Monday, March 22, 2010

Assignment #5: Digital Convergence

The latest and newest purchase I already want to make less than a year after I have already bought an Itouch: the new Ipad. The iPad is a perfect example of digital convergence. What is digital convergence you may ask?

Digital Convergence is best described in my opinion as combining different media technologies into one main source so that everyday life will become more organized and productive.

Digital Convergence is an everyday developing technology that not only continues to change but also one that benefits everyone including corporations, large and small businesse
s, organizations and everyday people. It's convenient and easy to have everything at your fingertip. For example, my cell phone has a GPS System, games, a music identifier, mailbox for my e-mail addresses, plays music, has the time on it, plays videos, allows me access to my facebook and myspace account, is a calculator, alarm clock and is also my phone. This is digital convergence. Now obviously I am the consumer and I use this device for literally everything I need. I refer to my phone as my "lifeline" to my friends because with this many of the everyday items I need on it, it is.

Now when it comes to news organizations, according to the article
"Can the Apple iPad Save Newspapers?," digital convergence would allow readers to see multiple articles on one screen, have wireless internet, video and more. The idea is that people will pay for this multi-purpose function and let's be real: They will and soon will.

Corporations will use digital convergence in one way: Making a profit. Instead of just selling one item say a phone they combine several technologies into one device to mark up the cost of the device. In my opinion, the demand is also greater for these devices that have multiple functions because it's a matter of convenience and time is money. If I can have one device that has 20 options on it as opposed to 3 devices that have 3 functions each, clearly I'm going to purchase the device that has the 20 options. Not only will it save me time, it saves me the space of carrying the multiple devices.

Several of these devices that have and will continue to revolutionize digital convergence include: the Amazon Kindle, the Apple iPhone, iTouch, iPad, the Nintendo DSI, Microsoft's Digital Journal, and tons of other types of phones, computers and virtually almost every piece of technology is updating with multiple functions in an effort to increase their digital convergence to compete in the market.

Pictured above are just some of Apple's products using digital convergence. The iPhone is one of the most popular cell phones on the market today. Not only a phone, but a phone that contains multiple apps or applications just by touching the screen. Not only does it allow you to buy and or download these apps, but it's a phone, calculator, calendar, internet provider, gives you the weather, GPS system, music and so so much more. A list of apps can be found here.

Apple's iPad is another device offering digital convergence. You can see a whole web page on the screen and is described as way better than a laptop. This device allows users internet access, word processor, video access, a microphone and has all iPhone apps available as well.

So now the question is how does this all play into the Long Tail and Creative Commons in which we learned about earlier in the semester? Well simply put they all go hand in hand. The Long Tail allows us technology and with digital convergence, we are now constantly being allowed more technology in one compact device with several functions. When it comes to Creative Commons, this is where we are allowed to use and change works of art to make them our own as long as we give credit to the original artist. With digital convergence we can change those works in more than one way. For example, using the Apple iPad I can reach a video on the internet and then I can change it to my own work of art as long as I give proper credit to the original artist. It's pretty fascinating to see how all three play together.

In 2020 it's hard to imagine what the digital world will be like. Such changes occur on a daily basis as it is now and will only continue to grow. I imagine the speed at which we can reach our e-mail, and internet will take even less time than it does now. In an article I read it discusses fanciful ideas that Apple will come up with in the future, the thing is I don't believe they're fanciful ideas. I truly think that Apple and other technological companies are constantly coming up with prototypes of such products as the tribook. I do think sadly however that within ten years, technology will have definitely outrun our lives. I think classes won't even exist but instead everything will be done online, including lectures over camera. I also believe computers will write our papers for us as we speak it out to a microphone in the computer. I think about the medical advances technologically speaking as well and digital convergence is probably going to play into that as well by giving us a cyberknife type of object that gives us vitals, performs surgeries and can look up on the internet how to perform the surgery. While I'm one for technological advances, it's actual rather scary to think about what advances will take place in the next ten years.

Here is a really good article according to CNN of what the technological world will be like 2025. Pretty scary if you read it and what's already in the works. I mean I could go on forever but chances are if you've thought about it, it's already in the works or pre-creation stages. I guess only time will tell what does become developed and what doesn't.

Both Internet and Pics

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Assignment #4

Social Networking

Do you have a facebook, myspace or twitter? Usually the most common question I hear asked when people first meet each other and are trying to get one another’s contact information. Even I have asked this question many times.

Twitter, facebook and other networking tools basically get your message out there. Whether you want to post what you're doing on twitter, trying to keep in touch or make fan pages on facebook or posting your videos on youtube, it's a way of communicating with one another. Businesses are also using these social networking sites as advertising for jobs as well as to get their products out in the market and become known. These businesses are also using these sites to get demographic information or in other words finding out what their customers like and dislike.

One successful social networking website is Facebook. Facebook is so varied in how it can be used. Most of us, myself included use Facebook as a means to communicate with friends and family, however some people use this site as a way of advertising their businesses or causes.

Another group of people using the social networking sites include celebrities. Betty White for example will now be hosting Saturday Night Live because of a Facebook fan page being posted on their site. According to MTV News, after Betty White appeared in a Snickers Superbowl ad, fans started a Facebook page attempting to get her on SNL as the host. It worked. Over 500,00 people joined the fan page and because of it the actress who believed the producer of the show didn't even know who she was, heard the message loud and clear: People want Betty White as the host.

Another example of social networking would be YouTube. YouTube is a website where you can upload videos of yourself to say or share whatever you want to the world. I don't know how many times I have gotten a text or call saying "hey check out this video on YouTube, you're gonna laugh." This networking site truly has made people famous for the most mundane things. For example, a few years ago just a regular guy became hugely known for singing a song in German. Now if you look at how many views he has received, you'll see it's over a million. When this video first came out however, it was way more than this. This just goes to show how social networking can really get your image, message or basically anything you want out to the public.

These two examples definitely go hand in hand with what we learned about the Long Tail and Creative Commons at the beginning of the semester. Both showed how technology is growing so quickly. I mean you can go on the Internet today and literally find anything about anything, there really is that much information out there. When it comes to Creative Commons, this is the site where people can tweak others' work as long as proper credit is due. It's plain and simple: social networking is the way to get what you want out in the world whether it be jobs, a message, a stupid video you think is funny, your brand or your products, this is the way to do it. Technology is the way of the world. I mean how many of you have a facebook, twitter or myspace account? You're a social net worker if you do.



Facebook Image

Myspace Image

Twitter Image

Advertising Image

YouTube Video

Monday, February 15, 2010

Asignment #3: Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that basically both allow and help people use creative works. It allows sharing, using, remixing and submitting; and a huge bonus: it's legal and free. It's different from traditional copyright in that the individual who submitted the work both owns their copyright as well as shares it with others. There are six free licenses that let the sharing of text, photos, video, audio, art and music be free. This is changing the way people can share and protect their work.

It's because of Creative Commons that many things are taking place worldwide. For one Creative Commons is helping expand sharing in the Middle East because Al Jazeera issued video footage under the Creative Commons license. The U.S. Government has expanded the use of Creative Commons licenses and even the U.S. Government's Chief Technology Officer spoke about the copyright issues and endorses Creative Commons licensing techniques. In New Zealand, the encouragement of Creative Commons will be done so that people can use licensed material on liberal terms.

Creative Commons is changing the way content producers are protecting their work in many ways. For one they came up with CCo or CCZero which is for anyone who wants to place their work in the public surrendering copyright and database rights. GreenXchange comes from Science Commons and has "some rights reserved." Artists, scientists, educators and musicians use this. It makes it avaialable to anyone and if they want to use it, they can as long as credit is given to the original artist. Wikipedia and Wikimedia are now even licensed under Creative Commons. Huge sites such as Yahoo and Google now allow you to filter search results using Creative Commons in their Image Search tool.

Josh Woodward, an artist who uses Creative Commons to share his work with all who are interested. With Creative Commons, anyone can use his work as long as credit is given to Josh, him being the original artist. It allows as we said before to use it in any way they see fit. I think this is a huge thing for unknown artists like him because it gets his name out there. With this website, his song could be used in things such as movies, etc as long as I said before and I'll say it again: proper credit is given to him.


In my opinion, Creative Commons is an amazing tool for independent artists period. This is legally allowing people to get their stuff out their and let it be used as long as credit is given to the original artist. It's basically to me free advertising. It allows both parties to be helped out. One is getting their work shown in public while the other party is seeing another person's work. If someone doesn't want their work out there they simply don't put it on Creative Commons. It's a win win situation for everyone involved.

Creative Commons
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Josh Woodward
"Photo: Josh Woodward, Feb. 15, 2010 (Photo by flickr from Yahoo, licensed under the Creative Commons Searc by Creative Commons)."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Assignment # 2 Google vs. Censorship

Could you imagine not being able to use the internet? I know I couldn't. This soon could be the case in China where Google will be stopping the censorship of their site. China is very unhappy with this idea and its most likely going to lead to Google leaving the market. I think this is the right thing to do on Google's part. When you begin to censor what one can see, you are in a way taking the whole truth away from someone and in my opinion that's wrong. When someone is not able to see the whole truth, distorted views usually occur, which can be a dangerous thing. The internet is one way we all are informed, whether because we look at articles or videos or any type of information from the net, it's our access to knowledge.

In the article, discussed is how everyday citizens are posting videos to news web sites. Now since everyone has access to the web and the ability to post these videos, the Long Tail comes into play. From my previous blog, you know that the Long Tail has to do with the digital distribution. It's the same as the music situation, videos and search results as long as not censored are available for everyone no matter what your tastes or preferences. There are limitless possibilities as to what you can find on the net. It's this whole limitless possibilities that seems to be the issue with other countries. The internet seems to be throwing a wrench in the fact that other countries can't really control what it is that their citizens are viewing. This of course leads to huge issues around the world between government and its people as well as government and companies such as Google.

By the deliberate act of the government trying to censor these sites it's taking away basically the rights of their people. To me it comes down to the first amendment right and freedom of speech, they're in a sense taking that away from their people. People should be able to express themselves whether the government likes it or not, for the most part we have that right here whereas in some countries they don't like China, where they already are censoring things. There's enough room in this world for everyone's opinion, whether you agree with it or not.

While China may do this already I think it will soon come to an end. They may be able to succeed in the short term of censoring but I dont believe they will in the long-term. There's just too many things out there to get around it and I think if people have the will, they will find ways around being censored. For that matter I feel this is the same for any country not just China, even in the cases of Burma and Iran. I feel even if people were punished they would still fight back for rights they deserve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A requirement for my Issues in Cyberspace class was to read Chris Anderson's WIRED magazine article, The Long Tail. With it being such a mainstream thing, today's technology and the access to it have become a large business. Chris Anderson's long tail theory shows how hugely the tv, democratic, music and journalism industries will be affected by this digital distribution.

Chris Anderson's "The long tail" basically means something will be available for everyone no matter how odd your tastes. He discussed the Paretto rule in the youtube video in which its an 80-20 ratio but in reality it's 99% that the top online companies will rent or sell. He discusses how hit and miss are on same equal economic footing and that when you add it up, the biggest profits are in the smallest sales.

With the long tail comes 3 rules that must be followed. In the WIRED article the first rule discussed is "embrace niches" which means make everything available. The fact that offering anything is smart because even if there's that small chance someone will buy it, there is still that small chance which once again can add up. For example: Netflix has a much larger selection of say documentaries then Blockbuster, it's because of this that more people are going to choose Netflix over Blockbuster. A larger selection of niches means larger consumer satisfaction and better business profits and service wise.The second rule is to cut the price in half then lower it again. It's just the truth that the lower prices are, the more people buy of something. Smart pricing can add up to the same as an album at a large store. Chris discusses how with older content, because of smart pricing the content ended up actually making money back. Also when it comes to illegal downloading the price can be free but at a cost of poor quality and downloading viruses onto your computer.

If prices are low enough, consumers would rather spend the low amount of money then incurring the risks. The third rule discussed is to help me find it! Recommendations have become effective marketing for new and old artists. As I recal, there's a discussion how after researching an artist, alternate artists come up. The idea is that people will look at these other artists and enjoy their music and purchase it. Products that one person may like but several hundred other people don't still should have adequate information of how to go about finding it becuase it could be a sale. In the youtube video, discussed is the power law which basically goes like this: small numbers add up to large numbers. This chart will give a better understanding:

This chart shows how the long tail (yellow part) is a result because Rhapsody carries more rare music then say Walmart or Target or some other store and in return gets more business. Amazon and Netflix have examples above as well.

This graph shows that this is the way of the future period. Media outlets are going to have to change their "niche reaching" if they want to stay in business, it's as simple as that. Why would a consumer who likes rare or different music stick with only companies that sell only the hits, the answewr is they wouldn't. They will go with the company that can meet their need.

In my opinion infinite shelf space can only help both the consumer and producer. It all goes back to the fact of options. With infinite shelf space this means that the consumer can pick virtually anything they want movie or music wise and get it. When there's no limit on what the company can carry, in a sense they then have the availability to carry everything.

Check out these sites/images that I used in my blog, just click on the link to see more:

Chris Anderson's WIRED article: