Week Eleven – The Future of Interop

  1. Because it’s been a long semester, I decided to begin by first seeking out a brief summary of the importance of interop as a refresher. While this video focuses on a very specific medium (video calling), it is highly effective in demonstrating the importance of interoperability and presenting areas for improvement. It was successful in returning me to the interop mindset which allowed me to more creatively brain storm areas in which society could be enhanced, should we simply make the decision to work together.
  2. From there, I began sniffing out clues as to where technology is headed in the modern world in terms of interoperability. One of the most informative resources I came across was the official blog for an annual interop conference whose yearly installment is quickly approaching. In preparation, many experts have been adding their two cents to the blog with the intention of getting participants stoked for the big event. One post I found particularly interesting was the one above, written by Barb Goldworm. What I found to be interesting about this article was Barb’s take on modern technology and interoperability – notably, the move to encompass everything. It is Barb’s belief that, as things continue to move forward, the focus will move towards the virtualization and networking of, quite literally, everything.
  3. As a New Media student, interoperability is of particular importance to me, though perhaps on a different level than this course has covered. In my classes, we are taught a great deal about physical computing, and the notion of making objects in the physical world communicate, be it with users, with the internet, or with other objects. I believe this is going to be of utmost importance in the not-so-distant future. Already we are seeing appliances that communicate with their users, such as fridges and washing machines, with the intent of educating and informing appliance owners of usage and efficiency. In my program, we are encouraged to come up with innovative technologies such as these and attempt to realize them. This book, Making Things Talk, has proven to be a valuable resource in this realm. Though this link offers only a preview, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to experiment with innovation at the hands-on level. Who knows what you could come up with!
  4. Lastly, I came across this extremely interesting YouTube video which serves as a projection of what Dr. James Canton believes we can expect in the technological future. Though it is somewhat lengthier than videos I usually feature on this blog, I do believe it is worth viewing. Dr. Canton touches on many aspects of the future of innovation, from business endeavours, to social aspects, to the medical industry. Undoubtedly, further development of technology and interoperability it going to have a profound impact on the world as we know it. Though we cannot determine exactly how, it is definitely valuable to begin to speculate at the level of the individual. After all, giving thought to these things is the first step towards innovation, and innovation can lead to great things.
  5. Having signed up for EID 100, it can be assumed that we all have taken an interest in the future of technology and the implications of further development. It is reasonable to assume, then, that perhaps you have done some speculating as to what you believe the future holds. In your opinion, what will the world of tomorrow look like? Do you have any particular hopes or doubts? What are your own goals in relation to technology and interoperability?
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Week 10 – Web Analytics

  1. Once again this week I have decided to orient myself within the topic of web analytics by beginning with the viewing of a few videos explaining what, exactly, web analytics is. After spending a bit of time watching a few, I decided that this one was most effective in quickly summing up what analytics is all about. I also found the graphics included to be quite useful, and would suggest this video for anyone who is still confused by the topic!
  2. Tying in neatly with this week’s lesson, our tutorial was to create an infographic compiling data collected from Avinash Kaushik’s blog, which details ways in which professionals can best put web analytics to use. This particular article, titled Best Social Media Metrics, was very interesting in that it communicated ways of maximizing the impact of social networks in the business world. As you can see in the image I have created, the blog post is successfully in approaching the topic from various angles and providing the reading with much insight into the benefit of each tactic. I chose this one because it discusses social networks, which is of great relevance to me as I am in fact the social media lead for the Image Arts Union. In the future, I plan to consider these factors when posting on behalf on the union.
  3. While were only to choose one article on which to base our infographic, I learned quit a lot browsing the many posts in search of one I thought could be easily converted to a visual piece. This post was highly interesting in that it seemed to be a comprehensive analysis of web content. Some of the articles I found on Kaushik’s site I found to be daunting, or too jargon-filled and/or technical to understand. This one, however, was successful in that it seemed to be more of a comprehensive analysis of online content. The article documents the strengths of seven company’s website and points out what makes them successful. I took an interest in this as it serves as a more humanized form of web analytics and clearly outlines the benefits of many different features.
  4. Lastly, I chose to attempt to experience web analytics on a personal level. While I do not currently have a business of any sort set up online, I can appreciate how it one day may be valuable for me to be able to analyze how a site of mine is doing. As I have a fairly decent following on Tumblr, I thought it might be interesting to have this site analyzed. It was easy enough to find a website that did so. In fact, all I had to do was Google my Tumblr user name and an analysis popped up. Though it may not be the most comprehensive look into the stats of my blog, it was interesting to note (particularly that if I am ever hard up for cash, I can apparently earn as much as forty-two US dollars!). Perhaps one day I will be able to make use of this tool on a more significant level!
  5. While it is obvious that many large companies benefit from complex site analyses, my Storify post this week seems to have approached things on a smaller, more individual level. Perhaps this is fitting as I am a student and not a corporate giant. I suppose this was my motivation for focusing on web analysis on a smaller scale, such as documenting social network feedback and human analysis. As fellow students, do you believe that at this point in time there is much benefit to completing a web analysis of your own website, or do you seem to be more swayed by more instant gratification, such as the number of likes and favourites you receive? Do you believe that applause on social networks provide an accurate indication into the value of online content? Let me know what you think!
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Week 10 – Web Analytics

  1. Once again this week I have decided to orient myself within the topic of web analytics by beginning with the viewing of a few videos explaining what, exactly, web analytics is. After spending a bit of time watching a few, I decided that this one was most effective in quickly summing up what analytics is all about. I also found the graphics included to be quite useful, and would suggest this video for anyone who is still confused by the topic!
  2. Tying in neatly with this week’s lesson, our tutorial was to create an infographic compiling data collected from Avinash Kaushik’s blog, which details ways in which professionals can best put web analytics to use. This particular article, titled Best Social Media Metrics, was very interesting in that it communicated ways of maximizing the impact of social networks in the business world. As you can see in the image I have created, the blog post is successfully in approaching the topic from various angles and providing the reading with much insight into the benefit of each tactic. I chose this one because it discusses social networks, which is of great relevance to me as I am in fact the social media lead for the Image Arts Union. In the future, I plan to consider these factors when posting on behalf on the union.
  3. While were only to choose one article on which to base our infographic, I learned quit a lot browsing the many posts in search of one I thought could be easily converted to a visual piece. This post was highly interesting in that it seemed to be a comprehensive analysis of web content. Some of the articles I found on Kaushik’s site I found to be daunting, or too jargon-filled and/or technical to understand. This one, however, was successful in that it seemed to be more of a comprehensive analysis of online content. The article documents the strengths of seven company’s website and points out what makes them successful. I took an interest in this as it serves as a more humanized form of web analytics and clearly outlines the benefits of many different features.
  4. Lastly, I chose to attempt to experience web analytics on a personal level. While I do not currently have a business of any sort set up online, I can appreciate how it one day may be valuable for me to be able to analyze how a site of mine is doing. As I have a fairly decent following on Tumblr, I thought it might be interesting to have this site analyzed. It was easy enough to find a website that did so. In fact, all I had to do was Google my Tumblr user name and an analysis popped up. Though it may not be the most comprehensive look into the stats of my blog, it was interesting to note (particularly that if I am ever hard up for cash, I can apparently earn as much as forty-two US dollars!). Perhaps one day I will be able to make use of this tool on a more significant level!
  5. While it is obvious that many large companies benefit from complex site analyses, my Storify post this week seems to have approached things on a smaller, more individual level. Perhaps this is fitting as I am a student and not a corporate giant. I suppose this was my motivation for focusing on web analysis on a smaller scale, such as documenting social network feedback and human analysis. As fellow students, do you believe that at this point in time there is much benefit to completing a web analysis of your own website, or do you seem to be more swayed by more instant gratification, such as the number of likes and favourites you receive? Do you believe that applause on social networks provide an accurate indication into the value of online content? Let me know what you think!
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A Subjective Guide to TesseracT

This week’s tutorial activity was to create an app using a website known as the app builder. First, we were to outline what the requirements of our particular app were, but in this post I have also focused on the shortcomings of the program and things I would have done differently. To begin, though, here is a list of elements necessary to create a fan-based music app, which I what I initially hoped to create.

Must-haves:

  • About the band: include photos, roles, short bios, etc.
  • Discography: it’s important to list the band’s albums, tracklists, and maybe even reviews
  • RSS feeds: it’s important to show what the band is up to, so having links to Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube definitely helps
  • Tour dates: everyone wants to know when their favourite band is stopping by their town!
  • Community: because it is fan-based, it is nice to provide a space for fans to communicate with one another

Not quite necessary:

  • Links to merch vendors: everyone loves merch, but it is not necessarily the job of a fan app to provide links to it
  • Links to ticket vendors: a nice touch, but perhaps not completely necessary if links to official band pages are provided
  • Feedback: sometimes it’s nice to move away from the web 2.0 and provide users with information without expecting them to reciprocate through comments, likes, etc.

After considering these factors, it was time to start building my app. Having built apps from scratch before, I found the suggested program to be a bit tedious. I was initially eager after learning that music was a category I was able to choose from. However, this website only offered layouts for people with bands and not people who listen to bands, as I had hoped. Despite this deterrent, I made my best effort to present my app as a fan app for one of my favourite (but little-known) bands, TesseracT. Unfortunately, I struggled to customize my app to the extent I had hoped. The presets weren’t as versatile as I’d expected which resulted in a somewhat unappealing aesthetic. The pictures were not able to be adjusted in site which proved to be a hassle as the cropping and size adjusting had to be done in outside programs. Additionally, I found the size specifications to be very specific, which also turned me off, probably because I am used to sites being intelligent enough to resize on their own or allow user adjustments (ie Facebook thumbnails). I was also displeased with the lack of options to display or not display elements. Sure, you could turn off a section altogether, but it was difficult to be choosey about elements within a section. An example of this is my live dates section, which leaves room for a picture and description for every listed date. Personally, I think this is redundant. When people look for tour dates, they are interested in the when and where, and not many other factors. However, I was unable to rid this section of the unappealing slots for photos, or the italicized word “description”. When I tried to add a link for tickets to be purchased, I was greeted with an error. In fact, despite several attempts, I never received anything but an error message. Such error messages are perhaps the greatest frustration I experienced during this week’s tutorial, and they were not isolated events. I tried countless times to rearrange the order of the albums by release date on my albums page after I realized I’d miss one. Much to my dismay and as a test of my perfectionism, I was unable to do so as the program threw an error message every time I tried.

As the icing on top of the cake, the app builder webpage made my computer run extremely slow, which in turn made researching information on the band and saving pictures a big hassle. It is for these reasons that I decided to take a more subjective approach to app development and deliver other fans a first-hand perspective of what TesseracT is to me. The result is a little more informal than I’d hope for, but it stays true to the online voice I have developed and will (hopefully) serve to entertain my followers, many of whom also enjoy TesseracT’s work.

Despite the frustrations encountered, though, I was able to deliver the app its name promises in a (relatively) short amount of time. It is for that reason, then, that I can recognize the value in this program as it allows those without education of app development the opportunity to easily create something their customers, clients, or fans can make use of.

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Link to this week’s Storify

This week I talk a little bit about innovation and what it means within the realm of New Media.

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Personal Brand Statement

For this week’s tutorial, we were to come up with our own personal brand statement. I found this to be challenging as the method we were to follow had us brain storming objects that define ourselves. For me, I found it difficult to generalize these characteristics into one short slogan. I am a new media artist and former varsity hockey player who enjoys progressive metal music and everything girly, though none of these traits are particularly apparent at first glance. Indeed, I am always surprising new people I meet when they listen to my favourite band for the first time, or when they see me play hockey. I always get the same reaction: “you don’t strike me as that type of person at all.” That’s something I love hearing.

It is for these reasons, then, that my mantra came to be. I have many different interests and traits. In my school and future professional life, I also deal with various forms of media. The answer seemed simple, then. I decided that my mantra should be: “Mixed interests, mixed media.”

I am both pleased and surprised with how well this short statement is able to sum me up, and plan to incorporate it into future endeavours.

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Week Five: Curation

  1. To begin blogging for this week, I decided to take a look at videos that help to explain exactly what information overload really is. While this video obviously has no grounding in scientific fact, I believe many elements of today’s society ring true throughout. In a comical manner, this video demonstrates how we are constantly bombarded with information we don’t necessarily care about. Similarly, it comments on our dwindling ability to separate ourselves from the technology to which we have grown dependent on. I believe these and other issues are central to the downsides of information overload.
  2. I then began to consider how, exactly, information overload affects me. Immediately when I think of curation of mass information in an online environment, I think of Tumblr. Tumblr is a blogging site that allows users to select items they would like on their own blogs from a “dashboard” of content posted by other users that they choose to follow. Being a big Tumblr user, I recognize the curatorial capacity of this site instantly. However, I am also familiar with its downfalls. I track the Protest the Hero tag religiously and am often disappointed to see the same content posted by different users over and over again. Much to my delight, in researching the downfalls of Tumblr’s curatorial practices, I happened to stumble across this article, which explains that Tumblr hopes to develop a curatorial feature for all blogs. This is something I believe would serve to greatly enhance the online experience of dedicated users and help to reduce the amount of information overload present within the site. While this article is from a couple of years ago, I am still hopefully that something along these lines is in the works!
  3. However, as theorists such as Clay Shirky would argue, the ownness is perhaps not on the platforms themselves; rather, the responsibility is that of the user. I decided, then, to take a look at some ways in which I, as a user, can take steps to reducing the ill-effects of information overload. I found this article valuable in outlining these steps. While the authour online touches on three key areas of limiting incoming information, I believe that all three are invaluable in moving towards a more efficient online experience. Specifically, she focuses on pull information rather than having it pushed to you, making use of filters, and setting aside “quiet time.” The very thought of incorporating these into my daily online routine was enough to give me a sense of peace, and so I definitely plan to make use of them in the future.
  4. In conclusion, I leave you with these questions: as we move forward in the technological world, it seems that the problem of information overload is only going to worsen. What do you believe are some key factors in making information overload more manageable? Do you incorporate any of this practices in your online routines currently? If so, which, and why?
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