09 August 2010

A review of the iPad

I should probably start this off by saying that I’m not much for Apple products. I don’t like them- yes, they are cool, but as an avid computer user accustomed to tweaking every aspect of all his devices, I find them too limiting.

In all honesty, I don’t have much to say about the iPad- to me it wasn’t much more than just another Apple product- cool, but not something I would ever use. That’s not to say I wasn’t impressed, however. The device feels very natural to use and the finger swipes and flicks are exactly as they look in any Apple advertisement for the iPad. It’s very simple to use and doesn’t take long to get used to. The first app I opened was Maps, and admittedly, it was very cool to be able to navigate the map with flicks of the fingers.

Next, I turned to the App store, hoping to download some free apps- and was disappointed when I was informed that I needed an iTunes account. In the end, I used another friend’s iTunes logins to download some free apps ...

13 May 2010

The Digital Classroom

Slowly and steadily technology has been trickling into the classroom, starting with calculators and slowly growing to more complex equipment. Schools have, for a fair amount of time, featured computer labs for students and later, computers in classrooms for teacher use with grading software.

In all honesty, the Internet is best kept away from the main part of the curriculum in schools. With the negative side of the Internet forgotten [for the moment] and we forget all the issues with porn and such- which students will always find a way to look at in school despite the best efforts of administrators- there’s simply nothing inherently necessary about bringing the Internet to the classroom.

Society is changing and does focus around the use of a computer or cell phone or other connected gadget- it’s getting harder to stay away from everything (and everyone). Writing with a pencil is starting to fade out as typing takes over, for example- even in schools. I took the SA...

13 May 2010

Subscription changes

Just a note to all who subscribe via feed: Please update your subscription to Email subscribers should be unaffected. If you don’t update your subscription, you will begin to see a redirection and “404 not found” messages from the feed.

03 April 2010

I dare you to give this a thought

Many of us spend a lot of time online. Or, more accurately, an insane amount of time online. As with everything, there’s the good and bad of that and more so, those who enjoy every moment of it, and those who would like to get as far away from it as possible. Where we belong- be it online or off, depends on the person.

Personally, as someone who does spend an insane amount of time on the computer, and being 17 I have grown up with it, most people would be amazed to know that I don’t intend to go to school for computers, nor do I enjoy spending insane amounts of time online. In actuality, I try to avoid it- I didn’t used to, but it hit me in a rather “epic realization” that the Internet is not my place.

I go running almost every day, usually more than 2 miles. I look forward to the family vacation at a lake-front cottage every summer. Not because I get to spend [more] time with my family, not because I get to go canoing or swimming, but because I don’t have a compu...

25 March 2010

What's your legacy?

Any of us who uses the Internet regularly, especially for forums, message boards, and any other social networking have some traces of our activities across the Internet. Some of us have the fortune (or misfortune, as it may be), of showing up in Google results when someone searches for us. I personally have over 300 Google results to my online nickname- various forum posts, user pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, plus should anyone search my full name, the first result also happens to be me. In order to achieve this, I maintain somewhere around 5 blogs, 3 forum profiles, at least 4 OpenID profiles, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook- you get the picture.

After putting some thought into it, however, I realized that I don’t want to be that searchable. I work to build online identities for other businesses on social media and online in general, and I have my own online identity to prove it. Effectively, I’ve carved out my own niche with a unique name, my own set of Google results, and m...

16 March 2010

How we should protect our friends' information

We all know by now that our information is somewhere- be it online or off. There’s various contact management sites, such as Google Contacts, Plaxo, and others, and they presumably have appropriate precautions set up in order to protect information that users choose to share about themselves (and their contacts).

However, what about information about us such as email addresses or phone numbers that friends store on their computers? In a disturbing amount of times, this information is stored in an email client’s ‘address book’ on a relatively insecure computer. One of our friends, somewhere, has sensitive data stored about us on their computer- a fact that is inevitable due to the many services provided by software, things such as chat records, contact information, and a number of other things. There’s no real way to know how personal information is being dealt with the second it’s published to the Internet or even simply shared with friends.

Case in point- ...

02 March 2010

Electronics in the Classroom

Any modern student carries an array of electronics into school; cell phone, calculator, iPod, and a number of other things. There is a question, however, of what electronics are appropriate for the classroom, and where to draw the line at what is and isn’t allowed.

For example, in my state, Connecticut, state law bans cell phone use in schools by students. Some schools in the state follow this rule to the letter, while others are a bit more lenient, only confiscating them if they’re being used. Granted, phone use will still continue to some degree in school regardless as students repeatedly find methods of getting around the rules.

Banning cell phone use in school is logical; it lowers the possibility of cheating and more or less eliminates a distraction- both for the person using it and others in the class. Any device that is disruptive to the entire class should be banned seeing as there are students in a class who are there to learn and who are interested in th...

25 February 2010

The Ethics of Internet Filtering

As the Internet has become an almost essential part of life for many people, it has inevitably gained its negative side as well. Aside from simply being the valuable research tool it is, there are also the hackers and “bad guys” online, as well as porn sites and whatnot, which are all side effects of how our society runs and how open the Internet is.

Having made its way from large corporations, to homes, and now to public places such as school and libraries, the idea of filtering or blocking certain sites has been introduced, which, for such places, is extremely important. Public places should never be used for extremely personal matters such as looking at “dirty” things on the Internet. However, the question of whether or not to filter has spread to Internet Providers, some of which have mentioned possibly blocking certain web sites in the future, which makes Internet filtering a very relevant topic.

Though filtering is important to prevent inappropriate informat...

16 February 2010

Introducing Google Buzz

For anyone who hasn’t already heard, Google Buzz was introduced just last week as Google’s attempt at getting in on the social web. In effect, Buzz is a simple combination of Facebook and Twitter; users can post updates in the form of status messages, links, or images and pull in updates from a number of other sites. Buzz users can follow other Buzz users, similarly to Twitter, and any updates will be announced next to the GMail inbox.

The concept is simple enough, but won’t offer Google much leverage against already established networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook simply because the system is not well implemented as it stands. Already, Buzz has been integrated into some sites such as next to all the other “Tweet this” and “Share this” links and all of the hype about the system is bound to draw some users. However, there already have been some significant problems with spamming, which forced Google to release updates to Buzz. As for other issues, Buz...

11 February 2010

Google Buzz and Facebook layout

Over this week both Google and Facebook have been rolling out some changes to their services. Facebook has again thrown a new layout at us, moving things around and changing their look a bit, though with no warning at all. Most noticeably, the bottom bar on the site with chat, notifications, bookmarks, and the application menu has been taken away leaving only the chat menu.

Application bookmarks now appear in the sidebar of the site, similar to where they were a few layouts back if anyone remembers it. Messages (aka the Inbox), event invitations, and an equivalent to the old “Friends” menu can be found above them, replacing the former news feed filters. ‘Photos’ opens a gallery view of all the photos recently uploaded to Facebook from friends and submenus filter out Videos, mobile uploads, and your own photos. At the bottom of the sidebar is a short list of a few online friends from chat. Most noticeably, notifications no longer appear at the lower right, they now have th...

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