DIGITAL AMERICA

Author Archives: Ginger

New and improved, really?

// Posted by Ginger on 06/11/2015 (6:45 PM)

Last week’s reading made me feel stupid.  Stupid because I had no idea about high frequency trading and data farms.  I can honestly say that my awareness has been raised.  This week’s reading about e-waste made me feel guilty.  It… Read more

Last week’s reading made me feel stupid.  Stupid because I had no idea about high frequency trading and data farms.  I can honestly say that my awareness has been raised.  This week’s reading about e-waste made me feel guilty.  It made me feel guilty for wanting new things especially when the old ones are working just fine.  Recently I have been thinking about buying a new car.  I have been looking online at different makes and models to see what I type of car I may want.  I hate buying a new car.  I hate it because I am a nervous wreck until it gets its first scratch!  I also think that a new car is a complete waste of money because they depreciate as soon as you drive them off of the lot.

I drove my last car for 12 years before buying my current car in 2007.  I like the car, but it is having some issues that have made me turn my head to look at newer models.  In 2007 the thing that I wanted most on my new car was power door locks.  Sad, I know, but that is what I wanted.  (A good stereo goes without saying, but I am saying it anyway!)  Actually I wanted to be able to plug my iPod into the car.  I can do that and it gets 32 miles per gallon.  My car came out before the backup cameras, and Blue Tooth syncing and other gadgets that I did not even know where available.  I am okay with not having those things.  My first car didn’t even have air conditioning or a FM radio.  So I can put up with not having all of those gadgets, it is just that they look so cool.  Here is a link to a Andy Rooney and his thoughts on all of the gadgets in cars these days!  Forgive me Andy Rooney.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/andy-rooney-on-gadgets-in-our-cars-24-07-2011/

E-waste, I did not know it was so bad.  I have at least 3 old cell phones at my house in addition to the one that I use every day.  You know the one that I couldn’t find before class the other night because I was using it?!  I have always been afraid to turn them in because of not being sure that all of my information was removed from it so I just keep them, the cases, and the chargers.  I saw promise at the end of the article when Giles Slade wrote about manufacturers making phones that could be repaired and improved upon.  I think the only way that this will work is to raise the public’s awareness regarding the e-waste problem, mining for the rare earth minerals it takes to make our electronic devices, not just phones, and the government to hold manufacturers and consumers accountable for the waste.

I have an idea,  I think we could and should store our e-waste at Bluffdale!

Where do they all go?

 

 

 

 


Categories: Uncategorized

Group C Response

// Posted by Ginger on 06/06/2015 (9:21 PM)

Your question regarding the intimidation of  trading with the NYSE is interesting to me.  It is interesting because I have never thought about trading on the NYSE.  I have never wanted to.  I am embarrassed to say that I do… Read more

Your question regarding the intimidation of  trading with the NYSE is interesting to me.  It is interesting because I have never thought about trading on the NYSE.  I have never wanted to.  I am embarrassed to say that I do not know enough about it to even know where to begin.  Years ago I was watching Oprah and she had a guest on.  It was a young girl and she was telling her story about buying stocks.  Oprah asked her which stocks she bought and the little girl said that she bought stocks from companies that made the products that she used.  It was a long time ago so I do not remember which ones she purchased but she had really good advice.   She said buy them and leave them alone!  Give the stock time to recover if there is a downturn!  I thought that was pretty good advice, but it did not prompt me to go and buy any.

With that having been said, I think there is a chance that some of us, probably me, can get left behind.  The question is does it matter?  If I am up-to-date on one thing to I have to be up-to-date on everything?  For example video games.  When I was a kid I remember going to my aunt’s house and playing Pong.  The next big game to come out was Duck Hunter?  Do any of you all remember those games?  Then there was Pac Man and Mrs. Pac Man, and I think that is when I stopped playing video games.  Does this mean I am left behind?  Possibly.  Probably.  But I am okay with that!

As I have said before there are people that will take advantage of those of us that are not up-to-date on things, but the clip that I posted earlier this week from 60 Minutes is to me a bright spot.  Brad Katsuyama saw something that he did not understand and tried to figure  out why it was happening.  He found the loophole that others were using to get the trade first.  He didn’t like it and did something about it.  He is one of the good guys.  He left a high paying job to do the right thing the right way.  He even told other people what was going on.

I have attached the trailer from the movie Office Space because of the fraction of a penny virus.  I think it is funny and appropriate for this week’s discussion.  I know it is only a movie, but the fractions added up rather quickly!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRG9x0JRMc

 


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Selling Trust and Transparency

// Posted by Ginger on 06/04/2015 (6:57 PM)

There are many things that come to mind after this week’s readings.  Two sayings I have heard many times in particular,  The first one is, “Follow the money!”  Whenever there is something that does not seem right or illegal, just… Read more

There are many things that come to mind after this week’s readings.  Two sayings I have heard many times in particular,  The first one is, “Follow the money!”  Whenever there is something that does not seem right or illegal, just follow the money.  Another saying, this one is from my dad, “The sooner you realize that life isn’t fair, the better off you will be.”  Of course people with money are getting to trade faster.  Of course people with power have the advantage.  It is not fair, but, what can be done about it?  I just think it is funny that we think that trading stocks is set up for everyone and it is fair.

We read in the article, High Frequency Trading:  Networks of Wealth and the Concentration of Power, “…that in many ways the powerful have become more rather than less powerful due to digitization; that the powerful have a great deal of influence over how digital tools and effects are distributed throughout the world and can and do monitor and control distribution of power.”

I can see why some would think that a computerized system would be a leveling tool.  We all have the internet, some with greater speeds, we all have money, some have more, we all have the same opportunities to buy, no we don’t.  I saw this story on 60 Minutes,  and it proves that it really isn’t a system that is fait to all of us.   michael-lewis-stock-market-rigged-flash-boys-60-minutes.   Brad Katsuyama is offering the transparency that digitization was supposed to give us in the first place.  He is selling truth, even he is amazed.

The very scary thing that is mentioned in the article and in the 60 Minutes clip is there is really no regulation.  Even the  up-fronting mentioned is not illegal.  From the article, “that is to say that it is not at all clear anymore who is in charge of the securities markets…”  The machines have taken over.  Only when people like Brad Katsuyama question what is happening  will there be change.

 

 


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Skynet

// Posted by Ginger on 05/28/2015 (7:09 PM)

Is it just me or do these readings remind you of The Terminator  films?  Systems are crashing and the military has a program that will bring the systems back on line.   It is in Terminator 3 where Skynet takes over.  The… Read more

Is it just me or do these readings remind you of The Terminator  films?  Systems are crashing and the military has a program that will bring the systems back on line.   It is in Terminator 3 where Skynet takes over.  The only thing between total world domination is one lone man,  the lone man that ends up pushing the button that unleashes the wrath of Skynet on us and makes Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name.   Here is the scene from the movie, Skynet takes over.

I mentioned it before and I will say it again, it is all about intentions.  What are the intentions of having such a system as Skynet, (fake, I know) and Stuxnet?  I am hoping that in a room somewhere below ground when the decision is made to unleash such a system onto the world that good is the intention.  It was a good thing that the Iranians were slowed down in their production of  nuclear weapons, right?  It was a covert method that slowed the process down.  I certainly hope this was the intention, but as the article, How Digital Detectives Deciphered Stuxnet, the Most Menacing Malware in History, pointed out, they will not be able to use this method again in the future.  The Iranians know now what to look for.  So do others for that matter.

Does it matter to you all if it was a good guy or a bad guy that caused this?  In the article it was Chien that said, “For us there’s no good guys or bad guys.”  He edited his statement, but what if this attack was aimed at a power plant in the United States or one of our allies?  I think we would have a different opinion of it, I know I would.  I can’t imagine working on this project and seeing the numbers of infected computers and the country of origin.  Those guys may have just walked away from the project, but they kept on.  Now all of the guys know, good and bad.

I had a strange virus on my computer earlier this year.  It corrupted every Word document and 1500 photos on my work computer.  I had some of the files back up on jump drives, but I lost every paper I have ever written for U of R.  I now have back up storage, I am such a goober!  I realize that my computer is not a computer in an Iranian nuclear power plant, but it is proof that malware can be very destructive.  My computer had to be re-imaged and caused quite a stir in the IT department at work.

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Uncategorized

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst!

// Posted by Ginger on 05/26/2015 (9:08 PM)

For the past few days I have given a lot of thought to having records of my personal emails and phone calls possibly being stored in a warehousing facility in Bluffdale, Utah.  It is troubling, very troubling.  I can somewhat… Read more

For the past few days I have given a lot of thought to having records of my personal emails and phone calls possibly being stored in a warehousing facility in Bluffdale, Utah.  It is troubling, very troubling.  I can somewhat understand the idea behind such a place that according to the article in Wired, will be “…secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks.”  It is for the greater good, right?  We should be okay with the NSA doing this as a way to protect us, shouldn’t we?  The issue I have is intent.  What is the intent of all of this data collection?  How will this information be used?  How could it possibly be used against me or someone I know?

When I was in 9th grade I had a world history teacher named Mr. Meyerholz.  He was different from any other teacher than I had ever had before.  He was different because he offered contrarian viewpoints to history.  Up until that point I had been taught that our government would take care of us and had our best interests at heart. (Over simplified for purposes of blog!) In class one day he said that many people did not mind having a dictator as they would not have to be bothered by making decisions about their own lives.  He would question us with what it would look like if we stopped paying attention and just let out leaders rule without opposition. Looking back it all makes sense.  Mr. Meyerholz was ahead of his time!

I have added a scene from the movie The American President. I think it is very appropriate in this situation.  It is the scene near the end of the movie where President Andrew Shepherd addresses some issues that his opponent has questioned him on.  I especially like his explanation of free speech and the way he explains how elections are won.  He doesn’t use the word apathy, but I will.  This seems to be a common theme to me in the articles, especially the Snowden and Assange articles.  Each of these men, in their own way, have brought information to the world and it is up to us to react or not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC2jhQ0KAAU

In the Wired interview Snowden made an excellent point regarding NSA fatigue comparing the mass surveillance leaks to the deaths of troops during a war.  We get used to hearing it and we stop paying attention to it.  It is not news anymore, it is the new normal.  I would argue that the average person does not care that the NSA is listening in on their phone conversations or reading their emails.  I would further argue that they do not believe it is going on in the first place.  Why would our government do this to us?  I live in Hometown, USA and I have nothing to do with terrorist plots so why would the NSA worry itself over what I am doing? Why, indeed.

I have also included a 60 Minutes interview regarding the Edward Snowden data breach.  It offers a different view of Mr. Snowden than the article in Wired.   I realize the NSA has to save face and I understand the badmouthing of Snowden, but it felt odd.  I felt as though they were talking someone I knew.  I had not really paid much attention to him until taking this class.  I just figured he was a traitor pure and simple.  The article about him made his explanation sound so plausible.  This 60 Minutes interview discusses the clean up after he left the NSA.  They had no idea what he had done or even taken.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-snowden-affair/

I couldn’t help but think of Mr. Meyerholz when I was reading the article about Julian Assange.  Mr. Meyerholz would say that we are allowing ourselves to be led around by our noses and that we need to question what is going on.  Julian Assange is trying to do this with WikiLeaks.   His life’s work is bringing information to the people and the people are not paying attention.  For example, he and his staff went to great lengths to edit and share the video Collateral Murder.  Once it was made public the military was able to explain its actions by saying that they had not violated any rules of engagement.

Again, I think it is difficult for the average person to think that the military would do something so criminal.  One point that Khatchadourian made in the article that I think is very important to remember is that, “Assange, despite his claims to scientific journalism, emphasized to me that his mission is to expose injustice, not to provide an even-handed record of events.”  This, I think, may cloud the information that he provides.  He may very well be putting lives in danger and there are those that do not understand that policy.

Any information can be manipulated and used for ill will.  I feel the lesson from the readings this week and Mr. Meyerholz is to question what is being done with the information.  The groundbreaking ceremony under a tent in Utah is a bit suspect!  On the other hand I also think it is funny that the article tells us where the top secret facility is!  I know I have just contradicted myself, but it is a very hard topic to form a solid opinion on.  So I will offer this.  I have heard it said before on more than one occasion that hope is not a strategy.  But I hope that the information that is being collected by the NSA is being used for good and not evil.  I hope the information gathered and leads to stopping future terrorist attacks and saves lives.  I hope, I hope, I hope.

UPDATE!

I just saw this and thought it was interesting.  I wonder if Aaron Portnoy helped Apple out?

Apple finds bug that causes iPhones to crash|Reuters

 

 

 

 


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Community Feel

// Posted by Ginger on 05/23/2015 (8:27 PM)

I think anytime we can get together and discuss ideas and share knowledge it is a good thing.  I think about all of the sites that are availabe to us now that we can use to help us do things… Read more

I think anytime we can get together and discuss ideas and share knowledge it is a good thing.  I think about all of the sites that are availabe to us now that we can use to help us do things such as change the color of our kitchens!  Pinterest sends me updates with decorating tips, Weather.Com sends me updates regarding potential weather issues, Food Lion sends me the sale items for the week, Target sends me Cartwheel updates, NBC 12 alerts me to news bulletins, and the list goes on.  It is hard to imagine a world without all of this community.  It is hard to imagine because we have gotten used to it, but it wasn’t that long ago that we had to wait until Walter Cronkite came on to let us know what happened that day.  Not that long ago at all.   For those of you that were not alive when he was on the news, it was like having your grandfather tell you about what went on in the world that day!   There are some that say the world was better off then, I don’t know if that is true, but I do know it is different.

Community used to be the commune for the members and then it morphed into the WELL.  Same people just a different medium.  Ideas and thoughts were still shared just differently and to a wider audience.  I really liked how Reve Basch described the WELL in this week’s reading when speaking of contacting experts, “I can contact any of them directly, through email, or post a plea for information in a public conference and more often than not, be deluged with insights and informed opinions” (154).  I think this is really nice and the way that things should be, but it is not.

True Story!  Yesterday I went to the quarry in Ruckersville to get samples of soil.  I decided to eat lunch in a restaurant in Orange that a friend of mine owns.  It is called the Dairy Corner.  They serve hamburgers, fries, and of course ice cream.  When I got there I noticed a sign on the door that they were going out of business and their last day was May 31.  I went in and ordered my food and while I was waiting I did what I do when I am alone eating I got out my phone and went to Facebook.  I looked up my friend’s page and found the note that she had posted about the Dairy Corner’s closing.  I read the posts that others had made expressing their sorrow and then I read one that was so mean I could not believe it.  I felt so sorry for my friend because I know she had to have seen it and then I felt sorry for the person that wrote it.  I doubt very seriously that she would come up to my friend and say it to her so why did she think it was okay to post it for everyone to see?  Why do we do that?


Categories: Uncategorized

One big happy family!

// Posted by Ginger on 05/21/2015 (6:43 PM)

This chapter for me was about friends, collegues, and like-minded people sharing ideas.  The people are the same but the location are different.  Instead of a field or a bus the people are meeting and sharing ideas in a virtual community.    From… Read more

This chapter for me was about friends, collegues, and like-minded people sharing ideas.  The people are the same but the location are different.  Instead of a field or a bus the people are meeting and sharing ideas in a virtual community.    From our text, “…individuals could connect to one another without encountering body-based forms of prejudice.  They could come together not in random interactions that characterized life in the material world, but by choice, around shared interests” (159-160).

Exchanging ideas and information what an interesting concept.  The WELL gave the contributors that opportunity.  Turner made this collaboration sound positive and beneficial for everyone that participated.  Is it just me, and it probably is, but it seems so different than online forums today.  There is always someone complaining or making fun of a posting or happening.  There does not seem to be the sense of community or goal towards a common good.  It may also  be, and I am sure it is the places that I visit online.  I would like to make a change and be a part of something positive.  I will share more on that later, probably in class because I am going to need all of y’all to help me!  Online now seems more for entertainment than a place to gain knowledge.  Again, I am sure it is because of the pages that I visit.

I also think it has something to do with my age.  I am more of a talk to someone in person type person to solve problems or share ideas.  Jessie brought up an excellent point Monday night in class.  The tone of an email or post can be misunderstood.   If this happens in person you can explain and you can also read the other person’s expressions.  What made the WELL so successful is that most of the people on there already knew each other.   They were already a part of a community, it just changed location!

It is also important to note what this sense of community and networking led to.  On page 150 of our book, Turner wrote about the differences in the earnings of Silicon Valley and that of the Route 128 area.

 


Categories: Uncategorized

The internet, so close, but yet so far away!

// Posted by Ginger on 05/15/2015 (3:12 PM)

I do not think of the internet as a physical place. You can’t purchase a tee shirt that has “My Parents Went to the Internet and All They Bought Me Was This Lousy Shirt!” on it there.  I know it… Read more

I do not think of the internet as a physical place. You can’t purchase a tee shirt that has “My Parents Went to the Internet and All They Bought Me Was This Lousy Shirt!” on it there.  I know it is all around us and available for free at Starbucks, but I don’t think of it as a place.  Not that long ago when driving you would see signs for motels that offered free Color TV and now it is free wifi, my how far we have come!

I think of the internet as I would an idea, a feeling, a memory, or an opportunity. It is a thing that can be recalled or used, but not a “let’s get in the car and go there” kind of place. At least to me it is not.  When I was a child salesmen would come to the house selling the world to us.  At least the world as the World Book Encyclopedia saw it.  It was the coolest thing to be able to pull the books off of the shelf and look up whatever you wanted.  If it wasn’t in the encyclopedia you probably didn’t need to know about it anyway!

Fast forward almost 40 years and we can all use the internet to find out whatever we want.  Is it a place, I don’t think so, but it a destination to find information.  For instance if I want to know how to can pickles, you can just Google it.  Yes, that is a word!  Many years ago you would learn how to do it from a cookbook or your grandmother.  Let me see what I can find–here is a link I found on YouTube for canning pickles!  Apparently it is his grandmother’s recipe!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz83bdCRoF0

Finally, I think of the internet as freedom.  It is freedom to make choices.  While the video makes making the pickles look relatively easy, I have the freedom to go and buy a jar rather than make them!  I suddenly have a craving for pickles!

 

Rules of Engagement

I am okay now, but I had some difficulty with WordPress at first.  There was some serious User-Error going on!  As I said in class, I really do not like posting to a discussion board, but since we have to do it, make it thoughtful and informative.  I think responding to someone that has a post that you find interesting is great.  At the most responding to 2 people is enough.  I think that word count is not necessary.  The response should be thoughtful and informative just as the post was.  Make it a conversation.  Have some counterpoints.  It should definately be more than, Nice Post!

I like the Friday first post, make it later, let’s say 10:00 pm.  Respond to 1 – 2 people by 10:00 Sunday night.

 

I saw this episode the other night and I thought it would be appropriate for our class!  It is the ultimate answer to the question why?!  Enjoy!

The Cooper-Hofstader Polarization

 

 

 


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