Do you still watch cable?

Streaming technology has really taken over the entertainment industry. TV channels are really falling behind the likes of Netflix and Hulu. These services are so flexible in modes, times, places and so on. They are almost always available on computers, phones and TVs. Cable TV services even strap users down with their annual contracts and termination fees while streaming services only ask for subscription fees that can be cancelled at any time. With affordability, there is no question about which is better. The average cable package is $105 while streaming services range from $8 to $20. Third, when it comes to customer satisfaction, there is always a sweet spot with choice and cable TV is no where near that. Not only do streaming service have many series and movies that can be recommended and liked but there are a lot of different services: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, YouTube TV and the list goes on.

Cable TV does have some wins. For instance, users can pick from hundreds of channels. Also, sports channels on Cable TV are far more superior to the options on streaming services. They do not require reliable high speed internet. Therefore, in countries with developing infrastructure streaming services might be quite frustrating.

In conclusion, I think the streaming services are in the lead. But what do you think? Which do you prefer?

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/news/youtube-surpasses-cable-tv-in-ad-revenue

Practical use of VR technology

Have you ever tried on a pair of virtual reality glasses? I’m sure that if I would have asked this question 5 or 6 years back, much less would have replied “yes”. With the top-selling gaming consoles such as the Nintendo Switch and the SONY PlayStation releasing games that support VR, it is becoming easier for the average citizen to get the chance to experience VR. When I tried on the VR glasses for the first time about a year ago, I remember it costing me 9 dollars for only a single game of Mario Kart™. This gets to show how VR has started to enter the commercial market, though it seems that we will have to wait a few more years until this would become cheaper. As you may have noticed from my examples, we yet have not seen the VR technology in use outside the gaming industry. It is now time that we allow this technology to step out and find use in other industries. 

 

The article by David Winter showcases how people succeeded in using VR to help solve crimes and accidents. A highway patrol Sgt Fred Cook was made responsible for gathering and analyzing the evidence in a car crash which resulted in the death of the driver. Where we would imagine him to take photographs of the car, examine the skid marks and level of destruction, he instead took a 3D laser scanner and started creating a 3D model of the scene. This data along with security camera footages are used to recreate the scene. This technology is still new and in the process of further improvement, but will make crime scene perseverance unnecessary since we can relive the scene as it originally was, through virtual reality. 

 

I feel that we should use this example as a stepping stone to further widen the use of this new technology to other fields. As a student who never got the chance to visit Penn state before coming due to geographical reasons, I would like this technology to be used to allow future Penn State students to tour the Penn State campus via VR. Other potential uses are in the entertainment industry, by creating an online version of museums, and art galleries to motivate people to experience these institutions much easier. This would even come to use in education because we would be able to allow students to virtually travel to historical sites, outer space and other places which would cost much more time, money and effort to do so in real life. I feel like I could go on forever with the close to infinite possibilities that VR technology holds. For this to happen, VR technology needs much more improvement, and our society needs to start to get used to VR. 

https://local12.com/news/local/new-technology-allows-investigators-to-virtually-be-at-crime-scene-cincinnati

Online abuse, Internet lynching, and social media.

Online social media, one of the greatest inventions in the internet era. On Twitter, Tumblr, Ins, Archive of our own, people exchange information at an amazing speed, stay connect with friends and family. And more importantly, as described by Jon Ronson, social media is the democratization of justice. When powerful people misuse their power and privilege, we judge them to speak out our opinions online. For example, if an actor flirts with a girl in a disrespectful way in a show, People could shame him, denounce his actions by post their thoughts on twitter.

However, with the rapid development of social media, more and more people are involved in these platforms, which means more and more eyes are on all the users of one platform. Under such circumstances, sometimes an unintentional joke can trigger a whole outrage and attack over the speaker. For example, Justine Sacco, a normal female, post a sentence on her twitter says that

[Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!]

Just this seemingly harmless joke, got her to become the worldwide number one trending topic on Twitter, her name has been Googled 1,220,000 times. Her family, job, education history, and all other personal history has been forward back and forth online. People shame her as racist and wish she been “fired and raped.” Weeks later, she got kicked off from the company and basically, her life has been ruined by Twitter.

As described by Jon Ronson, when we watch courtroom dramas, we tend to identify with the kindhearted defense attorney, but give us the power, and we become more like the hanging judges. From these stories, I feel people should be more couscous about the power in their hands. As human beings enter the information society, it is easy to hurt people even from the opposite of the screen.

Reference:

Calorie Counting Apps Promote Disordered Eating

In an increasingly digital world, most things are now dependent on technology. Recently, calorie counting apps such as MyFitnessPal have become popular as a way to log food and become more cognizant of what you’re eating. However, these apps have led to the development of eating disorders and other unhealthy habits in many users.

According to Jack Henderson, a MyFitnessPal user, he would avoid all foods that could not easily be tracked when using the app. This caused him to eat a lot of packaged foods, which was unhealthy. Equally unhealthy was his reliance on the numbers in his phone controlling his perception of his hunger levels, and not his body.

When it comes to something as individual as eating and hunger levels, the calories we require ranges from individual to individual from day to day. By using an app with strict levels set, it leads to a discorded mindset.

In fact, in a recent study it was found that a substantial percentage (~75%) of participants used My Fitness Pal and that 73% of these users perceived the app as contributing to their eating disorder.

That is a vast majority. Calorie counting apps are not inherently bad, but they cause an unhealthy reliance on numbers and cause people to become out of tune with their natural hunger cues. This perpetuates eating disorder culture.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5700836/

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-48842898

How Big Of a Digital Divide Do We Really Have?

Digital divide is defined as the gap between people with access to the internet and people without access to this technology. In most cases, the places without fast internet access are rural areas with little density and not big cities near it. A recent study by the Federal Communications Commission showed that we have underestimated the digital divide by over 20 million people. It was found that the under counts came from these more rural areas and that they are not getting the proper funding to have the internet access they need. They now estimate that there are around 42 million people without broadband access. The government is now worried that the money that they are lending is not going to the right places or people because of the underestimates.

The digital divide is a real problem that needs to be resolved. It is a problem in the United States, but an even bigger problem around the world. Many countries in Africa and the Middle East are nowhere even close to having access to the internet. These countries are years behind the United States and other developed countries. They are missing out on great opportunities for technological advantages and are struggling because of it. I do not know if there is one clear solution but there has to be a way that we can help these countries get access because it would help their lives in so many different ways. There are already organizations that are trying to help gain internet access but who knows if it will really be enough. Access to the internet is a huge advantage that we take for granted each and every day.

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/02/internet-access-rural-broadband-digital-divide-map-fcc-data/606424/

 

Amazon Prime’s Drone Delivery System

Amazon Prime Air’s delivery system’s technology offers extremely fast delivery time for emergencies like bringing medicine to a parent who has a sick child late at night. Drone delivery is also better for the environment. A single, battery-powered drone traveling to bring your order versus a large delivery truck is a vast improvement when it comes to emissions and energy efficiency. The drone also wins out when comparing it to you driving your car to the store for the same items. Small aerial drones can also be used for many different things like instead of delivery it can assist in a search mission for a lost hiker for example. So overall, this technology is important because it’s creating a faster, more energy-efficient, and more convenient mode of delivery.

Customers choose from a selection of thousands of items. They receive the order in a prime air fulfillment center. Your order is placed into a box then an electrically powered amazon drone makes its way down an automated track then rises into the sky with the customer’s package on board. Once in the air, the buyer will get a notification on their phone, tablet or another device, and a timer will count down to their delivery. They’ll know exactly when their purchase leaves the warehouse, when it approaches, and when it lands. Within 30 minutes of placing their order, the customer receives their package. The drones are autonomous, so they operate completely on their own. They will also have what Amazon dubs “sense-and-avoid” technology, which will ensure the drones don’t hit birds, trees or other obstacles along the way. They cruise below an altitude of 400 ft carrying packages up to 5 pounds (which is 80% to 90% of all products that Amazon sells) and guided by GPS. The drones reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour in order for the deliveries to be in 30 minutes or less. 

There are some ethical considerations for this technology. One major concern society may have is the loss of numerous jobs due to the use of more drones than delivery trucks. This will leave a lot of people unemployed and looking for another job which will be a huge problem for those who need to supply for their families and other situations. Also, privacy will become a major concern with the use of drones because they use a GPS to locate a customer’s house. People may not feel comfortable about these potential issues, and they may strongly consider the negative aspects of this technology.

Treacy, Megan. “Amazon Drones: a Look at the Pros and Cons.” TreeHugger,  Treehugger, 11 Oct. 2018, www.treehugger.com/gadgets/amazon-drones.html.

 

Using VR to Get the Live Music Experience!

Have you ever really wanted to go see and experience your favorite artists concert but it was too far away or the cost of the tickets were WAY out of your budget? Well, the company MelodyVR and artists such as Kelly Clarkson and Wiz Khalifa have worked to make this possible. Through an Oculus VR headset you are able to witness the concert itself, the stage, behind the sound booth, backstage and even the experience of being onstage with the band all on the comfort of your home through an app on your IPhone or Android device.

This type of technology is available now using a pay-per-view model starting at $1.99 per song and around $10 for the whole concert. These prices vary greatly from those concerts like Post Malone, Billie Ellish and Harry Styles whose ticket prices begin at $150. Imagine being able to see a whole concert for $10! However, there are drawbacks as there is to every type of technology such as the price of the Oculus itself running at about $400 plus the prices that come with the app. You won’t be able to take pictures and actually experience the thrill of seeing your favorite artist in person and making memories with friends over actually attending a concert. Also, the artist isn’t gaining as much profit considering people are much more willing to pay $10 than $150 plus gas money, snacks, and parking that are all wrapped up into going to a concert. But on the bright side, if you pay a certain monthly subscription you get unlimited streaming access to concerts.

This type of technology is revolutionizing the entertainment industry in a whole new perspective that I would’ve never thought of before. Using VR to encapsulate and make experiences available to those that wouldn’t have access to it otherwise redefines ways in which people are getting said entertainment. Maybe this company will even go as far as to live stream and make avaiable huge events like the New Year’s ball drop in NYC, music festivals like Coachella and major news events accessible via VR.

Source:

Sing, Nathan. “How Virtual Reality Is Changing the Live Music Experience.” CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Feb. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/02/27/tech/vr-live-music-intl/index.html

Copying and Pasting with Apple

Someone texts you an address you need, you copy and paste that address into Waze. Then you go play Angry Birds. You have a second factor log in authentication that texts a code to your phone and you copy and paste that into the application. People copy things all the time on their Apple products, but have you ever wondered who could actually see what you have stored in your pasteboard? Apple tends to have a pretty secure data system between different apps on an iPhone – but the security flaw is that everything you copy to your pasteboard becomes accessible to the application developers of the applications you open on the phone. As harmless as this sounds, a major concern of this privacy breach is that a lot of info copy and pasted into a phone is personal information such birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, etc. As well, credit card numbers could be copied and pasted, social security number etc. The information that goes into the clipboard a lot of times contains personally identifiable information and the applications you use can pull data from the clipboard. Furthermore, they have anything you have in your clipboard saved in their system now. Have you ever copied a picture to send that to your friends? Well, photographs can also be pulled, so the photo’s metadata is accessible to the developers. They now have access to information such as your real location, location the photo was taken and the GPS coordinations. This was identified at the beginning of January but Apple responded that they don’t see this as an issue. Although I see this as a major privacy flaw; if this information gets into the wrong hands, we could face serious consequences. Knowing that everything you copy and paste is accessible by applications, are you going to be more cautious of what you copy? Do you see this as a privacy breach?

 

zdnet.com/article/iphone-and-ipad-apps-can-snoop-on-everything-you-copy-to-the-clipoard/

Email Still Beats Texts – For Hackers Phishing For Your Data

According to USA Today, hackers still prefer to hack your email over any other social profiles. People get more emails than texts or social media messages, and it’s easier to find someone’s email rather than their phone numbers. Also, its less expensive for hackers to send a fake email. Some services offer to send 50,000 emails for $65. The easiest trick for hackers to use is to send a fake business email. It’s super effective and people trust the email as it looks authentic. For example, in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was hacked. Her campaign manager believed that an email sent to him was genuine, and he clicked on a link. Because of that, all the campaign emails were leaked onto the Internet. Some companies are putting more emphasize on online security for their mobile devices, instead of laptops and desktops, as more employees are doing more work on their cell phones. Recently, the CEO of Amazon was hacked through his smartphone via a direct messaging app. Other companies are more concerned with hackers that ask for ransomware. They’re updating and improving their machines to stay ahead of potential hackers.

I find it extremely interesting that hackers still prefer to hack our emails instead of other social media platforms. My generation experiences a lot of social media attacks. I feel like I am constantly getting random messages on Facebook or Instagram telling me to click some random link. Then later, seeing the person who sent me the message, made a post about explaining to not click the link as they were hacked. I’m curious to see as time goes on, if Facebook or Instagram will become the most hacked social media. My generation uses those platforms more often, so as we get older, I wonder if hackers will change their ways.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/conferences/2020/02/26/email-top-target-phishing-attacks/4867371002/

Children’s Privacy Violations 100%

It is not uncommon nowadays for schools to provide laptops or tablets to their students. This is for many reasons, one being that it is more sustainable. It also gives all students access to the internet which is important because not everyone can afford to buy their child electronics. The article I read in New York Times, “New Mexico Sues Google Over Children’s Privacy Violations” by Natasha Singer and Daisuke Wakabayashi caught my eye; the high school that I had attended gave all students their own Google Chromebook that they can keep for the entire school year, and we even could take them home. The article discusses how Google has been spying on students, by collecting their personal information such as voice recordings, sites visited, videos they have watched on YouTube, and even their location (Singer and Wakabayashi 2020). This frightens me because it has me wondering if they are doing the same thing to my little brother who uses his Chromebook not just for school purposes, but also recreationally. This is a total violation of ethics, taking peoples data for the benefit of your company without consent or notification. Google basically is taking advantage of these children by collecting their data and not asking for any sort of permission from legal guardians or the school distributing its products to the students (Singer and Wakabayashi 2020). Thankfully New Mexico has caught on to this immoral and quite illegal act. This statement from the article is what I find the most disturbing, “The lawsuit also said Google deceived schools, parents, teachers and students by telling them that were no privacy concerns with its education products when, in fact, the company had amassed a trove of potentially sensitive details on students’ online activities and locations” (Singer and Wakabayashi 2020). They literally lied about the entire thing, and since they are a huge company, it is crucial that they do not get away with this via a slap on the wrist. The article also brings up that in 2015 Google signed a voluntary industry pledge that they will not collect student data unless it is required for educational purposes, and the law suit states that those promises from Google were broken (Singer and Wakabayashi 2020). I hope that this lawsuit turns in favor of not just New Mexico, but all of the school systems that have been giving Google business. They should all be compensated for this total violation of privacy.

Singer, Natasha, and Daisuke Wakabayashi. “New Mexico Sues Google Over Children’s Privacy Violations.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Feb. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/technology/new-mexico-google-lawsuit.html.