Whatever humans can do…

…computers can do it better!


産業界では2年後に第1弾を迎える消費税増税に戦々恐々としている。 =That we fear in the industry and we welcome war to the consumption tax hike in two years after the first bullet.

Eh…maybe not.

For this DS106 assignment, “Google Translate Fail”, one must “find something in a foreign language and use Google Translate and laugh about how awful it is.” Oh, and while you’re at it, “if its a language you know, give an explanation of what it should be and list possible reasons it got messed up.” For this assignment, I chose to translate something from Japanese to English. The results, as you have seen, are quite..um, remarkable (kind of, at least).

For my line, I took it from a news page after typing in 戦 々恐々in Google search.

First, in regards to why the explanation is “messed up”, is because Google translate does not have the ability to understand the complex nuances of the language. Taken from a video (produced by Google presumably) found on the blog entitled Google Operating System, “these computers use a process called ‘statistical machine translation’ — which is just a fancy way to say that our computers generate translations based on patterns found in large amounts of text.” That means that there is really is no true “understanding” of a language to a computer. Translating comes down to, in simple terms, numbers or statistical correlations. So, in terms of quality, the translations are usually more wrong than correct. In terms of speed, however, it is certainly much faster.

So while Google translate isn’t the greatest in terms of quality, the speed it is able to translate at is incredible and will no doubt have us coming back to it again and again regardless of the lack of quality.


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.


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.

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!

Your Nex-Burger

As one of my main topics of discussion, food, or in particular hamburgers, is evolving as rapidly as technology is. Decades back, we had the introduction of GM crops, or Genetically Modified crops. In more recent developments, scientists have even been able to create burgers in the lab out of things like fecal matter and stem cells.
A recent article in BBC got me thinking about food again, after it mentioned that scientists reached a breakthrough point with creating meat from stem cells in the lab. The article itself mentions that making meat this way is indeed the most energy efficient. As it takes 100g of vegetable protein to produce 15g of animal protein giving current meat production levels only a 15% efficiency rate. In the lab grown method, however, efficiency is increased to 50% and is a more eco-friendly way of meeting the food production needs for the earth’s ever growing population.
The downside to this method at the moment is that there really is no way of mass producing the meat right now. The fact that each burger costs around $200,000 dollars to make definitely puts a hamper on early sales as well.
I’ve been meaning to pose this question to my general(ly forced) readers, so let me not waste any more time in doing so.

Would you eat any type of meat that is grown purely “in the lab”? Where do you draw the line regarding food? Are you already an “organic only” person? Or are you the type that if it tastes good, it’s okay?

You can answer the questions if you want, or just let me know what you think of this whole meat growing business in general or anything you want to say.

Thanks for reading! ^_^

WEB 2.0 – A Response

In response to article on Web 2.0, I would like to first clarify the meaning of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

That is: Web 2.0 is not an actual “upgrade” of Web 1.0, rather, Web 2.0 is more of a new concept of the web that is replacing the old one.

Throughout O’Reilly’s article he tries to focus on this point. He even states “This article is an attempt to clarify just what we mean by Web 2.0.” To not know this central question is like steering a ship without having any idea of where you’re going.

That being said, let’s begin the review of his first main points. Designating something as Web 2.0 isn’t exactly an easy task. In fact, some of the things that he lists as Web 2.0 aren’t even websites! Some of the key features that help distinguish Web 2.0 services would be their “perpetual beta” qualities and abilities to serve the masses, not just the biggest cites on the net. For example, in the article, the author mentions Google and Netscape. Netscape and Google, while both being software companies, have different goals in mind in regards to who they wish to service. Netscape, being part of the Net 1.0 group, wishes to push its server sales by using its power in the browser market, where on the other hand, Google, tries to focus on providing a service to the masses managing the data and content of the net.

There are other numerous examples similar to the one just mentioned, where the Web 1.0 service increasingly focuses on the “head” of the internet (the big companies) rather than the “long tail” (the rest of the internet). This inadvertently leads to the remarkable acceptance and success of the Web 2.0 applications increasing their domination of the web ever so. P2P downloading is a rather good example of how this decentralization of the “head” to the “tail” increases growth and user activity on the web.

Another main point Reilly made was that internet 2.0 was more about information gathering through different methods. Whether its through hyper-linking or encouraging user participation, Web 2.0 applications simply trump the Web 1.0 applications in the information gathering and supplying sector. To sum it up, whether through tagging or other community based actions like viral advertising, Web 2.0 apps rely predominantly on user based activity, in contrast to the Web 2.0 sites preference to publishers, advertisers, and other major players in the internet world, to get their message or product to the consumer.

In other words:

Web 1.0 = Rigid Framework With Limited User Influence

Web 2.0 =  Flexible Framework Relying On the User’s Input

Sites that we often use in class are also a topic mentioned within the article, as Flickr and blogging sites like WordPress show just how flexible and user reliant Web 2.o applications are. Flickr allows users to upload and share their photos with people from all around the world, while WordPress allows users to be brought together in ways that traditional publishing and ways of posting can not. From Reilly’s article, one can see that successful Web 2.0 applications seem to take heed of user based amplification of their software, adding a competitive edge to their products and services. Again, accessiblity to information, whether its source code or photos, all help (at least some of )Web 2.0 type applications perform their function better by enhancing user feedback and utilizing their knowledge to the fullest to develop their app.

It is also important to note that the Web 2.0 software is not necessarily “on the web.” Integration of the web’s ability to span different platforms and systems is what makes certain software ,like Apple’s iTunes, a great example of Web 2.0. Web applets that can transcend different systems are also good examples of this as well.

So, in review of all this information, we can conclude that Web 2.0 exceeds Web 1.0 in a number of aspects. The most important feature that marks Web 2.0 as a critical update for the web, is that it focuses more on the user and the user’s need regardless of the platform.

Thanks for reading this incredibly long review, I hope you liked it!

Oh, and as always, if I am missing something, just drop me a line in the comment box below.

Thanks again!