Monday, November 25, 2013


I feel that although i know alot about the internet, this class has showed me a whole lot more about the internet. I learnt many new things in the course and found many new and interesting things about the internet as i was doing my blog.

I made better use of google and its applications after learning about it in one of the classes and am able to better explain how ebusiness works to other people. At the same time, I learnt more about internet security as I was doing the project for the class. I learnt that we have to be very careful when we go online and that we should always be mindful of the activities that we do.

I feel like I learn quite a few things about the Internet and the possible future of the Internet. I am glad that I was able to take this class and be exposed to so many new and interesting things. If it was not for this class, I would not have done so much digging through the internet and i would not have known the things I know today.

I started out thinking it would be a dull and uninteresting class, But it turned out to be something novel and interesting.

Thank you Mr Choy for opening my eyes to the internet and this is indeed a very informative class.

Not so fiction science fiction.

Imagine, one day we do not have to hold phones anymore. Or people can have hologram of themselves to interact with people when their body is in a deep coma. Or we can use the internet and monitor for possible criminals. Or have digital assistance that can help us with our daily lives. Or robots that we control from the safety of our home to fight wars or mine in dangerous locations.

These ideals probably sound really far fetch to some people. But these ideas are taken from various sci-fi movies or action movies and some from Japanese animes. All of which are talking about the future. Some might sound familiar. Like the digital assistance, think of JAVIS from Iron Man or the robots we control from the safety of our homes an idea that originated from SURROGATES that movie.

And really, they are not so far fetch at all. There are many inventions and innovations now that has created technologies that are getting closer and closer to that of si-fi movies and animations. One such technology is Google glasses.
With this invention, gone are the days that we have to walk around looking at our phones and fumbling with several things on our hands like bags or books, just to answer a phone call. With such a technology, we can easily pick up the phone and hold a conversation with someone without having to use our hands. We can skype someone on the go or talk on Hangout with a group of friends while eating a steak with for and knife. Its the literal meaning of hands-free. 

How about OKGoogle? Its design to be a voice recognition software that aids in a user's use of the Internet. It is something thats getting really close to JAVIS is it not? All the user had to do is say 'Ok Google so forth and so forth' and google would do the said task. Albeit not as functional as JAVIS or integrated into our daily lives, but its a start in the right direction. 

There are many technology out there that are bringing us closer and closer to the future as shown in si-fi movies and other futuristic movies. 

However, like every movie, there is always a plot twist. If anyone remembers terminator. Where the world of the future was run by an Internet intelligence that was created to serve humans. And this intelligence created robots to hunt down humans because it wanted to control the world.  What if one day our creations turns against us and we become to entertainment source for them? This might seem a bit far fetch now but there is always that possibility. 

Of course, at the moment we should not look so far. Instead we should be focusing our attentions on something more nearby. Google has plans to implant a microchip in our head to aid us in better search capabilities. It can send information of our thoughts to the server and pull back results about things we are unclear of. Sounds useful does it not? But ever since the Snowden leak in the middle of the year, there are concerns that have been raised. Would this chip also allows governments to spy on us?  What if hackers got hold of the chip in our head. Would they not be stealing our private thoughts? This brings with it a whole new pot of questions and critics. Most surrounding the bridge of privacy that such a chip can cause. Questions have been raised about privacy of the individual in the future. 

Personally, I do not think I would really want a chip inside my brain monitoring me. What about you ? Would you want that?

So who have the upper edge?

When I was younger, I always wanted the white macbook. To me, back then, it was the most beautiful looking laptop ever. When I got into Poly, we had to buy a laptop for school and they were selling the MacBook as one of the option. But because it was not compatible with the softwares that I needed for school, I was forced to buy a PC instead. The level of disappointment was so high. Why did i wanted a MacBook? Well the answer is rather simple really. It was so sleek looking and the interface was so beautiful. Not to mention it always seem very exclusive. No other laptop runs the Mac OS and owning a Mac just feel so elite. Of course this is one of Apple's strategy to sell that products. By making it scares and limited, it makes people want to get it more. This is in line with one of the weapons of influence that I learnt this semester. People do not like to have their freedom restricted. And when their freedom is restricted, they would want to get rid of that restriction. By making the product scares and limited, Apple is making people want it because they cant get it anywhere else.

They did this with the iPhone as well. when the iPhone first came out, so many people when to buy it. Why? Because it was the only phone on the market that offers such a sophisticated interface. No other phones out then were close to the iPhone. I remember my first iPhone was the 3G model and it was the most phenomenon thing to me. There were no buttons and the touch screen was incredible. Unlike the pressure touch screens that were dominating the markets back then, the iPhone had one of the most smooth and effortless touch screen capabilities. Not to mention that the marketing was created to portray the iPhone as one of the sleekest and simple smartphone around that can do everything that a user requires. The interface was so easy. There were no complicated folders and sub-folders that users have to navigate to get to the things that they want. There were no complicated steps to get something done. Everything was on the scree, and the already existing app store boost so many apps that users can download and use to make their lives so much more simpler.

Their commercial event boosts its app for everything function. It was targeting people who needs and wants all these functionality in their phone and need I say that they succeed? Not really. Everyone knows and a lot of people in the world has an iPhone. There are more iPhone sold in 2012 than people born. 

Of course following the success of Apple, other brands start churning out phones with better and better specs to rival that of Apple. Google created android in their attempted to rival Apple. Recently Nokia created a whole series of Windows phone that are set to compete with Apple. 

However, what put Apple as the leading in phone production was a very simple strategy. They had the app store BEFORE the iPhone came out. It was just a matter of putting the ability to call people into an iTouch. All the apps were already available for the iTouch and all they had to do was put the ability to make phone calls into the iTouch and TADA a new phone. So the success of the iPhone was due to their already established app store. Google had to bump it up and make their play store compatible with the app store and this they did so very beautifully. Now most apps that are on the app store are available on the play store. But windows is struggling a bit behind because their app store is a bit short of apps at the moment. 

To me, personally, the app store is one of the main reason I stayed with an iPhone for so long. Another being its simplistic approach to phone design. But ever since I got a android phone, I personally prefer an android over an iOS. The simple reason is because the android allows modification to be done without bridging the license of the software. Unlike iOS where once jailbroken, the license is void. I love the ability to modify my launcher on my android and use different SMS applications or experiment with different keyboards. And there are many phone companies that uses android platform. They even allow their buyers to unlock or root their phones. This is something I personally find enticing about an android phone. The ability to modify and change something that we might not like about the phone. I spend a lot of time modifying my phone to suit my need. As you can see, the above images are how my launcher looks on my android. It is no longer the one that comes with the phone. its something that i choose and edited to suit my taste and needs. 
And this one is how the original launcher looks like. I do not like it at all. 

I highly doubt I would return to an iOS anytime soon even though I do like the simplistic approach of the phone. I use a Mac though and am truly in love with the interface of it. As compared to a window, I find the OSX have a much more elegant and sophisticated approach that has yet to be rivalled. 

The web writers.

week 10

Every morning, I scroll through my twitter account on my phone, while on my way to school, to see what news are happening around the world. I follow certain news sites such as The Straits Times, BBC and other news source on twitter and that was how I usually get my daily dosage of news information. When I see a headline that interest me, I would click on it and the story would open in a new window.

These days, I barely touch a newspaper at all. I do not really have to, considering all the news can be found online and sometimes the most interesting reads are not found on news websites but rather on websites that host citizen journalism.

The Internet is changing the whole game play for journalists around the world. Now, journalists do not just write for traditional print but they also write for online version of the print as well. and based on my own personal observations, articles found online and in print are slightly different as they are catered to different audience. Those found online are more condense as compared to those found in print. This might be done to hold the attention of the audience for as long as possible so they finish the full article. Those found online also has additional information attached to it in the form of hyperlinks that readers can click to find more information. Although this is an interactive feature and can gain brownie points with certain group of readers, this i, in my opinion, rather distracting and sometimes can get the reader to go off topic because he or she would end up clicking links after links. Going further away from the main article.

So what does this all means to journalists? Well, it means that, for starters, journalists cannot report the same way that they do anymore. They have to adapt to the changing needs of the readers and also recognise that if they were to write the same way that they do in the newspapers or magazine articles, they would just scare off readers and thats a big no no. Also, journalists have to learn several other skills besides writing articles to maintain readers' attention. For example, some journalists has learnt to produce videos for their articles and this adds some level of dynamic to their story. This can really help them and their organisation boost readership.

Lately, besides online articles and stories that are written by professional journalists, there is something called citizen journalism. This is where normal individuals write about topics that they favours and are interested in. These people might not be professional or have certain level of expertise in their written topic but they are writing because it interest them . Sometimes, it does not have to be articles or stories that are being written. It can be video reports produced by individuals on topics that they are concerned or interested in. CNN iReport is one example of citizen journalism. This is a sub-branch of CNN where they encourage individuals to report on certain topics and submit their videos to CNN. If selected, their videos would be shown on CNN. They have an assignment desk where there are topics that people can report about. They even have a RSS feed to update people of the latest assignments.

Of course the downside to citizen journalism is that, some argue, the citizens are not paid for their reports. And that these news media is using these reporters as a cheap form of labour. Another argument is that these reporters are not experts and they can report the wrong information to the public. Thus sometimes,  we have to be careful when watching or reading reports written by these journalist.

The political network

Many knows that when it comes to politics and the Internet, a very good example is how Barack Obama used the power of Internet to reach out to the masses. The campaign in 2008 mark the end of the television presidency where candidates uses the television tot reach out to the masses and instead, begins the time of the Internet presidency.

As we all know, the Internet is a powerful tool to reach out to the masses. Using Barack Obama's case as an example, we can analyse why the Internet is a powerful tool to use in politics. 

1) Social Networking
We all know that social networking is a very powerful feature of the Internet. It allows for people to connect with one another and find people with the same interest or so forth to connect with. It allows for one individual to reach a large group of people simultaneously without having to spend a lot of money doing so. In his campaign, Obama enlisted the help of a co-founder of popular social networking site, Facebook, to create a custom networking site for his campaign. The site attracted 1.5 million supporters who can be instantly contacted to help with drumming up support. It also helped in collecting donations for the campaign.Besides that, it also allowed the candidate to post real time information and news to his supporters, unlike newspaper that were show casing yesterday's news. 

2) YouTube
Making and publishing videos has never been easier and cheaper than doing it on YouTube. The website has seen many individuals gain popularity and make money simply by creating and publishing videos of their own interest. During his campaign, Obama's party created official campaign videos and posted them on YouTube. This lowered a lot of the cost needed to run campaigns because creating and posting on to YouTube is free of charge. Unlike having the video run on televisions. People were also able to watch the videos at anytime and anywhere. Individuals were also encouraged to upload speeches by Obama onto YouTube and this generated more popularity for the candidate. Not to mention, YouTube videos can be shared to other social networking sites and this means that more people would eventually watch the videos rather then on television when only those who on their TVs would catch the videos. 

3) Website
Of course every candidate would create their own website to support their campaign and for people to go to gain more information. Obama had his own website as well. On his website, there are position papers, statements and videos that are readily available for people to take a look at. Having websites is one thing, it is also important to know how to manage it well so to gain the most support. 

In Short, Obama used several tools of the Internet to gain support and to get voters to vote for him. This was a very smart move to gain support and reach out to the masses. Using the Internet, the candidates can connect with more people at the same times, deliver information simultaneously and have a more personal contact with people. Not to mention, lowering campaigning cost. 

Entertainment online

Week 8

Entertainment used to be listening to the radio or watching shows on the television. Slowly, cable was introduced and people who could afford cable were watching shows on cable. Occasionally, people would go to the movies and watch blockbusters on the big screen. If you wanted to obtain a piece of music or an album, you walk into the CD shop and get the album of the singer. I fondly remembers buying my first CD from the CD shop and listening to in on my CD player which I brought to school so to not fall asleep on the bus.

Although people still do all the items mentioned above these days, they have another source of entertainment. the awesome Internet. Everything mentioned above can be done on the Internet. We can watch shows on the Internet, listen to radio stations on the Internet, watch movies on the Internet or even listen or watch movie videos on the Internet.

These days, instead of watching show on my television or the cable box that we subscribed from Starhub, I go onto the Internet and find streams of my shows. My grandmother learnt how to use the computer to find Korean dramas to watch when she has nothing to d at home. She has no idea how to operate the television set at home but knows how to use the computer to find shows to watch. Thats how amazing the Internet has become. Sometimes, I would tell her that there is this new Korean drama on TV and she would reply that she finished the whole series on the Internet a while back.

Funshion main webpage 
She uses several software and websites to watch her shows. They are Funshion
, PPS, PPTV and LeTV. Sometimes, she uses her iPad to watch her shows using the application form of those websites and softwares. Recently, she learnt how to download the shows onto her iPad to watch without having to be frustrated by the slow connections.

The Internet is an amazing place. It has evolved from a  place to host documents and information to a place where people can go to for all their entertainment needs. The most amazing part is that the Internet allows for people to gain access to entertainment sources outside of their own countries. By gone are the days where we can only watch what our national channels provide, listen to only what the national radio stations broadcast. Today, we can watch shows from all over the world and listen to music from all over the world. Even, we can find movies that are not showing in our own countries. Take for example, yesterday, I finished a whole series of Japanese anime that was not shown in Singapore on any channels.

The Internet also opens up new sources of music for individuals. Most times, people listen and know only about the songs that they heard on the radio, But with the Internet, people can listen and discover new bands or singers that are not typically played on the local radios. They can also do this with shows and movies as mentioned above.
Main Page of the LoTR chrome experiment 

Besides providing people with the new ways to  watch and be entertained, the Internet also allows for multimedia experiences. Recently, chrome has a new experiment that allows Lord Of The Rings fans to explore the world created by J.R. R. Tolkien. In this experiment, they recreated the map of middle earth and allow users to click on specific areas to learn more about the place. Inside the locations, there are also mini games that the users can play.

This is a good example of how the Internet can create multimedia entertainment experience for its users. Combining games and interaction and information as one to allow the user to have a wholesome experience.

Many users of the Internet are familiar with the Internet's power to make time goes faster. Individuals can just go on the Internet and time seems to fly pass almost too soon. At many a time, we large amount of time looking at funny posts or photos or saying or stuff like that on the Internet just to waste time or to entertain ourselves. A well-known website for these posts is This website allows people to post random funny pictures or quotes or memes so that other people can look and vote for them. And when they have acquire a certain number of votes, they will move to the 'HOT' page and more people will look at them. I have spent countless hours on this site, just scrolling through and looking at the photos and what not. To me, its a way to de-stress at the end of the day and also to find something funny to laugh at. Besides this site, there are also many other sites available that hosts similar things.

Although the Internet has provided a new place for people to source for entertainment and has created a new form of multimedia entertainment, there are certain drawbacks as well. First, websites that allows for streaming of videos and shows are causing a dent in the pockets of the entertainment industries. People do not watch or pay for cables anymore because they can get it straight on the Internet. The same can be said for music and songs. People do not pay for albums anymore because they can easily download songs for free on the Internet. This has of course caused a huge problem for the entertainment industry whose profits comes mainly from people buying their products. Secondly, being on the Internet can really take away a lot of time. Although the Internet is an entertaining place, sometimes, we can get too ahead of ourselves and spend too much time on it. And this can distract us from other more important things. I occasionally find myself browsing the Internet aimlessly, looking at random things one after another and the next thing I know, a few hours had passed and I did not do anything productive or accomplished anything I wanted to do for that day.

Yes there are many entertaining things on the Internet, however, moderation is key to maintain a healthy relationship between the Internet and our lives.

The Internet can be a scary place

Week 7

We all know how to use the Internet and we all know how to search for things on the internet and we all download or open things on the internet. But just as we know how to access the internet and get what we want or use it for our own purposes, other people knows how to use it for their own purposes as well. Sometimes, these purposes are less then reputable and can be quite shady. For example, hackers can use the internet to try and get to our personal information and 'steal' our identity. They can easily do this by bridging our internet security by sing codes such as worms and viruses or trojans. 

0This video gives a brief explanation as to what are worms, trojans and viruses.

As can be seen, viruses, worms and trojans can gain access to our computers when we either open emails or click on links that are not reputable or seems suspicious. These links and emails may seem harmless but they can allow these worms or viruses to be downloaded into our computers without us knowing and either copies itself and target our computer system and slowing it down or even gain access to our personal information. Another way for these malicious codes to gain access into our computers is when we download stuff from the internet. When we visit unrepeatable websites and download free content from the internet, we are opening our doors to these malicious codes that can essentially destroy our computers or our lives (if they allow people to gain access to our personal information)

These malicious codes are not just used to target individuals on a large scale. It can also be used to target large industrial organisations and infrastructures. An example would be the Stuxnet worm that was used to target the nuclear plant in Iran. The scary thing about the worm was that it was design to only target the nuclear facilities in Iran and no where else in the world. This is truly terrifying, knowing that such malware can be target specific and can bring down large industrial infrastructure at a whim shows the deadly potential that it contains.

Although for the average individual, we do not have huge industrial infrastructures that we have to worry about, we have to worry about tour own privacy being bridge, These days,we store all sorts of information our computers. From our work to our personal emails and maybe some store their credit card information on their browsers because they always shop online. All this information can be access by hackers or identity thieves if they have remote access to our computers such as using remote access trojans. Therefore, it is important for individuals to make sure that they do grant such access by not opening unfamiliar emails or clicking on links that they do not know or even downloading things or programs from websites that they do not recognise. Because by doing so, they are making themselves vulnerable and an open target for people with malicious intends.

Another way for people to protect themselves is to acquire antivirus softwares that can scan files that are downloaded for malicious contents. There are many free softwares available for download and they are fine to use. However, for a more thorough protection,  individuals should acquire softwares that provide all rounded protection such as scheduled scanning of the hard drive and monitoring internet activities.

Although antivirus softwares are a good way to make sure that our computers are safe, sometimes there are also flaws in the software that can lead to malware being left on our computers or escaping the watch of the antivirus software. a quick search on google would show that there are many cases where there are flaws in the antivirus softwares that are available to the users. There are also incidents where the antivirus software would recognise a file as a false positive because of how the file is coded or written. This article on LifeHackers, How Do You Know If Your Download Really Has a Virus, explains w3hat a false positive is and how we can make sure that our file download is not a false positive and really has a virus. In the article, they quote a example from McAfee, where they released a new update to their antivirus software that ends up deleting system files that it thought was malicious which results in the computer not being able to boot. Therefore, as can be seen, although antivirus software is the solution to ensuring that our computers are safe from malicious malware, it should also be noted that sometimes, antivirus softwares can fail.Therefore, the best solution is still to be cautious on our own and be sure to not click or open links that we are not familiar with.

And to conclude, here is a link to a page that talks about the 10 scariest computer viruses in existence. Enjoy!