Personal and Professional Portfolio

Previous Experience

I have always had from an early age a flare for how things work and technology. This interest has allowed me to develop self-motivation. When starting out with computers I was at first nervous about them. I didn’t feel very comfortable using them because I was delving into the unknown.

I was around 10 years old when I first started using a Windows based PC, previously it was a BBC and Acorn Archimedes computers.

bbc_computer

bbc_computer

acorn_archimedes

acorn_archimedes

Any problems I have faced I have had to gain the confidence in order to fix. This has allowed me to become self-reliant in this area. I still need to improve my confidence in other areas.

The course as a whole

My main experience before enrolling on the course was with IT maintenance, Web, Photoshop and Quark.

I started this course in order to gain new software and design skills. As the content of the course is very broad, I feel the course has opened me up to lots of different subject areas, that I doubt I would have tried before. The only reason being I didn’t have any resource or reason to try them. This would be in particular the 3D suites such as 3D Studio Max, Mayia and Mudbox. These suites require a lot of time and effort to get to know them. This is mainly down to the GUI (Graphic User Interface) being poorly designed. When looking at products such as Cinema 4D it feels a much more user friendly. I personally would have preferred to start with Cinema 4D as it really feels you have a mountain to climb otherwise.

I also delved into Adobe Flash which I found more friendly than I expected. As I managed to grab the basics fairly quickly I think I could advance further developing the skills in my own time.

When working with Action Script which is incorporated into Flash. I personally found it pretty unforgiving. I became rather frustrated with it due to how simple things would take me a long time. However with some perseverance I shall work at it more to make sure I don’t write it off too quickly. I’ve had frustrations with other parts of technology particularly Operating Systems and the only way to overcome it is to work at it.

As I have been exposed to lots of different technologies it has been rather difficult to decide which route to take. I believe I have gained  the experience and knowledge necessary to now specialize in particular areas.

The Modules

The presentations on the whole I felt were a bit too much. In the sense that there was such a lot to take in. I find I learn more when watching the person presenting rather than being distracted trying to write down as fast as possible what they’re saying. I do have a very good memory and anything that is of high importance I am able to obtain or write down after the presentation has finished.

I do feel that a recording of the presentations would have helped the audience as a lot of detail had to be covered in such a short space of time. If this has been made available it would have been a good port of reference material.

Product Feedback

As part of validating my products success I created a small questionnaire in order to obtain some feedback. If I had more time I would have done this on a much larger scale. The feedback that I did get was helpful and sufficient.

The main points from the feedback were the information I had provided was very easy to digest. My explanations were clear and concise even to those new to the subject.

I would have liked to develop the product and discuss it more but due to a limited word count I had to be concise and to the point.

As added improvements I would have liked to add a “jargon buster” box in order to explain some terms.

Overall I believe I argued my points well and had I more space I would have included more images to break the text up. However in this product the content was the most important.

How I learn

As I have been in education for many years now, I have been able to uncover the ways in which I work best. In some cases the ways in which I learn best aren’t always presented to me. As a result of this I will do my best to source this information from different types of media.

Spelling: This has changed slightly as I have got older. I usually rely on visually recalling the spelling in my mind. If that fails I will say it aloud and try and deduce from that phonetically.

Communication and Concentration: I prefer to listen and keep as much eye contact with the person speaking. This allows me to take everything in rather than being distracted for example taking notes. I find I can recall much more by observing and then writing notes down as opposed to vice versa. I don’t feel I’m taking everything in when writing down notes. If the subject is something new and in depth I have to heighten my attention or my mind may wonder elsewhere.

After a presentation I would much prefer having a test or exercise to try out what I have learned. That way I can see for myself the areas I need to improve straight away. If this is not possible a list of bullet points should be provided.

Computer Applications: Where possible I will spend as much time trying out the software and finding out for myself each function. Once I feel I have a firm understanding I will then look at instruction manuals or the Internet for further information. I usually find tutorials fairly easy to follow and any questions I may have, are researched. When I have exhausted all possible avenues I will then ask someone who I know or post on a forum.

What restricts me

Briefs: It can take me sometime to understand what a brief is asking. I like them detailing what is required using bullet points. If it is just a block of text I can find it hard to break down by myself. I may spend a few days just mulling over what and the amount is required. Once I have a firm understanding I can remember the brief word for word.

Confidence in ability: I will often over analyze how I work and compare myself to others. As I have matured I am trying my best to just become an individual and show my skills for what they’re.

Too much information that isn’t varied: When discussing areas I am unfamiliar I prefer to get a general grasp of them first. If information is just bombarded at me I’m likely to go off the subject altogether. This just wastes time.

What helps me learn

Fully understanding: When I fully understand the task at hand it allows me to perform much better. If this isn’t the case I will constantly get doubtful comments in my mind. It can make it very difficult to work and the only solution I have found is to keep asking until I get the answers I need.

Feedback: When getting feedback from people whom I trust and appreciate their advice it gives me a confidence boost to do more. I can find it hard at times when I am unsure to motivate myself.

What I have learned and the future

The course has allowed me to get to know more of my own ability and areas in which I need to improve. As I have been shown various subject areas it has given me a better idea of the things I enjoy  and work well with.

My next step is to continue working with the software I have used and improve the ways in which I work. Although this course has allowed me to build up a portfolio, I feel it is just a starting point and will set out to improve and update it. I am beginning to get a feel of where I want to go in my life and most importantly I want to keep it varied. In order to stick with something the last thing I want is to feel it is becoming repetitive.

I am awaiting a response on whether a PC building course will be running at the college in September. If it is, I shall enroll on it and whilst studying look at my job options and the qualifications that will get me that interview.

When I feel comfortable I would ideally like to freelance but I want to make sure I have a secure income before I make that step. I have to ensure my health is well looked after as stress can make me become unwell.

As a designer I have also learnt one very important message. That everyone is individual with their design and providing you create the effect that you intend then who is to say that is right or wrong.

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Web standards compliant browser

The Internet has vastly become  a standard tool in our home. In Great Britain alone 16.05 million homes have access to the Internet. This is an average increase from 2004 to 2008 of 1 million per year. Although it is becoming extremely popular that isn’t to say it isn’t without its major flaws. Whilst there are many standards for connecting to the web, accessing and displaying information can be very different.

In order to browse most of the Internet, a user will launch a Web browser which is either installed as part of their Operating System or from another developers website.

For many years the market has been dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. A major reason for this is due to the fact it comes installed with Microsoft Windows out of the box. Microsoft Windows is currently installed in over 88% of all computers. This makes it the most dominating by miles.

It’s a rather simple but clever method of dominating a market. The fact that it requires little to no setup at all most users are just inclined to use it. Why should they download other browsers when they already have one? That’s a hurdle that other browser developers have had to overcome.

A trick Mozilla and its users tried was to target only Internet Explorer users. This was done by specific code identifying the browser. When true, the user would see a “Internet Explorer sucks, why not try Firefox now”

Many websites were also created outlining the benefits of switching to Firefox an example would be http://www.switch2firefox.com

I personally refused to be influenced by this kind of advertising. If software is going to win me over it will do so by me testing it out and not because it’s cool or someone thinks I need it.

The issue I would like to raise today is something that you’re unlikely to have heard or care about. Though if you work within the web industry, the chances are you will have at least read one article on the matter.

This supplement if nothing more should give you an understanding of what problems a web designer faces.

What is it? A browser coding standard.

A Web browser coding standard is something I have wanted to see for a very long time. Although it is gradually starting to take an affect. The constant problem is that many Web browsers exist and like to play by their own rules.

Now, lets make this clear it isn’t how the browsers look themselves. That has very little to no effect on how web pages are displayed.

A key misconception of a website is that it exists as one whole. It simply doesn’t. All content on a web page is linked together using code that is translated by the browser. If you imagine a speaker and two journalists from different countries. As the speaker is giving his presentation the journalist will translate and give their picture to the reader once published.

Now, imagine the journalist doesn’t actually like what the speaker is saying. How about they beef it up a little so that readers will buy the newspaper?

That’s very much how a web browser works. It collects the information from a file, reads it and then displays it to the best of its knowledge. However if there are discrepancies between browser developers on how each bit of code is interpreted results can vary considerably. As soon as the browser tries to be individual the more impractical it becomes. Is it not up to the designer to be the individual and push the browser?

This is to say the least from a designers perspective inconvenient. As the designer will spend much of his time working around the problems the browsers display. Not all the problems will be serious, and as other users face and share them more can be done to resolve them.

However, in an ideal world a designer should be able to create a page and simply know how it’s going to look to its users. Why we haven’t got to this stage is rather beyond me. In many cases it’s probably down to pure laziness and money.

The problem is never going to be perfect due to many different setups of personal computer. OS, Screen Resoloution, browser customization etc.

However it needs a strong platform to come back to, to reduce the problems and put the design back into web design.

Over the years their has been noticeable progression but it is a long way from being perfect.

That isn’t to say all browsers aren’t compliant to a set standard. The World Wide Web Consortium (http://www.w3.org/Consortium/) are doing their upmost to set the standard. Many browsers do take this inton consideration and Mozilla Firefox are giving their best efforts to comply. However no browser is 100% standards compliant.

That isn’t to say I want one company to have full control of the web and how it is viewed. A prime example would be the merge between Adobe and Macromedia. Adobe no longer seems to feel it has any real competition since it soaked up Macromedia. With the competition paid off, Adobe thinks it can dictate to the industry however it likes. As designers we should be able to decide what we want and how we go about it.

In the printing industry there’s a standard for sending documents to print. A PDF (Portable Document Format) is cross platform and most DTP software is able to export as PDF. Why does this matter? It sets a software platform that everyone can comply to whilst still allowing the designer to have creative freedom. When you’re working with different Operating Systems the differences in code and formats can be difficult. It may limit you, or not work at all.

It begs the question why hasn’t the web gone down this route? I don’t want to make design streamlined in any way. We should all be able to express our individual tastes. The problem with a standard being absent is that it slows down the design process, in my opinion unnecessarily.

It isn’t just the designers whom are affected either. From a user point of view it can be rather confusing as to which browser to go for. A high percentage of users seem to just go for what’s in front of them.

It’s time for companies to be individual but also work together and keep in mind an end goal for the designers sake, mute their arrogance and think about what the industry needs and where it is heading.

The affect on society, short and long term.

At this current time, if managed correctly then the impact on the individual user should be fairly small. However when users aren’t taken into consideration real problems can occur. An example of this would be isolating content to a specific browser. Those who are tech savvy shouldn’t have a problem upgrading or changing a browser. What about those who don’t want change though, what then?

Do we just ignore them, believe if they’re too stubborn to upgrade then they’re not worth the hassle, or do we help and develop a platform that doesn’t mean they have to constantly change?

As an industry it is our job to make our work as accessible as possible.

This action could come from a company or from a community. The Open Source software and licenses has really  changed the development of software.

I think the fact that many web development applications (although not required) have incorporated WYSIWYG editors is a sign that designers need to see what they’re working with.

When developing web pages I hate creating blind and feel this pressure on how the browser is going to interpret my vision. There’s nothing more soul destroying for me when you have a clear vision in your head of the design you want only to find that a said browser doesn’t support said functionality.

There’s a high business element when creating a website. As with most products you need to consider a target market as anything too general will fall by the waist side.

This is made more complex by the fact that you had to decide either statistically or experience which browsers they’re most likely to be running. A standard would solve that you could be sure that user was running a specific software and that could handle the complications.

In many ways the web system is too simple compared to a programming language. It needs to be expandaded. Are users and developers prepared for this to happen?

A web browser is something that gets a lot of treatment in terms of development. I feel this has increased over the years due to competition. When one browser gets updated with a particular feature, others will follow suit. The standard features are constantly changing due to user demand.

There are two main solutions to the problems, none of them would be perfect but I feel it would be a major step at least.

The first step would be for all browsers to use the same engine. This could be impractical in many ways and may even take away the advantages to each browser.

The second option would be to develop a browser with a different approach. I would like to discuss the main objectives and ideas below.

The main goal of the browser at first would need to be backwards compatibility with existing and future pages. It would be ludicrous to think that with a launch of one new browser the Internet would suddenly change. As a company or individual, many would have reasons for and against changing their website, others simply wouldn’t like change. The browser in some way would need to incorporate an engine that was backwards compatible with older browsers and/or websites. The engine would comply to existing W3C standards. More information on this can be found here: http://www.w3.org

This of course would require a substantial amount of work and as such is why I’m suggesting it be shared freely around the world. I believe the project would benefit from being Open Source. It’s imperative that the product receives as much support as possible. A strong community with users bouncing ideas of one another evolves the product. If there’s a lack of communication issues simply get missed and this will only be noticed by users steering clear.

What would make the new browser stand out from the rest would be the fact it was creating its own new standard. My vision would be to create a file with very similar characteristics as a PDF. However, it would be specifically optimized for the web.

To accompany the browser, design tools could be produced such as WYSIWYG editors giving designers more freedom and creativity.

The file would also be able to input user code for those wanting more advanced functions.

Finally it would also need support for third party software such as Adobe AIR, Flash, Windows Media Player and Apple’s Quicktime.

Keeps OS issues to a minimum

Printing made easier

Copyright control

Customization

WYSIWYG software soon out of date in current time

New technology working on old

Noah Wardrip-Fruin

http://martybugs.net/smoothwall/puttyvnc.cgi

http://www.noahwf.com/agent/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pdf

http://etherpad.com

http://capsool.com

http://webdesign.about.com/od/beginningcss/tp/reasons_to_learn_css.htm?nl=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_engine

http://www.switch2firefox.com

http://lifehacker.com/software/feature/special-top-ten-reasons-to-switch-to-firefox-126313.php

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3513_7-5515107-1.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohlt9RdGmWI&search=firefox

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp

http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2239575/firefox-proves-hit-vnunet-com

http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/04/01/browser.wars.tighten/

http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2238941/firefox-hit-web-enthusiasts

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3309543.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems

http://onestat.com/

http://www.atinternet-institute.com/en-us/index-0-2-0-0.html

http://www.atinternet-institute.com/en-us/internet-users-equipment/operating-systems-december-2006/index-1-2-7-69.html

http://www.atinternet-institute.com/en-us/internet-users-equipment/operating-systems-february-2009/index-1-2-7-165.html

http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8

http://newswires.vnunet.co.uk/c/13DoDgwjtKQcSE3NX

http://www.w3.org/

http://acid3.acidtests.org/

http://www.webstandards.org/

http://webstandardsgroup.org/standards/

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13846_3-10033043-62.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_standards

http://www.winbeta.org/comments.php?shownews=18996

http://blogs.zdnet.com/web2explorer/?p=260

http://www.wordpress.com

http://standardweb.wordpress.com/2005/05/09/design-with-web-standards-is-boring/

http://maxbroderick.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/new-zealand-e-goverment-web-standards/

http://www.e.govt.nz/standards/web-guidelines/

http://books.google.com/books?id=wUGTSdey6TwC

http://www.mozilla.com

https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Firefox_3_for_developers

http://lzanne.wordpress.com/2007/04/14/web-standards-its-about-quality-not-compliance/

http://blog.jemm.net/2007/12/20/internet-explorer-8-passes-now-acid2/

http://www.switched.com/2009/03/13/microsoft-declares-ie8-fastest-browser-world-laughs

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/webstandards2008

http://mkucmierz.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/web-standards/

http://scullyb.wordpress.com/2007/03/30/web-standards-checklist/

http://www.maxdesign.com.au/presentation/checklist.htm

http://feliciapeters.wordpress.com/2007/09/07/web-standards/

http://kguthrie.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/the-importance-of-web-standards/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3276621.stm

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/2990-79-2-percent-of-uk-internet-connections-via-broadband.html

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/intc0207.pdf

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/index.html

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=107427

http://www.prlog.org/10197174-uk-broadband-penetration-breaks-95-us-broadband-penetration-grows-to-934.html

http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/0902/

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/intc0209.pdf

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/inta0806.pdf

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/iahi0808.pdf

http://www.forrester.com/rb/researchhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2007/12/opera-tries-to-force-ie-into-w3c-compliance-with-eu-complaint-firefoxs-success-may-work-against-it.ars

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Information for a whole nation

The need for information has always been around us. The possibilities of accessing information, are for the moment, developing at a fast pace. In some cases you could call it an obsession. We want information and we want it now. If we are able to access information too easily will it make it less valuable?  What will it do to our learning will we become lazy? Instead of absorbing the information will we just assume it’s there at a touch of a button? What happens if the system fails at mission critical times? Would society eventually not have the skills to find a library and search for the book required. If anything could we be patient enough?

Slowly but surely…

The learning centres and libraries have already seen rather small changes that make big differences. It seems to me the fact that libraries have free Internet providing you register with the library are treating as away to get new members. The fact that something has been done to bring technology into libraries shows there is demand for it.

The area in which to study and research in can be invaluable especially for those who don’t have an area that’s peaceful.

Our study given time is likely to move with us. It is to a certain degree already doing so but there’s still plenty of scope and potential to be worked on.

My major concern with accessing information is how we can validate it. A published document goes through at least some form of proofreading before it can be published. We can’t simply trust everything we read especially if it has a big effect on an outcome. The mobile phone has proved a very useful basis for transferring information especially with its Internet features advancing.

I see mobile devices especially mobile phones as Charlie Brown did his blanket. It’s very much something that most people can’t do without. We use it for safety and if it breaks down or is lost then all hell breaks loose.

Do they indeed increase our safety though if we didn’t have them would mugging crime rates go down *statistics*

This can also happen in a car…breaking in

Where you are in a place of safety and devices are h such as a car and if you break down on the motorway they can be invaluable.

When WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) first arrived on the scene I remember thinking to myself what a big idea it was and the scope it had. Unfortunately to many the reality was far different. The technology itself is certainly a BETA version of what we have today. It’s pricing was far too high for a start it never encouraged users to play with it and give it ago. If users have to think before they use something the more likely they’re going to be put off. When I use technology I like it to be a natural experience. I check my email, watch a video. I don’t think who might be watching me or how much I may get charged. It turns it into a guilty pleasure. Moreover when the service is slow and doesn’t respond (which happened to me on many occasions) then you most certainly feel you’re being ripped off.

I guess companies must feel the need to release technology early is for a quick profit. Although WAP was a new technology standard it was far from finished. Was this society pushing and demanding for this technology? Was it just greed and foolishness thinking WAP would just take off without much thought? What if the technology simply didn’t exist? Had it proven too costly?

As more information is stored on portable devices the more of a need to ensure it is safe and secure becomes more of a problem. I believe as a society were are increasingly wanting ease of use from products. If we can leave that heavy briefcase at home and replace it with a PDA or Mobile combined why not? The problem is a their or criminal can’t do much with a briefcase. They can with the latest model of a mobile phone. Although you may have insurance on your mobile with all the good will in the world it won’t get your data back.

The media often report how celebrities phones are hacked, phone numbers of other celebrities etc are stolen. Chaos. The present a security risk – lots of celebs have data stored on them

Most common is the blue tooth hack

It is essential if information is important to you that you have at least one backup of the data. An event where data loss occurs isn’t always down to just human error even if you’re 100% sure of what you’re doing chances are somewhere down the line someone won’t.

Many phones come with software for computers to automatically sync data from their phone/PDA to a PC. This is usually fairly straightforward and something all users should consider. If you then make a complete backup of date from your computer you should be pretty well covered.

Hopefully some of these questions I will be able to answer throughout this post.

I would also like to cover.

New WAP and Old WAP

How it differs from the “real internet”

Where I can see it going

Internet standards, browsers vs WAP

“Bluetooth hack”

Will the value of phones go up the more features they have?

A set limit?

As mobile devices are a popular product having the latest can often prove rather costly. A lot of consideration needs to be taken into account. As it may be sometime before the user wants to switch or even may be tied into a contract. Where a mobile phone is concerned they all have one main purpose that is to make and receive calls. That’s a given and something we very much take for granted. I believe we are at the stage where we expect to see what more it can give us and where it can lead to the future. When selling a mobile phone I think few users and even I missed it to start with they all need their own target audience. Many products do but this definition gives the phone identity and the user identity. I’d like to do this and this with my phone and have it styled how I want it.Target audience is “everyone” specific models / brands.

Our mobile devices are already a big part of our life and in the future I only see this increasing. I’d like to see them being used as a “remote control” to our life. A TV remote but adapted to the modern way of life. I believe the core technology is already around us to develop.

Newspapers moving online

The key areas I see the mobile devices being used for are:

The Internet provides a very strong platform to access information from anywhere. It is becoming easier to start off your own website, but for those who wish to just use rather than create, plenty of companies and individuals are providing strong foundations for you to get to grips with.

The flavour of the month at the moment, and is likely to leave a strong taste in your mouth for months to come is Twitter.

What is twitter? For a plain english explination you’re probably best watching this video! Go on, it won’t hurt!

http://www.commoncraft.com/twitter

To be quite honest when I first started using Twitter I felt quite overwhelmed. Thankfully Christine had used it many times previously and had a few suggestions as to how I might improve the experience. Had it not been for her, it would have probably only been by chance if I had found TweetDeck and given it a go.

At a peak time where multiple messages can be sent they are very difficult to keep track of using a web GUI. There’s of course the issue with web browser support those users who are using older versions are likely not to get the most out of the experience. This can make it difficult implementing new features especially when you have a large target market. A code change working in a live enviroment could potentially have an impact on performance, stability or taking the site down altogether. It’s only common sense that if a site is struck with difficulties users will look elsewhere for ones that don’t. You would need something very unique for users to simply stick by you through thick and thin.

The most encouraging aspect of twitter is probably its short and sweet approach. As you’re limited to 140 characters per tweet it allows you to post in thoughtful bitesize chunks. There are of course times when it simply isn’t enough but that isn’t Twitters purpose. It can be seen very much as taking a breather from blogging on posting a forum. It’s a snapshot of the moment  you’re witnessing does it really need all that much attention? Less is sometimes more.

These short snapshots of information are not necessarily always about the person you’re following. For the most part it will be of something of value to them or their friends.

To those who are involved it can have a massive effect especially the ones who have many followers. A follower being someone who is tracking your updates.

Although a simple idea on the front of things its the communication that really evolves the idea providing everyone can get past the immediate flooding of information.

Any form of communication is important to society and with the Internet allowing to tie everything together whether it be wirelessly or from a computer at home. It gives people a chance to get to know different people and appreciate the world more. It’s very much a double sided coin though. The fact that information is freely available about individuals it can be exploited by companys or even the site owners themselves.

There’s a fairly large element of trust with the companys that hold our information, not just the management but certain individuals who have access to information when maintaining the servers. Many of these people are most likely genuine and understand and respect members privacy but what about the ones who don’t?

That said I’ve not heard of any major privacy concerns in the media or any amount of uproar over information. Although that isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen or ever will. It’s up to the users what they post on these sites and providing they use common sense all should be well.

What do they do with this information?

Privacy

twitter_1

twitter_1

tweet_deck_1

tweet_deck_1

Tweet Deck is my saviour to Twitter, without it and possibly similar applications that will make themselves known given time, I probably wouldn’t get involved. It brings organisation to which otherwise would just be chaos. Also bear in mind I’m a fairly new user. I’d like to hear feedback from other people who have many more followers than myself. How do you keep track of the top tweets?

As you can see from the screenshot the design is fairly linear which is perfectly fine for the job. I espect in later versions more customization will be coded in. Tweet Deck at time of writing is still in BETA. I must say for a BETA it is rather solid and I have yet *touch wood* to encounter any obvious bugs.

Of course this is helped due to the nature that so many people want to use the application and support it. The more users try it and voice their opinion it can only add to an already robust piece of software.

On the main website you’re able to vote for features that you wish to be implemented in the future. I think this is a great idea as there’s nothing more frustrating that keeping doors closed on development progress. It’ s always nice to be surprised with innovative new features. However, if you’re waiting for software to become something it isn’t you may as well try elsewhere.

I am confident for the moment that there’s plenty of scope left in Tweet Deck and I’m still in the early days of Twitter. It has been for the most part a possitive experience and I am able to see why such a lot of people are following Twitter.

I’m going to mention some of the features I would like to appear in Tweet Deck in the future. I may also post these on the official forum at some point.

Problems I would like to see fixed:

– If you have many panels open even on a fairly large monitor it can be difficult to read information. There’s talk of panels being resizeable within the community. I believe this is an excellent move as it’s impossible to guess an exact size for each individual user.

Features I would like to see:

– I hope that Twitter Deck will become an all in one application. That is to say there will be no need to move away from the application. As it’s BETA that of course is the case. It just takes away from the experience a little. Why is there a need for me to keep switching windows?

– A spell check similar to word

– Theme support like Firefox has. This would need to be well documented. I like the colour scheme as it is but I can bet not everyone will do.

Tweet Deck Find a few more Twitter Apps

Tweet Deck vote for features

Mashable

Mobile Stephen Fry

Getting information about people you may otherwise never even meet.

Can spark off new ideas

Accessible

Moving to the mobile platform

Restricting refreshing

Health

BBC Program on declining TV

Car

Kitchen

TV

Recording

Content Player

All this but needs to be a set standard. Not one brand doing specific things

Mobile phone being like a “remote control of life”

Charlie brown safety blanket

Technology always around us

Health issues technology “all around us”

How will that affect society?

http://inspiredbloggers.blogspot.com/2004/12/our-conclusion-on-wap.html

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=WAP+a+big+hit%3F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18052628

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewContentItem.do;jsessionid=2F19F47FB5BEB7FEF78B10F603A2A28B?contentType=Article&hdAction=lnkhtml&contentId=1567045

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-485124/Reading-pleasure-rapid-decline-schools-fund-libraries.html

http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/

http://twitpic.com/

http://www.commoncraft.com/twitter

http://www.dcalni.gov.uk/index/museums-r08-2/libraries.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/API

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article5774191.ece?print=yes

http://tweetdeck.posterous.com/

http://www.technospot.net/blogs/tweet-deck-the-best-desktop-application-twitter/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Striving for the “perfect” Operating System

As technology is becoming more of an everyday part of life the expectations are rising by the minute.

Anyone who has a passion in life wants to get the best out of what they have. Whether it’s climbing Mount Everest or receiving a promotion.

However these areas have set areas and goals to achieve. How can something so subjective as an Operating System ever reach perfection?

An Operating System to those who are unaccustomed to the term is a basis whereby hardware and software can communicate on a computer. The difficulty and interface can vary depending on the requirements of the user. The most common Operating Systems you are most likely to have heard of are Microsoft Windows and Apple’s OSX.

Another way of thinking visually what an Operating System does. If you imagine a dinner plate, that being the Operating System. The food that is placed on the plate is the software. If the plate breaks then everything else falls apart.

An Operating System is a personal experience whether its simply checking email or writing software. The user has a massive input in how they interact and create. How can anyone possibly assume how each individual user will react to certain features?

How that feature works and looks is also very important. The spacing of letters, colour, font will have an impact on how that user feels when working in the OS. In some cases the users may not opt for graphics at all. A terminal or command prompt typing in commands to execute could be more to their taste.

In many ways an OS isn’t a system, it’s a work of art. How you perceive it is completely individual and something that makes for a great debate.

The best we could ever hope for is that an OS is so customizable it leaves everything easily up to the user. This in itself causes a problem. As the user could potentially spend more time simply customizing the OS than actually using it for their tasks. Then there’s of course the user who simply wants the OS to just work and nothing else. An OS at the most basic level has two major target audiences to hit. The first being the users who need, want or have a passion for using the OS. Then comes the audience who has no interest in the OS whatsoever they would rather get things done by other means or have a phobia of them.

I often browse the Internet to find out what people are discussing with technology. A large portion of the discussion is often around the subject of Operating Systems.

I do fully support these discussions as you can find some very valuable information from very intelligent people. There’s a big sense from many users that they want the world to change for the better. I support them with that and hope their ideas get considered. The other side of the coin is users simply flaming about how “perfect” their OS is. Now those of you who aren’t 13 years old and with at least a couple of braincells should have worked out by now. It isn’t that simple. The sooner all users realise that we will suddenly start getting on much better. It’s fine to appreciate what you have and give your own valid opinion. Why should the rest of the world simply turn into another you though? We’re all different and we certainly need to be to make life a much more interesting experience. If you’re happy with your OS, great but we don’t have to agree with you for your own satisfaction.

What’s the best OS? How long is the optimum piece of string?

I’m by no means wanting to say that the world of Operating Systems is too complex for discussion. It quite simply isn’t. There are many issues that can be discussed and solved and any Operating System can have major issues that affect all users. This expectancy of many users wanting quick fixes for problems need to take into full consideration of what impact that would have.

I hope this post if nothing else teaches users to not take everything immediately as they see it. The chances are, if you’re reading this post then you too want to see change, and I thank you for that.

I am very much just touching the service here we can throw in many other variables. Third Party Software and Open Source software. Not to mention the bugs and issues that come with it.

I’d very much like to hear your comments and feedback on how you perceive the OS you use.

At the age of 23 I have been very privileged to see a lot of change through the technology world and there’s plenty more to come. I have also used many different user interfaces and been able to gain an opinion on them.

I’d like to document here my strive to find the right OS for me. I also hope to provide some useful tips for other users in order to help them look for an OS that they will enjoy using.

As I am very much a part of the I.T. Industry it would be foolish of me to become biased towards a particular Operating System. As they’re constantly being revised and updated a particular view on them could soon become outdated. When people ask me “so what is the best Operating System?” I often cringe as it is almost nigh on impossible to answer. That is unless the person asking the question has a set view on what they want from a computer. I can help if they have a specific task they need to achieve but by enabling them to do a task well it still doesn’t make it perfect.

I generally get along well with most Operating Systems. I don’t expect them to constantly work and if they do go wrong I try my very best to diagnose and fix the problem. This expectancy of how technology should just work that certain users have can be their downfall. It doesn’t matter what the Operating System can do at least in today’s technology the hardware it runs on is all subject to fail. Just because you spent X amount of money or one particular part doesn’t make it invincible.

I find myself choosing the best program for a particular job or one I feel most comfortable using. This can be from past experience or simply how easily it will be to get an end product. I see each product individually and often feel my way through a task. This become much easier with experience and this is something many new users will face problems with. It’s always better to go ahead and try something than simply be too afraid that the computer will do something horrible to you. It’s very unlikely that you will cause any major damage running software. This can be a different story regarding Operating Systems and Hardware. In this instance use common sense or better still seek advice from someone with experience.

When I’m using a computer I like to use an OS that is suitable for everyday use. That’s I can do most of what I want to do without too much effort. The support for an OS is also of a high priority. I want to be able to delve into hidden areas that general users probably will have never even heard of. This can be a variety of reasons but the most common being improving how the system or how I work. As I help other users with their problems I always have to keep up to date with the mainstream Operating Systems in the market currently dominated by Microsoft Windows.

Although Vista has suffered, Windows 7 due out around Jan 2010 is looking promising.

“Even at this early stage, two Windows 7 predictions seem safe. First, it will be better liked than Windows Vista, which has become a PR disaster for Microsoft thanks to poor early experiences for many users. Second, naysayers will say that Windows 7 is merely Vista reheated – and they have a case. Even Microsoft says the core architecture is unchanged.” (Anderson, T. 2009, P. 17)

I was around 10 years old when I first started getting into the I.T. Industry. I remember being allowed to go into the main I.T. suite at school which of course was full of PC’s. Up until that point I had only been using BBC and Acorn Archimedes computers. Although the Acorn Archimedes had a mouse it was only two buttons and quite flat. I remember it being a very strange experience using a PC mouse for the first time. I also was left handed and forced myself to learn it using my right. That way I didn’t have to keep switching the buttons around.

When you have virtually grown up with using Windows it can to some people be very difficult to change. If you get set in your ways and into a routine and are content with that. What’s the need to change?

It pays to be open minded. A strong opinion that isn’t well thought out can be a restriction. The fact that many things can be done several different ways on computers means are you doing it the most effective way? How do you know that? Until you have seen other people and asked them the ins and outs it really is just one viewpoint. That potentially could be badly wrong or somewhere in the middle. If you’re serious about computers then you need to invest a serious amount of time. Everyone learns their own way and if you haven’t put the time in I quite frankly don’t have the time for you.

A prime example for the need to be open minded is when it comes to reading what you do in the media. This is of course not just subject to technology but what’s said in the media can have a big effect in the views that are shared over the Internet. Those who have had plenty of experience in the industry seem to just brush aside what the media report or at least analyse highly in depth. It very much separates the people who will take everything at face value to those who question everything.

It does depend on the content you read in the media but some information can be useful. That’s where your inquisitiveness should start if you’re serious about the subject and not end.

There are countless times when I have read things within the media and thought to myself, that simply isn’t right. A viewpoint is trying to be thrown upon me and to those who don’t surround themselves by technology it will simply be taken as fact.

The one that infuriates me the most is when security is reported. It’ll go something like this…

“This year Microsoft have had to release 100’s of patches making it least secure Operating System of the century.”

The number may be true, however what isn’t mentioned is how serious or what the patches were for. Nor do they mention how many systems were affected and who were the groups of people to get hit. If it hits someone with no security then surely it’s bound to do maximum damage. If you left your house door wide open all year and a super burglar came along in flashy gear what difference would that make?

It’s simple, just analyse the facts before you make an assumption.

Microsoft over the years have managed to build up a very strong market share, in late 2008 though it fell below 90 percent for the first time ever. This has worked for and against them. The for being it has lots of support and has many applications developed for it. I can’t say to date I have ever had major problem finding a said application for Windows. If you do come across a problem the chances are someone will at some point will also have encountered it too. It results in a fairly fast paced environment where you can get things done. Why these problems occur can be for many different reasons and often go unreported.

If you can have a little patience then you will normally get where you want to be.

I feel very relaxed using Windows and in terms of mult-tasking I find it to suit my needs just perfectly. Microsoft have to be very careful about making changes to their GUI and over the years it has evolved but still maintained a look of Windows.

As a gamer for ease of use there really is no other alternative if you prefer a mouse over a controller. This again is largely down to companies only developing for Windows. I don’t believe Windows is the best platform to run a video game on. In terms of stability and performance it would be much better suited to set high end hardware on a set platform. It would result in developers getting the most out of the hardware.

It’s one reason where I buy games on consoles where I can. I play games to relax and spend my free time, I don’t want to spend it working on a fix that was missed during production. I’m not quite sure what the trend has been in upcoming years but I believe the situation to have got worse not better. I’m not sure if that will ever change perhaps there’s not enough passion in the industry now to pump out high quality games for PC’s.

OSX

Before I started college an Apple Mac was just a word to me. At school there was really no use for them. It was when I decided to go down the creative / design route when I finally discovered them or perhaps they discovered me…

At first it proved difficult to become accustomed to them mainly having got so used to Windows. I started off using OS 9.2 which quite simply left me with frustration when using it. I just couldn’t do the things fast enough that I wanted to do.

With time this improved and OSX for me incorporates easy of use and performance fairly well. It simply doesn’t slow down as much as Windows XP does.

Linux

In the upcoming months I intend to build myself a computer. It’s main use will be to act as a server and backup file storage. Up until this point I had only really touched the surface of Linux. I knew what it was, how it had come about and had an idea of where it may lead to in the future. How was it possibly going to become an everyday part of my life though?

Then I had a long think about what I was actually wanting from an OS. The fact is, I am quite happy with OSX and Windows. Why do I need another OS? As a user what is it going to give me and how can it change my life. Yes, big questions that need to have big answers. There had to be familiarity in the distribution of choice but also rather large steps to being improved upon.

The familiarity I felt was just as high priority as the usability. I’m more than happy to learn new things but I need to have a good reason for doing so. I’ll give it enough of my time to get a feel for it but if there’s no pull to use it again I’ll happily discard it.

In previous years I have used Mandriva some years ago when it was formerly known as Mandrake. I had a keen interest at that time when I had first heard the name Linux name mentioned and most importantly that it was FREE!

After using it for the first time I had thoroughly enjoyed the experience but at the time rather sad that I couldn’t find a use for it. I was happy with what I had and found it hard to see why users had “switched.”

This post has given me another opportunity to unravel more of the Linux story for a purpose. I have taken a lot from the experience and also found a lot of frustration too!

I’d like to use this post as a form of brainstorming my thoughts of the few weeks I have been able to get to grips with Linux. Hopefully this should make clear in my mind what I have learnt and what there’s still to do.

I believe the first point I should make is the common misconception that Linux itself is an Operating System. It quite simply isn’t. In technical terminology it’s known as a Kernel which is the basis for an Operating System to communicate with Hardware.

When talking of “Linux” the Operating System comes in a variety of flavours known as distributions. These incorporate the Linux Kernel an integral part of the OS.

What you can’t argue about with Linux Distributions is that of choice. There are hundreds each contributed to for a specific use. If you’re looking for the smallest or largest OS to run you will find it here.

I personally keep a track of http://www.distrowatch.com

Many of the distributions look very professional and are eagerly saying “try me out.”

When it comes to installing a Linux Distro on my server I will certainly have to do my research. Although I’ve had a fair amount of time to try them out I felt very much pressured into trying more out. I was never quite sure if I had found the one for me.

If you’re a general user then it may not be for you. When you first start out with Linux the one thing you will need plenty of is time, oh and patience.

The distributions are probably best described as a Meccano set with an instruction manual that is either difficult to understand or doesn’t exist at all. This can very much depend on the distribution of your choice and this is why it pays to do your research.

The installation process for most distributions have had plenty of versions to be worked on and improved. They’re for the most part fairly user friendly with the options for more advanced users to customize their installation.

If you need to accomplish a task then you’ll need to rely on friends particularly Google so make sure you treat them wisely. To those who are happy to just dive in and start playing you will be right at home.

I dived into Linux from a few different angles. Firstly on my desktop PC which I have just recently upgraded and also my Mac Book Pro.

A few distro’s are kinder to Mac’s than others. The biggest problem I had was keeping it cool (I could literally burn my hand touching the metal.) That didn’t set a good tone with me and unfortunately at this moment in time I won’t be heading down the Mac route for sometime. I spent good money on my Mac and I want to ensure it lasts.

I may in the future have a look into more suitable ways of keeping my Mac cool but I did come across other issues too.

My first reason is simply feeling, if I have OSX. What can Linux give me that OSX can’t.

The next reason is I don’t believe the hardware at this current point in time to be suited to Linux Distro’s. Many users have reported the poor wireless reception from Mac Book Pro’s due to the drivers being poor quality. The fact is the companies who provide said hardware are under no real obligation to provide drivers for other Operating Systems that the product wasn’t designed for.

It simply leaves you with the feeling that this has been bodged together.

Always seemed to hit a problem that put me off altogether.

Right click not an option?

One small code change – make a big difference

Comprimise

Community based – more releases? Your changes can matter..etc

Intuitive

Wireless Support

Always seem to find one major flaw in a distro be it drivers or software.

ATI Documentation – Poor

New features

Users don’t want to opt for second best

Confusion between Linux as an “OS”

Linux can have limited support

Drivers more specific to Windows. Companies not forthcoming sharing “code”

Needs to be more mainstream

Problems, just different

Price, Upgrades,

Ndiswrapper (Video)

Open Source

How has it affected society?

– Good for competition

– Choice

– Almost anyone can have a chance to contribute

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Posted in College, Discussion, Factual, Information | 2 Comments

Anti-Virus or Anti-People?

“Police and security services have been granted new powers to hack into personal computers without a warrant, following European Union proposals aimed at extending the use of intrusive surveillance.”(Williams, I. 2009, P. 17)

As the Internet has become a fairly high priority to most people’s everyday life’s it proves a very easy target for hackers and con artists to exploit. Although technology can be easy to use, it can also have many security problems to the unaware user. We’re now living in a world where we need to be on our guard more often. Just as you wouldn’t leave your house door open 24/7 you need to make sure the doors on your computer are locked firmly shut too.

In many cases it is often the users who believe they’re not vulnerable that often get their computers attacked. This is a foolish way of thinking as these users tend to be the one with out of date protection or simply none at all. This is something that really needs to change as any system that has weak security can affect more than just one person. For example a shared computer in a library. A user sharing data via a memory stick could easily pick up a virus from an affected computer. These types of security leaks are often not thought about and it is about time they should be.

“The attitude to virus detection and avoidance among the general population (and even among much of the specialist population of techies, too) veers between sloppy and irrational.” (Cassidy, S. 2009, P. 154)

In this article I would like to discuss with you the impact it has on society. What you can do to help prevent being attacked and also my view of security in general and what is being done about it.

The first thing to make clear is not everyone is a No1 target for being attacked. There should be a definite awareness of issues you may face offline and online. However, don’t let it lead to paranoia. Not everyone has to have a PC like fort knocks it simply needs to be protected enough. The enough being an individual preference.

For most home users an updated Firewall, Anti-Virus combined with Anti-Spyware should be sufficient. Many virus scanners incorporate the use of Spyware scanning. However one specialising in this area will add even more security.

Firstly, despite the logic DO NOT run more than one of everything. This is especially important with those that protect you in the background. It will not only take up more resources but the chances of them conflicting is quite high too. Fortunately, most applications will warn you that this is the case. If you’re still tempted, trust me it isn’t worth the hassle.

One of the biggest threats you will face as a computer user is connecting to the Internet. This opens many possibilities for obtaining a virus. If you really are concerned about your data then you should consider having a PC that is used for Internet and entertainment only. If anything nasty does hit it you may choose to simply format and start again. For data storage you could have a second PC that is locked down with no Internet use and has high quality security software. The most important thing to remember is to ensure viruses do not get transferred from PC to PC.

How much security you have will depend on your Operating System. I will not be going too much in detail in this post regarding which OS to choose. For that see my post “Striving for the perfect OS.”

As the Internet has evolved so has the form of attacks. The stereotype of a hacker sitting at a computer day and night are far from reality now. The only real intervention a hacker has is setting a single or network of computers to scan and attack vulnerable computers. The hacker is then notified once a vulnerable target has been found. Why should a human make the attack when a network of computers can do it far quicker and more effectively? The chance of an attack being “personally” at you is much more rare. That is unless you have something worth stealing such as a major corporation. The security on their networks will likely be managed by experts in the area. They also have the money to invest in much more advanced software, hardware and techniques.

*Statistics of how many attacks a year*

When you’re connected to the Internet a hacker or computer will search for vulnerable ports, imagine these as doors. All the hacker needs is a key.

What’s important to remember about hacking, viruses and other forms of attacks is that they’re intended to be silent in nature. To a frequent user they will be more apparent due to that user having a feel for how speedy or slow their PC should be at certain tasks. This comes with experience. To an occasional user they can go unmissed.

There is one area in the computing industry that can be grateful for all this chaos and exploiting peoples worst fears. That’s of course the Internet security firms.

With many security firms competing with each other to give you their protection it pays do to your research. There are of course higher respected security suites than others. It’s all down to personal choice  although you need to be fully aware  of the pitfalls that your decision may have. First and foremost you’re going to want Internet Security that you can use. If you’re not going to update and use on a regular basis then it won’t be as effective. Secondly have a look around the user forums. How are the support questions being answered? One day you may need it. Finally pay attention to reviews and user feedback. How often does the software get updated? A security suite is only as strong as its weakest link.

It is important to try and avoid being sucked in to the marketing and media of a product. All this “we have this many new features” in this version and “we can detect this many viruses” pulls away from its true purpose. It’s main purpose being in reality how well does it keep its users protected. The statistics and reports made out on the box are not necessarily thoroughly analysed. Therefore it may be able to protect against 114,000 plus viruses, what happens when a serious worldwide threat comes along tomorrow? Will the company be aware of this and updated accordingly? If the last version was so great why did it all have to be reinvented again from scratch? If it isn’t broke then don’t fix it. Is it society forcing companies to reinvent their products every year? If we don’t see a new design will we think security firms have run out of ideas?

Are we as a society impeding the development of software? Do we get what we need or just what we want? If it simply looks like it will protect us then surely it will, won’t it? The security firms not only have to deal with computer threats they also have the threat from competitors who could potentially put them out of business.

I refuse to be taken in by a cute little teddy bear on the front of a box. The only way we’re going to feel safe and secure inside is by doing our research. Nor do I want a company telling me what I need. They don’t know me personally and providing they have my money then getting to know me is not on their to do list.

I’d like to talk somewhat more in depth of the scanning of files and how viruses are identified. As a general user you may not be as safe as you think. It is important to be proactive and be aware of the shortcomings of certain Anti-Virus software.

As viruses are becoming more advanced and complex security firms have had to develop new ways to combat them. One of these methods that developed was heuristics analysis. This type of analysis has been round for many years now and plays an integral part of finding new viruses that are just released or unknown to the developers. This method can have its pitfalls and one the main reasons I wanted to mention it in this post was due to the fact that it does find false-positives. When these are detected it can leave the less experienced user panicking about how the files got there in the first place. It can be especially worrying if the user doesn’t have a backup of their work and the said file is apparently infected.

How heuristics work

Basically they analyse the file by what’s known as a “definitions” file. The definitions files are the most common parts update when you perform an update of your security software. If the definition for a virus does not exist then it simply cannot detect it. This is where heuristics come in. If you imagine virus definitions as exact postal addresses then a heuristic acts as a postal code. It cannot find and detect every new virus but it can look at existing ones and look for changes. A false-positive can occur when a heuristic analysis finds code that looks like a virus but simply isn’t.

The amount of false positives generated will simply depend on the quality of software you use. It’s likely that we will never get rid of the false-positive but the more software advances and the community develops this can be minimized.

False sense of security

For users who are new and inexperienced it can be rather off puting and even scary when thinking of security. I would say at least from my point of view the most important thing I want to hear from my Operating System is that the security is working correctly.

I’d like to see more being done about security as it is an important factor in any part of our life. Although the Government have many issues to sort out I have always wanted more to be done regarding laws and simply how people can just get away with such crimes.

Moreover it isn’t just the security aspect we have to think of it has an environmental effect too.

If we were to just look at spam and the amount of electricity that is wasted just to certain individuals who think it is a “cheap” way to gain profit. The simple matter of fact is that it is for them.

“Spam will comprise more than 95 percent of all email in 2009, despite crackdown on several major outfits in recent months, according to IT security firm Barracuda Networks.”

(Williams, I. 2009, P. 17)

The world is now making its choice in how we can help look after the environment if not for the immediate future, wasted energy is still wasted. The culprits may be harder to track and be punished for what they do however working together we can make a difference.

If I was in power I would propose that we have anti-environmental laws. If law-enforcement believes you to be wasting energy without a valid reason e.g. for personal gain then consequences will follow.

What does everyone think to this?

The Drawbacks

However trusting we may feel with major security firms, I cannot help feeling if we CAN really trust them. As far as media attention is concerned very few hackers ever get a mention. There are of course those who cause a lot of chaos who may get a mention on the evening news. It is though a very anonymous and silent area or so it seems in our world. Who’s to say security firms don’t keep themselves in business? What have they actually got to lose from doing so. I’m by no means saying they do or don’t but it certainly is a thought I find hard to get rid of.

It doesn’t matter what Operating System you’re running any security software especially real-time which runs in the background has an effect on performance. Unfortunately if we wish to have fairly robust security then there isn’t another real option. The most likely solution would be to improve OS security and put it through more intensive testing. However we would be foolish to think we would ever have an OS that is a 100% secure. The developers are only human and humans are all subject to error. If we’re looking for perfection an Operating System would simply not be released.

The Pro’s

Although many users can be disgruntled at the thought of having security software it is important that we get an indication of how well we’re protected. As to many users manually performing this task would be time consuming and possibly not as effective. To those who simply want to turn on their machine and use it and switch off with the peace of mind a green or “your secure” message sat in the background will help them to sleep at night.

Software experience

I would just like to provide some of my personal experience with using various security software. If you have any questions please feel free to ask as there’s only some much I can fit into one post!

AVG (Free) + Comodo Firewall

To those who are infrequent users and want minimal fuss are likely to go with a free combination of software. I don’t have an immediate problem with this as I have mentioned above not everyone is a prime target for being attacked. If you check your email once a week and make sure you only open things you know and trust the chances are you will get by.

AVG Free provides a basic interface with very little customization but enough protection to see you through most of the serious threats. It doesn’t however provide an auto-update function. This does come in the full version however if you’re choosing to purchase software I recommend you look elsewhere.

For free I have little room to complain. I have used AVG for a couple of months at a time and it did the job in notifying me I was vulnerable. In the versions I have used it didn’t provide too effective in removing threats however. I wouldn’t say the threats I received were particularly troublesome either.

The Comodo firewall has received many rave reviews in from my research and general passing by forums has a lot of respect. It’s likely one of the most useful and well built software you will ever use.

Kaspersky

kaspersky_1

kaspersky_1

kaspersky_2

kaspersky_2

kaspersky_3

kaspersky_3

Norton

I hope this article has given you an insight into technology safety the more we all start to become aware of the problems the sooner we can all play a part in trying to solve them.

It’s just security firms that need to do all the hard work to combat security. Search engine providers should look at the links they provide. Are they safe?

When all this is said and done, less spam – faster Internet

Example AVG and Kaspersky (False positives)

Talking to a friend about facebook and all the users who are false…setup for spamming

Look at security books in PC world.

Global warming…should spammers be blamed?

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://free.avg.com/

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.videojug.com/interview/computer-security-and-malicious-software

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[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.symantec.com/index.jsp

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[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.anti-malware-test.com/?q=node/39

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/AntiVirus-Protection-Getting-Worse-90468

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.yale.edu/its/email/spam/whyspam.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.cw.com.hk/article.php?id_article=2321

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.messagelabs.co.uk/resources/press/3467

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.clickz.com/3624278

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://newsfeedresearcher.com/data/articles_t5/spam-email-mccolo.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.stopspamhere.ca/spam-e.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.messagelabs.co.jp/resources/press/14412

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.efluxmedia.com/news_Daily_Spam_Down_75_After_ISP_McColo_Is_Cut_Off_By_Providers_28852.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.daniweb.com/blogs/entry2550.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&q=spam+activity+percentage&start=20&sa=N

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7322615.stm

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/networking/?p=726

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://securitywatch.eweek.com/spam/when_washington_post_blogger_brian.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.net-security.org/secworld.php?id=4359

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://news.softpedia.com/news/The-Ten-Most-Spam-Friendly-Domain-Registrars-Revealed-103887.shtml

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/south_bay&id=6502844

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20061214005181&newsLang=en

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.securecomputing.net.au/News/128340,spam-volumes-drop-75-percent-in-a-day.aspx

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.messagelabs.com.au/resources/press/18955

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2236009/twitter-users-saved-spam

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/analysis/2236005/top-surreal-moments

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/computeractive/features/2235921/law-email-marketing-4299440

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/computeractive/features/2234877/stop-spam-4269120

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2235104/google-reporting-spam

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2234824/yahoo-touts-spam-protections

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2233819/spammers-reeling-mccolo-bust

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=676803729&ref=profile#/video/video.php?v=37403547074&ref=nf

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2231869/cybercrime-profits-hit-2008

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2232782/spam-hit-record-levels-2009

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/crn/news/2232443/temporary-dip-spam-levels-4390449

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2232146/top-annoying-technologies

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2232033/2009-banner-malware

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/computeractive/news/2232277/christmas-spam-expected-rise

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.wilderssecurity.com/archive/index.php/t-79425.html

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.eset.com/smartsecurity/

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8PsO-NRJEo

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYDf0ulPnKs&feature=channel

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onpdtt4ZzYw&feature=channel

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.crashplan.com

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.le-web.org

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoo2cpNNJWY

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1484704.stm

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/archives/id/14119/

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2124614/three-firms-suffer-hacking-attempts

[Online], Availiable: 2009, Feb 24]. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VNT-4DS8S95-B&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=5f74b6dc26d2a12782dacfdaa8f85833

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Google Earth

Where in the world are you? Now you know with Google Earth! However, so can everyone else…

From a teaching and educating perspective Google Earth really is a glimpse of the future. What IF it is taken too far? To some it might have been already…

At the moment there are 2 versions of Google Earth. For most people the free one will be exactly what you need.

If you’re a business and have a specific purpose for Google Earth then you may be worth investing £213 (GBP)

Google Earth is more than just about features. It’s changing the way we see the world. Just like the worlds great explorers we have the potential to find new things, from the comfort of our own home.

Although don’t believe everything you see, hackers see it as a challenge to edit the content. The plus with Google Earth is the chances are you will always find new things.

I think for me at least as far as entertainment goes I find it hard to spend much time on. I’m not quite sure why really. I appreciate all the technology and time that has gone into building it. I would also find it an invaluable tool were I at school again. The best way to describe it I guess is that I wouldn’t go and look at a map just for fun. However it is always being continually updated and many new features being added. I always make sure I keep up to date with it. A lot of progress has been made over the years.

The performance of the program has also put me off a little. In the latest version 4.3 it seems that a lot has been done to combat this. I remember some months ago it would take at least 20 seconds to load an image fully. It was rather clunky, the impact on you is much great when something runs smooth.

I understand that it isn’t a major problem when it comes to performance over the Internet. Almost anything that is bandwidth heavy such as Video Games, Video and even Audio can stuggle.

Although what it can do for us plays a big part in whether we use something or not. There are more pressing issues to discuss.

Is it safe for us to be able to look anywhere around the Earth at any given time? Do we want terrorists to be able to access this information and plan their plots?

In York (UK) it has been classed as “spy cams.” A bit of an extreme in my opinion as Google are working on “blurring faces.” Surely the public won’ complain about their clothes been on show? Will they!?!?

KML

Ubiq Window

Mike Orbin

When was it started?

10 by 10

CCTV

Laws on privacy

Microsoft Sphere

Publicly availiable

Should the kind of information Google Earth provides be availiable to public?

Yes, as far as education goes.

Do you think Google earth has a strong future with all the privacy and security issues surrounding it?

It has a future, it all depends on how the the “Earth” ties it down.

Do you like the fact the world is just one click away?

I do. I wish I could go into space and see it for real though. 😛

Do you feel Google Earth is an invasion of privacy?

In some cases yes. I think all images should be monitored for their content. Ideally by as many humans as possible. Software makes mistakes, just like humans can.

Do you feel Google Earth is a useful tool?

It’s useful and appealing. It can be fun too in the right contenxt. I don’t think there’s anything more boring than looking at a 2D map at school. It should help children learn more easily and more importantly. They’re in control. You only get what’s on the page with a map. With Google Earth you can change the content (within reason) to how you see fit.

Bumtop (ted.com)

[Online], Availiable: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9943140-7.html [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/40390/113/ [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/3537203/Mumbai-attacks-surviving-terrorist-says-he-belonged-to-Pakistan-militant-group.html [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.weberence.com/2008/08/28/8-great-google-earth-scientific-discoveries/ [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2008/07/hologram_google_earth.html [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/04/30/jim_gray_tribute/ [2008, Nov. 17]

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Mobile Phones and Communication

One of the biggest forms of technology to impact on society has to be that of the Mobile Phone. It’s very rare for me to take a short walk or journey and not see someone using a Mobile Phone. This can either be talking to someone or using a latest app on their iPhone. We as a society are now more and more becoming one that is “always connected” even if we’re asleep the chances are our devices are not.

The fact is I’m not one of these people who wants to be always contacted and reachable. I choose when I am availiable to be phoned or want to reply to a text. Many people cannot understand this, however I don’t see the need to have something on if I’m not using it. Why waste energy? If there’s an emergency and I need to be contacted people can do so. This would normally be through a landline.

I feel it is important to have time alone from others. It allows us to rest and think about our lives rather than constantly pushing buttons. If I want to relax and take time out I will go and play a video game, this is my time and not something I want to be disturbed from. I even find it fairly easy to concentrate on other thoughts whilst playing them. It allows me to regain focus. That is until someone see’s me online and then sends me a message. Although these messages and notifications can be disabled. We now need to tell devices that we don’t want to be bothered. The ability of wireless and Internet is making this more of a possibility. Is it going to get to a point where we DON’T get the choice of being contacted?

I find it rather worrying and amusing at the same time when I am at college and I see students who are virtually next to each other communicating over facebook chat. Do they not feel safe enough to walk over and have a chat? Are they happy to lose the interaction? Is it more conveniant? Does it allow them to talk to more people at once? Is it more polite to give equal attention to those on the Internet and those who are close by.

Is it becoming more of a case now that we as a society are managing communication? Of course we have always had the choice of wanting to chat to someone or not. It is becoming more of a global matter. If I get an invite from someone say from India for example. I can then accept their request or not. What if I get 10 more requests that day though? Will I have enough time to chat to everyone?

This is where I think a difficult decsion has to be made and where up, close and personal will always win over the Internet. The Internet simply takes away a lot of personality from a person. Their, mannerisms, tone, expressions, body language even their sense of humour.

The fact we lose such a lot of reaction from a conversation has a big effect on how we get to know a person.

A prime example of this would simply be the overused word “lol” (laughing out loud.) If I’m having a conversation over the Internet with someone I gurantee you that would be the most frequently used word. So is everyone I talk to simply in balls of laughter rolling all over the floor? I don’t think so…

The word “lol” seems to have taken the use of a last resort string of text. “I don’t actually have anything more to say nor the intelligence to string more than a few words together. I tell you what! I’ll say lol!”

The fact is we should be teaching our younger generation to communicate. There’s the argument that any conversation is at least something. I wasn’t in India that day but still managed to talk to someone from there.

However if all we say is “lol” was it worth it?

The fact is most people in the UK take this form of communication for granted. The phrase “talk is cheap” is very true in this context. However it isn’t for everyone. When we look further afield to places such as Cuba. I’ll let this image do the talking…

1 hour of internet costs 6 $/hour, the average salary in cuba is 20 $

1 hour of internet costs 6 $/hour, the average salary in cuba is 20 $

The fact is we take such a lot for granted. This isn’t just with technology of course but as a society technology has made us expect more from our lives. It doesn’t matter what the cost as long as it has something that we want. We will do our best to get it. Then if it goes wrong we will expect an instant replacement.We do live in a throw away society and it is about time we changed. What happens when there’s nothing else TO throw away?

The fact is communication is precious and we must not forget that. Perhaps if we had to earn it more like the people in Cuba we would appreciate it more.

We expect new products to change our life and that they should be released in a timely manner. What if the development of technology was simply to stop now? The world and people who live in it suddenly decide to look after what we have?

A key problem to this is of course companies wanting to market a product. They have to make a product and if they stop selling then people will be out of a job.

A real question is this then. Do WE as a society need this technology or is it because people are TELLING us that we need it? What has it given to our lives that we didn’t have already? Health problems? Social problems? Debt? Privacy issues?

I’ll let you be the judge…

[Online], Availiable: http://www.coiana.com/photoful/2008/07/life-in-cuba-communication/ [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.blurtit.com/q666638.html [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistant-mobile-phones.htm [2008, Nov. 17]

[Online], Availiable: http://www.esato.com/news/article.php/id=1104 [2008, Nov. 17]

How do we know what’s been looked at?

Are we being watched?

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