Presidential Visit to the University of Wisconsin

A note to all readers: unlike my other posts, this one is entirely opinion-based (not related to technology whatsoever) and should be read as such. As always, comments are expected and encouraged.

As I write this, I am taking shelter from the impending rain in a cafe outside the University of Wisconsin’s communications building, sipping a double espresso and watching crowds of liberal voters walk by. The vast majority of them are headed to Bascom hill to see the ‘leader of the free world’ give a speech about why he should be reelected.  Continue reading

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Apple’s iPhone 5: ‘The Biggest Thing to Happen to iPhone Since iPhone’? (EDITED)

iPhone 5 Dimensions. Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.

In 2007, thousands upon thousands of people stood in line for hours to witness the advent of Apple’s first iPhone. It was considered to be revolutionary (and marketed as such). Being only 15 years old at this point, I remained unenthused. To begin with, I didn’t have an income to afford such a luxury. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with my SideKick 3, but I knew that only the richest students in my school would buy the iPhone. Few would, especially knowing there would be connectivity/signal problems given how isolated we were, nestled between the mesas in Sedona, Arizona. I didn’t give in to the pressure of everyone around me using the same technology provided by the iPhone until I finally asked for the iPhone 4 as a birthday gift from my mother nearly two years ago. I am not much for following ‘fads’, but I quite like my iPhone. The question now becomes: Will the iPhone 5 be worth the switch? Continue reading

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Wartime Journalism in the Digital Age

On April 19th, 2009, the New York Times published an audio slideshow online. The narrator was a soldier stationed in Afghanistan who spoke of one particular experience in which he and his company were ambushed. During the firefight, one soldier was shot and killed. After they had come back to find their lost companion, the narrator mentioned that they were relieved in spite of the fact that he was dead, if only because they knew he where he was and that he had not been captured.

View Article.

I think that one of the benefits of having this kind of media to portray a story like this is that it does feel very personal. Photos of the soldiers moving through wooded areas and sliding down slippery slopes were taken such that you almost feel you were there. This story was told almost from the bottom up, as the narrator mentioned a few specific facts before giving a bigger overview of what happened. Personally, however, I prefer the ‘inverted triangle’ of reporting. I think that it makes the story clearer to start out with the broader details and, building on specificity, so that readers who are more interested can read on and find out the more definite details. Continue reading

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Competing Application Platforms

Technology is moving exceptionally quickly, or so it has seemed lately. With the advent of the iPhone and Android smartphones, software once only available for use on computers is now accessible through mobile devices. Even gaming consoles like Microsoft’s xBox 360 can now access applications downloaded from the Web, like Netflix and Facebook. It seems like most things that people use every day are now able to do this. There are refrigerators with touch screens and access to Twitter, and cars that can play music from web-based radio applications like Pandora. What will be next? Continue reading

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Free Games Are Some of the Most Highly Grossing

It seems like everyone in the world enjoys playing games from time to time. For users of mobile devices like Android-powered or Apple iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as gamers using Facebook, we can now play games on the go. The best part, however, is that many of these games are free. Why is it, then, that some of these free games are some of the highest grossing applications? The answer is in-game purchases. While downloading and playing the game in its simplest form may not require any purchases, there tend to be options to buy things like in-game coins, stars, gems, or whatever it is that you can use to get ahead in the game. Some games even have a kind of glass ceiling that, once you reach it, you cannot move forward without purchasing additional content. Once you have used them up, they must be replaced to continue playing, and this all costs your hard-earned money in real life. Continue reading

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Web-based marketplaces streamline purchases

Technology is ever-changing, and at times can be difficult to predict. Recently, however, websites like the Amazon Marketplace and etsy.com have made it easy for small business owners, aspiring artists and artisan crafters to sell their products over the internet. This enables them to reach a vast audience of consumers, to tailor their advertisements based on the search keywords that bring people to their sites, as well as creating interest based on affiliation with other web-based stores. Sites like these also make it easier for consumers to find exactly what they are looking for, and compare prices. Reviews and average ratings can say a lot about a particular product, or even a seller in general. Continue reading

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Facebook’s Stock- Why did it fall apart?

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about Facebook’s stock and it’s dropping value. One possible explanation has to do with inconsistencies in ad space. Facebook makes money through ads on every page. These ads are tailored to the person using the page based on browser history and even subjects mentioned on the site itself. Most of the people who use Facebook, however, access their profiles on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets through Android or iOS applications. There are many third-party applications that can do this, but only one is sponsored by Facebook itself. Continue reading

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QR Codes – Could you be opening virus links?

Lately, QR codes have been everywhere. You can find them on business cards, print advertisements, even t-shirts. A QR code is a square matrix of black square dots that is used to store information like text, web URLs and even phone numbers. Most commonly, though, they are used to direct people to a website in order to make purchases, gain information or, in some cases, get someone to open a webpage equipped with viruses. These viruses can compromise your security and allow hackers access to passwords and personal information like credit card numbers. How can you avoid this problem? Download a QR scanner that will allow you to preview the URL first, to make sure you trust the website it will direct you to.

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