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Electronic Waste

// Posted by on 06/11/2015 (2:59 PM)

I never really thought about what happened to my old electronics when I got rid of them. After this week’s reading and videos I am shocked to know that our old electronics could be harming other people and their… Read more

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I never really thought about what happened to my old electronics when I got rid of them. After this week’s reading and videos I am shocked to know that our old electronics could be harming other people and their environment. I was also shocked to read that these electronic designers are only aiming for their product to last around 5 years.

I think that one way that we could improve the amount of electronics’ that are thrown away each year is by making the products with better parts. If these products are made to last then maybe people will want to keep them longer. I know that this might not always be the case because people may still want the newest product but we could try it. I think a good example is with IPhone’s. Rather than needing to get the actual newest phone, Apple allows you to download the newest operating system on the same older phone. This way you have the most advanced version, just maybe not the latest version of the phone itself.

I can say that I have craved the newest and latest electronic but I usually waited until mine bit the dust before I invested in a new one. I will say though that if I did invest in the newest and latest electronic I would sell/give mine to a friend or give it back to Verizon to refurbish rather than throwing it away. I heard about a program on the radio that allowed people to trade in their old phones to be sent overseas for the soldiers who were away. I think this is an awesome idea and that more companies should practice similar waste managements.

Another suggestion I would have to this crisis is making electronic companies have a department that tends to the old electronics that are being tossed. These company should be required to have a branch of their business that deals with breaking down these old products for recycle. If the company did not want to do this they could be required to give money to another company whose job is to dispose of old electronics.

I think that overall we need to become more aware of this growing issue. With the advancements in technology and want for the newest products I can only imagine how out of hand this problem is going to get in the coming years. People should be worried about this because of the sicknesses that people are encountering in underdeveloped countries. We are responsible for getting these people sick and they cannot afford to get the medical attention they need. Not only are we hurting these people but we are hurting the environment. We cannot recreate the environment so we need to be sure to take care of the one we have.


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Hacked.

// Posted by on 02/17/2013 (11:31 PM)

Identity theft and computer hacking are becoming increasingly prevalent in society. I have multiple friends who often have credit cards cancelled or bank accounts compromised because somebody accessed their information and either used the credit card with authorization or tried… Read more

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Identity theft and computer hacking are becoming increasingly prevalent in society. I have multiple friends who often have credit cards cancelled or bank accounts compromised because somebody accessed their information and either used the credit card with authorization or tried to alter accounts. I have been fortunate enough for this to not happen to me, despite being somewhat naive with my accounts at times. The more I hear about these occurrences though, the more paranoid I get. An article in Wired from last year tells just one tragic story of a personal hacking victim. Mat Honan, a normal American with a family, a job, Apple products and an Amazon account, had his digital life erased for the sake of a practical joke. I found his story somewhat heart-wrenching and indicative of how scary the potential for collateral damage is. Honan’s hackers got access to his Amazon account and used the Amazon information to reset his Apple ID password. The two companies require different information to verify identity, allowing the hackers to get through without knowing the answers to security questions. With the Amazon account information, the hackers deleted Honan’s Gmail account. The Gmail account was only deleted after the hackers obtained access to Honan’s Twitter account. With the Apple ID information, the hackers remotely wiped all of Honan’s devices using the “Find My” application.

Once the Twitter account was taken over, the hackers used it to start trouble and send racist and homophobic tweets to Honan’s followers. Honan created another Twitter account and sent the hackers a personal message @ his old Twitter handle. As it turns out, the hack was not a personal attack, but rather a quest to gain control of Honan’s Twitter handle. In the process, Honan’s entire digital life was erased.

Interestingly enough, almost all of Honan’s frustration and anger about the situation was directed at himself, Apple, and Amazon. He was upset with himself for not backing up everything into the cloud and for using the same prefix for his email accounts, etc. Honan recognized that his accounts could have been more secure. The frustration with Apple and Amazon exposes both of the companies for having a weak security framework. The people at Wired were able to replicate the scenario with instructions from the hackers within minutes.

The implications of Honan’s story are scary. I found myself feeling emotional during the article and frantically thinking about where and how all my information is shared and stored. Just the mere thought of losing all of my songs, photos, documents, and emails is enough to send chills through my entire body. Today, we put so much trust in the Internet and associated entities, but how safe is that? I think it’s definitely too late to transition back to physical/tangible data storage, but how can we be sure that the companies we’re trusting with our “lives” are keeping our best interests in mind? The article made me feel like a slave to the system – just another pawn on the chess board. How can we (as the average consumers) protect ourselves and get the power back for security?

I really recommend reading the entire article!


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In[nova/ven]tion

// Posted by on 02/06/2012 (8:39 PM)

Once finishing Turner’s From Counterculture to Cyberculture, I found myself musing over the difference between invention and innovation. The difference seems simple. An invention is something (a device or process) that has been invented. Whereas, innovation is the application of… Read more

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Once finishing Turner’s From Counterculture to Cyberculture, I found myself musing over the difference between invention and innovation. The difference seems simple. An invention is something (a device or process) that has been invented. Whereas, innovation is the application of new inventions. So why does the thesaurus on my Mac’s dashboard tell me that invention and innovation are synonyms (equivalent words)? Surely Steve Jobs, Apple’s mastermind, knew better than anyone than innovation is not the same as invention. Jobs was innovation.

Unlike most, Jobs had the ability to “Think Differently.” Under his guidance, Apple developed a commercial mouse that could be affordably purchased by the public. The ‘Lisa mouse” as it was called was not the first mouse ever invented. However, it was the first that was built to cost $25 rather than $400 or so created by Xerox. Jobs believed that if could make a mouse that was affordable, people would buy it– he was right.

When it came to computers, Apple was runner up to PCs, until the iMac. Unlike all other computers at the time, iMac was able to change the relationship between people and their computers. Instead of building a computer inside which the hardware hidden, people could see inside Apple’s iMac to the hardware. This allowed a relationship between the hardware and the “i” (or the individual using the personal computer) to develop. Of course, the “i” of “iMac” also stood for internet, only forging an even stronger relationship between people and their computers.

For Jobs and Apple, content was key. Sony already invented the Walkman, a personal music player. Sony had the capability, but not the vision to develop the iPod. Apple had both. Napster was booming, and the music industry wasn’t too enthusiastic about the file-sharing capabilities. Still, it was difficult to play the digital media. That was, until the iPod was unveiled. The iPod was the medium that could play the shared media. This could have really destroyed any relationship Apple hoped to have with the music industry, but he had another step in the plan: iTunes. Apple and the music industry both benefited. Apple made money even after their product was purchased through iTunes. It also made it so accessible, convenient and fairly priced to purchase music that the music industry was again making money on music. Jobs and Apple were able to fulfill everyone’s needs.

And then there was the iPhone which uniquely focused on software rather than hardware, like its competitors. Again, Jobs had the foresight to realize that this new step in technology was not only about the product, but about the Apps. Just as iTunes allowed Apple to produce revenue after the product was purchased. Apps also make using the technology, in this case the iPhone, simpler for the user.

What do you think will be more influential on future technologies: invention or innovation?

 


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