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March 30, 2007

Have you heard of Conservapedia?

I am sorry, I read it in a French article : http://www.ecrans.fr/spip.php?article924 for those who speak French.

To resume it, it explains that some people in the far right wing were angry to see that Wikipedia prefered the evolution theory to the Bible (for example) so they created their own encyclopedia, describing it as more sure because they verify their articles.
It uses the exact same process as Wikipedia, and looks like it a lot (not in the content, of course).

Here is the link : http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

What do you think of that?
For me, it is more a instrument of propaganda than anything left, and it has nothing to do with an encyclopedia. Some articles, or quotes, scare me.

March 29, 2007

Have it Your Way

Something about our fast-moving culture allows us to absorb new terms without really figuring out their meanings. Thus, I was grateful to learn that 'wiki' came from a Hawaiian word for 'quick'-(Lih, p. 3)-I somehow thought it had to do with wicca. But I guess I could have used Wikipedia to look it up. Ha!

My edits to the Wikipedia entry for Katharine Hepburn were minor enough and recent enough not to create too much buzz. I stated that her brother's death may have been inspired by a play she saw with him the previous week--something she mentioned in memoir and in several interviews. I also mentioned that it was rumored she was expelled from Bryn Mawr for smoking, something I remember reading somewhere. I had no substantiation, but am interested in going back and adding it.

I was unconvinced by Lanier's article that Wikipedia is a sign of the coming apocalypse basically because he did not do what Wikipedia usually does so well; substantiate his assertions with examples and sources. I realize that his was an opinion and essay, but the best essayists back up assertions with historical examples. For example, when has the extreme right or the extreme Left created 'dreadful consequences" (Lanier p. 3)? I'm not arguing extremism on either end of the spectrum has not caused problems, but give us a point of reference for pity's sake! Nonetheless, some of what he had to say rang true. There are some things the populance, as a herd does well. Witness the spooky accuracy of the 'ask the audience' function in "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". And I agree, there will always be room for a strong editorial voice or vision, though Lanier acknowleges this is becoming a devalued and watered down commodity (again, with no historical background or point of reference! Is it the buying up of media by giant conglomerates? Are the good reporters being murdered by jealous plagarist serial killers? He won't tell us.) I also agree that the 'beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in other people." (p. 6)

What I don't agree with is the American Idol analogy. There is a marked difference between idly dialing or texting a vote, no matter how earnest, and taking the trouble to write, edit, and substantiate an entry viewable by the entire world. I thought Lih's analysis was interesting. I wonder how much more readable are the entries with 'rigor' and mulitple edits--I would like to take a look at them. I also think Lanier is lost in a Hemingway wonderland if he thinks that print and broadcast journalism does not have many hands in any single piece. Isn't that what editors and producers (and global conglomerates) are? Wikipedia is not an Utne Reader ( a print "Meta'?), but it is not the anti-Christ. I also agree with Lanier that blogging is not always serious writing (though I think it can sometimes evolve into serious writing.) I would also like to counter that before the Internet, a LOT of urban legends and false stories were repeated in various media, (magazines, newspapers, broadcast programs) as fact, and the Internet has done a lot to quell kind of action.

I liked the idea of Wikipedia using norms of professional news organizations--like nullifying the term 'terrorist' as Reuters does. I thought Lih's comparison of Wikipedia to DK was useful. His report was done in 2004, however. I wonder if there is a tipping point with such technologies, like when Kurt Cobain discovered that the kind of kids he hated in high school liked his music. Basically, when does the common denominator start to lower quality?

And what can I say about my friend the subservient chicken? What a good use of resources. The creators state they did not spend a lot of money (Anderson, p. 1). Because there was next to no print campaign, paper was not wasted. I think a lot of what Burger King is doing now is to create a goofy-vibed hipness factor--and I think it is working! Witness the Keller's friend who says "I was in Burger King and I don't know why." I confess to loving the 'Breakfast with the King' ads. In a recent visit, even a kid's beverage cup had a weird and funny story on it. Kudos, BK!

I'm an expert

As everyone else has already posted, I was very apprehensive with the idea of adding something to Wikipedia. What makes me an expert? What do I say? What do I even know about? I sat vigilant at the computer typing in things I thought I knew a lot about, only to find that there was for more information availble than I had even known of.

Finally, a thought came to my head. If the BK Chicken is on Wikipedia what about other artifacts of popular culture. Hence, NCAA Football 2007. A game created by Electronic Arts (EA) Sports. My roommates and I play the game religiously and almost to the point of overly excessive. What more of a hobby could you think of more than that. So, after searching the game and coming up with the Wiki pertaining to it, I read the current definitions of facits to the game. It was amazing that even though I know the game inside and out I stil had this awkward feeling. Like I wasn't suppose to be tampering with words that I take so blatantly as fact.


It was amazing, having used wikipedia as a beginning resource for a lot of my major projects, that many of the words I take as fact may in fact be false. People like me who may not even have the slightest idea what they are talking about but thing they do, could fill the wiki with a bunch of crap. However, I am comforted enough with the idea that there are plenty of people out there who do know what they are talking about. Those people have the same ability I do to just click edit.

I felt from what I added to the wiki, that I maintained a neutral perspective. The premise of even having NCAA Football on the site shows the invasion of pop culutre in our definitive lives. This isn't necessarily a bad idea though. Users may have important information to share about a product or marketing scheme that may be beneficial to other people. Maybe a negative experience or a friendly suggestion. It's like getting an opinion of a product or idea from a neighbor.

I expect Wikipedia and other wiki's to continue to evolve into something that will be extremely beneficial in the development of our social construct.

WIkipedia is dangerous!

I was so scared to edit Wikipedia! I never knew you could do that and I am certainly not an expert in anything! However, I was an elite gymnast for 9 years so my mom said it would be okay for me to make an entry about gymnastics. I edited the section on floor exercise and described how hard it is for a gymnast to choreograph her music to fit her personality and her style, while at the same time, make acrobatic moves in sync with the music. You can view my changes here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floor_exercise.
I have not noticed any changes to what I posted, but I don’t think people visit this page very often. I will keep checking back for another week. I kept my post neutral because I am not trying to market anything, but rather make it a point that gymnasts face this challenge when choosing their floor music. I definitely noticed links to the USGA which could be construed as marketing. I also noticed that famous gymnasts and Romanians had links in the entry. I am not sure if this means they made it a point to have that appear in Wikipedia but it wouldn’t surprise me. The Romanians want to conquer the world of gymnastics!
I don’t think there should be a line between documenting something like the Subservient Chicken and other marketing tactics. What works, works. I say the more creative companies can get with their marketing, the better. Successful companies always find a new way to market to their customers, even if the customer is not aware of it. Obviously, when the customers don’t even know its marketing, then that is GREAT! I think that consumers of Wikipedia need to be more informed about what content they are actually reading and be more aware of what exactly is going on. But, this is tricky since most consumers really have little to no idea.
As to how this all relates to the readings. I would like to make some comments on some passages from the readings. “. . . the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force? (Lanier). It scares me that anyone can edit what I am reading and believe to be true. But, at the same time it is another way I think the United States can become more global and communicate better. I am on board with anything that gets people talking and forming opinions. To me, this is the only way I know that things actually change.
Secondly, “Participatory journalism presents a major change in the media ecology because it uniquely addresses an historic “knowledge gap? – the general lack of content sources for the period between when the news is published and the history books are written? (Lih 5). Lih presents some very insightful points in his paper that I had never considered at all. But, wikipedia is a good example of the knowledge gap I think. Before we can right history and set in stone what happened, people are starting to form opinions on what happened. At times I think this could be dangerous because the events might get lost in translation and what REALLY happened may be lost. People can construe things to such a great extent and that is scary.
Brier’s paper was very informative and iterative to me. My occupation is a marketing analyst (I look at how campaigns perform for a company called Thomson West) and we very often discuss viral marketing. “By concentrating on the long-term goal of virality, marketers often lose sight of the narrower objectives and strategies specifically attached to online viral advertising. The strategy of a successful online viral marketing element concentrates not on incubating a message, but rather on spreading it. In other words, the viral message has to be contagious? (Brier 1). To me, it is obvious that you want your message to stick in consumer’s mind and your brand to be ever-present in their purchasing behavior, but saying this and actually finding creative, effective ways to do this is very very difficult!

March 28, 2007

Why did the chicken perform for the camera?

(To make some bucks...get it?)

I added some links to Wikipedia's Bicycle Culture article, and changed a few words around. I realize that even though I feel like an expert on bicycle enthusiasm, I don’t feel comfortable presenting myself as such by editing an article for public consumption. Based on what I see on the Talk pages, there are already plenty of cooks in the kitchen. It did go smoothly, but it seems like to get good at editing Wikipedia, I’d have to spend quite a bit of time learning how to follow all the rules of form and content. So far, there is no discussion about the links I’ve added. I was heartened to read that “A wiki also tracks and stores every version of an article edited, so no operation is ever permanently destructive…. While it may take five or ten seconds to deface one article, it can be quickly undone by others with just one click of a button.? (Lih, Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism p. 4) This impermanence could be an incentive to write more freely, presumably improving the article’s content. In my exploration of bike-related articles, I found the entry for Cars-R-Coffins, ,which seemed pretty much like an advertisement to me. Somehow, the idea of an individual (intentionally or not) adding advertising content to a wiki seems infinitely less manipulative than viral marketing, and serves as a reminder that we, as consumers, are still responsible for questioning what we read.

“In the last year or two the trend has been to remove the scent of people, so as to come as close as possible to simulating the appearance of content emerging out of the Web as if it were speaking to us as a supernatural oracle. This is where the use of the Internet crosses the line into delusion.? (Lanier, Digital Maoism) Lanier seems to be saying that collectively authored content can give the illusion that it’s not biased, that it represents all points of view equally. Complacently accepting information as if it were complete and perfect is dangerous, especially when we “bear in mind, (guerilla advertisers) are not just trying to talk to these people; (they) are trying to convince (us) to be proactive co-marketers.? (Brier, Viral Marketing) Viral marketing works by convincing viewers that our opinions and participation are important, and as in the chicken fight, that we have a hand in controlling what’s on TV: “The 12-minute fight … allowed consumers to vote on who they wanted to win the fight, and also featured a chicken-fight game viewers could play themselves. (Anderson, Dissecting Subservient Chicken ). I was particularly disturbed to see that this roundabout way of convincing people to buy more chicken sandwiches actually seems to work.

Its as easy as 1,2,3???

First of, I have been told by many teachers that it is completely ok to site wikipedia.com for any use in a project or presentation that I have delievered in the past few years. After this weeks readings, I do not think I will ever site this website again. I think that it is a very knowlegdable website to START off a project with to get some ideas and maybe have a little backgroud information before you dive into the topic of choice, but now by all means, I do not think this source is credible.

I too, had a very hard time coming up with a hobby or a skill that I was good enough in to give my two cents toward. Many topics that I felt I knew what I was talking about such as iTunes, Dancing, Softball, or even my good friend Facebook, there were already paragraphs upon paragraphs describing things I had never even heard of, which was rather disappointing. However, one of my passions is my national sorority that I am currently in and I feel as though I know everything inside and out so I took a look at that website. As I was reading through the webpage, I did feel as though the site was credible, however all I had to do was click on edit and I could change WHATEVER! Also, being that my topic probably isn't in high demand on Wikipedia, my changes could be there for days, which is a little disturbing.

However, as I clicked edit, I started typing away and adding little inserts where needed to complete the story or fill in the details. It went very smoothly without any hassle, and I am sure that my entry will not be changed for a while. I can't imagine someone being so upset by little stories that make up my sorority, that they would go and change something like that.

As for the chicken for Burger King, I found it rather disturbing. I know that it is an ad campaign, however who ever thought that it was a good idea, I would like to meet. It must have taken a lot of time and effort for the man in the chicken suit to do all the the stunts for a little advertising on the web. These types of things I feel are completely legitiment to be placed on the web or on Wikipedia because it is a blog, however the stories like these are ones that make the website lose its credibility. I have always used Wikipedia for research, not for making a man in a chicken suit dance. I believe that would fit more on YouTube. I do not believe for a minute that the chicken was documented for purposes besides advertising. Burger King got the name out in public and had such a crazy twist to it, that people would go to the website just to see the chicken do a stunt. I know when I first saw it tonight, I told my roommates how disturbed I was watching this full grown man in a chicken suit do the moonwalk.

Overall, after this week, I do not think I will be going to Wikipedia very often anymore because of how easy it is to add to the blog and the pointless blogs there are in itself. Its almost to the point that I want to check out the information on some of the topics that I have researched in the past on Wikipedia to see if the information is correct. I even had a "toolbar" for Wikipedia to look up information faster, but I guess I will be getting rid of that. As for watching my own post on the website, I will be curious if anyone tries to change the information, however I would not be suprised even though the information is correct.

To wiki or not to wiki...that is the question

There are not a lot of things that I would consider myself an expert in. Last summer I worked with the Minnesota’s DNR Invasive Species Program, so I know a lot about invasive species…aquatic invasive species to be specific. So I decided to look at what Wikipedia has to say about them. I finally settled on the zebra mussel article. I found a few mistakes on there that I fixed and tried to add in some references and sources since the article had a warning that it is not adequately cited. I found it very easy to add information to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, I waited until the last minute to do this assignment so my changes were only made today and there were no discussions or changes. I think my additions were from a neutral point of view, the points I added were factual bits of information that I cited from the MN DNR website.

I think the line between documenting something like Subservient Chicken and just doing some free marketing for BK is very thin. On one hand for someone who might not know what Subservient Chicken is, having an explanation on Wikipedia is a way for them to look it up, on the other hand it is a free forum for BK to advertise their product. I really don’t think this kind of thing could be avoided even if we try. I also don’t blame BK for using Wikipedia for some free advertising, as long as they are abiding by the rules of the website they should be able to put their information on there.

What are you Wikipeding?

I must say, I had a very interesting and educational experience signing on to Wikipedia.com. In one of our readings, Andrew Lih states “Wikipedia is an Internet-based, volunteer-contributed encyclopedia that has become a popular online reference in just three years of existence.? (3). Before reading this, I never realized that any individual had the ability to edit and/or change a definition within this particular website. You can just about search any topic and edit it to your likings, unless it is protected for administrator’s use only. I can see why it became such a hit in only three years time. However, my concern is how reliable is the information being posted on this site, if any plain Jane is able to post whatever they want about a topic? Andrew Lih states, “The wiki concept is somewhat counterintuitive because the technical implementation itself provides no gate keeping function to ensure quality material is being contributed.? (4).

I was clueless as to what article topic I wanted to choose for this particular assignment. Being the multi-tasker I am, I have a tendency to watch TV and work on homework at the same time. During my time spent on this homework piece I was watching I Love New York, which is a reality show on VH1. Hence, it gave me the idea that I wanted to edit an article on Flavor Flav. My roommates and I got hooked into watching Flavor of Love seasons 1 and 2, and sadly to admit I’ve probably seen every episode 2-3 times. It is a great show to watch, simply for comical relief. Anyway, here is the link to the page I edited:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavor_Flav - .27.27Flavor_of_Love.27.27.

I simply added more information under the section titled Flavor of Love. The information added, was more in depth description as to what happens in Season 2. There was much more information posted about season 1, when I first entered the site, and very little pertaining to Season 2, under this section. The process itself, I would say, went very smoothly. It was easier than I thought it would be. Overall it is a pretty neutral page. However, if you want to watch any of the series, you should do so prior to logging onto these sites, because they have a tendency to give away the endings. There could be some marketing schemes involved to hype up Flavor Flav’s music album, but wasn’t distracting to the reader at all.

The “Subservient Chicken? marketing idea by Burger King was very different. I had never been to the website before nor heard of it prior to this module. I personally don’t think by playing around with this website, that is would make me want to go to Burger King anymore than if I had not visited this site. It definitely is a unique way of marketing. According to Mae Anderson, “…sales had steadily increased an average of 9% per week.? Marketing is all about creating and implementing the best idea(s) to attract a bigger and broader audience. Hence, companies are going to try new methods of approaching their customers, and since technology has become so developed over the past few years, it’s only give marketing people more to work with.

Danger! Wikipedia will resurect Lenin and Stalin!

I am always amused when someone chimes in and claims that the latest piece of technology or amazing concept will ultimately produce a negative effect on the world. My favorite claim that I heard lately was from an arrogant Economics student that claimed that the rise in the price of corn that has resulted from ethanol production is BAD, ever so BAD.

Instead of being happy for struggling farmers because they can make more money because of the increased demand for corn, they rattle off some doomsday statement that it will be a bad thing because it will raise the price of feed. What the doomsday Economics student didn't take time to notice was that the byproduct of the ethanol product can be used as feed. So negative. Also, what happened to their mantra that says that the market will adjust and reach equilibrium by itself?

Anyway, I think that some of Jaron Lanier's assertions about Wikipedia fall into that same vein. He claims that the Wikipedia concept is a form of "new online collectivism" (Lanier). If I understood this correctly, Lanier is claiming that Wikipedia is some new form of socialism?? I think that this is a bit far fetched. I imagine that when Lanier refers to "...the idea that the collective is all-wise", he is stating that people think the information on the Wikipedia website is the consensus of the world (Lanier). Even though information on the website may contradict the knowledge scholars and the official records, we must believer it because it is what the consensus wishes. I'm afraid I can't agree with Lanier.

I personally think that Wikipedia is very interesting because people can contribute to Wikipedia information that they deem important. Two different people can provide information on a topic like baseball. Both can provide correct, unique information that they feel to be important. This (I hope) will compliment the information that was already there. It's exciting to think that experts around the world can pool their knowledge in an effort to create a well detailed description. I know that the information that's posted on Wikipedia might not be 100% reliable, but I find that the information that's posted usually seems to be well written. As I've stated on this Blog before, Wikipedia can act as a useful starting point when doing research. You just have to make sure that the information that you find is correct. That's good old fact checking!

I enjoyed editing a post on Wikipedia. I looked up a subject that I had written a paper on, the WWII German battleship called the Bismarck. I read through the posting and found an area that needed a little more information. I added information about the English Swordfish airplanes that played a crucial role in stopping the gigantic battleship from wreaking havoc on the Atlantic. I felt that the posting did not pay enough homage to the Swordfish and their pilots. These planes were World War I era planes that were being used to try and sink one of the largest, most modern battleships of the time. They had half the top speed of the modern fighter planes of that time. I felt that this was a very important piece of information that had been omitted.

Here is the link:

I just checked the posting and it looks like my addition has been removed. I'm not sure why, I think that it added some much needed information. It showed the irony that a powerful battleship had been disabled by an ancient biplane.

Here's the post after my addition, and before it was wrongly changed back. (I say this in good humor)

"At dusk that evening, and in atrocious weather conditions, Swordfish aircraft from the Ark Royal launched an attack. These World War I era biplanes had a top speed of only 200 knots which was half of what more modern fighter planes could achieve. The first wave mistakenly targeted the Sheffield that was by now shadowing the quarry. Although precious time was lost by this incident, it proved beneficial to the British in that the magnetic detonators on the torpedoes used against Sheffield were seen to be defective and for the following attack on Bismarck were replaced by those designed to explode on contact. In a final attack, almost in darkness at around 21.00, a "miracle" hit by a single torpedo (launched by pilot John Moffat's plane) jammed Bismarck's rudder and steering gear. This rendered her virtually unmanoeuvrable, able only to steam in a large circle in the general direction of King George V and Rodney, two frontline battleships that had been pursuing Bismarck from the west. The largest and most powerful warship yet commissioned had now been rendered a sitting-duck by a single aircraft. After extensive efforts to free the jammed rudders, the fleet command finally acknowledged their by-now impossible position in several messages to naval headquarters. Lütjens promised that the ship would fight until its last shell was spent" (Wikipedia).

Oh well, I can always try again ha ha...

What I did on Wikipedia, and Why its wrong.

What did you add?

I added a piece on the history of hazing in fraternities

Did it go smoothly?

It went very smoothly, almost too smoothly I feel. I shudder to think what would happen if someone with a bad opinion on the subject could do.

Did you end up in a discussion?

Sadly no. You would not believe it but Greeks were too apathetic to comment on my post.

Did you think the entry maintained a neutral point of view, or did you notice anyone including links that might be construed as marketing?

I most certainly think my entry was neutral. Because it only states historical fact. However, there were links to fraternal organizations, which yes, is frat-propaganda, added by other bloggers.

Is there a line between documenting something like Subservient Chicken and doing some free marketing for BK? Can that sort of thing be avoided even if we try?

I believe there is a line. Also, I believe it can be avoided. However, this question I believe is not as important as the point that Jaron Lazier makes about online collectivism. This has He states that, “The problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise.? He is totally right in his assessment of Wikipedia and collectivism. Look at what I just did for example. I, an undergraduate student, whom has not higher degree (yet) has just posted on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, some poor person is going to come along and perhaps use my post a fact. This is because according to Lazier, the aspect of Collectivism has lent way too much legitimacy to Wikipedia. I believe, that if one is going to do research, on should leave the writing to academics, people who’s job it is to write in an academic way. Also, as prove throughout history, mob rule is often not the best rule. Wikipedia is just that, mob rule.

Attached is my work added to Wikipedia, it is italicized.

Hazing is the ritualistic harassment, abuse, or persecution of prospective members of a group as a means of initiation. In such practices, pledges are required to complete often meaningless, difficult, or (physically and/or psychologically) humiliating tasks. Many activities which evolved into modern hazing originated as legitimate team-building techniques.[citation needed] In their essence, they are meant to make the individual fail as an individual, teaching them to become a valuable asset to the team and be loyal to its success.[citation needed] This philosophy of team development continued to be used in fraternal organizations as each subsequent war refreshed the pool of ex-military students.[citation needed]
Because of the association of fraternities with hazing, schools such as Bates College started banning fraternities as early as the mid-1800s. One fraternity, Sigma Nu, was founded in opposition to the hazing taking place at Virginia Military Institute after the Civil War by Alpha Tau Omega. Hazing began in Fraternities after the Civil War. Prior to the Civil war, hazing was not a major aspect in many fraternities. This is because Fraternities started out as a way for students to discuss academic life in college. Something that was looked down upon in the early 19th century. However, hazing gained popularity after the civil war because many college student felt that they needed to have a harrowing event happen to them, just as their fathers did during the civil war. Hazing continued on after World War I. Soldiers returning from the war re-entered colleges, and brought with them the discipline and techniques they learned in boot camp. From the 1960s through the 1980s, however, most organizations (especially those governed by alumni at the national level) implemented clear no-hazing policies. Hazing is also against many colleges' Greek Codes and illegal in most U.S. states.[1][2] The North-American Interfraternity Conference (formerly National Interfraternity Conference) also requires anti-hazing education for members, as do most universities. Since at least the 1990s, any hazing conducted at a local chapter was done without the consent of a national organization and outside the guidelines for their initiation rituals. If discovered, hazing usually results in the revocation of the local chapter's charter and possibly expulsion of members from the national organization.

The Hive of Wiki....I posted my $.02

The idea of Wikipedia is not new in any form. This idea of using a collective has been around for quite sometime. I am truly amazed at the crazy amount of growth that wikipedia has undergone in just the last 3 years and the sustantial amount of information that has been gathered by the people. But its growth is understandable because you can literally feel smarter than you actually might be. Even if your entry gets modified or possibly removed or whatever, you have inevitably given to the collective hive.
I throughly enjoyed the article presented by Lanier, but one statement that he made stood out quite boldly to me. He stated, "The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots." I have to agree with this statement because its people that ultimately generate all content that passes over the net. I honestly do believe that some look to the internet as possibly the next absolute, Im not sure what we could call as a current absolute (for me its the bible). Its the idea that Lanier presented though as people seem to be moving more toward the "Meta" state of being or of artificial intelligence. With this mindset we basically are just holding an idiot sign overhead. This can also be seen as Lanier mentions the decline that newspapers are and will see even more as people turn to goole for the news, but most of this news flashed across google is comprised of the fine information that good reporters gathered, and I like how Lanier than states, "The aggregator is richer than the aggregated."
I think Wikipedia is a great tool, but the hive is not always collectively right, is it? In a very extreme, albeit very absurd example. What if the collective community decided that oranges were red, is this possible? Porbably not, but its the idea behind this example that concerns me about the concept of wiki and how much can be controlled. But if you want to check out my contribution to the Wiki community here ya go....
My part starts with "This can also account...." and ends with the word efficiency.

Hi, I'm Matt calling on behalf of EA Games...

It took me a while to think of something that I knew about that wasn't already on Wikipedia (that didn't already have a description better than the one that I could provide). I have often thought about adding to an article here and there, but always end up convincing myself that I am not qualified enough to add my two cents. I ended up adding to the "Pretexting" section of the Social Engineering entry:

While I am by no means an expert, I have seen the method of Pretexting work again and again (when others try). The part that I added is this: "Voice over IP programs are starting to become a standard in pretexting, as the user is able to feel safer knowing that they are not using a traceable number, and therefore believes he or she is less likely to get caught." This is not a topic where maintaining a neutral point of view is difficult, except maybe opinions on whether or not certain aspects of Social Engineering are effective, or whether a method is still being used. I have not received any feedback as of yet...
With the growing popularity of meta sites, I have not noticed any changes that have upset me, in fact the opposite is true. With Google's addition of Google Video and Google Scholar, it seems to me that meta sites add to the convenience of web surfing.
As far as subservient chicken and Burger King are concerned, subservient chicken only gained its popularity because of its creativeness. If Burger King gets some free publicity out of said creativeness, then they deserve it. Anderson writes "I got a call from a friend of my wife. She said, 'I was in Burger King and I don't know why.'" While I doubt that everyone that is affected by Burger King's advertising ends up in a Burger King for an unknown reason, something as creative as subservient chicken is bound to have some positive results.

I'm not an Actor...but if that's what my Wikipedia bio says...

I really use Wikipedia a lot doing research. I don't use it as a standard, but rather as a starting point. I didn't realize how easy it was to just edit a topic and get feedback on it. I decided to edit my topic on beer, since the family business is running a liquor store and I run the day to day operations of it. I changed the topic on beer cans quite a bit. Here is the link to where I made the changes, my name I made up is jsonbukshot...http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Beer&action=history.
I just mostly talked about how Budweiser cans are the most popluar and the most iconinc brand in the whole world and how they are the number one company in the canned beer business. I wrote and added about 2 paragraphs or so to this section. It went rather smoothly for me, I was pretty surprised. I believe that my point of view maybe construde as biased a bit because I only talk about Budweiser and not really any other company. I haven't recieved any discussion yet on it.

The way that Wikipedia is set up is that it anyone can edit any article and have it be true. I also can't believe how mainstream it has become. In the Lanier article he says "No, the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force." (Lanier, 1).

I don't think much of a line needs to be drawn for free marketing for BK or anyother company. I say more power to the company. I just think that if I owned part of a company and someone did some free marketing and it was a hit I would be really happy. And if I owned a company and no one did any free marketing, well then no sweat off my back either. Viral marketing can be avoided, just don't look at it, when you see something that is viral on the internet lets say, turn it off. The problem is there isn't any rules with viral marketing. Like the Brier article says, "In the end the most important rule to remember is there are no rules, that is the beauty of this kind of marketing...(Brier, 1). It just goes to show that viral marketing can get you anywhere you look, internet, TV, radio, in the mail, e-mail, pretty much all forms of media are prone to viral marketing.

Hopefully the Real Meaning of Viral Marketing is Viral

Well, I am now an author, and it feels pretty good. Like many of you, I did not feel that I was expert enough in anything to alter a Wikipedia page. However, since it was required for this assignment, I thought long and hard. I searched for things that I thought I had a good grasp on, but in many situations felt that I couldn’t add something, because all the information was so extensive. However, I looked up the page of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is where I interned this past summer. I went through, and noticed that there was no text dedicated towards the customer service values of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. So, I took it upon myself to add some in. Throughout this process, I tried not to have a biased opinion, but I found it rather hard. However, I believe the final product I placed on Wikipedia was very neutral in that respect. You can see this page by clicking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_Rent-A-Car. After reading Jaron Lanier’s article on Wikipedia, and how it was a start to something that he saw as very scary, I had some questions, if not more of disagreements with his article. He claimed that, “Wikipedia is far from being the only online fetish site for foolish collectivism.? I find it hard to believe that such sites as Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia and many others are going to lead us down a road where we invite artificial intelligence to completely take over our modes of thinking. He makes a point in his article regarding the Microsoft paper clip, and how users dumb themselves down in order to use it, and be in awe of the artificial intelligence that it has created. First of all, I feel that people first enjoyed the paper clip because it was a fun animation that moved and at the same time could provide them with help if they summoned it. Yes, at times the paper clip pops up when you’re doing something, but mainly only to let you know that there are other possible options for you at your current situation. I feel that people see it more of as a tool that they can use, as opposed to a mastermind of artificial intelligence.

In regard to the Subservient Chicken, I was actually rather impressed with how interactive it was. I really liked the idea of how Burger King used this type of interactive advertising to let its customers know that they could have their chicken any way they wanted it. I just thought it was very clever. However, this brings me to the subject of interactive advertising such as Subservient Chicken, and more specifically viral marketing. I really enjoyed reading Noah Briers viral marketing essay. I found that I agreed with every point that he made in regard to viral marketing becoming an industry standard. I really liked how he said, “In fact, just calling it viral is problematic.? Immediately I agreed with this. Basically when a company comes to an advertising agency today, and says that they want a viral part of their advertising campaign, they are really saying that they want a complete hit. Because, in order for a piece to become viral, it needs to be loved by so many people, and so much that they feel they HAVE to share it with someone else. I just hope that eventually everyone will realize that putting money into interactive advertising such as Subservient Chicken is always a risky move in the online industry, as there are many great campaigns that proved to be unsuccessful.

My Minor Edit

While I have been a Wikipedian for a few months now, today I learned how to move a page. In the past couple of months I had done exactly what this assignment asked for: find areas of my expertise and add something important to the page. Today I was surfing around on the House Committee on Agriculture and I noticed that the Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development and Foreign Agriculture was missing a "p" in it's title. I immediately changed this problem on both pages, but realized that the link was now dead as there was no page with the correct title. So I had to figure out how to move a title. I immediately put help me on my own talk page, and someone came to help me out. I realized I simply needed to use the "move" button, but was looking for a topic about changing the name of a title, so I couldn't find as much.

So that was a small edit that took a lot of work, but I think I have put in my time on Wikipedia. After a few trials and tribulations, I created my first ever article on Wallace Jerome, an alumnus of my fraternity and I was able to pull information from many resources to create the article. I enjoyed doing this report because I had some passion for it. It probably would not be argued as a non-neutral article, but I did make sure to include Alpha Gamma Rho as much as I could.
I really liked the statistics from Lih. It was not only interesting to see the average and median numbers of people editing articles, but also which articles were hot topics at the the time the research was done.
In response to a previous posting, I just want to make it clear that Wikipedia strives NOT to be a democracy. They understand (as should the people of a democratic society) that the majority is NOT always right, but instead tries to be through voting on ideas. In Wikipedia we are striving for the best and most complete answer, not the one voted on. So while 50 people may say that the subservient chicken is fake, if one person can prove that it is not (or just edit more often than the other 50) their entry should not be disregarded. Wikipedia even explains the idea that it is not a democracy.
The Subservient Chicken is just another example of pop culture that is some sort of advertisement. Brier's talk of viral advertising was amazing. I have seen basically every ad he was talking about. While I did not go out and buy a Honda, it made me think the company was cool, so I can see it as a great PR stunt. Great PR stunts should go down in history, because they are risks, and when they turn out they are innovations in their field. In my opinion it can be included along with things like the Commercials section of the page for Super Bowl XLI. Pop culture is history whether we like it or not. If your publicity is good (or bad) enough for enough people to care and write about it, it will go down in written history. The only things in encyclopedias are the things people care about, and in this case things wikipedians care about. If everyone cared a lot more about the current status of my life (I amazingly found no article) than Overlord (1990 Computer Game), I would have an article, and maybe Overlord would not. The thing is, history is all about pride. That's why those who win the war write the history. When you have a positive affiliations for your job, where you grew up, or what college you attended, you seem to stick up for it. For the most part, that's what wikipedians do, stick up for what they know. So in a lot of cases it is self promotion, or verifying that their life matters. But, until someone else dislikes what you do enough to delete it, it will stay. You can always revert. (P.S. I do not know what Overlord is, but it was the first article that popped up when I hit "random article". P.P.S. I love random article, you can (meaning you might, but not always) learn a lot with just a few clicks)

I Think I'm Smart

Wikipedia is an amazing thing. Every person in this class are now published on a website used around the world. For my entry I at first had no idea what to. I don't really consider myself an expert on anything so I had to think of something that I thought I knew something about. So, instead of guessing and making a fool of myself I decided to do something that I know something about, my old high school. So, there was only a small blurb about it as it had been created recently. So I decided to remember back to my high school days and tell people more about it. So far there was no discussion and I added almost everything on the page. The only thing there was where the high schoolwas located. To see my entry follow the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_High_School. Because there was nothing in the entry, I, myself, had to keep a neutral point of view and just report the facts. So far the only link that is on there is one to the Superior High School website.

I actually remember when the Subservient Chicken came out. I remember going to the site and actually being a little creeped out because the room that the chicken was in was kind of grimy and dirty. Anywho, I remember that my roommates and I played with the thing for like an hour and were shocked at how much stuff he actually could do. (I also remember he wouldn't do some stuff and just shook his finger at us;)) Then I can recall when I figured out it was Burger King that was sponsoring this website. When reading Anderson I was really impressed how Burger King used its "Have it your way" focus by having the chicken doing things that you wanted. Which is like having it your way. I am impressed at how marketers have used viral marketing to sell their products.

As Brier stated, "When creating an advertisement, the hope is that the message will infect consumers and replicate itself inside them, thereby connecting the brand and the individual. The only online elements considered viral are those that find success. That is because, as every good virus knows, it’s either spread or be dead". Viral advertising is an amazing thing because it could either make sales go through the roof or the PSP's attempt at creating buzz for itself by lying to customers. (Here's a link to the story,sorry its long, while not part of the reading, it's pretty interesting:


Obviously, companies are seeing the potential that viral marketing has. Honestly, I cannot really see a line between documenting something and doing free marketing because they are so closely related. So, as businesses start to use the internet more and more to market itself, we should expect more attempts to create something viral.

"Meta" sites and collectivism

Sites like Wikipedia, Google, blog pages, and AltaVista are fighting for user's attention. They all strive to be the next "Meta" site that is the "highest level aggregator" (Edge). Many site owners are trying to incorporate a new technique that creates a buzz in the online community. I think that the Subservient Chicken in a classic example of an advertising technique whose success is depedent on viral marketing. The reason why the Subservient Chicken website was able to get millions of hits within its debuting week was because people were spreading the word about this website. If it weren't for viral marketing, I don't think that the Subservient Chicken would be as nearly successful. Sites like Wikipedia and the Subservient Chicken have one thing in common; they both include some sort of product, whether it's information or a form of entertainment, with user interaction. The reason why Wikipedia has been such a hit is because it allows anyone who can operate a keyboard to become an author. Of course such actions reduces the credibility of the source, but it still lures visitors. Jaron Lanier commented on Wikipedia being "nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force." (Edge). I think that Wikipedia also has a viral marketing attribute because it is dependent on many people to place their knowledge on topics for everyone else to see. It's viral marketing because it's highly dependent on users to spread the word about any kind of topic.

I myself have created a page on Wikipedia last semester. I forgot what I wrote about, but I do remember liking the feeling that I contributed to a topic that could potentially give knowledge to someone else. For this assignment I commented on "project management." I am currently enrolled in a Project Management class and so I thought that it would be appropriate for me to look into that topic. I have been interested in Project Management for quite some time and I was surprised to find so much information on it from Wikipedia. I contributed five tips on how to be a successful project manager.
The cite is "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management#The_traditional_triple_constraints."

I also found the Subservient Chicken site to be pretty interesting. The article "Dissecting 'Subservient Chicken,'" reported that Burger King's TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich awareness and sales went up significantly. I thought that their moto "Have it your way" really fit into the construction of the Subservient Chicken which allowed viewers to "have their way" with the guy in the chicken suit. I thought it was hilarious.

Is the majority always right?

Since I have known Wikipedia, I never really knew what to think about it. After the surprise about the concept, and thinking that it was a brilliant idea, I started wondering if the idea was so good actually.
In some fields, people called "specialists" deserve their status and seeing random people writing elaborated articles in these fields can be a problem. Another thing that is a problem to me is that Wikipedia is always the first response in a google research and that it tends to become one of the most trusted and cited website. Such a monopole in the field of human knowledge seems dangerous to me. As I ask in the title of this article : "is the majority always right?". History shows us that it is not the case. To take an extreme example : people who pretended that Earth was round, or that Earth was not the center of the Universe, were alone against the rest of the world to defend their theory. What I want to say can be resumed in this sentence of the Lanier's article : "But it is not infinitely useful. The collective can be stupid, too. "

On the other hand, the debates opened by some modifications on some Wiki articles are often interesting and I have to admit that these sort of debates may not exist without a website like that.

For a long time, I tried to resist to this monopole and I tried to avoid Wikipedia at all cost, prefering finding other sources, confronting them etc... like we all used to do. However, slowly but surely, I went more and more on Wikipedia and I edited my first article a few months ago. I've done that very rarely, and it generally concerns biographies or information about bands that I know well. Here is an example :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blonde_Redhead
In the biography of the band, I added a lot of details about the producer Guy Picciotto, like the song on which he sings and things like that. I have done that for a few other bands. I think my entries always respect the neutrality because I add actual facts, that can be easily verified, and none of my modifications ended in a discussion or have been deleted.

Concerning the free marketing, I think that people in the field of publicity understood that consumers are sick of tv commercials, ads in magazine, and they have to find new technics. I am not a huge fan of the publicity in general, but as a student in communications, I have to admit that some ideas are very smart. When someone creates an entry about the subserviant chicken on Wikipedia, he makes some advertising for BK, consiously or unconsiously. I am sure people from BK expected that, and the only thing I have to tell them is : congratulations!

My 5 cents contribution to WIKIPEDIA!

I am not an expert at anything I can think of but I decided to add information regarding online security for Wells Fargo Bank, which I have been working for, for three years. The page to find my contribution is; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells_Fargo#Lines_of_business There was a section on online banking and I included a neutral point of view or fact on what else the online banking offers for identity theft, such as the e-mail and wireless alerts for unusual transactions. I found it to go smoothly and very easy to follow. Again, it was a neutral point that I don’t think would construe as marketing but as a fact and service Wells Fargo offers for customers regarding identity theft protection. After reading more on Wikipedia and understanding that “The goal
of Wikipedia is to create an encyclopedia that can be shared and copied freely while
encouraging people to easily change and improve the content,? I found it to be just like it said. I’ve never contributed to the Wikipedia before but I found it to be so easy to improve and change. (Lih, Andrew. Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism, 3.)

I also found the subservient chicken to be quite amusing! I had never seen that before either, and first I thought it was such an unusual marketing piece. After playing around with it, I understood the meaning of it and thought it was just incredible! Like one of the judges who selected the campaign to win the gold at the Viral Awards, Matt Vescovo stated, "It was so amazingly different and such a good use of the technology.? It definitely is different and really attracts the attention of customers because it has uniqueness to it and that’s what everyone wants to see. It didn’t make me want to eat at Burger King but I thought it was quite funny.

I'm no expert, but I'm published...online...

I found this week's assignment a bit tricky. First was the task of finding a subject of which I have a beyond average understanding of. Then, in finding that subject, I had to find some piece of information that the previous myriad of authors and editors--probably more qualified than I--had missed. I have studied Ojibwemowin, or the Ojibwe language for many years and naturally it is something I thought, if anything, I know a bit more about than the average person, being that it's a dying language anyhow. So I found the Anishinaabemowin Wikipedia page and browsed over it. For a general article it was pretty well written. Another challenge was that the article was written more broadly than my understanding stretches. For a language like Ojibwe, there are many, many different dialects, and I am only truly proficient in a few, while the article mentions and describes a fair amount. So the areas I could contribute to were significantly cut down. If you look at the History link, you'll be able to see what I added. And the sentence, while I feel it crucially important to an understanding of the features of Ojibwemowin, could easily be omitted. Especially when most of the other contributors, like myself, are probably well aware of it. But, I think I slipped passed without contradicting anyone else's feelings because no one has messaged me or discussed my changes despite the fact that the discussion of the article is very active currently. I feel the entry as a whole was well done and (perhaps due to the subject matter) completely avoided any anti-neutrality. With a language like Ojibwe, the speakers and scholars are truly a tightly knit community. I actually know some of the other contributors, or have met them, and that is something I find time and time again in the Ojibwe community. There is the common cause of keeping the language alive and the egotistical-scholarship issues that may come into play with other subject matter seem to be regularly absent from the discussion. It is also very encouraging to see Ojibwe scholarship taking advantage of new technologies. If anyone is interested, here is a link to my Ojibwe teacher's blog. He took a Utilizing Technology class in his master's program and is quite proud of all his new skills. He just got a laptop and a laser-pointer too. Just as a side note, the word for laser-pointer in Ojibwe is Waasakonenjigese-izhinoogan (wah-sah-ko-nayn-jig-ay-say-izh-in-oo-gun) which literally translates to that which points in light. Gas station is Wasamoobimide-adaawewigamig which translates to fire motion store. Thought maybe you'd enjoy a little Ojibwe etymology as long as we were on the subject.
The readings were great this week. I especially enjoyed the Digital Maoism article. I found the arguments extremely poignant to our times and specifically the parts where Lanier speaks of the dangers of collectivism and the hive-mind. I think the one of the most telling passages was:
The Wikipedia is far from being the only online fetish site for foolish collectivism. There's a frantic race taking place online to become the most "Meta" site, to be the highest level aggregator, subsuming the identity of all other sites. I am a user of many of these meta-sites and I didn't really look at it in the way Lanier is framing it, but truly, property on the internet seems to belong to whoever you end up passing through to get to it, rather than who's name is next to the text. I am a user of a blog-music aggregator that scans blogs for uploaded music and then allows users to listen to them and build playlists for free. But to be honest, I've never actually used it as a pass-through to reach the blogs where the music is coming from, rather I simply listen to the music I like and move on. In this way, sites like these seem to be quite ambiguous in their benefits for all involved. Granted, they bring traffic to all they aggregate, but as in my music aggregator example, they sometimes simply borrow other people's materials and bandwidth by accumulating so many outbound links they become a super-source of sorts. Kind of reminds me of Walmart and their technique of carrying everything under the sun, eliminating the average consumer's need to go anywhere else. But I hate Walmart, and I'm not alone. The only difference is, online meta-sites are a bit harder to criticize--or more accurately--recognize, as a problem. Why might this be? Perhaps it has something to do with the generation that is probably most accustomed to using such sites. A generation raised on Napster pirate-ism. How much is information worth? I don't know, but it is surely significantly less than twenty-five years ago. And while information seems to belong to everyone in cases like Wikipedia, doesn't the bottle-necking Lanier wrote of seem more like an information monopoly?

Wikipedia, for fun or profit?

I'm quite familiar with Wikipedia just as a site I occasionally browse for fun looking at random, useless information about stuff I like, but honestly, the thought of going in there and editing anything was kind of scary. For one thing, most of the articles I tend to look at have fairly detailed information already, and even if I did attempt to edit anything, how could I be sure what I'd be adding was relevant enough to be mentioned? This was the issue I faced when I created the account for this blog entry,and even when I tried the editing feature, I really wasn't sure how anything worked. Eventually, I worked up the courage to post the sentence "Additionally, posts made by fans in certain threads may also be aired during the block in the black and white bumps." under the Forum tab of the Adult Swim article, which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_swim#Forum

So far, the sentence is still there, with no comments made in the discussion for the article yet, so I can only assume that means the edit went smoothly. I may still use the Wikipedia account to touch up random things in articles I may come across, but for now, I think I'll just stick to browsing.

Just by the sheer concept of advertising and its goals, pretty much any entry of some product or service could be construed as an advertisment for them since those articles by definition must inform readers about their subjects. After all, the consumer won't know to buy a product if he or she doesn't know what that product is. Wikipedia can certainly work in that way, as I can attest from personal experience. I first learned about that Subservient Chicken by, you guessed it, randomly coming across its article on Wikipedia one day. However, there are also differences in the style of writing used to entice or simply inform. Wikipedia's policy of neutrality in all articles is a definite step toward making the site a relevant information source and not one big collection of unofficial, user created ads. I can see this policy at work in the discussion section of the Adult Swim article with discussion threads about specific users trying to promote themselves, suggestions for criticisms, and other things. Despite this line between subjectivity and objectivity in information though, viral marketing campaigns like the Subservient Chicken have found ways to propagate themselves without the need for biased language. All it takes is for people to know about them, and then their curiosity is piqued automatically and the ad holds their interest long enough to make them aware of the product. As Brier says, the focus is on spreading the message, not incubating it (31). In this way, Wikipedia is essentially doing free advertising for Burger King by having the Subservient Chicken article, even though the article itself says nothing about Burger King aside from the fact that it's behind the site. This isn't so much a failure on Wikipedia's part to be objective, but more of a tactic by the advertisers to use this objectivity to their advantage.

The Wikipedia Problem

I had trouble finding a wikipedia page about a topic that I knew well enough to add information that wasn't already there. In the end I wound up adding a little bit to two pages, one on a comedian I saw Saturday night named Zach Galifianakis, and one about the DW drum company. Both of my contributions were kind of small, b ut they haven't been changed as of yet. On the drum page I got into a discussion about whether or not the page should be merged with a page for one of its subsidiary drum making companies. When considering what to update the page with, I found myself being very concious about what to update, where it was coming from, and how it would affect how people who were trying to learn about the topic would view it. But I suppose with all the editors and people checking up on the pages anything that isn't supposed to be there wouldn't be there for long. On each page, I suppose I was doing some marketing. I think that's pretty much unavoidable when when entries exist for any products or entertainers. But I did notice that there was an entry not only for Burger King (which makes sense) but for several of their signature sandwiches, which I feel is going too far into marketing.
I found myself fairly interested in the Lanier article. While I had always wondered about the reliability of Wikipedia, I never really thought much on the fact that the site is just an aggregate of so many others. I wondered if he was making too much of the fact that there aren't any authors names on the site, but I really like what he said about the value of the internet being in connecting people, and that "If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots." (Lanier) It's important not to lose sight of what the internet is best for in the first place.

ABC "Repositioning"

The continued blurring of the lines in media has extended even further into television. This is a notice from ABC to their affiliates about the episodes available for viewing online. Pretty soon the computer and television will be one in the same....


March 27, 2007
Dear ABC Affiliate,
For your reference, please see below an updated list (last update issued 3/19/07 via ACS # 32) of our new, upcoming and current offerings available on the ABC.com video player.
Please note, new additions are noted in bold and episodes that have been removed are noted with a line through it.
Upcoming/New Offerings:
•Dancing with the Stars The Results Show: - All telecasts will be added as they air.
•The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman - All episodes will be added as they air.
•The Great American Dream Vote - All episodes will be added as they air.
Current Offerings:
•According to Jim - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Brothers and Sisters - Full season is available and new episodes will be added as they air.
•Dancing with the Stars - All telecasts will be added as they air.
•Daybreak - All episodes from current season are available.
•Desperate Housewives - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Grey’s Anatomy - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Knights of Prosperity - Full season is available and new episodes will be added as they air.
•Lost -
?The four (4) most current episodes.
?The Lost Survival Guide - Half-hour Affiliate special has been added
?Sneak Peek - Added
?Lost Survivor Guide - Added
•Men in Trees - The pilot as well as the current episode (1) is available and will be swapped out once the next episode airs.
•October Road - All episodes will be added as they air.
•Six Degrees - The four (4) most current episodes.
•Ugly Betty -
The pilot as well as the four (4) most current episodes.
The Beauty of Ugly Betty - Half-hour Affiliate special
•What About Brian - Full season is available and new episodes will be added as they air

The Chicken Can Rap

I found BK’s interactive online ad Subservient Chicken to be very entertaining- so much so that I emailed it to my friends. Does this type of marketing make me want to buy their chicken sandwiches? Yes. Apparently I am not the only one who craves ‘having it my way’. BK marketing executives “describe the campaign as ‘a success’? (Anderson).

This was the first time I had logged on to Subservient Chicken and can’t believe that BK has had “396 million hits to date? (Anderson). I am not sure how that compares to other internet campaigns, but it sounds impressive.

In 2004, Quiznos Subs launched a similar type of ‘envelope pushing’ commercial ad with singing SpongMonkeys. Unlike the Subservient Chicken ad, this commercial actually grossed me out and I haven’t eaten at a Quiznos since. Surprisingly,
“Quiznos says sales are up (because of the ad). The New York Times, USA Today, AdAge, Cox newspapers and hundreds of Web sites are all talking about them.? (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0304/glad_u_asked022504.asp)
I guess scary rodents are able to sell food just as well as a chicken that raps (a command I told the chicken to do…and one that he/she did quite naturally.) I have yet to have the chicken ‘do the YMCA’ (Wikipedia).

I don’t consider myself an expert on one single subject, so it was a difficult task for me to post on Wikipedia. I did, however, work for Aveda Corporation for 8 years and was able to post a few tidbits about their endorsement of the CERES Principles and their innovative approach to aerosol hairspray. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aveda)
My entry was neutral because it contained facts opposed to comparing Aveda’s products to other products or posting unnecessary boasting about the company. I checked back and no one has disputed my entry. Afterwards I felt a strange sense of fulfillment for being a ‘published’ online writer.

I don’t see the same challenges with Wikipedia that others do “the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used? (Lanier). I acknowledge that a free online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit? (Wikipedia) is conducive to inaccuracies and chaos, but isn’t that the risk of any collectivistic or groupthink enterprise?
When I need a quick overview on a subject for my own personal interest, I use Wikipedia. But when I need accurate information, I research more reliable and traditional sources.

March 27, 2007

Participatory Journalism vs. Online Collectivism

So the debate that comes from the article for this week establishes a strong existence and power amongst participatory journalism including Wikipedia and Myspace and whether or not this is beneficial and constitutes true wisdom. It is my understanding that particpatory journalism defines words in accordance with democracy among users. Therefore, isn't it the people, the individuals that are networked within a specific term, to give the term true definition and adjust the definition in accordance to ever changing culture and meaning.

I do understand the concern that this does stray from traditional encyclopedia definitions and does not constitute a clear unchanging definition given a specific term. But even encyclopedia definitions do change in time. Perhaps the only difference becomes the power of the people. Therefore, it is the people I chose to hear from and is exactly why I use Wikipedia when trying to clearly define an abstract term that I am unsure of. I believe Wikipedia gives us the opportunity to define words in accordance to understanding. For example, I am a healthcare recruiter and recently had to clearly define the difference among LPNs and RNs. Given a text book defnition I became unclear of the differences and was unable to articulate this to my candidates. When I reviewed definitions from Wikipedia I became how these terms relate in everyday terminology.

Viral marketing and the subservient chicken articles were interesting to me as I have a marketing background. I applaude companies and individuals that are able to create such campaigns that are often cost affective and gather large audience participation. The subservient chicken did just that and therefore became a success. Any figure head of a campaign that can bring the everyday web browser to spend 6 to 7 minutes on the Burger King site made a cultural impact within their industry.

In this case Wikipedia is a online community that could be used as a medium for viral marketing. This can be positive and negative in the way that Wikipedia highlights defined words. For example, the term that I worked with on Wikipedia was coffee shops. For of all the site automatically sent me to the listing for coffeehouses. I clearly do not call my coffee gathering grounds a coffeehouse but can appreciate the greatest accepted term. Secondly the highlighted term Starbuck was recognized for overstaturating the market and driving up corporate coffee prices and lowering the prices of the privately owned shops. Clearly in this defition they are using marketing efforts to make a negative feeling towards Starbucks.

I have particpated to great extent on Wikipedia but until now have not changed a defintion. I will be editing the negative Starbucks reference and also trying to clear up the statements in the defiinition regarding coffeehouses being a common place for smoking. Also at the end people begin to mention internet cafes. To me this has no meaning within coffeehouses and has been placed there primarily for people to do further investigation about internet cafes. An inidividual has placed internet cafes on this page as a way to freely market.

Wiki Wiki

I have already created a Wikipedia account not too long ago just for curiosity sake. I have never really done anything on the website however as the actual process confused me a bit. Instead of just contributing to an article I chose the route of creating an entirely new article. I thought that since I used to follow around a local band named Skywynd that I should write an article on them. Little did I know that apparantly Wikipedia has some guidelines for articles regarding bands. Skywynd, who has released two full length albums and has been touring for years now, must not have been important enough for Wikipedia. Immediately after I posted the article, it was posted for "speedy deletion". After writing more on the article and attempting to make the group sound important, I managed to relieve this speedy deletion status and it is now left with a "lacks notability" status. I also had to discuss with an editor as to what I was going to add to the article to make it more important. I was a little frustrated with this whole experience at first as it seemed their reasoning, after a little bit more research, was that Skwynd was not important or popular enough to be put on Wikipedia. I find this a bit odd as I had the impression that this was a collective encyclopedia which is open to everything. After reading the Edge article I've come to the conclusion that I should have written a Wiki on a complex scientific topic that nobody knows or cares about as apparantly they are the easiest to slip by dispute (Lanier 4). Maybe it was because I wrote the article as a former obsessed fan and came off as not having a neutral point of view as Andrew Lih's article stresses as a key importance to wiki articles (Lih 4).

In the end, I was suprised how quick editors are at reading articles, it actually helped renew my faith in the Wikipedia process now that I now have a more first hand experience.

I find the subservient chicken kind of creepy. It looks like most people do not feel the same way as me however as this campaign contributed to a 14% increase in sales in January of 2005 (Anderson). Can you say that the chicken rose in popularity at the same speed as Wikipedia?


Wikipedia is Weed-Free!

I was not aware of the Wikipedia history, research, and growth. Wikipedia: Participatory Journalism very informative. It was fun being a “contributor? to this commonly used site. My contribution can be found under the “No-Dig Gardening? article on Wikipedia. I was hoping that with warm weather and spring fast approaching, I would stir up some fast discussion. No such luck (but it has only been a couple of days). I’ll keep watch all week and comment on my post if I should get some responses. I added a book to the article that explains the no-dig concept that is also referred to as “lasagna gardening.? In addition, I added a few tips that have helped me out the last couple of years. When I checked the discussion, another writer was toying with the idea of inserting “lasagne gardening? as well in late February. Either it is a typo or spelled differently in Europe. The link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/no-dig-gardening#methods. It’s a great way to recycle newspaper and avoid garden chemicals!

Subservient Chicken was interesting and it’s moonwalk wasn’t half-bad! I believe it was passed around at work but I never bothered to take the time to check it out. Guess I’m not a “BWN member with the power to spread links faster than any television network ever could.? (Viral Marketing) I did take the time to check it out this time ‘round but did not bother to pass it on. I found the Viral Marketing article to be particularly useful and full of common sense. The statement “The only online elements considered viral are those that find success. That is because, as every good virus knows, it’s either spread or be dead.? This makes sense in a market media such as the Internet that is constantly changing. Also, as in any good writing, regardless of the media, knowing the audience is key to your campaign. If you don’t get it right the first time, it isn’t going to happen. Again, I thought this was a great article full of tips that are useful in all media, not just the Internet.

Foolish Collectivism!

The wonderful world of Wikipedia! If you look at the content as it actually is, there wouldn’t be any problems. Wikipedia is an inch deep and a mile long as far as irrefutable content. Taken with a grain of salt the information provided is relatively safe. I edited an entry for WISN TV in Milwaukee. I sell television commercial time for the station so I have a pretty good idea about the station. There haven’t been any changes with my edit so I must have kept my information pretty safe. I thought about editing some marginal thoughts to see how fast they would be revised and corrected but I decided against the exercise.

Are there people in the wings waiting for current events worthy of an entry? The article by Andrew Lih paints a picture of Wikipedia junkies waiting to make their mark on the internet whenever there is any newsworthy event in the world. The March 11th Madrid attacks produced a large number of edits (893) by 140 unique editors. Lih stated that Wikipedia was updated frequently by a set of dedicated Wikipedia users. What is a dedicated Wikipedia user? Do they feel that the general public is rushing to Wikipedia for current events or is it a power trip to be the first to edit a news story? Would we be lost if we didn’t have updated entries?

I think Jason Lanier hit it on the head in the Edge “The Third Culture? article. He states the problem isn’t the content of Wikipedia but how that content is being used. I enjoyed his label of the product as an “online fetish site for foolish collectivism?. Competing sites are vying to become the highest-level aggregator of general information. We are #1!

I am still waiting for my entry to be modified or deleted. I think I will add some additional fodder to make my mark and join the rest of the fools.

Kate's Comic!

Kates Bigger Text Comic


If I had known about Stripgenerator a week ago, I would have made it an option for the Week 10 assignment. Looks like a fun web-based app, and it would definitely be usable for a final project in this class. (More info on that coming soon, btw.)

March 25, 2007

No internet???

It has just been within the past 3 or 4 years that my communication has greatly shifted to becoming more technologically inclined. I now can not go ANYWHERE without my cell phone and I check my e-mail about 20 times a day. I do know that I take part blame of the dependancy however, I feel as though these past few years our world has become more and more dependent as well. I am sitting in a room right now with four other people. and we are all on our computers. There will be times where I will be sitting in the same room as someone and talk to them on AOL instead of opening my mouth to talk to them. This is extreem, I know, but it does happen. This goes along with text messages as well. My plan with my phone company now has more text messages than I do minutes because I feel I text more because I can get straight to the point.
Communication as a whole has spread more toward eletronics, with the new cell phones that are coming out with internet, a camera, an iPod and a phone all in one. People can track you even in the bathroom. My mom who has had a cell phone for over 5 years now, is still electronically incapable to do anything. She is now learning her ring so when I call her she can answer on the first call. She is a very normal mother who teaches 1st grade but because all of this technology is "past" her time, she is completely clueless. I can only imagine when I am her age what will make me clueless.

I do not know how to load my design onto the website, but here is a link: http://www.tabblo.com/studio/stories/view/232911/


Looks like ex-Wiki Larry Sanger is creating a new free encyclopedia called Citizedium, but this time 'experts in given fields will be asked to check articles for accuracy.'

We'll see if these so-called experts can keep up with the contributors, and if it will have the same success rate as it's competitor Wikipedia.


March 24, 2007

A Wiki-ed Experience

For the Wikipedia article Apple iPhone, I contributed a new Specification - “Integrated proximity sensor turns the display and touchscreen off when held near your face to conserve battery power and avoid spurious inputs[4].? My (Rask0005) Wikipedia iPhone contributions and edits were made from 3/23/07 20:43 - 3/24/07 09:51.

The Wikipedia contribution experience was a lot of fun! Making the contribution went pretty smoothly except that it took me a long time to find the correct way to re-use an existing citation that was for an item on the main page. I finally gave up and copied and re-used the original citation resulting in the same citation listed twice in the References section. I did not end up in any discussions regarding my contribution, but to my surprise, someone cleaned-up my duplicated citation the next day! I think my contribution maintained a somewhat neutral point-of-view so no one questioned it. However I question whether or not what I contributed was a specification or rather a product feature.

I definitely saw links that could be construed at marketing and I read discussions about why several links had been removed in the past because of it. However, this article and many other Apple product articles I read on Wikipedia all looked like ads to me - which is fine with me because I’m an Apple shareholder. However, do they really add to our base of knowledge or are they just ads? Yes, iPhone, iPod, and iMac should all be in an encyclopedia because of the direct or indirect impact these devices have had upon our lives. But from what I read about the products on Wikipedia, I think Wikipedia crosses the line and is as much a free marketing tool for business as it is an encyclopedia. The line between information and advertising is however clearly stated in Wikipedia:Policies and Guidelines and contribution guidelines. None of what I observed as advertising crossed the Subservient Chicken line drawn in the sand by Burger King (Anderson, 2005) or other contagious (viral) marketing campaigns (Brier, 2005).

I have used Wikipedia a little in the past to research information – primarily to confirm something I already knew but couldn’t quite remember. I admit I did not trust much of the information that I found and I really didn’t know much about how Wikipedia worked. This experience has given me a new perspective on Wikipedia and the information that has been contributed. My perspective on Wikipedia is no more positive nor negative. Wikipedia and distributed authorship was simply an area of the Internet I have never given much critical thought to before now.

March 22, 2007

Times they R a'changing...

So go to my tabblo already...

... See my Tabblo>

Do you Tabblo?

dsjflksdjfkld ... See my Tabblo>

For me I really use more text messaging lately than before. Since I've been hanging out with a new female friend, she loves to text message. I just think it's the worst form of communication. I mean I like it and I use it and it's growing on me but it's just completely stupid for the most part. Is it that hard to pick up the phone and talk to someone? They are both easy forms of communication I just prefer face to face communication. It just seems like more and more people are giving up on face to face communication and even more people are talking less on the phone and texting more.

I believe that communication has been more wide spread with the use of IM's and it's easier to talk to people from all over the world. However, I feel that friends and family are giving up seeing each other by sharing pictures and Im one another instead of making a stronger effort to see each other.

comic life + flicker = tragic life

I am ready to scream. I have been trying to get my comic to load to Flickr for the past 2 hours. At first the files exceeded Flickr's 5MB limit, so I separated all my frames into separate files. Now Flickr is saying "File was not a recognized type or was unable to be decoded." Did anybody else have this problem? Since it does not look very good, I've put my chopped-up, minorly successful comic into the Extended Entry section.

In "Into the Electronic Millenium", Birkerts tells us that "presentation structures the reception and, in time, the expectation about how information is organized." He goes on to talk about how "tag-line communication, called bite speak" has begun to emerge as a consequence of our changing relationship with media. (p.66) Lately I hear this kind of bite-speak more often, or maybe I'm just more attuned to it now. Sometimes I think Powerpoint has become our collective psychological communication template-- we've come to expect information to come in neat little pre-digested chunks. Even now, I'm just trying to get through all my points in as succinct a way as I can.

Landow writes, "The written record nonetheless marks a wonderful freezing of something otherwise evanescent." (Twenty Minutes into the Future p.220) There is a permanence to books that can be sort of frightening, but I think there's some value in being able to read history by a book's content, and by the book itself. I hate to think a day will come when we'll take it for granted that we need electricity/power to read a book, rather than just our eyes and some light. Books are for trading, for collecting; their outturned covers are both conversation starters and Do Not Disturb! signs, and they're cheap enough that anyone can own them.

I definitely use email as a way to avoid the telephone. I like the silence of it, and the ability to say everything without having to figure out whether it's my turn to talk. I like being able to respond thoroughly to something, and to be able to rethink my words before I send them out into the world. (I'm sure the speaking part of my brain is withering away.)

(It turns out you still have to click on them and view them in Flickr to read the type. I give up.)



Luddite or Future Shock?

Um, I tried, but I don't understand Tabblo. How are you supposed to add text to the &(&*(&*( text boxes?

Anyway, I was amused by both perspectives presented this week. Landow suggests today's college students do not value books. Would not the board books and well-designed and well-illustrated children's books have imprinted some value on this generation? I think so.

And things are not as dire as Birkerts would make it seem. There are always people who are willing to jettison the old (My brother got rid of his LPs in the early 90s. ALL of them.) and those that reach back into the past (Harlan Ellison still stubbornly types on a manual typewriter) I think the abundance of media has the potential to make us brighter, not dumber. Is network news better than 24 hour cable news? No. But that is all we would have if cable and the miracle mind of Ted Turner (or someone else who would have eventually thought of it) had not existed.

How internet technology has changed Kevin Bacon's life

Comic Strip

I have totally jumped on the text message bandwagon. Text messaging played a huge role in the intial interaction of my husband and my courtship. I don't have a lot of time in my day and sending a quick text to friends and family helps me stay connected.

I am completely opposed to eliminating books, even if people 20 years from now can't read "traditions of print literacy will gradually be replaced by a more telegraphically "plainspeak" (Birkert p.70)." I am also fearful of the possibility of Birkert's "language erosion" because we will lose out on the literary arts-gone will be the days of great writing.

Back to the Future

It is obvious that the way people communicate has changed. I remember back in grade school when we were sent to the library to check out books in order to do research for projects. However, as I got older, things began to change. Search engines like Google and Yahoo began to form and collect data. Students could now get all the information they needed just sitting there, listening to music and watching television. Kids became lazy and just used computers to get information.
In the case of the University, I don't know if libraries are going to be used for research anymore. The University has put everything they have online and if you want something you can rent it and pick it up. Soon I don't think books will even be in libraries. We'll use them for heat!
The American way is to be lazy and it is obvious that we are headed this way when we find it hard to walk ten or twenty minutes to the library. When a teacher asks for a scholarly source, we use Ebsco or Academic Search Premier to do the research for us. I think that people need to realize how important libraries really are and will regret it when they are gone.

... See my Tabblo>

In my Tabblo I tried to show how we as a culture are moving away from the use of libraries to the internet cafes. We are not willing to walk to a library and do reputable research. Instead we look at Ebscohost or Academic Search Premier and let the Internet do the research for us. It is almost un-American to use a library. If we use the library and not the internet we are looked at as old fashioned and not with the times. If this trend continues the only thing books will be good for is to burn (as in Fahrenheit 451).

It begs the question, "Should books even be printed?" Should we just start putting books online? It would help save trees and make it easier to access. But when publishers tried this there was a negative response. What do people want? Books are falling into the back, "Even on the crudest, most materialistic standard involving financial returns, we no longer find it at the center of our culture as the primary means of recording and disseminating information and entertainment" (Langow, 8) People want their news and information quick. Newspapers and news shows are dying out while the Internet and blogs have replaced how information is released to the public

However, this advancement in technology is not necessarily a bad thing. We are able to talk to people around the worlrd because the Internet's language is always the same. Although he is against this change, Berkerts puts it well when he states that, "the transition from the culture of the book to the culture of economic communication will radically alter the ways in which we use language on every societal level...traditions of print literacy will gradually be replaced by a more telegraphically "plainspeak" (70).

The world needs to realize while it is important to constantly improve technology, we should also realize the necessity of books and the usefulness they can bring.

Our lives our changed forever!

My life has been changed by technology dramatically. I use my cell phone to text people, I read much less from text books, I work on a computer all day to do marketing analytics, and I do not have as much free time to play! I think the way I communicate has changed as well. I am less inclined to call someone when I can just email them. Likewise, I am much more inclined to text someone if I do not feel like talking a whole lot.
I also think, in general, technology and the web has transformed individuals lifestyles to be less active. Because technology is inherently made to make life easier, it makes individuals less active and spend much more time sitting. This creates more problems.
Some other ways my communication has changed is the way I express myself online with friends and how I express myself in RL. I use a lot more shorthand and smiley faces to make sure people know the tone of my voice. It is really easy to mistakenly say something that sounds mean or happy when you really meant the opposite!
[For whatever reason, my comic will not upload to flickr. I have emailed it to Krista in hopes that she can figure out a way to post it.]


Acroventures Preview
Click on the image to see a bigger picture.
Or click here to download a PDF (The PDF is easier to read).

Read My Digital Lips

Technology has dramatically changed the way I write. Not only do I use word processors, e-mail text editors, or instant messaging text editors to create documents and messages versus writing on a typewriter, but I now choose from a multitude of fonts, font sizes, and font colors to emphasize the words in ways only a typesetter could do before. As Landow (p.219) discusses, in this digital textuality I interact with the words I type on a screen instead of writing words on paper. The words do not exist anywhere but in the memory of the machine and in my mind. I only perceive the words as pixels that make up the illusion of text on my display.

Internet technologies have dramatically changed the way I communicate as well. At work I text message or e-mail colleagues. That’s as much part of the “open landscape? (cubicles) that we work in as much as anything else because you have to keep noise levels to a minimum. Talking is out, text messaging and e-mail is in. I use icons, emoticons, short hand, and hyperlinks a lot more now too. It’s sometimes difficult to convey emotion in text. Emoticons are a quick way to indicate to someone that you are angry for example, versus merely being facetious. These modes of communications are also faster (Tribble, p. 68) because I never have to remove my eyes from my computer display to dial or answer a phone. I find I’m able to do several tasks at once. For example, I can communicate with several individuals at once with several instant massaging windows open and do my work all at the same time.

A bold new tomorrow

Week 9

Tabblo, high tech haiku?

In the past, when I wanted to send a letter to another part of the world, my letter had to be carefully written either by hand or typewriter. Then I had to attach the proper postage. Then I had to find a mailbox...
... See my Tabblo>

<3 acronyms

    First off, I'll admit to using more than my share of acronyms when it comes to the internet.  This is perhaps the most noticeable shift in behavior since communication over the internet became a normal mean of interaction.  When it comes to acronyms, "LoL" and "Rofl" are perhaps the most widely overused, and the infamous ascii art (which in itself is derived from technology) titled "roflcopter" and "lolerskates" stemmed from these overuses. ... See my Tabblo>

Tabblo: Yet Another Example

As I'm sure is the case for most people here, instant messaging has greatly impacted the way I communicate with family and friends online.  Nearly every time I'm online, I have AIM up in a window, and I talk to people.  Normally they're pretty informal discussions, with icons, abbreviations, and incomplete sentences being common, I still put some thought into the things that I post.  I also have Yahoo Messenger, and though I use it less often, it was still instrumental over winter break for allowing me to talk to my girlfriend for cheap over the phone while she was on vacation in Israel.

(Note: This is a totally random picture of AIM I found on Google images that has absolutely no relation to my screen name or the screen names of anyone I talk to.)
... See my Tabblo>

I have posted some of the ways I use the internet to communicate with text on my Tabblo, but I'm sure I could also include the Tabblo itself, as well as this blog. In many ways, these tools have vastly changed the way we take notes and keep records. I've noticed people mentioning passing paper notes in class in their blogs this week, and instant messaging in particular has become a modern version of that. I always think about those paper notes whenever I see someone tapping away at their cell phone keypad during class. But as Birkerts says in one of the articles for this week, the recent explosion of the use of the internet as a communications medium corresponds with language erosion (Birkerts, 70). It seems like wherever I go online, there are people who seem to have forgotten the basic rules of spelling and punctuation. In essence, the internet makes shorthand communication more necessary and easier in some cases with the use of icons and abbreviations. However, this isn't to say that language degredation always happens. After all, printed words are printed words, whether on paper or screen, and printed books are technology too (Landow, 218). In fact, in some ways computer technology can enhance text, as illustrated by Landow's example of the poem My Brother Was a Pilot, as recreated in Macromedia Director (222).

Communication Made Easy

The first step to writing a paper included a trip to the local library. Hopefully everyone else wasn't writing about same topic I picked! Like Landow, I "encountered hardcover textbooks and anthologies, paperbound books, and inexpensive hardbound editions, such as thouse issued by Modern Library, Everyman, and Oxford Classics." (page 215) ... See my Tabblo>

Internet technologies and conventions have certainly changed the way I communicated. This is definitely more noticeably in my work career. When I first started in the workforce, computers were not part of the job. A few years later, the NBI (first acronym) was installed on every floor for word processing purposes. Memos and all communication, of course, were paper and very formal. I have noticed that the language today and then is very different. As Birkerts writes “language will grow increasingly impoverished through a series of vicious cycles.? Like work attire, communication is more casual and relaxed. I’ve even noticed this about myself.
The PC was introduced at work during the mid-80’s. Few acronyms were used and most people were familiar with them (DOS, LAN). Today it is a different story. I don’t think it matters if you are on the business or technology side, acronyms, icons, and hyperlinks are everywhere. I started to think of all the acronyms used on a daily basis at work. I was truly amazed with acronyms for technology, projects, departments, and methodologies (SQL, CAS, OE, EDI,CTC, EBS, ESM,GPO,ITIL,ADM,LS,). Sometimes during meetings, I need to write these down. Apparently my brain does decipher acronyms as fast as others. In the Birkerts article, he cites that modern media turns off certain people born before WW2. They don’t understand how we can read and watch TV at the same time (and maybe talk on the phone too). “Baby boomers have a multilayered, multitrack ability to deal with the world.? I can do this with ease but those acronyms throw me for a loop! As far my personal life, I don’t use acronyms. For that matter, I don’t use hyperlinks or icons either. I don’t text or IM either. This most likely, has something to do with my lack of acronyms. I do like to email (in most cases) rather than pick up the phone.

March 21, 2007


One of Birkerts’ comments that hit home was his noting of the farmer plowing a field a “historical constant for millennia? will end up some day in a theme park.  Whether or not this is true is not my issue.  As a farmer, I agree that this was a historical constant for agrarian societies of the past (and a few do still remain), but is only seen in places like Minnesota’s state seal and Amish communities (who I would assume are never able to weigh in on topics published digitally).  But the advancement we have seen in the concept of plowing a field has been amazing over the past 100 years.  From a team of horses tearing up a field to John Deere created the first steel plow, and now tractors taking the brunt of the work, we have not only advanced technology, we have saved lives. 

... See my Tabblo>

Oh dear, Oh deer

Walter Ong has been studying media and communication for all of his life. In the beginning with the oral cultures, there was a different sense of time. There were no records and there weren’t any documents to go back to check. In the oral culture, the community was the basic unit of existence. Media Making – Mass Media in a Popular Culture Grossberg, Wartella, Whitney and Wise p35 Second Edition
The evolution of the written culture changed society where rules could be challenged and enforced. The literate were the leaders. The wealthy had the access to the printed material.

Continuing into the electronic culture was the birth of the telegraph. This allowed people to “transport? their thoughts and messages. This was immediate communication and the beginning of electronic media.

Similar to being tied to an oral discussion (time and place specific) or a written word or text, society began using the internet for transactional business and communication. But we were still tied to a modem and a computer. The written words we were able to access were just images from a server. Landrow’s article (p217) raises an interesting point about the benefit of the touch in a document. His example was of a finely detailed map compared to the same image on a computer screen. The pros for the map were the detail that may be lost on a computer but the pros for the computer were the ability to go interactive. Pick a spot on the map and dig deeper into the history. Find your way in a subway or train station with the touch of a finger. But I find the argument about the detail on a printed map appearing cleaner than a computer map as a little outdated. With the higher resolution monitors now we are able to duplicate the details to any specification.

It wasn’t practical to manufacture a portable computer given the size necessary for the memory and monitor. The introduction of the laptop alleviated the portability issue but we were still tied to a phone line and the necessary ISP’s. We had freedom to transport but we still had to be tied to an “umbilical? cord.

Once again technology has raced ahead with a myriad of wireless devices. We can pay for soda from a machine with a debit chip in our phone and we will soon be inserting a memory stick into the handle of the grocery cart for our shopping lists. It won’t be long before we look back and laugh at how we had to search for “hot spots? to get a quality signal.

Oh dear, Oh deer, what will they think of next!

Evolution of Writing

Writing has definitely changed over the past years.  When I was a kid in school, the main way to communicate while class was in session was to write a note.  By write a note, I mean taking a loose piece of paper, writing on it, folding it into the smallest triangle possible, and either passing it or throwing it to its intended receiver.    When I was in middle school, I wrote a fair amount of notes during class, and any one who has ever written a note knows that the hardest part is getting it to that person without the teacher noticing.  With this process, the chance for interception was always a major risk.

... See my Tabblo>

From pen to text

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Click to see Nicole's Tabblo


This week is focused on how technology has changed the way I write. I did however stick a couple images about music and movies on the internet and Youtube. I believe we have spoken on this before and I thought it was an important aspect of my internet life so I put them there.

In regards to how technology has changed the way I write and communicate. New technologies for these subjects come about all of the time, and it seems like to me they always create a new way for me to communicate with others. That or they tend to make things a whole lot faster or more convenient. I think for me the biggest thing is not the fact that these technologies improve my forms of communication, but that they increase it. A snail-mail letter can say essentially the same thing an email can (disregarding any HTML or the like), but it sure takes longer. Because of this increased efficiency and speed I have increased the quantity of "mails" that I have sent to others by numbers in the thousands per year. To say this is not relevant is to ignore a crucial change during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This is also the case with other forms such as cell phones, which has increased the percent of time that I am on the phone with someone by huge numbers.

I am not entirely sure if I did this part correctly but I will post my Tabblo anyways.

The picture below is an example of a word document which can
solve this problem. This is so monumental that many professors only
accept typed homework in their classes. ... See my Tabblo>

How To Hack MySpace

Faux or not... interesting tid bit related to our MySpace and privacy discussions.

How To Hack MySpace

Faking the books

Here comes my tabblo.

I completely agree with the Birkerts aticle. I don't think it is a technophobic behaviour to claim that the era of the printed text is slowly dying and to be sad about that. I share most of Birkerts idea but I am myself a big user of computer and electronic things in general.

It was quite ironic to read this article on a computer screen! I haven't been a great reader during my whole life but I have to admit that since I have started reading more and more books, I find that there is nothing to compare between reading a printing book and reading on a screen. First, I don't know about you but purely physically, I have to make many breaks or my eyes gets worse and worse and almost painful. Then, I think that I am much more concentrated into my reading when I'm turning the pages, touching the paper, all that experience about going through a book that Birkerts explains in the article.
I don't think that Landow argument to counter that is very accurate. He talks about this person who "displayed Ben Johnson's own copie of Euclid...". You don't have to hold a priceless book to feel special. I am generally very attached even to a cheap book that I have bought or that I have been offered.

And to finish on a complete esthetic argument : look how a library is more beaufiful than a hard disk!
... See my Tabblo>

A First Foray into Tabblo's

With the onset of the digital age, our American society is more and more dependent on the infrastructure of our vast computer networks, for instance in satilittes and equipment like this dish here. As a result, the physical objects that the digital codes represent are being pushed aside, for instance with music and, our subject here, books. ... See my Tabblo>

March 19, 2007

regarding privacy and crime


I’m curious: are any of you using twitter yet? I’ve been watching it blow up over the past few months, and it seems like in the past few weeks it’s seriously caught on. The site blurb describes the app as

A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or on the web...
I’m not using it myself, since I’m too private for an app like this to appeal to me. The only time I can see myself using it is when I’m traveling and don’t have the time to regularly blog.

Still, the ways other folks are using it are fascinating: for instance, I was intrigued by the way Maggie Mason used it (and flickr) to keep the masses updated during her labor. The idea of twitter fiction has a lot of possibilities, and no doubt people will find business applications for it. Darth Vader and John Edwards already have.

March 9, 2007

More hackers please!!!!

The internet is such a wonderful tool, but also has two sides. The good and the bad. I have not personally encountered a really life changing breech of sercurity with regards to my internet use, but the with the amount of information available and with so many people trying to get ahold of your personal information it can be somewhat disconcerting while web browsing.
I am not a really avid web browser. I use the internet for school, work and to take car of some bills (which is awesomely convenient) but once again there is the transmitting of personal information mostly financial. I definitely take precautions with regards to my sercurity when accessing the web, but the deal is that if someone really wants some information, they are going to get it. I can more relate it to cars. If someone wants to steal your car, they can and will, no matter what precautions you take. I have quite a few computer program friends whom I hire to set up my sercurity protocals on my personal computer, and pretty much give me some peace of mind.
When I have my computers setup, eveything is tweaked like firewalls, cookie settings ect. I have setup my emails to filter spam, junk mail and the list goes on, but stuff will still get through. After reading chapter 5 in cyberliteracy its funny because I remember recieving forwards from my own family members about virus email scams and other hoaxes and then me calling my family to quit forwarding garbage like that because its garbage itself! I still get email in my U of M mail and hotmail and others about scams, hoaxes and others which pretty much get deleted immediatly.
It was quite interesting to see the article on phishing sites though, I actually had never heard that word before I read the article. I was aware of the practice just not the name. After reading it I wouldn't mind taking some of the same tests that the people in the article were subjected to just to see how I would match up and see if I could avoid the "spoof" sites. It does not make me extremely eager to surf the net all the time knowing that people literally devote their days to scamming on the less knowledgeable.
With regards to the Nigeria scams with the 419's is somewhat rediculous to me. If I was talking to anyone from Nigeria asking me for bank accounts and money wires you can be sure the only sound they would get is click of my phone being hung up. Unfortunately there are quite a few ignorant or just plain stupid people who actually follow these rabbit trails. I will be the first to admit though that I have been one of those people. I tdid not involve the net, but literally getting scammed right on the street. I lost around $700 and was sobered up quite quickly as to how I conduct myself and exactly where my money goes. As for those in Nigeria and the "Robin- Hood" ethic, not a chance. I know that the country is struggling with money and its government is in turmoil, but they are still scamming people for money which I believe to be quite wrong. Some people might argue well if you are dumb enough than you deserve it. Not true, some just don't have the cyber savvy knowledge to deal with these scams and innocent people are loosing lots of money because of it.
I don't think I would classify Steven Colbert as a criminal, but he does have a certain responsibility as a public figure (even if he's a comedian) to monitor his words slightly. I would definitely blame the Wikipedia overloaded servers attributed much to the words of Colbert. I find it funny that so many people would act on his words, his show is about making a spoof and embellishing the world around us with somewhat cynical tirades that are just ment to poke fun at our society

March 8, 2007

Hackers using Adobe

I recently came across this article and though it was fitting for this weeks topic. Be careful what you download!

Acrobat issues security warning
Computer Weekly; 1/16/2007, p24-24, 1/4p
By Cliff Saran

Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader have been affected by a major security issue, which can result in hackers gaining control of a user's PC or stealing confidential information.

Acrobat pdf files, which are widely available across the internet, have become the easiest way for companies to distribute electronic versions of their printed catalogues, technical documentation and company reports.

Acrobat is often installed when new PCs are first configured, and sites which use Acrobat files usually give users the opportunity to download the Reader software.

Users have been warned that a cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerability affecting multiple versions of Adobe Acrobat could enable an attacker to execute Javascript when a PDF document is opened.

The attack simply involves appending the URL for the PDF document with malicious Javascript code.

According to Websense Security Labs, an attacker could utilise this vulnerability for a wide variety of malicious actions, such as creating deceptive phishing attacks or propagating across social networking sites. An attacker could also attempt to access the local file system on the PC of an end-user who inadverantly clicks on the URL.

Users running Internet Explorer on Windows XP SP2 are unaffected. But Websense warned that Firefox users would need to upgrade to Acrobat 8.0 or higher.

Read Adobe's security bulletin

Obstructing Justice

So far I have not experienced any type of internet crime personally. However, I do know an individual who participated in online scams. He set up fake accounts on Ebay and sold products to users and did not send them. He made a lot of money doing this and stopped before Ebay had fully protected itself against that type of fraud.

To be honest I have taken very little precautions to this point to prevent myself from crime. I have the standard virus scanner and don't save passwords. I guess the anonymity I feel at home while browsing gives me a sense of invincibility which I obviously do not have.

I have sympathy for struggling people in countries that need economic growth. I also don't necessarily think wealthier people getting scammed as a whole would be that bad of an idea. The only issue I have is that I don't feel the people that really need to money are getting it. Those who are smart enough to scam wealthier countries also are probably wealthy in their own.

Tweaking with an online public forum like Wikipedia does have ethical issues. In that sense I think it should be treated just as journalists are treated for printing unethically. This helps to protect a society that depends extremely on the media's ability to tell true and accurate stories quickly. That being said, I don't think Stephen Colbert is a criminal but I do think he should have some sort of reprimand for his behavior.

March 7, 2007

Gone Phishing…

I personally have not encountered any problems with internet crime. I have never fallen victim to any phishing scams, although I’ve read some pretty convincing ones. As far as I know nobody had stolen my personal information or identity. I would like to think of myself as someone who is smart enough not to fall victim to internet crime.

Like I’ve said several times already, I am very careful with the personal information I put on the web. The only experience I’ve had with internet crime is when my former roommate had hundreds of dollars stolen out of her checking account by someone who found her account information online. In order to avoid phishing, identity theft, etc. I contact companies directly when I get an e-mail instead of replying to the e-mail.

I think it is totally unethical for anyone to scam someone else out of money, even if the person being scammed is from a wealthier country. This is in no way some sort of modern Robin Hood ethic. I’m not an expert in the matter, but I would assume a lot of the people who fall victim to these scams are not wealthy themselves, even though they come from a wealthier country. I would think there would have to be some kind of desperation for money to believe in these far fetched scams.

Wikipedia tweaking or vandalism, although wrong, should not be considered a crime. It is everyone’s write to free speech. If a website, such as Wikipedia, has rules against changing information on their site, then there should be consequences if these rules are violated. Colbert is not a criminal, just a master at taking advantage of the technology available to him.

It depends on your definition of crime, I suppose.

I have never experienced Internet crime. My housemate had her identity stolen, and the thief tried to take out a loan from an Internet-based lending group, Prosper.com, which fortunately called to make sure my housemate knew about it. In “Why Phishing Works?, Dhamija, Tygar, and Hearst found that “Good phishing websites fooled 90% of participants…On average, our participant group made mistakes on our test set 40% of the time.? (p. 1) I don’t imagine that I am any more web-clever that the average participant in this study, and I believe I would be fooled just as often. There are a few steps I take to protect myself from Internet/identity crime: the minor amount of online shopping I do is limited to a few well-known retailers, I don’t respond to unsolicited e-mail, even if they appear to come from a reputable source. I’m pretty careful about ripping up my mail before putting it in the recycling, since I've heard that identity thieves get more info from the trash than from the Web.

I wouldn’t say that a 419 scam is Robin Hood-like, but I don’t think its any worse than lots of other money making schemes: Amway, junky exercise machines sold on late night TV, the credit card business, or the lottery. Thousands of dollars could either be spent on, say, a new car for an American or unwittingly donated to a crafty person in Lagos, where ABC news says "the average income is a dollar a week." If this is accurate, the 4500 dollars ABC news pretended to send could have (if not spent on a swanky mansion) sustained 86 people for a year. Consider the choice between making enough money to support yourself for 86 years by spending a few weeks in front of a computer, or (if you're lucky) working some crap job for the rest of your life. Stealing isn't fair, but is it fair that some people are born into rich countries and some into poor countries?

I don't think that Wikipedia tweaking should be considered a crime. Wikipedia is very clear that it represents a collectively authored, constantly evolving source of information, and does not claim to be perfectly accurate or unbiased-- and what information source can truthfully claim to be? The fact that so many editors are watching out for tweaked entries may not prevent them, but questionable content seems to be caught fairly quickly. Gurak points out that websites often lack any sort of mechanisms for accuracy: "In print publishing...information is screened by editors, reviewers, and fact checkers...while this feature does not automatically lead to truth...it does provide steps along the way where information can be checked." (Cyberliteracy p. 92) For Gutknecht, Wikipedia seems to be in a sort of limbo- not credible enough to rely on for research, but credible enough to threaten his reputation. “A spokesman for Gutknecht did not dispute that his office tried to change his Wikipedia entry. But he called into question the reliability of the service, which was created in 2001 and claims to be the largest reference website on the Internet.? (From the Diaz Strib article) Too many cooks in the kitchen can ruin the soup, but they also can watch the pot and see that it doesn't burn.

la la.

again and again....

Every week as I read each of these posts and reflect on my previous experiences with the internet, it does not fail me each week to have encountered the particular situation that our class as a whole is discussing. Just this past year, I was ordering something on EBay and I lost the auction. However, the owner of the item told me that the winner didn’t want the item any more so I sent in my money, and what do you know I did not receive the item. The person then discontinued their account and was no where to be found. Almost a year later, a few phone calls with the cops, eBay and the police department down in Florida (where she was located) I finally was reimbursed 50% of the price (which was over $200). It was a very unpleasant incident that has caused me to be more hesitant when buying things on line but has not completely eliminated on-line shopping for me.
When reading each of these articles, especially the tips in “Why Phishing Works?, I was really surprised that many of the participants did not look a little bit more carefully on what they were reading. Whenever I am reading something and I have to cite information in an article or paper, I am always looking at the URL. Another big red flag that gets me is if there are many pop-ups; the more the pop-ups the less likely I am to cite the site.
After watching the video on Nigeria, I think that it is wrong to scam people no matter what economic status the country is in. I found that it was quite disturbing that there are people in the United States that fall for these scams. I would never send close to $4000 to a place half way across the world to a person that I have never met before that found me through an email. The people in Nigeria have no obligation to anyone, unlike paypal or eBay. No matter what state the country is in, bribing and “stealing? from someone is illegal.
I am very indifferent about Wikipedia. I think that it is a great site and I use it on a weekly basis. I know that many people can change the information within each page; however I feel as though enough people go on each page and will update the information if it is not current. However, when reading on this site, you have to be a little more precautious about the information and sometimes second guess yourself with another credible website or previous information.
People just need to be more careful as they read things on the internet and realize that ANYONE can post things on web pages.

Baby in the Bag: Please forward to save her!!!

This title came from a spoof of one of the sick child hoaxes I received a few years ago. **

I found it odd that Gurak's piece focused somewhat on hoaxes about non-existent viruses, when phishing for information is just as prevalent with spoofing and viruses as are hoaxes, which are pretty harmless compared to potentially losing your hard drive and compromising the information of others. We did have a spoof of a greeting card with an attachment in our office, which compromised our system for a time.

We had a pretty good IT director, who gave us friendly advice about looking for secure websites and the padlock (though I did not know about 'chrome' or where to look for them!) and to be on guard for spoofing and spamming. One piece of advice that I have found very helpful is to shop with just one e-mail address, like a free yahoo account, or to use that account when stores ask to put you on their mailing list. So yes, I now have three e-mail accounts, but each has a purpose; business, friends, and shopping. I wonder how I would do in the same study used in "Why Phishing Works" (Dhmaija, Tygar, Hearst). One of the reasons pop up warnings are often ineffective is the constant urge to push forward with what you are doing in the Internet. Users are so used to scanning and paying only cursory attention, and phishers know just how to design for that. I was kind of shocked to learn that they were able to link to actual sites and certificates. Scary.

My mother has a friend who must forward her EVERY piece of spam or rumor she has ever received, and my mother, for a time forwarded to me. One was about poisoned lipstick, and I checked it out on Snopes.com, finding it to be a pretty pervasive urban legend. I gave the information to my mom, and the chain mail trickled in from then on, rather than coming in waves. I am always amazed that two really intelligent women, who were fully capable of writing long letters to each other for many years, could confuse this knee-jerk forwarding for real communication. I prefer real words actually written by the people I care about. But that 'forward' button must be hard to resist.

I also found Gurak's statement "much of the hype is designed to create alarm" no more true than in the aftermath of 9/11. My friend's in box was flooded with wild rumors from an ex-coworker. The terrorists were going to bomb the Mall of America next. The next attack would be on Halloween, according to a hairdresser who knew the ex-girlfriend of a terrorist. I honestly don't think these e-mails were created to spread alarm--after all there was plenty to go around then--but as a way to kind of re-solve the problem. If we could prevent something from happening, then maybe we weren't so unaware after all.

I also want to say, to play devil's advocate, that what is interesting about gossip is that sometimes it IS true. Matt Drudge may spread a lot of ugliness, but he did for better or worse for our country, break a true story (Monica Lewinsky). The tabloids, not the New York Times, broke the Gary Hart/Donna Rice liaison in the late 1980s. Like Powerball numbers, sometimes the rumblings of the rumormill are correct. It is that intermittent reward, like Skinner's birds, that keeps us coming back.

The other, Wikipedia side of the coin is that Internet users expose a lot of incorrect assumptions and untruths as well. I believe it was an Internet connection that took the rug out from under Dan Rather's story about President Bush's military service. The particular document Rather and his staff used in the story was not a substantial piece of evidence after all, and if I remember correctly,was in fact a rather clever forgery. Somehow in the fallout over that scrap of paper, the story of Bush's military service was lost. Funny how that happens.

While I don't think it is unethical not to want to be poor, I do think scamming people to gain wealth is not moral relativism--it is just crime. The lure the 419 scammers use is gaining $50,000 to $100,000 so obviously victims would not be tempted if they were rich already. Robin Hood, it ain't. I think that the bigger question is, given what else may be happening in the country driving people to such desperation, how important it is to prosecute these crimes?

I don't think encouraging Wikipedia tweaking as Colbert did is vandalism, since the encouragement was part of a personae or performance. Also, the users doing the editing are the true twits in the picture whether they took Colbert at his word or out of mischief. I sympathize with the Wikipedia editors, though I think their application needs some work. I wish I did not see so many passages with the note 'needs substantiation.' Maybe if there is no good source the statement should not be included. Even if changes are in the works, they may have a hard time shedding their reputation. Witness this recent Onion spoof.

Individuals who change Wikipedia entries on their own information need to be called to account, however. The Internet is not a place to bloat or augment or in Coleman's case 'soften' facts, contested though they may be.

Colbert isn't a criminal--he is just being funny!

I do not have any personal experiences with serious Internet crime. But, freshman

year of college I got an email from a supposed bank telling me that there was

unusual activity on my card. It then linked me to a site where I was to enter all my

persona information for "security" reasons. I started doing it, and just as I was

doign so my mom called and I told her what I was doing. She said, "STOP!" I

was such a fool. I think that was when I started exploring and be very careful with

everything I did on the internet. So, four years ago I was much like the

participants in Dhamija's study: "Many users cannot distinguish a legitimate

website from a spoofed website. In our study, the
best phishing site was able to fool more than 90% of participants" (Dhamija 9).

Now, I am very careful when I go to websites to purchase items online. I make

sure they do not save my credit card information, and I always make sure the

security tag in the bottom right hand corner appears. Additionally, I liek to delete

my cookies so websites do not remember me. I rarely, if ever, type my social

security number out online. Instead, I call and make sure it is completely

necessary that they have it.

I am not sure if it is unethcial for people in 3rd world countries to try and scam us.

If I were actually them, I would probably think it was a great idea! If Americans are

dumb enough to fall for it, it is almost like they are asking for it! But, in reality and

at the heart of the matter, it is unethical. Maybe what I am saying is it is

understandable why they do it. But after watching the video, it makes me mad

that they are doing it and outwardly know it is wrong. I am proud of the

government in Nigeria for following through and arresting the criminals.

I do think tweaking wikipedia entries is a crime. If wikipedia can be kept reliable,

I think it is a great way for Americans to give the best, most unbiased view of a

subject matter. Even though Colbert seems to think "if enough other users agree

with them [writers], it becomes true" (McCarthy 1). I disagree, because if one is

foolish enough to only use one source for their resource, then it becomes the

users fault. I do not think Steven Colbert is a criminal, I just think he is funny. That

is his job--to make fun of things and cause a little controversy.

I *Think* My Identity is Still Mine

I have had almost no exposure to the sorts of internet crime described in the various links, though it is of course true there are other kinds of internet crime. Specifically, I don't believe that I have been the victim of identity theft, and I am fairly sure that I've never fallen for a phishing attempt. I am sure that I have been bitten by a virus or two, which certainly qualify as "internet crime", and I have done some reverse engineering myself that might be construed as "crime" under the DMCA, though wouldn't be considered at all illegal in the EU. The closest that I have come to the kind of crime described in the linked material was when a friend of mine had his AIM account "stolen" by someone who proceeded to regale me with homophobic attacks.

I must admit that I haven't taken many real precautions to protect myself from phishing or identity theft. I take care to never click links sent to me via email, and instead opt to sign into any sites "manually". I am also fairly careful about actually joining a site that requires much personal information, and so I don't participate in online banking or the like.

Before reading the article about phishing I more or less assumed that anyone that was "computer savvy" could never be fooled by such attacks. After reading the article, I am less sure. Certainly the simple step of manually logging into a site at the "real" address could foil the vast majority of the phishing attacks described in the article. However, it seems clear that both education and better tools will be necessary to reduce these kinds of crimes. I think that an increase in the application of laws related to such crime is the wrong approach, as music copyright enforcement has demonstrated.

I do not "buy into" the idea that it is somehow more ethical to steal from people with more money than you, regardless of the difference money or net worth. That line of reasoning is foolish, because . However, the volume of "419" internet crime indicates that there is a major problem in the global economy, and perhaps the US should take steps to modify its foreign policy in order to address the rampant poverty in countries like Nigeria.

Finally, I think it is clear that Wikipedia "tweaking" can clearly not be treated as a crime. To say that it is a crime is to change the definition of Wikipedia.

Phun for Everyone

I have found myself the victim of one phishing scam in my days as an internet user. Last summer in Paris, shortly after making my first ATM withdrawal in Europe, I checked my email at the hostel I was staying at. (I should mention that at this point I had been up for over 25 hours and the last sleep I had gotten was on an airplane.) Much to my frustration I had an email from Wells Fargo stating that my account was locked for security reasons. Now I had spoken with my banker before leaving and told them I was going over seas. She put a note on my account but warned me that initial use would probably trigger a red flag. Remembering this I let out some verbal complaints about Wells Fargo but wanting to avoid problems I followed the instructions in the email. So much for avoiding problems. I felt uneasy about the whole thing but was too tired to worry about it. Twenty minutes later I awoke from my nap with sudden clarity that I had just done something very very stupid. The whole thing came back to me, flashing before my eyes like some terrible realization in an action flick (yeah that's a little dramatic but like I said, I was short on sleep and 5,000 miles from home, there was a short moment of panic). I luckily caught this in time, I canceled the card that had been compromised and got a new username and password for the online banking site before anything bad happened. The whole ordeal was nonetheless annoying and embarrassing. I had to go the next two an a half weeks on another continent without an ATM card and I had had to admit that I fell victim to one of the very scams I have been warning friends and family about for quite some time.

I don't think there is any question as to whether or not phishing is a crime. It is a very clear, malicious act to deceive a person into divulging sensitive information for the purpose of stealing their identity. This is a stark contrast to the idea of Wikipedia tweaking or vandalism. I have referred to the internet as a jury trial in the past and I think this applies here just as well. Wikipedia is meant to be a place where content is moderated by the users. If you decide to violate the rules then it is up to your peers to judge the fate of the information you provide (or remove). Seeing as how the entire idea of Wikipedia is that it is a user-created, user-moderated system, I don't see "tweaking" it as a violation of any actual laws.

Phishing Season

It is always Phishing season!

It is amazing to see all of the spam and phishing expeditions I see each day into my University email account. Much like the random phone dialers, computers that are plugging away at email address variations are spamming us, hoping to hit paydirt. I haven’t been scammed but I have seen some pretty sophisticated sites that made me do a double take on whether they were real or bogus. I have several accounts at US Bank. I received an email from them requesting verification of some account numbers. Included in the body of the request was a link that looked correct. It was exactly the same as a US Bank link so it didn’t raise any alarms. But I was fortunate enough to look at the address bar when I moved the cursor over the link because there was the slightest difference from what was on the link in the email and what showed up in the title bar. Obviously a case of images masking underlying text per the reading this week “Why Phishing Works?. I was so excited and amazed I couldn’t wait to call US Bank and turn in the scam artists. Their reaction was rather ho-hum. I guess they see these things all of the time.

We have a broadband connection at home and we use Mozilla for our browser. We have switched our ISP a number of times in the last 6 months due to the Roadrunner-Time Warner-Comcast buyouts. Comcast has raised the rates to $57 per month if you don’t have cable. We have now switched to EarthLink and we are in the process of updating all of our contacts with our new address. When we were with Roadrunner we established an email account for our 12 year-old. Even though we preached the rules and regulations about the internet, kids always know more than their parents. It wasn’t long before our son was receiving 100+ spam emails per day. Fortunately he has learned his lesson and we have curtailed most of the wayward surfing and emailing from his account.

The scammers in Nigeria aren’t behaving like Robin Hood. They may feel like they are taking from the rich but they are giving to the rich. They are preying on the many clueless individuals who are looking for something that is too good to be true. They should all be punished to the full extent of the law.

As long as we all have an understanding of what Wiki is, there shouldn’t be a problem using it for information. Unfortunately too many people view any written word as the truth. If they want to believe it they will.

Guilty...Not Guilty---what's your take?!

I personally haven’t encountered any crime on the Internet. However, someone got a hold of my mom’s credit card number and spent over $2,300.00 worth of online merchandise in a matter of 4-5 hours. This is why people need to be very cautious when making online purchases and check their statements frequently!!

Phishing, it seems is becoming more and more common, because Phishers are being more and more sneaky and successful with trapping individual’s into their little scheme. I know that my Aunt googled a flower shop when my grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago. She googled a local flower shop, called the number up that the website listed, not thinking twice about whether the number was legit or not. The individual she spoke with was very nice and helpful, when my Aunt described which type of bouquet she would like sent to the mortuary for my grandmother. Well when we got to the mortuary and saw what my Aunt had ordered, it was nothing like what she told the individual. She spend $75.00 on what she thought was going to be a nice big beautiful bouquet, only to have it turn out to be a piece of ivy, with a few carnations. After the wake, she went straight home and checked her statement, only to find out that her card was not charged from the place she ordered from. Further looking into the situation, she found out she was part of a common scam. To read more about the scam, you can visit: http://www.floristdetective.com/wst_page5.aspx
It is quite bazaar, and never would think twice about a situation like this happening, but according to the article it happens frequently. Needless to say you can’t be too careful when obtaining and ordering anything from the Internet.

The clip on the Nigerian people scamming other countries was quite interesting. I definitely think that this is unethical. Obviously in Nigeria it is illegal to retain money under false pretences, and they have a name for individuals in that country who make their living doing so. They are commonly called 419 men, and when these men are caught in the act, they face serious consequences. People in these other countries who are being scammed, definitely need to take more precautionary measures before sending hundreds or thousands of dollars to a foreign country, for purposes of obtaining cash you never knew about before.

As far as Wikpedia is concerned, I think you need to take any information obtained online—unless from a scholarly journal, book, or magazine, you have to take with a grain of salt that the reliability of that source may not be 100%. I didn’t know, prior to reading this article, that users are able to change definitions, if a number of people agree with its new refined definition. Could someone reflect on this for me, I guess I’m a little confused with the whole concept of Wikpedia…

The Troublemaker's Playground

The internet can be tricky at times. There are scams out there and you have to watch out for them. My wife and I just recently encountered what we think was a scam. Just recently, we had plans to go to Mexico for a few days. The flight and hotel stay were already taken care of, so we decided to see what activities that the area had to offer. We found an interesting activity called "Dolphins in the Wild." It was a boat excursion that takes people to find pods of wild dolphins so the people can swim with them. It sounded fun so we decided to make a reservation.

Our big mistake was that we accidentally made the reservation on the wrong web site. We had originally found the activity on a tourism web site that was tied to the city that we were visiting, and seemed legitimate. We didn't make the reservation right away, so I had to look up the site again. I accidentally went to a different web site and made the reservation.

Later that month we had made it to Mexico and were having lots of fun. On the day that we were supposed to go on the dolphin excursion, I called the businesses phone number to make sure everything was in order, it was not. The business owner said that he had no reservation under my name, and to top it off, he didn't offer the dolphin excursion at that time of the year. He said the water was too cold. He seemed legitimate so I said I would call my credit card company.

My wife called the credit card company when we got back home. They said to call a phone number that was included with the charge to our account and said to call back if the people on the other line weren't helpful. She called the number and the person on the phone claimed that they were the company called PayPal. They asked her for her account number which she didn't know, and then they asked her for her credit card number. She asked why they couldn't just look up her name. They said in a testy voice, "That would take a long time to find your name, it would be much quicker if we used your credit card number." She declined and called our credit card company back. They said they would dispute the charge.

If I'm correct, I think that we were victims of a phishing scam. Phishing is described as "...the practice of directing users to fraudulent web sites" (Dhamija). Some of the scam artists out there seem to be talented web designers. I was a little embarrassed about this occurrence, but felt better after I learned from Dhamija's "Why Phishing Works" study that the best phishing sites were able to fool 90% of the participants of the study. That's alarming!

Usually I am very careful, but they got me! Every once in a while I find fraudulent emails in my in-box. I've seen messages that claim to be from PayPal, Ebay (of which I have no account!) and others that claim to be from banks. I put them on my "blocked" list and that's the last of it. If I'm shopping online, I'll use shopping web sites like Bizrate.com. I'll only buy from merchants that have a good customer satisfaction score. I haven't had any problems using this method....so far!

I have to say that chain letters annoy the ever loving BLEEP out of me. Three of my friend's wives (they are my friends as well) send these thing around to everyone when they receive them. I have seen many that incorporate the "hook, threat and request" method (Gurak). I recall reading a few about a child that is dying of cancer. I honestly wonder what kind of sick fool likes to make these stories up. It's sad. There are also the chain emails that I call the "Sappy Message" emails (Blender). These usually consist of an inspirational message or prayer with a line at the end that says "Send this to 10 friends and you will have good luck."

There have also been emails that claim you will have bad luck if you don't send it to X amount of people. Those emails employ a kind of intimidation to make people send them to their friends. I get a little bothered when one of the ladies sends me these chain emails. I'm a bit shocked at how superstitious they are. I've actually sent some of them a fake (I hope) chain email that says, "You will explode if you don't send this email to 500 people within the next 3 minutes!" That felt good hee hee ha ha.

One last thing. In Gurak's book (Cyberliteracy), it is mentioned on page 97 that everyday software developers can sometimes become hackers because they get a high from creating a program and sending it out into the world. They "develop code that runs across networks with the potential to wreak havoc on numerous systems" (Gurak 97)
This sort of reminds me of the description of a pyromaniac. They seem to feel a sort of satisfaction when they create a fire. It’s something that's alive and grows and grows if it's not stopped.

I'm assuming that the programmers that become hackers are not as mentally unstable as a pyromaniac, but I think that the parallel is interesting. The University of Iowa's health information web site www.uihealthcare.com claims that one of the signs of pyromania is when a person "experience(s) pleasure or relief when setting or watching fires."

Ahhh, legality and the internet...a debacle indeed.

What are your personal experiences with Internet crime?

I have never been taken advantage of on the internet. However, I have been solicited many times by e-mail to get involved in scams. I remember my freshman year at UMD, there was a group of people (phishers) e-mailing students pretending to be foreign financiers. In exchange for personal information they promised to share with the student money that they stole from foreign African governments. I really hope no one was stupid enough to fall into that internet scam.

What precautions have you taken to shield yourself from phishing, identity theft, etc.?

There are a few things I do to avoid phishers. I never give away personal information on the internet. Also, I never go to unrepeatable websites.

Is it truly unethical that people in a developing country like Nigeria are scamming people from wealthier countries, or does it reflect a Robin Hood sort of ethic?

Absolutely not. This is because robbers in Nigeria are not starting a revolution to change their people’s or class’ situation. Therefore, there is nothing romantic or sacrificial about what they are doing. They are as greedy as they people from whom they steal. This is shown in the ABC News report. The scammers were not stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. They were stealing from the rich and making themselves rich.

Does something like Wikipedia tweaking or vandalism really count as a crime? If so, does that make Stephen Colbert a criminal?

It depends really. For example, I would say that Wikipedia tweaking is shenanigans, not illegal acts. For Congressman Gutknecht and his attempt to tweak his own entry, I think its is not out of the realm of reason that he would want to do so. While he and other politicians might want a little more grandstanding on their Wikipedia page, they would have a legitimate gripe if they were slandered. When it comes to vandalism on the other hand I believe it must causes fiscal, physical, or mental anguish to be punishable by law. For example, if one were to loose their job over an untrue entry, that should be illegal. Also, if an entry incited an instance of clear and present danger to society I would have to say such an act is illegal.

Stephen Colbert is however not a criminal. This is because his political opinion as to the legitimacy of Wikipedia’s factualness is protect by the Constitution of the United States. Colbert did not slander Wikipedia, he merely pointed out that the online encyclopedia has a flaw.

Crime v 2.0

I have never been the victim of any crime on Internet, and I think I may be one of the luckiest person. I have pretty much done everything that is not advised like buying with my credit card on improbable foreign website which I barely understood. I can't say that I have many shieds either, and my computer may be full of viruses / spy programs / whatever but the thing is : I don't really mind. I'm pretty sure that my bank would cover me if I find out that someone has spent thousands of Euros on Internet.

I think that a lot of Internet victims, in addition of being unlucky, have been a bit naive at one point. As all of you (I imagine), I often receive e-mails saying me that I won a big amount of money, that I can make millions if I just give 10 dollars right now... I am sure that more people that we imagine click on these kind of links and get fooled. As I said, I don't do anything to protect myself but I don't take crazy risks either (when I was buying things, it was just records, for a small amount of money).

Concerning the scams from Nigeria, I think they're completely unethical and do not constitute a kind of modern Robin Hood. I almost think that it would be condescendent to give them this kind of credit. Unfortenately, I did not understand everything in the video so I cannot really express myself. The thing that really surprised me (and made me angry too), is that the journalist give his contact to the police in the end. This is unethical to me. We have these kind of journalist in France, showing how the scams work, but the face of the criminal would be flouted and his identity kept as a secret, and not given to the police. It is one of the main rule about journalism in France. I am curious to know what you think of that.

I would not consider Colbert as a criminal. He just plays with the absurdity of the Wikipedia system. I think that Wikipedia is an interesting idea, but I agree with Colbert when he says "if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true". The history has shown that at many times, one person was right against the whole world, and Wikipedia ignores this parameter. What Colbert does is just showing, in a provocative way, that the veracity of a piece of information on Wikipedia is arguable, and that does not make him a criminal, on the contrary.

Please enter your name, DOB, SS#, Bank account #'s...

My personal experiences with Internet crime have been pretty much non-existent. I am a very carefull person and the only time that I have had a problem was when I downloaded a virus. I opened up an e-mail I didn't know who it was from and my computer kept shutting down and restarting. I got the problem fixed however I had to delete everything off of my computer and rebooted and had to load everything back on there from scratch. Luckily nothing was effected. However, when I called a professional to get it fixed, they said that if I didn't delete everything off of my computer, the information on it would have been comprimised. Another situation that I had involved a bit of security from paypal and my online betting account that I had at the time. I was making sports bets online at my friends computer and they said that I couldn't make any more bets until I sent them my drivers license, and a copy of my bank statement showing a deposit was done into my paypal account to fund my sports betting account. I was skeptical about this and I called there office and they said it's standard because bets where being made at different locations and they where concerned that they weren't ligitimate. I guess if I was loosing money they would be ok with it.

I take I guess the standard precautions so I protect myself from ID theft and phishing attacks. I have updated phishing protections that checks every site for authenticity. It has worked well and I haven't had any complaints. I also really don't give out any information online and I don't shop for anything or use my credit card or anything online. Call me old fashion, but if I really want to buy something, I go to the store. It's just amazing to think how many people are victims of Internet crimes. "About 2 million users gave information to spoofed websites (Tygar, 1)." This is amazing to me that this affects that many people. I think that even the people who are really diligent in watching what sites they go to and what information they give out can easily become victimes. "...even in the best case scenario, when users expect spoofs to be present and are motivated to discover them, many users cannot distinguish a legitimate website from a spoofed website. (Tygar, 9).

I think it is truly unethical for people in developing countries to scam people from wealthier countries. I watched the Nigerian scams on Dateline or some show like that many times and it's crazy. I think they need to be shutdown and the public needs to be more aware of this. Many people have lost there life savings because of these scams and that's unfortunate. I don't think it reflects on any type of Robin Hood ethic at all. It's unethical and the people who scam should be sent to jail for 10 years minimum.

I personally don't think that tweaking an entry on Wikipedia should constitute as a crime. If you don't feel like the information is factual, go some where else to check the information. I just think that people like to make a big fuss over little things, we should pay more attention to ID theft and internet crimes than changing words around on Wikipedia, it just sound ludacris to me.

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In all of the time i have spent online, I have had very little experiance with internet theft. There is only one instance that I can think of offhand, and it was the widely known paypal phishing scheme. Even with this, though, I have very little experiance, as all I did was delete the email. I feel that internet phishing is well-known enough that most people know better than to enter their credit card information and other personal information into websites that might be questionable. In my opinion, lack of online experiance is the reason people fall victim to phishing schemes, but it is laziness that makes people fall for other things. For example, a college student wants posters for his/her living space, and finds deals too good to be true on posters hard to find on a very unprofessional website. Instead of shopping around (either on more websites or in person), he/she risks it by entering their personal information anyways. In my experiance (yes I've taken the lazy way out and risked it), it always turns out okay, but it doesn't turn out okay for everyone. Lately I find it easier to just not enter any information unless it is a site that I have used before.
As far as wikipedia goes, I think that the editors stay on top of altered posts, and it isn't too much cause for concern. I do find some of the things people attempt to do horribly amusing. "Now Gutknecht, in effect, tried to expunge a reminder of a 12-year term-limit he imposed on himself in 1995" (Diaz). With all of the attention that wikipedia has been recieving lately, I don't see how any political figure could attempt to cite a wikipedia post about themself as "truth". I imagine if someone tried to say "Look, I never said I'd leave office after so long, it says so on wikipedia," they would be viewed as ridiculous. I don't think that post editing should be considered a crime, but I do think people from developing countries scamming people from wealthier countries is unethical. A crime is a crime, and if it is okay for someone from an underpriveleged background, then I can make the argument that it should be okay for me to take part in internet crime so long as I'm scamming someone wealthier than me.

The Law of the Internet

I'd say I really didn't have much personal experience with the type of online crime discussed in the readings until I enrolled as a student and got my U of M account. Since then, I've had a number of scam emails of both the phishing and 419 variety. So far though, the worst any of those emails has done is slightly confuse me when I first recieved them. I quickly learned to recognize them, and now they're usually deleted right away or reported as spam when I do get them. All of them are easy to recognize and avoid since I never associated my school email with any websites requiring an account (besides Facebook), I don't even have a Paypal account, and the 419 scams are usually poorly written descriptions of rich dead relatives I know I don't have in Nigeria. If I really did inherit all that money every time my "Uncle Richard Carl" died (apparently they don't even know the difference between first and last names either), I'd probably be able to drop out of school and retire right now. It does surprise me that I get any of these emails since it seems like a big public institution like the University of Minnesota would be able to track and block more of these, but I know the tech department has posted warnings about them in the past, which does help me.

Although the living conditions in Nigeria as shown in the ABC News video definitely makes the people living there look underprivledged compared to our own in America (even the mansion depicted looks like something out of the slums), I still think what the 419 scammers are doing is unethical and illegal. The way those scams are run is maliciously misleading and against both Nigerian and American law. I wouldn't classify it as a "Robin Hood" ethic either since the money scammer collect goes directly to their own benefit. If they were truly selfless, they would be sharing that money with the rest of the Nigerian community. Yes, it's terrible that they're forced to live in those conditions, but there must be more ethical ways to get a leg up.

Wikipedia vandalism on the other hand, while an obvious nuisance, is relatively harmless compared to the scamming and identity theft going on everyday on the internet. The site specifically exists for users to edit, so it needs to have its own guidelines for what is acceptable and inacceptable use of its services. Article vandalism is a breach of the rules for sure and should be grounds for limitations on the article and banning of the users involved. It's poor taste, but not poor ethics. Only if the site is not able to function, such as a vandalism of the site itself by hackers, would this kind of offense be serious enough to be considered a crime.

Wait! Not everything on the internet is true????

On a personal level, I haven’t had any experience with internet crime what-so-ever. No crime has ever been committed against me that I know of. However, even though the article, “Why Phishing Works,? by Dhamija, Tygar, and Hearst’s studies showed that the amount of experience on the internet, education, sex, and total time spent on the internet did not affect their results at all, I had a hard time believing that. I spend a decent amount of time on the internet, and because so, I have always been weary of my personal information. I only give it out to websites that I knew I could trust. But then I realized while reading that the little things that people were not looking for, I was guilty of as well. I never knew the difference, until now, between http and https. I have known about the secure lock image within the frame of my browser, but then I thought about it, and I’ve never really utilized it in times when I should have. After reading that article, I was actually rather surprised that I had not already been a victim of online phishing. The only standard I’ve used in the past as whether or not it seemed to be a credible site by its layout, quality, and sometimes when it had last been updated. I’ll try and work on that from now on!

As far as the scams out of Nigeria go, I think they are completely unethical and in no way could be considered as the Robin Hood sort of ethic. Yes, it’s true that Nigeria is a country that is stricken with poverty; however, that does not make what they are doing ok. In fact, it can be looked on the same as if Nigeria were to become one of the biggest and best countries at smuggling drugs into the United States. Just like these current scams, they would be gaining money from wealthier countries. At least in that scenario, the person giving money would actually be receiving a product in return. (I know, I know, not a good product). But I do feel that some of the blame is on some of the people who are stupid enough to become involved in such scams. Everyone on the internet should be aware of spam, and the kind of troubles it can get you in. They should know that their email is NOT secure. However, I have seen reports on people targeting older online users, and telling them that it was their grandchild, and they were in trouble and needed money. It is things such as these that need to be deemed as very illegal, and should be prosecuted against. It’s just a problem of getting the other countries to cooperate and agree.

I do not think that what Stephen Colbert did should be seeing as illegal. I was merely trying to make a point that the system Wikipedia operates under is not necessary 100% factual. In this specific situation, I think that Wikipedia is the one to blame for making this information changeable in the first place.

$25 Million in Nigeria? I'd be stupid not to do it.....

Luckily, I haven't had much experience with internet crime myself. Although, I have seen my share of 419 emails, (only on my U of M address, oddly enough), and other scams like that. I saw a lot of parellels in the ABC News piece on the 419 scammers between those scams and regular mail scams that work kind of the same way. I work at Your Exchange Check Cashing, and sometimes we get $2500 checks from people that came with a letter saying they won a lottery (that they never entered) and that the check their getting is a prepayment, so that they can send money back to the "lottery commission" and thus obtain the rest of their money. This scam could be a little more serious, however, as it could possibly make those who believe it an and try to cash the check accomplice to fraud. Although with the invention of the internet, more tools are at the scammers disposal, the scams aren't anything that new. As long as a series of numbers has controlled all our finances and identity, there have been people looking to steal those numbers. And as we can see from the Dhamija peice, there are plenty of people who don't pay much attention to these sites online.
In light of this, I try to be cautious whenever dealing with financial information online. I only shop online at sites I know or that are obviously bigger, more established stores. I try not to put much of my personal information online, and whenver I see emails looking for a bank account number, I disregard them.
Even though those in Nigeria are much poorer than we here in America, stealing is stealing. Therefore, I see what they do as being clearly unethical. In the case of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to poor, I see the same way. Taking excess from those who don't need it and giving it to those who do is something I see as justifiable, but its still stealing. And a key difference between Robin Hood and the 419 scammers is that the scammers aren't taking money from the CEO of Exxon or Bill Gates or someone with more wealth than they could ever hope to spend, but from some college kid or single mom or what have you, who's just trying to get by all the same.
In the same vein, altering information on Wikipedia couldn't be considered a crime as it isn't against the law. I would consider it unethical to change ones information to put yourself in a better light, like Gutknecht and the politicians in the Star Tribune article. However, the job of the politician is to make him or herself look good, so I can't say I'm terribly surprised. But I'm glad to know that there's a site that won't back down from pointing out hypocrisy in their statements. In the same respect I wouldn't consider Stephen Colbert a criminal, although possibly liable for any monetary damages to their servers.

March 6, 2007

Here Phishy Phishy Phishy.. ..

What makes a bogus website credible?

This is a great question and the truth is I don't know. And the further truth is that even reading further in cyberliteracy and the Why Phishing Works article I still am challenged in the understanding of what the difference is between a credible and non-credible site entails.

When reviewing this information I not only became concerned regarding my own internet identity protection but for everyone. The following quote makes it clear that everyone is a target and everyone can be a candidate for theft:
"In our study, neither education,
age, sex, previous experience, nor hours of computer
use showed a statistically significant correlation with
vulnerability to phishing." (Dhamija, Tygar, Hearst, p.2)

In conclusion. . . .I think the best guidelines to perform for protection is to not submit personal information online. One should be careful even using their real names. Potentially an alias is the best when participating in online communities. I personally seek to protect my identity information by not shopping online nor providing information such as address, phone numbers, or social security numbers.

Dhamija, Tygar, Hearst state that phishers strategize toward a lack of knowledge, visual deception, and lack of attention. My preventive actions toward these strategies is to use a browser that I am familiar with. For example, Internet Explorer is the browser I grew up on so very familiar with the visuals and feel most comforted here. But friends have also introduced me to Mozilla Firefox stating that it is a more secure online browser.

Because I do not provide personal information regarding my identity I do not believe I have experienced this sort of online crime.

Is it truly unethical that people in a developing country like Nigeria are scamming people from wealthier countries, or does it reflect a Robin Hood sort of ethic?
No, of course it is not ok. Stealing from people whether rich or poor is a crime.

Does something like Wikipedia tweaking or vandalism really count as a crime? If so, does that make Stephen Colbert a criminal?
I believe that it does not institute a crime unless there are laws regarding these specifics. In this case Wikipedia has a online policy that members should abide by. I believe they are doing their best to prevent this online vandalism.

Phishing in Mankato?

I have not had any personal experiences with Internet crime. Well, unless you consider the viruses that constantly attack your computer and the never-ending battle keeping your computer protected. I guess I consider that a crime. On the up side, my identity is still intact. Since my Internet activity is minimal and I rarely purchase online, I have curtailed these issues. I verified the website when I have made purchases online (probably less than four times). The websites were secured and dependable. In “Why Phishing Works?, I found I instinctively follow the precautions: security identifiers, content/domain name, and padlock icon (and not in the content!). Certificates are in my subconscious but nothing I purposely look for. In the future, I will be doing that. I was not aware of HTTPS. In fact, I would have guessed that to be a phishing strategy. This is a great article. I will be recommending these tips to a few friends and some “older surfers.? One can never be too careful in cyberspace.

Nigeria and ethics? I just received one of these emails last week through my UMN email address. I was actually shocked at the woman from Alabama on YouTube who gave out information in response to this type of email. First of all, the spelling and grammar is atrocious. The facts of the email do not make sense either. In the email I received, the victim a “poor British lad? but yet the money was to be sent to a bank in Nigeria. Go figure! In my mind, scams are scams. It doesn’t matter who is doing it. This is not a Robin Hood situation. If money is needed, there are legitimate and ethical ways to ask for help. These men are computer savvy. As one of the men in the video states, the “419 Men? do not want to work. They have opportunity and computer skills to do positive work for themselves and their communities. If criminals put as much energy and cleverness in good deeds as they do in their crimes, what a success they could be.

Wikipedia is for quick reference but not a site I ever count on (or use) for research and documentation. A number of instructors in the past have specifically mentioned that Wikipedia information does not count as a legitimate source. As far as tweaking the information, it surely appears to draw attention to the “tweaker?. I am confused on the “policy against autobiographical edits.? It makes me wonder even more about the validity of the sources and articles (especially if that person is still alive). Although Gutknecht cites politicians (and who knows their agendas!), I would believe there are others who have edited personal information on them. I assumed that just about anyone had the ability to contribute and modify data.

Chapter 5 of Cyberliteracy was fun to read. I never thought of the implications of the zillions of jokes, hoaxes, and chain letters on the net. That is cyberspace clutter! After reading this chapter, I believe I have received just about every example Gurak cites. The chain letter which must be forwarded for good luck, sick children with cancer (page 82), the “evil AOP? letter (pages 85-86) and even the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe (page 108). I’m surprised she did not mention the gas boycott email that surfaces every time gas prices rise. The Neiman Marcus recipe chain letter must be decades old. I remember receiving that one on paper! As far as traveling to sunny Mankato, I haven’t seen that hoax. As Gurak writes on page 92, “The power of reach and the sophisticated visual tools make us believe in what we see.?


Since we’ve all read Gurak this week you’ve probably already dismissed my blog post as a hoax based upon the hook in the title alone (p. 88). But I hope you’ll read on anyway.

I have only had one personal experience with Internet crime. A few years ago I was in the midst of selling a used computer on eBay. A couple of days before the auction closed an individual had begun asking me questions about the used computer. The individual, a guy based upon his name, then began phishing for my personal contact information saying that he wanted to make me an offer outside of the eBay auction. This is clearly not permitted and I refused. He then became more aggressive and said that I could call him and he wouldn’t know who I was. Of course that isn’t true because of Caller ID and I declined. As the auction was coming to a close he began making threats that I was logged on as another user jacking up the price and that he was going to report me to eBay and that he was going to file criminal charges against me. Luckily he did not have the winning bid and the sale went through smoothly from that point forward. I reported the individual to eBay. However, it turned a pleasant experience into an awful one.

Since that phishing trip, I have taken more precautions to shield myself from Internet crime and identity theft. As we have discussed in previous weeks, I do not have many Internet sites that I visit that are not well-established commercial entities and I have to think critically about giving private information. Even then, I only give the minimum amount of private information needed to create an account.

I not only think that it is unethical that people in developing countries like Nigeria are scamming people from wealthier countries, I think it is criminal. It again stresses the necessity of cyberliteracy so people can better protect themselves from crime on the Internet.

I do not think tweaking Wikipedia or information vandalism counts as a crime. It is important for individuals to acquire a basic level of cyberliteracy in order to learn how to critically evaluate information from Internet sites like Wikipedia (p. 94-96).

That's Phishy

I do not think I have ever been phished, and believe that the correlation between computer usage and phishing identification is asking the wrong question. I think that the more you see the junk emails and use the internet, the easier it is to identify a scam. It seems in my group of friends, that those of us who have used the net more end up spending less time on things that are not obviously from friends, family or something we are expecting, and will just trash it instead of worry one way or another.

My best defense to phishing is my pop-up blocker and lack of care for throwing anything away. I have a lot of mail that is sorted as junk mail, thanks to Google Mail's identification of a wide array of bad email (I don't remember the last time I had to throw junk mail away). When I used to receive junk mail through my hotmail account, I would not even open it if I could not identify the name in the FROM column.

I think it is always unethical to steal. Yes the situation in Nigeria is bad, but it is unethical because stealing is wrong, not because having rich and poor people is right. For this reason we see the arrested man feel bad, and not robbed himself, after he was arrested and gave an explanation. In my opinion, Robin Hood isn't exactly the best way to readjust the wealth of any community, but it is probably a lot quicker than taking up donations.

I don't think tweaking on Wikipedia can be considered a crime, because it is more a Wikipedia rule that you can't enter in personal information than any law. People write biographies all the time, leaving parts out. Companies that own almost everything (like General Electric owning NBC, and Viacom owning both MTV and VH1) are able to write only half of many stories. For example if there is every a big scandal and GE, NBC would not be the source I would turn to, although they would most likely tell a very truthful story about it some parts might just be left out.

Stephen Colbert is therefore not a criminal, and neither is Steagle Cobeagle the Eagle.

Let's Take a Bit Out of Crime

While the Internet is one of the most important innovations in the world's lifetime there are some drawbacks as evidenced in the different readings. People think that it is justified to take people's money because they are ignorant. However, it is wrong and I think people should be taught how to spot these attempted crimes.

While I have never had any money taken, been phished, or anything like that I do remember an incidence when I was in high school. I went to a page and entered my internet information such as my name and password. When I did this the person on the other end took my AOL profile and began using it. I was shocked when my dad called me at school the next day to ask if I had been on the Internet. I said no I was in class all day and asked why. He said that someone had been using my profile to look at pornography and as a minor it showed up on my parents account.

I felt violated. While I didn't lose any money, I did lose a sense of security and have been more careful what sites I go to. Some of the precautions I have taken include typing in the address I want to go to, using Firefox, and making sure the site tells me I have entered a secure server. However, I was surprised to find out by reading the Dhamija article that there are some very clever criminals out there and I should be more careful. I realize now that I should pay more attention. I was also surprised how clever phishers have gotten, using the bank of the west site as a fishing scam by making the address www.bankofthevvest.com is incredible (Dhamija, 7). I can see how 18 of the 20 participants were fooled into believing it was a real site. I also realize that it doesn't matter how knowledgable you are with the internet, one can still be tricked as evidenced by the participation in the study.

I have received the emails about the king of nigeria dying and I can get his money. I like to read them and laugh at how bad the language actually and am dumbfounded at how people can give their information out so easily. I send these emails to the University of Minnesota spam division so they can crack down on these emails and prevent these crimes from happening to students. The people that try these scams are hurting the people that work for a living earning a dollar a week. They are hurting the respect of the country and are showing potential tourists that they will be victims of crime if they deal with the people of Nigeria. I feel bad for the people of Nigeria and those that give their money to the thieves.

In regards to the Colbert and wikipedia, I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it is a crime. While I like Colbert and think he is funny suggesting things like, "recommended that his viewers begin by changing the article for "elephant" to say that the population of African elephants has tripled in the past six months" (http://news.com.com/2061-10802_3-6100754.html). Is advovating people falsify information. He is like the ringleader. While not even close to comparison, do people realize that Charles Manson never killed anyone? He convinced his followers to commit the murders. Now. Manson is in jail. While Colbert never did anything remotely as evil, he did advocate attacking a web site and it could be viewed as a crime.

Finally, politicians need to accept what they say is going to go online and think before they speak. Regardless if Gutknecht stated that he made a "12-year term-limit he imposed on himself in 1995" (http://www.bluestemprairie.com/a_bluestem_prairie/2006/08/gil_gutknecht_w.html).That informaion is going to get out one way or another and fooling around with Wikipedia will just get a person more negative publicity than he or she wants. If voters like what he is doing in Washington, they will ask him to stay. Politicians should take notice of what the Internet has done to some candidates and be careful when saying anything.

The issue of Internet crime is both interesting and troubling. People need to be more knowledgable about how to protect yourself. Reading the Dhajami article really opened my eyes, from now on, I am going to make sure I am on a safe site before giving my information.

Internet scamming is a crime

After watching the video clip on e-mail scamming, I realized that I have also received the same kind of emails. I have received two emails in the last couple of years that have talked about someone dying and leaving their inheritance to whoever wanted it. I personally did not believe that email to be legitimate. The fact that I had no clue as who was sending me those emails and how it is that they got my email were the two factors that let me know that it was probably a scam. I don't think that the people in Nigeria who do Internet scams have the Robin Hood sort of ethic. I think that their line of work is unethical and is unjust. Just like the video clip stated, the people who do the Internet scamming are mostly young and computer saavy young men. I think that it gives other people the wrong direction about what having a job is all about. Instead of going to school and trying to get a good job, some people think that they can just spend their time scamming people and earning quick cash. I don't see anything that is ethical or right about that situation. I know that the people in that country are really poor, but that isn't an excuse to rob innnocent people.

I don't have any personal experiences with Internet crime; however, I do know people who have been victims of identity theft and Internet scams. One person that sticks out in my mind in particular is one of my mom's friends who had $6,000 taken out of her bank accounts. She received an email from her "bank" that asked her if she wanted to view her balance or something of that sort and she typed in her information thinking that it was the real bank's website. In a matter of moments, she had all of her accounts emptied out. She found out about it when her bank notified her that $6,000 was taken out of her accounts at one time. She reported it and was able to get her money back, but it was definitely a stressful experience. She said that the email was formatted the same way as the real bank website and that she had no idea that it was a set up. When she talked to her bank about this incident, they told her that banks do not send out emails asking their customers to view their accounts. The people have to go on the bank's website themselves to do that.

Tweaking and vandalizing Wikipedia is a crime in my opinion; however, I don't think that it's as severe as Internet scamming activities. Everyone knows that anybody can go to Wikipedia and type anything in it, it's up to the people to figure out whether or not the information that they're receiving is legitimate. I don't think that it's good to tweak people's information and I'm not sure if it would be fair to call Stephen Colbert a criminal because that would entail imprisonment. I think that Wikipedia as more of a blog page, although some of the information that is one there is really informatve and factual, but when it comes to people's biographies, I think that people should double-checked the information from other less-temperable sources.

Try this. You'll receive 50 million dollars!!

I have never personally had any experiences with internet crime but I have seen e-mails that I knew were not legit. For instance, I used to receive e-mails almost like the ones sent out from the 419 Scams. Immediately, I knew it was a scam and usually these kind of scams work by asking for a little money so you can receive a large sum. I work at the bank and there are a lot of e-mail scams on customers. There was a time it was so bad, I’d see many customers come in with that same issue. One case I remember was when a customer gave his entire visa card # and expiration date to another person over the internet as the other person verified the first four numbers of his visa. (little did he know, everyone has the same first four numbers on their visas). I worked with this customer for a quite a bit, after they had already lost hundreds of dollars. These experiences I’ve seen with others really keep me cautious to any online scams.

Precautions that I have taken to shield myself from phishing and identity theft include being very cautious and aware of everything I do online. There are scammers out there, roaming throughout the internet. As mentioned, the reason people are scammed everyday includes “lack of knowledge, visual deception, and lack of attention.? (Phishing, Pg. 2) This can be very dangerous if you are careless. Although I had not known the different security terms, it’s important to also take those into considerations when purchasing items, giving personal information and such. I’ve also changed from Internet Explorer to Firefox and I’ve found less problems with it and it is said to “offer advanced security features.? (Phishing, pg. 4) Firefox offers the domain name and lock icon in the status bar.

I found the 419 scam in Nigeria to be very interesting, yet disturbing. It is very unethical for anyone to scam another in any way. It’s really important to read carefully and ask yourself “is this even possible?? “Am I really receiving 50 million dollars for free?? On another note, Stephen Colbart’s ‘tweaking’ incident does not really come off as a crime.

March 5, 2007

Let's "Make It Mankato"!!

I am thankful enough to say that I do not have very many experiences with crime on the internet, or at least occasions when I fell victim to it. There are plenty of times when someone attempts to pull a random new email scam or something of the like on me but I have always been cautious enough to avoid getting hit. The two times I have experienced "crime" per say on the internet were on ebay and amazon. There was one time I purchased a videogame from a seller and it was just a copied cd of the original game with a highly elaborate (but still obviously fake) label glued on it. The other time was when I purchased a book from a seller who immediately after receiving my money decided to leave half.com. Luckily I was refunded by the site itself.

The precautions I have taken to avoid such events are pretty similiar to the ones Gurak points out on page 109: I think before I post (anytime you type any sort of data onto your computer it's important to take everything into consideration before posting). I don't start chain letters. When I notice something wrong, I inform those that are close to me of my newfound information. Also; I clear my cookies and temporary files, I use a firewall, I use anti-virus software, and I don't download things from unknown sites.

I don't believe in the Robin hood ethic at all in regards to Nigerian scamming. I don't think there should be any justification for scamming people out of their money. I do however believe that more videos like the ABC news video need to come around in order to help suppress these events from happening. While I can't help feeling sorry for the people who get scammed in this manner, I have to say that they brought it upon themselves by giving this sort of information to the unknown. I also enjoyed the very last lyric from the group singing about the 419 suspects who quite simply put it as, "you are the loser, we are the winner". Its that simple, your never going to gain from giving out information to untrustworthy sites, someone else is going to.

Wikipedia is a touchy subject in regards to information Tweaking. It's hard to say whether it is a crime to tweak the information or not for your own benefit because the basis of Wikipedia calls for anyone to be able to edit the pages. I would rather describe tweaking as misleading or sometimes propagandizing (if thats a word?) for one's own use. From the star tribune article it often looks like the most likely to do this are politicians and sadly two of them happen to be from Minnesota. Politicians can't seem to find enough ways to lie and cheat apparantly.

As a sidenote I really want to know if someone actually got scammed into coming to Mankato to vacation on the beach during the winter as the scam outlines on Gurak pages 92-93.

Interesting Article

This article is similar to what we've discussed in this week's blog about 'tweaking' and 'yellow journalism'.


US Representative Michelle Bachman (MN) claimed to have inside information on partition of Iran and Iraq.
She said this in a statement to the St. Cloud Times. My friend forwarded it on the Drudge Report (www.drudgereport.com) and within seconds Bachman's people were frantically trying to remove it from the site. The Drudge Report incited Rush Limbaugh to talk about it on his radio show- and the snowball effect kept rolling for Bachman from there.

Welcome to the world of blogs and internet collaborators-no one, especially politicians, are safe.

Mankato Hot Springs

A couple of years ago my credit card company called to inform me that they put a temporary hold on my card because of a huge Internet purchase of over $3,000 on my account. I confirmed that I didn’t approve the purchase and they started an investigation.
Turns out someone had gotten a hold of my card number (to this day, I don’t know how) and went on an online spending spree. I was relieved of the charges, but it left me feeling violated and extremely vulnerable. Unfortunately, for convenience sake, a lot of my bills are set up on online auto-pay. While I am not entirely comfortable with this, I do take my chances, as we all do on a day-to-day basis. I just make sure that the website contains the Verisign Secured and Hacker Safe symbols. Whether or not we’re on or off-line, scammers will always find a way to find us regardless of how Internet savvy we are, or our age, “ neither education, age, sex, previous experience, nor hours of computer use, showed a significant correlation with vulnerability to phishing,? (Why Phishing Works, Dhamija, pg. 2).

The video of 429 Scams in Nigeria was both sad and alarming. I have viewed these types of scams via my ‘spam’ box. But I am astonished that people (Americans) actually send in money! I am not judging anyone who has, I am surprised of the power that scammers have over hopeful victims. In terms of a Robin Hood sort of ethic- didn’t Robin Hood steal from the rich to give to the poor? In the video, ABC displayed one of the scammers estates fitted with a pool and tennis court. It appears that the scammer is giving to himself- and no one else. At the root of all of this is an epidemic that is worldwide called greed.

Unless it’s from a valid source, I take online ‘encyclopedias’ with a grain of salt.
Wikipedia is a collaboration of information from random people. Most of which do not have the credentials to be dishing out scholarly facts. It is stated on their website that it is a “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit? including their editors, (Wikepedia.com). Therefore because they set that precedent – I believe that tweaking is not a crime. And no, Steve Colbert is a comedian, not a criminal.

My favorite excerpt from Gurak’s book was the hoax website about Mankato, Minnesota. The site invites people to come explore the area and visit the Farr/Sclare Fissure. “Trouble is there is no such thing as the ‘Farr/Sclare Fissure?, (Gurak, pg. 92). This makes me wonder how many false websites I have visited to seek out things to do on my vacation. So far the Grand Canyon and the Black Hills are real places to see and go :)

increasing Internet surveillance

CNet Reports:

The Bush administration has accelerated its Internet surveillance push by proposing that Web sites must keep records of who uploads photographs or videos in case police determine the content is illegal and choose to investigate.
There's also a timeline of proposals for increased data retention that have been made over the past two years. As you might imagine, this has a lot to do with our recent discussions about privacy.

March 4, 2007

One Laptop for Every Non-User

Hi everyone. My apologies for the very tardy blog, especially since the parity issue is one that is of great interest to me.

I agree with what others in class have said about some populations having knowledge of the the Internet and what it can do--or some idea of what it can do, and having the right to shrug it off if they want. I think each new form of technology has had its corners of resistance. I have a cousin who does not have a television. However, you guessed it, his two teenage children, and he, are on the Internet quite a bit. It amused me that the tone of the Pew report, "The Ever-shifting Internet Population", was kind of between wonderment and irritation that anyone who was able would dare NOT use the Internet. It kind of reminds me of a scene in

The Coalminer's Daughter,
when Loretta Lynn's husband, Mooney, receives a message for her from a neighbor--yelled across a field--because the Lynn's are too poor, proud, or terrified to get a phone. (Relatives had to call the neighbor to send important, usually bad, news.) Finally the neighbor asks Mooney why they don't just get their own phone. Mooney says something innocuous, that I can't remember right now--like he prefers talking to people face to face.

There may be a point when not having Internet access will be just as much of an irritant as a neighbor without a phone, who has no problem giving out your number to relatives and friends. Have we reached that point yet? In my job we have gone from sending a series of mailings to admitted students to sending the information only by e-mail. It has been the rare admitted student who requests hard copies of information. Similarly, many areas of the University are directing people to websites rather than phone numbers or offices for information. Who are we not serving then?

I was surprised and disheartened by the information about disabled users and non-users in the Pew Population article. I had assumed that people with disabilities, though usually underemployed, had access to hardward and software for free or at a discount, because of the disability. Ceratinly, due to the limited populations such technologies serve, the costs are what they are, but don't state and federal programs assist with such costs? It seems like it would be good money spent--a user with limited mobility for whatever the reason is ideally suited for the specialized communities the Internet offers.

That the poor did not use the Internet did not surprise me since the costs of ISP service and hardware is an ongoing expense that is hard to justify when money is tight. I did wonder why the use of the Internet of African Americans tended to lag behind that of other groups, no matter the income or education level. I also wondered how American Indians faired in those groupings.

The OLPC project is laudable in my opinion, though I have to confess some of the technological specifications of the software elude me. I like that the hardware is durable and simple, the low energy options are thoughtful. I wonder how many emerging countries have accessible websites for children, however. I also wonder if what seems like a gift now could become a stigma later. No matter what word one uses for countries in need; developing, third world, emerging--there is a power structure at work of which I'm sure even children are aware. One needs to tread very carefully with other countries and their children. A failed program could bring a lot of bitterness later.

I also wonder if each country should be able to choose the level of technology it is able to sustain and not have standards imposed on them from outside sources. Or would this just cause a lot of confusion?

Internet Access For All: Yay or Nay?

I think that having “access? to the net simply means being able to navigate through the net to some extent. I don’t think that participating in online discussion forums or shopping on the net, classifies one as not being able to access the net. An individual may solely “access? the net for research and school purposes and doesn’t feel a need to use it for much else. I think the question of “experience? comes into play. According to Susannah Fox in the article Pew/Internet, “Internet users in their twenties are more likely than those in their fifties and sixties to have traveled far and wide online, trying new things and possibly learning hard lessons about the dangers that lurk in the network.? (2). Hence, the younger generation may have more “experience? in accessing the Internet’s newest and innovated capabilities, whereas the older generation may simply have more “experience? in accessing the general use of the beginning of the internet, which was primarily used as a research search mechanism.

I don’t think it’s necessary for all adults to be online; however, I think everyone should have the opportunity to access the Internet if they would like to. According to the article The Ever Shifting Internet Population,?38% of Americans with disabilities go online, compared to 58% of all Americans. Of the disabled who do go online, a fifth say their disability makes using the Internet difficult.? This is one group of people who I believe are cheated out of the experience of exploring the web. Something needs to be done to help lower the cost of technology and software that will help individuals with disabilities have equal chance to exploring the worldwide web. The web has some great resources out there for everyone to obtain and use. Children I think should be able to use the Internet, however, under certain supervised circumstances. For example, filters should be used and setup to allow parents to choose which websites their children are able to access. Much like the chip you place into the TV to control which channels children are able to view.

I think that a class in elementary school on Internet usage is definitely a good idea. Teach children at a young age about the safety of using the Internet and how the Internet can be used as a great research tool that can help in their academic studies. In elementary school children learn about sex ed, thus, maybe they should learn about the dangers of the Internet as well.

I guess I am pretty torn on the One Laptop per Child policy. I think that technology is a great innovation and that people should have the opportunity to accessing and using it. However, I believe the 3-essential/basic necessities of life: Food, Shelter, and Water should be a far great concern before technology. However, if technology is going to help improve conditions than I would say it definitely is a great idea.

FACEBOOK... good or bad?

I have had quite a bit of experience using Facebook. I signed up this Fall, and have been an active and regular participant since. Facebook is an excellent way to reconnect with friends from highschool and childhood who you don’t get a chance to see on a regular basis. This is probably the main reason why I decided to sign up and join the fad.

Privacy is definitely a huge concern when joining any third party online forum. When joining Facebook, I consulted with friends who have had it for years as to what I can do to control the information that is visible for other members to see. First and foremost, I almost never place my address on anything online. Placing your address on Facebook, in my opinion is ridiculous. There’s really no reason to. If a friend wants your address, they can simply privately message you or call you for that particular piece of information.

I think that Bruce Schneier brings up a very good point when he stated, “Unfortunately, Facebook can change the rules whenever it wants. Its Privacy Policy is 2,800 words long, and ends with a notice that it can change at any time. How many members ever read that policy, let alone read it regularly and check for changes?? I know that I personally didn’t read word for word what the policy stated. I knew that by signing up for Facebook that I had to be cautious about the information I decided to add to my profile, because you just never know what will happen and who can obtain this particular information. I think if people are going to become upset about privacy issues regarding online forums such as Facebook and MySpace, maybe they should reconsider using the programs all together. There’s a simple solution to solve this problem, if you are worried about information getting loose, then double think signing up for something like this in the first place. One must know what they’re getting into and the possible outcomes that are associated with the decisions they make.

Overall, if you are cautious and selective about the information you decide to use in Facebook and are cautious and selective when you use Facebook, I don’t think one has much to worry about. There’s always the option to deactivate your account if you aren’t in compliance with Facebook. Like Cornell’s University stated, "Golden Rule. Don't say anything about someone else that you would not want said about yourself. And be gentle with yourself too!?


Last week, Ramona left an interesting comment on a smart post by Blender. In her comment, she says:

I also read that there was a female blogger who wrote an explicit blog about her dating life, and one of the 'characters', I can't remember whether he worked the White House or the Justice Department, was fired from his job because of it--now he is suing her. So that rule about being careful about including information about one's friends is useful in professional life as well.
What she's referring to here is the Washingtonienne scandal. A few years back Jessica Cutler, an intern on the Hill, wrote a series of blog posts about performing sexual acts with politicians she worked with in exchange for money. The story was broken by Wonkette, a more popular blogger on the Hill who works for Gawker Media. From there, the story blew up in the traditional Big Media venues. Cutler was fired and quickly secured a book deal. which resulted in The Washingtonienne, a Novel. I noticed remainder copies of it at Barnes & Noble the other day. (And yes, I managed to restrain myself from buying one. Although I probably should, just for the "Blog-to-Book" section of my shelves.)

So yes: blogging can get you fired, famous, and infamous. Getting fired for your blog is known as getting dooced, in honor of Heather Armstrong at dooce.com. Her archives are easily searchable if you want to know the whole story behind that.

March 3, 2007

Opposition to OLPC

India has rejected the One Laptop Per Child program. They feel that the money that would require for the success of this project could be better spent on teachers and building of classrooms. The India government also believes that the program would have a negative effect on their market and, thereby, should not be implemented. There is more information about this topic in the article that I got it from. The name of the artilce is "India rejects One Laptop Per Child" and the URL is www.theregister.co.uk/3006/07/26/india_says_no-to_olpc/ so go ahead and check it out!

March 2, 2007


For those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, Business Week has an article on Sugar, the operating system for the $100 laptop.

New York Magazine article on privacy

Here’s a well-written article on Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy: The Greatest Generation Gap Since Rock and Roll. Danah boyd, who we read a couple of weeks ago, is quoted in it. So is Clay Shirky; we’re not reading his work this semester, but if you’re interested in this sort of thing you should look him up.

Right now the big question for anyone of my generation seems to be, endlessly, “Why would anyone do that?? This is not a meaningful question for a 16-year-old. The benefits are obvious: The public life is fun. It’s creative. It’s where their friends are. It’s theater, but it’s also community: In this linked, logged world, you have a place to think out loud and be listened to, to meet strangers and go deeper with friends. And, yes, there are all sorts of crappy side effects: the passive-aggressive drama (“you know who you are!?), the shaming outbursts, the chill a person can feel in cyberspace on a particularly bad day. There are lousy side effects of most social changes (see feminism, democracy, the creation of the interstate highway system). But the real question is, as with any revolution, which side are you on?