prof. e.

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Archive for the ‘applications’ Category

I Hope I’m Not Being Too Pushy

Posted by prof e on January 9, 2017

attentionNew Years is a time of reflection and looking forward. It is a time to take stock of what is working and what is not…making plans to maximize the good and minimize the bad. I just finished an interesting book…The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu, and, if I may be so bold, I would like to make a suggestion that I think will improve your focus and productivity in 2017. And that suggestion is…..(drum roll)…..change the way you currently give your attention to media.

Media companies want your attention. No great revelation there. Your attention is valuable, and the more of it that they can collect and sell, the more money they make. So they work really hard at finding new ways to collect your attention. Sometimes in tiny fragments (e.g., preroll ads and billboards), and sometimes for long periods at a time (e.g., binge viewing).

Media companies know that you’re busy, and that they can’t always count on you to volunteer your attention. They can’t count on you to remember to go to their website or click on their app. So they devise ways to bring the content to you. This strategy has been around for quite a while and it is known as “pushing” content to the consumer. Rather than counting on the consumer to “pull” in the content that they want, media companies “push” it out to those who have opted in. You have probably opted in to all kinds of push notifications…typically when you initially sign up for some neat bit of content that you want to receive. From that point on, they have permission to push new content to you…to notify you that there’s something new to see, hear, read, etc.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that our attention is not infinite. If we’re going to focus on anything worthwhile, we need uninterrupted attention. We need to be free of the distractions that push media provide. Social media may be the most obvious and blatant example of constant clamoring for your attention, but it’s not the only form of media that is working overtime to suck you in.

You might think that you can handle it…that you can manage several streams of incoming data at the same time. But you would be wrong. All of the research indicates that multi-tasking is a myth. What your brain is doing is switching quickly from one stream to the other, not doing anything particularly well.

There are several ways to reduce this threat and I’ll let you figure out which one works best for you. But I can assure you that taking control of who’s in control of your attention will make you a more focused and productive student (friend/employee/etc.) in 2017.

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Posted in advertising, applications, interactive media, media industry, new media, social media | 1 Comment »

Security v Privacy: Choose Carefully

Posted by prof e on November 18, 2015

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have raised new questions about safety and security in a globally connected world. According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, readily available encryption is easy to use, and impossible to access even by government agents with warrants.

Some of the most powerful technologies are free, easily available encryption apps with names like Signal, Wickr and Telegram, which encode mobile messages from cellphones. Islamic State militants used Telegram two weeks ago to claim responsibility for the crash of the Russian jet in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 224 people, and used it again last week, in Arabic, English and French, to broadcast responsibility for the Paris carnage.

Another report, this one published in the Wall Street Journal, provided the following graphic to show which apps are most secure, and therefore most likely to be deployed by those intent on avoiding the attention of military and police counter-terrorism forces.

TerrorTech

A lower-tech approach to terrorist communications is to use the online gaming platforms, e.g. PS4, to share information. According to this approach the terrorist are counting on the sheer volume of messages using similar violent language to mask their terrorist communications.

Meanwhile the cyber-hacking group Anonymous is waging its own war on ISIS. “Vowing to silence extremist propaganda and expose undercover operatives,” Anonymous claims to have deleted 5,500 Twitter accounts that had been used by ISIS. In a video just released they warned, “Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared.”

According to the WSJ,

The bloodshed in Paris will likely exacerbate a tense debate between governments that want inside access to those encrypted tools and tech companies that say [they] are trying to protect customer data and are wary of government overreach.

What do you think? Does personal privacy trump security, or vice versa?

Posted in 1st amendment, applications, ethics, global media, interactive media, new media, politics | Leave a Comment »

Amazon’s Kindle is on “Fire”

Posted by prof e on September 29, 2011

Amazon just announced its new color media tablet called the Fire…which, at $199, is cheaper than the Nook Color by Barnes & Nobel and much cheaper than the Apple iPad. According to reports, the Android-powered tablet has a 7-inch touchscreen powered by Google’s Android OS. The Fire will be able to access Amazon’s app store where users can download books, music, movies and apps.

Analysts doubt that the Fire will dethrone the iPad which current has more than 70% of the tablet market share. However, other tablet makers will most certainly feel the squeeze from this new entry. Unlike the iPad, the Fire does not have a camera (still or video) and is intended for consumption, not creation. While later models may add features, the current product is aiming for a different audience than those who are in the market for an iPad.

The Fire also has a new browser called Amazon Silk. Web surfing will be faster because of Amazon’s decision to incorporate its “Cloud” of EC2 servers to enhance the browser’s performance. This decision may speed up browsing, but already has some industry experts expressing concerns about privacy.

The Kindle Fire is expected to be available in mid November…just in time for the Christmas shopping season. And for those of you who want your media content experience when you want it, where you want it, and on a screen larger than your smart phone, the Fire may be something to consider.

UPDATE 10.3.11: Here’s a chart comparing e-Book readers.

Posted in applications, interactive media, new media | 52 Comments »

Online prompter…very cool!

Posted by prof e on January 25, 2008

If you’ve ever used a prompter so that you can appear as smart and articulate on camera as your local TV anchor, you know that they are great…but not always readily available. Well, here’s the next best thing. You can turn your desktop or laptop into a makeshift prompter at this website. CuePrompter.com is a free, online app that allows you to input text and then display the scrolling text full-screen. With control over speed, direction and font size this free app is very cool. It even has a mirror image mode for those who may have the means to project the image off of angled one-way glass. But for most of us, setting up our video camera lens just to the side or above our screen–with some distance between us and the screen/lens–will provide decent results. If you’re using your video conferencing camera, e.g. iSight, you’re all set. Check it out at CuePrompter.com!

Posted in applications, video, websites | 7 Comments »