Category Archives: DIGC202

“Toaster is hangry” – The internet of things


There was a time where giving a voice to an inanimate object would be seen as strange and unusual. Social media came along and allowed for people to interact and connect with other people from all around the world – creating a virtual community. Social media (Twitter) and these communities being built led way for people to create accounts that did not represent a person, but an object or a thing.

Looking at Twitter there is an account that represents the Big Ben Clock in London. Every hour on the hour a tweet is made that has 1 – 12 “BONG” in it, representing the hour of day it is, this is all the account does.

BIG ben BONG BIG ben bongingThe Big Ben Twitter account is controlled by a person, but what if it was controlled by Big Ben itself – the clock tower. This can be a possibility. Introducing the “Internet of things” described as giving “things” the power to communicate over networks without the need for human interaction.

The difference from people bringing life into an object much like the Big Ben clock and giving an object life is the independence and freedom that the object has. The Big Ben clock deals with a person Tweeting for it, the Internet of Things does not have the human part. To get objects to have a presence on the internet and other networks it is with the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. The RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can be programmed to track any condition.

The use of RFID’s with objects has given way to the Internet of Things. Objects are being engaging with people and other objects. Julian Bleecker writes in “Why Things Matter” that the Internet of Things allows for objects to have a presence on social media to become a more engaging area of social media. When it comes to giving objects the power to communicate with anyone and anything – to have a voice, then there is a need to question the representation of what people perceive as “just an object” and its physical space.


Smartphones: Freedom or Comfort


The battle between Apple and Android smartphones has been going on for the past 5 years and it is an important battle between two very different visions for the future development of technology. When it comes to deciding what smartphone is better for the user it is dependent on what the user is looking for in a phone.

Apple has produced the iPhone which deals with a closed source mobile operating system – iOS. The idea of closed source system is to maintain control over the source code, from hardware to software, which makes up the product – in this case the smartphone. This means for the user that the phone is controlled by Apple. Apple says what is allowed on the phone and what can be done with the phone. This idea of “have a smartphone that does not need to be changed” and hands it to you, at a large price, with little hassle, gives people the comfort of having a phone, without trying to understand how it works and what is needed for it. There is a comfort in knowing that there is a well-known company that holds the responsibility for your phone. Being a well-known company Apple prospers on the ideal of producing a desirable, appealing and well known product for its customers because Apple is seen as a status symbol. The aesthetic appeal of Apple products is the desired aspect of Apple customers and Apple knows that.

Android deals on an open source system – the source code to make the smartphones is free on the internet and anyone can acquire the code and create something from it. The benefits of having an open source codes allows for other companies to modify and create products as they please – to allow variety on the market. This variety and freedom that open source products allows, allows users to modify their phones in any way they please. Having access to the source code for anyone allows for the collective development of one technology – people are able to find issues and bugs with the code and fix the problem. Open source devices allows for connectivity with other devices that aren’t of the same brand allowing for the freedom to have customized setting on different pieces of technology yet still having them on the same network.

Regardless of what smartphone is produced it is the customer who decides on what they want out of their smartphone. The battle between Apple and Android is an important battle and will continue, to compare what philosophies work better and understand what people want (choice or not) with their smartphones.

An activist who “likes” is no activist indeed


Social media has allowed for the greater discussion of global issues all around the world. The stories and issues that would be untold or changed by governments is no longer the case, the turmoils and oppression people face from those in power can be shared, questioned and fixed. In a time where social media is a part of everyday life what does it mean to rise-up and do something – to be an activist.

One aspect of social media – particularly seen on Facebook we are greeted by dozens of emotionally triggering images or sayings that promote a cause and “allows” for an action. These pictures allow for an individual to show support – by “liking” the photo and this “like” is seen as a form of respect or a prayer, or seen as a trade-off for a supposed dollar donation. This participation in supporting a cause is limited, what is accomplished from liking a picture? What happens after someone likes one of these images – a sense of contribution and accomplishment for the like, knowing that you made an effort and the world is a little-bit better.

When it comes to issues of racism, abuse, poverty and sustainability, social media allows for these issues to be shared, though the effort of getting people to do something more than just liking a photo is needed. Social media is the medium to get the message across though the effort people are going-to-go-to to accomplish a change deals with more than the liking of a photo on social media.

Evgeny Morozov, in this article proclaims that social media is just a tool to get information and awareness of issues across. The awareness that social media can bring deals with a mass audience, but to get that mass audience to do something, deals with much more than just the awareness social media allows. The example in the article is the issue that happened in the Middle East called on social media as “Arab Springs”. Arab Springs dealt with the oppression from the government and the uprising of the public to overthrow the government. The start and success of the Arab Springs was sought to be because of social media, though the dedication, emotion and government oppression was felt by a vast amount of people that would lead to a change.

When it comes to social media – the intent of starting a protest is something to be desired. When issues are brought to mass attention a lot of people will just be a slacktivist and disregard any idea of creating change. There is something more than just spreading word of an issue to rally up the troops and topple governments. Social media is the tool to get messages across but not the entire reason why change occurs.

Hacking for a Cause


What does it mean to be a hacker – someone who fights for civil liberties over the World Wide Web, through the means of showing mainstream users what the people with power, who are controlling what people consume, are hiding. In front of the computer, typing on a keyboard sits the cyber-activists bringing face to the issues a majority of people are unaware of.

Only recognizable by a mask, a group called Anonymous, stand for the freedom of information, promote decentralization of information and utilize the power of a group rather than the individual. Judging only by their ability to hack and not by age, race, sex and position, Anonymous stand united, with the power to hack large organizations the threat of anonymous is something to know of, shown by their slogan “Information is free, We are anonymous, We are legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget, Expect us”.

Being a “hacktivist” comes at its own risks – shown by this Northampton article, the event of hacking big businesses PayPal, MasterCard and Visa was seen as an illegal act and the people caught stood trial and jailed for “conspiring to impair the operation of computers”. Though people were caught, named and imprisoned, Anonymous still stands and continues to hack. Anyone can be Anonymous and represent what Anonymous represents. Anonymous is confined to a physical space or presence; they are everywhere and can be anyone.

While the extreme hacking of big businesses isn’t ideal for a lot of people there are ways to show support and understanding for what hacktivists are trying to represent.

F.A.T Lab is a group of hackers that want to make people aware of what they do and what is going on on the internet. By using popular culture, mixing and changing it to create Art, F.A.T Lab provides to impact the way people understand the power of the World Wide Web and understand its potential when limitations are not enforced.

Individual control to crowd-sourcing – Utilizing Twitter


“The weather reports keep announcing that the sky is falling, but here we are — millions of us — sitting around trying to invent new ways to talk to one another ” – Johnson 2009

Before the internet the only way to get news was through analog communication – radios, television and newspapers. The information being broadcasted and published would see these one-way information networks as a restraint for people who wanted to get news. People did not have any control for when they wanted to hear/watch the news, television and radio set specific times of day for when the news would be read and newspapers were no better being printed each day – the news people were given would not be relevant for long or people would have to wait days for a story that people wanted to find out. There was also the restriction about what news would be relevant or worthy to an audience – the people that controlled the news industry would control what news would be available to its audience.

Fast track to 2013 with the use of social media – the news people receive is instant – a 24 hour news cycle, not constrained by time, anyone can post news or information, not constrained by the tyrants of news industries. Though with all of this information comes a struggle for what information is needed, what pieces of information are factual and reliable, these changes caused an issue about what real journalism is, is social media destroying traditional journalism? Traditional journalism is still a viable career and a part of today – social media, Twitter for example is a source of information that journalists can use to help aggregate information and get stories.

The question around Twitter killing traditional Journalism has been proven incorrect Twitter and journalism and more than ever intertwined as a place for news and journalists. Twitter has become a place where new news stories appear from anywhere, the credibility of these stories is questionable and thus needs to be verified and proven factual. This verification can be proven by utilizing the aspects of Twitter – checking the tweet for hash-tags, to see if the potential story is being talked about by other people – by a having an aggregation of tweets with the same hash-tag. There could be photo/video evidence that is evident on the incident. Utilizing this information and knowing what can be a true story journalists are able to use Twitter as a source for gathering information from on-the-ground citizen-journalists that work together to get instant real-time information and organize methods in ways to help people those that are involved in disasters and to prevent people from becoming potential victims.


Johnson, S. (2009). How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live.

Mass Amateurization – Popularizing mediocrity?


Professional – defined as “A paid occupation – one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification”. Gone are the days where people have to get degrees and graduate tertiary education to become a part of an industry, the internet and its many social media platforms allows for anyone to write or produce anything they want, and it being displayed for everyone else on the internet provides an audience for that content. The idea that to be a professional on the internet has become blurred and an unnecessary step for many people and has caused an era of “Mass Amateurization”, brought to our attention by Henry Jenkins in this reading.

mass amateurization

Mass amateurization can be simply put as the contribution from people on the internet who produce content such as blogs, videos, music and who have seen success out of this content, which would be seen as absurd from someone who went the traditional, educational route. Popular websites known for being a medium for mass amateurisation would be YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia and WordPress.

The amount of traffic websites produce by visitors and contributors, there is an overwhelming influence on popularizing the content that is produced on these websites. Using YouTube as an example – the training and dedication that is needed to get an education in editing and filming is restrained by time and cost, while getting basic experience by editing and filming your own content and uploading it to YouTube you are getting that experience on your own time and leisure. The restrictions that come from industries has been changed to a mere effortless approach where it is up to the individual to do what they want and post what they want when they want to.

The easy-going effort put into amateur content is allowing for people to get a better experience from being a part of these websites and learning a part of what it takes to be in an industry. People who become professionals from mass amateurization, from the amount of people that contribute and are a part of the audience allows for some people to get paid – much like the Yogscast on YouTube.

The Yogscast started out as a couple of guys filming (video and audio) the games they play and uploading it onto YouTube, by continuing the filming and uploading of the videos they create, they have managed to make money from what they do. The amount of money they make has always been a private matter but speculation has always arisen – from $2000 to $2500 for every 3 million views, though the amount of pulling power they have from their devoted fans is shown when they raised $500,000 for their Kickstarter for producing their own game, or when they raised over $120,000 in 2011, and over $200,000 for Oxfam by live-streaming through December last year.

What the Yogscast has achieved and continues to achieve is quite rare compared to the amount of people that are users of YouTube. Considering the medium and revenue that the Yogscast collects is based around getting hits on the content they produce, they need to maintain a flow of content that appeals to their audience.

Image Source:


Does convergence make my butt look big?


Simply put – no, convergence does not make your butt look big. Convergence is upon us as a process that involves the integration of multiple technologies into a singular tool, the most popular and recognizable tool would be the smart phone, as it acts as a calendar, a weather report, a notepad, a radio, a street directory, a music player, a video recorder, a T.V and even, surprise, surprise – a phone to make calls with. So instead of having each one of those items mentioned in your pants, you have a smart phone as a replacement – so it does the opposite; convergence gives a more flattering look.

Not going to fit in my back pocket

Not going to fit in any back pocket

Understanding convergence is a hard task to ask even for global corporations that are based around converging technology. When given a tool that is capable of any function digitally, when do limitations come into play about what it can do, and what should be involved. Instances such as watching international television shows on my computer, through the televisions website we can still be restricted from the content that we want to see – but why are these restrictions in place? Legality – television licenses is the meaning of this – while the content on the internet is direct and instant for those who know where to look, the corporations that make money from the content restrict the showing of television shows. Convergence allows for the option, though “Old Media” (television) corporations have restricted the access and ability for convergence to show its full potential. Therefore there needs to be a way where Old Media maintains an impact on society but is not entirely pushed aside – mentioned by this site there are still many benefits of Old Media.

Convergence restriction HuLu

Highlighted by Henry Jenkins in this article – corporations that deal with convergence question the intent on what should happen, what can potentially be created from understanding and utilizing the convergence process, all that is understood is those that control the process of convergence control the influence and power that is created with in the media.

Image sources:

“Not going to fit in any back pocket” –

“Sorry…” – screen capture from

We have an idea but we need permission


Dealing with copyright is a tough situation with today’s law – when having instant access to technology and content from all over the world at the touch of a button, what is the chance that we have downloaded or just seen something that has been copyrighted, or even without knowing that it was copyrighted – we must be a felon!

We are constantly connected to the internet in today’s society and so we have a constant access to what other people do and create, we can watch but cannot touch. However the strict laws that apply with copyright today were not always the case – just around a century ago Walt Disney had an idea of cartoons and music synchronized to form a brand new idea – his creation of Steamboat Willie now famously known as Mickey Mouse. The idea Walt Disney had created went further in utilizing stories that other people had created and giving those stories a new sense of being. Explored by Lessig Walt Disney has created a culture that is still relevant today and without taking the stories of others Disney Inc. would not be what it is today.

The constant development of the internet and the culture that it has created, there is an obvious creation that if copyright was severely enforced there would get a lot of people in trouble. I am talking about the Meme – from cats to people, objects to human imagination, the internet has created and utilized the meme as an expression of today’s time.

Copyright meme

Memes have infiltrated all mediums of communication and are troublesome when it comes to copyright, particularly when dealing with viral memes, as shown in this article on – Warner Brother has been sued for using Nyan Cat and, other cat based memes in one of their games.

The culture that technology and the internet has created is one of freedom for expression and creativity – while the law of copyright still looms, the use of the internet and the collective creations that come from it are an example of what people can do without the restrictions of copyright.

Mechanize the human


The technology era has come and is dismantling the once illustrious industrial era career – with instant access to any bit of information, accessibility to anyone anywhere and social media sites such as YouTube – providing people with new opportunities and resources to maintain a job, we have approached a scenario where humans have adapted to technology to an extent where the line of separation of peoples lives, such as work life and social life, have become obscure and dependent on technology.

balancing lifeThe term “presence creep” is used to explain the condition in which people do not separate their work life from the life they have outside work, work obligations have crept into home life. Gregg, M. studies the idea and condition of “presence creep” on a group people – with results reflecting the constant obligation and necessity of wanting to complete, find-out or, the expectation of maintaining a strong work ethic would be beneficial in the long run, the “long-run” being an expectation of future endeavours from the employee, not the employer. The results showing a strain on the performance of doing a job successfully reflects on amount of separation from work life and social life. The introduction of technology has given people the option to do their work (if physical presence is not a constant need) when there are hours that are suitable to the individual – much like myself being up at 2am writing this blog post as this time is beneficial for me being in a zone/state-of-mind that allows me to focus. Highlighted also in the following Ted Talk by Jason Fried “Why work doesn’t happen at work”

I include the Ted Talk as it mentions the environment in which work is built for does not reflect the environment in which people can work in, this idea that the behaviour that has been created by technology and the distraction or “flexibility” that technology allows can gives people the option to take their work home with them.


Picture, balance,

Gregg, M, ‘Function creep: Communication technologies and anticipatory labour in the information workplace.


In the beginning was the mainframe and then it took a selfie


Exploring all the ends of cyberspace cannot be done but taking advantage and understanding the processes that cyberspace, in particular the creation of the internet, presents to humanity is a step closer to a global village and maybe a cyber-utopia. In this technological age the transition from offline communication to online involvement is a necessary step in future operations and endeavours but what is the cost of this transition.

Kevin Kelly provides a detailed insight into the necessity that a new economy has emerged and this economy can be used effectively to sustain people, we have become engulfed in what has been presented to us – intentionally or by discovery, by cyberspace and the internet and we are in need. So why not take advantage and be a part of cyberspace – the freedom and possibilities are up to the user to create.

Similar positive responses about cyberspace/the internet from Barlow, and Dyson – Barlow presents that the internet is a place of freedom and expression from the oppression and ‘iron-fist’ of governments, as what can be created goes beyond the boundaries of a country and its rules, cyberspace is a place that does not show prejudice to people but, explained by Dyson, that cyberspace is an ecosystem where an individual can create what they want and the world they want to live in.

As open and free cyberspace allows and the dreams that plan to be created through the internet, there are present issues that arise by human use. Presented by Sherry Turkle in the following TED talk “Connected, but alone?”

Turkle explains the interaction that technology has created on people and what effects it has on the individual are not places that are ideal for growth and development of a cyber-utopia. Seeing the internet as an escape from the real world, for an individual to become a spot on the vast space that is cyberspace has created a new generation of social problems – what is being done?  Issues such as trolling and flaming, trends such as selfies and the anonymity that the internet creates provides the current generation with either the possibilities that are helpful to the exploration and creation of what is to come, or hinders this change and is stuck with the understanding of how to search something thought not implement what has been searched.