Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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April 20, 2016
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The Go Game-A Dumb Phone Adventure

October 22, 2009

I worked on GO Team this summer, and we helped run the freshmen overnight adventure, DiscoverUSF. While the students were here, we (paid tons of money and) got to play the Go Game! It was incredibly fun and it serves as an example of what technology like FrontlineSMS can do for “dumb” phones, beyond the wonders its done for “dumb” phones in developing countries!

Basically, a group of students would get a lunch box with a map, BART tickets, and a phone. After turning on their phone, they would receive a text message with a question that would prompt them to text back the correct answer to get a clue to their next question or task. The tasks would take students to various sites in SOMA and the Mission. A Go Game server would assign the teams points on how quickly and accurately they answered the questions. It was great competition and more fun that one might think!

I personally think it would be really cool to create a similar program for Android. A user could play games with their friends, choosing from among different themes and difficulty levels. Who knows, it might even be a game a user could play by himself in order to get to know a city he’s visiting better?

GoGame

The Long Tail

October 12, 2009

I think the most interesting thing about the Long Tail article and what its suppose to do is its connection with spaghetti sauce. As Long Tail pushes forward it connects with a theory of spaghetti sauce. Gladwell’s discussion on spaghetti sauce has a lot of similarities between the Long Tail. Research showed that in order to please the public, people wanted a variety of spaghetti sauce. This is the exact theory of Long Tail. The theory of Long Tail allows a user to have an unlimited or what seems to be unlimited access to any kind of movie, book, or song that he or she may want. Long Tail networks allows people to have a variety of choices just like spaghetti sauce did.

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Rhapsody have catalogs with what seem to be a never ending choice for movies or CD’s. I think the concept of Long Tail allows people to have a identity again. It allows the public to break free of what the top 100 songs are or top 100 movies and allows people to choose things that they like. This to me was the most empowering thing about the Long Tail concept. I think that a lot of the public had lost a desire of what he or she wanted and conformed to what everyone else liked. I think this partially happened because of stores like Blockbuster and Barnes & Nobel providing only a certain amount of entertainment. But, now with an open ended catalog that allows users to choose something that’s not “in” grants someone to have their identity back.

The Long Tail

October 7, 2009

When I first read about the Long Tail, I didn’t quite grasp the concept but with the help of Wikipedia, the idea of it has been clarified for me. From what I can see, the use of the Long Tail concept in business cannot go on without both the commercial and the independent. The Long Tail entails (No pun intended) a delicate balance between a steady flow of sales for the less popular end of media and products all the way up to the media and products that appeal more to the masses.

Malcolm Gladwell’s reference to Moskowitz and his spaghetti sauces and what not was really enlightening. Gladwell’s promotion of the idea that variety is the spice of life and necessary to success in not only business but a pleasant lifestyle is something everyone should take into consideration, especially corporations who are headstrong about appealing solely to the masses. It’s only by accepting the varying preferences of the public and doing the best to satisfy those preferences that businesses and society in general can live in comfort.

Cloud or Sewer?

October 7, 2009

Um...Security?

We should all be in awe of cloud computing – this new system of using the world wide web to access, share, modify, create, etc. Its usefulness in the digital world might be compared to that of electricity itself. Like electricity, web applications and the Web 2.0 in general have become a method and tool on which to rely. However, could a cloud computing model also be as much of a vulnerability to us as our electricity-dependent society?

Dr. James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation wrote an article inspired by Bill Graham, former science advisor to President Reagan and deputy adminstrator to NASA, in which the effects of an electromagnetic pulse weapon would effect our society which relies on electricity so much:

In fact, what happened was not on Earth. It was above it. A nuclear weapon has detonated high over North America, an explosion so far up that neither the flash nor bang disturbed anyone slumbering in darkened bedrooms across the United States. Electrical systems and computers from New York City to San Francisco cease to function. City streets turn into chaos. Fires break out, and no communications are available to send trucks to fight them. The sick and injured perish in overwhelmed, energy-sapped hospitals. Survivors, unable to fill their gas tanks, slowly walk away from the dead zone, unsure where to go or what they will find.

There is no need to alarmed by this because the United States does have preventative measures for now and the future. The the fact remains that there is a lot of risk in putting all of our faith into one thing; the same applies to cloud computing. There is personal information stored in this utility so it is reasonable to worry about the holes in the web. Is your log-in information secure? Are there logs that record everything you do? Who else access to the information you put bring into the cloud computing tool? Or even, where is that information stored? We don’t know where it is stored and the parties which have access to it under whatever conditions. Did you know that Google gave up the information of a blogger who was to be charged in a defamation case?

I hope that as cloud computing itself expands, the privacy and security of it increases as well – kind of like computers and the variety of present-day anti-virus programs. That is probably better than having armed guards at every server and hub. Now excuse me while I check my Gmail account…

The Cloud Computing Connection

October 5, 2009

Initial thought? Cloud computing is one of the best things to ever happen to man since sliced bread.

Why is this so? Through the miracle of cloud computing, users the world over can communicate with each other through means of sharing and exchanging media and information simultaneously. If it were not for the cloud, we would not have applications and online software available to us such as YouTube, iTunes, last.fm and Facebook. Online software such as these four I just mentioned have changed the face of media and pop culture. Never have we been more empowered by information and knowledge and its ease of accessibility.

Flipping the Big Switch

October 4, 2009

What is it exactly about the Big Switch that sends shivers down Nicholas Carr’s self-contained spine? If anything, it’s saving us  money and ultimately making our lives easier in terms of obtaining information and such over the internet. No longer do we need to buy burdensome hardware or software. We’re able to more easily connect with others with common interests and goals over the internet.
Although there are many positives to the concept of the Big Switch, negative aspects, too, exist. Carr’s fears are understandable and perhaps resonate with each and every one of us in some way. Deep down, to a degree, we all must have some sort of  fear of settling down in a state of massive self-reliance on the world wide computer and its endless amount of accessibility. No longer must we be self-reliant when it comes to obtaining media and information but we must be careful so as not to become too dependent on the utility that is the internet.

For all the flaws of the mass media, it helped give diverse people a common sense of identity; it served as a glue for society. That glue is being dissolved, and a lot of the mainstays of our culture, such as the kind of hard journalism that was traditionally done by newspapers, are facing severe economic threats.

This point that Carr makes is valid to me but at the same time, I feel that society will be able to find a balance between both physical and virtual media. It’s always better to have physical copies of media anyhow so his saying that culture is being undone practically by the virtual media is kind of ridiculous.

I sketch out some of the scenarios for what might be called Cold War 2.0 in The Big Switch, and they’re not pretty. The Net has the capacity to bring people together, but it also has the capacity to divide us in ways we haven’t seen before.

The first part of Carr’s point may seem paranoid but I agree wholeheartedly with his mentioning that the internet can both bring and divide people as never experienced before. This is only one more reason to be more aware of our usage of the world wide web. All in all, I simply think that although some of Carr’s points are convincing, all that the world needs to do is be aware of their internet usage and reliance so as not to be so indulged in the vast amount of information and media available to us.

Cloud Computing

October 1, 2009

Sitting in your living room, have your favour music on the background, wearing whatever you feel the most comfortable and doing your work.  It does sound good, doesn’t it?

Having someone in China working on a project with you while your are sitting in the office in America, do not need to pay extra to get that person to where you are. It does sound good, doesn’t it?

Having someone to watch over your servers, taking care of the sudden increase of hits on your web sites and the most importent part is you do not need to buy the servers and hire those IT people.  It is just great!!

Thanks to Cloud computing, these great things are now happening all around the world. 

With Cloud computing we do not need to install all different kinds of softwares into our computer, which is saving us many moey and time also the memeory for the computer.  The price for the memeory per bits are also decreasing because now they are competing with the huge data center.  Also as we are using the internet to gain access to the data centers, we are now able to do our work anytime we want and in any place we want as long as we have internet access.

I will be joining the working group soon since I will get out of college soon.  For me, Cloud computing is just the best news.  I work better in my room instead of the labs or anyother places.  So when I have a job and with Cloud computing, I may be able to stay in a right place to do the right job.

The Big Switch

October 1, 2009

After the reading  The Big Switch wrotten by Nicholas Carr, I am have some ideas.  Things are changing, fast, but what are the things going to be like?  We now have companies building huge datacenters all around the place for people to use.  Everyone who can use the internet can have access to those datacenters. 

When I think about “anyone” can gain access to the datacenters, it makes me feel strange.  Let me ask a question, if you have 1 million dollars of cash inside the safe of your house.  Would you like to let other people to find out where the safe is located in your house?  I do not think anyone would enjoy it.  So come back to the datacenter.  If your company need to store some very very important data, would you store them in those datacenter?  For now I do think many would do so.  But whatabout 10, 20 or 50 years later? Maybe or maybe not. 

For now after the reading  The Big Switch I do think many people are using these datacenters for personal use.  I am one of them.  As a college student I love the idea of the low price or free datacenter.  So what will I do when I leave college and come to the world?  I have been using these datacenters for so long it is becoming part of my life already.  Perhaps, this is a slow change insde me but a fast change for the next generation, because they will be using these services since they are very young.  Maybe one day our computer would only have a few GBs of memories becuase we do not store anything inside out computers anymore.

The Long “Tail” Behind Virgin’s Downfall

October 1, 2009
The Virgin Record Store closing in downtown San Francisco

The Virgin Megastore in downtown San Francisco, once one of more than 20 in the US, closed late this summer.

9.30.09 Free stuff rocks. I love free things! Free chocolate, free music, free t-shirts, free whatever-it’s all fun and games… until someone gets hurt. And boy, oh, boy, did someone get hurt when big business figured out what Chris Anderson’s articles, “Free” and “The Long Tail” are about. Due to the exponential jump in online/iTunes purchases and the ever-expanding desire for the new and unique, Virgin Megastores are now closing down. With six stores of the original twenty left in the US, it’s plain to see that the Long Tail has waged its war on the music industry, and those businesses who have not yet divorced geography have lost the battle. Windows that were “once an icon of hipness and high-end music tastes”° are now boasting “40% off! Store closing!” because of the switch from CDs to digital downloads. No doubt, this is just one of many endings to come, thanks to our increasing demand for items in the Long Tail.

° Local article on the SF closure