“Alexa, Play Smart House”

As a kid, I remember watching the Disney movie ‘Smart House’ and thinking how ridiculously crazy all the things the house could do were. 19 years later, and while not every feature of the house has become a reality, the rise of ‘smart house systems’ such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home systems mean literally every aspect of our everyday lives are more connected to the internet than ever before.

Let’s use the example of Alexa. Alexa can tell you the weather, place orders for you, connect to Bluetooth devices, set and stop your alarm, look up who’s the actor in that movie, when the movie you want to see is showing next, order you an Uber and the list goes on and on.

While not quite up to the standard of ‘Smart House’s’ self absorbing floors and full holographic screen walls, the advancements made in recent years in terms of the internet of things is remarkable and indicates that maybe one day in the not too distant future, ‘Smart House’ will become a reality.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Like an Elephant, the Internet never forgets

As the internet becomes more and more integrated with our everyday life, it is important that we realise that the things we put on the internet are permanent. 

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Every single tweet, Facebook update, Snapchat sent, Instagram liked, Tumblr reblogged, YouTube video made is able to served by servers or by screenshotting. This means that even if you delete something at a later date, it will still be out there somewhere, floating around in cyberspace. And with the growing presence of the mobile internet meaning we are always connected, their is the potential for our each and every action to be captured.

This means that it is more important than ever to not make what is considered a mistake in the eyes of the internet (so defintely nothing racist, sexist, homophobic) because you can guarantee that it will come back to bite eventually.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

The Roots of Hacktivism

When we think of hacking today, most people would probably think of a nerdy, mid-20s guy, sitting in a dark room with a hoodie on, fingers moving across the keyboard at the speed of light (just like in the movies you know). In reality, this couldn’t really be further from the truth of the roots of hacktivism.

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Alan Turing was the creator of the first automated decryption device which was used to hack into and translate German messages sent using the Enigma. He doesn’t really look like hackers do in the movies does he?

The reason I think this is important is because it should be acknowledged that ‘hacking’ is not a dirty word. Hacking can be used in favour of activism, or hacktivism. And the sooner this stereotype is destroyed, the better.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

#SocialRevolution

Social media is no longer just a place for holiday pics and #relatable posts. Many people, both celebrities and ordinary members of the public are using their social media accounts (primarily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to throw their support behind ‘hashtag revolutions’.

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The above gif shows some examples of popular social justice hashtags which have generated significant support in the last few years. The thing with using these hashtags as a way of (and I use the term very loosely) revolution, is that you’re not really doing anything of great help.

Many critics of the phenomenon have referred to it as ‘slacktivism’, and honestly, they’re not far from the truth. Sure, tweeting about the #BlackLivesMatter movement shows other people that you support it and may encourage them to also support it, but really, in the long run, a few thousand tweets aren’t going to suddenly change the way black people are treated. People just like to feel like they’re doing something to help to boost their social conscience, when in reality they’re not really helping at all.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

The Novelty of News

 

With a serious change in the way we get our news comes a change in the sounds that alert us. This may sound trivial (and it kind of is), but as society moves towards a world where we get more and more of our news from social media platforms, the sounds that alert us of what is happening have gotten shorter and shorter.

The remix above shows the progression from lengthy, 30 second plus television news introduction to a 1 second tweet noise. What used to be recognisable and associated with the spreading of news (the tracks at the beginning of the audio) has been replaced by trivial sounds like a bird tweeting and a pop noise (the tracks at the end of the audio).

As the spreading of news has gotten quicker thanks to social media, so to has the notification sounds. Coincidence? I think not.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Apple and Android: One in the Same?

Many people can become very defensive when it comes to the Apple vs. Android debate. However, should this even be a debate at all? When it comes down to it, both manufacturers are providing users with mobile phones which allow people to connect across the world.

The only real differences come in the way the networks operate, and whether they are open or closed, in the sense of a ‘walled garden‘.

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Android servers allow independent app developers and markets, has a small profit margin and has many hardware manufacturers (eg. Samsung, HTC) meaning that the competition is tough. In comparison, Apple has total control over iOS and app developers and market, experiences a huge profit margin with each sale and has only one hardware manufacturer: Apple itself.

However, what is really important about the production of these devices is the fact that they allow us to connect to a mobile internet network. Without the transition to a mobile network, the way that society functions would be totally different.

So really, the whole Apple vs. Android debate is unnecessary. Stick to what you prefer, as long as your connected, you’ll be a part of the technological society we have become.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Walled Gardens: Not Just for Pretty Pictures

When it comes to the internet, a ‘walled garden’ is a used to describe a network such as Facebook or Amazon which aggregates and controls access to content.

Generally, these ‘walled gardens’ embody a number of key characteristics. The content is always curated by the network, meaning that everything is preselected for a purpose. The content within the ‘walled garden’ is somewhat protected from open internet, including hackers and undesirable content, essentially creating a pure space. When it comes to ‘gardens’ like Facebook, a lot of people engage with it because they are of the mentality that everyone else is doing so already. The final key factor is the degree of normality that being a part of these ‘walled gardens’ brings; it’s what we know and what were used to, so therefore, were going to stick to it.

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But if the internet is supposed to be an open platform, placing all of the restrictions on the content produced changes the internet into something which can’t really be considered the internet in it purest form. So this raises the question; why do we continue to engage in these kinds of networks if we are no longer able to use the internet as it was intended?

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

The Death of Legacy Media

The way we produce and consume content is forever changing. What could once be considered difficult to create, access and remediate is now easy than ever with the exponential rise of the internet and all the forums it presents.

Spotify has taken the place of traditional music forms like CDs and the radio. Netflix has become the go-to for watching TV shows and movies. Amazon has transformed the way we shop, completely normalising the concept of online shopping. YouTube has managed to create an entire platform which allows anyone and everyone to create and consume content.

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But why has the new age of internet mediums overrun legacy media? There are two main reasons. Media created on the internet usually requires little to no cost to both create and consume and is not filtered based on quality. In comparison, legacy media can cost quite a lot to produce, which leads to a cost to consume, which means that a quality filter is placed on it so only content that will formulate a revenue is produced.

It is this difference that is causing the rise of the internet and the death of legacy media.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Every Action Has a Reaction

You might be forgiven I’m talking about physics, but no, I’m talking about media. More specifically managing and curating media content. In a society were anyone can make and distribute content, this rule of science has found a new home describing the process that creators use to improve their content

feedback loop

Funnily enough, Newton’s balls can be used as a metaphor to describe just about anything, but we’re going to talk about it in terms of coordinating media content. Initially, a decision has to be made to lift the first ball and begin the swinging motion, which then travels through what we can call a ‘feedback loop’ until it reaches the other end where a result is reached, before it happens all over again. No matter how high the first ball is lifted before being let go, there will always be a reaction at the other end.

This is a typical process throughout media practices, particularly when coordinating a larger information network.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

CyberFAKE

As a child of the digital age, there’s never really been a time in my life when I haven’t had access to the internet. However, in the last few years, as our reliance on the internet has increased, cyberspace has become a mess of what is real and what is fake.

These days, all you need to create content that can be sent out into cyberspace is an internet connection and a device. This has made it easier than ever for people from all walks of life to create digital content, whether it can be considered fact or not.

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This clash means that there is no real way of telling what is fact or fiction when it comes to cyberspace. Because of this, everybody’s experience is different. Just because everyone has access to the same space, doesn’t meant that all experiences are the same, as it all comes down an individual’s perceptions and perspectives of the content that cyberspace presents them with.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x