WEEK 13-Hasta La Vista, Baby

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That’s right guys. This is officially the last post on this blog. Feeling a little attached after all these weeks of posting, reflecting on what I learned about the internet.

Looking back, some posts were really interesting to write such as Week 2’s post: The power of social media, as I realised how much the social media can do, especially in this digital age we live in.

Social media can bring people together for a good cause or cause harm to individuals through flaming, threats, cyber-bullying etc. Indeed, it is our responsibility to optimise the internet, like how we are using it for educational purposes in this class!

Another post I found interesting was Week 8’s post: Cyber crimes in Singapore. The research I have done for this post was really insightful as I realised the extent of cyber crimes in Singapore and inevitably became more cautious when shopping online.

Also, after checking out a few of my friend’s blogposts (yes I stalk some of them), I found one of Hanis’ post on the Internet of Things really interesting because she explored some really cool inventions which I totally need in my life. Go check them out!

Finally, here is an interesting video by Wah!Banana that illustrates life with and without the internet, enjoy!

One last time, hasta la vista baby! šŸ™‚

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WEEK 12-Apple vs Microsoft vs Google

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Based on week 12’s lecture slides, I learned that we can know a little more about the future of the internet by understanding theĀ innovation and innovators. Indeed, we can predict the future trend of the internet by watching out for the new products launched by a few big companies which essentially dominate the market. In particular, we touched on the business models of Apple, Microsoft and Google in classĀ and I decided to research further into how they dominate the market.

I found out that all three companies rely on unique product offerings to generate the bulk of their revenues, and each has tried to break into the others’ markets with alternative services and varying degrees of success.

In 2015, all three companies offer a phone, tablet, TV-based operating system and a desktop operating system. Each firm is rapidly competingĀ for a place in cloud-based technology. Google still performs best with business and information revenue since AdSense sells far better than Microsoft’s Bing Ads or Apple’s iAd-which has been discontinued since 30 June this year.

Even though they compete across a huge range of subindustries, such as computing software, hardware, operating systems, mobile devices, advertising, applications and Web browsing, each firm takes a different approach from an organisational and philosophical perspective.

For instance, the Apple model is all about Dominance and Risk, and of course, thinking differently.

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It is difficult to recall a modern American business so thoroughly dominated by the ideas and personality of one individual as Apple and Steve Jobs. Jobs’ remarkable innovations propelled AppleĀ to unprecedented heights until his sudden passing. During Steve Jobs’ second reign, Apple returned to relevancy and revolutionised multiple subindustries. It took over the Walkman industry from Sony and completely redefined mobile phones when the iPhone was released. AppleĀ also practically invented the tablet industry by introducing the iPad series.

Jobs was also ruthless about using patents, litigation, intimidation and other hardball tactics to limit competition, and his successors are no different. This has led to more than one protracted legal battle, including some high-profile clashes with Samsung, but it hasĀ greatly benefitted Apple’s effort in gaining dominance of the market.

Apple easily beats its competitors in terms of hardware sales and high-end gadgets. Thanks to the company’s early 2000s reputation as a nonconformist response to Microsoft, millennials grew up using Macs in large numbers. More than Google or Microsoft, Apple can rely on a loyal consumer base. This is buoyed by the company’s brilliant insistence on integrating its products, making it easier and almost instinctive to keep using new Apple products and simultaneously more difficult to switch to a competitor’s interface; this is sometimes referred to as the “Apple Ecosystem Lock.”

As compared to Apple, Microsoft takes a newer approach in doing business and innovation.

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For years, Microsoft dominated the computer industry with its Windows software; Apple was an afterthought for more than a generation of operating products. Before Google Web browsing began to dominate the market, Microsoft gave away Internet Explorer for free and drove Netscape out of business.

The Microsoft revenue model historically relied on just a few key strengths. The first, and most important, is the licensing fees charged for use of the Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite. After a few years of increasing irrelevance in the race against Google and Apple, Microsoft unveiled a new vision in April 2014, instantly shifting focus to make Windows software more compatible with competitor products, such as the iPad. Microsoft also has a few successful products, highlighted by the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro, that challenge Apple devices.

Moving forward, however, Microsoft realises it cannot simply stick with the same old method and continue to compete with Apple and Google. Paid software is a more difficult to sell in an age of low-cost alternatives. Additionally, tablets and phones are replacing PCs. A newer Microsoft business model has been telegraphed by CEO Satya Nadella, one that emphasises product integration and a “freemium” software package.

For example, Microsoft wants customers to be more engaged and fixated on its products. In 2015, CMO Chris Capossela explained this concept with a simple example: “Rather than using Skype on Sunday night to phone home, you are using Skype for messaging 15, 20, 30 times every single day. That’s engagement.”

Lastly, the Google model may familiar to most of us, as they envisionĀ an accessible database for everyone, for free.

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Unsurprisingly, the heart and soul of the Google revenue stream is its search engine and Web advertisements. While Google is not the only company to give away free services and bundle them with other goods, few do it as well or as successfully.

Google services do not cost the user anything. Instead, Google lures in users and collects their data, and then sells access to eager buyers across the planet. Every marketing firm in the world wants the kind of information and repeat usage Google enjoys. Moreover, the company keeps getting better and more sophisticated at targeting consumers and businesses, syncing preferences and playing economic matchmaker.

This no-fee model is not just profitable, it is very disruptive to Apple and especially to Microsoft. While Apple and Microsoft keep competing to find better and more innovative products to charge consumers, Google is all too happy to find a way to monetise activities for which users are eager to stop paying.

Google does not charge for Android, which is one of the chief reasons manufacturers are so drawn to it. The Google Web apps, which bear a striking resemblance to Office programs, are also free. Since Google began offering a free operating system and computer software, sales for Microsoft Windows and Office have slowed and, in the long term, threaten to die out.

Indeed, all 3 big companies offer various benefits to consumers, improving our lifestyle and the way we use the internet, yet threatens our use of internet in one way of another, be it our privacy or our unsusceptibility to their business marketing strategies. Through their business models, we gain an insight into the vision and strategies employed by the company, making us more informed users of the internet.
To end off, here is a video that compares Apple and Microsoft marketing advertisements, see if you can notice any similarities between the two and you will realise how one business affects another, and potentially impactsĀ the future of the internet, helping us as consumers, predict upcoming trends.

WEEK 11-Will there be gender equality in the future?

One of the post that was shared with us last week regarding the Internet of Things (IoT) was an interesting article named “What are the 10 biggest global challenges?”.

Just like what I mentioned last week about IoT, we are living in an increasingly connected world, with both humans and machines. The internet is changing the way we live, work, produce and consume. With such extensive reach, many experts have proposed the idea of usĀ entering the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a technological transformation driven by a pervasiveĀ and portableĀ internet. The challenge however, is to manage this change in a way that promotes the long-term health and stability of the internet.

Within the next decade, it is expected that more than a trillion sensors will be connected to the internet.

By 2025, 10% of people are expected to be wearing clothes connected to the internet and the first implantable mobile phone is expected to be sold.

If almost everything is connected, it will transform how we do business and may help us manage resources more efficiently and sustainably.

However, with the recent uproar of the US elections, it seems that the efficient allocation of resources may be a big issue.Ā As Donald Trump wins the US election, what’s ahead for women, Muslims, Hispanics and immigrants may not be favourable.

Hence, I would recommend anyone believing in Trump’s ideology to see this post, because many research studies are suggestingĀ that rising income inequality is the cause of economic and social ills, ranging from low consumption to social and political unrest, and is damaging to our future economic well-being.

Also, achieving gender equality isn’t just a moral issue ā€“ it makes economic sense. Equality between men and women in all aspects of life, from access to health and education to political power and earning potential, is fundamental to how societies thrive.

Although we are getting closer to gender parity, change isn’t happening fast enough. For the past decade, the World Economic Forum been measuring the pace of change through the Global Gender Gap Report, and at current rates, it would take the world another 118 years ā€“ or until 2133 ā€“ to close the economic gap entirely.

There has been a significant increase in awareness of the importance of gender parity and much has been done by international organization, civil society, governments and business.

However, often the work centres on single-issue awareness-raising campaigns. Existing work also frequently involves either cooperation between different public bodies or different private bodies.

More needs to be done to bridge the gap and facilitate cooperation between the public and private sectors. As individuals, we can start by treating everyone without any discrimination, collaborating with one another to make the world a better place in future!

WEEK 10- Rise of the Machines

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Last week, we talked about the Internet of Things (IoT) in class and I have always been interestedĀ in the future of technology, especially with the influence of sci-fi films like Minority Report and the Terminator franchise which almost always tops box office with its new series. (Ok I may be a little biased here.) For those of you who haven’t watched any of the Terminator franchise, you are really missing out. I would recommend everyone to at least watch Terminator 2: Judgement day, and decide if you love it or not.

However, since we talked about the IoT last lesson, I thought the third franchise, Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines would be more appropriate to introduce in this blog post. Check out the trailer below!

Just like what we covered in class, IoT is ā€œThings having identities and virtual personalities operating in smart spaces using intelligent interfaces to connect and communicate within social, environmental, and user contextsā€.

Rarely depicted visually in any of the TerminatorĀ series, Skynet gained self-awareness after it had spread into millions of computer servers all across the world; realizing the extent of its abilities, its creators tried to deactivate it. In the interest of self-preservation, Skynet concluded that all of humanity would attempt to destroy it and impede its capability in safeguarding the world. Its operations are almost exclusively performed by servers, mobile devices, drones, military satellites, war-machines, androids and cyborgs (usually a Terminator), and other computer systems. This potentially means that Skynet is able to infiltrate into any device that has access to a network, and take control over it.

As a programming directive, Skynet’s manifestation is that of an overarching, global, artificial intelligence hierarchy (AI takeover), which seeks to exterminate the human race in order to fulfil the mandates of its original coding.

Essentially, SkynetĀ is a highly advanced artificial intelligence which saw humanity as a threat to its existence after gaining self-awareness and decided to trigger the nuclear holocaust Judgment Day and deploy an army of Terminators against humanity.

Even though we talked about the benefits of the IoT in class, I decided to post something that leaned on the darker side of technological advancements. This film suggests the danger of AI and the IoT and seemĀ to be warning people against such advancements in technology. Indeed, just like what Moore’s law suggests, computers, machines that run on computers, and computing power will all become smaller and faster with time, andĀ will experience an exponential growth every year.

This may sound like good news to many computer manufacturers or to the IT industry in general, but all may not be good news in time to come. Just like what the Terminator franchise suggest, people could generate systems and makeĀ things beyond theirĀ control, posing threat to humanity and realising it only after the harm has been made. Ultimately, it is up to us humans to know our limits and make the ethical decision when designing these systems. Hopefully, all these futuristic sci-fi films can help us see the potential danger in technology and aid us in making the world a better place without compromising our humanity in any way.

WEEK 9-Night Terrors AR

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Have you ever wanted to live in a survival horror game?

Imagine this. You are home alone. It’s the middle of the night and all the lights are off. You creep down the hallway with one hand dragging along the wall, your phone serving as a makeshift flashlight. You hear a young girl’s voice whisper from the bedroom and suddenly feel a chill down your spine. You pause. Your heart pounds. You creep forward, holding the phone higher, when suddenly, a high-pitched voice shrieks as your phone’s light starts rapidly flashing and a deformed headless man starts chasing you. You drop your phone. Game over.

That is the basic premise of ‘Night Terrors’, a mobile game app that takes augmented reality away to a whole new level, putting you inside an immersive survival horror experience.

Made by Novum Analytics, ‘Night Terrors’ is crazy ambitious. It uses your phoneā€™s accelerometer, camera, flash, microphone, gyroscope, and GPS to make an accurate map of your house as you play. This means the ā€œaugmentedā€ haunted house in the game is accurate to your real house, and the games effects are custom tailored to your real life.

Like Pokemon Go, you have to interact with the real world to play. Instead of catching Pokemon, you are running away from ghosts. As you wander, you will encounter strange things based on that map of your house. You play by looking at the world through your screen, while the app adds various effects to the environment to spook you out. If you always wanted to be part of a survival horror game, look no further – ‘Night Terrors’ promises you this experience, IN YOUR OWN HOME.

The gameā€™s developers claim that the app can scan the layout of a playerā€™s house to customize scares. It also has the ability to manipulate your phone by taking strange pictures and sending creepy texts.

The game controls what you see, what you hear, and where you go. You need to be in a pitch black environment to start playing. Your device’s LED is all the light you get. The camera and microphone feeds are analyzed and processed in real time. Photo-realistic elements are added to the camera feed. Instead of using computer-generated imagery (CGI), the ghosts are all “practical effects” made from physical objects. This means that the waterfall painting you have hanging behind your sofa could potentially turn into a ghost that comes haunting you.

You also need to put in your headphones when playing this game because the sound adds to the whole experience. The audio is spatialized, mixed with the microphone feed, and then routed to the headphones delivering an immersive binaural audio experience. This allows you to be immersed in the spooky sounds and frequencies in 360Ā°, all around you.

There is also an added bonus for Apple Watch users. The game analyzes their heartbeat to increase the scares right as your heart starts racing. In other words, the goal will be to keep your heartbeat down so the ghosts wonā€™t be able to hear. A super cool add-on that isnā€™t a requirement for the game, but definitely adds another unique layer to the overall experience.

Thinking of transforming your home into a haunted house yet?

WEEK 8-Cyber Crimes in Singapore

Last week, we covered internet security in class and I was most intrigued by those famous hackers like Kevin Mitnick. They have very competent computer skills but resort to crimes to showcase their talents. A famous case in Singapore took place in 2013, where a computer hacker who called himself ā€˜The Messiahā€™ carried out a series of cyber-attacks on major government websites in Singapore like the Peopleā€™s Action Partyā€™s Community Foundation, the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, the Prime Ministerā€™s website and the blog of The Straits Times reporter Irene Tham.

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In this digital age, cyber crime is so prevalent that even the most secure networks or sites are no longer foolproof. Other than ‘The Messiah’, online commerce crimes have been on the rise due to the convenience of e-commerce.

Massive discounts on products, exclusive online offers etc are scams that victims easily fall prey to on platforms like Carousell-a mobile marketplace app, Gumtree-an online classifieds site and Facebook.

This convenience has inevitably allowed scammers to post fake listings on their profile and demand payments from victims before the goods are even received.

Many victims fall prey to the attractive offer and don’t realise that these offers are too good to be true. Only after they have made payment and realised the seller has gona missing do they find out that they have been scammed. By the time they realised, it’s already too late.

E-commerce cheating have been on the rise and many of the cases involved purchases of mobile phones or tickets, just like what is illustrated above.

Apart from online commerce crimes, many victims also fall prey to internet love scams, dazzled by the promises made by the cheat. A notable case in Singapore was when ‘Mary’, an administrator in her 50s, remitted 1.2 million to a cheat she met on Facebook. To consistently remit money to ‘Tom’, her ‘love interest’ from America who was an engineer and investor, Mary resorted to taking out unsecured loans from banks, and her insurance. Eventually, she lost all of her savings and ended up in a huge debt.

These are but some of the examples of cyber crimes in Singapore. As of this year, Singaporeā€™s crime rate rose up by 4% in 2015, and this is mostly driven by cybercrime. Governmental agencies have been increasing public’s awareness of such crimes by displaying posters and transmitting related information and advertisements through media outlets.

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These posters advocates public’s knowledge of such crimes and aim to reduce the number of cyber crimes in Singapore. Even though Singapore is considered a safe country by many, we should never let out guards down because everybody is vulnerable to cyber crime in this day and age.

To end off, here is a video by Night Owl Cinematics, teaching the public to identify scams before it’s too late and to not fall prey to such crimes!

WEEK 6-MY OWN VIDEO!

This week, we were tasked to upload a video that we have edited.

I decided to use VivaVideo, a mobile app to help me consolidate a few photos and make them into a slideshow because it was really easy to edit everything with a single app.

I’ve used Mayday-äŗ”ęœˆå¤© song: 伤åæƒēš„äŗŗåˆ«å¬ę…¢ę­Œ as background music because I love their songs šŸ™‚

Enjoy the video! You can also click on the link below to watch it on YouTube!

Link to video: https://youtu.be/DA5bLPexumU

Feel free to leave any comments! šŸ™‚