Our (cool and awesome) Government…

Have you every wanted to find out information about developments at you local, state or federal Government? Wonder where your tax is going? Or are you supportive of a cause or alternatively, frustrated about something, or even wanting further information of government services? Well then, in any of the cases mentioned above and more, there is no need to waste your time making calls, leaving phone messages, or writing letters. Now with the advent of web 2.0 technologies your government is at your fingertips. Literally. 

For example, the other day I was asked which hospital had the fastest treatment times during a conversation. As this person was not feeling too well, I immediately pointed to the places that were closest to the area where we were situated. They then went onto their mobile checked the places, locations and also found out the exact answer to their question even comparing the exact minutes each place takes. This incident alone had made me raise some questions on the creation of an open, available and transparent government.

I felt that on the one hand transparency in government creates accountability, but on the other hand the information can be misunderstood, creating further problems. In my example above, the individual could have simply gone to the closest hospital, without having wasted the 20 or so minutes attempting to access reception on their device, connect to the site and find out some statistical small differences between the facilities. Sure, I do understand the value of an interactive accessible government, but like Lessig Lawrence, the vast amount of data made available by governments on the net creates more problems than necessary. A better system would be less numbers and data but more information, specialists, investigations and inquiries.

 

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Listening without prejudice

I have bought into the piracy issues that have dominated the music and movie scene for years now.

You know doing things like buying CDs and DVDs, rather than creating one’s own copies by burning them. One of the reasons I chose to do this was because even though it is a way of supporting the musicians, its also supporting the record labels, such as EMI Music and Universal Music. Now you might be thinking why I’d do such a thing, especially when record labels dictate what society listens to, by monopolizing the industry. Well, this is what I am trying to work out and hopefully solve through this post.

Thinking transversally is one way that is helping me deal with how to think about piracy issues. Thinking this way means that one is thinking out of the box, in a way. To elaborate, up to now I have believed in supporting musicians by buying records (Perhaps the media had something to do with it?), however, I didn’t realize that there are musicians that prefer to post their music on the web for free to gain the status and reputation they want.

Websites, such as sound-cloud now enable music makers to post and share their own music. On the one hand it may be argued that this cheapens the music industry, but I lean towards the other side that it creates diversity, a local and global music scene that is more personalized for the listener, and more collaborative for the musician. Thus, I think it is important to take note of the way prejudices have informed the music industry.

Now that I have become aware of CINEBEAT and SPOTIFY by smule I wonder what the music conglomerates would say about that. However, after reading a bit about the org it seems like the musicans themselves have started to explore other avenues than the good ole’ pub down the road. Thinking transversally makes a difference.

Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’, the Fibreculture Journal, 9, http://nine.fibreculturejournal.org/

Who’s There?

Virtual Reality has touched our minds, our bodies and souls. It has penetrated every part of society. I feel that we have entered an age where people have become accustomed to the virtual where we have now extended our presence into a less real and more materialistic world over the 3D Screen and because of this I have decided to share some of my experiences within the virtual realm of technology. For those who have seen the ‘Kill Switch’ Episode on the X-Files, watched the old or new version of Tron/The Tron Legacy, The Matrix or even AI, you will find that this week’s blog explores the issues of human nature that has entered into the cyber-world.

Virtual Reality is around us we are being drawn into it all the time. It’s practically unavoidable. In order to understand this, I feel that the Gaming Industry is a great place to start, as it has enabled me to understand what this vague, and abstract concept means. For example, I have just recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS. For me it was a toss between the PSP, Vita or 3DS, so I went along with the 3DS after giving it lots of thought. I have no regrets. In fact, one of my favourite features on the Nintendo 3DS is the AR (Augmented Reality) Cards, as well as the Street Pass, and Mii Maker. These aspects of the Nintendo 3DS are all based on morphing the virtual with the real, in addition I’ll confess that it had also helped me make the final decision.

Street Pass and Mii Maker are a great way of explaining how my presence has marked the virtual space. The Nintendo console comes with a camera where one takes a photo of face/profile pic. This can then be digitally enhanced with Mii Maker. The profile /Avatar on the Mii Maker can then be used in games/internet profiles and social media, similar to the way one would use their Avatar on Wii. Your Avatar can now be used as characters in games as well.

Sounds familiar? One’s profile on a game or social media (Facebook, Twitter) application can be identified as taking part of the virtual reality space. I think that the debates on whether this is good or bad is useless, but to assess the impact is of more value. Some of the issues that have been talked about are based on the humanity’s senses and perceptions. I won’t be going through these, as they are a little obvious. For instance, I have had to adapt with my sense of sight. For instance, when I am immersed in the 3D world on my console as opposed to the ‘real’ world, (that maybe on the way to uni on the bus) I have to be able to switch from the 3D world to the real world to make sure I don’t miss my stop. For the record though, this has yet to happen.

Thinking about the Virtual World that humans are constantly in contact with, it is difficult to miss the philosophical question of whether these virtual realities are actually assisting humanity as a whole, or as individuals or via consumerism. To elaborate, (this thought derived from the lecture) are the processes/companies behind virtual realities really trying to improve people’s sense or are they simply focusing on a desire to prove whether the impossible is reachable. I understand that virtual reality technologies are formed on perception and one’s senses. To further explain this, one’s perceptions and senses is built through one’s familiarity with the world. The worlds, which we live in, and the objects that we are in tune with, are familiar to us because of our past experiences. This then means that if we decide to form something new (e.g. Google Glasses) are we simply being selfish and attempting to introduce something that is external to what we are already familiar with. Is it a capitalist pursuit, or are we simply trying to enhance ourselves into the virtual space, because our space is insufficient. These questions, I have yet to uncover, however what I do perceive is that the virtual space is out there and (and to borrow from the X-Files) I feel like I have a second presence outside of my body that is formed out of electrical nodes.

Reference/Bibliography,

Murphie A, 2004, ‘The World’s Clock: The Network Society and Experimental Ecologies,’ Topia Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 11, Spring

Phillippe Jean, Fractals, Technical and Other Things: Eternally Returning to the Virtual, published February 9th 2011, accessed 2013, link, https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Ffractalfinance.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F02%2Feternally-returning-to-virtual.html?tab=people&uname=andersand

Wikipedia.

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