Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9/24/08 Reading --> Web 2.0

Today’s reading by Tim O’Reilly titled, What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software, compares the old with the new. After reading this article I realized that Web 2.0 does not have a specific definition. All in all it describes the Internet’s many faces. The author of the reading, O’Reilly, has a “meme map” that shows the many topics Web 2.0 covers. Some of these topics include hackability, the perpetual beta, software that gets better the more people use it and rich user experience. This article explains the old versions of topics and then explains the new version.

O’Reilly goes on to compare Netscape and Google. In this section O’Reilly discusses how Netscape is the old way of “the web as platform” and Google is the new wave (O’Reilly). Google is just in a different wave of Internet software era. There is so much more to the Internet today. Some big features include blogging and live video. What I got out of this was Netscape is the black and white form of Google. O’Reilly says, “Google’s fellows are other internet applications like eBay, Amazon, Napster, DoubleClick, and Akamai.”

The internet is an ever growing environment. We do not know if in a decade if the Internet is going to be the same medium as we are use to today. O’Reilly does a nice job of comparing the old with the new in this article.


O’Reilly, Tim (2005). What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation Of Software.Retrieved August 21, 2008 from ttp:/

Essay #2 --> iPhone Group

Social mediums where individuals interact via the Internet include IRC, MUD’s, MOO’s, Email lists, and Usenet. Over the past week I observed a Usenet channel. Usenet as defined by Wikipedia are “users that read and post public messages to one or more categories, known as newsgroups. Usenet resembles bulletin board systems (BBS) in most respects, and is the precursor to the various web forums which are widely used today.” Usenet groups can have several different topics that are opened and they are called threads. When people comment back to the opened thread they are posting. The Usenet group that I looked at for a week was on Yahoo! and the group was about the iPhone. The iPhone is classified as a smart phone for the resemblance it has to PC’s. Features such as MP3 player, GPS, video, e-mail, and the use of internet on the iPhone make it such a hot phone for today’s phone market. This group has been a great informational forum as well as a predictor to what I thought it would be like. Usenet groups act as great customer service sites, which can easily lead to free riding.

Free riding is a problem that many feel effect the integrity of learning. The reading "Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities" by Peter Kollock and Marc Smith define the free rider problem as “a resource from which all benefit, regardless of whether they have helped create the good.” The iPhone group has many users that are dependent on other people to help them solve the problems they have. On September 19th, 2008, the first day of observation, I noticed a forum where Mike (brokecarguy45) wanted a headset. In the thread that Mike opened he wanted someone to give him a headset that he could listen to music on and receive phone calls on as well. I consider this the lazy way to gather information about a product that might be of interest. Asking for reviews on a product is one thing, but asking for a specific headset to use is another. Mike is guilty of the free rider problem. This is not a huge academic free rider problem but let’s look at it according to Kollock and Smith’s definition. Everyone that reads the thread that may have some interest in a headset like this is going to benefit. Bill (boulware0224) commented back on the thread and gave him a headset that would accommodate his needs. Now I am sure that Bill put in his time to research this headset, now Mike is going to reap the benefit of Bill’s research. This is just a minor form of free riding but in my view definitely falls under the category.

On September 20, 2008, my second day of observation, I noticed a customer service thread. A guy was trying to send a text message with a picture attached using his iPhone. The iPhone offers many features but does not offer this form of image sharing. The only way you can send a picture is to send it to a recipient’s e-mail. This user would have tried many different ways to try to send a picture through a text message but, he decided to see what other people had to say. This could easily be translated into the user being smart and trying to find a quick answer to his problem. I translated this into free-riding. The user should read up on his phone and learn more about what the phone has to offer. I am sure the information booklet that he received with his phone goes over this subject. Free riding is such a problem because it is so easy. Related to an academic setting, going to class and listening to the class discussion about a matter is easier than spending an hour and a half reading. This supports free riding being so accepted in the eyes of many. But certainly it is not.

Over the next couple days of examining this Usenet group I noticed a couple of other interesting things. Yes, many of the threads were relevant to people having problems with their phones. There were a lot of customer service problems that were solved as well. As far as the group community it was very well run and everyone was respected. No one would criticize what others had to say. It seemed all the users were open to anyone’s ideas and opinions on all topics. On the last day of looking at the iPhone group Brian (roqabilly) lost some of his music on iTunes. He thought that all of his music was lost and he was really upset about it. Bill (boulware0224) responded and gave him information on recovering his music. Bill could have easily criticized Brian about his lack of knowledge on media recovery; instead he lent a helping hand. After the couple of days I got the idea who was on everyday from all the posts. There are users that were on everyday helping others and played a regular role in the community. This type of involvement leads to the ease of free riding. This is clear because, if someone has a problem why would they go and research it when they could get a fast response on here? As far as gender on this group it seemed it was predominantly male. Over the five day span if I saw three names that looked female it was a lot. On Yahoo! the user’s nickname is displayed as well as their full name registered with Yahoo! when signing up. This is why I concluded there were more males involved with the group than females. These are all characteristics of this group I analyzed over the five day period.

The areas that caught my attention over the observation period were customer service, the free riding problem, community atmosphere, and gender role. Many users go on these groups because they have problems and want answers conveniently. It is definitely a convenience when you can open a thread and receive comments on your topic. The knowledge and involvement of some members make it easy to free ride as well. Users will abandon the old method of research because it is simple to redeem information someone else did the leg work for already. The atmosphere of the group was very laid back and welcoming. This creates a comfortable environment for the group and future members. Last but not least gender role was dominated by male in this group. I do not know if this is due to more males owning an iPhone or maybe females tend not to free ride as much. This sums up the many norms I noticed about the iPhone group.


Kollock, Peter & Smith, Marc. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflic in computer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Linguistic, social and cross cultural perspectives (pp. 110-111). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

iPhone Group --> 9/23/08

Today is the last day of my group observation. I have seen a lot of similar characteristics in most of the threads that I have followed. A lot of the threads people ask for help and many people with more experience give them advice. Many users that help others out are people that come on the site every day. Some of these people are Bill (boulware0224), Victor (vic_healey), and Brian (roqabilly). These members seem to be in many threads and are always posting new things. They are very helpful people and tend to voice their opinions in a respectful manner when they do. I noticed that even though you may be able to help many people from your experiences, sometimes you run in to problems that seem helpless.

After reading a couple of threads I realized that Brian (roqabilly) ran in to a problem. Unsurprisingly Bill (boulware0224) was one of the people lending a hand. Brian lost a lot of his iTunes information today when he was attempting to send music to his iPhone. Let’s keep in mind that when adding music to your iPhone it is as simple as connecting a wire to the phone, selecting music from iTunes to transfer, and then waiting for the music to sync over. Of course when Brian tried to do this somehow his iPhone wiped out a bunch of his music in iTunes. Bill gave instructions to Brian on how to recover his music as well as the album artwork that Brian was also concerned about.

I think Yahoo! groups are very helpful solutions to everyday problems. Of course there is customer support that people can call if they have a serious problem. Being able to come on a group and letting your problem be known and having confidence that people will answer is comforting. I have learned a couple neat things reading the last couple of day’s worth of threads as well. This group overall is very knowledgeable and definitely an asset to iPhone users. An interesting observation that I came across is the moderator involvement.

There are a couple moderators for this group but over the last couple of day I have not seen one post from them. This is a good thing in my opinion for the sake of the group. I am also part of another phone forum and at least once a day a moderator will take action against someone’s post. Moderators are leaders that take control and keep the group community at ease. I do not think that this is a particular group that would need a lot of moderator involvement. After five days of observation I would give this group a five star rating as far as content and community respect.

Monday, September 22, 2008

iPhone Group --> 9/22/08

Today I tracked a few of my previous threads that I followed. First is the thread on word games opened by Kathryn. She finally decided to buy a word game titled Wurdle. She already admitted that she is addicted to this game already. This is pretty funny because I am sure she is enjoying the game but I wonder if it is for the right reason. Does she play it to get to the next level or is she really expanding her vocabulary. Again, this links back to my thought of phone games actually being used for what they intend to set out to do.

The second thread that I see activity in is Victor about the program for his checking account activity. He posted today that he got the program. Not only did he get the program he put it to work pretty fast. He deposited a check to his account and transferred book money to both his kids in college. I think this is a pretty neat tool to have on a phone. This could save some time and money in the long run. This saved time because he did not have to go to the post office to mail the money. It saved money as well because he did not have to buy stamps or possibly the money order, he most likely would have sent a check though. All in all this is a cool app that makes life easier by the touch of a couple buttons.

The last thread that I recognized when browsing was the headset thread opened by Mike. Mike was no longer the main subject in his thread. This thread involved many users involved in wireless headsets. Many people ordered new headsets because of the information they learned on this thread. A lot of discussion went on in this thread about advantages and disadvantages on certain headsets. This thread was very laid back and everyone respected each other’s opinions. The last post was a user’s order number for a new headset he had purchased. This post is great advertisement for wireless headsets for sure.

iPhone Group --> 9/21/-08

To my surprise today the first thread that was responded to was Kathryn’s thread about word games. There was a user that posted their favorite game and said it was highly addictive and everyone should have it. This is funny because when Kathryn opened the thread she wrote that she wanted to expand her vocabulary. I have played many word games online and I find that many are addictive because the main goal is getting to the next level or trying to beat a high score. I am not too sure about the format or objective of the word game LEXITRON but I am sure it is a typical point basis game. I do not feel that these games would expand vocabulary that much because making everyday common words will most likely be the first thoughts. This is just my opinion on usage of word games and the real meaning behind them.

Another interesting topic that was brought up in a thread was personal information. The thread was first opened by Victor (vgrazi899) who was looking for a program that could help him track his checkbook transactions on his phone. He stated that he had another phone (Palm Treo) that had the program but could not find anything similar on the iPhone. He wanted to link his online activity to his phone so he could be up to date with all the checks he wrote out. To make a long thread short it led to a personal information thread. The thought of other people using your phone and seeing your financial records was a topic. This was easily shot down with the password protection feature. Is this going to be another way of identity theft? There will always be someone out there trying to hack into computers. Is keeping all financial records on a phone a safe move? What happens if the phone is lost or stolen and it does not have password protection? These are all valid questions that Victor would think about before getting a program like this. Better technology always attracts someone that thinks they are smarter and wants to hack into the system. This could definitely lead to valuable information in the wrong hands.

iPhone Group --> 9/20/08

I looked at some of the threads today and a couple are people that are not finding things on the phone. One guy could not figure out how to send pictures on his phone, he was trying to send a message with an attachment. I knew this previously before reading this that the new iPhone does not offer this feature. The only way that you can send pictures on an iPhone is to select the picture and send it via email. It is not possible to send or receive pictures on the iPhone via text message.

What is interesting about the Yahoo! groups is the fact that you can see the person’s real name as well as nickname. I think this is interesting because a lot of forums that I previously have used, a nickname is created and displayed. I looked at a couple previous days worth of threads and the names and found that there are a lot more men commenting in this thread than women. I do not know a specific reason for this but it is definitely evident in this group. Do more men own iPhone then women? This could be a possible reason but maybe in the next couple of days there will be more women posting. There was a thread opened today by Kathryn (ram_kat) asking about any good word games. It is easy to search for word games on the apps programs but so many come up it is hard to decipher what games are worth the money or the free download. About an hour later she got a response from a user known by CJ. CJ had no other information besides an email address that linked back to their phone. Maybe if responding from an iPhone your information is not displayed. It is weird because to access the site you still have to sign into Yahoo!.

iPhone Group --> 9/19/08

After reviewing many groups I decided to follow an iPhone group. I was going to follow a group on the presidential debate but thought that would be a popular pick. I am putting all these blogs up all at once because I went home for the weekend and we switched internet providers. I did all my group observations on my iPhone while I was home and wrote everything down on paper. I was not that crazy to write all these blogs out on the iPhone even though it is pretty easy to type on it.

First thing I had to do is pick up the previously started threads about certain topics. A lot of the topics that were posted were about technical problems about the iPhone. There were also people that posted new items or apps for the phone. Apps that I will be discussing over the next couple of days are programs that you could download to your phone. These program interests for these applications range from games, financial programs, social networks, and radio stations. They have something for everyone in the apps store. Some apps are free and some you have to pay for using your iTunes account. The first thread that I jumped into and observed was about a wireless headset. Mike (brokecarguy45) opened a thread asking any suggestions for a headset that he could listen to music on and still receive calls on as well. What made this thread interesting was that he gave recognition that this topic may have been covered already. He stated, “I know you've probably answered this before, but I haven't paid close enough attention.” This is funny because he admits that he comes on the group every once in a while. He is probably the type that uses groups like these as quick answers to his problems or curiosity. This is not a bad thing at all. I feel that there are many kinds of users on these group chats. Mike in this situation is the informational type and comes on when he needs something.

The next educational remark that came after this was from Bill (boulware0224). He gives advice on a headset and leaves it at that. It seems that Bill is a regular on this site because he is in a lot of previous threads. I would put Bill in the knowledgeable category. These people know a lot about a topic and offer their advice on certain issues for fun or just to help people out. There are many people that are part of forums because they get pleasure out of being part of something they have. Examples would be phone owners in a phone forum or a certain type of car (Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, and Mercedes) owner in a car forum. Mike decides to Google the headset that Bill recommended and goes on to purchase this headset. I think this is a successful thread for many reasons.

Threads sometimes have spam in it which interferes with the flow of communication. There was a remark in this thread that was an advertisement but the conversation continued as if it was never there. Mike had a question about a good headset and Bill came to the rescue with advice and it seemed to work out. Are all threads going to go this smoothly? Of course not, this is an unusual case. Some other threads consisted of a view on an app titled Shazam, belt clips for the iPhone, and some more spam. Shazam is an interesting topic for this iPhone thread as well. This app listens to a song for a brief period and then tells you what song it is and who is the artist. This even works in movie theatres, restaurants, and on a TV show that has music in the background. This is a pretty cool app I have it myself. Well I am going to close it out here because there is a lot more I can go on about but, there is tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Internet - September 17

For September 17 we were required to read Jason Whitaker’s article, The Internet: The basics. Whitaker outlines many issues that have made the Internet so unique. Some important issues that he discusses are the differences of analog and digital, hypertext, digital imaging, and AV basics. These are the fundamental s of the Internet that we see, use, and work with everyday on a computer.

Digital and analog is now the huge difference in many subjects hence the conversion of our TV sets. Whitaker converses how "analog information, such as sound wave, is a continuous stream of data." On the other side there is digital "which is discrete, with distinct breaks between once piece of data and the next" (Whitaker 58). Digital technology helps information flow faster and keep it flawless while in transit. This is very similar to packet switching.

Whitaker discusses the essential component of the World Wide Web which is the hypertext. Hypertext is "the standard protocol for transmitting documents using the HTTP, the Web would not exist, and without a standard format for creating pages, including the ability to link between them (hyperlinks), web pages would lose a great deal of their usability" (Whitaker, 58). This perfectly sums of the importance of hypertext.

Digital imaging today has become an important asset to the Internet. An example of digital imaging used today is, social networking. Many social networks have digital images on their sites so people could express themselves. Digital imaging is a lot easier to share as well. There are several kiosks in store, malls, and shopping areas that allow easy development of digital photography. This is very different compared to the time when a picture from a 35mm camera and we had to send it out to get developed. Also with the digital imaging programs that are available it is very easy to alter digital photography. Whitaker explains that "the same way propaganda was used in written media we now have to second guess photographs as well."

Digital media often involves video which is sent in two different ways. Spatial and temporal compression differ in many aspects. Whitaker states that "spatial compression, sometimes referred to as run-length encoding, compacts the description of the visual areas of a frame by looking for patterns. This can reduce file size by over 50 percent" (Whitaker, 70). "Temporal compression compacts the description of scene changes during a sequence of frames so that there are fewer changes in sequence" (Whitaker, 70). This gives temporal compression less error as well as distortion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Pre-Web Internet - Usenet

In today’s reading by Kollock and Smith the main focus of the reading is the free-rider problem. This is when one does not want to cooperate and takes advantage of others information. There are many circumstances in which people do this today as small as not reading for class or plagiarizing your final paper. This is when you do not put the time and effort into something and expect to get the same thing out of it as everyone else. This article also discussed Usenet. Usenet was a type of social network that many people could communicate through.

I think that Usenet was a great idea back so people could open up. There are certain groups that people are interested in and could voice their opinions on topics. The whole topic array discussed by Kollock and Smith I think is a very important asset. People with more knowledge would contribute to these threads and contribute what they want to say about a topic. The conversations would go smoothly until someone of not as much knowledge or an opinion would come along and jump on the band wagon. There are certain types of people that also feel they have to be part of everything and feel wanted. This gets into psychology as well but people may post their opinions for attention. Of course there is always someone in a group that is going to try and free load (ride). This is always the case because people in groups do not feel as comfortable or they feel over powered.

I can agree with the free-riding problem 100%. I support this statement with an experience I had in a group class. We had many group projects through the semester and everyone tried to contribute what they thought would help the group. Like a good majority of team member based groups there was one outsider. They may have been an outsider because they felt uncomfortable or maybe even overwhelmed. In this case I knew that this person could definitely contribute more to the group because in class discussions because they were so vocal. I felt that they just sat back and did not do any work because it was easier. This is a case of the free-riding problem where a member does not contribute and rides the coat tails of others. To sum it all up it is important for people to have their own view and knowledge on topics and if they agree with someone be able to support themselves.

Kollock, P., & Smith, M. (1996). Managing the virtual commons: Cooperation and conflict incomputer communities. In Susan C. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication:linguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives(pp. 109- 128). Philadelphia: JohnBenjamins.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Four Important Innovations that led to the INTERNET

There are many innovations that led to the Internet that we know today. You could survey a group and you may get many different answers based on knowledge, background, history, and much more. The four innovations that stick out to me the most are the World War, ARPANET, Email, and Microsoft’s first operating system. Of course you could go back as early as a television supporting that the screen for a computer may have derived from that invention. As far as I am know the internet became big in the Cold War era.

The World War definitely started the whole internet talk and curiosity. After the United States dropped the Atomic bomb on Japan they had to sit back and think themselves. They needed a communication system that could withstand a nuclear attack. They had to work around telephones because, as we know once one telephone pole is down many connections are interrupted. According to Adams and Clark’s chapter one reading, the Research and Development (RAND) Corporation put together the first galactic network. They thought up a process that would bypass a system if it was down and take another route to get communication across a medium. There was much success behind this idea that led to networks.

The first host of a network was known as ARPANET. ARPANET as read about by Adams and Clark was first connected on September 2, 1969. This was a huge success because; with much research this network proved that the RAND galactic network actually worked. Within the next two months The Stanford Research Group, the University at Santa Barbara, and the University at Utah were all added to this network. This was the first network that would make the internet such a huge network today. When we use computers today we use many networks and we do not think about it. In 1969 having four groups on a network was a huge accomplishment. Now all the research and money that was spent on a communication system that could withstand a nuclear attack was paying off.

The next big innovation that led to the internet today was email. Email today is used so effortlessly and means so much to this fast paced environment we live in today. I think that in 1973 in Adam and Clark’s reading that when 75% of all network activity was email it made people think. ARPANET was not too thrilled that all this time was being spent on email but it opened up a whole new wave of communication as we know today. Not only were people working (not much) on the ARPANET system but they were communicating with one another about ordinary life. This was supposed to be a network that was built to withstand nuclear warfare not possesses the characteristics of a telephone. The email system today is big in many companies, schools, families, and social groups. Email is a quick and easy way to communicate with someone without spending money on minutes or gas. I do not think the backers on this research project foresaw this “email” thing to become so big. It did not take long for one person to create another account on ARPANET and start typing away to a colleague. Emails became a more personable way to interact with many people and bond.

Putting this all together and bringing it to the public was a huge technological advance. Of course we all know the name Bill Gates and his many accomplishments. An enormous contribution that he brought to society was the first operating system. Yes there was MSDOS. Then there was windows that made using a computer so much more user friendly. It molded the computer and user to work with one another. As stated by Wikipedia Microsoft’s first operating system was created and released in 1985. This operating system as we all know today has come out with many more versions and is still a significant part of the computer as we know it. Being the first operating system to be so use friendly it created a bigger market for computers. You no longer had to be a rocket scientist to operate or communicate on a computer. This operating system organized many assets of a computer so we could easily manage our systems. Microsoft’s newest operating system in Vista which people now have to adjust to. This may be a minor innovation to some but to the general public I think this was huge.

We can go on and on about what led to the internet as we know today but these are some that have had an impact on what we have today. The internet is used by so many people today and has come so far. I am sure if this same question is asked ten years from now there would be some different opinions to what led to the internet. Thinking about an ordinary day without the internet is a lost thought to many. We use this technology for so many dependent tasks such as paying bills, communicating with family and friends, being part of social networks and as big as companies run on the internet. Thinking if this is still going to be the technology of the future is sort of farfetched right now but a century ago computers were not even a thought.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Characteristics of the Medium

The internet today is very fascinating how all the technology is put together to create reality. There are people that revolve their lives around the internet and use it daily. There are two mediums of the internet, macromedium and metamedium. The three distinct communication factors are reliability, speed, and distribution. Also key qualities of the internet consist of it being multimediated, hypertextual, interactive, packet based, and digital. Qualities and distinctions like these make the internet what it is today.

Macromedium and Metamedium are the two mediums in which the internet is broken down by. Macromedium looks more at how the internet can cater to many branches of communication. Metamedium is the ability to have the best of both worlds, television and radio.

The first distinct communication factor is reliability. In the past the Greeks have used song memorization to remember things and scientist use formulas (Barlow, pg 30). With the internet today and the reliability of packets it is easy for computers to send and receive data. Speed is the second communication factor that has pushed the internet along. The early households that were lucky enough to have internet use to run at a speed of 300 bits per second with data transmissions of 56,000 bits per second. Obviously with technology today most high speed internet connections are no longer dial up. We have technology today that sends data in less than a second. Of course there are more people using the internet today than 20 years ago. Computers are more easily accessible and the cost of computers has gone significantly as well. This accounts for the huge distribution of people using the internet. Accuracy for a number figure on internet users is measured by the number of hosts.

The first key quality to the internet is multimedia. The internet offers so much such as graphics, words, sounds, videos, movies, animation, and so much more. The next key quality is hypertext. This is when you are on one website or page and you click a link or underlined phrase and are redirected. The internet is interactive as well which does not make it boring or repititious. Unlike a television where you are stuck on one channel you can surf the internet and look for what interests you. A huge feature that was also talked about in chapter one is packet base. Packet base is the segments of data that are transferred compared to the whole that could be transferred such as a telephone. This helps the internet run as effeciently as possible and also helps with data transfer speed. Analog and digital are two different ways that data could be stored. The internet runs on digital for several reasons. Some issues include less distortion, less vulnerability to wear and tear, and easily compacted and stored (Barlow, pg 42).