Archive for the ‘Cyber Culture’ Category

The other day over the Easter break my five year old nephew asked me a straight forward technology based question, he said “Uncle, can you fast forward the adverts on the television because I hate adverts, they are so boring?” When I got in front of the television, I realised he was watching live TV, and explained to him that generally you can only fast forward adverts if you are watching a recorded program, or if you have paused live TV at some point earlier and you are simply catching up to the point of live transmission. Obviously, I had to use other words and maybe showed some examples of how this would work, but I thought wow, do the next gens really hate adverts? Not really, I feel that that the next gens really don’t react to passive media because their world from day dot is all about interactivity. Therefore until the Internet has converged with the TV, (and we really are not too far away from that) then television adverts cannot create conversions like true digital advertising currently does.

During my experience of using the Internet, I realised a long time ago that adverts as a minimum need to be interactive. If I as a consumer have any interest in a company’s product or service, then what I need more than anything is an emotional interactive experience. To date, I have only come across a small number of these styles of adverts. The first was a banner advert for Gran Turismo 4. It was not just a simple banner advert, it was an invitation to interact with a brand that I love. The advert asked me to play a few videos, and position the in built camera within the video to a point that would capture, what I thought would be a great photograph. The images were then submitted into a competition. I was on that advert for 2 hours, yes that’s right, 2 hours. That is the power of digital advertising, yet still thousands of companies spend thousands of pounds on boring click through adverts.

Now Apple has announced that it is going to allow developers to create adverts that are exactly this type in nature. So when you see an advert, you know that you are not just going to click through to a boring brochure based website, but you can look forward to a fully interactive emotional experience.

Apple told the world about apps, even though Windows Mobile users were already using apps. Now Apple is going to tell the world about creating interactive adverts even though it’s nothing new. But they are going to do it on the mobile, so how long is it going to take the rest of the digital media to catch up?

Watch a demo of iAd below courtesy of lightstab :

Advertisements

Interested in helping scientists to spot explosions on the Sun and tracking them as they travel towards Earth? Then the Solar Storm Watch could be for you, and in fact anyone can be a solar storm watcher thanks to the Internet.

Brought to you by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, The Science & Technology Facilities Council and Zooniverse, the Solar Storm Watch is using the technique of crowd sourcing to help them in a number of different ways, from data processing to spotting comets.

At the website you can find profiles of the scientists involved, videos about why crowd sourcing is required, a forum to discuss your questions and opinions, teachers resources, the all important mission briefing and more.

Content courtesy of The Solar Storm Watch :

Mission briefing

You don’t have to be a science expert to be a brilliant solar stormwatcher. But if you’d like to know more about what you’re looking at, then explore our beautiful and interactive zoomable diagrams to find out about the Sun and the STEREO spacecraft monitoring it. And check out our scientists’ profiles too.

Find out more about the Solar Storm Watch at :

http://solarstormwatch.com/

Content courtesy of Zooniverse.

The Zooniverse is home to the Internet’s largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.

With nearly 60million classifications, Zooniverse is giving a prize to the person who discovers the 60th Millionth classification. What are you waiting for?

Find out more about Zooniverse at :

http://zooniverse.org/home


When a new technology arrives it is then integrated across all types of communication channels and changes the services offered by those channels. Recently HD made its way on to our screens, now you can buy phones that allow you to create High Definition video and upload it directly to the web.

With the imminent arrival of 3D TV, we are going to see 3D overlap itself with HCI(Human Computer Interaction). We will see this in projects like Microsoft’s Natal. This is where the power of hand gestures will now allow us to interact with games and other applications.

The power behind some of this fourth coming technology is a company called Canesta, who have spent a lot of time and money to get to where they are. They have developed a chip that allows 3D gestures to be recognised by the computer and small enough to be fitted into everyday consumer devices.

By placing 3D cameras into every conceivable device will now allow us to change the way we interact with onscreen menus, but also the way we see the on screen information.

Minority Report is just round the corner.

Find out more about Canesta at : http://canesta.com/

Read an article about the story at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/technology/start-ups/29canesta.html?dbk

Sites like http://interneteyes.co.uk do have the grounds for a valid model. If cameras were simply observing just the functional parts of a city, like for example the copper wiring, which serve hundreds of peoples Internet needs then crime could be reduced, or at least the communication of crime may be increased in speed.
And if privacy issues can be addressed then cctv may become the next reality tv show.

Under The Wire.

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Cyber Culture
Tags: ,

With issues of privacy from intensive marketing campaigns, sharing files across the web, governments controlling web access, the Internet will always continue to provide users with new alternate options for by passing government controls.

Haystack provides such a service, providing a proxy like system, that uses encryption to allow communication.

Find out more about Haystack at :

http://www.haystacknetwork.com

If somebody steals your electricity and commits a crime, is it fair to have your electricity supply vastly reduced, and in some cases cut off. The analogy here is broadband and this is an extreme case, but still possible and not fully covered by the new bill.

In addition to digital areas like Domain Names, Definitions of Broadband, Video Games Age Classifications and more. the government are going to introduce some new legislation with regards to all the illegal downloading that’s going on.

Unfortunately this is not going to put a stop to it, and no matter what deterrents are put into place, evolving technology will offer a new route to sharing, and it will no doubt be even harder to track.

A demonstration against the bill not receiving a proper debate being planned. If you would like to make your voice heard then visit :

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/extremeinternetl

Content courtesy of The Daily Telegraph :

More than 10,000 Britons have demanded a parliamentary debate on the Digital Economy Bill, which is currently going through the House of Commons. A protest is also being organised for this Wednesday at Parliament about the Bill which is likely to be rushed through parliament in the so-called “wash-up” period immediately before the election. …Read More.


South Korea has provided this type of service to its citizens for at least a couple of years now, and last year I read about a similar type of clinic near Redmond in America.

Now the UK has its first facility to help those that feel they are suffering from this type of technological  addiction.

Find out more about the hospital providing the service at :

http://www.nightingalehospital.co.uk/services/addictions/technology-addiction/

Related Links :

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100318/tc_afp/britainhealthmindtechnologyinternetchild

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/technology/18rehab.html

Blippy is a site that allows you to share your online purchasing habits with fellow Internet users. On their website they say that Blippy is a fun and easy way to see and discuss what everyone is buying. It works in a similar way to Twitter, in that you follow other users purchasing habits and a feed of the services they are interacting with is displayed like a list of incoming tweets. Blippy have teamed up with a number of online stores, so that not only do you share your purchasing habits with other users, but Blippy is no doubt collecting all this information in their database.

But this site might throw up some privacy concerns for some users. Within the account settings Blippy does allow you to make the information private and you can then choose the people who you would like to share the information with. Why anyone would make this information available to the public is beyond me. But hey, you have to give users options.

Find out more about Blippy at : http://blippy.com/

Read more about Blippy’s Privacy Rules at : http://blippy.com/privacy

Many people are used to following people on Twitter. But did you know you can follow topics of conversation by following a topic’s Hashtag.

For example, yesterday I blogged about ‘Mothers Who Blog’, but to follow some of the topics around this post I followed the hashtag ‘#bloggybootcamp’ using my TweetDeck. This way I could follow some of the tweets coming in directly related to the hashtag.

So as more and more people begin to tweet, they should start using the hashtag to allow others to follow the trending topic.

To see related tweets to a hashtag visit :

http://hashtags.org/

Update 16.04.2010

Just noticed this message on the link above :

hashtags.org has had a rough history, in both technology and focus. it doesn’t look like these problems will be rectified by the current team. that said, we are looking to sell our assets (@hashtags, hashtags.org, etc.).

if you have any interest in this project, please contact cody marx bailey.

Just tried testing a Hashtag again (#entrepreneur), still working ….phew!

Well done to all those mothers out there who have decided to blog, and thank you to the New York Times for giving this growing marketplace some PR. Whether your a pushy mum, or just someone you wants to communicate the joys of bringing up children there are many reasons why mothers would blog. The fact is that everyone should blog, what better way to communicate how you feel. And although its being called a blog, it is essentially a web communication application like any other. This means that who ever is in control of the site can ether let the entire Internet view the contents or it can be accessed from behind a secure password entry system to a select few.

Created by Tiffany Romero & Heather Blair, Bloggy Boot Camp is a company that organises events about blogging and social media and targets women. Right now they are planning a “Blogging Boot Camp Tour” across the United States. This is a great idea not only for providing help using technology, but for creating a community.

Find out more about Bloggy Boot Camp at : http://www.bloggybootcamp.com/

Read the New York times article by Jennifer Mendelson at :

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/fashion/14moms.html

An example blog :

http://www.scarymommy.com/

Save time when looking for a new job with this iPhone app from the Job Centre.

Not to worry if you don’t have an iPhone, the database is accessible via the web.

Find out more about the iPhone App at :

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/jobcentreplus/id357812200?mt=8

Access the job center database online at :

http://jobseekers.direct.gov.uk/homepage.aspx?sessionid=0cceb4f7-9de0-4c4b-b95f-ba2439957f07&pid=2

This is a post that comes from following fellow Tweeters.

Having only recently re-joined the social networking scene, one of the things that is quite clear is the reliance on social media.

Sure social media is big, and its evolving fast, more and more people are joining every day, but if that is the case, how important is the data stored on these sites to you?

Well for some social media is just another communication medium, like the telephone. When was the last time you backed-up all your telephone calls?

But these are not just like telephone calls because the history of information that these web applications contain leaves a trail that has reusable information. So the Internet is acting like an extended memory bank, because as we get older how can we be expected to remember every bit of data that we posted or came across.

If you consider your online efforts with various sites to be important and you don’t fancy starting again,  then you may need a service like Backupify.

Launched in Nov 2009, they offer a free basic service, and a paid service that allows you to back up data from Facebook, Flickr, Twitter etc.

This is definitely a very good idea.

Find out more about Backupify at : http://www.backupify.com/index.php

Content courtesy of Backupify :

Why should I backup my online data?

The short answer is that your online data is important and Backupify is an easy cost effective way to protect it from loss.

The longer answer is that much of the data you generate today is not stored on your computer. You have data locked up in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, Basecamp, and all the other online services you use. Backupify is not just about backup, it is about controlling your data yourself instead of having it stored in hundreds of services all around the web. Your online data is just as important as the data on your computer. Both should be backed up. You can read more about reasons for backing up your online data in this blog post.

Am I likely to lose my online data?

It is unlikely that an online service will simply lose your data, just as it is unlikely that a hard drive will just delete a file. It does happen occasionally, but your real concerns for cloud services are hackers, viruses, user error and legal issues. Many services can shut off access without warning if they think you violated their terms of service. Many hackers are targeting online accounts because they are easier to access than your computer. On top of that, roughly 1/3 of all data loss is due to simple user error. These are the kinds of risks that Backupify can minimize.

Facebook is in its prime. Having received $240 million from Microsoft and introducing the Ad system in 2007, the number of users has gone from strength to strength. But where is Facebook going?

At the moment Facebook can not only be accessed directly but through various other sites and platforms like Xbox. This is thanks to the free Facebook Connect APIs which allows developers to create new bridges with Facebook.

Does this mean users spend less time on the main site? Or does this mean Facebook’s current definition changes as users migrate but stay connected. Maybe Facebook will break up into smaller more focussed areas. Will the groups become more advanced allowing users to control more of what and how they share?

Whatever happens, Facebook’s mix of users and games certainly is a very successful partnership, and as games inevitably improve, this part of Facebook certainly has the potential to grow into something exciting. And with its 400 million cross generational worldwide users, it’s database is a world-class directory when you want to find someone. Many companies now have a Fan Page, allowing social communication to go beyond just your friends but to include brand loyalty. So even though Facebook is a huge beast, some parts are going to be the key to driving the future Facebook forwards.

In the meantime Facebook have been working on the main site strategies, like today’s semantic update on the keywords advertisement system. Fresh thinking like this can only add value. As Mark Zuckerberg continues to evolve Facebook, it will be an interesting journey to watch considering we are moving into a very strong phase of social media from plethora of companies.

Find out more about Farmville at : http://www.farmville.com/

Update 16th March 2010

Facebook ousts Google as most popular U.S. site.

Read more about this article at :

http://ow.ly/1mVyY

Update 22nd April 2010

Following the F8 conference yesterday, it looks like we can now see what Facebook has been up to. Replacing the Connect Tool with Social Plug Ins and in the process attempting to connect users relationships with their online engagements through semantic meanings.  In the words of Zuckerman himself  “the most transformative thing we’ve ever done for the web.”


Find out more about the next evolution of Facebook at :

http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/377

Find out more about the latest on Facebook, unofficially at :

http://www.allfacebook.com/

Watching television and movies is a major part of my life. Being brought up during the 80’s using Video Recorders I saw at first hand how Betamax lost to VHS in the video rental market. What did happen during that struggle was I developed a need to control what I liked by recording it directly from the television.

Today the Internet allows us we can access television shows that we may have missed online, we can rent or buy movies, we can record shows directly to our PCs and we have the support of the digital controls of Digital Video Recording, like TiVo and Sky+. Not forgetting the various other streaming services like Zatoo and the thorn in every major content providers back side…file sharing.

The other way the Internet has changed what we watch is information surrounding movies, shows and actors, which really is the fuel powering our need to find and experience the shows we want. Television services like the NBC, BBC and Sky don’t tend to team up with companies like IMDB, or their own websites to provide users with some of the missing information. In the same way DVDs don’t have an integrated approach with the Internet. But later this year, that is about to change.

TiVo, the company that showed us why we need a DVR back in 2000 is bringing the Internet to its DVR Guide. So now, when you search for a TV show or movie you can access more content which is being streamed from the Internet which is directly related to your search. That’s definitely a step forward. Now we need a way of sharing what we watch with our friends in a private network on the same interface, now that would save time.

Find out more about TIVo Premiere at :

http://www.tivo.com/products/tivo-premiere/index.html

Some reviews found on the web :

http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/dnptivo-premiere-and-premiere-xl-usher-in-a-brand-new-interface/

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article7050684.ece

I love browsers. Hey, it’s the reason we surf the web. But lately they have thrown up more issues than need be required. Let’s take a closer look at why I love and hate web browsers.

People use different web browsers for different reasons. These reasons range from ‘I have no choice, my company has not upgraded my Internet Explorer 6 from 2001’ to a ‘Firefox plug-in connoisseur whose quest it is to maximise their web experience by finding the best and most useful plug ins’. Their options are wider then ever with there being a multitude of web browsers available for download.

This presents two key problems. First for the users, their web experience is altered slightly from browser to browser if a site has not been tested fully, maybe the website does not take into account the user’s browser type, or that the user needs to download RIA technologies like Flash etc. Secondly for businesses, this means having to spend more money developing their web applications to work across all browsers at all times.

But where do you draw the line, between the good browsers and the bad. Unfortunately it’s not that simple, because different browsers can be good for different reasons. For example Flock is built on Firefox, but is targeted towards users in social media. Those web browsers that offer cross-platform compatibility are at least trying to give users a fair choice. So when Microsoft stopped offering Internet Explorer for Apple users back in the day, it was seen by some as a strange move.

Currently a majority of users would use only a few of the industry’s leading browsers, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera & Chrome. However since each of these alone are available in different versions this can also create further issues for both the user and the designer and/or developer.

Personally I use various browsers for different reasons, so as to separate my browsing history. I would use one browser for my favourites, another for social media etc. It helps me get the best from each browser because I get to test and play each one continuously. I am not your average user, therefore my reasoning for picking various browsers may not might sense to some people.

As the digital channels of communication continue to expand, we will start to experience the Internet from a variety of new web browsers like those on your mobile to the ones on your OLED television. That means even more setting up time required for users, designers and developers, that’s just great. Didn’t someone once say ‘what ever you do KEEP IT SIMPLE?’

Let’s hope HTML 5 helps simplify things, but I got a funny feeling it’s not going to be that simple.

Find out more about the history of Web Browsers and HTML 5 at :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_web_browsers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_5