ICT501 in 2015

Three blogs that I have written recently, because of the ICT course that have had the biggest impact and meaning to me, have been;

I have picked these three because they are all blogs with subjects or content that I haven’t written in the past. They were also the ones I did the most research on as well as extra reading beyond what was required for the blog.

What is real?
Or as I titled it Is this Real? This blog tickled my fancy because it was based around idea of “what is real.. are we real?” that friends and I frequently talked about a few years back. I enjoyed it because it made think about what we talked about but in the context of technology and how far virtual reality has come. Like I say in my blog I highly recommend reading the book called Feed by M.T Anderson. What is written in the book is inline to become our future and most of it isn’t what anyone would call utopia. For this reason what is real is and should be a question that we ask ourselves regularly so we don’t get lost in the now.

Innovation
This blog I for me was fun to write because it was something of our choice that we were/are passionate about. Innovation is everything in our society of mass consumption so if someone innovates on something or creates something new that gets people interested or excited then they have succeeded. This was the case with Pebble. I had been following their Kickstarter campaign and there successus so I saw this as an opportunity to write about them. It also allowed me to explore a fun style of informative writing for the blog.

Internet’s Own Boy
Aaron’s view on the copyright laws was very clear, he didn’t like them because they restricted the sharing of information. He highly opposed the SOPA bill that the US government was trying to pass. These were all things he stood up for and got the public involved, even I was. Without him I wouldn’t of known about the bill so I have to thank him. The documentary that we had to watch for the questions ask was great and showed me a lot about his amazing talent. I believe he was an amazing person that many are and should look up too.

What should be added the the course?
Within the class I believe a topic not covered in class that should be is the Cloud and cloud computing. I am doing a course on it at the moment in Networking at level seven and before starting the course it hadn’t really be looked at anywhere else. Also I didn’t previously see the scale that Cloud computing had before starting the course. If you talk to Mark he will have the same opinion as I do. I think it would be a good subject to cover in ITC as it has a lot of relevance in the modern technological world.

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Do you read the Manual?

Do you?
The design of any interactive device or object has been refined to make it as user friendly as possible, some more than others, to make it easy to pick up and know or quickly learn how to use it. If you buy a new ‘thing’, like a microwave, and can get it out of the box, turn it on, and cook your 2 minute noodles without looking at the manual or researching how to use it, the refining of the product worked. If a product is designed like this then it requires only a small amount of affordance (use of time and energy) from you to work out how to use it.
But if the ‘thing’, or microwave, is too complicated or non refined to use, like there is no labels on the microwave buttons, then of course you will need to get a manual out, do some research or try work the buttons out by trying each button and recording the results. This requires a large amount of time and energy so a lot of affordances.
For the above reason that is why some band new technology doesn’t get a great foothold in the market because is requires users to learn something totally new which in turn means a lot of affordances. Yet an object or device that follows on from or is similar to something the user has previously learned will do better because a smaller amount of learning has to take place.
This idea is explained in a quote in a TED presentation by Don Norman. He told us how “placing a plank of wood on the ground and walking over it is a relatively simple task, however sticking the same plank a hundred meters up is unlikely to yield the same results”.

Almost everything made is an interactive design. Whether it has a use, or to be looked at, be touched or felt, it is interactive with you in some way. This is why interactive design is so important in the modern competitive market place. An object or device that is more interactive yet requires less affordances is more likely to sell over something that is opposite. This is sometimes not the case like with Adobe Photoshop where functionality over affordances wins.

In our lecture about Interactive Design we were told to design and create, in a group, a wearable interactive device.
Device is illustrated in this Google Document 

Internationalization

  • Which types of businesses would benefit the most from internationalization?
  • Which (kind of) countries would most benefit from internationalization?

For the two questions above I think I can answer them both at once. Today I was looking on AliExpress, a online store that business from all over the world can advertise on, and I noticed that most of the translations where from Chinese and Japanese to English. Some of the translations are almost perfect but others aren’t. I found a phone that was for sale on there and there where many discrepancies in the translation. Although there is these an international buyer still understands what the product is and what they are buying so the product still sells. So I think I’ve answered both questions, sales companies, and business benefit most when trying to sell on the international market and because China is the main producer of consumer products on the market I think they benefit the most.

An unanswered question that I had after the presentation was; Are there business that provide translation services, for the likes of Web Sites?

Yes there are. Two main ones I found online where; Systran and SDL. These provide free online and professional services of different types for documents through there online service.

Internets own boy; Aaron Swartz

“He was a child of the new world, but the old world killed him”.

Questions from this documentary;

Q-1:  What did he do that got him into trouble?

He got into the FBI’s watch-light after downloading millions of documents from the courts records database. But the charges came after he used MIT’s network to download educational journals from a E-books provider.

Q-2:  What were the possible motives mentioned in the film for his so called “crime”?

The justice system believed that his intention was to post the educational journals to a public website to make the knowledge available to everyone. But at the time of the charges Aaron was only using them for his personal studies.

Q-3:  What does each motive imply from a MOREL and LEGAL point of view?

It is legally wrong to post the documents for free public access from the site he got them from. If he got them from the author and and had the right to allow public access then it isn’t. It would be both legally and morally wrong to charge people for the documents after downloading them.

Q-4:  Why were understanding his motives so important ?

It shows us what Aaron’s beliefs were towards an open world. He was never going to want money for the journals he just wanted everyone to be able to see the information that he could get a hold of. It also shows us how wrong the US government system and that someone in the FBI’s personal image matters more than correctly prosecuting someone.

Q-4.1: How many charges did this end up giving him?

Two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Q-5: What was wrong with the sopa bill?

It gives power to corporations and people to effectively take out there competition by filing copyright suits against other websites effectively stopping them from showing up online. Under the bill there will be no trial for the copyright suit giving no chance for people to fight the charge.

Q-6: Why did It look like the bill would be impossible to stop from passing?

Because even before it had gone into voting in the US government it already had a large margin of government people supporting it. Also there was a huge amount of money already invested in the bill so for the government to give it up would be hard.

Q-7:  What were some of the significant factors that helped raise awareness for dismissing the sopa bill?

There was Aaron’s part in getting the message to public but also Google, Reddit, Wikipedia’s and many others “blackout day” where they took there sites offline for a day. Other factors where sites that allowed partitions and that had the ability to call or email the government telling them to not pass the bill.

Q-7.1  Whats the important message about this victory to those of us in the “new world”

The biggest message would be that the peoples voice does count. The government wont pass something that such a huge amount of people oppose. Also that there are large companies and corporations that don’t always support the government and are also willing to stand against them.

Q-8:  “Bringing public access to the public domain”  “books are our cultural legacy”.  What are these statements have to do with his passion … (37:25)

Aaron was a person that thought that all information should be shared. He didn’t care where you were from, your age, your race or your wealth he wanted anyone to be able to access the documents. He hated the fact that students at the most prestigious university’s world were the only ones that could see the books without having to pay a small fortune to see them.

Q-9:  What does q8 have to do with Jack Andraka

Research for his test for pancreatic cancer came from documents that Aaron had been able to make available to the public. Without Aaron’s work Jack would of never had the information to further his test for the cancer.

Q-10:  Whats the most important question on this list. Why?

I think question 7 is. It shows us that no matter how small we think we are, if we share the same view and come together, we can make a stand against the few that think they have all the power to change the world to become a better place.

It’s not theft, it’s Copyleft

Do you think that copying is always theft or not – explain your reasons?

Copying and theft are totally different things. Copying implies you are taking the original and making a copy so the owner keeps the original. With theft though it implies stealing or taking the original from the owner. Because of this I don’t think we can imply that copying is theft. In the short video by Nick Phelps it shows my point even if it is a bit of a childish way of showing it. If people were so worried about their work being copied then they wouldn’t publish it to books or put it on the internet, they would keep it to them self where there is no risk of it being copied. But in this world of sharing everything the risk of someone copying it is everywhere but it is the only way forward in this world.

Who was Aaron Swartz and what part has he played in the copyright debate?

Aaron Swartz was an amazing computer programmer and activist. He played a big role in helping to keep the internet free a free place. He was involved in the the fight against SOPA and the creation of creative commons organization. He was instrumental in the fight against corporate and political groups through the use of social media and public talks. Aaron wanted a free internet where the world of online knowledge was open to everyone with no restrictions and that big money people didn’t control it. He committed suicide in 2013 after being prosecuted with two charges of steeling information from a University Database.

A game of Hide and Seek – Copyright

I have to admit right at the start that I have “illegally” downloaded or streamed different things from the internet. Whether it be a movie to cure a Saturday afternoon boredom on a rainy day or a song to take the morning blues away, I think a good percentage of the population will be guilty of the act…. well under the outdated copyright act they are anyway. The copyright act in New Zealand was made in 1994, now that doesn’t sound like that long but it is actually 21 years ago. This was the year that the Playstation One was released and cell phones were still the size of small cars, alright that is a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea. Technology has come along way from then where even downloading something from the internet was virtually unheard of.

Today though that is a completely different story where it is almost easier to illegally download a song than it is to buy it or to cut copy and paste someone else’s work (promise I’m not doing that). Although this is on the change with the popular services like Spotifiy and Netflix becoming more of a household name with more people using them. They are following the model of Steam by bringing all of the same type of things together, like music and movies but then charging only a subscription fee which can work out cheaper but is a lot more user friendly. Probably the most prominent and least thought about growth is the content that is uploaded to YouTube. YouTube was founded in 2005 and has become the 3rd ranked website in the world, but when the Copyright act was made there was absolutely no thought put towards this type of media sharing simply because it didn’t exist and wouldn’t for years to come. So this is where a lot of confusion comes into play. I am using YouTube as my example because it is where I first became aware of copyright, but only recently. The copyright act was put in place to protect the owner/creator of their work from other people copying it. The idea YouTube doesn’t really come into play until when the idea of SOPA (I’ll talk about it later) was brought about in 2011. Before this the copyright act was enforced but pretty lightly but when SOPA came up it forced everyone to look at copyright a lot more closely. YouTube content makers for years have been using (for example) computer games and making reviews on them. Now before copyright was brought into the light the policies that the creators had to follow weren’t that strict but after, lets just say, it got quite difficult and very confusing. This video (be warned he does swear in the video) that the YouTube content creator Nerdcubed made shows only a tiny portion of the trouble and confusion faced by the copyright law. I can’t see law changes doing much to stop the downloading and copying of someone else’s intellectual property because with every law change or new rule that is put in place someone will find a way around it. For example the Witcher 2 was released in two versions, a version that had DRM features built-in and a version without, and after the game had been out for a while it was found that the cracked DRM version was downloaded more. It shows that if a company tries to stop piracy there will be a way round it. I believe game retailers like Steam are the best ways to help control it because it brings all the games together in an easy to access way, almost like the piracy sites do but with Steam you can see that you’re helping the developer when you buy their game. If you have the time read this Blog post from a game developer and see the giant game of hide and seek that is being played.

SOPA
Stop Online Piracy Act or as its more commonly known as SOPA was pretty much brought around to blacklist the internet. At the beating heart of SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners to effectively kill foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. For example, Warner Bros, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and the really scary bit, that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there. Ever since US congress started playing with the idea of SOPA websites around the world have tightened up their copyright rules significantly. On the 18th of January this year there was a mass strike of more than 75000 websites around the world, organised by sopastrike.com, which included parts of major sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter. On the 20th the US congress dropped the idea of SOPA although it sites in the back of everyone’s mind still as it will be back. I like so many am against SOPA because I believe it’s a law for the power-hungry as they feared the one thing they can’t control, The Internet.

The Idea of Fair Use
Fair use is an exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of any piece of their work. It is a policy that permits limited use of copyrighted material without gaining permission from the author/copyright holders. A few examples of fair use include criticism, parody, news reporting, research and teaching. This is effectively what almost all YouTube content creators work under. The fair use policy has a lot of unknowns and shaky rules that can be interpreted both ways but only using a tiny percentage of the copyrighted material, and it is non-profit, it is usually covered under the fair use policy. Sometimes letting someone use a little bit of your work, for example, to make a YouTube video about your copyrighted property, it can work out in your favor, as the video will be viewed by a larger audience and will bring added advertising for you. The biggest conflict with the fair use policy is Copy and Paste as it is so easy but you are taking someone elses property.

So as you can probably see I total don’t agree with the current copyright rules. They are outdated, don’t work and can also cause issues for people who don’t want any. Everyone has their own opinion on copyright and has their own right to it but at a certain point people will have a conflict with it. This giant game of hide and seek will continue on as long as there is a law in place. When one hiding place is discovered another will appear.

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Is this Real?

When you ask “what is real?”, I am going to reply with I don’t really know. Everything we see, touch, smell and hear is just some electrical impulses in our heads that we interpret how we want to perceive it. Right know I would say that what is real to me is anything I can see or touch or know I can touch. The line between real and generated environments is moving as simulations become more advanced and life-like ….. more real. In the coming future I believe that my view might change to thinking a simulation is real too. It depends how we want to perceive it.

what-is-real

Google Glass
A look into the future is what the glass is. It is an amazing piece of technology. It is small yet has many features that make some tasks much easier. Such as navigation. Being able to display an overlay of where your meant to go with out have to look at a GPS or have your phone out would be a huge benefit for some people. Another advantage is in the medical industry and knowledge sharing. The example of this was a surgery was preformed on a patient while being streamed to 150 other experts around the world. The knowledge of the one doctor was shared easily without people flying in and watching the operation or setting up expensive cameras, by using the Google Glass.
The good has the bad too. Having the overlay over your vision is also a safety issue. The overlay partially blocks your vision and is also a distraction. Cellphone while driving is banded for a reason because its a distraction. Google Glass brings this back but in another form.
The one thing that scares me the most about the Google Glass is corporate advertising. This comes from a book I have read called Feed by M.T Anderson. In the book everyone had implants in there head that effectively did the same thing as Google Glass but created electrical impulses to overlay the information. There lives were ruled by corporate advertising constantly being pushed into there heads. Same goes with Google Glass advertising can be just as easily shown to the user with out them knowing it but will have an impact on there thinking. Also with the Glass being made by one of the biggest advertising corporations in the world I see this to be a huge threat. Something to keep in mind before trying out the next big thing.

Microsoft HoloLens
The difference between the Google Glass and the HoloLens is the practical applications for at home and in the workplace. I think as Microsoft has advertised it shows that it is a more specialized device as it stands now. This is because it is to big and bulky at the moment to be used as a day to day device, but as a device for work it is much more suited. The Google Glass has been designed as a social device while at the moment the HoloLens isn’t, although in there soon I think it will merge into both.

Oculus Rift
The Rift will always be predominantly a gaming based device it does and will have some applications outside this. I believe that the Rift is the first device to really push the boundaries of what is real. While wearing the device most users forget there surrounds and get so caught up in the simulation it becomes there real. The Oculus Rift will have some use in the science world for uses where viewing and interacting with information in a 3D model is more practical. For example this video demonstrates this.

The two links above show the use of the Oculus Rift with proprietary devices that I believe is pushing the boundaries of what is real. It uses gyro inputs to determine your body movements and inputs them into the simulation which is then replicated on the Oculus Rift making it almost seem real. A senor suit like the ones these users are wearing changing how interaction with the real and simulated world is becoming blurred with the development of new technologies.

Customer Service

We are greeted by a lively and bubbly lady by the name of Pauline Carson. I could already tell this class is about customer service as I know this is how a customer should be treated. She quickly got our attention with a joke, some important things to remember about customer service and quick run through of what we would be learning. The joke was the best start she could have because as we were about to learn the first 4 seconds are the most important in building a good impression with someone. The quote and quick explanation were part of the next part; it takes 4 minutes to leave a lasting impression, which is what she achieved.

Is “What I can do for you is” a common thing you hear when on the phone with a sale person or with customer service. This little sentence is a lot better than “I can’t” and before this 2 hour class I didn’t really see it significance, but now seeing it in the sense of customer service I see it. It’s these little changes in the way you speak to a customer is everything in building the first 4 minutes of a good impression which leads to a good relationship. I think this is something I definitely need to look at working on when talking to people.

The next big eye opener for me in the class was how she got us to fill out a few questions and by this she could separate the class out into 4 groups, Eagle Peacock, Dove and Owl. This little exercise was quick but after filling out the questions I determined by my score I was a Persuasive Peacock. Now this might not mean much to you as a reader but when she explained what each group meant it all made sense. In short a Peacock is for example a manager. A person that is a little bossy and will instruct (or in my case persuade) people what to do in a group but also thrives and gets their energy off their friends. Thinking about this it almost matches my mission statement “My purpose is to be a fun easy-going person while keeping family, friends, internal and external clients close leading to self-satisfaction.” When she explained each group you could see everyone’s surprise when she pretty much explained each persons personality, even when they are stressed. This really made me see when I first meet a person I need to put them into each one of these category and treat them as they act in each situation and there needs.

This class changed my view on customer service and I’d like to thank Pauline for that. I’ll leave you with a short extract from a quote she said;

Enjoy the journey.

Keep on learning.

Learn to love your mistakes.

Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi is a very important piece of New Zealand history but in saying that I have what I would call a limited knowledge of the Treaty means to New Zealand. It was something that we learnt about in primary and secondary school but it wasn’t pushed on us with much importance. Most of what I know about New Zealand history comes from watching media videos and reading articles. I have been to museums, or places similar too museums, and had to do short research projects about the Treaty of Waitangi but I have only gained basic knowledge from these.

My views on the treaty vary on the situation but in general I try to not get involved in it. Although their is one thing that recently happened that did spark a bit of emotion for me and that was Maori’s trying to claim rights to the water. I can understand that they want some of their land back, because of hardships and confusion in land boundaries, that was taken by Europeans but their is a point where it needs to stop and trying to claim that the water is theirs, is taking it a little to far in my opinion. The treaty doesn’t really stir too much emotion in me, although I do have my say every now and then but I think if I had been brought up in the North Island where there is a bigger culture of Maori people and more education around New Zealand’s history my opinion would some-what differ.

My thoughts around minority indigenous groups having the right to govern themselves is mixed. There are just as many benefits as there are negatives. Indigenous peoples views and beliefs are so different to the colonizing nations views and beliefs. This is where the native people are better at governing themselves. But problems in communication and laws arise when they mix with the colony. This was evident in New Zealand with the wars between native tribes and the British. They got along for a start because of curiosity but when that stopped the wars started. This is why the Treaty was created, to act as a middle man between there laws and beliefs and the British ones. 
Von_Tempsky's_death_Kennett_WatkinsAs the years have gone by in New Zealand the native people and the European people have mixed more so the middle man or Treaty has been pushed aside and the European laws have taken over. I think if the if the indigenous people were to still govern themselves some sort of segregation will have to be made. If the native people want to follow there own laws then they have to stay with there people and if they want to live with the Colony then they must follow there rules, and the same the other way round. Then there is the mixing of cultures and this is where a Treaty will come in. Because there will be mixing of cultures for different reasons a Treaty will have to be created and a group of people from each side come together to enforce it. A system of updating the Treaty every 10 years or so could be implemented as laws on both sides will change and so with the mixing of cultures.a3678atl

As a whole a indigenous group could govern themselves but lessons learnt from the past will have to be looked at before any “treaty” is made. There are places where indigenous people govern there own groups with another nation living there and this is overlooked by the United Nations. They are effectively acting as a Treaty. What shouldn’t be forgotten is there will always be problems between Native and Colonizing people. We all know what happened in the movie Avatar, if the colony pushes there luck then expect a rebellion.

Avatar_Wallpaper_by_Nyah86

Problem Solving

Our blogging task laid out in class was to write a blog about 3 of our different personal thinking patterns;

  1. Define your personal bias
  2. Are you a detail person or a big picture
  3. Write about where the above has “interfered” with your problem solving/solution finding.

Sitting here thinking about what bias I have and how it related to the world of problem solving makes me think back to our class. During the class Mark sat a piece of paper down on our desk. On the side that it was placed down there a 3 by 3 block of dots, we weren’t told any instructions. My first instinct like some other people in the class picked the paper up and turned it over. After all we are humans, we explore our new surrounding like we did this piece of paper. On the other side there were 3 by 3 block of dots too. Now my personal bias was to put the piece of paper back to the original side and think about what they meant and where I had seen this before. I believe I did this to get assurance of my surroundings for my Anchoring Bias. I hadn’t had any instructions to do that but I did, you could say I was looking for the big picture. Some other people didn’t have the Anchoring Bias so did not need to touch the piece of paper and wait for instructions.

Continuing on with the dots on the piece of paper, I believe that it is a good example to explain whether I am a detail person or a big picture person. When I was given the paper I instantly turned it over and examined both sides. This was the big picture side of me looking at the situation as a whole. When I found saw dots on the back side as well my thinking changed to we are in a problem solving class and I have seen a problem using dots laid out like this before. Then we were give a problem; try connect all the dots in the 3 by 3 using only 4 straight lines. Because I had done the problem before I knew I wasn’t constrained to the box people sometimes draw around the dots to constrain themselves too. I remember I did this the first time I did the problem initially but it was then I realized that using 4 straight lines that went through the dots and then outside the 3 by 3 cube of dots it was possible. Once I had solved the problem I looked further and found that there were other ways to solve the problem, like with 3 lines. I think that was my big picture going beyond what the question required for a simpler answer. This is where my big picture bias could hamper me. I have gone beyond what the question asked this may not be what the customer wants.

Problem Solving

I think I may have already answered question 3 in the above section. Looking at section 2 I think I am a big picture person most of the times, but sometimes I use the detail thinking way. Although from question 2 I think using my big picture bias interferes with my overall problem solving capability because I can forget the original question.