allie's blog

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Final Blog

Meeting in SecondLife wasn't even that weird for some reason. I think it's because, aside from the classroom setting, it's not at all uncommon for all of us to meet peers online, whether it's in a game like SL, Counterstrike, a community such as Facebook, or AIM. SecondLife brings all of these elements together: you can instant message each other, see profiles, and view stats. Also, we could all physically see each other, so it wasn't very different than a normal class, I didn't think. It was still very organized and efficient use of the alotted time. This type of class could also be effective in a Psychology class or something.

The guest speaker was very interesting. She was definitely an example of how hardcore people can get. I also learned this when I announced to the people standing around me on my first day to play the game "What's the point of this game anyway?" And I'm not even kidding, two people yelled "It's not a game!" haha oops! Everyone elses avatars were very entertaining. I could tell that they knew what they were doing a lot more than I did.

November 26

This week I have been using the Internet to research the internship that I have accepted for this summer. I didn't realize how my skill using the Internet has increased since being her in Austin. It's so easy to find hundreds of comments and opinions about my internship in just seconds. I used Google to look for both positive and negative responses. This one in particular caught my eye, as it badmouthed and cut down the job that I just took on :-|
http://www.barnabas.com/cwp/witkowski.shtml
I inted to take this and several like it directly to my manager, since they are anonymous comments and make him defend the company in each situation. Had I not had the Internet at my fingertips, this could've ended up as ME having these horrible experiences.
Internet fluency is something that I think we all take for granted. This trend is only going to increase in the future. Simple things like keyboard controls and shortcuts, using Favorites and have tabs in Firefox are all small things that become huge conveniences. Try using Internet Explorer after just a week of heavy use on Firefox. It really amazes me how fluent our generation is with the Internet.

SecondLife Avatar


My avatar turned out kinda of crazy looking...I couldn't figure out how to remove her second set of eyebrows or her random facial hair. But she has a good personality.

SecondLife was really confusing for me for some reason. It would be a cool and addicting game if it made more sense, though.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Navigation

On Thursday of this week, I had a court date for my most recent speeding ticket :-\ My grampa drove up from Houston for it, not believing I was capable of handling the situation on my own. Once he got in to Austin in the evening (for my 8 o'clock appointed time), he was hungry, of course, so I figured we could squeeze in a little dinner beforehand. We needed a place nearby the courthouse that would be easily accessible in 6:30 traffic.

I pulled out his cell phone, hoping to access the Internet, but found something much better. He was completely unaware that he had a navigation system on his phone! If I could only count the number of times he has been lost in Houston and not wanted to ask directions. He's always so skeptical of technology, but he even admitted that it saved us! We found a restaurant, and it told us exactly when to turn on the way!


Not too long before that, my roommate and I used our cell phones to call a cab after this party, and then our navigation to find the next place we were going! It was great! And only this generation would think about applying technology...no matter the state of mind! :) We use technology so regularly that it's a huge inconvenience when we temporarily don't have those things that our parents never had when they were growing up! Technology definitely makes us all more efficient and more effective, I think.

Monday, November 06, 2006

This week I used the Internet even more than I usually do. I used my e-mail to communicate back and forth about a job that I just got mentoring a less fortunate 6th grader. http://www.cisnet.org/intro.html is the website that I used frequently to research the company and it's purpose. I also received messages about interviews and maps to the schools, etc. If I would've tried to communicate all that information by phone it would have taken much longer, because I can read faster than someone can talk and tell me information, and trying to reach me by phone is like playing tag with an Olympic sprinter. Also, maps and things of that sort are not as easily shared as on a computer. This week I would say that I used the Internet in a very positive, purposeful way, rather than to participate in the mob of the Facebook community -- a good example of how the Internet can be safe and helpful.

I talked about technology a lot this weekend, too. Somehow when people drink a little, politics, technology, and religion always come up. Everyone was definitely in agreement that we need more laws and regulations on the Internet abusers, but not on what you can access just for personal use (who cares!!). We also came to the consensus that the law is not hard enough on people who participate in Internet fraud, defacing sites, hacking valuable information, etc. Why is it fair that a kid with two lines of coke in his pocket, minding his own business, gets more of a punishment than people who hack into sites and steal financial, and potentially dangerous, information?

Sunday, October 29, 2006


The computer = my life.
This week I used the computer, once again, for every class I'm taking (except piano) and I could not have completed my homework or studied for my tests without it.
My grandparents have been here all weekend for Parents' Weekend, and we were talking about this same subject.
Both of my grandparents say that the Internet is leading to bad things. They're so cute so I couldn't be mad, but I was furious! The Internet, like every other good thing, can be abused, but if and when it's used appropriately, the Internet is something that unifies the whole world more than ever before.
For example, this week I talked to my friend Chance, who now lives in China. If we were living in pre-Internet days, there's a good chance that I would never talk to him. Phone bills are expensive and phone conversations can often be awkward, but with Internet, a quick "hello" through e-mail or Facebook really keeps people connected.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

craigslist and wiki

This week, I looked for cheap apartments in the west campus area. Good job, Allie, that was a pointless endeavor. I did, however, use Craigslist, so there's a plus! I had never really been to the site, but I definitely expected something a lot more advanced. I didn't see any pictures, it was just a straight text listing of everything, which is kind of a crappy way to look for apartments. Flagging is a neat concept if people don't abuse it. Basically, it's a bad idea because people abuse everything. I'm sure there are some perfectly appropriate listings that get "Spammed" for different reasons. It was also difficult to find a listing in the right area of Austin, although that could be my lack of any directional sense here in the hippie capital of the world.

Using Wiki was really cool, though. It was a great way to help me study for the test (since I lost my study guide :) ) and it was very easy to contribute. There was no "I'll do evens, you do odds, call me and we'll meet!" haha, it was all pretty straight forward, and I think a lot of people contributed to the content of it! This is DEFINITELY something that should happen again!! It was also really cool that David sent us periodic e-mails telling everyone what still needed to be updated the night before the test, and it all got filled in pretty immediately!

Over all, Wiki > Craigslist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

chapter 5.1-5.2 post

In lieu of yesterday's class, here is my blog:
I really enjoyed reading these sections because they pertain exactly to my paper topic. Censorship in general gets on my nerves. Towards the end of 5.2 it says "free-speech advocates worried that the policy changes demonstrate the power of one government to impose its censorship standards on other countries." This is exactly what I am tying to prove in my paper, that censorship in foregin countries violates freedom of speech, and our vow to spread that. There were several examples in the text (including laws banning satellite dishes) that appalled me. I could not believe that a man was imprisoned for supplying e-mails to a pro-democracy mailing list. The fines are very hefty for crimes that could theoretically only take seconds to commit. Why doesn't the Internet have some sort of universal rating system (like for movies)? I think they should have such a system, and the ratings (* to *****) could be based on different categories, such as violence, sexual content, cultural content, religion, and the like. From there, content filters would be much more effective if every website online had something like that. This sort of system would be ideal for child protection, etc. It upsets me, though, that foreign countries basically defeat the purpose and selling point of the Internet -- tons of information, unfiltered, for people to dig their hands into and learn -- by giving thteir people a very biased information source by filtering all things out of it that they deem "inapproriate".

This is such a sticky issue, and I am curious to see how legislation handles it in the future.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

please work...