Sunday, October 28, 2012

Anonymous Threatens Zynga With Release of Games

Anonymous is a collective of unknown, unnamed people associated through the internet, and in this case the term refers to an organization of hackers who claim they safeguard the public good. Zynga is a video gaming company famous for its Facebook-based game Farmville. 

Anonymous released a statement on detailing a wonderfully dramatic kind of blackmail that could save almost 800 jobs. I'm not a fan of small groups claiming to represent the greater majority, but this suggestive of an epic battle along the lines of Clark Kent versus Lex Luthor. Anonymous has apparently hacked into Zynga's servers and extracted games that normally cost money, threatening to release them to the public for free unless the company "will cease immediately the plan."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Interviewing in the Digital Age

After reading through Tompkins's "Aim for the Heart" chapter 6, I thought about how technology influences the interview processes. He made a lot of good points, touching on a few that are probably familiar to most people already. The most interesting things that came to mind during this reading, however, were the changes in technologies over the past few years.
            What is the best way to interview someone if that information is going to be filtered into written stories for publishing or alternative story forms?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Greatest Blog Post Ever Sold

... but not really.

Courtesy of
This blog doesn't get nearly enough views for me to put advertisements up, but if I did, I would be getting paid just because you're reading this. This is part of the reason Facebook makes money- not a lot, granted, but Facebook is currently worth a few billion dollars.  For every page on which an ad is shown, the proprietor of a website will make a few cents. Given the number of ads on each page, and the number of viewers, this can add up fairly quickly.

So why don't we use ads to pay for more? In a sense, we already do. Twitter shows 'promoted' feeds that pay for more views even though you might not subscribe to the sender. I once heard a great quote that went something like "If you do not pay for a product or service, you are the product being sold." Essentially, this is true. Free services like most e-mail servers, website hosting (including, dear friends, my blog), social networking and other such web-based platforms are all fueled by advertisement revenue.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Presidential Visit to the University of Wisconsin

A note to all readers: unlike my other posts, this one is entirely opinion-based (not related to technology whatsoever) and should be read as such. As always, comments are expected and encouraged.

As I write this, I am taking shelter from the impending rain in a cafe outside the University of Wisconsin's communications building, sipping a double espresso and watching crowds of liberal voters walk by. The vast majority of them are headed to Bascom hill to see the 'leader of the free world' give a speech about why he should be reelected. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Apple’s iPhone 5: ‘The Biggest Thing to Happen to iPhone Since iPhone’?

iPhone 5 Dimensions.
Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.

In 2007, thousands upon thousands of people stood in line for hours to witness the advent of Apple's first iPhone. It was considered to be revolutionary (and marketed as such). Being only 15 years old at this point, I remained unenthused. To begin with, I didn't have an income to afford such a luxury. I wasn't particularly thrilled with my SideKick 3, but I knew that only the richest students in my school would buy the iPhone. Few would, especially knowing there would be connectivity/signal problems given how isolated we were, nestled between the mesas in Sedona, Arizona. I didn't give in to the pressure of everyone around me using the same technology provided by the iPhone until I finally asked for the iPhone 4 as a birthday gift from my mother nearly two years ago. I am not much for following 'fads', but I quite like my iPhone. The question now becomes: Will the iPhone 5 be worth the switch?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wartime Journalism in the Digital Age

On April 19th, 2009, the New York Times published an audio slideshow online. The narrator was a soldier stationed in Afghanistan who spoke of one particular experience in which he and his company were ambushed. During the firefight, one soldier was shot and killed. After they had come back to find their lost companion, the narrator mentioned that they were relieved in spite of the fact that he was dead, if only because they knew he where he was and that he had not been captured.

I think that one of the benefits of having this kind of media to portray a story like this is that it does feel very personal. Photos of the soldiers moving through wooded areas and sliding down slippery slopes were taken such that you almost feel you were there. This story was told almost from the bottom up, as the narrator mentioned a few specific facts before giving a bigger overview of what happened. Personally, however, I prefer the 'inverted triangle' of reporting. I think that it makes the story clearer to start out with the broader details and, building on specificity, so that readers who are more interested can read on and find out the more definite details.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Competing Application Platforms

Technology is moving exceptionally quickly, or so it has seemed lately. With the advent of the iPhone and Android smartphones, software once only available for use on computers is now accessible through mobile devices. Even gaming consoles like Microsoft's xBox 360 can now access applications downloaded from the Web, like Netflix and Facebook. It seems like most things that people use every day are now able to do this. There are refrigerators with touch screens and access to Twitter, and cars that can play music from web-based radio applications like Pandora. What will be next?