Author Archives: ramyaar7

The Next New Thing- Holographic Communication

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Holographic Communication in Star Wars (Photo Credit to: Wallpaperup.com)

Star Wars, one of the most revolutionary and iconic movies ever made also has a number of new media technologies that would help us go a long way. I think the next new thing will definitely be holographic communications.

Communication is the key thing that holds a society together. Be it talking, phone messages, emails, or Instant messaging all these tools help promote communication. We are already halfway there, video communication over millions of miles is probably the first step towards the path of holographic communication.

With the growing number of people telecommuting to work this form of communication would only make it easier. Being at work in a holographic form would allow the person to have the feeling of being at work. It would also foster more productivity for the whole team knowing that the person is actually working and not slacking off. It would motivate the person to actually work at home instead of being distracted by the different things that happen around them while they are at home. It can have other applications as well. It can be used by rescue workers to provide a holographic image of the people hurt in the rescue and follow the doctors commands over the holographic communicator. It could also revolutionize the way teaching is done, by allowing guest lecturers to be present in a class without having to spend time traveling or even paying an expensive flight ticket. The applications of such a technology will be limitless in any field.

Current use of Holograms- Vocaloid (Okaygeek.com)

The picture above is an illustration of how holographic technology is being used today. The above is an anime character named Hatsune Miku who is a part of the group called Vocaloid. This group gives holographic concert tours all across the world and are wildly famous. Using the holographic technology (like above) which already exists and integrating a voice over IP software into the holograph creator, the possibility of a very Star Wars like holographic communication might be very real within the next few years. Till then we can be happy watching Yoda, may the force be with you.

Yoda Hologram ( Photo Credit- Watchonepeicepoint.com)

Privacy and Confidentiality

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Privacy? (Credit to: EmergentChaos.com)

We all sing praises as the new next thing comes out. The world was taken by storm when MySpace first made its dent in the social sphere. When MySpace became boring the world was extremely happy when there was a new way to network and find friends by means of Facebook. Everyone used new media to the hilt, be it by way of creating blogs, letting their thoughts being heard in 140 characters or less via twitter, voicing their opinion by making websites and petition lists for things they believe in  or even posting pictures of a fun weekend getaway with the family or a friend. This is how we were all taught to use new media, by sharing our lives to the fullest on the web. But unfortunately we never took a moment to step back and think of the possible consequences that we might face because of all the information we put up. Though there is a very well oiled system of letting the world know what you are doing through new media, there is an equally efficient machine that monitors one’s every move while on the internet and while using these many forms of social media. Privacy is a scarce thing on the internet and as social media evolves to be more personalized this need for privacy will only continue to grow, but somehow I don’t think the providers of these various new media outlets will be able to keep up with the demands and provide the level of privacy that we require to make us feel safe.

Extra! Extra! Hear all about your personal lives! (Credit to: Zcommunications.org)

Everyone, be it the new media provider (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon) , private marketing firms and even the government is always on the prowl for new data about what someone is doing on the internet. The new media providers choose to say that this will help the personalize the website that the client visits and provides them with a more enjoyable experience. The marketing firms want to put you on listserv’s for various companies so you get mindless emails about things that you would never need, and the government wants to collect data in order to “monitor” what the citizen is doing online.

I think the worst experience I’ve had was when I was buying a bike from Amazon, I wanted to take a couple days to think over about it and left the bike in my amazon cart. The next time I was browsing the web, I was watching videos on YouTube and low and behold, the picture and price of the bike I was eager to buy was right there next to the video. The same thing happen while I was on Facebook, the ad for the bike came up on the side of the page. How does a bike, that I have not even purchased yet come up on 4 different sites that are completely unrelated? It is rather scary to think that if a simple buying decision was so quickly transmitted across websites, what would be happening to our personal information which we put up (be it for online banking or even your bio on Facebook).

NO Privacy (Blog.Iqagency.com)

I think it is up to the user now to be extremely cautious as we use different forms of new media. We have to take extra precautions and not include any of our personal information, because once it is on the web, it is there to stay forever. Most of the time it is harmless, but sometimes it can unfortunately result in things that are not so pleasant.

 

 

P2P File Sharing

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File sharing is the ability to give access to information you possess on your computer. This can include things like emailing a friend a picture, video or documents. P2P is a method of file sharing where a number of computers are linked together via a network. The computers on this network then have access to information which other parties may possess on their computer. The information is then simultaneously uploaded via the person who has the information and downloaded by the person who requires it. Sometimes, it may happen that multiple users on the network have the information someone else on the network requires, in this case all the computers having the information simultaneously upload the information and the computer downloading the information, decodes the received information from these multiple “peers”. Thus, the more the computers on the network and the more information that the “peers” have the faster the information that is required is transmitted.

P2P File Sharing ( Credit to: Fidis.Net)

P2P was popularized in the early days by Napster, an online music service that allows you to listen to any number of artists for a flat fee every month. Today, P2P is widely used by torrent providers like BitTorrent and UTorrent software which allows you to download torrents from sites like Pirate Bay and download many digital materials including movies, books, music, software and games. Since the cost of transferring large files is very low through P2P file sharing, it is very popular among its users. It is this very point that has been manipulated to share copyrighted material and transfer it to millions of people that makes P2P a very dangerous type of new media.

In the Wired article The BitTorrent Effect, Clive Thompson talks about how the creator of BitTorrent Bram Cohen introduced this open source P2P in a hacker conference in 2002. Cohen’s aim was simply to provide a platform for the exchange of Linux software online for cheap. What surprised the creator was the fact that his software was far more popular among TV and music fanatics than the nerds that he had aimed it towards. It opened up a whole new world of exchange of illegal and copyrighted material (shows like Heroes and Lost) which were demanded by the audience.

Copyrighted things for free (Credit to: Imgur.Com)

In the article Digital Pirates Winning Battle with Studios in the New York Times, it is clearly evident that no matter the method that a new movie employs to deter piracy, the project still fails miserably. The makers of Batman spent millions of dollars in this campaign and despite that 7 million people all across the world were able to gain access to the movie  for absolutely no cost. This would have had an enormous impact on not only the video sales but also the sale of movie tickets since the movie is out for downloading mere hours after the movie is released in theaters. Governments are cracking down on the users of these sites and also the facilitators for their illegal use of materials. In Should Online Scofflaws Be Denied Web Access, it shows how different countries are coming up with laws to prohibit the downloads from various sites.

While P2P’s are helpful and certainly cost effective, one must keep in mind the abundant disadvantages that are posed by this new media. The creators of Pirate Bay were sentenced to prison time due to them facilitating the copyright materials to download and view at any time. Laws would certainly curb many from using this well formed technology in the wrong way. But is it possible for the law makers to constantly monitor the huge amounts of information that is being uploaded and downloaded in the internet at any given time? That remains to be seen.

Pirate Bay Trial (Credit To: DotTech.org)

 

Creativity and New Media

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I love scavenger hunts. They are challenging, fun, gives you a good surprise and the best of all you feel like you achieved something at the end when you found all the goodies! I also like quirky, nerdy, Boho fashion. It’s eclectic and funky, it also totally allows you to mix it up and make it cool no matter the weather. So if these were put together I would be totally ecstatic! This is where Second Life came in. I first heard about grid wide hunts about two years ago when my friend and I, who were at that point designing clothes in SL, were approached for one of the hunts to sponsor clothing at our store. We were to provide a clue for the participants of the hunt and allow them to wander our store in search of the clue and find their hidden prize. I loved this idea and soon started participating in some of the hunts. Though I don’t have the time to go on SL as often as I would like anymore, you can be sure that when I do, I am usually have my hunting cap on (sometimes literally) and I’m hunting away. (My Inventory is overflowing because of this!~ :O)

The most recent hunt I am working on is called the Endless Summer Hunt (http://depravednation.com/endless-summer). They have about 50 designers sponsoring this hunt, so that’s 50 stores to go and look around in and find your unexpected gifts! I just started the hunt so I was able to find about 7 of them.

HAnging2

Hanging                                                                                                                                  Cryotank

chilling

 

The dress that my avatar is wearing is is call the Taylor dress and is created by the members at ~Sassy!~. It was a part of the Endless Summer Hunt. Its a pretty blue color, with white and pink flowers on it. It has a good texture and is adjustable to your avatar shape. Its 0 L as are all the things in the hunt! I also have on the Phoebe Totem necklace for women. It is probably one of the first necklaces that fits right on my avatar without any adjustment. ^o^!

I showed 4 pictures with my avatar above to show that SL also has a host of photography options. There are numerous “do it yourself” studios, which offer a host of scenes and poses which you can set your avatar with. You can also go sim (simulation) hopping and find a variety of sims which have pose balls and unleash the inner photographer through the world of Second Life.

I enjoy using new media such as Second Life for passing some time. Its mostly for scavenger hunts, since I am not able to find that many in real life. This is definitely a good way to pass some time, meet some interesting people, and definitely enjoy some really great creations from people all over the world.

Creativity

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One of my favorite authors, George Bernard Shaw, who wrote Pygmalion had this to day about creativity,

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.”

In today’s world YouTubers all around the world live by this philosophy. According to statistics provided by YouTube, every minute there is close to 100 hours of videos being uploaded. Granted most of you are probably thinking that they might be cat/baby videos. But there is some great content, which millions of subscribers tune into every day of their favorite YouTube celebrity. I for one am a very big Ryan Higa fan and need my dose of NigaHiga almost on a daily basis. Be it singing those crazy collaborations that make no sense (See “Christmas Swag” or “Shed a Tear”) or the “most informative” How To videos on the planet, or probably the best segments called “Movies In Minutes” it’s something that makes me giggle my face off at the end of a long and sometimes stressful day.

When we look at some of his videos, we see that its spoofs on products that are available in today’s marketplace and are often very popular. An iPod becomes the iPod Human similarly the Google Glass becomes the Google Glass Human.

These videos are hilarious spoofs on what a human would do if they were to have skewed functionalities of these devices. I feel that these devices gain greater popularity through the spoofs that we see on YouTube. NigaHiga, who has close to 9 million subscribers, is one of YouTube’s biggest celebrities. This is free publicity for the product at its finest. It gives the companies making these products have greater audiences than they would have probably had before, and no business would ever bring any action against that.

Nick Pitera is another favorite YouTube wonder who I go and watch to experience that blast from the past. His renditions of Disney song mash-ups always put a smile to my face and usually make me want to go back and watch “The Lion King” or “Beauty and the Beast.” I think we can agree that people in our generation often look back and find a sense of nostalgia in simple things like Disney movies which all of us watched as kids. We like humming along to the “Hakunamatata” and experience the pain of Mulan’s sorrow as she doesn’t honor her family in front of her town. These small but crucial nostalgic moments are what companies are counting on so we can keep going back to them and ask for more of what we once had.

In the New York Times article “Disney Tolerates Rap Parodies of Critters. But Why?” , it talks about how Disney is allowing YouTube users to take snippets from their movie, or in Nick Pitera’s case use their music to come up with creative ways of engaging their audience. According to this article, this act of stringing together snippets is in violation of their copyright act. However, since these videos are going viral, big companies like Disney and Nickelodeon are often letting things slide since the publicity and the audience they get from just one video, is far greater than the audience they get from their paid adverts. As a business, they are continually thinking of growing. YouTube is just a way for them to get a wider audience. These companies are allowing YouTubers to be creative with copyrighted material and engage the audience however they please.

One cannot put a price on creativity, but through YouTube, many of these stars have honed their creativity to also become a lucrative business for them. It is interesting to see how much of an outlet new media like YouTube has become to all of us today. It has allowed us to look at and explore a lot of new and different or sometimes even the old and comfortable, but it never fails to bring out some sort of emotion in us. The aspect of bringing out intense emotions through creativity is what has allowed new media to thrive for this long.

Modeling Reality With Virtual Worlds

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Virtual worlds are a gateway to connecting people from all across the world. It fosters creativity, social interaction, it breaks barriers and immortalizes things that once were. In today’s world, virtual reality can be used for pretty much anything! This includes having virtual conferences, making movies with virtual actors and sets, training employees on various scenarios in a virtual setting and even teaching a class room full of university students an Introduction to Psychology class, all these are not only possible with virtual reality, but it is happening at this very moment.

In the Wall Street Journal article “Avatar II: The Hospital” the author Stephanie Simon talks about how Laura Greci, a professor at the medical school in University of California, San Diego developed a way to train nurses via second life. This training will enable proper training for nurses, without the liability of harming a patient. It also gives the instructor complete control of the setting and the anomalies they can introduce to make it more challenging for the trainees. Not only is it a training tool, but it can also be a virtual classroom, which is what many Universities in Europe are doing.

Virtual worlds do foster creativity, the very fact is apparent in the article “In Room 100, Its Sid and Nancy All Over Again” which talks about a Second Life players ode to Hotel Chelsea in the virtual world. I was able to visit the Virtual Chelsea Hotel inworld. It shows that whatever is there in real life can be replicated into the world of virtual reality to a great extent and with almost correct precision. Withing SL I’ve had the opportunity to the virtual version of the seven wonders of the world, so I can attest to the fact that creativity in the virtual world is limitless.

Hotel Chelsea

 

There are cons to virtual worlds as well. Man is a social animal, and that has to transpire in the form of human contact and not some animated avatar on the screen. Moreover, privacy issues come into play again, where you don’y know how much information you should put about yourself out in the virtual world. You don’t know if the people your are speaking with are really who they say they are, so trust becomes a scarce thing.

Despite having its setbacks, virtual reality does in fact break down boundaries and can connect people over long distances. It has particular appeal to me because it is a world where you can unleash creativity at no cost and still achieve an end product. I believe that virtual reality is here to stay and to grow, we are only beginning to find practical applications to virtual worlds, in the future I have full confidence that with more enhanced virtual reality simulations, we will be able to do much much more.

Social Networking Sites

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First impressions play a very big role in attracting people to other people. The same can be said for businesses. The bigger the impact they have on an individual, the longer the person will use their services. Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are all businesses who are carving out a niche among the population to gain users to their websites. This can be seen right at first when we entire their landing pages.

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Facebook concentrates on connecting and sharing information with people across the world. This is illustrated by the picture on their landing page. It shows a sign-up form right on the page to ensure a quick and easy sign up for potential users to start connecting with their friends and family right away. The layout of the website also suggests the social aspect that the site advertises. When you log in the first thing we see is the social feed. It tells you all that your friends have posted, be it statuses, pictures, the games they have played, the articles they have read and the songs they have listened to. It allows you to comment and keep in touch with your friends. I think it is because of the constant stream of data from your group of friends that Facebook was a hit. It is because it offers all the frills and fancies of being extremely connected with your group that made Facebook a household name in the social networking sphere.

LinkedIn on the other hand shows the picture of a potential employer, it also gives the user the tagline “Be Great at What You Do”. This gives the potential user the impression that this site aims to act as a launching pad for your future goals. The picture forms an impression in the users mind that this site will enable them to network with possible future employers. The niche that LinkedIn is creating with this social networking site is that they want to engage young people who are ready to set foot in the working world and employers who are looking for new recruits for their companies. The site itself is laid out in such a fashion, where each profile is basically a resume for people to look at. You also have articles from companies and high power employers talking about what they seek for in a new recruit. There is also a job database which users can look through to find jobs that are suited for them. The landing page does a great job of conveying all the different target populations the company is going for, which is what makes it a success.

MySpace was what everyone at one point would have been on before Facebook came along. As suggested by their landing page, they have cornered the market on music. Music was how they allowed their users to connect to one another. It also allows various artists to publish their new songs on this site and allows the user to comment on them. It is because MySpace only allowed a one-dimensional way of allowing users to connect with one another that lead to their downfall. It didn’t  allow for an in depth connect like Facebook and users who weren’t into music felt alienated from the “networking” aspect of the site. People have slowly trickled away from MySpace choosing sites like Facebook, Friendster or Google+ which allows them to feel a greater sense of connection with their peers.

Finally, we look at Twitter. Twitter is perhaps the biggest rage among people at this moment. Their landing page says it all, “Find out what’s happening right now, with the people and the organizations that you care about.” They have completely taken over the web sphere with updating what you are doing right at this moment in less than 140 characters. Short, succinct thoughts about your daily comings and goings which can then be tweeted and retweeted. It has opened a gateway for companies to launch new products. Companies have realized that being connected to their consumers is the way to market in this new era of social networking sites. Companies often tweet about their products, the projects they are involved in and even the jobs they have vacancies for! Twitter has also allowed for the world to be the press. Gone are the days when it was only the news agency that was allowed to report the happenings around the world. Now anyone that is in any place can immediately snap a picture and update their tweet to reflect what is happening around the world!

Social Networking sites have created a new way for people all around the world to connect. It has unleashed a way to be creative and allowed for greater freedom from what was considered traditional. The world is really evolving with the use of social networking sites and moving further into this age of technology. But one begs to ask, what will be the impact 10 years down the line, with all the web foot prints we leave and all the personal information floating around about us on the web.