Snapchatting Kimmy K

Public screens, we see them everywhere! Waiting rooms, bus stops, highways. But do we always interact with them? Sure, if you’re sitting at Centrelink and trying to keep distracted from the bogans and the domestics happening around you, you’re going to try as hard as you can to focus on watching Ellen DeGeneres on the TV near you. But what other screens are you absorbing but not even knowing about?

I know from my own personal experience at the University of Wollongong, the UniBar is full of advertisements!! And I’ve even noticed that more recently there are screens there that change and show different information. Where there once was a Coles advertisement showing the price of bananas, there now sits a television screen, showing news headlines, weather, and other interchangeable images – of course, still showing the odd advertisement every now and then. Someone’s gotta pay for it!

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Do people even notice these screens though, or do they just go about their everyday business without noticing? I know that I notice this interchangeable screen a lot more than I watched the Coles banana advertisement. On this new screen, there’s something different every day, and some of it is even information that I care about and am actually interested in! The fact is, advertising screens are all around us! Do we notice every single one? Probably not. But many advertisements stick with us because we see them so often.

Also at the University of Wollongong is a ‘beanbag room’ as I like to call it. It consists of a bunch of beanbags on the floor in front of a massive projected screen playing the music channel ‘Channel V’. This room is predominantly a ‘chill out’ room, but a lot of people use it to catch up with friends, and some (myself included) even use it as a place to take a nap!

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If you walk into this room, all of the people who are on their own are either using their laptop, tablet, phone, or even a combination of these. Multi-screen consuming has become a massive thing of recent times. I’ve even caught myself before, scrolling Facebook on my laptop, Snapchatting on my iPhone, playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood on my iPad and looking up at the big screen every now and then to watch the music video that’s playing at the time. I’ve noticed whilst in this room, that when a new song comes on people look up at the big screen to see the same of the song, then look down and continue what they were doing.

Do people consume one screen more than the other? Or is it all spread out equally. People seem to be multitasking now more so than ever before. Is it all consciously? Is any of the screen consuming done subconsciously?

I think, as long as people are busy consuming and doing something with their attention span, they don’t really care. They’re entertained, and that’s all that matters!

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‘Cinema Experience’ Minus the Cinema? WHHHAAATTT??!!!!

When I was growing up in the small, country town of Dunedoo in Central-West New South Wales, there wasn’t much to do. We could ride our bikes, play outside, run around in the backyard; that was pretty much the extent of ‘entertainment’ for me growing up. Part of this reason would be the isolation of the town. There were other small towns around Dunedoo, but the big hubs of Dubbo and Mudgee were both approximately an hours drive away. We had to leave Dunedoo if we wanted to buy clothes, electronics, shoes (although, it was possible to buy a tractor in Dunedoo, so that’s something).
One thing there was no hope of doing in Dunedoo, was going to the cinema to see the latest release blockbuster. Yes, for that we would have to travel the hour to Dubbo or Mudgee, after buying underwear of course!

Most of the time we went to Dubbo, we’d go as a family. We’d all need new clothes and other things – it would be a massive day of shopping! I loved the days we’d be treated with going to the movies though! We’d go to the cinema as soon as we arrived in Dubbo, get a session time sheet and organise our shopping day around the movie we wanted to see and when it was airing. It was easy to go with friends, because we’d always be travelling together from Dunedoo and we wouldn’t know what was on and at what times until we got there.

You can imagine how my life has changed since moving to Wollongong almost three years ago.
Going to the movies is so much easier to do in a metropolitan area, and in 2014 – rather than a small country town in 2004. The last time I went to the cinema was with my roommate and his boyfriend at the time. Yes, I was a third wheel. But it was THE LEGO MOVIE so I didn’t care. All I did was look up the session times on the website (we chose the cinema in Wollongong because it’s the closest), sent a quick message in the Facebook group chat that my friends and I have, and meet people at the cinema. It was so last minute and it happened so quickly, but it was still so structured and organised!
Of course, the movie was packed with children mostly aged between 4 and 10, and you could tell the parents of these children weren’t impressed when a group of young adults, some quite tall, sat smack bang in the centre of the cinema (they are the best seats after all). A couple of people seated behind us even got up and moved! But it was THE LEGO MOVIE so it didn’t phase me too much.

Later on, I was talking to a friend about the movie, and they informed me they had just torrented the movie so they didn’t have to watch it in a cinema surrounded by a bunch of loud children. Smart move I think. I even know of parents who torrent movies to show their kids so they don’t have to trek it into the cinema with them!

Is this the future of cinema watching? People won’t even go to the cinema to watch? It seems it’s already starting to happen. I know very few young adults who don’t have at least a couple of torrented movies or shows on their computers or a hard drive. Whether they downloaded it themselves or got it off a friend. In my opinion, the future of cinema isn’t even in the cinema!

I suppose we’ll just have to sit back, legs on the seat in front eating popcorn, and wait to see what the future holds.

Smelly Chairs & Musical Ties

What is the future of ‘things’? How can we improve ‘things’? With the internet, almost anything is possible!
So what should we do first? Set our ovens up to cook our dinner for us before we even get home? Set our cups up to tell us how strong the drinks are we’re making and keep track of how much we’ve had to drink all night. What about rigging up an office chair to tweet every time someone farts on it?

Yes, that’s right. A chair that tells the world when you fart.

Randy Sarafan set up his office chair, using a natural gas detecter, and rigged it so every time he farted while sitting on said chair, the world knew in seconds.

It’s this kind of advancement in technology that creates wonder in how efficient and effective this could be in the future. While tweeting due to farts is probably not the most amazing thing in the world, just think of the possibilities that the internet of ‘things’ can bring to you.

The internet of things could be efficient in so many ways. Life would become much more convenient. As Bleecker (2006) states, these things become “first-class a-list producers of conversations in the same way that human bloggers do” and this is done through “starting, maintaining and being critical attractors in conversations around topics that have relevance and meaning to others who have a stake in that discussion”.

These objects will be able to think for themselves and make life more convenient.

So what does this mean for the world? Where do these ideas come from? Who would invent a chair that tweets when you fart? The fact is, when it comes to ‘The Internet of Things’, you mix your imagination and the internet, and the limits are almost endless!

You want a pair of socks that measures the smell intensity of your feet and tracks? You make it! You want a tie that plays your favourite song when you walk into a crowded room so you can strut your stuff? I don’t know how you’d do it, but if you want it, you make it!

Imagination + internet = endless new invention ideas!

Bleecker, J. (2006) ‘Why Things Matter: A Manifesto for networked objects’

Ethical Hacking?

Is there such a thing as an ethical hacker? And if so, what makes a hacker ethical?

Some of the most famous hackers and hacking incidents include Julian Assange, Anonymous, News International. These have all been involved in famous hackings in some form, but are they all the same? What makes them different? Are any of them ethical?

Julian Assange is an internationally famous personality and founder of the group Wikileaks. Wikileaks and Julian Assange are famous for gaining secret government information in questionable ways and sharing that information with the people of the world. Wikileaks clams that their goal is “to bring important news and information to the public”. Wikileaks effectively wants to share information that certain departments deem private, but it thinks should be public.

Anonymous is another organisation famous for hacking and protests. Anonymous is a group of hackers with no leader and no formal structure. Some events that have been associated with Anonymous include a ‘raid’ on the website Habbo Hotel, in which after a 2 year old child was refused entry into an Alabama swimming pool for having AIDS, members of anonymous all dressed Habbo avatars the same and blocked the entrance to the virtual pool and claimed that the “Pool’s Closed due to AIDS”. (My SA News, 2008)

Another event related to Anonymous, known on Wikipedia as ‘Operation Didgerdie’ was an attack on the website of the Prime Minister of Australia’s website in which the site was taken down for approximately one hour in response to planned internet censorship by the then Australian Government.

And now we come to the News International phone hacking scandal, in which certain staff at News International, the publishing company of News of the World and other British newspapers, hacked into people’s phones to receive personal information to be used in stories. That was it. They wanted the information to get stories to publish and sell more newspapers.

That’s where we come to the idea of ‘ethical hacking’. What’s the difference between the 3 examples listed above? For me, it lies with the motive of the hacking.

Assange and Wikileaks are involved in hacking of information because they believe that government information should be freely available to the public they were elected to serve.

Anonymous, while more unconventional, create online protests using hacking as ways to combat or raise awareness over issues it deems important.

New International used phone hacking as a way to gain information, to make more stories, to sell more newspapers and to make more money.

The idea of ethics comes down to motives.

Croteau, R, Net users insist ‘racist’ sign a joke, My SA News, viewed 27 September 2013, <http://web.archive.org/web/20080824174022/http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/Net_users_insist_its_joke.html&gt;.

Infinite Sunday Markets

I love online shopping. There’s just something great about it. There is so much more to find and to buy, and it seems that I always find something I like.

One of my favourite sites to buy from would have to be Etsy. I just love it because you can find pretty much anything on there, and the great thing is that most of it is homemade from people setting up their little stores online. One of the great things about Etsy is that there is no limit to the amount of people who can set up shop or the amount of things they can sell. Imagine Etsy as some sort of Sunday markets that are all infinite. And that’s the brilliance of it, it’s infinite! And this is all made possible by the amazing thing we call the internet.

As more people move onto the web for their business needs, websites like Etsy grow more and more. According to Justine Smith, in June of 2011 alone, sellers on Etsy sold around $38 million of products. $38 million dollars in one month. I highly doubt that kind of turnover would ever happen at a Sunday markets.

This is where the infinite idea comes in. Because Etsy is not a physical shop, it is not confined to one physical area, or a limited amount of physical shops. It is an online platform allowing for infinite amount of shops, infinite amount of sellers, and infinite amount of buyers.

If you go into Myer to buy your clothes, you are limited to the clothes they decide to sell and you are limited to only the clothes that they can fit in their space. You are limited as a customer to buy only what Myer chooses to sell you. Because Etsy is online, you are only limited by what you can find. While Myer only sells what they deem to be popular, and what they think the majority of people want to buy, people on Etsy are selling to much smaller audiences, but because there are hundreds of thousands of sellers on Etsy, all of their customer base adds up. Up to 25 million online viewers according to Smith actually. So if you ever have a good idea for something you’d like to sell, instead of forking out the money to rent a space and set up a shop or filling your car boot and heading to the Sunday markets, why not set up a seller account on Etsy? It’ll be instant and you won’t be limited. Your business will be infinite.

We’re no longer employing you, we’re selling you!

Back in the olden days*, there were a limited amount of jobs available. Most women only worked until they got married and become a mother, and most of the workforce worked in factories and on production lines. But over time, the whole make up of the workforce has changed and evolved from the industrial era until now, the information era.

The workforce during the industrial era of jobs was when people worked in producing something physical. On a factory production line, putting something together to be sold. This is what people wanted. It was the time of the suburban oasis, the perfect housewife, buying the perfect appliances, all for the perfect family.
This was also the era that unions were created and the 9 to 5 working day began. People had full time jobs and worked an 8 hour day. The 8 hour day, however, has become obsolete in this day and age, with people hardly ever ceasing work.

With the coming of the information age, people are no longer working with physical products and creating them. The information age brings new jobs, with new products. Most jobs no longer deal with physical products, but more so a different kind of product. Products are now digital, people and their information.
Take Facebook as an example. Every time somebody creates a Facebook profile and adds their information, Facebook collects that and sells it to their advertisers. Advertisers pay a lot more for ads that can be specifically targeted to a certain group, because their money isn’t wasted and goes a lot further. Facebook is the future of advertising.
And have you ever wondered why you can be on a website like YouTube or Facebook, and the advertisements magically have something to do with something you were ‘Googling’ earlier. That’s because Google uses the same principal as Facebook – ‘tailored advertising’. Do you use Google Chrome? Google knows everything you’ve ever ‘Googled’, every website you’ve ever visited and everything you’ve ever done online. Google uses your information to sell to advertises who use it to sell back to you.

Are you okay with Facebook and Google using your information to sell you things? After all, at least you get advertised things you might actually want! Or is Facebook and Google using this information against you, to track you? Are you being watched?
How does this impact your view of the new ‘information era’ of the workforce?

*not actually sure when the olden days were

My Random Followers

We’ve all done it. Usually on Twitter or Instagram, but even sometimes on Facebook.
I know I’ve done it, and I’ll bet that you have too. Yes, we’ve all used a pointless #hashtag in order to seem funny and sometimes even random.

It might not even be on purpose, the hashtag could actually be relevant to your post. You upload a picture of your cat to Instagram, hashtag #cat. You post something on Twitter about Carly Rae Jepson, hashtag #goddess. But have you actually noticed how these hashtags affect you?

I have a lot of random people from Russia following me on Instagram. How did they even find my profile? My guess is the hashtag #vodka. What about that crazy cat lady from somewhere in the south of the United States? Hashtag #catselfie. 

Every time we use a hashtag, we’re opening ourselves up to another space within cyberspace. Just think, if you didn’t use that hashtag #yoloswag that one time 3 months ago, you wouldn’t have all of those twelvies in snapbacks following you on Tumblr.

Every single hashtag is a new world. A new group of people. A new audience. All in cyberspace. And that’s how easy it is to meet people with similar interests on the internet. And I say meet, not actually meaning physically meeting people, but meeting them nonetheless.

Is it utopian to think that there’s a space for everyone on the internet? I don’t think so.
I like to think of the internet as a place where minorities cease to exist. If you’re the only person in your friends group who is obsessed with trashy pop music (I’m using my own example here), you just need to get online and with the use of one hashtag, you are surrounded by people with the same interest, and you are no longer a minority.

Is this a utopian idea? No, it’s reality.
Even if your new friends are nowhere near you physically, they can be right next to you in cyberspace, and that is thanks to the giant network we being to called society.

Hashtags have become like a door to another world. Each world with different people inside. But the great thing about cyberspace is that you can be in a number of different worlds at once. TweetDeck is a great example of this. You can track a number of hashtags at once, and they all appear on your computer screen simultaneously.

This makes me think of that porn blog that followed me on Tumblr once. I don’t even know what hashtag I used to make that happen. I don’t think I really want to know!