SO LONG, FAREWELL

oNFYs2xI have been playing catch up for the longest time, and I haven’t been the best with posting on time, but, I still put in TONS of effort into these posts. I try my best to understand and learn everything before blogging and its seriously time consuming and quite tiring. But all in all, I think I really have learnt quite a lot!

a0793742f7386b286a322a1814cebb3012216e5bef00cf9be98dc891c380b460This past few months have just been about that. The Internet. I’ve learnt so many things, about its history, the present uses, the future. How to apply this crazy web to almost anything in life. From businesses to politics and journalism. I feel like i’ve gotten a pretty good overview of most things, maybe not in the deepest ways, but at least I’ve been on the superficial level of things, but over a wide variety.

I guess for me, I know this isn’t the end. As scared as I am about our crazy future, I’m pretty sure I’ll constantly be adapting to the advancements in technology and I’ll constantly be learning more about the Internet. I’m pretty excited to learn more things, judging from how much I’ve already learnt. I think many of the things seemed so “in the background” to me, that I didn’t really realise how everything worked and how it affected other things. But now that I brought all that to the foreground and learned what their pros and cons are, I think I can use the Internet more effectively and efficiently now. (:

This was a pretty crazy class, I’m happy about all that I’ve gained from it, but I’m pretty glad its over too. Short and sweet is what’s good. I think any longer and I wouldn’t have survived.

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FUTURE

075b0c88707e413a2ca33d2265fbe4581b6e35e47d87678f731dc228870e2212Honestly, when I think of the future of the Internet, it freaks me out. Judging from the way things are going, with augmented reality, artificial intelligences, more and more advanced technologies and machines, SERIOUSLY, OMG… freaking-out

Thinking about robots in the future, artificial intelligences like those in the movie AI, where they look like humans, that just CREEPS ME OUT. Like I really hope I’m not around when that day comes. I don’t want to witness it, ROBOTS TAKING OVER THE WORLD. Maybe I’ve watched too many movies… but really, they’re more harm than good. i-for-one-welcome-meme-generator-i-for-one-welcome-our-new-robot-overlords-a4bfd2THAT WILL BE US. ROBOT OVERLORDS.

Okay, time to get a little more serious, there are certain things I’m looking forward to. With virtual and augmented reality, I love the idea of being able to shop from home, standing in my closet. 0ar-2_775x425_d79Already now, theres this whole “Internet of Things” thing going around, where THINGS are connecting to the Internet… Things like thermostats, cameras, cars… why do THERMOSTATS need to be connected to the Internet???!! And, people are worrying that all these increased connections requires increased electricity. YES of course! As if we haven’t been harping on it enough, to conserve energy, save the earth, stop global warming, and everything. Why are we increasing all these connections?? well, cause we are all so LAZY obviously. large2Of course, I’m not blaming everyone for whats happening or about to happen (in my head), cause of course I’m lazy too. But, I am not actually a heavy subscriber of the Internet. At least not as much as is expected of me, a millennial… People always say millennials are so tech savvy and they google everything they don’t know, like immediately. I don’t do that though, maybe there’s something weird about me. I don’t look to google a lot, just to find out small little things. My sister and even my dad, are so quick to just whip out their smartphone and google something straight away, when we’re discussing about it. I just don’t think that way…

Anyway, back to the future of the Internet (I sidetrack, a lot, again…) I don’t really know what else to say, I don’t really wanna imagine what the future will be like, with technology taking over our lives, more than it already has. I just don’t even want to think about it, maybe I can ignore it as it happens… Am I like some old woman LOL. But, yeah… Internet and technology, please progress SLOWER. Thank you.

Lazy-Meme

QUIRKY

Quirky is a New York City based invention company. They allow inventors to submit their ideas, while also assisting them in the development process. Quirky_Logo
CEO and Founder Ben Kaufman believed in unleashing simple connected products for the cautious consumer. When his invention-crowdsourcing startup decided to make a play for the smart-gadget market, Ben Kaufman decided to partner with GE, who invested $30 million and also shares Quirky’s vision for a simpler connected home that won’t intimidate customers.

On the website, you can do various things. One of which is submitting your own inventions. They believe that the best inventions are somewhere deep inside people’s minds. So you can submit your idea, help them decide by voting for the best ones and helping the inventors make their products better. You can even influence and earn. By clicking buttons on Quirky, you earn money! Just by deciding which colour looks nicer, you can make money. THEY make it REAL. They turn your pictures, and drawings into actual products, in a box, at a store, earning you cash. They use some of the most state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques to make high quality products. In the end, the world prospers. You earn money from your invention, and the rest of the world benefits from something new, that helps them in their day to day lives.

On Quirky.com, you can also shop for already made inventions! I have seen some seriously cool things there, from stuff that’s all tech-fied to just simple practical things that make life so much easier.

And this, power plug which is designed just for people addicted to devices and require a lot of electricity, Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.12.45 pmHonestly, I’m so excited and happy about all these new companies encouraging innovations and creativity. So many times, I find myself or my family members saying, if only this existed. or, “We should invent something that _____”. Perhaps now the next time someone says something like that, I just might submit my own idea onto Quirky and give it a try (:

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Journalism as we know it

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Journalism, is the gathering, processing and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience. The word applies to both the method of inquiring for news and the literary style which is used to disseminate it. The media uses range from content published via newspapers, magazines (print), television and radio (broadcasting) and their digital media versions.

Now however, the Internet has painted a whole other picture of journalism. Digital journalism, a.k.a. online journalism, is a contemporary form of journalism where editorial content is distributed via the Internet rather than print or broadcast. For digital journalism, news and features on current affairs is presented solely or in combination as text, audio, video and some interactive forms and disseminated through digital media platforms.

The way the Internet has changed it, is that online, there are fewer barriers to entry, there are lower distribution costs and there is diverse computer networking technologies available for people to go into digital journalism.

Okay but seriously, all’s good in the world of digital journalism if its just people bringing things from print or broadcast media, online, but all these people out there now a days are taking it onto themselves to be “journalists” and to shed light on all the current affairs, without even fact checking themselves.

Case in point #1. STOMP.
STOMP, a local website where “citizen journalism” takes place. Whenever Singaporeans have an opinion about something, they take it to STOMP, when they’ve seen something they just need to comment on, they take is to STOMP. They claim they’re the critical alternative thinkers and that its about democracy and having a different point of view, but is it really what its about? These “citizen journalists’ think that just because they’re writing out their opinions and views on news or current affairs, they’re ACTUALLY journalists and they’re right… David-Gregory-Quickmeme-3I read an article somewhere, and he talked about the problem with citizen journalism in Singapore. He says, that unlike mainstream media and the profession that IS journalism, the (he used the word worrying, but i’m gonna use the word annoying) thing about citizen journalists is not only the lack of research involved, but the fact that their comments and articles often turn into nothing more than emotionally defensive pieces. The following phrases often appear in their articles
“I think you’re missing the point”, “I’m not trying to suggest that_____”,
“well you should really (insert irrational word)”, and “(Insert sarcastic laughter followed by more mockery of commentator)”.

I mean of course I do feel that to SOME extent, citizen journalism is good for us. It has in some way opened and encouraged more Singaporeans to be involved in politics, but as the author wrote, how can we turn this into a reasonable and mature discourse, encouraging healthy debate and objective writing that betters the community??

I seriously hope people would read more and find out more facts about situations before blindly following whatever they read on citizen journalism websites and have their own ideas before jumping onto the bandwagon. Honestly, sometimes when I see people and comments online that are just so irrational and ridiculous i’m just like Leave_me_alone_to_die.

POLITICS

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Ever since Obama, using the Internet, or more specifically, social media for politics has become the new thing. He used social media in his political campaigns, including podcasting, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. The Internet helped slingshot his presidential campaign to success and he had more “friends” on Facebook and MySpace and more “followers” on Twitter than his opponent. meme1
Similarly now, Hillary Clinton is learning from Obama’s footsteps and heavily employing the use of Social Media in her political campaign. Her presidential campaign announcement, in the form of a video, racked up more conversation on Twitter and Facebook than the combined launch announcements of Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. However, a good portion of the talks on social media about her was not all celebratory. It is said that a lot of the talk on Facebook about her was about government ethics. They were talking about the controversy over her use of a personal email account during her government service.

That’s the good thing and the bad thing about the Internet and the use of social media for politics. Sure, it can go viral and get a lot of people talking about you, but the talk isn’t always good. And, the Internet has so many resources, people can dig up so many things about your past and use that against you in the present. It also allows people to share their ideas online, which may not be based on facts but they make it seem so real and convincing. They can paint the worst picture of a politician, all out of thin air, and people can still believe them. 59f49f3795f16cdd7a54649b013f60c5fc28c5fdf95dd7d6fb3eb394d8cb275b

On the Internet, there’s no telling fact from fiction.

Here are some ways in which the Internet is good for politics
1. Fundraising: in 2008, President Obama managed to raise over half a billion dollars online, 2/3 was from someone clicking the “donate” button in a campaign email. 2. Recruiting: When supporters interact with your campaign at a rally, connecting with them afterwards via email and social media can help you start them on the path to giving money and time. Social media also let your supporters do the work for you, once they have the promotion messaging and imagery, they’ll spread the word about your campaign via Facebook, Twitter and every other online channel they frequent.
3. Grassroots Organising: digital tools are catching on in the world of grassroots organisers in a big way. iPads and other tablets are used in campaigns to ease the process of recruiting people and taking donations in person. Mobile apps and mobile-optimised websites will provide addresses, maps, directions and videos.
4. Advertising and messaging: digital channels are central to spreading a campaign’s overall messaging. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google and so many blogs and news websites offer the opportunity to reach voters and opinion-readers. Careful targeting helps you use advertising and outreach to hit the voters with messages designed to appeal to them. You can also connect directly with reporters, bloggers and online activists one-on-one behind the scenes.
5. Testing: the Internet helps you find out whether or not your messages work. Online advertising lends itself to the testing of positions, slogans and taglines. Sending different variants of an email messaging and measuring the responses lets you test the result before going all out on one particular subject line or appeal.

These are just a few of the ways the Internet can benefit politicians in their campaigns.

Augmented Reality

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Hi again!
So I’m here to find out more about Augmented Reality. It blurs the line between what’s real and what’s computer generated, by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell. Augmented reality is on the spectrum between virtual reality and the real world. Virtual reality creates immersive, computer generated environments and the real world, well, is resized_creepy-willy-wonka-meme-generator-reality-sucks-doesn-t-it-d1ae31Well, augmented reality is closer to the real world, where it adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world around us. Its really changing the way we see and view the world.

There are more and more apps now a days for augmented reality right from your smartphone.

2imp870adThis is the Impression Pi which is a wearable VR headset that embeds the ability to track your gestures into the hardware itself. It was initially launched as a Kickstarter project by San Jose, and the device quickly surpassed its goal of $78,00! Have a look at the Kickstarter video yourself to find out more!

Of course another device for augmented reality was Google glass, which is so passé now google-glassIt has an optical head-mounted display on the spectacles which displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format. It is wearable technology and wearers could communicate with the internet via natural language voice commands.

Apparently one of the main reasons why Google Glass failed was because people didn’t see why they needed it or what special or important function it served. People now a days are constantly wanting things that are bigger, have bigger screens, why would they want something with such a small screen? And something that interfered with their vision.

Overall however, I’m seriously so excited about augmented reality? I just think it seems so fun, perhaps not in all aspects of life, but certainly some of them would seriously improve our way of life.

Internet Security

I’m finally back, and trying to catch up once again (what’s new) so now its on to Internet Security.

Honestly, I think because I live in Singapore, I’m very lax on my security measures whether being in my day to day life at home/outside and online. I really barely realise how dangerous it is and how important having sufficient security online is. And, even when I do kinda know how dangerous it can be, I still sit back and say, nah it wont happen… or it won’t happen to me at least. But, whatever happened to better safe than sorry?? I dont know, something I have to get into my brain, clearly.

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Just to jolt myself awake, I went to find out just how dangerous not having spyware and anti-virus softwares can be. Just in October last year, J.P. Morgan Chase said that a cyber attack over the summer may have compromised information about 76 million households. That included customer names, addresses, phone numbers and email contact information. In addition, the breach affected about seven million of J.P. Morgan’s small businesses customers. Overall, it may have been the biggest cyber attack in corporate history. J.P. Morgan is an American multinational banking and finance company and is the largest bank in the United States. Clearly most of the people in the U.S. would be banking with them and have their personal information in their system. Just liken this to Singapore’s POSB and DBS banks, where most households store their assets. The magnitude of someone hacking them is the same as what happened the J.P. Morgan just that they are so much bigger a firm.

Sometimes when I hear about such cases I’m just like 534On one hand I’m like omg what… but then on the other hand, I dont actually comprehend just how dangerous that is. Someone, out there, has the private information of 76 million households. Where they live, who there are, how much money they have. There’s just no more privacy. And all this, just because we store so much, if not all of our information on the internet. We think its the safest place to put it, so we can’t ‘lose’ it, but in fact, its the most dangerous place of all.

Even places you shop at aren’t safe. 29-shocked-patrick Places like Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Neiman Marcus were all hacked and credit card information of the customers who shopped there was stolen. These places are the most frequented shopping destinations of most Americans. And so many of them reported that it went on for MONTHS before the company even realised that they were being hacked. How could their security measures be so lax???
tumblr_n4yuwv4JuA1tqjzdao1_500With that, I went to find out 5 network security issues and how to go about solving them.
1. Having a non-complex and weak network access passwords. It is said that even with the “CAPTCHA Technology”, which is the thing that requires you to type out letters or digits from a distorted image on the screen, many people are still able to get hacked because of weak passwords.
The solution, it seems, is to have a complex password. You’ll need 7 or more characters combined with at least 3 numbers and 1 special character, (CAPS, @, # or signs etc…). There should also be a password expiration system that helps remind uses to change their passwords frequently. Honestly, I think I’m just so lazy to do that… but implementing a system that forces me to, would be a great idea.

2. Having outdated Server Application or Software. System companies release updates and newer versions to ensure that your system isn’t vulnerable to new public threats. However, when you fail to update them, you’ll be susceptible to the new threats and exploits that hackers consistently release. With that, your network will always be in danger. So, always ensure that your system is regularly informed of new threats and update your softwares and applications on a monthly basis, or whenever there are new updates!

3. COOKIES… cookiemonstergif
Cookies do not carry viruses and can’t install malware on your computer, but tracking of cookies and third-party tracking cookies are used to compile records of your browsing histories. Unencrypted cookies are a major network security issue as they can open your system to vulnerabilities and is a major privacy concern. With ‘Open Cookies’ anyone could have access to any login data cookies on the network!!
So, dont forget to ensure that all your network cookies are encrypted and have an encoded expiration time. Your network administrator should also force users to re-login any time they are accessing sensitive directories in your network.

4. Plain Hashes. hero_pdt_hash_brown
Yeah when I first read this, I had no idea what plain hashes even was? But apparently, hashing is used to index and retrieve items in a database. And plain hashes are also used in many encryption algorithms. A Salt, which is another type of encryption is added to Hashes in order to make a lookup table assisted Directory Attack, meaning someone trying to hack you, impractical or extremely difficult. Basically, adding Salt, to your Hashes, helps protect you from hacks more.

To ensure the safety of your network in regard to Hashes, your network administrator should hide the Salt (encryption key), because if the hacker is able to have access to your Salt encryption, they can access your network system. So, dont get plain hashes. lol

5. Lastly, Share Hosting
A shared web hosting service is where many websites reside on one web server connected to the Internet. Its usually the most economical option for hosting cause people share the overall cost of server maintenance. But, shared hosting is like sharing a house with other people and if someone breaks into one area of the house, they’ll be able to break into your room too. So when a hacker is inside any one of the computers connected to the shared server, they have access to yours too. So its best to have dedicated Server Hosting and Secure Cloud Hosting instead of shared hosting.

After reading through everything, I’m definitely learning more now, but more so, I think I gotta get more dedicated to securing my network and my information online ): Hope you guys do the same too!