December 01, 2005

Blogging

As I read chapter 5 in Smart Mobs, the author talks about the blogging phenomena. He talks about the idea that people can express themselves better because their true feelings are not censored or condemned.

My blogging is somewhat limited, but I try to do more and more as the years go by. I really enjoy blogging on political sites where I can get my opinions out to those who care to read them. I feel that blogging helps me to express myself and I do feel like I am contributing to the betterment of our democracy through my participation.

As I have thought about blogging, I have pretty much only thought about people uninvolved in politics taking part in the blogging. Today I got an email saying that Ted Strickland (my friend/Congressman running for Ohio governor) is meeting with a group of political bloggers today in Cleveland. His goal is to get his message out directly to the people who run blogs so that his message does not get skewed through the blog. Also, if those running the blog are impressed with him there is a probability that they will start blogs about the candidate. This is exactly what candidates want and need. They need their names to get out to the public. Kind of like I am doing now.

Well, as I hope to be involved in politics for the rest of my life it will be very interesting to see the evolution of blogs and the role that they will play with respect to elections and candidate image. As we all know image os everything in a candidate and blogs with positive images help and even those that are negative get the candidate's name out. As the governor's election approaches, I hope to be more actively involved in getting out the message of my candidate for governor through the use of the internet and political blogs.

So, Blog away everyone and change the world one word at a time!!

November 29, 2005

New Orleans - - Free Wireless Internet

The story can be found at cnn.com in the "technology" section.

New Orleans is starting the first free wireless internet network owned and run by a major city. They hope that the internet will boost the city's economy that has been slipping due to the recent hurricanes. The system started in the French Quarter today and will be available to the rest of the city hopefully within one year. Most of the equipment was donated by three major comapnies and was rallied for by Mayor Ray Nagin.

With all of the trgaedy that has occurred in the Gulf Coast, I am glad to see that technology can play a positive role in helping the people of New Orleans. It seems somewhat fitting that in the city where there was a major breakdown in communication (downfall of FEMA), there is going to be the nation's first free wireless internet for a major city.

The article does not mention how the internet will help to boost the economy, but some potential thoughts that I had were:
1. helping to find jobs for those unemployed
2. online shopping in New Orleans based businesses
3. information available concerning aid

My only concern with this was that a lot of the homes of people were completely destroyed. Do people even have computers? Do they have the funding to get them? I know things are slowing evolving in New Orleans and this news is great. We need to keep these people in our hearts and our prayers becuase there is still so much work to do.

This story intrigues me as to the role that the government played in getting this plan implemented. Throughout the course we have talked about the role that government has/should/can play in technology. So, I ask everyone to be on the lookout for any more articles concerning this recent announcement.

I'll be there in 5

Chapters 1-5 of Smart Mobs were very interesting as they were primarily concerned with the social elements of mobile technology. When the author said that presence no longer means being physically in the location, but rather being able to communicate has now taken over as being present. I have always been a person that is punctual and one that does not like to be late. I am organized and like to have things go a certain way and in a particular order.

What the author said is eaxctly true however. People think that it is okay to be late for a meeting or event because they have a cell phone and can communicate with someone about how long it will be before they are there. I know that it sounds weird, but I find it very rude when people show up late. Just because you call does not mean that you are present. I wish there were a way to reverse the trend that has ocurred due to the availability of mobile technology.

Going along with the social implications of cell phones, the author said that when people talk on a cell phone they are in two distinct separate spaces. This may seem very trivial, but when you stop and think about it this is very different from what our grandparents had ever known. A person can be making an impact in their current physical space and also be playing a role in a situation in which eh is communicating but not necessarilly physically present. The telephone does exactly this, but the mobile phone allows people to have their presence known in two spaces continually with very few limitations.

Its very interesting to step back and think about the social implications of mobile technologies on our lives as well as the people around us. As we continue on into the future it will be very exciting to see what types of mobile technology will evolve that will allow us to be perhaps in three or four different spaces all at one time. So, I pose this question to everyone. Do you think this will happen and if so, when?

November 12, 2005

President's Speech Nov. 11

After class on Friday, I came back to my room to begin working for the political science department and as I usually do I turned on the news. I saw President Bush discussing the Iraq War and the global fight on terror. It was part of the Veteran's Day festivities I believe. Despite not agreeing with the President most of the time and being very much a member of the opposite party, I always listen when the President speaks. It's just something I feel that we should do.

As I was listening to him speak, he began discussing "networks of terror" and "evil networks." He was saying that those devoted to terror were all connected in one way or another. He went on to discuss the tactics that the United States is implementing to break up such networks. He said that the US has made significant strides in killing and capturing the leaders of these evil networks. He placed heavy emphasis on this. He said that those that are focussed on terror are so focussed due to the leadership of a small number of people.

This was an element that we did not discuss Thursday in class. We discussed the role that networks play, why they exist, if they will continue to exist, etc.., but we did not discuss the hierarchical element within such networks. Who leads such networks? How do they garner support? What specific role do the leaders play? President Bush seems to think that the leaders play a very large role in the success of such "terror networks" and he has made it a priority of the US to seek out and kill such leaders. This is one thing that I can agree with the President on. I believe that leaders are the glue that keep all networks together regardless of whether or not the network is a group of terrorists or a group of Ebay users. There will always be some type of hierarchy within every group that allows the group to run smoothly and efficiently. If such efficiency is not reached, then the members of a network could replace or oust the surrent leadership. The leadership that I am discussing does not have to be formal leadership, it can be a leader that emerges from the cracks that takes on a role that helps to tie up the loose ends of a network.

Perhaps "Linked" will discuss this later on, but for now I would like to open this up to everyone. What do you think about leaders within networks? Do you agree with President Bush or is he underestimating the power of the members of a network? Please share your thoughts.

November 06, 2005

State CC Meet

This Saturday I went to the state cross country meet held in Clumbus, Ohio at Scioto Downs. My sister's team made the meet and they were so excited to participate in the meet. Her team has 3 freshmen, 1 sophomore, and one junior. Her team was by far the youngest team there and they ended up getting 12th out of 16 teams. Not great, but then again no one expected them to make it to state. I surprised her by going and she loved my t-shirt that I made. It said, "I am missing the Irish game to watch my sister run!" Everyone at the meet seemed to like it as well.

Anyway, after the race my family and I went to her team's tent to see her. She was taking off her running shoes when I noticed these little black clips on her shoe laces. I asked her what those were. She told me that they were called "chips". What? I asked what is a chip. She told me that instead of tearing off numbers as runners crossed the finish line, the chips told their official place. As a runner crosses the line, the chips (conating the runner's name, school, number, etc) are read by a computer. This helps to keep every runner in order and to get official results. It helps when there are close finishes at the line. No longer does a judge have to make the decision, the chip will whow who crosses the finish line first.

I thought about the chips on my drive back to Case and I knew that I had to write about it. It absolutley amazed me that such a device would be used in cross country. I got me to thinking about other sports. Perhaps a micro-chip could be placed in a football and when the football crosses the first down marker a light goes off. This could help the officials as to cut down on time for official measurements. The same could be true in soccer as the ball crosses the goal line. I don't know if such things have been debated, but if technology such as these chips are being used in highschool sports, then you would think that something of the sort would lie in the near future. What do you think?

October 29, 2005

Make up Your Mind

Chapters 5 and 6 were perhaps the most interesting chapters that I have read in any book thus far in the course. It is no surprise due to my major and love for politics, but the concepts were very interesting.

While I was reading the chapters, I was watching the Cleveland mayoral debate between Frank Jackson and Jane Campbell. I do not vote in Cleveland, but I like to watch debates to see the way candidates answer certain questions and interact with one another. As I took a break between chapters I checked my email and found that I had an email from www.tedstrickland.com. He is my friend and Congressman who is running for Ohio governor. The email announced the creation of a blog on his site, so I immediately went to it and made a comment. After that, I went back to reading my book and then realized that I had just done what Manuel Castell discussed in his book. I had utilized technology to actively participate and engage in politics (via watching a televised debate and commenting on a blog). Castells talks about the way that technology opens the door to increased political activity and engagement and within an hour I had already done so in two different forms. My actions were proof of the increased availability of political information in today’s society.

This brings me to another point. This year and last year, I voted in the general election via absentee ballot. There were many names on the ballot that I didn’t recognize or know much about. The internet allowed me to search the candidate’s name to see their platform which I could base my vote upon. Without the internet, I would probably have asked my parents if they knew about the candidates, but I was able to find the information for myself.

There was a point made in the book that, “rather than strengthening democracy by fostering the knowledge and participation of the citizens, use of the internet tends to deepen the crisis of political legitimacy by providing a broader launching platform for the politics of scandal.” I do not agree with this statement and would like to hear some further support for this claim by the author. I do not understand how on one hand he can say that, “the internet offers extraordinary potential for the expression of citizen’s rights, and for the communication of human values” and “by broadening the sources of communication, it does contribute to democratization” and say completely the opposite on the other (quotes can be found on page 158 and 164.)

It is just very difficult for me to understand where he is coming from with these two very different statements which I feel contradict one another. Does anyone make sense of this? I wish he could explain, but maybe someone else can. Comments are appreciated.

That 70's Show

I saw an episode of That 70's Show last night and it cracked me up. The plot with Kitty and Red was that Red spent a lot of money on this new thing called a VCR. He was so excited to show Kitty and she was very sxeptical about the entire idea. She didn't understand why in the world someone would tape something that they could just watch on television. Their plans had been to watch Roots at 6:00, but Red insisted that they tape it and watch it later. Kitty was so upset because all she wanted to do was watch Roots when it was being aired.

It was hilarious and it made me think about how we are very skeptical of new technology at first and as we see the benfits or cons of it, we make a decision of whether or not to use it in our daily lives. In the show, the new technology hindered Kitty's night and therefore she became very agitated and upset.

This was a random post, but it was hilarious so I thought that I would pass it on.