Click here to report this

So you did – clicked here that is, that is why you’re on this page ain’t it?  I don’t suppose you’d like to report something would you?  Maybe my foul grammar, or findings after observing your entrails through an X-ray application, or that cow crossing the road two blocks down from where you live—wait, I see where this is going… powerful inclination to document events, urge to air your opinions, impulsion to breathe voice and story to mere pictures, the mighty tendency to capture and expose the lives of the oppressed, suppressed and wronged – I know what you are, you’re a reporter—and oh what good fortune of yours to have stumbled upon my humble rumblings.

Online journalist

Professional or amateur, reporters and journalists alike are taking to the web to dispense their stories, findings and or whatever interesting discourse of life and other philosophies they might have uncovered or learned.  Internet journalism has caught on with the masses, only recently, but already the landscape and playfield for and of journalism and reporting has been fundamentally altered because of it.  Eating away at the business pie of the traditional media industries, such as the print press and good’ol radio, free-to-consume and pay-to-consume schemes on the interweb have outgunned their forerunning counterparts due to their interactive nature (in leaving comments and showing approval and support in liking and sharing), synchronous live updating (through notifications), accessibility, portability and free-cheap businesses models.

BBC Online

With little or no barriers to entry, apart from perhaps the fundamental know-how of digital literacy, almost anyone can take to the web and do their desire’s worth of online journalism.  Even without buying out your own domain, enthusiasts can work on established platforms or through blog sites to establish their very own brand of personalized journalism and perhaps make a quick buck or two in the process.  Like the BBC in the UK, local platforms such as Stomp, offer money in exchange for interesting articles and this trend it seems is paying dividends because not only has the audience of the website grown disproportionately in the last couple of years, but so has its reach and scope—perhaps owning to the tabloid-esque content of the articles.

St onlineStomp

But whatever the case, the internet’s now the go-to place for information.  That’s news ain’t it?

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Let’s take a vote

So it’s polling day.  You’re pumped, you’re psyched for new governance, and you’re keen to cast your ever so important ballot.  But upon reaching the polling station you’re greeted by a horde – a horde of severely agitated, quite possible hungry and slightly dehydrated crowd of voters who have been waiting rather unsuccessfully for hours in a visibly disjointed line that has unfathomably woven through and around silly bends and inconspicuous pillar, only to be held in place by yellow tape lacing resembling a 7 year olds impression of how a crime scene would be cordon off.  Sounds familiar?  Does it now?  Well you must live outside of Singapore because this is quite rare here—but elsewhere, the same is hardly true.  You might be thinking to yourself now, hmm… why not try e-voting, it’ll solve this problem surely—and with campaigns being taken into the digital realm surely this isn’t too farfetched?

 

Indeed they aren’t.  The digital era of political campaigning is not beyond us but on us – e-voting though, is some way away.  Singapore’s 2010 general elections was aptly coined the social media election, for the great expanse the opposition invested into the social media scene and how it inevitably shaped the thinking an opinions of voters.  Like how the 2012 American presidential elections ran, social networking platforms featured heavily in the setup of campaign proceedings and weighed in heavily on the outcome of both.  Unlike the methods of traditional media before, online campaigns carried a much greater appeal because updates were instantaneous and opinions voiced by the recipients, i.e. the people or voting republic, could be voiced almost immediately, which could then garner sympathetic responses, violent objections or wide-spread support amounting to radical changes to the political system.  Popular platforms include Facebook, Google+, Twitter and many more, depending on demography.

 

So why then hasn’t e-voting caught on like online campaigning efforts and dialogs?  There are multiple reasons to that actually.  While platforms for social media and social exchanges have been relatively safe for both the user and the idealist, an e-voting system poses far more threat to the integrity of the exchange than say trolls who flame political Facebook posts.  Timothy of Slashdot Politics made quite a compelling argument when asked why e-voting never took off like other political driven, for the entire list be sure to check out the link left in the resources below.  In short, one kink in the armor and a re-election will be in order – to make matters worse, it’s fairly easy to sabotage an online system but very hard to plug all the holes, viruses are aplenty and troublemakers are not in short supply.  While physical voting requires a physical ID check and a person to blame when someone mucks it up, tracing and tracking a hacker online is a whole different ball game, and something most governing bodies, regardless of how inventive and adventurous they are in this aspect, are afraid to try.  With the exception of Estonia that is.

 

E-voting has had its place in recent times in allowing foreign countrymen to partake in domestic elections while overseas.  But while portals and platforms are aplenty when it comes to political discourses, discussions, agenda setting, selling and conspiracy theories, a safe and reliable portal for e-voting is troublingly elusive.  So if you want change now, I’m sorry you’re not getting any.  Try airing your grievances on a political blog and let me know how that goes.

 

VOTE FOR CHANG(E)!

VOTE FOR CHANG(E)!

Resources:

http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/03/02/1940236/in-theory-and-practice-why-internet-based-voting-is-a-bad-idea

Google this on a Saturday night

If you Googled “this on a Saturday night”, well well – you sir are a literalist.  If you didn’t allow me to show you what you have missed out – check it https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=this+on+a+staurday+night&rlz=1C1DVCK_enSG440SG455&aq=f&oq=this+on+&aqs=chrome.0.59j57j61j60j0j60.1362&sugexp=chrome,mod=4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

A whole bunch of SNL stuff as you’ll find.  Don’t know what SNL is?  Well click on one of the video links and be enlightened.  The thing is, we’ve (well most of us) have been using Google a lot more than we would like to admit—knowingly and unknowingly.  Much like the plate we put our food on when we eat, we use it all the time but don’t go “oh hey, hmph plate, really compliments the mash.”  And that in essence is our Google-dependence-taken-for-granted in a nutshell.  Perhaps you missed it but in the first sentence of this blog post, you were told to Google “this on a Saturday night” and not search, or Yahoo, or Bing, or find, or look up, or… You get the point—the fact is, Google as a web tool has is so widely used that it commands its own verb—now that’s baller.  So how has Google changed our lives?  Well the answer is in more ways than we can imagine.

 

Do you remember the time when iOS relied on Google Maps for directionary functions? Well of course you do.  Like the mat that you were so comfortably dusting your feet on when suddenly it’s pulled out from underneath you, causing you to fall and land with a heavy thud therefore eliciting gloriously profane utterances—yeah Apple’s user’s reaction when Apple discontinued Google Maps on their devices with iOS 6 (released late October 2012). iOS isn’t the only device that relies heavily on Google Maps though, any Android device as a matter of fact.  And since most cell phone users are on either iOS or Android, it’s safe to say the bulk of us are on Google Maps.  We use it, we don’t exactly recall the Google brand every time we use the maps, but judging from the sheer reaction of the Apple fans that had the Google taken out of their maps, the withdrawal is debilitating.

 

As a student I use Google a lot.  I use Google docs for synchronized document working, Google groups for synchronized private online chat discussions, Google search and Google maps for obvious reasons, and to a lesser extent, Google+ for social networking.  YouTube, in fact, my favorite go-to site for my daily fix of videos and visual snippets, is owned by Google (bought over in 2006 at a price of US$1.6 billion).  Google hasn’t exactly changed my life; it’s quite rightly part of my life.  And I see many of you stuck in this circle of reliance too.

 

Maps, Docs, Earth, Scholar, Calendar, YouTube, and Groups notwithstanding, many other people use Google for all sorts of things.  Adsense for example, puts the dime in SME online businesses—if SME online businesses ever needed the word dime to spell it (you get my point don’t you). People use Google to post notifications and keep them abreast of daily events of interest, appointments and whatnot – much like how on a more micro scale your hand phone would ring you a notice telling you what to expect an hour later – “DO THE LAUNDRY NOW LEROY!”

 

Schools advocate the use of Google (Scholar especially – in tandem to other scholarly search engines they have in place), lecturers use Google groups to keep in touch with students (like mine right now!) and many many more.  Given that we are all so reliant on Google, it begs the frightening question that if it were all to come to nought one day – services, applications and other critically acclaimed and much utilized functions – what will become of us? I hate to admit it but, it might just be the end of the world as we know it (REM, 1987).

The Trojans have landed

Troy wasn’t built in a day, but the city besieged from within, fell within a matter of hours.  How?  Well that’s pretty easy, the Trojans lined up a very attractive trophy outside the firewalls of Troy, without thoroughly scanning the trophy, it was selected and the package was hauled into the city.  Being a RAT Trojan, the innocuous looking horse discreetly unpacked its malicious content thus allowing the Trojan extensions to exe. (or execute) actions which will further compromise the integrity of the city.  Racing to raise the gates, the malicious militia invaded the town and disabled its functions from within, subduing resistance forces and making off with good loot like credit card information, security numbers and vital corporate information etc. T’was a good day for the hacker.  If it were your computer you wouldn’t be so lucky—all these would have transpired in a matter of seconds.

 

So what is a Trojan in a nutshell? And no, it’s not a Trojan soldier being forced into the confines of an empty nut shell – a Trojan, like many of its brothers and sisters are viruses, malicious software (or malware) that infiltrate your computer, replicating itself to adverse effects to you and any other device it comes into contact with.  There exists remedies to it and there are certainly ways to contain it but it would take one less curious eye and one less trigger happy finger if you’re going to “totally” shut out these pesky annoyances.

 

For starters, when in doubt, trash it – as the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat—or in this case, may kill your computer.  According to Intel Company, McAfee, who provides a generous list of extensive anti-virus tips on their site, their number one recommendation towards virus prevention is to stay away from files with hidden, suspicious and untrustworthy origins/sources.

Taking out Cyrus the Virus – putting the bunny back in the box

 

And you will find many more helpful suggestions in the link provided below.  However even the best defense leaks sometimes and one can never be too prepared for the trying times that follow.  What would help your cause significantly would be to backup your files on a regular basis – this way all is not lost when your firewall bursts and your hard drive is inundated with malicious swimmers and phishes.

To sum it all up, thread lightly and err on the side of caution.  Update your antivirus regularly and conduct timely scans. What is that you say?  Don’t have one?  Well you’re in luck, there are plenty of antivirus software providers on the internet but be wary as many can be virus carriers themselves!  But if you ever find yourself in that unfortunate position, try this on for size – Microsoft’s FOC security scanner http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx but of course, if you suspect this one’s a virus waiting to pounce too, don’t click the link then.  It’s just really lousy intuition on your part—for that there’s little saving.

 

Resources:

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

http://home.mcafee.com/virusinfo/anti-virus-tips

The 21″ School

The student of the 21st century has a plethora of educational tools at his disposal—from traditional forms like print sources, televised documentaries, the good’ol classroom student lecturer setup, or even self-help audio files and tapes, to the more recently devised methods of learning like e-learning, gamification, online simulations and self-help podcasts, just to name a few.  Fact is, 21st century students like us are spoilt for choice.  However in the cornucopia of tools, books, programs, widgets and applications some forms of learning are gaining more popularity a lot faster than the rest – what is that you might ask?  Well it’s none other than online learning of course!—and you’re consuming the simplest form of which right now.

E-learning, or online learning, is electronically supported learning and teaching which one may receive or conduct in the comforts of one’s own home, on one’s own couch, on one’s own desktop and on one’s own 21” monitor (well mine’s 21 inches, depending on your monitor size, substitute that value accordingly).  The reason why it’s so popular is because online learning supports synchronous and asynchronous learning (Wikipedia), decreases material costs, increases productivity and facilitates standardization (Articulate, 2010).

The dawn of the interactive web (web 2.0 to be specific) there has been a groundswell of easy to digest online learning applications and courses – from simple how-to lessons to elaborate procedural lectures or activities, anybody  or everybody who has access to the internet be it the lowly dogsbody to the profoundly intellectual; the barriers to learning are incredibly low.  And with money to be saved and made from hosting these courses, more and more schools are getting in on the act with baby steps being made in online learning management systems (LMS) or portals to quantum leaps in interactive learning using and inside online games and simulations.

Speaking of online games gaining traction as e-learning mediums social interaction platform Second Life has been making plenty of headway in this department.  In and on mediums like this, students as avatars can interact with the teacher and his tools in a semi-realistic, hazard-free environment, lending a third dimension to the online learning experience.  Second life is not the only online gaming platform on that e-learning boat though; popular MMORPGS (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) such as the World of Warcraft (WoW) have also gotten in on the act.  According to Mary Anne Clarke, professor of biology at Wesleyan University in Texas, they’ve been using WoW’s extensive reach to over 11 million subscribers worldwide to teach and popularize concepts pertaining to biology.  Due to the emersion of these games, learning on such platforms has become increasingly popular and attractive.

 

Meet your lecturer of biomechanics, level 64 Tauren hunter, Tavrnwr. Please mount your eagles and meet at the World Tree at 18.00 PST. Please bring homework on Murlocks. Thanks.

With more and more people becoming more open and receptive to e-learning and its advantages, it’s suffice to say that online learning will continue to change the education landscape for tens of years to come.  With more engaging tools becoming readily accessible, perhaps through motion capture as seen on the Playstation and Xbox 360 addons, future variants of the e-learning experience will ultimately be more engaging, captivating and profound than before—which can only be good for education as a whole.

Resource links:

http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/why-e-learning-is-so-effective/

http://www.caspianlearning.co.uk/Whtp_caspian_games_1.1.pdf

http://scholar.google.com.sg/scholar?q=e-learning&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5

http://erictremblay.blogspot.sg/2009/07/from-world-of-warcraft-to-second-life.html

http://elearningtech.blogspot.sg/2007/08/second-life-as-learning-tool.html

How to build an empire on E-marketing

How do you build an empire on e-marketing?  Well if it’s just on e-marketing alone it’s hardly possible—however that said, marketing your business electronically, or e-marketing, can surely help—if done right of course.  I’m not e-marketing guru but if you’re going to start you’ll need to establish certain fundamentals and precepts of the electronic marketplace.  If you read on I’ll try (to the best of my ability) to inform, enlighten, enrich and endow you with the relevant know-how of how to set up, and how to better your e-marketing reach.

First things first, why e-market?  Well the answer to that cannot be simpler.  There are in fact tons of benefits to be had from taking advertising onto the internet.  As a free medium, the internet is your oyster, and given the tools at your disposal, anything and everything—if used properly, can make you a dollar more.  But while the possibilities are abundant, the four benefits of delving into the e-marketing model are these;

1)      E-marketing can lend your business a global reach and it will not cost a nickel too much.  Traditional means of doing so, employing foreign market experts or studying the market yourself then paying the local advertising firms for slots on prime time or in the morning paper is time consuming and can burn a hole in your wallet.  The internet on the other hand takes your goods to the screens and eyes of foreign lands at the fraction of the time, effort and cost.

2)      You can achieve closer customer relations with e-marketing models.  The customer feedback process can be long and arduous.  Unnecessary waiting on the automated response machine, lag time on snail mail, and disruptive time zone differences can make traditional means of customer interaction haphazard.    Well not anymore with the internet, on your advertisements, videos, blog, website or other social media extensions, customers can ping you, drop you a message, leave you a comment or hit you up at your prescribed links—easy as that, and you may reply in kind.

3)      Because the internet is largely free (notwithstanding ISP fees and electricity bills), cost of maintain a business on the e-marketing model is relatively cheap.

4)      Lastly, an e-marketing model is highly customizable.  Don’t like what you put up yesterday?  Well, take it off and show off something new!  Want to slash prices on certain products or broadcast a discount or promotion on a specific service or activity?  If your web designer is alright he can have your changes and announcements ready in a jiffy.   Traditional media can’t do that—not without extra costs, an earful from the print team and the editor, and sour manufacturer-supplier relations for the future.

And so with that, it’s pretty easy to see why many business, especially small-medium enterprises (SME) are adopting the e-marketing model.  Not saying the big businesses don’t, they do, but theirs is way more elaborate and “hardcore” if you will—and definitely not of priority interest to you my startup friend.

Now if you’ve already established an e-business of your own already, congratulations.  E-marketing has been quite the buttercup ain’t it?—or has it not been working out as well as intended?  Well if you’re getting more lemons than dough (unless you’re in the lemon industry, or like lemons, then think up another repelling fruit to substitute that) perhaps it’s time to revise your strategy.  Compiled below are some useful tips from the wise old sages on the Tube of You, yes YouTube.  Enjoy.

Dboozer05 on YouTube suggests creating or sponsoring blogs to review the goods or services that you are selling.  Rave reviews topped with links to your products can influence unwitting and undecided consumers to consider buying your product.  Thought dubious and not necessarily the most morally legitimate mean of drawing attention to your products, this method of creating awareness and drumming good publicity to what you’re selling does lend credence to the point that the more people “talking” about the product (especially if talk is good) the more likely people will be persuaded to buy your product.

In addition, Lydia Parrot suggests marketing videos and uploading them on free to air platforms such as YouTube.  According to her, when people look up something on the internet they’re more incline to click on video links as opposed to text-based links.  So there you go, market on YouTube!  In addition, the very astute YouTuber advises people who do so to be liberal with their tags and keywords because much like the action of uploading and posting the video, these items will not cost you a dime, so why shy on them?

For more tips and tricks on e-marketing do be sure to look up YouTube!  Because it has everything.  And if you would like to know more about dboozer and Lydia, look up the links below.

References:

Link to dboozer05’s e-marketing strategies: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=e+marketing+strategies&oq=e+marketing+&gs_l=youtube.3.0.0l7.924797.926954.0.928352.7.7.0.0.0.0.164.845.3j4.7.0…0.0…1ac.1.rkzY_O8XpCw

Link to Lydia Parrot 1’s internet marketing video guide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLBxrhY4LEk