Archive for October, 2012

A Number You Are Indeed

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.~Andrew Brown

In our wonderful capitalist society, our government offers a variety of aid and other helpful services. One of these services that they have implemented back in the early 1930’s was social security. The gist of social security focuses on that whenever an employed person here in the United States receives their pay for any employed work they are in, they are required to deposit a small percentage of that check for social  security. When it comes for a person to retire and if that person did actually give a set amount of money to the social security fund they would receive checks for their retirement period. How they keep track of each individual’s own deposit is by assigning each person a social security number that is unique to that person.

Just like social security, there are a variety of ways that computers assign you the users values for a number of tasks. In this blog-post I am going to point out some of the ways computers keep track of who you are in the digital domain.

My first example is doing something as simple as getting on the internet. Whenever you jump onto the vast network know as the internet your internet service provider assigns you a number that represents what to send and receive data/commands from. Say you were searching up something on Google. Well whenever you make a request for a search the website needs to know what that number is so that they can send the correct information to display for you.

When you make support requests for something that is broken whether that is your computer, iPod, or any other device, the website assigns you a support number for that particular situation. This allows the user to ask questions relating to that situation by just posting that reference number. In most cases though most supports use this to access the archive you had with a support technician (assuming that this was chat-based communication).

In modern video games this can be seen as a way to locate friends or make trades with a specific user. In Diablo 3 for example since the executives at Blizzard assumed that the player base for their games would be so huge, that there would be people who wanted to have a certain username. In this scenario lets assume your twin friends Joe and Josh both decide to have the username Megaman67. The thing is you want to make a friend request with only Joe because he is going to play cooperatively with you. When you go to search for the username there could be more than just two people registered on that name. Well if Joe knows the number that was also assigned to him only he can give you that number so that you can put that in the add friends search tool and that problem is assigned instantly.

Search engines have been known to form profiles based on what you are looking for. You might now be actually grouped into a number, but you have been categorized based on what interests you. If I was to search for the newest wireless mouse on the market, I might end up getting ads or other forms of media relating to other computer devices.

That is just a few ways on how the modern user is being defined as a number in the virtual world. Even though some people may not like that idea, with the increasing numbers of our population  giving everyone a string numbers stays the quickest way of keeping track of everyone.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_security

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_service_provider

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Privacy and the Future

At the bottom, the elimination of spyware and the preservation of privacy for the consumer are critical goals if the Internet is to remain safe and reliable and credible. ~Cliff Stearns

Privacy especially on the internet has always been a critical issue for the everyday person. When it comes to sharing information especially on something as expansive like the internet, the risk that the information you maybe sharing could be easily taken and used. In this blog post I want to focus on the various ways users share their information, opinions, or other data and what I feel should be the limit of what one should post on the ever-growing net.

The first and most common way that people share their ideas and opinions along with more sensitive info is through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc..) or other discussion related webpages (forums and chat-rooms just to name a few). Most people who log onto to social media tend to log in and post/tweet something interesting relating to an event that happened to them or to even someone else that had occurred within their daily lives or at the instant that said event. Not only that users are allowed to upload pictures, videos, and other image related media to their profiles. One final note I would like to add is that users can personalize their profiles with information relating to them. This information can range from their phone numbers, their favorite music,movies, hobbies, etc.., and where they work or used to work. Why then does this relate to privacy and what one should limit to posting on the internet? Well for example how about if a user was recently fired from their job. This user out of frustration says some obscene things about their former boss. This user then gets hired at a different employer who then asks the new hire if they have any social media accounts. The user says yes, the employer sees the comments and boom that person doesn’t get hired. Now this person could have deleted this information but if they website doesn’t allow you to delete information (and there are still some websites that do that) you could put yourself in a really bad position.

Along with social media e-shopping can also liable to revealing personal information. Every time you make a transaction with a credit or debit card on the internet, even with the increase standards of encryption and security settings  there are still chances that this information could be compromised. This could then lead to an unwelcome increase in the number of transactions on your card.  This could also include making bank transactions or looking at your bank statements even though security is pretty tight when it comes to such information it is still a  possibility.

My stance on privacy is that the user needs to be aware with what they are submitting on the internet.  Just keep in mind that there are things that you can post that would offend people even if it is a joke. When it comes to e-transactions just checking your credit card statements is the safest way to make sure that your monetary affairs are in order. As long as we are conscious about what we do on the web, the dangers that it presents should be  no problem at all.

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Education of the Future Today

Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants. ~ John W. Gardner.

Computers have been implemented in a variety of ways to benefit education and research. For example simulations have been utilized in a variety of fields from medical science, aerospace/plane pilots, and even military combat.

For this blog-post lets focus on the medical side of simulations. Simulation was first put into practical application during the 1930s military scientists and researchers tested the Link Trainer for flight and other military related applications. Unfortunately, at the time medical simulations were not possible due to the technology not being fully developed at the time and that the overall medical knowledge was too hard to implement with the simulation technology. It wasn’t until the early 1990s the American Board of Emergency Medicine starts to implement medical simulation technology as a way to gauge student performance. Technology as far as it has come up to this point still needed refinement in terms of medical simulation. That is why the The Council of Residency Directors or CORD established these principles for simulations as a whole:

“Simulation is a useful tool for training residents and in ascertaining competency. The core competencies most conducive to simulation-based training are patient care, interpersonal skills, and systems based practice.

It is appropriate for performance assessment but there is a scarcity of evidence that supports the validity of simulation in the use for promotion or certification.

There is a need for standardization and definition in using simulation to evaluate performance.

Scenarios and tools should also be formatted and standardized such that EM educators can use the data and count on it for reproducibility, reliability and validity.” (from wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_simulation)

What is so important about medical simulations to begin with? Well first off it gives prospective medical students a chance to apply what they have learned in class with a more interactive approach. Such simulations mean that students will actually get a hands on approach to the various operations and other procedures as if they were actually at the operating table. This ultimately leads to students actually being prepared to actually deal with the real scenario when that time comes and with their experience could be the one thing that will save the patients life.

When it comes down to a computer scientist having to design the software needed for medical simulations they must consider a variety of factors. Obviously they must consider the operation they want to simulate; once they have done that, they must consider how they want  to display the users interactions with their patient as they complete a procedure. This can be done through point and clicking, touchscreens, and even for the high-tech simulation actual sensors on the persons hands to get precise gestures. One major thing that must be taken into account is that the software must be presented in a way so that whoever wishes to use it can easily understand and interact with the interface with as few problems as possible.

As our technology continues to develop so will the ability to simulate any medical scenario preventing deaths worldwide.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_simulation

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Tech of the Net Flash Version

Human beings are creators, flinging powerful images into the minds of their fellow-men. And all of these images are built of tiny particles of thought. ~Roy H. Williams

The internet has spanned over the course of time to be a vital tool in communication, socialization, marketing, and the list continues to grow. Since the early days of people linking information electronically through something as simple as a text-based document to more complex motion video. I want to focus on the more complex side of internet applications concerning flash player. Flash player is used to add animations, video , and other interactive tools. Here is an example of flash technology:

http://support.addthis.com/customer/portal/articles/381276-flash-examples#menuapi

If you can interact with the animation of the robot in your browser  then that means your flash player is obviously up to working condition. These are just few of the many examples that flash is used throughout the web.

The history behind flash started when  Jonathan Gay made an application with the  SmartSketch software. It then went on to be known as  FutureSplashAnimator  until 2005 when Adobe bought Micromedia (the company that first bought the animating software) and thus changed the software name to Adobe Flash.

The format of flash files are labeled as SWF or Shockwave Flash Movies. They have also been called Flash Movies or Flash Applications. Regardless of the name all flash files must have the .swf tag at the end of the file name. By using vector graphics along with programming code can create up to even smaller flash files which in turn leads to lower amounts of bandwidth. While this maybe good for some examples like small animation projects it would not be advisable to use flash for longer video projects.

When it comes to video output, flash is considered a staple among internet browsers. This is mostly due to the fact that flash is easily programmable and has now obtained a popular status among internet users. Flash’s audio is usually in MP3 or AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) but does not have the features to support ADPCM. Flash is also universal over operating systems as it is on Windows, Mac, and even Linux  Flash is programmed in a language called Actionscript which is quite similar to the Javascript programming language. A notable difference between the two is that Actionscript allows for more ways to modify and process animations.

So that is why Adobe flash is a vital part of how we communicate with people through the internet today. Without this vital applet that is being used as I type this blog we would not be able to express our opinions on worldly matters, artistic ideas, and even just plain old slapstick humor.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash

Sources:

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