Author Archive

The Future of HealthCare. (Week 13)

The Internet in a nutshell.
The Internet is essentially defined as a network of networks. Which makes it still the same now as it has been in the past, and will probably be in the future. First and foremost, it is imperative to recognize that the major advancements and changes that are observed are actually how we have utilized that phenomenal medium. In a nutshell, we have taken the concept of inter-connections, the fundamental aspect of the Internet, and expanded it to a massive, global scale. It is has been used to progressively connect various aspects of our lives in ways that some of us could not have even imagined. This phenomenon not only positively improves our lives, but also brings us closer to one another.


How has it help us before, now and will in the future.

As previously mentioned, the trend that we noticed is that the Internet basically helps us to be connected to one another by integrating various types of technology together. In turn, we have predicted that more and more aspects of our lives, such as transport, our community and business organizations, will be seamlessly integrated and made more ubiquitous. One such aspect that I would like to focus on is Healthcare.


e-Consultation.

Besides Medicine, Treatment and Surgery, a large portion of Healthcare as based on consultation. Having been a Health Science student during my years in the Polytechnic, I had access to basic ailment treatment knowledge. As I proceeded on to the enlist for National Service and even now as an Undergrad, my peers who knew about my Health Science background often asked me questions regarding simple medical advice. This is a small representation on what consultation actually is; people who know more advising other people on what to do.

The Internet at present can already help people diagnose common ailments and provide suggestions of various treatments to remedy them. However, there is an obvious limit to this. The signs and symptoms have to be easily interpreted by the average person for the ailments to be diagnosed accurately. If the ailment requires a more professional opinion or advanced equipment to diagnose then the sick person would have to spend money and time and head to the neighborhood clinic or even to a Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department if it is during an inconvenient hour.

The Future of Healthcare.

My vision for the future of healthcare is that there will be an online hub staffed by medical professionals from various fields and anyone with a connection to the Internet can have a diagnosis without even stepping out from their homes. How would this work? In the future, online communication will definitely be much more advanced. Doctors and other physicians can use high definition webcams and microphones to observe their “patients” and give instant diagnoses. Outpatients who require regular check ups can also save time by using this service.

Not everything.

However, an online medical hub is not meant to replace hospitals or clinics. There is no way a visual consultation can match up to an actual physical examination. Blood tests, hands-on clinical examinations and exclusive medical equipment can never be replicated at home. But this can prevent minor ailments that do not require immediate medical attention that often chokes up the Accident and Emergency Department in Hospitals. Additionally, it saves time, encourages people to be more active regarding their own health, and facilitates a better healthcare system.

Conclusion.

Healthcare is one of the most important aspects of our lives and the Internet has graced it with its widespread reach and interconnectivity. The online medical hub is a perfect example of how the Internet as a vast and interconnected network can help us regarding the field of Healthcare in the future. It is also important to note that however, not all attributes of Healthcare can ever be changed by the Internet. There is nothing that can substitute a qualified person with proper equipment to diagnose and treat ailments face to face. Or can there be? We shall have to just wait and see what is in store for us in the future.

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No cure for the Viral Video. (Week 12)


Funny and interesting things are always happening around us.
And sometimes we happen to catch them at the right time. It could be accidental like someone falling down in a funny way, or natural like an animal making a weird sound, or even purposeful like a friend who has a unique talent.
Sharing stuff

In the old days, when we see something like that and probably tell our friends and peers over coffee. Some might not believe us, but others might find it interesting as well and in turn, tell their friends and peers.


Later on, camcorders were invented and we might get lucky and catch that interesting bit on film.
Then, we can actually show these entertaining instances to our friends and family with the aid of a VCR and Television.

Going Viral

Presently, with the ubiquitous presence of hi-tech filming equipment and recording devices on smartphones paired with the vast networking capabilities of the Internet, sharing such amusing clips has never been easier. Now, it is so easy to share videos that your audience would not just be limited to your friends and family now; there is a potential audience of more than a billion users on the Internet. If your video is exceptionally intriguing or entertaining enough, it could be shared and viewed all over the world garnering millions of views. We call this going viral.

Therefore, a Viral Video is essentially just a regular video that has achieved immense popularity in a relatively short amount of time by the process of Internet sharing. These videos are a modern revolution, only made possible by the recent prevalence of high-speed wireless Internet, social networking and media and a desensitized generation. Video sharing sites like YouTube, Veoh and DailyMotion have been created to further fuel the phenomenon of the Viral Video. Additionally, social networking sites and smartphones will bring about a buzz that even the best marketing teams in the world cannot create.

However, besides all the modern breakthroughs that enabled such videos to be seen all over the world, the videos themselves have to be interesting and captivating enough for people to want to spread and share them around. More often than not, these videos are short and have a comical aspect to them while others have other characteristics like a novel theme or sensational amateur work.

Here are some examples of Viral Videos. These videos have millions of views each. I have chosen these few as they were from normal everyday people who became overnight celebrities solely because of their videos.


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Conclusion

The Internet has changed the way we view videos like many other aspects of our lives. The viral video is just one of the many phenomenal creations brought about by the Internet revolution. It also symbolizes how the Internet makes things more convenient and faster to do as well as how much more of a Global Village the world has become. Viral videos have infected the world with laughter, amazement and entertainment, and it seems very likely to be a chronic phenomenon that’s here to stay.

Now everyone’s a Journalist with the Internet. (Week 11)

The Importance of Journalism

Saying that journalism is vital part of society would be an understatement. Without it, how would we know about anything that’s happening around the world? We would be clueless about everything major that is happening even in our own countries. Indicating that there is a lot of responsibility resting on the shoulders of Journalists. Any distortion, biasness, alteration or omission in their reporting may bring about cataclysmic consequences.

Journalism for Everyone!

So what is Journalism essentially? Dictionary.com defines it as, “the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Simple enough that any half-witted nosey-parker armed with a cheap laptop and a loose grasp of what he or she believes is the English language can do so?
I think not.


The Endangered Journalists

Journalists are one of the most respected professions in the modern world. Not only do they have to be strong in their language, they are also expected to report the news in an objective and unbiased manner. However, a strong sense of skill and ethics is not enough for some journalists. War correspondents and political journalists in countries with corrupted governments put their lives on the line just by doing their job.
 


Citizen Journalism

With that being said, I return to my previous point. How can unqualified commoners even attempt such a paramount task?
Ah, but they do. Under the guise of “Citizen Journalism.”
Ever since the emergence of Web 2.0, there has been more and more user-generated content. It was inevitable that a portion of this content would be news related.
A local website that features many articles from “Citizen Journalists” is STOMP by The Straits Times. They have a section titled, ”Singapore Seen” where netizens can contribute anything they deem newsworthy by submitting an image or even a video clip accompanied with a brief report. Another important feature of this section is that other users can voice their comments on a particular article. Most of these articles are of trivial matters and are mildly entertaining at best. However, there are some articles that just painfully display ignorance and irresponsibility.

Repercussions

Just take the article above as an example. Even though the woman in subject may seem like a public nuisance, she is clearly suffering from a mental illness. It is tragic enough that she is alone and confused while no one around understands or even helps her. On top of that, the writer of this article felt it was necessary to take a photograph of her, call her crazy and post this article on STOMP. He or she is trivializing the poor woman’s plight and at the same time publicly humiliating her in a website that has a few thousand viewers daily.

Benefits

However, I do understand that there is some entertainment value in citizen journalism. Who doesn’t enjoy reading about gossip or trivial issues from time to time? In fact, some articles of citizen journalism are rather insightful and bring an interesting and unique perspective to the table. This is a refreshing break from the mundane and heavily regulated local news.

Conclusion

Initially, I was extremely apprehensive, like the tone of this Blog entry, with the idea that the Average Joe can just call him or herself a journalist and just ramble on while thousands, probably ignorant or misinformed, would just listen and give their worthless opinions. A wise man, Hank Green, once said, “It’s almost as if our society values opinions more than it values knowledge.” One might gain nothing from most of these articles, but can lose valuable resources like time, tolerance and insight. On the other hand, a little gossip and trivia does not really hurt anyone. Moreover, there are actually some good and enriching articles also written by Citizen Journalists that are thrown into that mix. All that is required is that the moderators do more thorough and stringent regulation so as to weed out any undesirable articles like the one in subject. And try not to further sully the profession that is Journalism.

The Internet: Paving the way for Politics (Week 10)

Simple looking image isn’t it?
But as far as images go, this one in particular has a far deeper message than what can be deduced from surface value.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well then, let us break down this picture above, starting by talking about some fundamental aspects on the details that this image contains.

Twitter

It is instantly recognizable that this image has been cropped from the famous social networking site Twitter. With an emphasis on micro-blogging, Twitter has taken the world by storm with it’s unique and simple way to share bits and pieces of one’s life with anyone who wants to know and vice versa. And like many of the big players in the social networking game, Twitter, has been making it’s way into many of our daily routine. A vital point to note that adds to the Twitter’s immense popularity, is that it’s users are not limited to average netizens. Twitter’s registered users database boast a number of internationally renowned personalities from a myriad of different fields that include the arts, sports and politics. On top of that, major organizations also utilize Twitter’s broad reach to advertise on new products or services.


The Obama Edge


As you can see from the image, the person who posted the particular tweet is the current President of the United States, President Barack Obama. This raises the question,“ Why is the most powerful man in the World using a social networking site that even commoners can use?” The answer is simple. It is because social networking has made the Internet the most powerful broadcasting medium in the World. Never has there been a medium where you can receive messages or updates with such convenience and promptness. Additionally, the Internet can be used to share information such as tweets like the one above, with great ease. People can quote tweets like this and share them with their friends and family. They can even add opinions or comments that they might have regarding it.

This is History

The final, but most significant, detail of the image is the “Tweet” itself.
“This is History.”
It is due to the nature of the tweet that inspired me to select it to write about. “History” is a word that resounds in so many aspects of the “Tweet”.
The writer of the tweet, President Barack Obama, is a prime example of that. He has made history by being the First President of the United States of America to be of African-American heritage. As a Hawaiian, he was also the first to be born outside the continental United States.
However, the historical landmark, that is the focus of the entry, is of a different “First”.
President Obama is the first president to have actively integrated social networking sites, such as Twitter, into his Presidential Campaign. This bold move struck a chord with the youth and many other IT savvy groups, and reaching further out to the world than any president has at the same time. By using the Internet and Social Networking, he has emulated his predecessors by using a new medium to garner popularity.
From the first time when Presidential Election results were broadcasted on radio in 1924 that President Calvin Coolidge had won to the first televised Presidential Debate between JFK and Nixon in 1960.
Presidents have used what were “new media” in their times to keep up and connect with their people.
President Obama is doing that now, with the Internet. But which good politician wouldn’t do that anyway?


Conclusion

The Internet is definitely a broadcasting medium that is here to stay. And Politics, like almost everything else, will be forever changed by it. President Obama has set a fine example of how to use this powerful medium to his advantage, by being the first president to use the Internet to stay current with changing times and connect with his people at the same time.
This is History.

The Multimedia Advantage (Week 9)

Multimedia

Multimedia can be defined rather simply. By breaking up the word, we get “multi” and “media”. Therefore, it is safe to say that multimedia is primarily media that incorporates a combination of various types of media such as audio, video, still images, text and animation. On top of that, another fundamental aspect of multimedia to consider is that it is interactive, which explains why it is usually associated with computers.

 

Interactivity of Multimedia

Computers, unlike old media such as television or radio, allows users to choose what form they would like their media to be in at their own convenience. For example, instead of watching random mobile phone advertisements that are broadcasted on primetime television, I can go online and search for information on the specific model of mobile phone that I am interested in. Furthermore, I can choose if I would prefer to read a text-based write up on the specifications of the phone accompanied with a few still images or just watch a thorough and dynamic video review that could be too long to be broadcasted on primetime television.

 

 

With that said, here is an advertisement for a mobile phone by BlackBerry that I have never seen on television. I found it on YouTube and felt that it was exceptionally good.


The BlackBerry Torch 9800

It has the makings of an outstanding multimedia advertisement. A catchy audio track, stunning computer graphic effects, stylized video clips, bold headers and crisp, digitally rendered images merged together in an awesome symphony of cutting-edge style and class without forgetting to include important information on it’s features.

 

The Multimedia Advantage

People might argue that an advertisement like that is no different from the ones on television. Well, it is true to a certain extent. However, what the focus should be on is it’s interactivity and how it can be a strong advantage.

A Suitable Medium

Due to the commercial being available on YouTube, anyone with a multimedia device, which is currently most computers and smartphones, can view it. In that way, since the product is essentially a multimedia tool, it would be very apt to be presented in that medium.

 

Reaching the Target Audience

Additionally, primetime commercials are just broadcasted to a random mix of audience. While on the other hand, most people who have viewed this particular commercial online are most likely already interested in it and want to find out more. The difference is that while it is likely there will be more people watching the primetime commercial, there is a higher chance that the people who view multimedia commercial would actually purchase the product. This factor takes care of the company trying to reach to its target audience. To further enhance this point, primetime spots on television can cost up to millions on top of the production costs. Advertising online is virtually free. This means that the company would be reaching its target audience at a fraction of the alternative cost if they choose to use the Internet.

 

Social Networking

The final, and probably most significant, advantage is related to another Internet phenomenon, Social Networking. Many companies, including Blackberry, now have the option for someone to be able to link their product pages on various Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Thus, the merging of these two Internet phenomena has the potential to make something every multi-million dollar marketing campaign seeks to make, Buzz. People are more likely to buy a product that has been hyped up by other people. If one were to see his or her Facebook wall or Twitter feed peppered with videos and articles on a particular product, he or she would likely be at least intrigued and seek to find out more about that product. Some people even make their decisions based on the popularity of the product.

 

Conclusion

At first glance, multimedia and regular media may not seem to have much contrast. A commercial viewed online and on the television can even be identical. However, the vast network of the Internet paired with the interactivity of multimedia has been a marketing revolution. It has shattered barriers that regular media could never have overcome. Multimedia is not just another passing trend; it is the medium of the future.

Cyber-crime: As real as it gets. (Week 8)

Cyber-crime

Cyber-crime, like regular crime, can occur in all sorts of variations and intensity. These crimes range from the mildly annoying to the downright destructive. Therefore, it is vital to recognize the different types of Cyber-crimes that one can be a victim of, and more importantly, protect him or herself from.

 

 

The Different Types of Cybercrime

Spam

Perhaps one of the less severe types of Cyber-crime, Spamming is viewed as more of an annoyance rather than something malicious. It is usually defined as the act of sending unsolicited e-mail in large quantities for the purpose of advertising. I would say it is comparable to companies making cold calls or a door-to-door salesman. It could cause inconvenience, but no major damage is done.

Computer Fraud

As the Internet grows to aid us more in our daily lives, especially in the field of e-commerce, it has inadvertently made us more vulnerable and exposed to threats. Let us take the real world as an example; if someone wants to steal our money or peek at our pin number, he or she would have to take great pains to do so because of the obvious factors involved. However, in the virtual world there are many ways one can steal passwords, obtain sensitive documents or hack into accounts; including the use of Trojan Horses, Worms and Bombs.

 

Cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying has been defined as “when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person”. However, it is not limited to that, cyber-stalking is can also manifest as a form of cyber-bullying when it escalates to cause distress and trauma for the victim. Statistics have shown that cyber-bullying is an epidemic faced by most teenagers. In America, the number has reached to almost half the teenage population. The dangerous consequence of cyber-bullying is it can drive impressionable and impulsive teenagers to depression, rage and in extreme cases suicide. The suicides of Megan Meier and Ryan Halligan are a couple of tragic examples where cyber-bullying led to death.

 

Protecting Yourself from Cyber-crimes

As cyber-crimes draw a parallel with crimes in real life, the ways in which we protect ourselves from them are also somewhat similar.

Passwords

As we know, passwords are a staple in the online world. They are found everywhere; from MMORPG to iBanking accounts. And there are hackers who have developed countless of programs find out your password combinations. However, simply using a complicated and long password can thwart a lot of these programs. It is the same logic as using bigger and more locks on your doors. Sure it might be a slight inconvenience to remember a password, but it could save you a lot of trouble and heartache. Would you rather remember a 10-digit password or have all your contacts from your e-mail address book stolen from you? Some tips to keep in mind would be to use capital letters and special symbols along with the usual alphanumeric passwords. A password like “!MpR3Gn@b|3” would be a tough nut to crack.

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Virus and Firewalls

As we continue to draw a parallel between the real and virtual worlds; firewalls and anti-viruses would be like having security guards standing in front of your doors and patrolling around your estate respectively. They work to keep out undesirable content and search your system to contain and dispatch of that can be seen as a threat. There are different types of software such as McAfee, BitDefender and Norton that offer comprehensive and updated anti-virus capabilities. There are even some types of software, such as AVG, that are free for download.

 


Being Alert and Savvy

Even with all the preventive measures, one of the most effective ways of preventing cyber-crime is to be alert and savvy. If you see a deal online that is too good to be true, it probably is. Do not give away valuable information such as personal particulars and credit card numbers to strangers who promise extravagant rewards and prizes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

This point would especially be of value to victims of cyber-bullying and stalking. Parents and teachers should educate teenagers to take the high road and not succumb to bullies or even become bullies. Also, being sociable and positive are excellent methods to deal with bullying in any form.

 

Conclusion

It is inevitable that as IT becomes more advanced and ubiquitous, the rate and intensity of cyber-crime would rise as well. However, we should not be deterred and always be on constant vigilance. Ultimately, it will be you who would suffer for being complacent and ignorant. Updating and enforcing the security on your multimedia products is a key measure to take in this process of protecting yourself against cyber-crime. The virtual world like the real world; is a dangerous place.
Do not become a victim of cyber-crime!

LIVE and LOUD! (a COM 125 Blog Video) (Week 7)

LIVE and LOUD!

I say that experiencing music LIVE and LOUD, is the BEST way to really appreciate and feel the music that you love.

Live performances surpasses any Genre;  from Classical to Metal.

It is only then when you can appreciate the stage antics of the performers, feel the energy of fellow fans of the band, totally immerse yourself in the performance and be just be enraptured by the Music.

This is a small collection of videos from some of the awesome concerts that I have had the pleasure of attending in Singapore.

THANK YOU FOR WATCHING!

I hope you have had as much fun watching the video as I had making it! 😀