Grandad, what’s the WiFi password?

Visiting my grandparents as a child is one of my greatest memories. When my brother and I were young they would spoil us rotten. Food, tea, and free control of the AUSTAR remote. It was basically a kids dream come true. Before my Pa even had the internet in the house, we were glued to the telly, watching Cartoon Network and flicking to the History channel just to impress the passers-by.

This was the status-quo for many years but when it truly changed wasn’t when Pa got the internet wired to his computer, but when my brother and I got our first smart phones. We just wanted the WiFi password. The key to the information kingdom. A free pass to browse the World Wide Web at our grandparents house with no parents over our shoulder watching.

My brother and I being small, naive children on the big scary internet, had no concept of bandwidth, or datacaps, let alone how many gigabytes in a Youtube clip. Poor Pa only had 4GB a month. Now it’s hard to imagine what you could actually do with 4GBs but to my grandfather it made perfect sense. He only ever needed to reply to circa 2005/6 chain emails, and look up the golf. So when we exploded his data with a few funny videos and some browser based flash games, we capped his WiFi almost instantly.

Looking at the internet usage stats provided by the ABS, I told my grandfather that his average internet use was bellow the mean for his age.

internetabs

Pa told me he spends less than 2 hours per day on the internet and all he does is send ad receive emails.

I said ‘Pa, why don’t you get Face Book to keep in touch with your friends?’ Many of my grandparents friends are over the age of 75. ‘Harry, none of my friends are smart enough to use Facebook.’ he said. E-mail is his primary means of communication on the internet.

We had a look at his Inbox of emails so I could Investigate further. On a daily basis, Pa receives up to 3-6 e-mails from friends along with the occasional update from the bank or ISP. His friends send jokes, puzzles, news stories, family photos and most surprisingly, memes.

My personal Inbox however, was vastly different. Zero emails from friends, and a plethora of bills, notifications, postage tracking, and spam. emails aren’t for or from my friends. Usually a new e-Mail means a new headache for me. I use emails to formally contact adults or companies or to receive auto filled pages from Face Book about the stats on my page. This bombardment of emails has made this medium (at least in my personal case) antiquated and fatigued.

email

With his new iPad, my grandfather does like most of us technologically savvy humans do. He sits in front of the TV watching golf and reading the emails from his friends. The only difference between him and myself is just the social medium we use.

 

And just for fun …

10 Chain Emails That Haunted Your Youth! Read and Send to 10 friends or you’ll live 10 years with bad luck!

 

 

 

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Star Trek Beyond successful.

A successful trip to the cinema is hard to define. What makes it different to a regular trip to the cinema? What is considered unsuccessful? This being my line of intrigue, I decided to think back to my last visit to the cinema.

Star Trek Beyond was the last film I’ve seen in a cinema. Cheap Tuesday tickets. Greater Union. Popcorn. And 2 housemates. Before I went any further, I sat down with the 2 housemates to get their thoughts about what defines a successful trip to the cinema.

So we started brainstorming. The first thing we thought of was anticipation. This is after all the third Star Trek film. Both myself and L had seen the first and second films and liked them both. We were going to the cinema with prior knowledge. Knowledge of the characters and their relationships but also the standard of J.J. Abrams previous Star Trek movies and the quality we were accustomed too.

On this point L and I agreed that Beyond was definitely the weakest of the trilogy, while C who hasn’t seen these movies before said he enjoyed the movie regardless. By our own definition, a ‘Fun’ movies is one you simply enjoy because of it’s intrinsic value.

But what is the value of a cinema trip? Well it boils down to a roughly 12 dollar ticket a popcorn and a drink. The movie you watch there after is simply watching the return on your hour and forty minute investment. By that metric we all agreed that the movie, food and outing as a whole was worth the money we spent.

Moreover, I realise that not all ticket prices are 12 dollars. I know I spent more money on VMAX seats to see Star Wars Episode VII on release day (I paid 12 at the midnight screening at my local cinema, and again when I took my dad two days after) Some movies are worth more but does that change the value of the film?

For me the value comes from the people you go to the cinema with. Each visit to see the new Star Wars was with different company, and it vastly changed the way I remember the movie and how I enjoyed it at the time.

Regarding our etiquette, we reflected deeply on this for some time. Did we talk multiple times during the film? Doubtless. (Even if it was related to the film) Did we eat loudly and slurp our drinks? Yes. Although he wouldn’t admit it, I am sure C removed his shoes which Mark Kermode forbids explicitly in his code of conduct for cinema visits. code_of_conduct

Despite the actual film, which is not always guaranteed to entertain you, going to the movies can be an ordeal in itself. Parking is almost always a nightmare, specially if timed ticket car parks have anything to do with it. Busy nights means waiting for cold popcorn and it really is too expensive. (I can agree with the dads and mums on that one) The pre movie ads go for at least 10 minutes in bigger cinemas and before bigger movies. Personally I have taken a stand not to watch any movie trailers anymore, simply because I want a clean slate on which to make my judgments. But I always end up seeing them at the cinema before the movie.

So why go to the movies? Why leave your home to park your car to then walk and wait in line to watch it on a bigger screen, when you could just wait for it on DVD or steal it from the internet when someone has already been to see it and film it himself?

Torsten Hägerstrand in the 1960 came up with a conceptual model to track an individual movement in time-space geography. This involved 3 constraints on the individual.

Capability is the individuals  ability to move in space based on physical or biological factors. Speed, needing to sleep, A person cannot be in 2 places at once nor travel instantaneously to another.

Coupling is the time constraints that come from interactions with other people. Meetings take time usually to organize and coordinate with other people. Thus some temporal paths require coupling with others to complete.

Authority is an external control on time and space and the activities that occur.   When things can and can’t take place. Where something can and can’t take place.

 

If I was to consider a trip to the cinema based on Hägerstrand’s concepts then would I still consider the trip successful? To see a movie I have to take the time out of my day. Not just for the duration of the film but the trip to and from my home as well. Naturally I have means of transportation which means, yes I am physically capable of going getting to and from the cinema. The authority decides when films play and how much the tickets cost. These are external factors that have to be considered by me and the people I want to take to the movies. This company is coupled in the venture to the movies. It becomes a group activity that needs to be coordinated. Who’s driving? Who’s paying? What time are we going to see it? 3D or nah? It gives me headaches and most movies don’t make great use of it so I’d much rather see a 2D version of the same film if it’s all the same?

Personally, I have enjoyed the worst movies in good company. It’s the people you go to the cinema with that make or break the enjoyment. Some people aren’t good at watching movies with. Some people are too good and make sarcastic banter at shit movies and disturb the whole cinema. Any time spent with friends watching a good movie is a successful trip to the cinema.

References

Corbett, J, 2001. Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography. CSISS Classics. CSISS Classics,p 1-4.

Chris Hewitt. 2016. Star Trek Beyond Review | Movie – Empire. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/star-trek-beyond/review/. [Accessed 23 August 2016].

Digital Spy. 2016. The Wittertainment Cinema Code of Conduct!. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a288795/the-wittertainment-cinema-code-of-conduct/. [Accessed 23 August 2016].

That can only meme on thing

The new distributed network paradigm has become apparent in large businesses. Large office work forces have been utilizing new networking programs to connect on the job. Facebook is being used socially and professionally, blurring the two worlds together. Some companies are creating their own platform for employees to use.
‘Sametime’ is like a
half-way house between phone – which is disruptive – and email – which is
too passive.
-Interviewee, large professional services firm
New technology has the capacity to facilitate the connections in a distributed network of employees.
Reference: Peter, Richard,, B, R,, 2008. Network citizen. 1st ed. 136 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU, UK: Magdalen House, p46

“Have you ever retired a human by mistake?”

https://prezi.com/embed/xqnm-pteb0on/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0&landing_data=bHVZZmNaNDBIWnNjdEVENDRhZDFNZGNIUE43MHdLNWpsdFJLb2ZHanI0cTFNaEMwZ05Md05GalVzZ00yaVZpY0dRPT0&landing_sign=eeiabpEzmDGRgZvAsPJUYe4ImQaIOWxhDE1CpJ33EM0

Cyberpunk is a fantastically interesting genre and sub-culture. It can easily be summed up with the quote,

High Tech, Low Life.

It’s about the future of technology as an extension of humanity. A way to imagine the merging of our physical work to the world of cyberspace, the internet and computers.

The genre has plethora of tropes that it uses both aesthetically and in their narratives. Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott is a well known Cyberpunk movie. Themes include, rouge androids, Special police units, Off world colonies, and the nature of memories and true Artificial Emotions.

Blade Runner is a fantastic movie and well worth a watch even today.Cyberpunk is rich in narrative styles and is still a visually stunning genre.

Only 1900s kids will get this meme

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The invention of the telegraph allowed humans to send information via Morse code in the mid 19th century. Suddenly messages could be sent across the oceans to far away counties almost instantly. The materiality of words had been forever changed. Information was extracted from written words and sent though wires.

Now lets look at memes for a moment. Memes are by majority a visual medium. Photos of gorillas on facebook, edited vine videos, top text/bottom text pictures. Yes they all have a visual component but is that truly necessary for the meme to carry its meaning?

Take my OC meme above. If you’ve translated it to English, and you understand what it means (ayy lmao) then hasn’t it worked? A meme can distilled into just words and still effectively carry it’s message without any visual or auditory component. Of course this is all dependent on the reader to have prior knowledge of the meme or context.

Ten word telegrams cost around $100 back in the day. How much are modern memes worth now?

Time to think.

When our lecturer Susan asked us all “Where are you in your lives now?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

It’s that question I’ve been asking myself for a while now. I’m not convinced that I could be the only Uni student living out of home with little, to no money, trying to cook decent meals each night, sitting up with my roommates discussing our meaning on the earth, drinking $10 plonk and wondering aloud “What is the point of all this?”

But Susan has given me the opportunity to think about this ambiguous question. Media Space. How does my current space in time relate to media. Time and Space. Maybe now I can try and answer Susan’s question.

We humans are physical, three dimensional beings, living in a reality of a material world. Everything we perceive is physical and tangible. Granted there are exceptions (that prove the rule) like the internet. Media.

Our physical lives change the way we engage, interact, experience digital media and the internet. We have Wi-Fi for instance. Secure safe zones where we can digitally connect ourselves though devices like phones, computers, consoles. Wander too far from the zone and you’re in the wild. No bars as they say.  Now every phone has 3 or 4G connectivity so wandering out of these WI-Fi zones has an illusion of safety. You can roam the streets, constantly connected.

Before Wi-Fi, internet came in copper wires that were plugged into terminals. Internet cafes, library computers, the information superhighway, were the digital portals of our ancestors. From confinement, to freedom; we’re endlessly connected and free to roam. (Just don’t turn on data roaming or the provider you’re with will rack up your data bill and we’ve all been there)

Media Space has expanded. It’s all around us now. We can access an immense database of knowledge with spectacular ease. Just pick up your phone and google something you didn’t know. Or open a new tab and search a random Wikipedia page. By the time you’ve learned something new, come back and read the rest of this post so I can get to my point.

Technology is an extension of ourselves as humans. Media Space is (or I should say ‘Can be’) surrounding us at all times. I mentioned above that this was about Space and Time. As humans beings we are subject to the arrow of time. Elliot puts it nicely.

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future

T.S Elliot

The future is a culmination of all things past and everything present. The extent of our potential knowledge is dictated to us by time. We are here, in this time. We are Now. This is the Media Space we are in. Not physically but temporally.

Thank you to Susan for prompting this long awaited ambiguous answer.

Yik Yak: Aussie Yaks vs Yankee Yakkers

Yik Yak, is an anonymous location based social media platform akin to twitter in many aspects. In Recent years it has become extremely popular in American campus, and even more recently, in Australian Universities.

By hiding users identities, the app encourages free and open speech and allows users to see who’s ‘Yaking’ around them in a 2.4 km radius. Posts are up to 200 characters long and are moderated by up votes and down votes.

However, in the United States, the freedom and openness has lead to several controversies. The app has been linked to multiple cases of bulling, slanderous gossip, sexual harassment and even in one case; terrorist threats. So that the bulling and harassment could not continue, high schools across America had the app Geo-Fenced so that it could not be used by it’s students.

These stories of reports however have only been coming out of the United States. Yik Yak in Australia has yet to prove itself. Whether it’s more progressed than “college immaturity” or it’s at par for the course.

This is the basis for my research project, my aim is to uncover the difference in Australian Yaks and Yakkers to find out why something that has cause so much controversy in America, hasn’t lifted an eyebrow in Australia.

Do Australian Yakkers just have a different etiquette when it comes to anonymous free speech? Or is it perhaps that Australia has the same issues with bulling, harassment but its simply now covered in the media?

To begin to unpack this issue, I intend to identify those who regularly use Yik Yak on the University of Wollongong campus’ by using questionnaires to collect information and opinions regarding the use of the application in Australia. I want to identify how the limitations and affordances of Yik Yak change how people interact with it. The questionnaire will address anonymity, vulgarity and the use of location based views.

Besides this, I will be monitoring the local Yaks each day to identify the range of behavior that is deemed acceptable on the UOW campus.

Very little has been published about Yik Yak in Australian campus’. This research project aims to give the Australian users an identity despite the anonymity. I hope to fairly represent the Yakkers of UOW and analyses the disparity (Or similarity) between them and the reports from the United states.

 

References.

Daily Mail. 2014. Anonymous ‘gossip app’ Yik Yak blamed for cyberbullying outbreak in schools as firm behind it forced to BAN it from being opened on school grounds k. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2615231/Anoynmous-app-Yik-Yak-blamed-bullying-schools-amid-calls-firm-trying-way-ban-children-using-it.html. [Accessed 25 March 16].

GIZMODO. 2014. Yik Yak Wants To Be More Than Your Kid’s Favourite Shit-Talking App. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/10/yik-yak-wants-to-be-more-than-your-kids-favourite-shit-talking-app/. [Accessed 25 March 16].

The guardian. 2014. Yik Yak: the anonymous app taking US college campuses by storm. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/21/yik-yak-anonymous-app-college-campus-whisper-secret. [Accessed 24 March 16].

Institute for Culture and Society – University of Western Sydney.. 2016. Yik Yak, Young People – and You!. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.uws.edu.au/ics/news_and_media/blog/yik_yak,_young_people_and_you!. [Accessed 25 March 16].

The Sydney Morning Herald. 2015. Yik Yak: Anonymous apps unleash the dark side of free speech on campuses. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/yik-yak-anonymous-apps-unleash-the-dark-side-of-free-speech-on-campuses-20150528-ghbi5u.html. [Accessed 24 March 16].