Summary

COM125 is finally coming to an end!! 🙂 I’m sorry, but I just had to somewhat rejoice. Before the start of the Fall semester, I was very apprehensive as to whether I would do well in this module. Blame CSE111 – it was a nightmare for me… I can never comprehend HTML and javascript and binary codes yada yada. Never thought I would have to take another IT-related class…

BUT. All’s good! It’s all about the INTERNET. And really, there are so much things I have learned from this class, especially the many videos shown during class hours. The videos I enjoyed the most was the Augmented Reality (AR) one, and I find it really fascinating and it reminded me that technology has evolved so much and it has opened (/opening) the doors to so many possibilities. Currently, the idea of say, the Google Glasses is something very new and not many have adopted the idea yet. But I think once it has garnered adoption, it would be totally revolutionary. Our lives would change greatly… definitely more easy and convenient cus everything would be at the tip of our fingers.

And of course, this class, like CSE111, is taught by Mr Abel Choy and I truly enjoy his lessons. I like that it’s rather laidback and not as intensive as other modules. I enjoy his rather lame sense of humour and the videos he shows us in class. I felt it was good that he does not just lecture, but also utilises multimedia to facilitate our learning.

The last bit of the class was great! I enjoyed the class presentations so much. I felt like my classmates definitely put in much more effort in class presentation as compared to CSE111 project. Every group prepared something, like a skit or a video and it’s always funny! I enjoyed the group video on #myboyfrienddidmymakeup video. I loveee how the guys are such noob to the various make up sets and randomly painting their gf faces. (Y)

The show and tell session was also very informative. I like that the class shared a lot of great websites to share such as the Bluestack website! I didn’t know that we could use our mobile phone apps on our computer. That’s like… WOW. I like how I can play my favourite games on my computer – on a BIGGER SCREEN – and the fact that I can WhatsApp on my Mac!

Hmm now that I think back about it, I think it’s quite sad that this class is coming to an end 😦 But I’ve learned a lot from this module. Everything about the Internet and what it has to offer. The Internet is very expansive and it has limitless capabilities. I can’t imagine life without it, and I think it’s really like the BEST invention ever. Thank you Sir Tims Berners-Lee. Your great invention has really changed the way I live and work.

Future of Internet

I think it’s safe to say that no technology has evolved so much in so little time. Even in the past fifteen years or so, it has completely reinvented itself; arguably several times. Now we not only shop, bank, work and meet people online; but we share what we are doing at any given moment (eg. Twitter). We read, listen and watch everything. So what’s next? Here are some of my predictions on what may be yet to come!

1. Audio web surfing

Dick Tracey was ahead of the curve

With the importance of accessibility getting the recognition it deserves lately, I think screen readers will soon take a front seat as a common means for surfing a site for a much broader audience.

I’m calling it: people on the train with headphones attached to their mobile device while Text-to-Speech reads them the latest articles from their favorite sites. HTML5 is a step in an awesome direction with regards to easy reference points; header, footer, nav, section, and article could be logical jump-to points by audible instruction. Rather than reading and clicking, the audience can tell the browser where they want to go with spoken commands (like iPhone’s Siri, though half the time “she” does not understands our request, sigh).

2. Web surf on any device

It seems the tech industry is eager to integrate the Internet into every device these days. It’s the equivalent to adding a digital clock to a coffee maker. Adding a touch-screen to your fridge and other appliances might create new opportunities and challenges for interfacing. Content is king – no matter what. As seemingly redundant or over the top it might seem to have a screen built into the kitchen counter – if it doubles as a cutting board, all the better.

Dishwasher Safe

3. Input revisited

The recent boom in smartphone devices has shown us that tiny screens and suddenly awkward digits can sometimes make for a cumbersome user experience. Our traditional concepts of input applied to the next generation could be confounded more as the devices and environments change.

10/GUI

From the movie, Minority Report

Touch screen technology is only scratching the surface on intuitive approaches to interfacing. There is lots of room for growth here. Simple Gesture implementation on the trackpad in OSX is so good that using gestureless laptops becomes unthinkable. Magic Mouse may be just the beginning.

I think we’re all ready to compute better, but this could easily be a disaster. If the new input technology is universal like the mouse was, everyone wins. I think it’s more likely that many hardware manufacturers will try to invent their own GUIs. This would mean many learning curves, and would be generally painful to deal with.

4. Mobile networking

Bluetooth is known for allowing wireless communication, like with hands-free systems in cars, and the some of the latest mice and keyboards (like the aforementioned Magic Mouse). It also may be the future for mobile networking and P2P interactions. Check out this Android 2.0 “Pong” demonstration:

Does that blow your mind? Imagine interacting on a website with a friend, or with the advertisement at the bus shelter! The possibilities become staggering.

5. The end of .com domination

For as long as the Internet has been around, .com has been the assumed default extension for websites (regardless of whether or not the site was “commercial” or not). For a while, there was almost a negative stigma to not having the .com for your brand, company or personal site. How many times has traffic meant for your site ended up at the .com equivalent?

In the very near future new extensions will be popping more often. More extensions have some definite advantages, and some drawbacks. On the plus side, when adding a link to some print materials, maybe we’ll be able to drop the “www”, which is often used now as a cue that “this is in fact a URL”. One silly drawback could be the increase in convoluted sub-domain cleverness like “del.icio.us“.

I would also like to raise the question, how long will we need these addresses? Remembering and using URLs to point at sites works well, but doesn’t seem the most efficient way to bring site users to websites. One day, search engines, RSS readers, communities and networks may reduce direct traffic to a trickle, making the .com even less important.

STOMP – credible citizen journalism?

Admit it, you love complaining. If you’re a Singaporean, you’re used to complaining. One might even say that a Singaporean who doesn’t complain is not a true Singaporean. I was prompted to think about this, after a question was posed to us during class:

“Has the Internet with its distinctive model of ‘citizen journalism’ affected the influence of the mass media?”

Think ‘citizen journalism’ in Singapore and I’m very sure you’ll think of STOMP – an online interactive platform for Singaporeans to share and upload news. Has STOMP affected the influence of mass media in Singapore? Highly unlikely, I feel. According to the 2003 report, We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, citizen journalism is the “concept of members of the public playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information”.

Would posts such as the ones below really mean much to anyone else?

In Singapore at least, to say that citizen journalism has affected the influence of the mass media would be to say that one would rather go to STOMP than read The Straits Times. I myself will never bring myself to do that. In what way would news such as the above have any value for me? Granted, The Straits Times is not exactly objective at times (after all, it is partially controlled by the government), but at the very least, they do bring news that have value to us Singaporeans, news of the economy, of politics, of world events, etc. Are posts about young people not giving up their seats to elderly passengers on the train even news anymore? It certainly feels like a fact of life these days, and that says something about our society.

If anything, perhaps citizen journalism is where the theory, Media Determinism, is best applied. With this theory, it is argued that the medium is more important than the message. Singaporeans will perhaps be more wary of committing such acts of discourtesy and inconsideration if they were to see a camera pointing in their direction. It is not the fact that they’re doing something some may consider rude, but rather just more of the fact that they know they’re going to be on STOMP.

Can citizen journalism ever affect the influence of the mass media in Singapore? I believe it is possible, but maybe 3 or even 4 generations from now on. You see, with STOMP, it’s a vicious cycle. It was first set up as a venue for Singaporeans to air their grievance and now, over the years, it has become a place for Singaporeans to complain. The more they complain, the more they go on STOMP, and the more they go on STOMP, the more they complain. It will never end. If we want our citizen journalism to be a little more “professional” and maybe, even emulate South Korean’s examples, then maybe Singaporeans can reduce their complaining, and spend the time they use for uploading mindless stories onto STOMP, and instead do some real journalism like finding and writing stories that actually matter.

The Arab Spring and impact of social media

The whole world watched the events in the Middle East and North Africa a year ago with feelings of inspiration, fascination and awe – awe at the power of digital technology, at our ability almost to be part of it and to watch it in real time thanks to the power of today’s media, and above all awe at the courage and bravery of the individuals who inspired the Arab Spring, powered it, and died in its name.

Those events have sparked an intense debate about the role played by new technology and social media. The author Hisham Matar, whose father was a Libyan political dissident who disappeared in Cairo in 1990, said: “Revolutions are a boring thing. They take years. Social change takes a very long time.”

And I think it is in that context that we need to consider the role of social media and digital technology in particular. Was it the cause? Or was it simply part of a process that had much deeper, human roots?

There are two main views. One is Matar’s, that the role of the internet was “an exaggeration”. His argument is that only the “elite” in North African and the Middle East had access to the internet and knew how to use it effectively: the working classes, he insists, didn’t – but they were the ones that powered the revolution. His conclusion is that it may be fashionable to talk about Facebook and Twitter, but that “other very important elements of human life” played a role, by which he means the courage of individuals.

There is another view, which argues that social media played the key role in shaping debate in the Arab Spring, that a spike in online revolutionary conversations often preceded major events on the ground, and that social media helped to spread democratic ideals across international borders.

Where does the balance lie? I can’t pretend to know the definitive answer, and only the long sweep of history is likely to provide it, but there are a couple of important points I would like to highlight.

First, there is no doubt that social media played a critical role in fanning the flames of revolution once they were lit. Largely beyond the control of Government censorship, these platforms for the first time allowed protestors to plan, organise and execute their protests, to create and sustain a feeling of unity that was vital in maintaining them, and in essence provided a “virtual space” for what was unlawful assembly to the authorities.

Crucially, they ensured that revolutionary power was so diffuse that normal methods of government control could not stop it. And when they tried to, it backfired. When the Egyptian authorities shut off the internet and mobile networks for five days from 28th January 2011, this simply forced yet more protestors out onto the streets where they graduated beyond virtual opposition to become a very real mass body of protestors united in opposition.

And once revolution was underway, social media provided a crucial alternative voice to the state-run media which were turning out ludicrous accounts of contemporary events. This provided a vital source of news and inspiration to protestors within those countries, but also to those watching in the outside world. As Matar put it, “political dictatorships have possession not just of money and belongings but of narrative. The internet has created a new language.” That ability of ordinary people to create and sustain a new narrative is certainly vital.

The second point I would make relates to the outside world. There have, of course, been uprisings in many of the countries that made up the Arab Spring in the past. Protest, civic disturbance, and rebellion are not new. In Libya back in the early 1990s there was an uprising in the Green Mountain region in the east of the country. Almost the same set of things that happened in Libya in the early days of the 2011 revolution happened then. People protested, Gadaffi sent in helicopters and bombed them. But nobody knew about it.

Nobody in the outside world heard about it because there were no reports and above all no images. The instant propagation of visual images through the internet has changed all that – and that is crucial in terms of the pressure the outside world can bring to bear on authoritarian regimes that are in trouble.

In short this is a complex area, where reaching any form of conclusion is not easy. On balance, my own view is that social media was a catalyst that sped up processes that had long been underway throughout North Africa and the Middle East. It was one element of much more complex and much broader communications networks that fanned the flames of revolution. It helped shaped the environment but at the end of the day it would have been of no use without the courage of individuals who lit the sparks.

Whether it was the bravery of the Tunisian street vendor or those who first took to Tahrir Square and faced the wrath of the Egyptian authorities, it was human courage and human dignity which were the real heroes of the Arab Spring. For without them, what would those connected via social media have been able to write about?

And I finish with this one important point. If social media were so strong, why have they not continued to bring about social change – and particularly improvements in press freedom and freedom of expression – in the months since the protests died down? Progress has been slow, with many headlines disheartening.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are vital to the rebuilding of these nations. Major institutional, legal and regulatory restructuring across all these countries is now absolutely vital, alongside deregulation and liberalisation. There are some signs of change but the pace is painfully slow.

The revolutions borne of the courage of individuals, and powered by the new media that is transforming all our lives, have created huge expectations. But this, and many other challenges, remain. And one of the biggest challenges is that it will be much more difficult to harness the power of new media unless there is liberalisation in the traditional media. We must do what we can to help both with practical help on the ground in training of journalists and giving advice. That is a key role for the UK in the years ahead as we seek to build on the remarkable events of the Arab Spring.

Multimedia for Marketing Communication

In order to know what multimedia techniques or tools have been used by companies for marketing communication, it is first mandatory to know the definition of the term ‘marketing communication’ as it is pertinent to the topic of the day.

Marketing communication is actually a sub-concept that came from the whole idea of ‘marketing’. When one talks about marketing, it always revolves around the 4 Ps: price, place, promotion and product. So if marketing communication were a sub-concept of marketing, then in a way, you can say that marketing communication is the Promotion part of the whole theory.

So what do companies do when they use multimedia for marketing communication? Well, there are a number of different ways to go about doing it. One, is to create a video or a podcast and broadcast it. Another would be creating an account on popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook Myspace or even Youtube; and making use of these sites which have constant high traffic day in and out to spread videos of their products.

Multimedia, such as mobile marketing, livecasting and podcasting, photo, video and file sharing, can spread the word about your company and help build brand awareness in a very unique and powerful way. This particular type of social media also has the ability to go viral quickly. Hottrix, the Las Vegas, Nevada-based iPhone app creator, became one example of a breakthrough success story when their iBeer app, which simulates chugging a mug of beer on the iPhone, became one of the most-downloaded apps in 2008, and again in 2009.

Big companies like Samsung also uses multimedia as a marketing communication and it proves to be effective. The newly launched Note 2 by Samsung got everyone off their seat. It’s slick design and user friendliness made everyone rush to stores to purchase one. iPhones used to be the dominating smartphone, but it seems like Samsung is taking over as many are switching to Android. Here’s a video review of Samsung Note 2 and just watching it makes me believe in its capability and effectiveness as a smartphone. I’m an iPhone user but I might just switch to Android after watching this…… yikes.

 

 

 

 

Something smells phish-y…

I have been using Internet banking (or i-banking) as an easy and convenient channel to conduct my online banking transactions. A few months ago, I received an email purportedly from my bank asking me to log on to its website to update my personal account information. I followed the email instructions asking me to click on the link to access the bank’s website. Having accessed what looked like the bank’s website, I entered my UserID, PIN, One Time Password (OTP) generated by his security token and other confidential details into the website. After I have keyed in the information, I felt like something was fishy (hahaha get it get it?) and decided to check with the bank to see if there was indeed such an exercise being carried out by the bank. I found out from the bank that the website I had accessed was a fake website designed to look like the bank’s real website. The fake website had the bank’s logo and similar design to mislead customers into believing that it belonged to the bank.

The bank immediately worked with the relevant authorities to shut down the fraudulent website and locked my account to protect it from unauthorized access. Thank god I did not suffer any financial losses! A new PIN was then issued to me, and I was advised to read and follow the security guidelines and procedures set out in its website.

So… what just happened to me? Turns out that I was a phishing victim. Phishing is a technique used by fraudsters to obtain sensitive personal information such as your account details, PIN, OTP, credit card number, user ID or password through the Internet. Once such sensitive information is obtained from you, the fraudsters will have access to your account to perform unauthorised transactions.

And as they say, once bitten twice shy! I’m very cautious when receiving such emails now and tend to check the link carefully. I’ve also found some tips on how you can protect yourself from such scams:

1. Your bank will never send you emails asking you to divulge any confidential or personal information. You should report such emails to your bank and then discard them.

2. You should never reveal your PIN or OTP to anyone. No bank should ever ask you for your PIN or OTP for whatever reasons.

3. Do not click on any link to log on to bank websites or open attachments in emails purportedly sent to you by your bank, credit card company or service provider.

4. Always enter the full URL or domain name of your bank or credit card company into your browser address bar. If you are unsure of their web address, contact them for the information.

5. Always check your credit card and bank account statements for any suspicious or unauthorized transactions. If you detect anything unusual, contact your bank immediately.

6. Do check your bank’s website for more information on Internet security. In the event that you think you have become a victim of phishing scam, contact your bank immediately.

7. Install firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware in your computer and update them regularly.

8. Avoid performing online banking using computers in public areas such as cybercafes.

9. Remember to log off each time you finished your online banking activities.

10. Select passwords that are difficult to guess and change your passwords regularly.

Wedding Video! :)

Just so happens that my cousin got married today! Attended her wedding and it was beautiful. Decided to capture it on film and gift it to them as a wedding present. Wishing the two of you a blissfully wedded life :>