My Digital Life: Social Media

I had to create a 90 second video clip about social media for a module I’m studying, here it is: How I made the video. Using an open source application Freeplane, I did a brainstorm of ideas for the presentation. I concluded that I would need to deliver the presentation as audio-visual to include the many ideas, although the majority of initial points were eventually omitted due to time constraints on the video. I then completed a storyboard to help me put the seemingly disjointed ideas into a logical order. I planned each section and then viewed the media resources available to include one image per point raised. The media was useful but because I didn’t have time to listen to all the music available, I decided to select a commercially available piece to help create the atmosphere I desired. (Corner Stone Cues – Requiem for a Tower). Due to file size constraints, in order utilise the 60-90 seconds available to me; I decided the final presentation needed to be 640 x 480 resolution (with 1500 bps) and having PAL-compatible 25 frames per second. I found Google Picasa too restrictive for this purpose and it didn’t allow me to crop[…]

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What is Kickstarter?

Crowdsourcing is the model by which a party can outsource activity to a larger unspecified group of people. Activity may range from processing, assessing through to, in the case of Kickstarter, financial funding ad benefits are gained from the size and variety of a crowd. As discussed in the interview from The Strand (2010), Kickstarter allows “micro financing” small projects in a non-traditional investment model where projects tend to be “driven more by creative expression than some sort of commercial interest”. A project’s success mutually benefits stakeholders and relationships tend to be relatively more involved between investors and organisers. Kickstarter operates through a website that enables individuals or groups to list a creative project that requires financial funding. Projects need to have clear goals with something produced on completion and are only successful if funding goals are met or exceeded. Potential funders are encouraged to donate by the project’s goals and (strictly non-financial and non-equity) rewards such as crediting funders or receiving an item from the project’s limited initial production. Different tiers of donations are rewarded differently. Kickstarter handles payments securely through third-party payment processing providers to ensure money if protected. Card details may be given but no money is[…]

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Ubiquitous, Embedded and Ambient Computing Explained

Mark Weiser (1991) extended the concept of ubiquitous computing and offered insights into its implementation. The concept distinctly refers to computers that are so well integrated and accepted to all aspects of human activity, people are not conscious of their presence. These computers would be almost everywhere and interoperate to subtly enhance our lives – that is to say that although the produce may be observed, the methods are not. The scale of ubiquitous computing can range from interconnected health monitoring technologies around a person to large art exhibits. Applications could vary from home automation responding to predicted behavioural patterns through to cities automating themselves and reporting on social or environmental anomalies. The embedded computer is typically a small component integrated within a device that provides a limited functionality. Embedded computers enhance the device’s performance by processing and responding to environmental sensors or user input. Users are typically unaware of their presence and typically do not interact directly with them. Ambient computing is the strategy to introduce useful information to end users in a more passive or subtle process. This is achieved by devices providing a limited scope of information, for example energy usage and by using methods more natural[…]

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Twitter

From my forum post… As an IT & Marketing Manager, social network sites seemed to be an inevitable convergence of the dual disciplines I practise so I reluctantly adopted Twitter in my professional role back in January. “Reluctantly” because I’m aware the young demographic of users are not the business’ target market of decision makers; but there seems to be wider-stakeholder expectations to embrace social networking. On a practical level, I needed to reserve the username and not end up with some ugly username suffixed with a numerical sequence (that reminder of how common your name really is) to prevent an impostor masquerading as us. I remind myself that Twitter keeps 14 year old schoolgirls happy gossiping about their lives and as an adult, it is hard to draw any meaning from this. Perhaps, that’s where Twitter shines. It’s an equalizer. In a society that seems to be increasingly segmented (socio-economically) perhaps Twitter provides a platform for celebrities, the rich and the poor to talk about what’s important to them. Okay it may seem mundane and not ‘news worthy’ but there is no obligation to read Tweets. The platform itself and potentially the content will determine popularity. I think people[…]

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Night Navigation Poster

Night Navigation

Walking in the dark, outdoors, can be difficult because paths and tracks can be hard to distinguish. You can picture the scenario of defaulting down the left path, you lose your bearings, you convince yourself you’ll get back on track eventually, you get cold, tired, panic and then, yep, acceptance – “we’re lost”. Forests in the dark are especially difficult places to get back on track because, although you won’t particularly notice it, our eyes are not great at discerning colour in low light and the environment looks all so similar. Thankfully, there are a few tricks.

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Headless Human Clones

My forum post on MedWeb (Birmingham University) It seems to me, that discussions of medical ethics with peers, in journals and the media tend to focus on ethical implications of only current medical abilities, despite however long they have been in exercise. An example would be abortion which was practised in Greek and Roman times. The first recorded recipe for an abortion producing drug was in 2600BC. Thomas Aquinas considered the scientific and theological aspects of abortion in depth in the 13th century. Other examples include organ transplantation and euthanasia. Medicine, is one of the most, rapidly changing disciplines in society. Constantly new techniques, evidence and trials are being developed. I wonder whether or not we should be considering ethical issues concerning medical practice where the possibility of that medical practice will not emerge until a few decades. Cloning and the benefits to humans are becoming more obvious. Scientists have already a headless frog embryo. It does not seem a distant possibility of headless human clones. In fact, it is real possibility that in a few decades we could have the ability to grow clones of ourselves from birth. These clones would be engineered to be biographically dead (a persistent[…]

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