Haha – number one!!

May 31, 2006 at 11:21 pm | Posted in Blogs, Random | 1 Comment

Google logo

Google "kcb201" and see what you get! Mmmhhm, my blog site is listed before the official QUT unit page site! That obviously means I'm cool. Lol

Networking Proximate Communities

May 30, 2006 at 10:44 pm | Posted in Life | Leave a comment

In a last minute attempt to add more posts to my blog, I'm writing this one… soo… something I haven't blogged about… ahh, proximity. The lecture on proximity discussed the current trend of traditional forms of civic engagement and community disappearing, and the decline of social capital – heading towards individualism, and I was getting a little depressed. I'm an internet whore, but I would go insane with out face-to-face human interaction. Sometimes when I read about how communities used to be tight-knit and had social gatherings – I envy the relationships they must have had with each other. Relationships and they way we interact with one another has changed, due to technology. Brings us back to the debate about whether technology influences social behaviour or the other way around. I sit on the fence… I believe the relationship between culture, society and technology is much more complex than that description! They influence each other. 

Anyway back to what I was talking about. So…Kelvin Grove Urban Village (KGUV coz I'm lazy) – will it work?

Connectivity does not ensure community. – Blanchard and Horan, 1998

Indeed, I am sceptical. (Skeptical?) What does ensure community then? Shared interests, goals, opinions, morals. It used to be proximity – when people didn't have a choice with whom they associated, but now, with technology like the internet, you can choose to be involved in a community of shared interests, regardless of where you are physically. Given this choice, then, I think that most people would much rather be a part of the group that have the same interests as them, as opposed to "hey well all live in the Kelvin Grove Urban Village ain't that cool let's be friends".  

That being said, you never know, it might work. I guess time will tell.

Who uses paper anymore?

May 24, 2006 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Blogs, Life, Print media | 1 Comment

Paper journalI do! I quite enjoy using a pen and writing on paper, and I have kept a paper journal for the majority of my life, ever since I could read and write. I think year three was when I started – I began to write "novels" in exercise books and illustrate them, and generally the "novels" were three page picture books that somehow related to what I did that day. (However, some were completely fantastical…consisting of dragons and owls and supernatural beings… I've been a fantasy & sci fi fan since birth!!) I can pour all my thoughts out onto paper, an outlet of my feelings and emotions. I can get angry and take my anger out on the paper, whereas I don't think the keyboard on my computer would respond as well to my abuse :-/

There is a traditional element in writing in a paper journal that hasn't quite been transposed correctly online in weblogs. There is also something about reading print journals (maybe re-reading journals you've written for personal benefit) and even even books; Colleen capturers it perfectly:

I will never get the appeal of reading a book online versus holding a book in your hands, smelling the paper (I sniff paper, I admit it), turning the pages, and looking at rows of books on a shelf.

However, weblogs have many more features that paper journals will never have, purely because they are published online and are networked throughout the world wide web. Being able to share your opinions readily and read others' opinions has changed the way a "journal" is perceived, it is no longer static or stand-alone. Feedback and discussion can be provided almost instantly, in an online public forum. I think this is a fantastic idea, and it's no wonder that the use of blogs has skyrocketed over the past few years:

The Pew Internet Study estimates that about 11%, or about 50 million, of Internet users are regular blog readers. According to Technorati data, there are about 75,000 new blogs a day. Bloggers — people who write weblogs — update their weblogs regularly; there are about 1.2 million posts daily, or about 50,000 blog updates an hour.

KeyboardYour ideas can be shared with people from different backgrounds and cultures from all over the world, and you hardly have to move. For me, I'm a little hesitant about posting my ideas online in a blog. Anyone anywhere could read it… how does that make me feel? A complete stranger reading about my life (should I chose to post about it), is a little unnerving at first. There are some strange people out there… but on the other hand, the anonymity of the Internet can be very useful. Actions speak louder than words, however, as I do have a few blog sites where I post different things, for example I have a travelogue site (which I mentioned earlier) that I'm planning to use when I go overseas, so my friends and family can see what I've been up to. This is fairly personal, however intended for viewing by family and friends rather than the public.

A lot of other blogs in the blogosphere comment on media and the news, and recent developements on current happenings around the world. Some provide a more of a social commentary. A few of the blog sites I subscribe to and read every week or so include BoingBoing, Postsecret and Tom's blog site Sandstorming.

Colleen makes the observation that paper journals help you to connect with yourself, while blogs help you connect to others. I think that's an accurate observation, and sums up what I've been trying to say.

(Updated:) I laughed at this: UrbanDictionary have coined the term 'anablog': The old fashioned journal you wrote in with crushed tree pulp, binding, and maybe some kind of lock mechanism. For some reason people used to like writing opinions only they read. It is a fad past its prime but Borders still sells them for some reason.

It’s all a Downhill Battle from here

May 17, 2006 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Copyright, Music | Leave a comment

Downhill Battle is a non-profit organization working to support participatory culture and build a fairer music industry.

Five major record labels have a monopoly that's bad for musicians and music culture, but now we have an opportunity to change that. We can use tools like filesharing to strengthen independent labels and end the major label monopoly.

How do musicians get paid for downloads? Simple: collective licensing lets people download unlimited music for a flat monthly fee ($5-$10) and the money goes to musicians and labels according to popularity. This solution preserves the cultural benefits of p2p, gets musicians way more money, and levels the playing field.

Our plan is to explain how the majors really work, develop software to make filesharing stronger, rally public support for a legal p2p compensation system, and connect independent music scenes with the free culture movement.

Stickers

Their aim is to "take back" music from big corporate record labels. A little extreme don't you agree? The main way they're promoting this, as far as I can see, is by stickering CDs in music stores with "WARNING! Buying this CD funds lawsuits against children and families" and "WARNING! This record label pays radio stations to keep independent music off the air" and similar messages.

Now, if I were a music store owner, I highly doubt that I would encourage this behaviour. is it even legal? Defacing property that they don't own?

I can see where they're coming from, but there has to be a better, less destructive, way to voice their opinion. (Buy removable stickers! lol) Downhill Battle? I think they're being too optimistic.
Related Links:

Downhill Battle's Six reasons to get rid of major record labels.

Downhill Battle's p2p Legal Defense Fund.

Community Participation Report

May 11, 2006 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Online Communities | 1 Comment

Hi y'all. (Always wanted to say that…)

The reason for the layout change is that I love having little tabs at the top for different pages!

If you're John Banks and you're looking for my CPR (Community Participation Report), its … well I just linked to it. Lol.

If you're my classmates… please comment on my posts :-)

If you're my sister, please stop reading over my shoulder.

The first virtual universe – with a real cash economy

May 7, 2006 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Games, Life, Online Communities | 1 Comment

Entropia Space ResortSifting through the masses of blogs on the blogosphere (buzzword!) this afternoon, I came across a particular blog – Terra Nova ('exploring virtual worlds'), which is a very interesting blog site. The author introduced me to Project Entropia, … Entropia Universe, a MMORPG: "the first virtual universe – with a real cash economy".

Whoaa hold on a second. A real cash economy? How…? The Project's developer, MindArk, have announced the introduction of a bankcard that allows the cardholder to treat their “virtual currency” from Project Entropia “just like real money” and withdraw it from a cash machine. The card has all the features of a real world bank account: players can transfer, withdraw, deposit and even view account balances using the system. Virtually acquired Project Entropia Dollars (PEDs) can be converted into real world money at any cash machine in the world.

BBC ran a story about the introduction of the card, explaining how "[t]he new cash card blurs the boundary between the virtual and physical world even further."

I was intrigued. But Dan Hunter analysed it a bit further, actually claiming that the story is "bogus" and convinced him that "MindArk is fantastic at generating public relations stories that credulous media sources pick up without questioning, but which, if investigated for even a moment, make you shake your head in wonder." (yeah I know that's a long sentence)

After explaining some similar hype that MindArk had generated about Project Entropia which turned out to be overexaggerated, he made a very good point that it's actually no big deal to have a "Project Entropia Card", since almost any bank is happy to give you a card with your brand on it. Secondly, the system they use is basically a debit card. You pay AU$ (or whatever currency you use) to transfer it to PEDs, which MindArk hold in an account somewhere, and then you get a card and you can withdraw PEDs from your account as dollars. So in other words, you put money in… you get money out.

Even though they may not be using any brand-new technology, and they may be creating hype over the bankcard they propose to use, I think the idea is fantastic. Entropia is a fully immersive experience with entertainment, gameplay, business and social interaction…a parallel universe? PlayNoEvil blogger Steven Davis says, MMO/Virtual worlds games such as this one are a part of an exciting and rapidly growing market. So, who knows, maybe one day in the future we will be investing in completely virtual and online nightclubs or spacestations, earning real money.

Hell, I was so excited, I applied for a free acount.

Podcasting

May 6, 2006 at 11:47 am | Posted in Copyright, iPod, Podcasting | 16 Comments

I've been getting into Podcasting recently. I've had an iPod for a little over a year now, (I have a pink iPod mini, which you can't buy anymore..I might discuss how quickly technology becomes obsolete in a later entry), and aside from having to send it back to Apple once already, it's been pretty good to me. I've copied my music off cds into iTunes and transferred it onto my iPod… and I've always known about Podcasts, kind of known what they are, but never really investigated much further.

However, a few weeks ago, I decided to search the podcast directory for something that might interest me. I found a wealth of comedic podcasts and news podcasts. Now, I read the newspaper as much as I can (which isn't often), and watch the news on tv whenever I can (which is like, never), but I never have time to do any of that but I wish I did. Podcasting for me, was suddenly a convenient way to keep up-to-date on current events… I can listen to the latest news podcast on the train trip to uni now! (nerd…)

Podcasting Network logo

Wanting to quench my thirst for learning, I also had a look at the podcast network, and I'm about to listen to the only podcast under the "Education" heading… Napoleon 101.

It's interesting to note that all work on the site is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

Creative Commons - Some Rights Reserved

Copyright, copyleft?

May 4, 2006 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Copyright | Leave a comment

Copyright Copyleft

Copyright. Copyleft. I had no idea the latter was even a word before the last lecture. What is copyleft? Other than being a word that sounds ridiculous after you read it over and over again, copyleft says that anyone who redistributes (for example) a piece of software, documents, music or art, with or without changes, must pass along the freedom to further copy and change it. Copyleft guarantees that every user has freedom.

A copyleft licence uses copyright law to ensure that anyone who receives a copy of a particular work can study, use, modify and distribute both the copy of the work and any derived versions of the work. All redistributed versions are under the same licence terms as the original. On the other hand, copyright law is seen as a way to restrict the right to make and redistribute copies of a particular work, which leads me to conclude that copyleft is, effectively, the opposite of copyright.

So, uhhhn, what's that got to do with anything? Everything, actually. Whatever you do, wherever you are, wherever you work; you are going to enounter copyright issues. Our society is so obsessed with knowing who owns and controls everything, who makes and produces everything and how. In our attempt to make it fair, we created laws that restrict what we can do with content. (Content being anything from artwork, newspaper articles, books, music, software…etc) These laws seemed to be working fine in the offline world… but then (!) the internet came into existance. What do we do now?!

In the lecture last night, Christina talked a bit about the different approaches to the politicisation of virtual cultures. (As an aside, I was researching politics and I particularly liked Harold Lasswell's definition of politics as "who gets what, when, where, and how.") I was thinking about the Walled Garden approach, and the idea that the more popular something is, the more popular it becomes, and how true this statement is. Take a real life example. You have a stall at a market place. When there's no one looking at your stall, there's …well… no one looking at your stall. One person takes an interest, and stops to check it out. Someone else sees that other person stop, and thinks (maybe subconciously), I wonder what they find interesting? Maybe I'll find it interesting, too. So they pop over to have a look. Someone else walks by, and sees that there are two people at this particular stall, so it's probably worth checking out. Can you start to see a pattern here? Suddenly, three people becomes ten, and you're flat out trying to sell your Lucky Gemstones.

An online example: digg.com. Digg is a technology news bookmarking site, where users submit stories, but rather than an editor deciding which stores make it on the homepage, users do. The stories with the most diggs appear on the homepage. I find that on this site, people seem to digg a story if its already been dugg. This story had 1038 diggs when I checked just then, which is most likely a result of it being on the homepage where people can see it, read the story, and digg it. It might also have something to do with the fact that it's about an invisible bookshelf…

Spice it up

April 30, 2006 at 12:25 am | Posted in Life, Random | 2 Comments

Looking at my site, I realised it looks very boring and rather wordy. So I thought I'd spice it up with an Interesting photo (from Flickr of course – where else!!), from April 30th 2005. Sun Kissed Fairy, taken by a very talented photographer called MarkyBon. And yes, it is 12.26am. I'm tired.

Sun Kissed Fairy

Presentations Vol 1

April 29, 2006 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Online Communities, Tutorials | Leave a comment

We had our group presentation of our virtual community proposal yesterday! I think it went really well. I loved our idea (thanks Tom!) and I felt that the audience understood our idea and liked it, too! Two other groups presented their proposals on the same day, and I really enjoyed both their presentations. The first group proposed an online community for young people to be able to voice their questions about everything and anything, from cooking and cleaning questions to dating tips and medical advice. "Sharehouse" as they called it, seems like a great idea, but looks like an absolutely huuuuge project!

It would be difficult and very expensive to get the number of experts that they proposed to have on the site, for example, as a medical professional (doctor, etc), would I have time to spend online talking to teens about their problems? I guess I wasn't entirely convinced that such a large project would end up workiing, nevertheless I think its a great concept. I really liked how they incorporated the idea of the 'house' into the layout and design of the site.

The other presentation was the QUT Socialite idea. Basically a forum for QUT teachers and students to interact with one another, through the QUT website. I was a bit confused about whether it was an academic or social based forum, and I got the feeling that it was more academic. Personally, I probably wouldn't participate in such a thing for academic gain, I would rather it to be used for the social aspects.

Maybe if they didn't have it as a part of the QUT site, then a lot more people (especially students) would be inclined to participate in the community. But that's just my opinion :-P The group presented it really well, and it looked like they really knew what they were talking about. They covered all of the requirements and oh my gosh it sounds like I'm marking it……… I think what I'm trying to say is, like it states on the assessment sheet, it isn't really the idea that matters as much as the planning that goes into the proposal, and it was obvious that a lot of planning went into theirs.

(PS: For some reason, my links wont show up in the sidebar!)

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