The Smartphone’s Innovation in Media Technology – Final Research Project

 

 

Stephen DePaul

 

 

Media and Technology

COMM 356

Professor Jane Pirone

Final Research Project

8/7/13

 

 

The Smartphone’s Innovation in Media Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cell phone was an extraordinary technological accomplishment of the twentieth century. It forever changed the way people would communicate with one another. It would allow people the ability to get and stay connected with others at any time no matter where they were. While this concept was once foreign and only purchased by those elite people who had access to the best technology. The smartphone has now become a household must have. Not only that, it has turned from a want to a need. If there has been an invention more significant then the cellphone it has to be the smartphone.

The smartphone is a cellphone at it’s core, but it is so much more then that. It is basically a computer in your pocket. A concept thought implausible even a twenty years ago. Allowing its users to have access to a computer like device at anytime, anywhere, on their wireless connection. This again has forever changed the way people communicate, it has also changed the way we use media and communicate with media.

The smartphone has molded the way present day media is communicated. The media today is not the same as it was before the smartphone. Today, the smartphone and other technologies like it, dictate the way media is distributed across the world. The present day smartphone looks quite different then the very first ones made. The evolution of the smartphone has been tremendous, and today the possibilities of what the smartphone can do are endless.

An easy way to begin to understand the smartphone is to compare it to its predecessor, the PDA. The PDA short for Personal Digital Assistant, born in the late 1980’s, was a handheld electronic day planner, calendar, to-do list, and could be easily connected to your home or office computer. (Freudenrich & Carmack, 2012) As the years progressed and the Internet became more widely popular some of these PDAs would begin connecting to the Internet. It was realized that these devices could be capable of connecting to the Internet anywhere if they could use a cellular connection. Therefore the idea of the first smartphone was born. Connect the PDA with a cellular connection in order to connect to the Internet.

 

The technology and capabilities of the smartphone are constantly evolving and changing, with each year comes a new idea or technology that will evolve the smartphone. Therefore affecting the way the smartphone is built. To better understand how the smartphone works we need to know how this technology works. It starts with the hardware. Just like a desk top or laptop computer the smartphone has a processor, usually ranging from 100 to 624 MHz. Built in memory is also extremely important in today’s smartphone as the user wants and needs to store data on the phone itself. Many of these phones have more then enough data/memory storage, however, external compatible storage can be used if necessary. (Coustan & Strickland, 2011)

More importantly the smartphone has built in computer chips to aid in the functionality of the phone itself. While the data processing part is important, the functionality is what makes a “smartphone” a “smart” phone. These chips functions include web browsing, camera, and other multimedia functions such a video, and music playing. This technology has seen a convergence in their computer chips, as many of these chips will now serve multiple functions, allowing for less space to be taken up. This will allow a smaller phone, and will drain less battery. Battery life is often a main concern when building the hardware of a smartphone. The phone could be phenomenal, but if it the battery is depleted too quickly, it would defeat the purpose (Yoffie, 1997)

The software and operating systems of these smartphones are typically what the general public will recognize when using smartphones. These two aspects are usually the main concern when someone is choosing a smartphone they would like to purchase. The main characteristic of the software is the API otherwise known as Application Programming Interface. This is a tool used to share content and data between software applications (Clemente) For smartphones this allows programmers to develop applications for the phone. The number of applications is endless, and is usually filtered through each phones operating system.

The operating system manages the hardware and dictates how the owner of the phone is able to use the device, including it’s software, native and third-party applications (created by APIs) Some different operating systems include: iOS (a branch of Mac computers MAC OS) Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian, Java, and Garnet OS. These software operating systems are what allow the user to perform tasks on the phone with an ease of use. It is similar to operating systems on a regular computer, allowing the user the ability to not have to understand computer code to work their device.

 

Finally, what makes the smartphone; a “smart” cellphone is that is runs off of a cellular network. When using any type of web-browsing application, sending emails, or using API’s that require data from the Internet, this data must be sent and received over a network protocol. Network protocols will transmit this data at a variety of different speeds that will ultimately determine the market desire for this phone, and create a competitive market for that phone. The protocols are constantly being updated, and are typically different which each mobile carrier.

The main cell phone networks are CDMA used by Verizon and Sprint. CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access and are dual band networks that will operate on the 800/850 MHz band, and the 1900 MHz band in the USA, and will not work in other countries. The other main cellphone network is GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile Communication, which works on three to four bands. The reason this has more MHz bands to access is that it can access cellular networks abroad. These phones can access multiple MHz bands to maximize mobile coverage. (ConsumerReports, 2009)The importance of the cellular network comes from the fact that all of the mobile phone technology would be useless if data could not be transmitted. If the data could not be sent and received it would render the smartphone useless, as it would turn into a regular cellphone.

 

While new technology is invented for the smartphone each and every day. Most of the technology is either borrowed or modified from previous computer technologies. The smartphone is built upon technology that was already there, it took all of the desktop and laptop computer technology and modified it to fit in a mobile phone. Without the computer chip, these phones would not be able to perform even the simplest tasks such as taking a picture, or sending an email. The phone would not be able to browse the Internet, or transmit data. All of this technology was already invented, but it needed to be modified to fit into a handheld device, and work off of a cellular network protocol.

There is really not much a cellphone cannot due, but the limitations come from the memory storage and data processing. (Tibken, 2012) As previously stated, the smartphone works on a data processing speed of 100-624 MHz. In most circumstances, the data processing needed on a hand held phone, this speed would be fine. However, for a desktop computer this speed would be painfully slow. The reason being desktop computers need the capability to process more heavy-duty programs. The typical cellphone user does not need to do this.

A smartphone would not be able to handle the processing heavy computer programs that may be needed in some work places. Even if an API would be able to recreate this program for a mobile device the data processing in the phone could not possibly process the program. To fix this, the phone would need a higher MHz and a more heavy duty processing system, however, this would cause the phone to need restructuring, making for a much larger device, that may no longer be handheld, thus defeating the purpose of a mobile device in the first place.

The smartphone is a prime candidate when discussing the theory of convergence. This theory states that technologies are being combined, with one technology performing multiple tasks and purposes. The smartphone has combined many aspects of a desktop and laptop computer, into a cellphone and camera and what used to be known as a PDA. All of the functions that used to be performed on three to four to five different devices can now be done with one small device. (Livingston, 2004)

One of the few tradeoffs of the smartphone is that if one of these complex technologies breaks, or has an issue, all of the other technologies would be rendered useless for that time frame. The other major concern when it comes to smartphones, but really cellphones in general, is the radiation they give off. There are people out there who feel it is a risk to carry a smartphone, and that it could potentially cause cancer in the future. (Cancer.gov) The interesting thing about this is, most objects if deemed to cause harmful side effects, would see a dramatic decrease in use and sales, however, the cellphone market has seen the opposite, with sales at it’s highest ever.

The only real competition the smartphone has in the technology market, is with itself. The smartphone has seen many different creators, including but not limited to Apple, Android, Google, Microsoft, PALM, and RIM (Blackberry). Each of these companies competes to have the best, most efficient, fastest, and user-friendly smartphone on the market. The trend in smartphone sizes tends to vary with each year. Some people wanting the smallest phone, and some wanting a large screen, with a slim phone. This competition drives the market to find the newest technology to add to the smartphone, each company tries to do this before the other.

While the third party applications have video games, there is really no direct competition with any video game companies.  The only other real competition comes from all the convergent tasks the smartphone can do. Some of these include, performing calculator functions, act as a calendar, a to-do list, a reminder, a timer, a watch, the list goes on an on. The more people who eventually have a smartphone, the less business companies who make traditional technologies, such as calendars, watches, etc. will have. The thought of someone not needing a watch or a calendar may seem absurd at first, and by no means do I think it would completely become extinct, but I think younger generations are going to depend less, and less upon these more traditional technologies, eventually lessening their presence in the market.

As previously discussed the smartphone evolved from the original cellphone, and draws close ties to the PDA, but why did this world changing technology come about? First the history of the telephone has to be analyzed. The telephone, which naturally predates the cellular phone, was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. The popularity of the telephone and its ability to rapidly increase communication across a plethora of different platforms, allowing the rapid movement of information was a huge invention. The power of this technology was quickly realized, and work to continually improve and advance the telephone has not stopped since that time. (Siegfried D, 2010)

 

In 1900, a man named Reginald Fessenden was the first person to make a wireless telephone call; he was able to transmit his voice over radio waves. Due to Fessenden’s discoveries, he paved the way for broadcast radio, and broadcast communication. In 1947 William Rae Young would propose the use of radio towers in a hexagonal pattern to produce wireless telephone connections. This time frame was fitting as World War II had ended two years prior, and new technologies were in full swing. The Second World War had seen advancements in the use of radio communication. The years following would see many advancements in the in the race for readily available wireless cellular phones. (fas.org)

Actual cellphones while still rare was sparsely start popping up from place to place, very different from present day cellphones. Some of these prototype devices being too large, and too heavy to carry around, thus partially defeating the purpose of having a cellphone. In 1973 the company Motorola produced what is now that of as the very first cellphone. It weighed 2.5 pounds and measured 9 inches long, which could not possibly fit in one’s pocket, however, still small enough to be portable. Later that decade the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) was introduced as an analog network. (Princeton.edu)

Over the next few decades the cellphone continually evolved, eventually becoming much smaller, the car phone becoming very popular in the early 1990’s as it did not have the need to be small enough to fit in a pocket. While the technology of the actual cellphone had been around for a couple decades, the technology for a wide-ranging cellular network was still not there. The late 1980’s, early 1990’s would begin introducing digital cellular networks such as GSM and CDMA, which are still used in present day.

The 1990’s brought about an evolution of the cellphone. Now that wide-range cellular telephone networks were readily available advancement of the actual cellular phone body/frame and hardware could be fine tuned and worked on. The cell phone would begin getting smaller, being able to fit in your pocket. The trend was smaller and thinner, small tasks would begin bring implemented in the phone, such as a calculator, calendar, and even a low quality camera.

 

The desire for the phone to do more then place calls at anytime anywhere would begin to develop. As personal desktop and laptop computers became more available, and the general public would have more experience with the computer, the demand to for the cellphone to do more would become greater. As previously mentioned the PDA was formed, and the market desire for a cellphone that could act as a PDA was born.

Many companies played a key role creating and revolutionizing the smartphones. Each of these companies made great strides, typically at a different time then the other. Palm actually manufactured the very first smartphone available to the public in 2001. Though Blackberry (RIM) manufactured the first push-button email enabled phone in 1999.  In 2002 Symbian manufactured the first cell phone with a camera and in 2004 HP manufactured their first PDA, cellphone combination. All of these early variations of the smartphone paved way for companies such as Apple who really revolutionized the smartphone industry with their iPhone.

The iPhone first introduced to the world in 2007 revitalized the concept of the smartphone with a touch screen cell phone that could not only send emails, and browse the web, but also utilize APIs to use third-party applications on the phone. In 2008 Android and Google came out with their version of the smartphone. All of these later devices converging previous cellphone and smartphone concepts into each other in a competitive manner to be the best smartphone in nearly saturated market.

The smartphone has several different economic and business factors associated with it. First there is the cellphone manufacturer. This can be a company such as Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Google these companies create the concept of the phone, they build the phone, and ultimately sell the phone. These companies will have to decide where they would like to manufacture their product, usually China. They will then select all the computer hardware for their phone.

This includes the computer chips, the battery, the battery, the processing system, and even the camera. All of these are purchased from different manufactures in their respective fields. The cellphone manufacturer then has to decide what cellular network company they would like for their phone to be compatible with. Many times the phone is built to be compatible with multiple cellular networks. However, some companies such as Apple wish to have more control over their product.

The cellphone manufacturer typically has to decide it’s cellular compatibility before it is built, as the cellular network antenna or SIM card needs to be built in to the phone. Once all of this is decided, the retailers that will also be allowed to sell the phone are put in place, and an abundance of accessories are also built to add-on to the product. A smartphone from conception to the sales floor has gone through a plethora of different businesses to produce the final product.

The ways in which the Smartphone business has become profitable has grown immensely over the last decade. For one, the purchase of the actual phone costs the consumer a decent amount of money. With the average smartphone price surpassing $135, just for the phone itself (Tofel, 2011) Next, with the sale of most smartphones, the consumer typically has to sign a two-year contract with a mobile carrier. These contracts will consist of a higher-price for a plat that includes transmission of Data, which all smartphones utilize. On top of all of this the smartphone accessories such as cases, screen protectors, extra memory, extra chargers, adaptors, car-chargers all are extra ways for these companies to make more money.

A new way to generate revenue was truly introduced by Apple, and followed up by Google Android in using the smartphone as a music player, as well as a way to use third party applications, which are made through APIs. Each of these newer devices especially on Apple, and Google will have certain native applications. These applications are on all of their phones and cannot be deleted. These include the music store, and application store (app store) where the user can purchase music, and purchase these third-party applications. Not only is revenue made by the nearly 1 million third party applications, but also now ads are attached to those apps, which create even more revenue. (Graham, 2013)

 

The smartphone industry is project to be worth  $150.3 Billion by 2014. (Sunita, 2013) This industry has been continually growing since it’s conception with new technology and new and unique ways to draw in new revenue with each passing day. Consumers are able to rent and buy textbooks, books, and movies on their phone. For an added price to their phone bill each month a consumer can “tether” their smartphone, which allows other devices to latch on to the cellular connection of their phone. This can be another phone, and iPod, or even a computer. (Glenn, 2008)

One of the most significant ways in which the smartphone industry has changed the world is the way in which it has affected media, and media distribution across the globe. It is known how much the smartphone has increased the efficiency, and increased the way in which the world communicates. However, the way that the smartphone is able to utilize media, especially social media has been tremendous.

While social media predates the smartphone, it is the smartphone that has allowed social media to rise to the level it has. Social media can include a plethora of different platforms that allow the user to take a larger role in being an active audience. (Hanna, Rohm & Crittenden, 2011) This includes but is not limited to sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, MySpace, Tumblr, WordPress, Vine, Pintrest, and many more. All of these social media sites allow the user to not only take part in the media, but also become content creators, and co-creators of the applications themselves. It allows a more interconnected world, allowing the users to make profiles and connect with anyone with Internet access across the globe no matter where they are. (Quadir, 2013)

 

The ability for people to communicate from around the world is a remarkable feat, that allows for a greater understanding of other people and cultures. This also effects the way information and news is sent and received. Information has become instant, and the way news is distributed has become instantaneous, allowing first hand accounts to be told in real time. A recent example is the twitter user who live-tweeted the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound. This has also allowed for a newer generation of more educated consumers on current event, news and information since it is so readily available, and presented to the consumer every time they go on one of these sites.

The reason why the smartphone has effected and changed these social media platforms is the user no longer has to be at their home, office, or school computer to update and check their social media site. They can now do this right from their smartphone, anywhere, at anytime. Again, allowing for updates in real time, this permits a greater access of these sites, as well as a greater desire to do so. Every business, company, entertainer, etc. needs a social networking site to stay current and stay connect. The connectivity of these sites and users is what create such an impact on the world.

These social media sites are now molded by the smartphone, and vice versa. These two platforms now go hand in hand when building the device, what will allow the device maximum usability of the social media sites, and how can these social media sites, and their applications be created in a way that maximizes their use on the smartphone.

With the evolution of social media sites and the positive accomplishments from them, their will always be someone who uses the platforms in harmful ways. This includes people posting malicious speech (Cyber Bullying) at an individual or group. Public figures inappropriately posting speech or pictures on these sites, which could be harmful to their career. The sites create a much greater accessibility to people including celebrities and public figures, however, it can also carry at risk if these people are not careful.

With all of the great strides of social media and the smartphone come new laws and regulations often dictated by the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission.  The FCC has the ability to monitor and regulate all smartphones, and cellphones in general. They have to stand up to stringent regulations especially in regards to radiation emission. The FCC has a strong impact on copyright, patents, privacy, piracy, and licensing.

Typically the largest impact of the FCC in regards to software and hardware patents among Smartphone manufactures but an even larger impact comes from protecting the consumer and their privacy and security. The FCC even has a branch of their site dedicated to helping the consumer secure their smartphone- http://www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security

As the smartphone has become one of the biggest examples of convergence in current day technology. More and more consumer information is able to be stored and access on these devices. Leaving the consumer more vulnerable to malicious attempts to illegally access this data. Many of these new devices and technologies are so new that laws often need to catch up with them. Therefore, they are not in place when initial attempts are made to access personal data, or technology crimes. These cannot be processed at first because they are technically not illegal until new laws are put into place. (Murdoch, 2013)

In conclusion Smartphones will continue to be the way of the future, they will continue to develop convergent technology and with each passing day be able to do more and more for it’s users. Soon these smartphones will be able to act as a digital wallet, as they are already making strides to do so, in allowing it’s users to store gift cards and tickets on them. Next, credit card information will be able to be stored so the user simply has to flash their phone of the credit card reader. (HowToGeek)

This technology utilizes NFC (Near Field Communication Technology) to transmit credit card data over radio waves and use as a form of payment at accepting stores and retailers. This makes for great convenience, however, as previously discussed the security technology will also have to be in place before a technology such as the digital wallet is available to the mass market. As many smartphone manufactures such as Apple are gaining rights to the patents of NFC use in their smartphones, this technology is thought to make its debut in the near future. (Swider, 2012)

 

The other capabilities are endless as computer chips, processors and batteries become more advanced, what the smartphone can do follows suit. The smartphone can be synced with common household items such as TVs and even appliances. The more connected the smartphone can become with other objects and devices the more it will be able to achieve in the future. While no one can completely predict the future of any technology, the future for smartphones is sure to be an exciting and bright path to even greater success and innovation.

 

 

References

 

Siegfried, D. (2010). The Cellphone: The History and Technology of the Gadget That Changed the World. Booklist, 107(8), 8.

Swanson, S., & Taylor, M. (2011). Greendroid: Exploring the next evolution in smartphone application processors. IEEE Communications Magazine, 49(4), 112-119. doi:10.1109/MCOM.2011.5741155

Freudenrich, C., & Carmack, C. (2012). How pdas work. Retrieved from http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/pda.htm

Coustan, D., & Strickland, J. (2011). How smartphones work. Retrieved from http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/smartphone.htm

Clemente, M. (n.d.). Apis for scholarly resources . Retrieved from http://libguides.mit.edu/apis

(2009). Retrieved from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/phones-mobile-devices/cell-phones-services/cell-phone-service-buying-advice/cell-phone-service-guide/cell-phone-networks/cell-phone-networks.htm

Tibken, S. (2012). Smartphones challenge chip limits. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444914904577615321730270682.html

Livingston, A. (2004). Smartphones and other mobile devices: The swiss army knives of the 21st century. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/smartphones-and-other-mobile-devices-swiss-army-knives-21st-century

Quadir, I. (2013). Form, transform, platform. 4(4), Retrieved from http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/INOV_a_00147

Glenn, M. (2008). The future of higher education: How technology will shape learning. The Economist,

Graham, J. (2013). Apple app store marks 5 years of app-ortunity. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/talkingtech/2013/07/09/5-years-of-apple-apps/2499299/

Sunita. (2013). Marketsandmarkets: Global smartphones market worth us$150.3 billion by 2014. Retrieved from http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/smartphones-market.asp

Hanna, R., Rohm, A., & Crittenden, V. (2011). We’re all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem. Business Horizons, 54(3), 265-273.

Murdoch, J. (2013). Data protection law is in danger of lagging behind technological change. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/apr/12/data-protection-law-lagging-behind-technology?CMP=twt_fd

Swider, M. (2012). Apple granted patent for alternative nfc technology. Retrieved from http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/apple-granted-patent-for-alternative-nfc-technology-1105193

Tofel, K. (2011). Smartphone sales rise as average cost drops to $135. Retrieved from http://gigaom.com/2011/11/14/average-smartphone-cost-135-dollars/

 

 

Yoffie, D. (1997). Competing in the age of digital convergence. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=awpN9zsgQDcC&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=telephone digital convergence&source=bl&ots=o47fdjCd4D&sig=-YwLJ06c8zXmOaHdN_59Sb8XqTI&hl=en&ei=vJbJTq-xAeLo0QHakL0F&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CGoQ6AEwBTgU

 

Other website references:

 

http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Advanced_Mobile_Phone_System.html

 

http://www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security/Apple%2BiOS

http://www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security

http://www.howtogeek.com/137979/htg-explains-what-is-nfc-and-what-can-i-use-it-for/

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/cellphones

http://www.fas.org/spp/military/docops/afwa/U2.htm

 

 

 

 

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Marshall McLuhan- Post #17

Marshall McLuhan’s thoughts and ideas have always been somewhat controversial, considering most of his work was done in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was on the “cutting edge” of electronic media, and that is what his focus was. He actually predicted the World Wide Web 30 years before it was even invented!

He had an idea of a Global Village. He felt that we were going away from individualism, and driving toward a collective identity. He says the adolescence and teens want what the group has or what the group wants. He explains this as tribal. He says people are moving away from individual man, with individual thoughts and ideas. To Tribal Man, someone who goes along with the group. We are concerned with what the group know, and what the group does. Being “with it” as he describes, which means having no point of view, since we accept things as they are.

He discusses how things have become and are becoming instant, we know world news/breaking news right away. He also explains how we are moving away from a print culture. The role of books is changing, not becoming obsolete but simply changing.

His ideas also draws close ties to the idea of convergence. Bringing many different technologies together into one. He speaks of an assembly line changing from doing one thing at a time to a machine doing 50 things at once. This idea especially speaks to the technology of Smart Phones, that I am focusing on for my research project.

 

Every single one of McLuhan’s thought provoking ideas about the future of electronic media have not only come to be true, looking on his ideas decades later. But most of them can directly relate to the smartphone. The idea of having to be in constant connection to one another. Whether it is through actual text messaging or phone conversations. But more than that the fact that social media can be accessed anywhere at anytime correlates to his idea of the tribe. Wanting to know what everyone else knows.

Being able to do many different things at the same time is also a major player in the smart phone market. Being able to be on the phone with someone while on the internet, and setting up a calendar task, and checking twitter. All of these ideas were mentioned by McLuhan. He predicted all of this technology would take place, and it has, it’s really remarkable.

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!

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.