DIGITAL AMERICA

Author Archives: Alexandra

Final Project: Universal Broadband

// Posted by Alexandra on 04/29/2014 (11:59 AM)

Here is the link for my final project on the development of Universal Broadband! Enjoy!

alliedeering.tumblr.com

Here is the link for my final project on the development of Universal Broadband! Enjoy!

alliedeering.tumblr.com


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The Roadmap to Universal Broadband

// Posted by Alexandra on 04/22/2014 (12:36 AM)

The Above image show a map of the United States and the speed at which internet access is available. This map represent the theme of final project, the search for Universal Broadband and the end of the Digital Divide.… Read more

The Above image show a map of the United States and the speed at which internet access is available. This map represent the theme of final project, the search for Universal Broadband and the end of the Digital Divide.

For my final project I initial proposed research regarding the concept of Internet access as a human right. As I began researching, the issue developed into current interactions between the United States Government and the many multi-national corporations that provide broadband services to millions of Americans. My project started to turn towards this direction when I read about all of the different actions that are in plan to end the Digital Divide.

 

The Digital Divide is the separation between those who have access to Internet, and therefore information, and those who don’t. While I original believed that this divide occurred mainly due to individual’s inability to pay for Internet service, upon further research I realized that the problem was also caused by the lack on Internet infrastructure in many rural areas of the United States. Upon discovering this issue I began to research the multiple different actions plans that currently exist.

 

I was able to breakdown the focus of my research in United States government policy on broadband, the private sector plan, and Non-governmental organizations that are working to end the digital divide. Currently, my research can be found on alliedeering.tumblr.com. This tumblr is my currently workspace, but I plan to organize my research into a more clear presentation upon my finalization.

 

Some examples of the multiple different plans I have discovered to end the digital divide include that of the Federal Commission of Communication within the United States Government. Their National Broadband Plan is an action plan to provide broadband infrastructure to all areas of the United States. This plan seeks to create a “high-performance America” by improving innovation, investment, and inclusion in Internet services for the Citizens. Their goals include

  • At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
  • The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
  • Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
  • Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.
  • To ensure the safety of the American people, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.
  •  To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.

 

While these goals are comprehensive and aggressive what is missing from the action plan is means to achieve these goals and the budget that is required to enact all this change. This is where the cooperation between the public sector and private sector comes into play. Similar issues as this was dealt with in the 1980’s with the expansion of the home phone network. The field of telecommunications has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, and as we move into the future will continue to change.

 

This is simply a preview of the type of research I am currently doing in exploring whose responsibility it is to provide the United States with this service, that we as a society as deemed essential. As I move forward I plan to further track the impact that the United States, the telecommunication industry, and Non-governmental organizations have made in finding a social for the digital divide.

 

My questions I would like to ask the class revolve around the concept of responsibility and commodity. As the Internet becomes further ingrained into our daily lives, will be call for the transition from private sector management to public sector? Do you think the government should provide Internet access? Subsidize it? Require private companies to provide access to rural areas? These questions amongst others are in the survey posted below. Please fill out my survey tomorrow, in hopes of helping me along my journey to discover that path that America should embark on in hopes of closing the digital divide.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WZMGD3W

 


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Sailing into the Future

// Posted by Alexandra on 04/18/2014 (1:04 PM)

Richard Jenkins and Dylan Owens have made history by creating the first Sailboat Drone, known as Honey Badger. This electronically controlled Sailboat was programmed to sail itself from San Francisco to Hawaii this past October. The 19-foot craft was… Read more

Richard Jenkins and Dylan Owens have made history by creating the first Sailboat Drone, known as Honey Badger. This electronically controlled Sailboat was programmed to sail itself from San Francisco to Hawaii this past October. The 19-foot craft was set loose in the ocean for 34 days before completing it’s journey to Hawaii.

The Sailboat uses a unique technology developed by these two men that always it to remain balanced through large waves and heavy winds. The sailboat works in a similar fashion as a drone in the sense that you program the coordinates that you want to the Sailboat to sail too and it used the wind and it’s sail to stay on course and navigate to that location. There is no need for ropes, winches, or even sailors aboard this robotic boat.

What does this mean for our future?
Upon my initial read of this article I did not fully comprehend what the Sailbot technology meant for our society and our environment. After further exploration into the concept I was enthused and shocked by all the possibilities this technology holds for our world. One of the largest impacts this technology could have is in the field of shipping and transportation. Current huge freight ships use oil and fuel to ship goods all over the world. If that system could be replaced with the sailbot that used wind technology we could save money and natural resources in this field.

One other large innovation that is mentioned in the article is the transportation of humans. Instead of using ferries, we could convert this system to sailboats and have then electronically programmed to run routes. Ferry systems are very popular in coastal cities such as Seattle and New York City. The amount of money and fuel that could be saved by using wind power would make a large impact in the economy and in the environment. New environmentally friendly innovations in transportation are sweeping the world, and the Sailbot could very well be what is next for our society. While the developers acknowledge that this technology still needs a lot of refinement, I believe that this could be the future of transportation and shipping.


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Violence in the Real and Online World

// Posted by Alexandra on 03/24/2014 (1:48 PM)

After our classroom discussion, I was really struck by the concept of “online life” and “real life”. In the beginning of the semester we talked a little about the disconnect between the two and at the time I truly… Read more

After our classroom discussion, I was really struck by the concept of “online life” and “real life”. In the beginning of the semester we talked a little about the disconnect between the two and at the time I truly believed that certain aspects of online behavior only mattered in the online world and could remain there. After reading an article series by Quinn Norton about women on the Internet and the responses they often receive, I started to think differently about the idea of separate lives online and in real life. The main portion of the Hess article that struck me was when she was describing a situation in which she called the police to report death threats that people had been commenting on her twitter account. The police officer that responded to the call was hesitant to take action against the threats due to the potential infidelity of the situation. He raised the point that these threats could be coming from anywhere in the world and therefore could actually not be an imminent threat.

While it is true that this threat could be coming from thousands of miles away, should that matter? Is tangle nature of the threat the most important issue? I believe that this situation blurs the ability to separate the real world from the online world. While the threat could be impossible to physically happen, the real issue is the treatment of women in ALL arenas of life, both online and in person. This situation brings light to greater issue of why people, men particularly act aggressive and violent towards women. Violence towards women is a large issue supported by many different organizations throughout the world. Online is the next frontier for tackling this issue. I believe that the divide between online life and real life is what is causing online violence towards women to be devalued. It is imperative for our society to view violence towards women as one homogenous issue, not one that can be split into two different worlds. Online threats are just as damaging to the physical and emotional bodies of women as threats in person.

These issues open up questions of where our legal system will. As new technologies develop, our legal system must try it’s hardest to keep up in order to protect our citizens. The Internet and its global capabilities pose new threats to our legal system. The idea of humans as “netizens” raises the question how to regulate people in a realm without borders and clear lines of the authority. Despite the ambiguity of authority online, there is a obvious problem that needs a solution. Violent language and threats made to women, regardless of in person or online, are a dark side of communication and need to be prevented. As we move forward into a world that blends both in person and online interactions, how we will enforce law and order?


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Hacking For Love <3

// Posted by Alexandra on 02/25/2014 (11:23 AM)

Amidst all of the negative conversation we have had regarding hacking, it was refreshing to read an upbeat article on some of the positive uses of hacking. In this month’s issue of Wired Magazine, an article featured a young man… Read more

Amidst all of the negative conversation we have had regarding hacking, it was refreshing to read an upbeat article on some of the positive uses of hacking. In this month’s issue of Wired Magazine, an article featured a young man who hacked the popular dating site, OKCupid, in order to find his true love.

The article, How a Math Genius Hacked OKCupid to Find True Love, by Kevin Poulsen was published in the February issue of Wired. The article tells the story of Chris McKinlay, a UCLA PhD student who after struggling with “traditional dating” for many years, hoped to find luck on the popular dating site OKCupid. This site, founded by Harvard math majors in 2004 by matching people based on which questions they answer out of a survey of almost 1,000 and how they rank those questions from most important to last. McKinlay’s original profile was not attracting very many matches with over 80 percent compatibility. So he decided to take matters into his own hands.

McKinlay hacked OKCupid’s database, figuring that if he could find out which questions mattered most to the types of women he was attracted to, then he could create multiple profiles that would be compatible with the women he was interested in. He ended up sorting women into seven different clusters of personality type, and created profiles that directly matched what these women were looking for. From these clusters he narrowed it down to two general types of women that he thought he would be most interested in. While this story seems like a nerdy hacker’s dream come true, his result show the limitations of technology in relationships.
While McKinlay had created a near perfect algorithm to find a women, he believed would be his soul mate, it wasn’t until date number 88 that he met the women whom he would marry. I think that this shows the true limits of technology in terms of relationships. Dating sites such as Match.com and Eharmony have created extensive systems for matching people based on multiple different categories of compatibility, but if McKinlay’s experiment proves anything, it shows that even when the science is tailored to meet the desires of a specific individual, that is not enough to make a true human connection. It took him nearly 100 first dates until he met a woman that he had a genuine connection with. After that many dates, a regular person who had not rigged the system most likely would have given up. There is something true and real about a physical connection between two humans that can only be experienced when meeting face to face. Technology has been used to make the searching process easier, but what truly matters with what happens after people have been paired. These sites can say you have 99.99% compatibility with a person, as it did for many people McKinlay was matched with, but it takes something more. It takes that spark that is described in movies and books, that can only be felt when people meet face to face.


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Response to TEC: Freedom of Speech vs. National Security

// Posted by Alexandra on 02/21/2014 (3:03 PM)


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Pirates of Silicon Valley

// Posted by Alexandra on 01/28/2014 (10:32 PM)


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The loneliness of Social Media

// Posted by Alexandra on 01/26/2014 (11:13 PM)

The Innovation of Loneliness

The Innovation of Loneliness


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The New Socialism: Who really benefits?

// Posted by Alexandra on 01/26/2014 (11:02 PM)

 

In an article The New Socialism in the magazine The Wired, the author describes internet sharing as a form of new socialism. That the way we behave online is reminiscent of this political ideology based on equality. Websites… Read more

 

In an article The New Socialism in the magazine The Wired, the author describes internet sharing as a form of new socialism. That the way we behave online is reminiscent of this political ideology based on equality. Websites such as Wikipedia, Kiva, Craigslist, and Facebook have cultivated a culture of sharing. Sharing information between friends, families, neighbors, and all citizens. People post, tweet, write, and review online for no personal gain or profit. While this type of behavior sounds very similar to the positive attributes that define the basis of socialism, it holds the potential to obtain the negative qualities as well.

We view the interest as a free and equal medium in which all people can access the information that is a necessity within our current society. But this is not always the case. For those without the means, which currently are quite costly, to access this information suffer from what is known as the digital divide. The digital divide is an economic inequality between groups and people in terms of their ability to access information. In the twentieth century we expect people to be able to answer emails at anytime, look up with answers to any questions, and essentially be plugged in 24 hours a day. While popular and business culture has adapted to technology that is available, not all demographics of the world’s population have. This creates a divide between those who can assess all the information and sharing that we feel should be free. Instead the internet and the culture that has developed around isolates and prevents people who can not afford the means necessary to access it from the financial benefits and opportunities as others.

Imagine what your life would be like without a personal laptop and smart phone. Think about the expectations that our teachers and bosses have for the quality, nature, and time frame that our work is to be completed in. Would you be able to meet those expectations without the use of expensive technology that has become integral in our lives? While the ability to share information freely and equally resembles the foundations of socialism, the means necessary to access the information continues to create economic divisions within the populations of every nation.


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