Copyright forumspile.com

Copyright forumspile.com

Oh, sorry, you couldn’t find it on google? Then I’m sorry, but what you’re looking for most likely doesn’t exist.

Ah, the life and times of the internet, Myspace and Facebook. It seems that in these days if you’re not connected to any of these social networks, you’re out of the loop, and pretty much non-existant. What happened to good old days communication via cellphones? what? you’re saying that a couple of years ago not everyone had a cell phone? and if you didn’t have one you were pretty cut from real life communication? wait, what? before having cell phones people had to actually use the postal service?

MIND = BLOWN

Every generation has had the same problem when it comes to communcation mediums. The internet is the most recent case, some people nowadays base their entire lives on their social networks and if you’re not on their friends list,  you don’t exist and lose contact with them. We have come to a point in the internet age where everything is being stored on the net, newspapers are creating databases to backup their old issues and companies are uploading their files as a backup. Trough these actions, the feeling that everything is on the net has been increasing throughout the years.

Google has been the main offender this generation, as it is hailed the “start page of the internet.” Google’s complex algorithim has made it easier to find anything on the web. By that exact reasoning, if Google can’t find it then, most likely, it doesn’t exist.

Better luck next time, then.

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Copyright David Sivers

Copyright David Sivers

There was a time when only a select group of people could read, these people were considered among the elite in society. But, as time went by, reading became a widespread activity. It was taught in every school and more people had the opportunity to learn this particular skill. Nowadays, only very few people don’t know how to read.

If that is the case, then why is it that people have a hard time adapting to reading on the web? why do they feel the need to print out whatever is on the screen? Why can’t they stop killing trees? Do they get distracted?

Truth is, people have grown accustomed to their paper and do not want to change that. The fear of having to read something off the screen frightens many. Most, don’t even read, they just “glance” at pages.

Then we have web learning skills, people who don’t know how to operate a computer or access the internet. Which for a long time was the “reading” skill of the 21st century. Many countries have stepped up their programs in order to have a more literate society when it comes to computer usage and web reading skills.

Thankfully, web learning skills are no longer regarded as being an “elite” activity, as it is mandated to be taught by almost every school that has access to computers.

Only good things can come out of this… right?

© Stockbyte / SuperStock

© Stockbyte / SuperStock

Ranging from blogs, websites, forums, computer software and even game consoles, the Terms of Service or the End-User License Agreement haunt our lives. Yet, very little people take the time to read them through or to try and understand them.

It’s funny and ironic how people complain about not being able to do certain stuff in a website or how they’re not allowed to do certain modifications to the things they own. Problem is, most of that is explained during the TOS and the EULA.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) made a study of what people think of TOS and privacy policies. The ICO surveyed 2,141 people about their attitudes to the small print of privacy policies and found that 47% of people believed that companies deliberately made it hard to read or hard to understand, and 42% believed that the material only existed to justify the selling on of personal details.

People say they need clearer TOS, and this is a valid complaint. For example, the EULA for Microsoft’s Window Vista operating system is 14-pages long. Trust me, sitting through reading 14-pages on how Microsoft practically owns you, is not funny. Every time I’m about to agree on a privacy policy or TOS, I’ll just say to myself: “yup, I’ll sign away my life to the devil.”

Facebook had to deal with a huge debacle, where they went back and updated their TOS, but sneakingly making them retroactive. Basically saying that everything you ever done on Facebook, is owned by them. This obviously angered a lot people, forcing facebook to revert to the old TOS. Facebook had no reason to revert, since it’s stated in their TOS, that the actual TOS is subject to change at any time they desire. The only reason to revert was to not lose any people. There was even a group in facebook against the facebook TOS, irony.

TOS and EULA’s need to be shorter, concise and to the point. But, as long as users keep ignoring them, the companies will retain their obscure and gigantic “we own you” terms.

To better illustrate my point on the TOS and EULA’s, here’s a short and funny clip from LoadingReadyRun.com where they parody the Facebook TOS debacle.

The world is constantly changing and with it the face of the planet too. But with every new piece of technology, new problems arise, along with it different solutions.

One of the biggest issues was the digital divide, the fact that people could not get access to these services due to low-income, ethnicity or gender. Minorities specifically, were the groups who the divide affected but have made strides in the area. While the gap is there, it is continually shrinking, with companies continually working to provide cheap internet access. Among these minorities, Hispanics have been a group in particular that have been growing in the past couple of years.

Companies haven’t been the only ones making an effort, as the government recently funded broadband communications. All in an effort to reduce the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” The US is currently ranked 17th worldwide in broadband speed, with an average of 3.9 Mbps. The government needs to keep funding in order to have improve the quality of broadband communications.

In the end, the digital divide has a long way until it completely dissipates. Minorities, companies and the government are doing what they can to narrow it and its just up to us to combat it.

The internet is surely a fascinating and scary place.

Back in February 2008, Fox news slammed PC/Xbox  360 game “Mass Effect” for alleged sexual content. Game journalist Geoff Keighley faced book author Cooper Lawrence in the interview were he tried to set the record straight. Lawrence, who had no previous experience with the game (obviously), went on ranting on how the game was explicit on a “pornographic” level.

Boy, oh boy. Big mistake.

The game, obviously, had no such thing as pornographic material. All the three major game publishers Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo made a commitment no never have this kind of material in any video game. Cooper Lawrence would later regret what she said on fox news. The Reason? The ratings for her books on Amazon.com were trashed by angry gamers around the world.

Electronic Arts asked for a correction but didn’t get it, while it created a stir in the gaming community having people very uninformed with the topic at hand.

This goes on to show that people pay attention to everything and that if you’re going to talk about something you don’t really know and present them as facts, there will be a price to pay. Lawrence underestimated the gaming community and now she’s regretting it dearly.

Next time, do your research and you won’t have to endure these pains. Anonymity can be a pain.

Dear Apple:

My name is Gerardo and I have a love-hate relationship with you. You see, I like how you come up with new ideas to freshen up your image once every year. But, all of your upgrades and new models are burning a hole on my wallet and I don’t know how much more I can take. I know we spent innumerable bike rides together and walks around the park, and it saddens me to say this, but it’s over.

It’s over, and I’m sorry.

Sure, the world has never been the same since you arrived in the year 2000. But I’m not falling into your scheme again. I bought my first iPod around 2005, it was the U2 edition. I was so proud of it; it had COLOR and could display pictures, and what happens in the next three months after I buy it? You disappoint me and show up your new model that has video capabilities.

I was left heartbroken, and swore never again to buy an apple product. Sure enough, you charmed me again with the introduction of the iPhone and the iPod touch. Sure enough, Apple did it again, huge success. And here I am, feeling the urge to reconciliate with apple and get me one of these awesome devices.

There I go again, buying an iPod touch (which is pretty awesome btw) and once again the love-hate relationship resumes. Why is it that apple is the only company that can get away with this? I know for sure that if a new successor for the PlayStation 3 came a year after it first released all hell would break loose.

In the end, it all comes down the design and ease of use. Apple’s effort for innovation and cutting edge technology has proved once again that spending money on an Apple product is always worth it.

I love you Apple (Not really)

Ah, the life of online communities.

The fact that we have two type of communities, that are so different from each other, shows how much an impact the web has had on society. Even though its been a while since online communities started, there has been a struggle to keep them working, at least for some companies.

Online communities can be harsh for newcomers; the communities are very secretive in what they do. In order to partake in the discussion one must register and create an online persona, once inside the hard part is to try and fit in. Anonymity in the communities also gives space for some people to act the way they want. People enjoy the anonymity factor because it gives them a chance to be someone else and escape their real world. Anonymity on the internet was even protected in a recent court case.

Online communities, the friendly ones at least, can be a good place to be. Sharing your thoughts with people that share your same interests is what has made online communities so popular. People from everywhere in the world and any time zone can participate in the discussion, each one giving their unique view on a particular subject.

Overall, online communities offer a great opportunity to meet different people who share your tastes. You never know, if you look hard enough you might find your little oasis on the web.