Monday, June 25, 2012

Chapters 1,4,10,11,18

     “The Internet is an unbelievable dense global matrix of 46,000 computer networks, 3.2 million host computers, woven together by telephone lines, undersea cables, microwave links, and gigabit fiber optics.  Touching down in 146 countries, linking 25 to 30 million people and growing by a million users each month, it’s doubling in size each year.”  Lewis mentioned this in the year 1994, where he thought these numbers were outstanding.  Living in the year 2012 and knowing how the Internet is today helps me to forget how complex these networks really are, yet how many people use it without thinking.  Gumpert and Drucker mention that safety is the primary reason by which people choose the spaces in which they work, play, live, and interact.  At one point, our social lives were divided by private and public domains, where as today there is a blurred line between the two.  I thought it was interesting to read about electronic mail.  People think that their emails sent one-on-one can be extremely private.  To a point this is true because there is a law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1993 that protects email from illegal monitoring and makes it a federal crime to intercept emails.  But, the EPCA does not protect the privacy of messages sent through internal company electronic mail systems.  Therefore, authorized employees, supervisors, or system managers can read emails without breaking the law.  Many people need to be careful with that they say through company email because it could cause extreme problems and/or a standard for being fired.  An important distinction to know is the difference between cyberspace and the Internet.  The Internet is a “multimedia transport medium” whereas cyberspace is an environment of communication instead of transport system.
     Chapter 4 starts out by describing a few metaphors in our culture, including the Electronic Frontier, The Information superhighway, and cyberspace.  The Information superhighway suggests that it is a network that connects us is more important than what is moving on the road.  Cyberspace suggests that a universe of wormholes and feedback loops.  One important question is whether electronic media has changed the nature of publication.  It is difficult to maintain duration and scope with electronic media.  The two reasons for this chapter is to prove that it will be hard to regulate intellectual property in a digital environment through copyright and that copyright is utterly and completely wrong.  Copyright is a huge issue in the world today.  Stewart explains it perfectly when he says, “Property does not have rights.  People do.”  Copyright is not always a bad thing and can help businesses and other companies succeed, with the correct rights to do so.  The reason for copyright laws is to benefit society, making it a better place.  For communication purposes, copyright reflects a view of language, culture, and relationships.
     Chapter 10 discusses the important topic of the digital divide, a term coined in the year 1997.  Frank Dance breaks down the digital divide into some possibilities, including income, race/origin, age, education, and household type.  But there are many more reasons for this as well.  There are people out there who believe that there is no need or even no desire to close this gap.  The first reason for this gap is obviously the ability to access the Internet.  Not many people can get access to the Internet for many different reasons.  The social digital divide is another term used in this chapter.  If everyone did have access to the Internet somehow, the overall digital divide would not be filled.  But Dance believes that the “digital divide will be closed as soon as people find an all important and irresistible reason to be on the web.”  In my opinion, this could be a great prediction, but I do not think that people will find it completely necessary one day.  There are people out there who are stubborn enough to not use it.
     Chapter 11 starts out with a brief history of fear and censorship.  One of the driving forces of censorship today is pornography.  In the late 19th century, publishers printed magazines on pulp paper that contained pornography and erotica and continues to do so today.  Along with pornography came photography.  Pornography then made it to the web: cyberporn.  This is where censorship came along.  Many parents with computers believed it was important for their children to use the Web, but many were scared as to what their children would find on the Web.  A man named Donald Roberts first introduced a way to rate websites called the standardization Recreational Software Advisory Council’s Internet rating system (RSACi).  This system has four content categories: language, nudity, sex, and violence.  Through this system, it was concluded that the Internet contains a very small percentage of offensive material.  The debate is still ongoing whether or not governments should block a percentage of content so they a smaller percentage of objectionable content will be erased.
     As discussed in class TRON in 1982 has become a major case study for those interested in the cultural impact of computer technology.  The most important fact about this movie is that it is all based on technology and a human trapped in a video game, which is impossible.  This movie changed the way people used to use print but are not engulfed in technology.

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