

Before I get into my story, I want to preface it by saying I want my future and my story to show the positive side of what technology can do. While for the most part people recognize technology as a positive, for some reason when looking in to the future, it is a place controlled by robots and little human control. And while sure we will have computers and machines doing more for us, nothing could ever touch the human element of society. Technology is there to help us become more efficient not more lazy.

 

My Story:

It’s Monday morning, I have to be in work by 8am. So by 6am, my computer controlled night shades, worn over my eyes, began it’s wake up cycle. They are designed to give the user a perfect nights sleep. It controls lights/darkness, as well as the users stage of sleep. It creates the perfect night sleep, and allows your body to naturally wake up at the desired time. It slowly wakes up the user so by 6:30am, I am able to jump out of bed, fully awake and ready to start my day.

Programmed the night before, the master computer built into my house knows my schedule for the day. It knew I would be up at 6:30, so it started brewing my coffee at 6:40, ready for me when I got downstairs at 6:50. It knew I would be down at 6:52. It knows the approximate time I will be downstairs, plus or minus 63 seconds due to it’s averaged analysis of my morning routine over the past 3 years I have had this technology. It knew I would spend an extra 3 minutes in the show then I usually allow myself because I’ve had a tough work schedule over the past few weeks.

My shower sets itself to the ideal temperature, and slowly begins cooling when it’s time to get out, or it knows I may fall back to sleep. This is the part of my day my computer can’t really control, because there is an override that allows me to turn up the heat if I want too. Thus adjusting back the time my coffee needs to brew.

Finally I get downstairs, 6:55, and my coffee just finished brewing. My tablet computer has all my alerts for the day including, all of the websites, news, social networking etc that I typically will look at. The more you use this system the more it remembers your habits. It also reminds me if there is anything I marked as important on the calendar.

7:10 hits and I’m ready for my morning commute, no flying cars, just my water powered car with advanced safety features that guarantees a safe drive. I get to work my 7:45, ready to start my day in retail.

Yes, there are still retail business, different then what they used to be a lot more technology in store, but still there with people running the show. Just more adapted to new technologies then they used to be.

 

 

I hope my story was able to show how while technology will become an even larger part of our life, it is there to help us not control us. And we can never get rid of the human element.

Media and Technology- Post #8

Media and Technology truly depend on one another to advance and grow. They are interdependent on one another to spread information.

Media is how information is spread, and technology is what allows this media to spread. Media can be any type of social network, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, WordPress etc. Technology is the means by which this happens, Phone, Computer, Tablet.

New forms of media are being created each and every day, as media grows, so does it capabilities of being spread to new people. Media is able to grow when technology grows, because it can take on new outlets, it previously was not able to take on. And technology grow because of the direction media is taking. They both influence each others growth, by seeing and meeting the demands of people.

For example, the smartphone has influenced a range of applications to spread media including, Instagram, Vine, FaceTime, mobile twitter, mobile facebook, so that these forms of media can be used at anytime. Becuase of the capabilities of a smartphone some of these applications were created. There was no such thing as instagram or vine before the smartphone.

And many of these applications such as twitter have become even more popular due to it’s mobile presence. I can not find a statistic but I bet a slight majority, if not a larger majority of twitter users update from their mobile device.

 

A list of media and technologies, Blogs: Such as WordPress, Tumblr, Wiki even twitter

Vlogs: On YouTube, or even new applications such as Vine, On Instagram Video

PhotoSharing: On Facebook, Instagram, Flickr

Podcasts and Itunes

Video Games

All of these different Media Technologies share a common interest. Interacting and sharing information with groups of people, you may or may not know. It’s funny to me when people from a different generation criticize the younger generation for being on the computer too much and not “playing outside” I bet our generation does more communicating and interacting then others can ever dream of.

Right now, you can go on the internet and communicate and even talk to someone from across the globe in a matter of seconds. This was not plausible years ago. We can contact hundreds of people in a matter of seconds of social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Media and Technology also allows people to find other people with common interests, it allows people to educate themselves on different cultures or ideas. It simply allows knowledge, thoughts, ideas and information to be spread.