iRobot. Like, literally, I’m a robot.

So, let’s just get this out there first: “The tracking and analysis of aspects of one’s self and one’s body are not new practices” (Lupton 2013). People have always measured and kept information about their practices. There’s something fascinating about knowing how many steps you took today or how much you ate. Even the most basic of things – like how many hours you sleep at night, is interesting.

So why is the whole “quantified self” thing so popular now? There are a few reasons, but it’s really taken off now – it hit it’s Google peak in 2013 – because it’s so damn easy now. Technology lets us monitor EVERYTHING automatically and mindlessly. You can of course keep track of your calories, your workout regime and your sleep patterns, BUT don’t forget your sex life, your driving habits, your music recommendations and ladies, keep track of your cycles too! Another reason people are more likely to quantify themselves now is the drive towards “sharing the numbers” with other people. In this fancy, new, internet-driven world aggregated data is important currency and the ability to track and share data on ourselves underpins pretty much all of Social Media.

The ability to use technology to monitor our daily activities and increase knowledge of self has created the body-machine metaphor, which pretty much creates the idea of our body/self needing inputs (food, sleep) and outputs (info on how the body performs) to run correctly. Like a machine, data can be collected and studied and with this information we change and improve upon ourselves; we can ‘tweak the machine’. Monitoring these inputs digitally allows an honesty and thoroughness that’s not been had before, as Gary Wolf, one of the creators of The Quantified Self says, “Computers don’t lie. People lie” (2008)

So, while humans are becoming more entwined with machines, the internet of things (IoT, here) are being given life. Mitew  recently described this emerging phenomenon; of the internet expanding using sensors and devices as “objects becoming tangibly social”(2014). These ‘things’ extend the internet into every aspect of our life, can become completely independent and their reach will only continue to expand. I’m struggling to understand this concept and definitely need to read up on it some more but I think this is pretty succinct;

The first-order consequence of the Internet of Things is a network in which socially meaningful exchanges takes place, were culture is made, experiences circulated through media sharing — only with objects and human agents” Bleeker, 2005.

Humans compiling data and treating themselves like machines, machines becoming things that develop traits and idiosyncrasies independently. Damn, my brain is hurting! I suppose I should write that into my Mood App, yea?

References:

Bleecker, J 2006, A Manifesto for Networked Objects – cohabiting with pigeons, arphids and aibos, Nearfuture Laboratory, , <http://nearfuturelaboratory.com/files/WhyThingsMatter.pdf>. Viewed 22/10/14

Hesse, M 2008, ‘Bytes of Life’, The Washington Post, September 9 2008, [online] <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/08/AR2008090802681.html&gt; Viewed 22/10/14

Lupton, D 2013, ‘Understanding the Human Machine’,COMMENTARY, Ieee Technology and Society magazine, winter 2013, [online] <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/262115/mod_resource/content/1/Lupton%2C%20D.%20-%20Understanding%20the%20human%20machine.pdf&gt; Viewed 22/10/14

Mitew, T 2014, The Internet of Things, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 21 October.

 

Dark Fiber; When hacking gets nasty.

In my last post I spoke about Julian Assange who, along with the majority of hackers, works by a code of conduct. ““Don’t damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don’t change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information.” (Assange in Dreyfus, 1997). Some people, like is the case in all subcultures, don’t follow the rules, and hack for more sinister, mostly selfish reasons. Whether it be for personal profit, to infiltrate and disrupt procedure, harm individuals and companies or just to cause chaos, cybercrime is very real and pretty damn terrifying. You know those emails you get from Iranian princes asking for money and those $2 charges from Africa on your credit card your bank (hopefully) picks up? That’s cybercrime and it costs Australians $2 billion a year (ABS, 2013).

Take, for instance, Maksik. Touted by Wired as the “godfather” of hacking and the “carding kingpin”, the Ukrainian Maksik – his real name is Maksym Yastremski – worked with stateside counterpart Albert “Segvec” Gonzalez to illegally collect and then sell debit and credit card information. It is estimated he earned $11 million in the 2004-2006 time span alone before his arrest in 2007 and as a result was sentenced to 30 years in jail (!!!).

Google tells me that this is what a Cybercriminal looks like.

Google tells me that this is what a Cybercriminal looks like.

Putting one pesky cybercriminal in jail is obviously not a final solution – Maksik’s legacy lives on and yes, it gets even scarier. Apparently cyber extortion is the new tactic; hackers will just hold your website ransom until you pay them to go away. Often, they will politely warn you first, with one popular US company’s website being blackmailed for a measly $300 (yes, true.) Even Nokia has fallen victim to cyber-extorters, with reports they’d paid millions of Euros in order to keep their Symbian key safe from malware.

This is all bigtime stuff, and still happening, so what are our governments doing to help?! Well…they’re busy manipulating the internet for their own gain. Reports pretty recently leaked that British and US intelligence agencies have been “deeply engaged in planning ways to covertly use social media for purposes of propaganda and deception” (Mitew, 2014). In Australia there is a “National Plan to Combat Cybercrime” but it’s so long-winded and confusing you’d be forgiven for thinking nothing is really being done at all. The best advice? average person can report the crime, block the credit card and turn your internet off in the interim. Fantastic.

Irregardless of whether you’re a lowly single uni student or an multinational company, cybercrime can impact your life and your safety and now we have proof that not even our governments can be trusted online. I’m disconnecting the WiFi and going to bed.

References:

Image credit.

Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Government 2013, ‘National Plan to Combat CyberCrime’, Australian Policy Online, [online] <http://apo.org.au/files/Resource/AGD_NationalPlanToCombatCybercrime_Jul_2013.pdf&gt; Viewed 19/10/14

Dreyfus, S 1997, ‘Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier’, Reed Books Australia.

Mitew, T 2014, ‘Dark Fiber: hackers, botnets, cyberwar‘, DIGC202, Lecture, [online] <http://prezi.com/iiied2_aa8tc/digc202-dark-fiber-hackers-botnets-cyberwar/&gt; Viewed 17/10/14

Poulsen, K 2009, ‘Hacking Godfather ‘Maksik’ Sentenced to 30 Years by Turkish Court’, Wired, [online] <http://www.wired.com/2009/01/hacking-godfath/&gt; Viewed 19/10/14

Quinn, B & Ball, J 2014, ‘US military studied how to influence Twitter users in Darpa-funded research’, The Guardian, [online] <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/08/darpa-social-networks-research-twitter-influence-studies&gt;

Smitch, G 2014, ‘Forget Stealing Credit Cards, Now Hackers Just Straight-Up Blackmail You’, The Huffington Post, [online] <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/28/hacker-blackmail_n_5048853.html&gt; Viewed 19/10/14

Zetter, K 2010, ‘Ukrainian Carding King ‘Maksik’ Was Lured to Arrest’, Wired, [online] <http://www.wired.com/2010/07/maksik-lured-to-arrest/&gt; Viewed 19/10/14

The Electronic Frontier

Heard of hacktivism? it’s pretty much a blending of the terms Hack and Activism. Typically, the word is used to describe the use of digital technologies and computer networks to help perform online activism (Mitew, 2014). Edward Snowden is the famous hacktivist of the moment, but there has been many before him, like his escort when he recently arrived in Russia – WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks describes itself as an international, non-for-profit, online, journalistic organization that publishes secret news items and information, government leaks and classified data anonymously. Although journalist Raffi Khatchadourian, after working alongside WikiLeaks, infers that it “is not quite an organization; it is better described as a media insurgency”.  Officially launched by Australian ‘hacker’ Julian Assange in 2007, it has broken some of the most controversial news of the past ten years – including ‘secret’ Scientology bibles, Hilary Clinton ordering overseas diplomats to spy on colleagues and the ‘great firewall of Australia’.

The most prolific WikiLeaks, ahem, leak, however was when Assange managed to hack “a superpower” – The US military (Sterling 2010). In April 2010 a secret US military video was released, showing American soldiers falsely claiming to have met with firefight in Baghdad and then launching an air strike that would kill a dozen people, including two journalists, in July 2007. I will post the video below but please note it is very graphic, so feel free to skip past it.

This leak put WikiLeaks on the map, so to speak, and it made Assange – who has long been wanted by the world’s various governments – public enemy number one. He’s been described as “a darkside player out to stick it to the Man.” (Sterling 2010) and has created a public persona that has polarized, but also inspired, masses of people. Assange, alongside his hacktivist brethren, are constantly contributing to a technology that is constantly evolving. Whether it is ethical or not, it does seem to be impossible to stop. But do we want it stopped? As Bruce Sterling recently wrote, “They have the initiative in a world afflicted with comprehensive helplessness.” (2013).

References

Khatchadourian, R 2010, ‘No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency’, The New Yorker, [online] accessed at <http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/06/07/no-secrets>

Mitew, T 2014, ‘Digital Resistance: Activists, WhistleBlowers, #AfterSnowden’ ,Lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 22 September.

Muller, D 2014, ‘WikiLeaks, journalism ethics and the digital age: what did we learn?’, The Conversation, [online] Accessed at: <http://theconversation.com/wikileaks-journalism-ethics-and-the-digital-age-what-did-we-learn-28262&gt;

Sterling, B 2013, ‘The Ecuadorian Library or, The Blast Shack After Three Years’, Medium, [online] Accessed at: <https://medium.com/@bruces/the-ecuadorian-library-a1ebd2b4a0e5&gt;

WikiLeaks, 2011, What is WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks, [online] Accessed at: <https://wikileaks.org/About.html>

#euromaidan – The hashtag that triggered a revolution.

From late November 2004 to January 2005, in the aftermath of a corrupt presidential election, a series of protests and political events in Ukraine became known as the “Orange Revolution” – protests, sit-ins, civil disobedience and striking drew the attention of the international community and forced a electoral recount. Nine years later, in November 2013, Ukraine, still marred by corruption and political discontent, was once again whipped into a frenzy when pro-European Union Ukranians began protesting their current government, calling for the resignation of President Yanukovych and his cabinet. These protests became known as ‘Euromaidan’ and would form the basis of the 2014 Ukranian Revolution – which has resulted in a complete overhaul in Ukraine’s politcal system.

I know, I know, thanks for the political history lesson, but i am getting to a point! It’s been claimed that Euromaidan managed to achieve the change the Orange Revolution fell short of. They were better organized, could involve more people, could get their message out into the world quicker and more effectively then their revolutionary big brothers and sisters. Why? Social Media.

The hashtag ‘#euromaidan’ ( (Ukrainian #євромайдан, Russian #евромайдан) was used by Ukrainian politican Vitali Klitschko on the very first night of protests on November 21 2013. The protesters actually got their name from a twitter hashtag, how cool is that?! Within 8 days of being created the, now official, Euromaidan facebook page had 76 000 likes – a record in Ukraine. On November 30, when the protests (And the police put in place to stop them) turned violent, the world new about it in real time, causing more people to join the cause. The protestors were young, educated and resourceful – Facebook and Twitter accounts have been set up to crowdsource ideas, offer volunteer medical support and give legal advice.

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EuroMaidan protest rally in January of this year – supporters found out about it through the #euromaidan and #євромайдан hashtags.

Today, the political climate in Ukraine is still tense, with aggression from Russia being the main concern. #euromaidan is more active then ever in giving and receiving information to citizens. “People are less apathetic now. People know that the future depends on every single citizen.” Anya, a protestor speaking to Guardian journalist Carmen Fishwick explains,  “I do not think anybody ever expects how strong Ukrainians are. I am so proud to be Ukrainian; this strong-willed nation can’t be defeated. I can just say that what I don’t want to happen is war.”

References:

Image Credit

Bohdanova, T, ‘How Internet Tools Turned Ukraine’s #Euromaidan Protests Into a Movement ‘ Dec 9 2013, accessed: [http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/12/09/how-internet-tools-turned-euromaidan-protests-into-a-movement/]

Morozov, E, ‘Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go’ 8 March 2011, accessed:  [http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/07/facebook-twitter-revolutionaries-cyber-utopians]

Pustota, P, ‘Reasons behind EuroMaidan Protests in Ukraine’ 28 Nov 2013, accessed: [http://www.criticatac.ro/lefteast/euromaidan-protests-in-ukraine-01/]

Fishwick, C, ‘We were so naive and optimistic’: Ukraine Euromaidan protesters tell us what’s changed for them’ March 4 2014, accessed: [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/04/ukraine-crisis-protesters-kiev-euromaidan-independence-square]

(Individual) Knowledge is Power!

Okay, it’s experiment time! Switch tabs for me right now- jump onto Twitter and check what’s trending. My bet is you’ll see a bizarre mix of pop culture, inside jokes, sporting mentions and political news. Click any of these topics and a multitude of tweets will pop up; links, pictures, personal commentaries, the occasional horrifically bad joke. With just two clicks from your home page you’ve stumbled across a bunch of information, for free, that you’ve never seen before. Content that is being created right now, from a whole host of different contributors.

This, in essence, is citizen journalism: Anybody can jump online and generate content for the world to read. This content can then be found, easily, through platforms such as Twitter and developed further. Bruns explains that “Journalism’s role as watchdog and informant for the wider citizenry was appropriate at a time when most citizens were unable to seek out a broad range of information sources for themselves” (2005) but this is simply no longer the case. We now have the power to go out, on our own, and into the big scary Internet, hunting down our own knowledge. We can then jump onto Twitter and, moderated only by ourselves, share what we’ve found.

This unprecedented power is revolutionising the way news is being delivered. More and more frequently, Tweets are breaking the stories before the old Legacy Media has a chance to. In May 2011 an IT consultant living in Abbottabad, Pakistan, unknowingly live-tweeted the raid that would kill Osama Bin Laden. Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual) began by casually mentioning how rare it was for helicopters to be in his small town before tweeting about the plane’s crash, speculating it’s connection to the US military and posting links to various news sites reporting on the event. As it turns out, his tweets were published ten hours before any official News Outlet released the story (O’Dell, 2011).

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 12.17.29 PM

Athar’s story is so important because it gave the world the news without bias or hidden agenda – he was just telling his, at the time small, group of followers about his night. On it’s own the story could’ve just been just that – a story, but by retweeting related articles and engaging in conversation with those responding to him and this “bridge of pebbles” (Mitew, 2014) gave credibility and traction to his story, an event that was constantly evolving and being verified.

“The citizen journalist is becoming more valuable than ever. He has the opportunity to present a unique perspective — to breathe fresh air into a society herded by mainstream media.” – Revis, 2011.

References:

Image Credit

Bell, M, ‘Sohaib Athar’s Tweets from the attack on Osama bin Laden – read them all below’, The Washington Post, 02/05/2011. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/post/sohaib-athar-tweeted-the-attack-on-osama-bin-laden–without-knowing-it/2011/05/02/AF4c9xXF_blog.html&gt; [accessed: 24/09/14]

Bruns, A 2005, ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/245673/mod_resource/content/1/Bruns%2C%20A.%20-%20News%20Blogs%20and%20Citizen%20Journalism.pdf&gt; [accessed: 24/09/14

Mitew, T, ‘Bridges made of pebbles: Social media and the transformation of journalism‘, DIGC202 Prezi. <http://prezi.com/sh7b7p0osscz/bridges-made-of-pebbles-social-media-and-the-transformation-of-journalism/&gt; [accessed: 24/09/14]

Reuters, edited by Chang, R, ‘Factbox: News that broke Twitter’ Reuters, July 7, 2011. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/08/us-twitter-factbox-idUSTRE76700F20110708&gt; [accessed: 24/09/14]

Revis, L, ‘How Citizen Journalism Is Reshaping Media and Democracy’, Mashable: Social Media, November 11, 2011. <http://mashable.com/2011/11/10/citizen-journalism-democracy/&gt; [accessed: 24/09/14]

The Rise of Android

In 2011 Steve Jobs sent out an email to his senior staff describing the competition between Apple and Google  as “The Holy War” and it certainly seems to be charged fight. Once upon a time Apple was the only way to go in terms of smartphones, but now Google’s Android operating system is demolishing it’s Apple iPhone counterpart and this trend looks set to continue in the coming years. So why is Android the new smartphone superpower?

android-vs-apple

The Open Operating System!

“We define everything that is on the phone,” Jobs said about the original iPhone in 2007, highlighting the crucial difference between Android and Apple: it’s open vs. closed operating systems. Everything that’s designed to run on an Apple product must first be approved by Apple.  If they don’t like what’s being developed it is simply not allowed. The iOS will only run on Apple created products – iPads, iPhones and iPods are all directly designed and manufactured by Apple.  So, although outsiders are invited to write the software, Apple is ultimately in complete control over what is released and used.

Android have a vastly different approach to their software with it’s source code being openly licensed and it has been since 2007. That’s why you see Android operating on a variety of hardware (Samsung, HTC, Nexus) and is why Android is now decisively leading the way in the smartphone competition. Google’s ‘flow of free information’ philosophy (Mitew, 2014) is seeing it’s software being constantly collaborated on and improved. It’s even been argued that the Android OS is in a state of constant Beta.

So why is Apple still such a powerhouse?

Now, I am guilty of being a bit of an Apple fanatic; I have an iPod, iPad Mini and a Macbook Pro, but early last year I began to resent the complete control Apple had gained on my digital life, so I rebelled and decided I wanted a Samsung Galaxy. I hated it. I couldn’t get used to the different interface and resented the size and (what I perceived as) clumsiness of the phone. Predictably, my Macbook refused to register my phone when I plugged it in so I was unable to copy anything between the devices. The cases for the Galaxy weren’t as cute as the iPhone cases. Within three months I’d sold my Galaxy and purchased an iPhone.

Even now, reading up on the Android vs. Apple saga I can acknowledge that Android does seem to be the superior choice but I am more than happy to stay in my Apple bubble, even if that’s exactly what they want.

References:

Image Credit.

Andronico, M. (2014). Apple’s Steve Jobs Admitted Android Envy. [online] Laptop: Unleash your Mobile Life. Available at: http://news.yahoo.com/apples-steve-jobs-admitted-android-141729417.html [Accessed 18 Sep. 2014].

Holly, R. (2014). The insane pace of Android. [online] Android Central. Available at: http://www.androidcentral.com/insane-pace-android [Accessed 18 Sep. 2014].

McCracken, H. (2014). Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place | TIME.com. [online] TIME.com. Available at: http://techland.time.com/2013/04/16/ios-vs-android/ [Accessed 18 Sep. 2014].

Mitew, T. (2014). iOS vs Android: the two futures of the mobile net [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93_KfPDwpu4&index=24&list=PLiPp71qLKusXOU1bKxHVappCbRNN3-J-j [Accessed 18 Sep. 2014].

Zittrain, J. (2014). A fight over freedom at Apple’s core – FT.com. [online] Financial Times. Available at: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/fcabc720-10fb-11df-9a9e-00144feab49a.html#axzz3DQ1p2iCg [Accessed 18 Sep. 2014].

Sunnebo, D. (2014). Galaxy S5 attracts some Apple customers in Europe – Global site – Kantar Worldpanel. [online] Kantarworldpanel.com. Available at: http://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/Galaxy-S5-attracts-some-Apple-customers-in-Europe [Accessed 17 Sep. 2014].

Google’s Garden.

The internet was created to be a decentralized network, saturated with user generated content. While this is mostly the case, the ever increasing amount of ‘walled gardens’ – platforms that supply a restricted, controlled range of information to those subscribing to it, is giving the corporations that control these platforms more information, and power, then ever before.

A perfect example of one of these ‘walled gardens’? Google! A search engine company that started in a garage in 1997, Google is now a multibillion dollar empire that employs over 52,000 people (Macroaxis, 2014). In less then twenty years they’ve opened offices in 40 countries and have branched out into EVERYTHING – they make phones, fund wind farms, sell advertising space, they even created ‘Project Loon‘ which allows a balloon to give remote areas internet access. Google supplies your web searches and email accounts (Gmail), helps organize your business reports (Google Docs), can see where you live (Google Earth) and how to get there (Google Maps).

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In the developed, and in particular Westernized, world, it is pretty much impossible to avoid Google – and don’t be fooled, Google is not just your friendly internet search engine. If you acknowledge that “Online metadata knows more about you than your closest friends” (Mitew, 2014) then it needs to be recognized – Google knows you. AdSense has seen the products you’ve purchased and will recommend you similar. Google+ knows who you’re linked to and will nudge you in the direction of like-minded folks. If pressed, Google could potentially give it all up to the US government (Webcite, 2011).

So is this a bad thing? Some argue that, if you have nothing to hide, having your metadata quietly monitored shouldn’t bother you in the slightest. Google’s quiet control can be helpful – remembering your favourite sites and organising your email accounts for free makes things awfully easy for us lazy types. BUT these constant little breaches of privacy must be acknowledged – big, faceless corporations will know things about you and what you chose to spend your time on that you may not feel comfortable telling anybody. “When using a walled garden, the user is at the mercy of whoever controls the walled garden” (Guitard, 2010). It also needs to be remembered that it isn’t just your privacy being breached. If you’ve sent someone an email through your Gmail account, Google has that information now. Your correspondents and communities are also being pulled into Google’s garden.

References:

Image Credit.

Guitard, E. (2010). The Walled Garden: A solution to all security problems? | Pacoup.com. [online] Pacoup.com. Available at: http://pacoup.com/2010/09/20/the-walled-garden-a-solution-to-all-security-problems/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2014].

Macroaxis, (2014). Google Number of Employees GOOG Nasdaq. [online] Available at: http://www.macroaxis.com/invest/ratio/GOOG–Number_of_Employees [Accessed 4 Sep. 2014].

Mitew, T 2014, The Feudalisation of the Internet, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered Sept 1 2014.

Webcite, (2011). Google in nearly Immortal. [online] Available at: http://www.webcitation.org/61rOfd8To [Accessed 4 Sep. 2014].

A wild Blog appears, hunting hits!

We’ve shifted into an information economy – so how do people profit from it?

comic13

It’s been estimated that 2.73 million blog posts are written and published every single day (Alarcon, 2013). It goes without saying that majority of these bloggers don’t get paid for their content- the vast majority makes less then $3.50 a day (Pinola, 2014). Addressed in a lecture I recently attended, and prevalent here, is the question: what happens when everyone becomes a content producer? With such an abundance of information available online, is the value of this content being diminished? How do we determine it’s value to begin with?

People do blog to make money and many make a living this way. Some are employed by large organizations (Lifehacker, Gawker) to blog for them while more indirect methods, like Google Adsense, corporate sponsorship and syndication are helping to make small blogs financially viable (O’Reilly, 2009).

BUT these methods will only bring in cash if people are looking at them. O’Reilly says that “the value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamism of the data it helps to manage” So, the more people on the platform, the more valuable it is. This is the blogging conundrum –publishing content online is arguably not valuable until its platform gets hits. But how do people attract an adequate enough audience? How is value defined in an information economy? Is a blog successful only when it is financially viable or is providing information to consumers valuable enough for content producers? (Simone, 2009).

I don’t think so. I think a blog is valuable if the person publishing it feels rewarded and fulfilled for doing so. If you get 10 hits and no cash for a post you spent ten minutes giggling over, it’s still valuable because you did get payback. Just not in a traditional way. Just like the information economy is not a traditional one.

“The vast majority of weblogs are amateur and will stay amateur, because a medium where someone can publish globally for no cost is ideal for those who do it for the love of the thing.” – Shirky.

My thoughts exactly Shirky – if you want to publish online, go do it. The Internet is decentralized for a reason.

References:

Image Credit

Alarcon, J. (2013). How many blog posts are written every day? – Quora. [online] Quora.com. Available at: http://www.quora.com/Blogging/How-many-blog-posts-are-written-every-day [Accessed 29 Aug. 2014].

Mitew, T. (2014). DIGC202 Into the cloud: the long tail and the attention economy. [online] Prezi. Available at: http://prezi.com/nm7rgdlnxhdf/digc202-into-the-cloud-the-long-tail-and-the-attention-economy/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2014]

O’Reilly, T. (2009). What Is Web 2.0. [online] Oreilly.com. Available at: http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html [Accessed 29 Aug. 2014].

Pinola, M. (2014). Can I Really Make a Living by Blogging?. [online] Lifehacker. Available at: http://lifehacker.com/can-i-really-make-a-living-by-blogging-1537783554 [Accessed 29 Aug. 2014]

Simone, S. (2009). Why You Can’t Make Money Blogging – Copyblogger. [online] Copyblogger. Available at: http://www.copyblogger.com/no-money-blogging/ [Accessed 29 Aug. 2014].

Shirky, C. (2002). ElifeMedMart – Buy Viagra Online. Order Cheapest Viagra Pills. Viagra for Women.. [online] Shirky.com. Available at: http://shirky.com/writings/weblogs_publishing.html [Accessed 29 Aug. 2014].

Oh no, my presence is bleeding!

Okay, let’s make a bet. I bet that right now, reading this incoherent blog post, your phone is close enough for you to grab. It’s right next to you, isn’t it? I’m right, for sure, but if I’m wrong you can tell me over twitter, okay? You don’t win anything, but it’s always nice to prove someone wrong.

According to the ABS, 83% of people were internet users in 2012-13 (97% of 15-17 year old used the internet!). By the end of 2013 there were 20.3 million mobile handset subscribers in Australia. So right now over 20 million people are, in theory, contactable. This constant connection is creating ‘Presence bleed’ – the idea that we are blurring the lines we once made between labour and leisure. The way I see it, it’s both a negative and a positive.

Technology now allows us to email back a client while you’re out to dinner with family and instagram a photo of your dog while you should be doing uni work. That kind of freedom and instant satisfaction can be lovely, but it also makes it almost impossible for us to ‘switch off’. Studies show that people are increasingly doing work, like checking business emails, from home and that sense of immediacy – of constantly being available to everybody, everywhere, can be both useful and taxing (Gregg, 2011).

Point is, our phones are always near us. Data and vibration on, dinging with texts and Facebook notifications. Try to count just how many hours you spent in front of a computer today. I tried, it was depressing. We are always connected, but do we really feel more connected to those around us?

References

Image Credit

Gregg, M 2011, Presence Bleed: Performing Professionalism Online. [online] <https://www.academia.edu/1513344/Presence_Bleed_Performing_Professionalism_Online&gt; Accessed 21/08/14

ABS, 2014, Internet Usage, Australian Bureau of Statistics. [online] <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8153.0/&gt; Accessed 21/08/14

The ‘Noir Prophet’ of Cyberpunk

William Gibson: He dodged the Vietnam War draft, immersed himself in counter-culture and became the voice of a generation.

William Gibson

The father of Cyberpunk

There is a wealth of knowledge on William Gibson online. He, after all, gave us Neuromancer, the science-fiction cult classic that introduced the ‘cyberpunk’ idea to the masses. The Guardian declares him “the most important novelist of the past two decades” (Poole, 1999) and our recent DIGC202 lecture highlighted his importance in this subculture. But his story has made me think – what is Gibson’s relevance today? Is he still relevant? Sure, he’s still writing novels, but in my head I imagine him as some sort of dinosaur, roaming the wastelands of cyberspace. Perhaps he’s lost touch with what people today actually do on the Internet?

So, I researched. I discovered that The Matrix film trilogy borrowed a lot from his novels (Hepfer, 2001) and that he received honorary doctorates from TWO universities in 2008 (Assoc. Press, 2008). He may not have a million twitter followers or a thousands of reblogs but I don’t think that matters. His legacy has already been set. He wrote of worldwide communication networks before the World Wide Web even existed and has influenced other prolific cyberpunk writers like Jack Womack. He pretty much created a movement.

One of the coolest parts of Gibson’s story? He wrote Neuromancer on a manual typewriter. He’d never even touched a PC before it was released. Funny how far imagination can take you, isn’t it?

Read more about Gibson here

References:

Image Credit.

www2.readingeagle.com, (2008). ‘Cyberspace’ coiner returns to native SC for honorary degree. [online] Available here [Accessed 14 Aug. 2014].

“An Interview with William Gibson”. Computer Gaming World. September 1988. p. 30.

Hepfer, K. (2001). The Matrix Problem. [online] Webdoc.sub.gwdg.de. Available here [Accessed 15 Aug. 2014].

Poole, S. (199). [online] Available here [Accessed 15 Aug. 2014].