DIGC202: Global networking chapter 12 Apple Vs Google

Title: DIGC202: Global networking chapter 11 Apple Vs Google.

Date: 30 October 2012

DIGC202: Global networking chapter 11 Apple Vs Google.

In the eleventh week of class, the class was introduced to the eleventh chapter of the Global Networking Subject entitled “Apple Vs Android.”

This week’s lectures touch on Apple and Google, two features of the mobile net. We discussed points to compare the history, philosophies, business models, audience relationships, and practices of these two giants of the mobile internet. We looked into their opposing ideas for the role of the user in the iOS and Android operating systems, and discuss their implications. We also discuss what benefits they offer and how they impact the way people use the mobile net.

When Apple’s iPhone debuted on the 29th of June 2007, it was greeted with long queues amidst much anticipation. However, this euphoria did not last long.  It wasn’t long before users began to question Apple’s philosophy. (Mitew 2012; Nafis 2012)  Since Apple’s core business appliances are tethered to closed ecosystem, it has complete control over the platform, content, and user because of its garden wall of apps ‘the app store’.  Apple’s device is an end in itself — a self-contained, jewel-like gadget locked in a sleek protective shell.   This was frustrating to many users and elicited harsh comments from people like Roth.

“The mobile industry was stuck in the dark ages. Unlike the Web, where open standards had fostered a multitude of cool companies and applications, mobile was a tyrannical, closed system, repelling all innovators and disrupters who tried to gain entrance.” (Roth 2008)

Thus, Google’s operating system Android was ‘born’ to meet this challenge. “Android had the solution: a free, open source mobile platform that any coder could write for and any handset maker could install.” (Roth 2008) Goolge Inc. was founded on 4 September 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Their philosophy “Flow of information is key” reflects their core business which is connectivity. (Mitew 2012; Nafis 2012)  I believe that this business concept is responsible for Google’s impressive success; from being a simple search engine to one of the most widely used search engines today. Thus, the difference between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android lies in the philosophy behind them.

On the one hand is Apple’s closed concept.  On the other hand, Android was a means, a seed intended to cultivate an entire new wireless family tree. (Mitew 2012; Nafis 2012) In my own opinion, Android’s decision to let anyone make add-ons and applications is a threat to Apple.  Under Android rules, everyone’s their own boss.  It is this form of freedom and ‘user democracy’ that makes Google’s Android a preferred choice over Apple’s iOS.  For techies, Android is a better choice because it enables them to customize their phones, take their code and make improvements on it. The possibilities are endless and this is likely the reason why many established phone brands are willing to partner with Google to allow its Android OS to use on all their phones. Thus, the Open Handset Alliance was born. This open and free platform is devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. (Mitew 2012; Nafis 2012) With the Android, users have the ability to access the codes, giving them the power to run just about any application that is available in the web minus the restrictions. The Android is merely the core system running the device.  As a user, the beauty lies in its concept in which control is in the hands of the user.  It enables the user to assume control over the platform, adapt and tweak the software to suit personal preferences.

This is the radical difference from the Apple iOS that assumes control over the entire device. Unlike the Android, it is virtually impossible to run Apple’s iOS on a HTC, Samsung or LG mobile device. (HTC Corporation 2008) The battle between Apple and Google is not confined to the two mobile operating giants. Many users have taken the ‘war’ online with many loyal customers offering their two cents’ worth about their mobile phones and the operating systems they use.  In my opinion, this battle arises out of the needs of the users.  Such feedback is necessary and useful as it helps the phone companies to improve on their systems and services.  The intense business rivalry between Apple and Google also creates healthy competition and leads to discounts for consumers.  This can only bode well for the consumers.  For example, the Amazon ‘app-store’ has a free app per day feature for high-quality paid apps, and often posts discounts on some of the most popular apps. This has also contributed to the tremendous rise in the number of smartphone owners. This rise is also due to availability of the mobile net.

People are always on the go and require a system that meets their needs while on the move. (Hay 2012)  Thus, it is interesting to note that the creation of the smartphone and the ability to access the internet on the mobile phones has caused a massive shift in the way people use the internet.  Thanks to the convergence of technology and media, people are now able to use their phones to access the internet and communicate rather than using bulky desktops or laptops.  This meets the needs of the ‘always-on’ society for something light, portable and yet powerful.  Phones are growing more and more powerful — and I think competition between Android and Apple has a lot to do with this.  Also, the convergence of media and technology in the form of the apps available, have affected the way people use the mobile net. It is my personal opinion that this role is played out perfectly by Google and Apple.

This is because the Android and iOS systems have enabled and encouraged more and more people to use the mobile net  for multiple reasons; the purpose of accessing local information, stay informed, buy products, and download music and video via the applications on their smartphones while on the move. The ultimate winner of the war between Google and Apple boils down to how they can please users.

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References

Hay, D. 2012, ‘How People Use the Mobile Web’ accessed:  30/10/2012 http://mobilewebslinger.com/2012/01/24/how-people-use-the-mobile-web/.

HTC Corporation, 2008, accessed: 30/10/2012 http://web.archive.org/web/20110712230204/http://www.htc.com/www/press.aspx?id=66338&lang=1033.

Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 ‘Apple Vs Google’, lecture notes, accessed 26/10/2012, http://prezi.com/hotqlxztvxdb/digc202-counter-networks/.

Nafis, F 2012, Apple VS Google, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 22 October.

Roth, D. 2008, ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web.’ Wired, June 23, accessed:  3/11/2012, http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-07/ff_android.

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DIGC202: Global networking chapter 11 #mena #arabspring and the social Network revolution.

Date: 28 October 2012

DIGC202: Global networking chapter 9Case: #mena #arabspring and the social netwok revolution.

In the ninth week of class, the class was introduced to the ninth chapter of the Global Networking Subject entitled, #mena #arabspring and the social network revolution.

This week’ class discusses and explores three case studies related to the uses, futures and philosophies of the internet. In this first case study, the class assembled examples and discussion points on how social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have been used by activists and ordinary citizens in the 2010-2011 Arab Spring uprising in the Middle-East and North Africa.  The class also looks into how the reactions of authorities, and discuss the role of social networks in relation to the successes and failures of the uprisings that make up the Arab Spring. This blog discusses how the convergence in media and technology and the rise of the global communication networks has contributed to the rise of ordinary citizens or citizen journalist reporting news on the Arab Spring, and how social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have been used by activists and ordinary citizens.

In my previous blog, I mention that citizen journalism is the process whereby ordinary citizens play an active role in the process of finding, constructing, reporting, analysing, and disseminating news and information. Citizen journalists can present news and information, from their own perspectives. Practically anyone can play the role of journalists and report anything they deem fit or newsworthy. Citizen journalists share their information by posting comments on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, blogging, discussing through forums, etc. A key aspect of citizen journalism is the absence of gatekeepers. (Mitew, 2012; Nafis, 2012)  With the rise of citizen journalism in the Middle East, people get their news from social media and are influence by such news, even though this news may not be true. (Mitew 2012) The lack of gatekeepers and the fact that this news is not vetted for accuracy does not matter.  People may be gullible and accept any news as the truth.  In my opinion, social networking, like twitter and Facebook, was instrumental in the coverage of the Arab Spring in the Middle East by citizen journalists.  It was also instrumental in getting local and international support for the Arab uprising.  (Srinivasan 2012; New Internationalist 2012)

The role of networks like Facebook and Twitters has evolved from that of a mere social communication tool to that of a more serious and life changing element in the political stage, particularly the Arab Spring. Each element of the digital technology used in communication played an important role in the Arab uprising. The internet was useful for collecting news, disseminating information, social media for connecting and coordinating people, mobile phones for capturing images and making it available to a global audience and satellite television for instant global reporting of events. For the Egyptian and Tunisian dissident groups, these digital tools were crucial as they enabled them to assemble remote and often disparate groups and provided them channels to bypass the conventional media, which was state controlled and censored any news of civil unrest and opposition to the government. This is where the role of social networks like Facebook and Twitters has evolved from that of a mere social communication tool to that of a more serious and life changing element in the political arena and world stage.

The rapid internet interaction through Twitter and Facebook actually gave invaluable information to the protesters in Malaysia, Tunisia and Egypt. In Malaysia itself, the protestors of Bersih 2.0 shared their experiences via Facebook and Twitter to connect with other protesters from across the nation and empowered the activists to coordinate and communicate their activities. However, Evgeny Morozov in discussing Cyber-utopians contend that those who believe that these networks were purely virtual and spontaneous are ignorant of the recent history of cyber-activism in the Middle East, enlightening us of the support that it’s received  from western governments, foundations and corporations. “They belie the notion that the Middle East protests were organised by random people doing random things online”. (Morozov 2011) Morozov claims that by highlighting the liberating role of the tools and understating the role of human agency, Americans feel proud of their own contribution to events in the Middle East, as without Facebook, such unpremeditated rebellion wouldn’t have succeeded – so Silicon Valley deserves a major share of the credit, glamorising the role of Facebook, Silicon Valley and thus, America’s contribution to the Arab Spring. (Morozov 2011)

Could the Arab Spring have taken place without social media?  I think so, because the people were extremely unhappy with their leaders.  However, I think the speed at which it took place would not have been possible without the use of social media.  In fact, following the 2010-2011 Arab uprising, many political and media pundits believed the widespread availability of the internet, satellite communications and mobile phones will promote the growth of similar movements in other African and Arab countries.

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Reference

Aljazeera 2012, accessed 27/10/2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/2012919115344299848.

Morozov, E 2011, ‘Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go’, The Guardian, 7 March, a.n., accessed 27/10/2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/07/facebook-twitter-revolutionaries-cyber-utopians.

Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 ‘#mena #arabspring: the social netwok revolution’, lecture notes, accessed 26/10/2012, http://prezi.com/hotqlxztvxdb/digc202-counter-networks/.

Nafis, F 2012, #mena #arabspring: the social netwok revolution, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 22 October.

New Internationalist 2012, World Developement book case study: the role of social networking in the Arab Spring, accessed 27/10/2012, http://www.newint.org/books/reference/world-development/case-studies/social-networking-in-the-arab-spring/.

Srinivasan, R 2012, ‘Taking power through technology in the Arab Spring’, accessed 27/10/2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/2012919115344299848.

DIGC202: Global networking chapter 9 Counter-networks: online activism, whistleblowers, and the darkside of the net

Date: 17 October 2012

DIGC202: Global networking chapter 9 online activism, whistleblowers, and the dark side of the net.

In the ninth week of class, the class was introduced to the eighth chapter of the Global Networking Subject entitled, Counter-network: online activism, whistleblowers, and the dark side of the net.

This week’ class discusses and explores the uses of global communication networks by social activists, cultural tricksters, whistleblowers, political campaigners, hackers and those wishing to build an online public sphere. We also discuss and explore the multiple histories which feed into political and alternative uses of new media technology and examine the tensions between political and commercial applications of new media technologies. This blog discusses how the convergence in media and technology and the rise of the of global communication networks has contributed to the rise in social activist, cultural tricksters and hackers.

The convergence of media and technology has given rise to the Internet and the creation of multiple platforms and devices such as the smartphone and computer tablets, which have impacted our lives beyond our imagination.  It is a boon at times and a bane at others.

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that serve billions of users worldwide. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email.  Today, the Internet is our main form of media and communication and provides us unlimited wealth of knowledge and information and space.  It also enables the “free flow of information” and creates convenience to us. Through all this convenience, comes the threat to the governments and other public institutions.  These are the counter-networks and hackers, comprising online activism, whistle blowers and others, and may work against the government of the day.  Cyber-libertarians are part of online activism which focuses on “information freedom” for everyone and utilizes the “net as an electronic frontier” (Mitew 2012). Mitew likens this frontier to the Wild West, where everything is up for grabs with total disregard to the laws or codes of civilised society. These cyber-libertarians gain illegal access to private and classified information through hacking. They believe strongly that information should be shared by everyone freely on the Internet. This gives rise to the hacking culture.

Hacking is not new.  It started long before World War II, with a tiny group of Polish mathematicians. They made the first breaks into the Germans’ code by relatively simple techniques. The most famous of them was Marian Rejewski – a Polish Mathematician who hacked the first iteration of the Enigma. The Enigma machine was created in “1923 as a commercial product by a German named Arthur Scherbius” (Guba 2012).  The German military used the enigma in World War II to encipher and decipher codes without being understood by foreign intelligence. Cryptanalysis is a form of accessing cryptic codes and decoding them.  This was the first trace of hacking

Telephones and telephone lines as well as the introduction of the electronic phone network switchboards in the 1960s led to another form of hacking known as “phone phreaking” (Mitew 2012; The Mentor 1986) Today, the Internet and the global communication and media networks have given rise to hackers who decipher information technology codes through computers, to hack into phone switches, mainframes and even government servers. Thus, it can be said that the evolution of hacking is parallel to the evolution of technology.   Through all these, comes the “hacking subculture” which saw the publication of hacker magazines and emergence of ‘leet speak’.  The main hacker magazines are Phrack and 2600 which were introduced in 1985 and 1984 respectively. ‘Leet speak’ are hacker slangs, familiar only to hackers.  For instance, words like “n00b”stands for ‘newbie’ and “w00t” reflect a sort of cheer of excitement.  In my opinion, hacking has created a new culture and slangs. (Nafis 2012; Mitew, 2012) Nowadays, people are getting bolder and acquire precious information by all means, including hacking.  This affects how information is guarded by individuals and authorities.  It also affects the way information is disseminated as people do not want classified information to fall into the wrong hands.  It also affects the way we view technology, as technology creates the hacking culture which threatens our “wealth of information”.

The most famous hacker today has to be Julian Paul Assange, who in2006, was inspired to go on a mission for “total transparency”.  (Khatchadourian 2010)  Assange relentlessly hacked into the systems and files of governments and other institutions all over the world to gain access to top classified information and publish them on a Web site called WikiLeaks.org. Since it went online, five ago, the site has published an extensive catalogue of secret material, ranging from the Standard Operating Procedures at Camp Delta, in Guantánamo Bay, and the “Climategate” e-mails from the University of East Anglia, in England, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo account. It boasts of materials from Scientology, the Swiss banks, Russian offshore stem-cell centres, former African kleptocrats and the Pentagon. Threatened with lawsuits and other threats, Assange remains unapologetic. Assange wanted to insure that, once his works were posted online, it would be impossible to remove.  Any government or company that wanted to remove content from WikiLeaks would have to practically dismantle the Internet itself. Hackers can be categorised into the “White Hats” and “Black Hats” (Nafis 2012; Mitew, 2012). While most hackers seek the truth to expose frauds and other misdeeds, earning them the title “White Hats”, they are what I call “cyber vigilantes”.  They are the good guys who also put up good defences against the “Black Hats”. Conversely, the “Black Hats” are the evil hackers who bring down websites to serve their own selfish agenda. Hackers like Assange, are a pain to governments and institutions.  On the other hand, his works are welcome by people who cherish freedom of information.  The site’s work in Kenya earned it an award from Amnesty International So, is Assange a criminal or a hero, a”Black Hat” or a “White Hat”?

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References

Guba, A 2012, Enigma, The Core Memory, accessed 26/10/2012, http://www.thecorememory.com/html/enigma.html.

Khatchadourian, R 2010, ‘No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency’ The New Yorker, 7 June, accessed 26/10/2012,  http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=3.

The Mentor 1986, The Conscience of a Hacker, Phrack, accessed 26/10/2012, http://www.phrack.org/issues.html?issue=7&id=3&mode=txt.

Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 ‘Counter-Networks’, lecture notes, accessed 26/10/2012, http://prezi.com/hotqlxztvxdb/digc202-counter-networks/.

Nafis, F 2012, Counter-Networks, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 22 October.

DIGC202: Global networking chapter 8 Bridges made of pebbles

Date: 7 October 2012

DIGC202: Global networking chapter 8 Bridges made of pebbles.

In the eighth week of class, the class was introduced to the seventh chapter of the Global Networking Subject entitled “Bridges made of pebbles”.

This week’ class discussed what new forms of information gathering and dissemination such as citizen journalism mean for the new media audiences, and the practice of traditional media. We also discussed notions of participatory culture, ethics, credibility, and collective intelligence and whether traditional information outlets or channels of information are dying out, and are no longer being used and whether or not there are any forms of information searching, gathering and sending outlets or channels that are equivalent to the internet.

From what I have learn, citizen journalism is the process whereby ordinary citizens play an active role in the process of finding, constructing, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information. Citizen journalists can present news and information, from their own perspectives, based on the already existing forms of news and information. (Mitew 2012; Nafis 2012) What makes citizen journalism so interesting is that anyone can play the role of journalists and report anything they deem fit or newsworthy. Goode defines citizen journalism as a range of web-based practices whereby ‘ordinary’ users engage in journalistic practices (Goode 2009, pp1287-1371).  Citizen journalists share their information by posting comments on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, blogging, discussing through forums, etc. Anyone who records or posts information online is considered a citizen journalist. A significant aspect of citizen journalism is the absence of gatekeepers.

One of the advantages for citizen journalists is that they can get the news out faster than reporters because reporters cannot go to the scene immediately. Previously, the only way for people to get news is to wait for their newspapers or news reporting on television at specific times. They have no other technology to update them with the latest news.  In contrast, today, news is updated in any websites continuously. As long as you have Internet connection, you can keep up with the latest news. Even social networks like Facebook and Twitter keep the ordinary citizens updated. (Johnson 2009) That is how news is spread to everyone rapidly. However, the task of a citizen journalist is not limited to posting or reporting news.  A number of them have resorted to serious reporting, including analyzing and probing into events that happen around them, and carrying out discussions online with others.  The advent of technology, of course, has contributed tremendously to the rise in citizen journalism.  I, for one, believe that citizen journalism is thriving because of a more educated populace.

Thanks to the convergence of media and technology in the form of devices such as the iPhone and iPad ordinary citizens are able to record things that are happening around them. Just about anyone can use their Smartphones, or even Note pads with built-in cameras or video recorders to capture and record events as they unfolded and distribute them to the rest of the world.  In fact, many historical events, such as the Arab Spring and the devastation from Hurricane Sandy have been reported by citizen journalists even before the professional journalists or actual reporters could reach the scene. Citizen journalism has thrived due to the convergence of media and technology. Information flow is not confined to professional reporters or media corporations, but is facilitated by the ordinary citizens.

Similarly, the 2011 Tsunami that devastated Japan mercilessly was recorded by many citizen journalists. Even as they were running for their lives, they were recording the incidents that unfolded, capturing some of the most heartrending events, showing massive destruction of properties and even people being swept out to sea as the Tsunami pounded the shores of  the “Land of the Rising Sun”. The explosion of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima which resulted in many deaths and mass destruction were also captured on camera and uploaded on YouTube by citizen journalists.  News bloggers and citizen journalists have demonstrated persistence and determination in uncovering political and other scandals, as well as highlighting the shortcomings of professional journalism as it investigates and reports on such scandals. The rise of citizen journalism marks the gradual decline of industrial journalism as the dominant force in the public sphere.

As the industrial age makes way for the information age, and as its hierarchical and centralized structures for the organization of  production, distribution, and market economies transform towards a networked, hierarchical environment characterized by many-to-many information flows, the conventional models of media production, distribution, and consumption are no longer relevant.

The growing disconnect between the needs and wants of news audiences, and the news products provided to them by the journalism industry has been filled by a hybrid producer/user or “produser” (Burns 2009). A shift towards a more equitable media environment which enables all participants to both receive and send information, on an (almost) equal basis encourages produsage. Citizen journalism is a form of “produser”.  During the industrial age, journalistic publication was controlled through the practice of gatekeeping.  Today’s information age has done away with the gatekeeping regime. Instead, the journalist’s role as a watchdog has shifted to that of a guidedog.  A key role for professional journalists therefore now becomes that of identifying and highlighting newsworthy material, wherever it may emerge from. In other words, they watch the output gates of other sources, and further publicise the material published there – they are “gatewatchers”, not “gatekeepers”. (Bruns 2009)

Compared to journalistic gatekeeping, gatewatching requires a very different set of skills: it relies less on first-hand investigative research and the ability to compose succinct news stories, and more on information search and retrieval skills especially in online environments. This also enables gatewatching to be conducted on a far more ad hoc, decentralised and crowdsourced basis than has been possible for gatekeeper journalism: a much wider range of participants, including what Jay Rosen has described as “the people formerly known as the audience”, can now perform “random acts of journalism” (Bruns 2009) simply by pointing out to other users whatever interesting information they uncovered.

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References

Bruns, A. 2009, ‘News Blogs and Citizen Journalism: New Directions for e-Journalism’, accessed: 6/10/2012, http://snurb.info/files/News%20Blogs%20and%20Citizen%20Journalism.pdf.

Johnson, S 2009, ‘How Twitter Will Change The Way We Live’, TIME Magazine, 5 June, n.a., accessed 6/10/2012, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1902818-2,00.html.

Mitew, T 2012, DIGC202 ‘Bridge made of pebbles: Social media and the rise of gatewatchers’, lecture notes, accessed 6/10/2012, http://prezi.com/sh7b7p0osscz/digc202-social-media-and-the-rise-of-gatewatchers/.

Nafis, F 2012, Bridge made of pebbles: Social media and the rise of gatewatchers, lecture, DIGC202, Global Networks, University of Wollongong, delivered 2 October.

Goode, L. 2009 ‘Social news, citizen journalism and democracy’, New Media and
Society
, vol. 11, no. 8, pp1287-1371, accessed: 6/10/2012, http://ciid.politicas.unam.mx/silviamolina_docs/docs/new_media_society_v11_n8_2009.pdf.

 

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