Thursday, December 21, 2006

group 6: Wikipedia

I thought having the last presentation be on wikipedia was a great way to end the semester. I think it is really funny that when I seach almost anything on google wikipedia will always be the first site on the results list. Although it is good for basic or backgound information on a topic it is not exactly 100% credible. Since pretty much anyone can change the content of the sites you cannot be sure that all the information is valid and definitely should not be cited in a reseach paper.
Creating a wiki-like site that cannot be changed by just anyone and needs to have sources and experts would be much ideal as the first site that comes up from a google search

group 5: open source code

I actually had no idea what open source code was until group five's presentation and i'm still not sure if I totally understand exactly what it is. Open Source code is used by corporations to protect their products and the reduplication of their products by computer wizards. There is basically a divide between people who understand open source and know how to break the software coade and then there is people (like me!) who do not.

Large corporations are trying to keep a monopoly over their products by not letting average people reduplicate and also create a divide by keeping the prices of their products high which does not allow all people to have access

group 4 Blogging and Journalism

As this entire class has been based around posting our thoughts of the different readings by blogging I agree with blogging being the new journalism. One of the articles gives the defintion of a blog as a personal chain of webposts organized in a form of journal entries. It is displayed in order of when each entry was writtent and links are usually posted that contain relevant multimedia sources.
The major benefits of blogging is that is allows ordinary people to express their thoughs and believes to the entire society- it is accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection. Now, not only mainstream media views are readily available.. all views are available. Also, unlike traditional journalism blogs are more "free" in that they are mainly opinionated and do not have to necessarily be objective.

group 3:DMCA

I was not that familiar with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act before group three's presentation and found both their presentation and the article, "Digital Land grab: Media corporations are stealing our cultural heritage. Can we take it back?" by Henry Jenkins to be extremely interesting. Even though copyrght laws are protecing corporate and private products, they are not protecting the public interest and the fan's work. Fans promote corporate products for free and out of their own interests, however, large media comapanies are taking advantage of the fans through instituting legal control which then increases their profits.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

group 1: The Patriot Act

I think the first group did a good job of giving a thorough background and discussion on the Patriot Act. Although I thought the second reading had an interesting point of that the increased surveillance due to the passage of the "antiterrorism" laws has incufluenced online participation, the first reading was much more relevant to my life.

As the only "no" vote against the Patriot Act, Russ Feingold reminds us as American's to not act quickly solely out of fear. At times of war Americans band together, showing their support for America in hopes of receving a sense of security from the governement. The Patriot Act does give Americans that sense of comfort and protection that they need however, it gives the government much more freedom than most American's are aware of. I admire Feingold's ability to step back and look at the effects this act can have in the future.

disconnecting from feed

The feed I chose to disconnect from was the facebook. I thought it would be easy to ignore or "disconnect" from for a day and was eager to tell my roomates about the unusal homework assignment. Even though I thought it would be easy, they had different views. After class I sat at my computer and almost subconciously signed on to facebook.. typing www.fac... then stopping myself. I was really surprised by how my fingers just typed the word facebook without even realizing. For the rest of the day I was able to "control" my facebook addiction and did not check the feed.
However, I was not even able to go an entire 24 hours without needing to log onto facebook. Friday morning my roomates were looking at recently added pictures of themselves and telling me how 5 new pictures were added to my photos. I HAD to look at them and see what everyone else could see. The fact that I barely went 24 hours without facebook scared me and made the book Feed seem more and more realistic.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anderson: Feed

I found M.T. Anderson's science fiction novel, Feed, to be a quick and fun read. Even though the novel is written from the point of a teenager named Titus, it represents what our society can become with the development of new technology. Like his friends, Titus is completely consumed by his feed, a micro-chip transmitter that is implanted into his brain and bombardes him with all types of information. Titus seems content with his life revolving around the feed until he meets Violet, a girl who actually communicates through speaking in converstaions and not through the feed. Although it takes time, Violet causes Titus to realize that the feed is not the only way to exist.
Even though the idea of basically having a mini computer in your brain is cool, with the speed of our technology developing, it actually becomes somewhat scary. It kind of reminds me of 1984 by George Orwell with the idea that "Big Brother is Watching You."

Monday, November 13, 2006

Plant: "The Future Looms"

I found Sadie Plant’s article, “The Future Looms’ to be an extremely interesting new point of view. Similar to Balsamo, she focuses on the idea of the cyberfeminist and women’s roles today in a virtual world. She makes reference to Ada Lovelace, the first programmer and then explains that both women and computers begin to escape the isolation they share in the home and office with the establishment of their own networks. Even though she makes parallels between a woman’s identity and the software system, an original idea that we have never discussed in class, why is it important to the information society and the development technology if women and computers are so similar?

Michaels: "For a Cultural Future"

Eric Michaels’ article “For a Cultural Future” looks mostly at the effects of Australian Aboriginal film on their overall culture. He explains how the film and television technologies have been both good and bad for their culture. Even though it brings greater cultural continuity, it also poses as a threat by having the flow of mainstream media into traditional cultures. Michaels ends by stating that a cultural future can only be an outcome from political resistance; “It will not be founded on any appeal to nostalgia: not nostalgia for a past whose existence will always be obscure and unknown, nor a nostalgia we project into a future conceived only in terms of convoluted temporalities of our own present” (422).

Poster: "The Mode of Information and Post Modernity"

Mark Poster’s article, “The Mode of Information and Post Modernity” argues that the new mode of information and communications technologies transforms language and moves our society into a new era. Unlike before, electronic communication has allowed people to be more interactive. “Electronic culture promotes the individual as an unstable identity, as a continuous process of multiple identity formation, and raises the question of a social form beyond the modern, the possibility of a post-modern society” (398). Poster explains that similar to print, electronic communication places a distance between the addressor and the addressee and uses the examples of a TV ad, the database, and computer writing to illustrate the transformations of cultural and social life. Specifically, he believes that Foucault’s term panopticon has a direct application to databases. Databases operate as a super-panopticon. Like the prison, databases work constantly and accumulate information about individuals and compose the information into profiles.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bimber: "Information and American Democracy"

Although the first half of Bruce Bimber’s, Information and American Democracy, was different from most of the other readings we have had, I found it to be very interesting. Overall, the book looks at the relationship between characteristics of political information in society and broad properties of democratic power and practice. He describes our society as being in the middle of the fourth information revolution. Figure 1.1 on page 23 gives an outline of the four political information revolutions in the United States. Bimber summaries societies’ current status as a condition of information abundance that may possibly lead to post-bureaucratic political organizations as the basis for policy-making and collective action. An aspect unique to our society is the competition between political organizations and individuals due to the internet. Now each person is able to state their beliefs and opinions and is not restricted by geographic obstacles. This causes information, especially political information, to be a form of personal identity. Even though the internet has an extremely high potential of intensifying the amount of information available, it is not really increasing the amount of political participation overall.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Papacharissi: "The Virtual Sphere"

Zizi Papacharissi’s article “The Virtual Sphere” takes a different perspective of the public sphere then those earlier in the section. He compares the new virtual sphere with that of before. Even though many people have the internet, overall, the information and access is still dominated by very few people. Papacharissi believes the virtual sphere reflects the dynamics of a new social movement that struggle on a cultural, rather than traditionally political terrain which inspires political and social structures.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Keane: "Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere"

John Keane’s article “Structural Transformations of the Public Sphere” discusses his vision of the public sphere. He believes that it is outdated to believe the ideal of a unified public sphere and rather it is the development of “complex mosaic of differently sized, overlapping, and interconnected public spheres that force us to radically to revise our understanding of public life” (366). He explains that the three public spheres are idealtypisch and rarely appear alone. Keane goes into detail the three different public spheres, the first the micro-public (local state), the second the meso-public (national state), and the third the macro-public (global state). Keane gives specific examples when defining the three aspects of the public sphere, the most interesting being the development of micro-public spheres among children with video games.

Garnham: "Media and the Public Sphere"

The article “The Media and the Public Sphere” by Nicholas Garnham focuses mainly on the influence of the media and how the media is basically a oligopoly owned by a few huge corporations. Having the media in the hands of so few people is a threat to the public sphere because it is one of the only ways people receive information. He points out that the public sphere is challenged by three main aspects: the increase conglomeration of media companies, the shift towards commercial information services, and the paid access to information sources. Similar to Garnham, I also believe it is the states responsibility to control this monopolized media, and that something needs to be accomplished soon.

Habermas: "The Public Sphere"

Jurgen Habermas’s article, “The Public Sphere” begins by describing the actual concept of the public of the public sphere and giving the overall history of how it changed from highly educated individuals to increased participation from the common public. He defines the public sphere as a realm of our social life in which something approaching public opinion can be formed. All citizens must be guaranteed access and it is formed through private individuals assembling to form a public body. Habermas points out the significance of the media’s role in the public sphere since the public cannot always gather in one physical location to express their opinions.