Interactive Version of Research

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Is Flash here to Stay?

Is Flash going or is it staying?

After learning flash and finally getting somewhat comfortable with using this program, I would be disheartened to learn that many companies were getting rid of flash all together. I understand that simply keeping up with these ever changing programs is a full time job, but could it really be going out of use while I am in the process of learning it?

Mobile versions of Flash will not be used any longer on smartphones. The development of applications using flash has ceased. I was really hoping to be able to view my portfolio with that includes flash applications on my iPhone. For those in the program that wish to be application developers, their flash knowledge will be useless. Steve Jobs even declared that Flash had a poor performance on mobile devices. The seemed to be the kiss of death for Adobe Flash. There is likely to be this same trend for desktop devices as well. At the same time, companies are saying they are still using flash and it is not going anywhere. I just hope that what I have learned will still prove to be valuable upon graduation.

Augmented Reality Programs

The app, Wikitude, was my first experience with an augmented reality application. This application uses the camera on the iPhone to determine where you are and provide information about the sites around you. I used the application around campus and I was able to pull up information about the university. It also shows what restaurants, cafes, ATMs and sights around you. This application is perfect when on vacation or in a city that you are unfamiliar with. I would love to be able to try the application out in a different location other than the university. I may keep the application on my phone and use it when I am in Iceland in January.

After learning about these types of applications, I have used augmented reality programs without realizing it. Google Earth is an augmented reality program that a lot of people use to determine where certain places are or simply for fun. I have used Google Earth many times and it has changed a lot since its inception. Now, Google Earth provides 3D views of streets and neighborhoods. It is amazing that a satellite can project all of these images that we can now see on our laptops.

By mixing the virtual world and the real world together, augmented reality is a way to enhance our senses and skills. It bends the rules of physical laws and allows us to experience the world differently. As always, does this really enhance our reality or hinder it?

Agumented Reality

All semester, we have been talking about gaming, virtual worlds, online markets, and alternate reality. It would seem that society is doing everything it can to escape reality. While I can see the benefits of these alternate reality programs and games, I do find it sad that we need these things in our lives because reality is often not fulfilling enough for us. We are so “connected” because of the WWW but I just hope that we don’t disconnect ourselves from reality.

I wanted to try out some of the augmented reality apps mentioned in the article to see if my opinion may be changed. I plan on downloading a couple applications on to my iPhone this week and trying them out. One that I particularly found interesting is the Wikitude app. The app displays information about the users’ surroundings in a mobile camera view. I think it would be interesting to see what it would say about Elon, or if it would even pick anything up.

I downloaded the application and one thing I found interesting what that it was an age-restricted app. It made me a little wary because what kind of information would come up that I would need to be 17 or older to read? Stay tuned. One application I found that would be beneficial to me is the app that finds your car in a parking lot. I work in an outlet center and when it is crowded there, it is difficult to find my car. I downloaded this app as well and I will try it out when I am at work this week. I am looking forward to see if these apps will help me or only frustrate me. Here goes nothing.

SecondLife

Second life is a 3-D virtual world created by residents with an average of 60,000 + users per day. Users create their own avatars and interact with others in the world created in Second Life. Recent ethical issues have come up because of Second Life. We discussed the issues of pornography and underage usage within Second Life, but do the same laws apply in this virtual world as in the real world.

Its a hard question to think about. This is a virtual world, similar to the Sims game so similar laws apply here? Does what go on in Second Life have any effect on real life. In one scenario, a woman who kill her virtual husband in Second Life ended up in real jail. She faces a max o f5 years in prison for hacking onto her “online husbands” account and killing off his avatar. She also has a $5,000 bail. There seems to be a fine line between the virtual world and the real world. When do we know when we have crossed that line?

I think that there are benefits to virtual worlds and online mediums, but when there is a disconnect between what is real and what is not, there is a problem. I don’t think anything can completely replace reality. When soldiers are controlling a plane through a computer to fight in war, how do we make it real enough for soldiers to realize that they are killing humans and they are in a war zone? These soldiers get to go home at the end of the day and their lives aren’t at risk, but that risk is what makes people realize how serious war zones are. I am afraid that not being in the actual war zone will make these experiences seem more like a video game rather than reality.

Virtual Worlds

This article and Jane McGonigal’s “Reality is Broken” both discuss how games and virtual worlds are escapes from reality. In virtual worlds, the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. Participants contribute to winning the game and their contribution makes that virtual world “a better place.”

Virtual worlds, like online games, provide people with a sense of community and belonging that they might not experience in reality. It is amazing how video games today look realistic. It is easy to see how these worlds can be an escape. For those who partake in these online games and virtual worlds, the kinds of deep engagement that players have with the social life around the game suggest that the relationships the players have with one another is deeper and more meaningful than many believe.

Will virtual worlds in video games and in Second Life eventually become more meaningful to people than real life ever will? With technology always evolving and our capabilities as humans growing exponentially, I wonder if eventually life will occur mostly through an online medium. It makes me sad to think that the majority of human interaction may happen through some sort of technology rather than face to face. While it is amazing to think about how we have progressed as a species, I don’t think anything can replace actual contact with a person. I hope that technology, like virtual worlds, will be integrated into our lives but will not take over our lives in the future.

Marketing and Branding

I thought this article fit very well with what my group was working on for our trip to Iceland and working with Citizens.is. This article discussed branding and interactivity. We are essentially re-branding the company to make it more universal because they want to reach out abroad rather than stay local in Iceland.

As new technologies are developed, so are new marketing strategies. New media then takes the place of traditional media in marketing. The hardest part about incorporating new technologies into a marketing strategy is keeping up with the technology. We are hoping to pass our work along to the company and teach they how to create the content so it can be continued after we leave.

Interactivity is something that will constantly be on our minds when completing our projects. Social networking has allowed conversations to take place among people online. It has allowed interactivity to be seen as a mainstream activity in regards to online content. In the coming years, will interactivity in regards to apps, websites, social media, etc… be a necessity in marketing and branding? Participation seems to be key when establishing a good online presence. As the article discusses, this was used well in Obama’s presidential campaign.

Blurring the lines

With online blogging and social media, everyone can comment on the news or current events. There are times when I find out new through social media before ever hearing about it on a news site. The news now has to keep up with their followers breaking the news first. They are constantly competing with traditional news sources. With many different people reporting the news, are the stories more accurate? Are we more likely to get the correct story if it is coming from multiple points of view rather than just one?

Traditional news sources are not utilizing citizen journalists and making the news more interactive. Viewer can now participate in the news rather than just taking it in. With interactivity becoming a large part of the way we receive our news, will some forms of traditional news forms become obsolete? I believe that within the next 20 years, newspapers will solely be online instead of in print form. Soon everything will be online and in digital form.

Putting yourself into cyberspace…Literally

I grew up with the Internet.

I remember when the Internet was in its infancy when I was younger, I remember having to log on using a dial up connection that took over the phone line and I remember when wireless Internet came to be. My first experience with social media was with AIM. I never jumped on the MySpace bandwagon when that came out, but I did create a Facebook account when I was a senior in high school. On your Facebook page, you put information about your life on there. You reveal what your interests are, what you are studying, where you attend school or work and who your friends are. How can people expect a lot of privacy when what they are voluntarily placing personal information online? Do people have the right to be upset that advertisers are using information from Facebook to target certain audiences? Can personal photos still get you in trouble with employers if they too are jumping on the social media bandwagon?

With younger generations not knowing a world without social media, their views on privacy is most likely different from those of earlier generations. Younger people are growing up in a world where people put their live out onto cyberspace. Some parents are now documenting their baby’s first years online for all to see. Now Facebook is the new baby book. Have the lines between what is public and what is private blurred? I think it has. I also think that people can’t get so upset over privacy issues when they themselves are so willing to put themselves out there in the first place. I am curious to see how the future will adapt to newer social networking sites. Are you handing over your right to privacy when you create a Facebook account?

Journalism, Blogging and Social Media in Egypt

Today we had a guest speaker from Cairo, Eygpt talk to the class about the revolution that occurred over there. Rehab Elbakry is a journalist from Cairo.

Human rights reports have been awful abroad in the past few years. Very little is being reported and records are being held. The start of the revolution was about releasing this information. Egypt was the first country to sentence people to harsh punishments for what people put on their blogs. One man had uploaded a video that he took of police officers splitting drugs that they took from drug dealers instead of turning it over to evidence. Police brutality is hard to negate after people have seem a video of it online.

Facebook was one of the few areas of political activism in Egypt. Handing out pamphlets is illegal under Egyptian law. Facebook was a place to vent. Only 20 percent of Egyptians are online, but people share WiFi and modems so that number could be more. The government was proud of that number because in 2000, Egyptians had no internet access. The revolution started on the National Police Day. 57 people were shot dead from the start of the revolution on October 25th to October 27th. Not many people know that because the police do not keep records. Tear gas was used and batons were used to beat people.

It was amazing to hear the precautions Journalists had to take in order to protect themselves from the government but to also get the story about the revolution out. Rehab used her connections and her government clearance in order to contact others internationally about the revolution. She risked being flagged by the government but by using someone else’s information she hoped to delay being found by the government. I wonder if the occupiers of Wall Street took inspiration from the riots in Egypt. There are many similarities, but I feel that those in Egypt had more to complain about than we do in America. They had very little human rights where in America, we have rights. We are not censored on social media like the Egyptians are. One blogger was sent to jail for 5 years because of what he wrote on his blog. Hearing all of this makes me feel that our problems here are something we need to deal with, but are nothing compared to the cruelty people experience abroad. People should feel lucky for what we have here. One day we will get it right.