The Bologna Blog

a blog about all of the "bologna" in our minds that lead to writing.

Archive for November 2009

The Yin and the Yang of Facebook

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For every yin, there is a yang. For every good, there is a bad. It is the natural balance of life.

Facebook and other forms of social networking are just the same. Sure, they offer a networking database to connect old friends to new friends and colleagues to associates; but there comes a point when we must become aware of just how much we blend our personal and professional circles.

Hot off the AP wire is an article that tells a story of a Canadian woman who lost her benefits because of pictures she posted on her Facebook page. However, this is not the first time such an instance has been brought to the forefront.

Teachers have been warned, fired, and harassed for similar issues in the U.S. as well. It has now become an issue of privacy and professional respect for a person’s personal life.

Employers have been given the means to track the lives of employees while outside of the workplace, as millions of users participate in the social activity unaware.

There are privacy settings that users can set to limit who can see what, but more than half of users pay no mind to them. Even then so, if you become a “friend” of a co-worker, you become susceptible to infiltrations of privacy.

When I created a Facebook account years ago, it was to keep in touch with friends who went away to school. Now, it has become a pop culture phenomenon that spans across multiple generations.

I’ve gotten add requests from aunts, uncles, cousins half my age, my mother, my crazy ex-girlfriends, co-workers… people outside of my social circle who find a need to be a part of it, to condone or disapprove of my friends and colleagues and any tidbit of my personal life.

While I am conscious of privacy settings, many of my friends are not. They post pictures of me without my approval and tag me in them so they are added to my page.

Who knows who will see those pictures of me? It’s not that difficult to dig for dirt on somebody if you know how to finagle your way through the network. Who’s to say that employers don’t hire specialty web surfers for HR purposes.

Pictures your friends may post of you half drunk at your birthday party may keep you from getting that job one day. You might not even have a Facebook account, but you are still susceptible to this public spy network.

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Written by cor24leone

November 23, 2009 at 5:28 AM

We Am the Line Drawers

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We’ve seen the movies. Robots and machines team up to take over the world. Terminator, iRobot, Wall-E… it’s a growing trend these days. That could have to do with the expanding capabilities of the technologies we use today.

At some point, we must responsibly consider the technological grounds we have paved before movies become the new age Nastradamus. In her 1995 Wired Magazine article “Who Am We”, Sherry Turkle presents an interesting take to allow you to ponder for yourself.

How real are computers? Can we consider them to be alive? They think for themselves in more complex algorithms than the average human being. They provide a virtual playground and social network greater than any work place or college campus.

Where do we draw the line between a living and non-living object?

While computers lack emotional concept that often drives the argument leaning toward non-living, one must also consider the emotional lacking of plants and micro-organisms that are considered living.

What’s that you say about computers not breathing life? Without electricity, computers are just as dead as any mammal without oxygen and any plant without carbon dioxide. Pulling the power cord out of the wall is essentially the same as wrapping a rope around your neck and cutting off the flow of oxygen to your brain.

If you think about it, what makes plants living organisms? Sure, they breathe; but they don’t move, they don’t feel, and they don’t think.

The intelligence of computer systems is simply astonishing. From video game A.I. to robots and smart homes, the interactive capabilities we experience is similar to that we have with living beings.

In her article, Turkle compares robots to Pinocchio, a wooden puppet that turns into a living, breathing boy. Robotics is not far from creating human-like robots that perform daily activities much like we do.

It’s just a matter of time before we see robots in the home much similar to those we saw in the movie iRobot and in the video below.

Written by cor24leone

November 21, 2009 at 7:27 AM

Am I Us or Me?

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MMOs, RPGs, MUDs and all of the other kinds of online multiplayer games out there are, I have to admit, very fun. In World of Warcraft, I get to be a level 80 blood elf paladin. My sword is called the Claymore of Ancient Power, and for someone who hasn’t played for even a year yet, I feel I am not too bad. In EVE online, I work for a corporation, mining asteroid belts, while pirates attack me. I am paid in a currency called ISK, and the more I have, the more I can equip my ship with better mining gear, better rocket launchers, and get even better ships.

Eventually though, I end up thinking to myself… for all the effort I put into these games, I could be putting the same amount of effort into my real life. Sure, I don’t get to go through speed at hyper speed, or fight Onyxia, but this is what I have, and I need to make the most out of it. It must be nice for Doug, the college junior in Sherry Turkle’s article “Who Am We?”  http://j.mp/rrOT9 Getting to experiment being a woman, a macho man, a rabbit, and… a furry (look up this term; I will not explain it here). MUDs provide him with the anonymity to indulge in fantasies, and be someone who may be looked down upon in real life.

One could probably say that MUDs are today’s version of the science fiction book. When books became easy to acquire and the population learned to read, it is safe to assume that the readers would sometimes escape their reality and get lost in the stories they read with an obsessive nature. Now, parents urge their children to stop spending hours in these games, and to pick up a book. Ironic.

Written by augeregua

November 20, 2009 at 2:03 AM

Posted in Reading Response

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Web Ways to Watch the World

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The world wide web is something that still astounds me even to this day. Even though it wasn’t really around when I was really little, by the time I went to High School, it was natural for me to be able to click a couple of buttons and connect with my friends, or find most of the information I need without ever going to my library (of course, most teachers still required it, but that’s not the point) and look up lots of useless things, like myspace or xanga webpages, pictures that people had posted, and pretty much whatever I wanted. Now, as a Sophomore in college, I can live off my computer–as long as I rest and eat. It has all the information I need, I could go to school or even get a job, all on my computer, and mostly through the web, or internet.

Why do I take this for granted? I used to be a firm believer in the internet as a bad thing, and that we shouldn’t be using it for entertainment when we have books and the outdoors, but now I find myself spending a lot more time looking up my favorite TV shows so that I don’t have to actually sit down and beg my mom for the channels and become a couch potato. No, instead I’ve become a bed potato–spending all my time in my room on my computer. I feel like I get more things done, but in reality I don’t get anything done besides making sure I’ve seen every episode of scrubs, psych, and glee.

So what’s the point of the web? There is no way to tell, except that no matter what people say, the internet is something that’s going to keep developing whether we like it or not, so we might as well accept it.

And ruin our computers so that we don’t become any kind of potato.

Written by iread2manybooks

November 19, 2009 at 11:55 AM

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Twitter Stalking

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I figured if I was going to stalk someone on twitter, I was going to either stalk someone I knew really really well or stalk a celebrity, someone who I don’t know really well at all and will never know, or someone I’m really close to and already know. But instead of doing one or the other, I decided to do both.

So, first the celebrity–kind of. It’s Chris Colfer, from the new show on FOX, Glee. I really like the show, and the music is fantastic, and Chris plays one of my favorite characters, Kurt, the gay boy in glee club. However, for me following him on Twitter, it seems that he’s not at all like the Kurt in the show. Of course, I can’t tell much of his personality from single random sentences over the three months I had the patience to read, but from what I can tell, he’s as nice as he is on the show, not really used to being famous, and sounds like he’d be a fun person to get to know. But I don’t think that you can tell someone’s personality from a website. Unless you know them already.

Which leads me to the other person I was twitter stalking. Melanie, my best friend. She hasn’t written much, even though she’s had her twitter account since July. That’s okay; she’s more of a facebook fan. From the little I can tell about her twitter, it seems to be what it is for most people–a way to get out her random thoughts. Like grapples vs banapples. Interesting, but typical for the girl who likes to draw cartoons and watches TV shows with serial killers.

And on a totally unrelated topic, yes I did say twitter stalking. I feel that’s the best way to describe finding someone on a website and reading back over their twitter life for months. I mean, isn’t that what stalkers do? Find out things about people from their websites?

And isn’t that what this assignment was all about?

Written by iread2manybooks

November 19, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

“What?! You’re following HIM?! You must be a terrible person!”

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The title can sort of relate to one of our most recent assignments. It wants us to find someone outside of class, analyze the list of people they are following, and what the list says about that particular person and their interests. This brings me to ask one simple question… how can you determine the personality of someone strictly based on who they are following on Twitter?! Should I be under the mentality, “Oh, if he’s following him and her, then he’s probably a dick.” It just adds to my negativity towards this so-called ‘social networking’ site.

Twitter just sounds like a way to make it easier for people to judge other people. This assignment is a perfect example. I’m supposed to judge someone because of who they are following and who is following them? If you want to know more about a person just by going on their profile, there should be an “About Me” section… which, similar to the ability of talking to people, Twitter apparently lacks. Although I feel as if I’d already done enough ranting, this is yet one more thing I have against Twitter…

I only judge people based on two things: 1) The way they act towards me, and 2) The way they present themselves in general (in person, not on Twitter.) I don’t judge them based on the car they drive, the job they work at, the major they choose to enroll in at school, their favorite pizza topping… and I especially don’t judge them based on who they are “following.”

Written by halld76

November 19, 2009 at 6:51 AM

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The Digital Takeover

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I’m not so sure I know what to think about the Kindle. I can’t argue that it seems destined to take over the publishing world, turning paper products to digital display, but what are people saying about it?

I read an article yesterday by Benjamin Dangel, who argued against the Kindle. His main focal point of his argument… he likes the story of the journey a book makes in its lifetime. Really.

As I was reading the article, I remembered back to learning about societies of the past rejecting new technologies to save face and prevent change. But this kind of change can actually provide better means for aspiring authors.

The publishing process is long and drawn out and creates so much waste and lost revenue. Because of this, publishers are more particular with who they select to publish. In turn, you need an agent to sell your idea or your product to the publisher just so they can turn around and sell it to the rest of the world.

With the Kindle, you could theoretically cut all of the middlemen out. The author and the digital publisher survive the shift and less money slips through the cracks and into the hands of people who do very little lifting during the process.

The only thing that irks me about the digital account accessible online is that of the privacy issue. Last year, readers who purchased George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm had their digital copies deleted from their account and were reimbursed $1 for the inconvenience.

If that’s not Orwellian enough to make you uncomfortable then you’ve obviously never read any of his books.

The fact that it was Orwell’s books that were accessed and taken away from consumers just makes the story more coincidental and relevant to the privacy issue. The way I see it, I don’t like the idea of the government being able to access my library and remove books that they deem a threat to society.

Only time will tell how this technology plays out… until then, I’ll stick to the traditional paper format.

Written by cor24leone

November 19, 2009 at 4:00 AM

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