Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Next New Thing

Have you heard of beach body, or perhaps some of their products such as p90x, or insanity. These two videos are work out videos that challenge your body for a 60 to 90 day period in which they claim you will get incredible results. I for one am a p90x graduate with amazing results and a believer of the videos. But I also know that not every one can do such an intense workout because it is not designed for someone who has never worked out before. Another challenge with the videos is that ones you have completed them, there are no new work outs. There isn't anything new about the videos, if you do the entire program when you complete it you can probably do the workouts on your own, but if you take some time off and come back for a round to you might need to watch the videos again, but the videos will contain not just the same workouts, but also the same background musics and the most boring part, the same dialogue. For this reason I suggest a website with live video streaming of different variety of classes.

Take the concept of the insanity videos that don't require any any weights, but instead of replaying all the same moves all the time you can do the classes live at a specific time, or a prerecorded session that was posted earlier. You will not get bored of the classes because the music changes, you can pick from different instructors, and there can be different levels of difficulties in the classes. Along with this would be a chat room so that you can interact with any one else who is also doing the classes. You can help support each other in a growing community where you can post up pictures of yourself to show the results that your getting from these workouts. You can also seek advice from people if you have certain injuries and want to replace certain workout moves with others. Of course the website would include a diet section where people can again comment on whats working for them and  giving their own healthy recipes and eating routines. 

This of course would not work for everyone but for people who are intimidated by a gym, or feel like they want to learn about working out before they go to an actual gym could come together. The best part is you can do this at the comfort of your own home. The cost would be small because the personal trainers hosting don't need to a large room to host the class since its students will be at home, and there really wont be a limit to how many people can be joining in live. 

In order for something like this to work it would need to be launched by a reputable company like beach body since they have multiple work out at home videos which have been successful under their belt. They can use the faces of Shawn T or Tony Horton who are well known faces to started up, and then ad more personal trainers as needed to ad more classes. The most important thing though is creating a sense of community. The more people feel connected with each other in supporting each other and wanted to post up pictures of their success, the more likely they are to return. 

P2P File Sharing

Do you remember the days when people used floppy disk to share files from one computer to the other. Or when the internet was to slow that images on a website was a nightmare to load. Well those are a thing of the past, and with faster internet and better computers and a new era of digital technology people are sharing everything in the internet, whether its via email, Google docs, or illegal websites. File sharing over the internet has become very common, but while certain content is certainly acceptable to share, other is not. 

To share a video that you created over the internet with a group of friends is acceptable, but how would you feel if they began to share it with more people ? Some people might not mind, but when it comes to movie companies and record labels the illegal peer to peer sharing of their content is costing them millions of dollars in sales. P2P is a way of sharing files when your computer is connected to the internet and the program automatically shares your media with others who are searching a file that you have via a software program such as bit Torrent or other websites. Many years ago a program called Napster was created by three young men who wanted to allow people to share their music freely. The website ran into legal trouble and was forced to shut down. Today they run a more legal operation. Napster was a pioneer for P2P websites like the one created by Bram Cohen bit Torrent. The concept is the same except that Cohen discovered a way to have files to be downloaded faster then any other website, and because of the speed in which the large files transfer now it is not just musics that is being transferred but long media such as movies are being downloaded illegally on websites like this every day. The war on pirating and illegally downloading these files has been going on since 1999 when Napster launched and is a long way from being over since people have no problem trying to download movies and music for free.

Privacy & Confidentiality

One of the problems that arises when we think of the digital world are laws. How do they protect the people or the products in this virtual world where people can post anything up so easily and who can be held responsible for it. When the first Kodak camera came out in 1888 their was a ruling on whether you needed to get peoples permission every time you took a picture of them. The ruling was no you do not need their permission. Now with the popularity of new media people like Lawrence Lessig are battling to protect technology advances and to allow the usage of media on the web more freely. 
When you post something on the internet, more specifically on a website such as YouTube you are hoping to get many views. But is it wrong to do a cover song from another company, or should you only be allowed to use original material. If it is alright to make a home video of you doing a cover song, but when you post it on the internet do they have the right to make you take it down. If you aren't making any profit from the song just simply showing off your talent and creativity should it be illegal to limit and restrict people. Companies want to protect their assets, and in a way they must make sure that if they music or any other products that can be used online are being used in a manner that they don't approve of that they can have the control to take it down from the web. But how do we decided when you are limiting peoples creativity and when a company can limit the use of their product on the web.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Digital media is allow people to be connected from all over the world without being in the same room. The advantage of this is that people with similar interest can end up meeting each other on a common site and they can end up coming up with something incredible. For example I have a friend who likes singing and playing the guitar. He sometimes logs onto a live chat room where people log onto share their music and listen to each other. My friend was one day playing a song while a random person was listening and happened to have liked the song. The person asked my friend for permission to record the live session because he wanted to play around with the song and add a different beat onto the background. A couple of days later this kid had remixed the song my friend has being singing and changed it from a slow rock song to a hip party song. This is an easy example of how two people with different talents can be brought together via the internet and create something new and different.

This is a similar story to the one of "Disney Tolerates a Rap Parody of Its Critters. But Why?" where people are meshing sounds to certain clips of cartoons which gives the appearance that the Disney cartoon characters are dancing to the music that is playing in the background. All though most of those videos are simply done for pleasure, the news report of  Antoine Dodson who was being interviewed after someone trying to break into his house is a special case. The interview was seen as comical to many people and when the video went viral many people leaped the opportunity to edit the video with auto-tune making it seem that Antoine was singing. This lead to applications being made for the apple market as well as androids. Antoine was the beneficiary of the creativity of these videos and earn himself a couple of millions as he became a mini celebrity.

Modeling Reality With Virtual Worlds

With better computers, faster internet connections and better graphics, it is only the beginning of the virtual world. There are many website's out there that you can log into create an avatar and walk around interacting with different people. It started with video games like The Sims and has evolved into a live interaction with real people. What people choose to do with this power is totally up to them. According to the article "At Hearing, Real and Virtual Worlds Collide" congress is afraid of people using these virtual worlds to launder money, and drugs. How exactly they would do that I am not sure myself, but criminals are very intelligent and if there is a will they will find a way. Others hope to use the virtual world to help people with special needs interact with each other. The CNN report by Nicole Saidi discusses how "Naughty Auties" hopes to put people with autism interact with each other over the virtual world allowed them to communicate easier since they can do this in a comfortable setting instead of having to go meet new people in a random place.

Is interacting with an avatar over a virtual world overrated or is it worth trying? Many people find it difficult to go out into the real world and meet new people, or sometimes they simply don't like to physically leave their home. For these people the virtual world is a great place to go. Others would find it ludicrous to want to meet people via an avatar instead of having a physical interaction. We are social creatures who naturally want to be around others, but as technology gives us the opportunity to be around others in different manners. Whether you think that virtual worlds are crazy, or are fine with the idea of using them, the only thing for certain is that the internet is here to stay and as technology advances we will be using it more to interact with people. A few years ago online dating seemed frowned upon because you seemed desperate, while now match.com has become a multi-million dollar company. So the chances are that we are headed for  a more virtual world, where people will be more connected to the internet and will be interacting with people all over the world on their phones, or computers and less time interacting with the people around them.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Social Networking Sites

The fact of the matter is that all these outlets pretty much do same thing, which is share information through the world wide web and make it personalized for the individual. Lets be honest though not all social media sites are made equally. We can all agree that Facebook pretty much has the edge on its competition and I feel it has to do with the way they entered the scene. Myspace was the number one social media site at the time and Everyone had an account! The easy to make and use account was fantastic for the user back then. It almost felt a necessity to have a Myspace. Facebook in the other hand required a school email which almost brought a level of exclusivity to the front. The only people one was allowed to communicate with where users affiliated with college and to hit such a young demographic only boosted my thoughts on Facebook at the time. I almost felt that i was more safe using Facebook compared to Myspace. I don't even actually think i know anyone that uses Myspace anymore. 

Now with twitter I feel that its fantastic way to keep up with the world and their thoughts. As young adults we find out more about ourselves and develop interests that we may not have not known that we may have had. So when it comes to politics the arts and sciences there a plethora of experts in their fields that have thoughts that we love to hear or may sometimes love to ridicule. Google plus on the other hand keeps me up to date with people that I need to be in touch with, people that are gonna effect my life more directly. Its a great way for close ones to keep in touch as well as business partners. Google plus saves time and effort, makes transactions a lot more easier and is more than likely here to stay.  Social media has come a long way from the Myspace days and there are so many avenues in which one may take. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Social Net'g

When Myspace first came out, i was still in high school, and it was the cool thing to have. Posting all sorts of pictures of yourself, and keeping up with your friends as you posted on their page. Then it began evolving into a more personal page where you could choose a certain amount of friends( your favorite people) who would be displayed on your home page, and you could edit the background to make it your own. Then it quickly went down hill and in came Facebook. At first it was a tool that colleges were using to allow students to meet each other and create a better college community. You would friend people who you knew or who went to your school, and read their posting and comment on them. Then it got opened to the rest of the public and from there on it seems like it turned into one giant marketing scheme for companies.

Where time you visit a website they always have an area where they want you to like them on Facebook, or to follow them on Twitter. The evolution of these websites has allowed for companies to  market their products for free on peoples websites, and will sometimes offer a discount if you show them some recognition on your social media website. Now where do these companies take it from here? According to the article "Real Facebook shop in virtual world breathes life into Mars" it seems like companies will now try and sell you tangible products on Facebook. The idea seems brilliant if it is executed correctly. Sure not every one will do it, but things like candy and flowers would be great to be able to send to a loved one on their birthday, valentines days, or when they are sick. It would be convenient if you log on to Facebook and you see that your anniversary is coming up, to just click on a link with out leaving the website to have flowers sent to your loved one. 

But social media was created for communicating with other people, whether it be people you already know, or meeting new people. For this reason companies like IBM have created their own social media site "Beehive" to encourage their employees to connect with each other and increase team work and communication (IS Myspace Good for Society? A Freakonomics Quorum). Companies know that among different departments their could be a lack of communication even though they are suppose to work together because they share common goals, and by implementing a social website, they hope to bridge the gap among their employees and have an increase in collaboration. 

Although social media websites are headed in the right direction with helping people connected and allowing a strong sense of community to build at work, at home, and with your friends, their is a downside to it. Censorship is a difficult aspect to control on websites such as Facebook and Twitter. If you are a high school student it can be very easy to fall into when is known as cyber bullying. Leaving school you to mean that you didn't have to be around the classmates that you may not have liked, but it is difficult to avoid people now when they can just log on and bother you online as well. Another challenge with social media is that people have taken a huge trust on what they read on blogs, or on Facebook with out doing any real research. Some people think that because they see things on a website that it is a fact. Any one can publish anything on the internet and knowing your source is a very important thing. Many people forget that wikipedia.org can be edited by any one, so not everything on that website is one hundred percent accurate.