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Zachary Cook
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#crowdsourcing  

This morning I spent an hour and a half contributing to the "California Digital Newspaper" crowdsourcing project. In a nutshell, this is a website that relies on users to scan their newspapers into a data base. There is much more too this, however, since users are tasked with correcting errors that their scanning program inadvertently picks up. The software used to correct the errors was easy (and fun!) to use, with the mistakes being easy to correct. For example, a spec of dirt/a smudge would be picked up by their program as a colon, which a user would then remove, and get points as a result. 

Here is the website: http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cdnc
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#feedingmypassions  

One of my greatest passions is web design/development. Having resources to look at is great, because it can be difficult to find inspiration when developing a website for a client (or just coming up with something for yourself!). Thankfully, social media sites like pinterest are great with this, such as the following example: http://pinterest.com/search/boards/?q=Web+design+inspiration

Going to websites like pinterset is a great way to get inspired. 
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#digitalmanip

Something I found that relates to what we discussed in class today. Made for a good laugh.

http://imgur.com/a/euuhL
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#digitalmanip

For our assignment, this was the photo I found, which is dubbed "The Tourist Guy." In short, it was an image supposedly found in a camera buried in the debris of the fallen twin towers. It was later debunked as being a shopped photo originally taken in 1997. 

Ethical implications:  For journalism,  it represents how the public and news outlets can react in situations like post 9/11. It was a very depressing time, and so it is not surprising that something like this could be reported as true. 

Here is my question for everyone: If you were reporter during post 9/11 and found this photo, would you post it immediately like some news outlets did, or would you have held back? Keep in mind the context: this photo, before it was debunked, was showing a man in his last few moments of life before the towers fell. Would you have questioned its accuracy, or shared the story of another tragic life unjustly taken away? 
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http://youtu.be/gv3QuxcRhfg Commercial of the forever. 
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Fire Emblem has such beautiful music! Such a fantastic game. Fire Emblem: Awakening OST [Download]
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Zachary Cook

#TT4T 

The Digital Divide

The digital divide is a split between those with access to the internet, and those who don’t have access to the internet. 

Before the late 20th century, there was a divide between those who had phone access and those who did not. This was a major divide because of the access to important information that having a phone provided, thus causing a divide between those who did or did not have phone. 

In 1995, with the internet starting to take off, the digital divide replaced this divide. First looked at by the Commerce Department, they found “stark racial, economic and geographic gaps between those who could get online and those who could not” (NYT). As a result, the digital divide was born. 

The report further said that “a personal computer and modem are rapidly becoming the keys to the vault.” This statement was made back in the early 90’s, which still rings true today. Even more so. 

America stands at a disadvantage when it comes to closing this digital divide, due to costs, and a major lack of competition in internet service providers. According to the NYT article “The New Digital Divide” by Susan P. Crawford, “The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks America 12th among developed nations for wired Internet access, and it is safe to assume that high prices have played a role in lowering our standing.”

Those high prices come from the lack of competition from other cable companies and internet service providers, so each “of the country’s large cable distributors has the ability to raise prices in its region for high-speed Internet services” (NYT). This causes families of low socioeconomic status to not be able to afford internet access, while make those who can afford it pay way more than they should! 

The digital divide is so bad in some areas, however, that a local McDonalds was crowded this past week because of their free wifi they offer. Essentially, students had to use McDonald’s wifi because they lacked home internet access due to socioeconomic status, and the local public library near them wasn’t open when they needed to study! (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324731304578189794161056954.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet). 

Despite America essentially inventing the internet, like we discussed in class this week, we are the ones lagging far behind in actual use of that technology.

Many other countries such as Sweden, Japan, Portugal, and Russia are already replacing their standard telephone connections with state-of-the-art fiber-optic connections, which will further reduce the cost to users, while significantly improving access speeds (NYT). 

In other, more under developed countries, programs like One Laptop Per Child hope to lower the digital divide even further, by giving access to the internet through laptops that are inexpensive to manufacture, and run on a batteries that can be charged by solar power, or through a crank. 

As a result, the digital divide decreases. 

As I mentioned in my other post, solutions are coming to the US, albeit very slowly. 


Main Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/opinion/sunday/internet-access-and-the-new-divide.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
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#TT4T

The Freedom to Surf the Web

America lags behind when it comes to internet speeds. On a national average, America only averages about 15.5 Mbps, while countries like Japan see an average of 36.57 Mbps, with Hong Kong possessing the highest world average in internet speeds at a whopping 44.28 Mbps (Netindex.com)

At CU, our on campus connection averages 95 Mbps, and our upload averages 10.68 Mbps (Speedtest.net). 

Even though access speeds are an increasingly important issue because of the internet’s use in our society, there are those who still don’t have access to the internet at all. A number of factors added to this, with socio-economic status being one of the biggest contributors. 

In the academic article “Digital Divide: Navigating the Digital Edge” by S. Craig Watkins, access to computers, and the internet, has changed since 2000. “Since 2000 the media environment of black and Latino youth, like that of young people in general, has evolved as a result of social, economic, cultural, and technological change. In its first national study of young people’s media environment, the Kaiser Family Foundation (Roberts et al. 1999) found that white youth were significantly more likely than black or Latino youth to live in households that owned computers with Internet access.”

To combat this, the FCC began to step in. As a recent example, when Comcast made the unusual move to buy NBC back in 2011, the FCC “mandated a requirement that the cable giant offer cheap internet access to low-income households” (http://blog.chron.com/techblog/2011/08/comcast-offering-10-internet-for-low-income-families-who-qualify/). 

As a result, families who qualify can get internet access at speeds of 1.5 Mbps at only $10 a month. Compared to CU’s 95 Mbps connection, 1.5 Mbps is slow, but in the end it offers families access to the internet, which the United Nations claim is a human right, according to this Mashable article: http://mashable.com/2012/07/06/internet-human-right/

Technology is further fixing this issue of socio-economic status affecting internet access, however, with startups like Freedom Pop (http://www.freedompop.com/) offering 500MB of data per month for free, so long as you purchase one of their 4G hotspot devices, which start at $89. 500MB is by no means a lot, but for the average person who wants to just surf the web, they could potentially view up to 5,000 pages per month, if the average website they visited averaged around 1MB. Surprisingly, 4G averages speeds of around 5-45 Mbps, depending on your location, so users of a service like this are getting decently fast access speeds. 

The next important step, after fixing the issue of actual internet access, is the issue of speeds. Thankfully, companies like Google are changing this by offering 1000 Mbps connections for only $70 a month. 

Thank you Google, and thank you technology! 

--By Zachary Cook (EC assignment)
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