INTERNET EVERYTHING!… or don’t because that’s ridiculous


(via Luigi de Bernardini)

Just about everything is being internet enabled nowadays.  With these so-called ‘smart’ devices are becoming more and more prevalent in the market.  But it’s not really objects that you would immediately consider as needing to be connected to the net.  Oh, no it is not, they’re things like fridges and bloody toothbrushes.  Call me old-fashioned, but I just don’t think that my life is in great need of a kettle that allows me to control the exact temperature of the water, or an egg carton that that will send me a notification when I’m running out of eggs.


(via Uncrate)

However, I do suppose it’s the inevitable next step in technology, as we edge ever closer to the future that Wall-e predicted for us.

There’s big part of me that just doesn’t want to see humanity fall to something like SkyNet.  Or to live in a house that is so damn ‘internetted’ that I’m subject to a rogue AI like HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.


(via GiantFreakinRobot)

One of the real issues that I can see with internet expanding to more and more objects is the use of the information gathered.  What would these corporations be doing with the data that they collect from our devices?  Burrus also discusses this, “the real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it.”  And so you really have to wonder how this info will be leveraged.

But, what do you think?  Will we keep on connecting every device we can, no matter how silly, or when do we stop?

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“But the lulz didn’t last.”


(via BBC)

So the last blog post focused on Anonymous and their efforts to bring freedom, justice and trust to the internet and the global community in general.  But of course there is a much darker side to hacktivism and the anonymous nature of cyberspace.  Various groups operate online with aims to commit cybercrimes, and one of the most well-known examples of one of these groups getting it wrong is LulzSec.  A group who conducted a 50 day rampage across the internet disrupting various sites like FOX and the CIA.

As Charles Arthur reported, LulzSec was founded and formed in the online chatrooms for the Anonymous collective.  David Gilbert also spoke about the members Topiary, TFlow, PwnSauce, Kayla, AVUnit and Sabu, spending nearly 20 hours a day in each other’s online company, while never actually meeting or know anything about their personal lives.

“But the lulz didn’t last.”

The group’s leader became an informant and snitched on 4 of his fellow members, with AVUnit never being caught.

Here’s a infographic I made detailing some of their exploits before they were arrested and jailed for their actions

Untitled Infographic

We are Anonymous; We are legion; We do not forgive, We don’t not forget; Expect us


(via MrConservative)

Hacktivism: Hacking and Activism

Some real next level word blending right there.

When you think of the term ‘hacktivist’, for me at least, there is one name that comes to mind; Anonymous.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movement and its efforts, then you may know them by their heavy use of Guy Fawkes’ image.  Guy Fawkes of the ‘Gunpowder plot’ fame, or more recently as the mask used in the film ‘V for Vendetta’.

Imagery aside, what do hacktivists actually do?  As Davis writes, hacktivism is “the use of computers and computer networks to promote political ends, chiefly free speech, human rights, and information ethics”

This is very much in line with the message the Anonymous collective promotes.  I say collective rather than group or organisation, because of their lack of centralisation. Anonymous is more of an idea perpetuated by what should be the free and open nature of the internet.  And this is where its power lies, in decentralised nodes united for the freedom of information and people.  Anyone can represent Anonymous.

Watching the video, you’re almost waiting for Dr. Evil to pop up and demand “One Million Dollars”.  But really, it speaks a lot about justice, truth and freedom, while still naming themselves a “terrorist organisation… for corporations” and “wicked infiltrators”.  This language kind of makes me wonder whether this hacktivism is good or bad.

Where do you guys sit on the Robin Hood-esque idea of ‘hacking the rich to give to the poor’ or just opening up information to the world?

We are Anonymous; We are legion; We do not forgive, We don’t not forget; Expect us.

Have a watch of this too if you’re after some more information.

Prosuming and Our New Participatory Media Culture

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(Sculpture & Photo by Jason deCaires Taylor)

This week we took a look at how journalism has been shaped and changed by the introduction of social media.  While ‘traditional’ media sources were seen as being monologic, we can now participate in a meaningful back and forth with those who are creating and disseminating news content through outlets like twitter and facebook.

Here’s a video I made explaining a little more about this shift in journalism.

How to Initiate a Revolution; A Tale of Tweets and Twits

I know that whenever I see someone on my Facebook feed try to spark public interest or involvement through sharing photos and other things, all I can think is “Oh my good God, you are such a tosser… no one cares!”

I guess part of my distaste for these ‘social media activists’ or ‘slacktivists’, is that in many cases it’s for personal gain.  More likes, more followers… mo problems?

“LIKE THIS PICTURE IF YOU WANT TO HELP THEM” or “PEOPLE ARE DYING IN THE MIDDLE EAST, LET’S GET THIS PHOTO TO 1 MILLION LIKES” or the ever great “SHARE IF YOU LOVE JESUS, KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU WORSHIP SATAN”

Really? You can’t be serious.

But I suppose that is the reality for these people when they live in places where war and human rights atrocities aren’t issues for them.

In my eyes, social media has become one of humanity’s greatest assets.  We are globally connected at every moment of the day.  With this interconnectedness on a grand scale, we have seen social media utilised for activism that has brought about real change.  Real-time conversations are being had by like-minded people across the globe.  Those who were once on the periphery of social change can join the conversation, and be heard.  We saw this with the #ArabSpring, and #OccupyWallStreet movements being spread and organised at incredible speed across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

But I suppose the point I’m trying to make about this ‘social media activism’ is that it all means nothing without action.  It’s all very well for you to take interest, but without serious and substantial action, it does very little.

Meme via Me (http://imgur.com/xlcAW7v)

Open or Closed: The Choice is Yours


(via Tech Week Europe)

Haven’t I already made a post about this… anyway.

As you can imagine with using Apple (more specifically iOS) and Android systems as examples of open and closed sources, the debate often turns to which group thinks they’re the best.  As Ted mentioned in his lecture, this is such a great example because of the clarity and real world applications of these opposing ‘philosophies’.

Apple as you may already know operates its products in a closed system.  By closed we mean that there’s next to nothing that you can modify and tweak on their devices outside of this network.  This is unless you know how, of course.  But what it does mean is that Apple sees very high profit margins as they have no competition within their system.  For Apple the user experience for consumers is paramount, hence we see a lack of consumer driven innovation and flexibility.

However, Android devices operate in an open source system.  Users can experience near limitless customisability on their devices.  This open and free source model means that there are many Android compatible devices on the market, and at a variety of price points.  This large array also means that Android devices are subject to the ‘long-tail’, with some phones like Samsung’s S range being quite popular, while a large amount don’t experience such great sales.

In the end, the choice between platform types and functions is purely down to a user’s preferences.  What does a user want in their device/ product?  Uniformity and consistency across devices, or the freedom to make a device truly their own through flexible customisation.

I have always wondered whether our choice between the platforms says something more about our personalities, or who we are.  Are we just following trends we see within our own societies, or do our choices of these open/ closed sources carry deeper meanings.

The Short Tale of the Long-Tail

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(Image via TechnoLlama)

I guess that bigger really is better, or at least that’s what we’re seeing in the when we talk about the ‘long-tail’ effect.  The theory was first proposed by Chris Anderson in an article for Wired Magazine in 2004.  To compete in a market place like the entertainment industry, businesses who are offering larger amounts of niche information and products are in many instances coming out on top.  Bookstores are a wonderful example for this as we are seeing them slowly decline in relevancy and popularity.  ‘Brick and mortar’ bookstores only have a limited amount of shelf space, and to maximise sales they use a strategy of stocking and selling the most popular titles at that point in time.  However, due to their near limitless warehousing sites like Amazon are able to cater for the ‘long-tail’ market by aggregating and offering a massive amount of content that is more appealing to the interests of many niche groups.  The total amount of sales in these many niche markets will always be higher than that of the smaller group of ‘popular’ books.

For some futher information on the ‘long-tail’, Chirs kept a blog going more in depth about it all
http://longtail.typepad.com/the_long_tail/

Networkin’ it

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(source)

It may only be the second topic that we have taken a dive into, but this week’s look at ‘The Network Society Paradigm’ has definitely had me intrigued.  Our communications have taken a great shift from the centralised telegraph office and telephone switchboard, to the more decentralised and distributed networks that we see on the internet.

Centralised networks see all information pass through a central (hence the name) hub before being directed to the intended recipient.  One of the greatest problems we see with this system is the inherent threat of censorship or watchdog behaviour by those who control the hub.

A good analogy was brought up in this week’s tutorial about a telegraph office.  If a group of people were communicating through telegraph, the operator has to read and then encode the message so that it can be transcribed on the receiving end by another telegraph operator.  This system works fine until there is something that the telegraph operator does not wish to send.  They have the power and ability to alter or not send the message at all to suit their needs.

Decentralised networks function in sort of the same way that centralised networks operate.  There are still hubs through which information flows, but on a much smaller and more divided scale.  The Second World War saw the German army employ decentralised networks to issue orders to their soldiers in the field of battle.  ‘Blitzkrieg’ meaning ‘lightning war’, was used to quickly manoeuvre and adapt military tactics as situations unfolded rather than waiting for high orders from central command.  This meant that smaller hubs could control smaller units of soldiers making it more efficient. (But I suppose this is an argument against Decentralised networks, because we all know how the war ended hmmmmmmmmmmmmm)

The greatest problem that can arise with these networks is the destabilisation caused by an outage in the hub.  If there is a problem in the central processing node, the system falls apart as the periphery nodes do not contact each other.

Distributed networks operate on the principle that all nodes are created equally and that the flow of information is even across all parts.  There is no central hub for the distribution of information, and all nodes in the network have the ability to connect with each other.  The advantage of this is that if one node goes out the system remains fully functional.  The only way to completely close the network would be to destroy every single component.  The Pirate Bay is an excellent example of this, authorities may try to close down the website, but due to the distributed nature of the network it can’t be completely destroyed.  Like a Hydra, for every head to cut off, two more appear.

I hope this has make these ideas a little clearer with the use of the graphic and examples.

Live In The Now

*

What a time to be alive, it’s amazing to think about how far human communication has come in the past 200 years or so.  From the then incredible 8 words per minute using the Telegraph in 1866 to the now instantaneous nature of our messaging over the internet our interactions have changed dramatically.  The critique of the telegraph claiming that it was “too fast for the truth” definitely mirrors the sentiments of modern messaging methods whereby you’re expected to reply as soon as you receive the message (a frustration that I’ve experienced on both sides).  Though it is interesting to consider the advancements that I have experienced in my life short lifetime.  From the massive PCs and brick phones Dad had brought home in my younger years, to now having the ability the access the world from my pocket.

*The Jospeh Ducreux meme is obviously not being used in the original context, but I do feel works with the caption.