Thinking: Personal Cyberinfrastructure

Throughout this blog post, I will explain my thoughts and feelings about being a university student in the digital age, what I hope to gain from my University experience, and give my view on Gardner Campbell’s ideas about a personal cyber infrastructure.

Being a university student in the Digital age, I feel that most of the classes that I have taken so far could have benefited from the use of technology in the classroom, such as posting assignments online or having a question and answer board for the class to use. The amount of classes that I had so far that actually utilize those resources, however, was very small. Moreover, the further I reflect upon my college experience the more I realize that the amount of teachers willing to take such a technological step, though drastic by no means, were few at best. On the contrary, I can remember more than one occasion in which the teacher had openly admitted not being good with the internet or “technology” in general, and proceeded to teach like they had for the last 30 years. While understandable, I think it would be much more efficient to learn a technology as it comes along. This is easier said than done; as this would require them to spend their precious time and money on learning something that has newly arrived to market.

In general, I hope to acquire a better understanding of the world around me and further reasoning capabilities in order to more efficiently accomplish my goals for the future. Thinking back to when I first began my college career, I thought that upon completion of my University degree, I would be completely prepared for my future job having completed all the necessary courses that were deemed necessary in order to be successful at said future job. To my surprise, and mixed emotion, I have learned that this was definitely not the case. Indeed, I did learn about the general principles of marketing, economics, finance, etc., but I slowly came to the realization that this was not what college was all about (for me at least). I found out that college was more like an amalgam of learning about subjects that you really wanted to learn, really didn’t want to learn, and perhaps the most important thing: subjects that you weren’t interested in originally but eventually found them to be quite interesting or learned to appreciate the meaning of its importance.

So my current wish as to what I want to get out of my university experience would be to learn as much as I can about the world and what composes it, in order to better myself. This means that I want to learn about subjects that I like, don’t like, or maybe even find pointless, as there is meaning in everything we learn, whether we realize it or not. Technology is no exception, and I wish to gain as much information about the growing cyber-world that is constantly evolving alongside the “real one” from classes such as this one.

In regard to Campbell’s ideas regarding personal cyber infrastructure, I think that if they were, in fact, implemented it would bring about a plethora of change for the better, as it would encourage the use of technology throughout other facets of life as people graduate from school and would also encourage innovation. I think, ultimately, his idea is good but the implementation would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to implement. There are plenty of people who have a hard time, or I should say lack of will power, to even maintain a simple blog such as this one, even if it is required to get a good grade in college. Making everyone in charge of their own web server is simple. Making everyone use that web server to the best of their own ability is a different thing entirely. Again, I think his idea is a good one, but in order to implement such a plan, it would have to be thought of carefully. It would not only raise tuition but also lessen time available to study or attend other classes.

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DFPQ1

Cutting to the chase, let me get right to the selected quote from Gardner’s essay for today’s quiz:

“Sometimes, however, progress means looping back to earlier ideas whose vitality and importance were unrecognized or underexplored at the time, and bringing those ideas back into play in a new context.”

This line of text was probably the one that resonated with me the most compared to others within the text. It has been shown throughout history that sometimes the most profound changes or thoughts come from people who have long passed away. For example, works from now considered great thinkers,like Socrates, were not thought of much during the period they lived in. Today, however, the Platonic Socrates is examined greatly, with new meaning drawn from his writ actions daily.

Again, it is the profoundness of this line that makes me appreciate it so much. If we, as humans, do not consider our history carefully while progressing technologically, it can lead us to overlook a critical component for the solution in regards to our contemporary problems pertaining to innovation.

Bang!

Nothing like seeing a fiery explosion in the middle of the night accompanied by an earsplitting sound to liven things up, don’t you agree?

If not, it might pain you to find out that, historically speaking, many cultures have embraced the use of fireworks to celebrate their most memorable occasions. Taken from Wikipedia, “The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China, where they were invented. The fireworks were used to accompany many festivities. It is a part of the culture of China and had its origin there, eventually it spread to other cultures and societies.Important events and festivities such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and the Mid-Autumn Festival were and still are times when fireworks are guaranteed sights. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world.

As you can see, not only is the China the birthplace (or if you prefer, the place with the oldest record of fireworks in their history) of our explosive fun, but also the worlds current leader infirework production. Quite impressive, don’t you think?

Anyway, I just wanted to give some substance to a simple thought I had and wanted to share as I was skimming through pictures of fireworks that I took (during various times). Image

That thought was simply: “Fireworks are awesome!”

 

Let me know of your experience with fireworks in the comments below! Thanks!

The Art of: Music

Taken from Wikipedia, music is defined as:  “an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; “art of the Muses“).

Music, to me, is a fascinating characteristic of humanity. There is no culture that exists, or has ever existed, that does not have some sort of musical concept within it. From the tribes of the Amazon to the United States of America, music has become an integral part of everyday life within all of society. It is inescapable, having permeated all of our life’s boundaries. How many times can you recall in a day where you hear music that you weren’t even listening to voluntarily? Probably, one will be able to think of a couple times in which that has happened. Probably there are very few of us left in this modernized world who can say otherwise.

It fascinates me even more to think of how there is seemingly a music for everything that we do in this world. What I mean by this extends beyond genre and crosses over into the realm of songs or tunes that were specifically designed for a certain setting. For example, can you think of the last time you were in a some type of doctor’s office, perhaps a dentist’s office, and recall the music that was being played in the waiting room? Most likely, the music that you could hear in such a situation was quite calming, tranquil music. The reasons for that are simple. Music, inherently, is typically able to affect our mood beyond reach words. As the rhythms of songs caress our ears we can be either relaxed or energized depending on the tunes ferocity. So, for this reason, the music in the doctor’s office would be calming in order to soothe your nerves before heading in for your consultation or treatment. I’m sure if they played a song from the death metal genre or a more sombre and melancholic song, one’s feelings would necessarily be changed. I am sure you can think of many more similar situations that you’ve experienced in which music was used to influence our emotions, as in the doctor’s office.

Music, of course, is an immensely deep subject, one that you can spend an entire lifetime on analyzing. For this post, however, I will end it here asking you to relate your personal experience with music (if you played any instruments, your favorite type of music, singer, etc.). If there is anything else you wish to add, feel free to do so.

Thanks for reading!

Everywhere Malware Presentation

For my presentation given on the 5th of March, I spoke about the Stuxnet virus article, Cyberbomb That Hit Iran Was 1 of 5 Weapons, Researchers Say. This was a very interesting topic to research and present, as the Stuxnet virus was a very complicated work of computer code that completed a very specific task. That task was mainly to interfere with and damage Siemen control systems. This virus predominantly attacked Iran and its nuclear program damaging its developement. Although it can not be proven, it is largely believed that the creators of this Stuxnet virus, as well as the larger platform which it was created on, was the United states and Israel. I am not sure if you are familiar with the state of affairs in the international system at the moment, but the US and Israel do NOT like the fact that Iran is refusing to halt work on its nuclear program as it is most likely testing nuclear missiles instead of just for power plants as they say.

In regards to the actual presenting, I thought it was pretty fun! I am glad I got the chance to share my thoughts and ideas with the class and I am also equally as glad to have received tons of discussion from my  classmates about my topic. Many people also had there own information regarding the stuxnet virus that they shared with me which I did not know and helped further my experience presenting.

Also, I thought I was going to be a lot more nervous presenting but thanks to the small groups and great classmates, I had no problem at all! The power point I made for the presentation helped, too!

I hope everyone enjoyed it! Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment below.

The Vice of Bullying

In the Vice Online section of the readings, I’ve decided to discuss more about what I have learned about Cyber-Bullying and discuss some of my thoughts and opinions on the subject.

First and foremost, let me start off by saying that Cyber-bullying is an ever increasing phenomena found (only) on the web. Being just as bad or ,arguably, worse than “real life” bullying, cyber bullying is relentless and can cause emotional problems and and anxiety to those targeted in attacks.

There are many reasons why cyber bullying happens and why it still persists, but if thought about in simple terms the central reason becomes clear. On the internet, it is presumed that there are no consequences to such delinquent action and therefore encourages people to act on those base desires in their hearts and torment others verbally to their hearts content. Cyber-bullies, also known as trolls, live on the exchange of comments between users (themselves and the victim and/or observers of the conversation) to draw their pleasure from. Of course, the natural thing to do when encountering such harassment is to not take the bait, so to speak, and simply ignore it. That, however, is akin to putting a band-aid over a wound that needs stitches. It doesn’t address the problem and will most likely make it even worse in the future.

As mentioned in the article, Cyber Bullying, is committed by a number of different people for any kind of reason. Contrary to what the article states at the end, regarding how cyber-bullies are unstoppable, I believe this is not so. In fact, I have heard multiple reports and have read numerous comments regarding this very topic that prove quite the contrary as well. I was not able to find the news article I am about to mention specifically, but I once read on BBC about a man who was sentenced to serve a jail sentence and pay fines for “trolling” or “desecrating” a facebook tribute page of a deceased little girl.

For the sake of brevity, let me clarify by saying that cyber-bullies are indeed affected by actions taken in real life. With technical know-how, one can find the persons IP address and contact their provider to alert them of such a users actions. I am unsure how such a process would work, but if the offense that the person committed online is grave enough, I am sure the service provider you contact will be happy to help you out. If you know any more about legal stuff like that, let me know in the comments below!

Lastly, let me just give a quick review of what I thought about the article that was read for this section. I thought that it was a nice essay that addressed most of the main issues of cyber-bullying and was thoughtful by using personal examples to explain how much cyber-bullying can affect people sometimes.

Thank you for reading, and try not to troll everyone!

Leave a comment if you wish!

Part III: Infection

This next DS106 assignment, The Role Playing Game, was probably the most thought provoking challenge I have done yet. Not only does this assignment test one’s writing skills, it also tests one’s creativity to bring an interesting story to the blogging and DS1o6 community.
I will refrain from going into too much about how I wrote what I wrote, because I don’t believe that stories gain any more meaning that way. I think that, on the contrary, it takes away something from it. In this post, I have listed the previous two parts (in italics) before mine , in order for you, the reader, to have an easier time getting into the story. One of the previous posts was posted by Roundhouse slap, so maybe check out her page, too, and tell her what you thought!

Just so everyone knows, the original entries were not titled with the names “The Beginning: Part I” or “The Beginning: Part II”. I added them to make it easy for you to discern who’s work was who’s and make it look more structured as well.

When you’re done reading, please feel free to leave a comment below. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have, as well! You should try to do it, too, and try to add your own twist to the story!

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you enjoy it!

The Beginning Part I: Exodus

“Joe the clown was not a happy camper this morning. This was evidenced by the fact that he had put four lumps of sugar into his coffee, instead of the regular two. He only ever broke his two-sugars rule on special occasions, so going by that particular string of logic, this was a very special occasion indeed. Nevertheless Joe had little time to sulk, hunched over his kitchen table with remnants of buttered toast still clinging to the sides of his lips. And so it was that with a labored sigh he propped himself up off his seat and began the dreaded walk towards the front door, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a red rubber nose as he did so. He finished fixing the rubber implement on his own nose at about the same moment that his other hand fell on the cold, brass doorknob that led to the outside world. He paused for a moment, just a little longer than what he would usually allow himself (but this was a special occasion, remember). He then took a deep breath, turned the knob and stepped outside into the cold chilly morning air. It was time to have a word with the neighbours who had kept him up all night…”

The Beginning Part II: Victoria Powers

The moment that Joe stepped over the threshold of his apartment, the blinds on his neighbor’s window quickly flicked shut. “He’s bound to head over here to complain.” Victoria assured herself as she tugged her black leather gloves so they fit ever more snugly upon her fingertips. Her eyes flicked from the window down to the floor, where the motionless figures of the home’s actual inhabitants were sprawled.  She had only precious little time before the effects of the drugs wore off. She stepped gracefully but purposefully over their slumbering bodies as she moved on to the task at hand.

She quietly traversed the room until she was poised behind the front door. Reaching into the pocket of her coat she withdrew a rather large syringe, filled halfway with an opaque yellow liquid. She was both delicate and determined as she removed the cap and flicked the tip of the half-inch needle with the back of her gloved fingertips. A little pressure on the end of the syringe with her thumb forced a single droplet of liquid out of its tip. It was at this moment she heard Joe’s steps come to a halt on the other side door. The edges of her lips tugged upwards into a satisfied smirk.

In one swift motion the door swung open, and before the clown could react they were pressed up against one another. A passer-by could have mistaken this as an embrace from afar; Victoria, much shorter than Joe, looked like she had rushed into the arms of her lover. However, hidden betwixt their mashed up bodies her hand held and empty syringe, its needle buried deep into the clown’s chest. She wrapped her free arm around his back as his form slumped lifelessly onto hers, and dragged him into the home as the door shut behind them.”

Part III: Infection

The house, of late Victorian style, was quite bare on the inside. Contrary to the incredibly well maintained, lavish exterior of the house, the interior was surprisingly dull and bare. The first floor was quite open, partially exposing all the rooms except for the kitchen, which was, from the entrance of the house, completely obscured from sight. Immediately upon entering, one was first greeted with the sight of an ancient winding staircase that led up to the higher floors. Once inside, Victoria, with an unexpected strength, carried the limp, twitching clown up the stairs. As they ascended, the heavy door to the entrance slowly closed behind them.

After reaching the second floor, Victoria casually strode into the room directly in front of the stair case. Contradictory to the rest of the house, this large, spacious room was quite cluttered.  Like stacks of paper, several bodies in piles of two littered the floor. Apparently accustomed to the sight, she proceeded to walk over to a single, lonesome looking creature and began to place the body of the unlucky performer she held, on top of it, in a most particular manner. After examining her seemingly dead captives on the floor, she became slightly irritated. Victoria, always in complete control of the situation, was deeply bothered by the scene before her. Something was wrong, but luckily she knew just what it was and how to fix it.

Slowly but surely she began to make her way back over to Joe the Clown. As the elegant figure reached the near lifeless lumps of flesh, she gracefully stretched her arm forward and plucked off Joe’s bright-red nose piece. After fingering it in her hand for just a moment, she tossed it callously into the far left corner of the room.

The visage of Joe the Clown without his signature cherry-colored snout, seemingly lifeless on the floor, pleased her greatly. Ready to move on to the next phase of her plan, she quickly exited the room just as she entered. Curious as one may be, to peer into her thoughts now, one would find the truth to this grisly reality.

The thought of several potential hosts for her “children” is what really made her shiver with joy. The yellow liquid injected into the chests of the victims, now coursing through their bodies, contained a single egg of a being that was not from this world. Unknown to the human incubators covering the floor, her terrifying plan was already underway with chance of little interference. Victoria’s curly, auburn hair bounced gently off her soft, supple cheeks as she further admired her victims, relishing the fate that she has brought them.