Digital Project: Home is never too far away when you have a laptop

Project

During the beginning of last year, in the month of February, my Mother (Leonor) was told that she had lung cancer. Within this time I was attending my first year at the University of Wollongong with also two jobs on the side, plus my brothers both moved to Sydney and my father had his full time job at Blue Scope steel.  This relates to the story because my family was having trouble with free time to help my mother when she had to participate in continuous appointments, tests procedures and then when it came to the surgery that took about a week.

“In the situation I was in, I could actually communicate with people and express how I felt. Like my father could not make it to the hospital in Sydney.” – Leonor Neto

I was finding it hard to contact my mother and was unable to travel to see her. Before further procedures and the surgery my father and I went out to the store to find her a laptop because I noticed she enjoyed the computer at home. I looked up that at some private hospitals they can supply WiFi so I thought it would be a good idea to get the laptop. We bought her a small laptop that she took to the hospital and as we found out it was much easier for her and us to contact each other.

“I had the availability of communication. In an environment I could not escape from. It was a form of connecting to everybody and I was escaping the confines of a room… Even when I play Scrabble, it was a game I was conversing with people. It felt like a way they could contact me. I did not get a lot of people visiting me, plus I was mostly connected to tubes and uncomfortable a lot of the time and there for I was fine without seeing people. I had that (Laptop) which was fine. I did not feel lonely or isolated even though I was in a room by myself.” – Leonor Neto

I taught my mother how to use Facebook, how to access her email and even Skype when she felt very lonely some nights and wanted to talk to either of us or friends when she was away. My mother felt more comfortable and less isolated within the room she was confined in. I found that this project was interesting to see the deep connection between communication and the idea of home not always being far away when it comes to technology.

“Basically I wanted to see what everyone else was doing to take my mind off whatever pain I had. It was a means of relaxation and communication because I was chatting with people around the world. Sometimes when I could not sleep I would just access the laptop and talk to my Facebook friends.”- Leonor Neto

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Reflection

When I began my research back in 2014 at the beginning of the year it was targeted at a way for me to easily find something that my mother would be interested in and would use regularly for entertainment and communication. This is one of the major problems I faced with both this assignment and with retracing my steps from last year. When I studied the way in which my mother communicated it seemed that the computer was more favourable compared to other devices in which I gave her involving a mobile and tablet.

What I have learnt from simply studying my home surroundings and the way in which my mother interacted with objects was quite interesting because I was not prepared to evaluate what she would do regularly to find something she liked. An example being that a tablet she found was much harder to use because she could not write, could not change or download apps as effectively or even the fact that the font might be too small most of the time for her to read/write.

Even though I took on more of a story approach for this assignment I did however have to research various things involving contacting the hospitals in order to find out which had wifi. Whether it would be favoured in more private hospitals than local. Plus when looking for the specific laptop that matched all of my mother’s needs was very hard as well.

I thought this was an interesting part upon the project because not a lot of hospitals actually supply wifi in which my mother demanded it. Than when it came to finding the specific laptop my mother wanted I had to ask her various questions like, do you want it to write more or to use it for online purposes? I found that my mother wanted to use it for both these reasons because she is very creative in the way in which she writes and how she really likes to go on Facebook and play such games as Scrabble in her free time. She also loves to research in which she did in her time to find out more things about Cancer and the effects of it so she had a bit of knowledge within that area.

The most common challenges I found was mainly from having the actual interview with my mother and bringing up the past. Due to the event having a major impact upon all of our lives it was very hard to bring it up again however my mum wanted to give me all the facts freely. I also knew that I had to ask her if she wanted me to use her name, any photos or even her quotes. My mother was fine with me using her name and the quotes however the photos in which she had were too graphic to be placed in my blog so I did not worry about it.

I believe that when presenting a story to a media industry or stakeholder group you must know all the facts and information first before presenting it because that is the key to showing a true story. For example my story in which I am presenting for this subject is clear that it is a very personal one so I must watch what I say or do however I know that some people’s stories are more in-depth research. This meaning that it depends upon the story and how you present it because if it is personal than you just need to explain the story and how effective it was to the individual so that the readers or the audience feels a deep connection towards it.

So if someone was to present this story for me I would say be more formal and show that there is emotion within the story because without emotion or clear empathy than I believe a story has not impacted someone. Especially when you need to relate a story like this to a ‘place, technology and person’ you need to enthuse all these key areas to get a reaction from an individual.  This is entirely my opinion when demonstrating a story to someone higher up and everyone’s would be very different.

  • The photos in which are presented in this blog are in fact my mothers laptop and not a promotion in anyway. Plus the hyper links of the relevant sources are various readings within the subject and other key areas that connect to the story or are interesting contradictions I found. I used these key sources in just guiding me. 
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Microsoft helps transform the Internet of Things

The continuous growth within devices and the use to be online all the time has changed personal interact between individuals. Our eyes are stuck to the screen of our smartphones, television screens or even computer screens. The amount of technology in which we use and interact with on a daily basic it will eventually store the information and data in which we are producing. Such information as simple searches, social networking connects to our name or even where we live to filter us through large amounts of advertisements.

(IOT) The Internet of Things is all about connecting us to various devices that have access to the internet allowing access to one another through multiple access points. An example being Microsoft search to define this in their devices. How Microsoft does this is through its two most popular software items, Windows 10 and Cortana.

Cortana is an A.I. for your Windows Phones, Computers and Console to filter out your interests along with help you in your everyday need. This also has shown that Cortana will remember your further searches or demands as she stores the information away to recap on for next time. Here is one of the examples that Cortana can connect with your internet of things.

Cyber crime and Cyber Bullies

The internet is a big and open world to create whatever you like and to do whatever an individual would like however a lot of people do not understand how powerful that can become. With the advancement of technology and continuous use of the internet people become so connected with their devices that it can be their biggest weaknesses when being targeted by cybercrime.

With Cybercrime it depends upon the target in which the individual is attacking them with and being that we are so used to using our devices like our wallets it now may contain all our passwords, card accounts, private information and more. This can go into further attacks on fraud and identity theft online.

People need to understand the use of the internet and how they use it in their everyday lives, even though a lot of negative can come out of a device that we use for so much personal use. It can be changed around. An Individual still has the freedom and accessibility to get the knowledge of the software they use to help themselves protect them or even one another.

Yet Cybercrimes are not always bad because there is always the chance the individual might be looking into further areas to help society or further organisations. E.g. ‘Anonymous’ from my last post.

Anonymous can see you

Hackers are known as people who wondering around the dark side of the internet, lurking around each corner hoping to find your weak point to tear you apart in some way or form through online. Hacktivism is defined as,

“the use of computers and computer networks to promote political ends, chiefly free speech, human rights, and information ethics” (Davis, D 2015).

However individuals rather believe that Hackers are the Killers not the victim yet they fight for the weak people in creating their own revolution. This is not in turn saying that they target grudges on organisations and higher companies. This is both their positive and negative approach they have on society.

An example is ‘Anonymous,’ a network of activists and hacktivists that have made their presence known over the years in various ways of events that are impacted through social networks and hacking into various programs.

Reference:

Davis,. ‘Hacktivism: Good Or Evil?’. ComputerWeekly. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Hacktivism-Good-or-Evil

Giving the People What They Want

Aggregators are the ones who operate the distribution of information through networks online and specifically filter interests that cater not to the passive audiences of legacy distributors.  Aggregators will take the information in which is flowing enormously through the data in which we create to eliminate the limits of space and scarcity. In order to pin point information in which can be further shared or found to be considered a niche product.

Without this elimination process physicals stores would be able to have that online presence that cannot be shown just through the store alone. This is the distributor’s job to keep the product going and working towards the customers that physically going into the stores rather than the aggregators that supports the other 80% that take on the long tail effect of the markets niche.

A simple example to provide a better understanding to this topic can be Blockbuster, the video store compared to Netflix. A video Store may only hold a certain number of movies rather than Netflix is connected to online aspects that places further areas in reach to have a bigger library than that of a store. This gives you more accessibility, availability and easily viewable within your own home to search for whatever movie you may favour that might not have been at the store.

Reflection for BCM240

I will admit at first that my blogs this semester was not as good as my last one because I took up a new job that consists of me being there around 4 – 5 days a week plus a lot of health issue arose. Not only had this happened but a lot of family things had come up that pushed me over the edge to stand back from the university. My problem became that balancing life was hard, the blogs on top I would forget and have to come back to from time to time doing two or three at the same time to keep up.

However after thinking intensely about my life I really stuck my head down and thought, that we all need to get away and find that motivation to push forward. That is what I was missing. Having two subjects to blog every week brought me more confusion and falling into a never ending hole that I did not know how to get out of. Even though I am making this sound more about my life, no its more about the problems I had to overcome to start getting back on track to blogging and why I love it plus this subject which I really enjoyed.

People forget that you need some sort of motivation to keep you going, without motivation leads to distractions and never getting your work done. If it wasn’t for my boyfriend that started getting me out of the house day by day before work or after I would not have gotten my motivation back. The key is relaxation, balance and a chance to get away from it all.

I found that motivation was what I was missing all along, working too many hours, focusing on other things really threw my head in a different direction. I saw this change with my last blogs, I started putting in extra clips, links and tags for the fun of it that I began to enjoy it as much as I used to.

I know that my engagement with other students could have been better which I hope to improve on in other subjects. I enjoyed reading various blogs and commenting. I am hoping to expand on following more people so that I can begin to read more blogs and start getting chatter going. Though I would admit that the more clips and relevance to say television series brings people in which makes a connection that I found interesting. Another tip with blogs I would say is always the heading, it is my weakness most times to get a good sentence or phrase even questions but you just have to test them out and read them out loud. Lastly, always place in some humour or even a bit of laughter because that’s what people enjoy most is to be happy even if it is a few seconds long.

I believe the way in which the blogs was conducted each week was good because it not only just placed us behind a screen to write what ever came to our head, no. I loved more of the interaction weeks where I would get to interview people, look at my surrounds, go out to view different public spaces and even to value things around my work. People don’t think that research and work can be easy or even simple which is wrong because we gather information everyday however we choose to neglect it or forget it because we do not think it is useful.

Technology is a way in which we gather most of our information. I found this topic to be my light switching on because it is what I am interested in and what I would love to talk about. My life as a Gamer is always to tell people the amazing side towards technology however this subject has pushed me to value my judgements on my own devices. I was so baffled by the research and resources over various weeks of technology and the pains that come with it. Currently for my other subject DIGC202 Global Networks it became very useful for my final report on about, ‘The Empire Microsoft Bringing People Together,’ to make me think twice about what I am going to follow.

To be honest I have found very life changing situations throughout this subject as it has made me think twice about a lot of things. To value, to cherish, to connect and even branch out. I do not know if I can say this for everyone but it really made me think how I take on my life. An example being the family blog about private/public spaces with devices, I thought to myself it could not be that bad but when I found the resources for my blog it was so interesting to see this impact in action.

So I will tell you a story to end this reflection but believe me I’ll get to my point quickly. Today it was like 30 degrees, my boyfriend told me that we should go to the beach. For a little bit of relaxation time I agreed before completing my reflection. We spent 3 hours out in the sun and water and it was really amazing but what hit me was what my boyfriend said at the end of it all.

“It is so good to see all these people out at the beach instead of in front of a screen.”

I literally stopped, stared out at the packed out beach and thought that it was really so fascinating to see people out there. It even brought to my attention various other topics in which we talked about across the semester. A man had a GoPro and was taking pictures while trying to not get people in it even though people actually were avoiding him. A moment where I forgot my phone at home (5 minutes from the beach) that I could not take my mind off. I really enjoyed this subject because now I can think more about this in my life.

I don’t remember what I was doing?

‘Being online is like being a part of the greatest cocktail party ever and it is going on all the time. If you email, text, tweet, Facebook, Instagram or just follow internet links you have access to an ever-changing universe of social touch-points. It’s like you’re circulating within an infinite throng, with instant access to people you’d almost never meet in real life.’ – David Brooks

In a recent study this year Microsoft conducted several experiments that focused on individuals attention spans compared to today’s technology. The study found that back in 2000 the attention span was 12 seconds and that in 2015 had dropped to below 8 seconds, leading the human race to have an attention span lower than that of a goldfish at 9 seconds.

BVMvs

The online world is a fascinating place in which we all get consumed in whether that be social media or just simple searching the web. We are so accustomed to that behaviour that we cannot take our mind off our devices or the screen for a single second because we are afraid to miss something. Yet this activity may be the cause of why our attention spans are decreasing. In the report they judged an office worker on how many times an hour he would go to search their email the result was 30 times.

Authors Martin Thirkettle and Graham Pike recognised this behaviour and explained that, ‘our minds are adaptive systems, constantly reorganising and refocusing our mental faculties to suit the environment.’ This is targeting the online world rather than the real world because we are so distracted by more and more information flowing into the internet every second that we begin to jump from one article to another without remembering the last. In the report they judged the amount between flickering back and forth through pages that being on a page for 10 minutes was at 4% while people favoured viewing a page for 4 seconds at 17%.


Source

However David Brooks believes that this targets the amount of freedom that we have over the internet to become an advantage. He stated, ‘Since they feel more in control of the communication, they are more communicative, vulnerable and carefree. This mode of interaction nurtures mental agility.’

‘But contrary to popular opinion, it shows attention spans have actually improved. For example, habitual video gamers have demonstrated better attentional abilities than non-players – and non-players who started playing video-games began to show the same improvements. Our cognitive abilities are constantly changing and even naturally vary across the day.’ – Authors Martin Thirkettle and Graham Pike

Martin and Graham conducted an experiment to prove their theory. A project in which they conducted at the Open University was by collecting data on a daily cycle. They did this by developing an app when used across the day the individual would participate in research and chart these natural changes in your own performance. Resulting in proving to better plan your day and finally understand if you actually are a morning or evening person.


Source

David Brooks added another improvement to people’s attention spans through Susan Greenfield (Neuroscientist) that stated in her book about ‘Mind Change’ stated that experts in online gaming have a greater capacity for short-term memory. Due to the ability to process multiple objects simultaneously, to switch flexibly between tasks and quickly process a large amount of information.

‘By observing what happens, by following the linear path of a story, we can convert information into knowledge in a way that emphasising fast response and constant stimulation cannot. As I see it, the key issue is narrative.’ – Susan Greenfield (About Playing Games/Attention Span)

However as Martin and Graham pointed it out, everyone has forgotten the main reason of the Microsoft Study. The Study was targeted on advertisers and not the general public as it calls upon the companies to use, “more creative, and increasingly immersive ways to market themselves”.

‘Similarly, public spaces are increasingly full of adverts that can play sound and video to further capture our attention.’ – Martin and Graham

I tried to implement all these key focuses on the individual I choose which is my Boyfriend Cory Lagan. The experiment I choose to place him in front of the television screen for 5 minutes. Due to my boyfriend being also a gamer himself I wanted to put his abilities to the test by playing on his phone at the same time.

The result was that we dropped the gaming idea because as my boyfriend said, ‘It would be best to play a game and multitask with devices rather than use it with the television because they outdo one another so I can only focus on one.’ Once the show finished I counted the ads while texting him to make a distraction, he remembered 8 ads out of 10 but when I asked him what some of them were about he could not remember many but two.

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