November 24, 2017

Mobile Technology: for better or worse?

Filed under: News — csadm @ 6:25 pm

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone. In September, Apple marked the occasion with the announcement of three new iPhones during an event at their brand new campus in California.

The new devices are called the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, and the 10th Anniversary phone, which Apple CEO Tim Cook presented separately, named the iPhone X.

Now is as good a time as ever to reflect how far we have come with mobile technology.

Ten years is not a long time in the history of mankind. So perhaps we are too self-obsessed to notice… but a phone is still a phone, and information is only useful to those who have the intelligence and resources to use it to best advantage.

It goes beyond 10 years

There once was a time when the ultimate smartphone you could get was a BlackBerry. Before Apple’s iPhone arrived, Google’s first Android prototypes were basically BlackBerry clones.

It’s easy to think of the historic rise of Android and the iPhone, but ten years ago, in pre-e-historic times both of these platforms were outsiders.

Back in 2006, neither Apple nor Google had established relationships with carriers. Neither had a loyal following of business users to bolster its consumer proposition. And neither had the best text-input method ever devised for a pocketable device. BlackBerry, then known as Research in Motion, did.

And yet the Canadian company failed to adapt and develop its product – and ultimately it paid the price and handed the higher ground to Apple and Samsung.

Now let’s dig deeper and explore the positive and negative impacts of the last decade of mobile technology.

Mobile technology has changed the way we message each other

It’s true that mobile technology has had a dramatic effect on traditional postal services. We no longer pay to send birthday or Christmas cards in the mail. We simply send an email, e-card, text or message via Facebook and the like.

But technology has also improved the business of logistics and there is a burgeoning business in the rapid delivery of parcels. People still want product delivered to their door, quickly, safely and efficiently.

In Australia, Amazon is soon to launch its online operation with over 500 sellers trading on its site. The challenge remains in safely delivering the goods to consumers and it also remains to be seen whether the market for online shopping expands, or whether Amazon is simply catering for a pre-existing market.

Mobile technology has changed the way we relate to each other

Millions of people from all parts of the world have created profiles on online dating applications. Borders have become less defined. Once upon a time we would date and marry someone we knew from school, or from our neighbourhood or village. Now the lines are blurred and there are some studies that also link an online social media presence to the likelihood of divorce.

Marrying someone from another cultural background may seem exotic in the first place. But unless one thoroughly researches the culture and expectations of either the man or wife, then their concept of marital bliss may be heading towards disaster.

Dating someone is now as complicated as ever, as are other relationships. Your legal rights are only a few clicks away. Maybe just a few clicks ahead of the scammers that prefer social media platforms to prey upon the vulnerable.

Mobile technology has changed the way we use media

This is not such a bad thing, but for media companies trying to remain viable in an ever-changing world, it is a nightmare. Once upon a time we were prisoners of the television, and we relied heavily on newspapers and magazines as a credible source of information.

Nowadays we can get news and entertainment from our mobile devices.

The problem is, of course, it is harder than ever to determine the truth.

Collins Dictionary recently named “fake news” as the word of the year – fake in itself as it is actually two words. Regardless, Collins recognised that the term has seen an increase of 365% in usage over the past 12 months (and we know who to thank for that, @POTUS).

Mobile technology also carries it with it a certain nastiness – pornography, hate, bullying, graphic imagery. The regulation of social media and its impact on freedom of speech may in fact be one of the greatest moral challenges of the 21st century. This starts with the individual and the need for self-regulation and moderation.

Mobile technology has changed the way we share

These days we use social media networks to share information, and we have ready access to mobile devices to do so. Information is at our fingertips.

While the new generation will most likely be trained to effectively Google. However for those caught in the generation gap, unless you have spent a healthy youth at your local library using classification systems and keyword searches, you will most likely find the art of Googling somewhat daunting.

And unless your word and spelling skills are above average, you may be getting surprising results in Google. For a laugh go to Buzzfeed and search “accidentally typed” or follow this link below.

Your lack of literacy skills, accidental or not, may be quite revealing – giving your peers reason to question your general intelligence.

At the risk of sounding snobbish, unless you have confidence in your spelling and grammar then over-wordy public posts and comments are probably best left to those better educated. But here, we may be preaching to the converted.

Mobile technology has changed the way we read, write and empathise

Books, letters and notes have been replaced with e-readers, tablets and smartphones. At what cost? We are reading shorthand versions of a questionable truth. The constant stream of information has resulted in our short attention span, lack of empathy and the illusion that we are somehow more important than we really are.

We no longer have time for old-fashioned conversations. It’s not uncommon now to go to a restaurant and see a couple head-down on their mobile phones, rather than engaging in conversation with each other.

Entire tables of people engaged with their phones instead of enjoying and benefiting from social interaction.

Pop artist Andy Warhol predicted the trend in 1968 when he stated “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.

Had your 15 minutes? Perhaps it’s now time to get off Facebook, delete your fake friends and rediscover your life.

Photo: According to the Australian Federal Police…and a fifth person: an identity thief.

Make sure that if you’re sharing personal details on social media that your security settings are tight. Identity theft is a real risk, especially when strangers can know so much about you. If you wouldn’t tell a stranger, don’t post it publicly on Facebook!

Think twice before you post !



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November 13, 2017

The Dangers of the Internet

Filed under: News — csadm @ 1:38 pm

The internet is like a massive iceberg. Millions of web pages and servers running 24 hours, seven days a week. Most of us just see the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface is the Deep Web, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of websites.

According to PC Advisor, the term “Deep Web” refers to all Web pages that that are unidentifiable by mainstream search engines.

Google and Yahoo, for instance can only see the tip of the internet iceberg.

New technology such as encryption and the anonymization browser software, TOR, now makes it possible for anyone to dive deeper, below the surface-skimming activities of Google and Yahoo.

TOR is a service originally developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory and is an acronym for the original software project that was known as The Onion Browser. You will often see an onion as a symbol for TOR. Now you know why.

Think of TOR as a Web browser like Google Chrome or Firefox, but it is a deep diver. The main difference is that, instead of taking the most direct route between your computer and the deep parts of the Web, the TOR browser uses a random path of encrypted servers, also known as “nodes.” This allows users to connect to the Deep Web without fear of their actions being tracked or their browser history being exposed. Sites on the Deep also use TOR to remain anonymous, meaning you won’t be able to find out who’s running them or where they’re being hosted.

And it is here, under the cloak of anonymity, you will find a section of the Deep Web called “the Dark Net”.

The Dark Net

The Dark Net refers to an area within the Deep Net that houses sites with criminal intent or illegal content, and “trading” sites where users can purchase illicit goods or services.

For instance the Dark Net is used for activity such as illegal trade in drugs and arms, forums, and media exchange for paedophiles and terrorists.

PIC: According to Jamie Dimon, CEO, JP Morgan: “Bitcoin is a fraud that will ultimately blow up”

Within the Dark Net much of the trade is done in “cryptocurrencies” such as Bitcoin. It helps avoid the detection that would come with the use of traditional banks and currencies such as the US Dollar.

So money-laundering, illegal trading and shady deals become easier and undetectable. Bitcoin is thus the online currency of choice of criminals.

According to the boss of America’s biggest bank, JP Morgan Bitcoin is a fraud that will ultimately blow up.

CEO Jamie Dimon said the digital currency was only fit for use by drug dealers, murderers and people living in places such as North Korea.

Speaking at a conference in New York, Dimon said he would fire “in a second” anyone at the investment bank found to be trading in bitcoin.

He added: “The currency isn’t going to work. You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart.”

The internet should be used with caution and common sense

Let’s return to the surface, where most of us conduct our online activities. According to cybersecurity experts Kaspersky, here are some of the traps faced by people when using the internet:

In short, the internet and social media can be shady places. Similar to a public bar – where all kinds of characters hang out – loudmouths, hustlers, criminals, spivs and predators.

Smart people avoid such places, preferring secure, quiet and reputable social meeting places, preferring the company of family and close friends who they can trust.

Fake News! Don’t be fooled!

There is nothing new in fake news. It is old news. Governments have been using fake news propaganda for centuries to destabilise opposition forces, especially during times of war.

However, the internet has now made the spreading of fake news easier to a point where it is difficult to determine fake news from real news, and it is hard to tell “click-bait” news from advertising.

Add to this internet trolls who take perverse satisfaction from posting inflammatory or provocative messages in online communities, inciting discontent and negativity.

The scourge of fake news has now reached a point where in America – the land of free speech – people are evenly split over the need to regulate social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

At a recent hearing of the US Senate intelligence committee, it was revealed how Russia “conducted an information operation intended to divide the US society along issues such as race, race and second amendment rights.”

It was revealed that 80,000 Russian-backed posts on Facebook reached 126 million Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign, with a further 120,000 similar posts on Instagram and that up to 15% of Twitter accounts were “fake or automated”.

At the hearing, an executive for Facebook conceded that starting from October 2016, just before the election, the Russian posts on Instagram reached an additional 16 million Americans.

Once again, information on the internet, and particularly on social media should always be treated with a healthy amount of scepticism.

If anything, news on social media is always worthy of further investigation. Propagating fake news by sharing with others is just as likely to have negative outcomes not only for the truth, but also for those stupid enough to be sharing it.

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