Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here Comes YouTube

In Shirky’s book "Here comes Everybody", the author discusses the possibility of something called “mass amateurization”. Any one can post anything to the internet using blog sites or other social networks. This includes uploading videos and images, as well as other content. The author describes that these tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring, and that sharing is enhanced through them. Shirky also states that society was transformed by tools such as the printing press but it is harder to prove that it was made better. it’s simple to say the internet is an interesting phenomenon. Recently I watched a YouTube video called The Machine is Us/ing Us. An Anthropologist from Kansas State University, Michael Wesch, created the video to show the future of Web 2.0. Over the course of the week it became viral. Because of this video, Wesch gave a presentation before the library of congress. Today Welsch and his students study the videos posted YouTube through Anthropology, or the effects of YouTube on society. Watching YouTube is practically a major now. We can see the effects that it has on society, the good and the bad. The web is an interesting place because it allows anyone to post anything, which changes how media is portrayed. But is this what the human race needs? Should people be allowed to post things without consequences? I believe that we should be responsible for our actions. I think that there has to be some way to genuinely authenticate a user before they upload anything so that they can be held morally responsible for what they upload.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tinkerers' Market

There has been a trend over the years that women have an aversion to the field of Computer Science. Women receive about half of undergraduate degrees in mathematics, physics and other science related fields but only about 20% in Computer Science. Researchers have determined that women are not drawn to to the study of computers because it is more of a tinkerers' field then an actual science. Early Software Engineers such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates all got their start as tinkerers. Today Computer Science books give solutions but offer the student to try it on there own in a trial and error approach to solve the problem. Women have been driven out of computer science because there is not an agreed-upon body of knowledge that defines the field. 57% of men are drawn to Computer Science because of tinkering compared to the 16% of women. The study of computers should become a field of a science instead of a field of tinkerers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Technologic Advancements

While reading an article put out by the Church, I was confused why it took so long for these changes to take places. Thinking that it had come out recently, while it was talking about CADs and how much computers can save time, I stumbled across a reference to the Apple II. It was then I realized that the article was not recent, and checking yes it was written in 1984. Many of the systems described in the article are still being updated and worked on. Today it may feel like the Church is still behind where it could be in regards of technology. The reason why I feel this is that it takes awhile for technology to be implemented in a place where peoples' faith are concerned. It would get too impersonal if everything were automated and too much computerization can make a person less receptive to the spirit. The Church has done a marvelous job using the tools that have been given to the world. So much more now is available and so much more is possible that can be done now.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Mobile Cuckoo

After reading The Cuckoo's Egg I came across an article stating that 99% of NASA's portable devices are unsecured. The reason why is that mobile devices have certain security features turned off, such as preventing cross-domain requests. Modern browsers have the ability to send cross-domain requests, but this option is turned off by default. The reason? A user can load a page that looks valid but is used by a hacker to send requests to desired server to get sensitive data and information. In The Cuckoo's Egg, a hacker was able to access government computers by guessing common username and passwords. This can also be done with cross-domain requests, guessing HTTP GET and POST queries on a cross-domain request. Finding the right query, a hacker would be able to access a user's information from his own server using a cross-domain request. In browsers to make this possible the hacker would have to hack into the server, put a page on the server to make it a domain-request, and then get the user to that page. If you are a hacker use a mobile device, it's a lot easier.