Reflection

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Over the course of this past semester, I have looked at both the disadvantages and advantages of technology. On the surface, I have learned a great deal about the topic at hand; however, the greater lesson was the hard work behind producing a blog. I never anticipated how much time and effort would be invested into this blog, but as a result I am quite proud of the end product. Each post required quite a bit of research and I learned far more during this process than any lecture and exam could have taught me. Going into this assignment, I had lofty goals for this blog. However, as the semester quickly comes to an end there are still a number of topics remaining that I never got a chance to discuss. I think this is a testament to the amount of technology available that ought to be analyzed.

In hindsight, I think a majority of my posts had a lot to do with mobile technology. This is probably a reflection of my own affinity for mobile technology. I love my iPhone and rely on it heavily. I can say with confidence that I am probably not alone, most people my age can agree. As a result, some of my favorite posts are about mobile technology. I especially liked my earlier posts on the Blackberry and addiction, as well as the Blackberry's life-saving capabilities. More recently, I blogged about texting and driving - a very salient issue facing all users of mobile technology. As a Community Health major here at Maryland, this issue is close to my heart since it's a real Public Health risk today.

As for my least favorite post, there really is not any one post that I dislike. However, the photography posts did require quite a bit of effort. So instead of least favorite, I would say it was the most challenging. Visualizing the disadvantages and advantages of technology was quite a task. I wanted to take a photo that would speak for itself, but often times I had to provide a caption to explain my photos. So much for speaking for themselves, I had to speak for my photos. Regardless, this task really showed me how difficult it is to take a good picture. I have a much greater appreciation for photography now, and hopefully my pictures will show it in the future.

I hope readers found my blog interesting, informative, and maybe even entertaining. I tried my best to present topics that large audiences could relate to. Often times, my topics stemmed from personal experience from technology. For instance, the Blackberry posts were "inspired" by my friend's Crackberry habits. Then, I piggybacked off of the Crackberry phenomenon to Tech-Etiquette - something I know many of us struggle with, including myself. It is far too tempting to attend to our phones when they're buzzing, but this may not necessarily be the most polite thing to do depending on the situation.

There's no stopping technology and who can really predict where technology will take us next. I have already tried my hand at making some predictions in earlier posts, but in a matter of months, or even weeks, these predictions will either be fulfilled or outdone. Technology plays a major part in all of our lives, both directly and indirectly, and I do not see any of that changing anytime soon. As we try to simplify our fast-pasted lives, we often add to it through various forms of technology. My concern is how we deal with these various forms of technology and whether we really are benefitting from them. Technological advances should always be centered on helping us, not hurting us. In order to avoid any unintended consequences of technology, consumers like you and me need to continuously be abreast of both the pros and cons of technology.

Ultimately, I hope my blog has made you think twice about technology in your life. Personally, this blog has forced me to look at my own habits. Going into this project, I knew the (dis)advantages of technology would be an open-ended topic and as the semester ends I cannot necessarily determine if the pros truly outweigh the cons. I would say, the conveniences of technology definitely come at a price, both figuratively and literally. However, I think the take-home message is to be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages of technology. I hope my blog made you aware of some of the (dis)advantages of technology and inspires you to look at technology's role in your life. Thanks for stopping by!

Texting While Driving

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Although I briefly mentioned texting and driving in an earlier blog post, I think this topic is worth a second look. Recently, Oprah Winfrey has set out on a "No Phone Zone" campaign to collect pledges from people all around the country vowing to make their cars a "no phone zone." As I write this post, there are currently 316,381 pledge submissions. If you would like to sign Oprah's No Phone Zone pledge, you can do so right here.

I will admit, I am guilty of texting and driving. But to be completely honest, I do most of my texting at stoplights. Either way, it's probably not the safest way to spend my time. However, I am not alone; according to an article on the Oprah Winfrey Show website, 71% of people between 18-49 admit that they talk or text while they drive. The same article also says:
If you think you can call, text and drive at the same time, you cannot. That message you can't wait to send could kill. Distracted driving is an epidemic that is sweeping through our country, claiming lives and destroying families.
With that in mind, I think it may be time for me to finally kick the habit. I am almost 100% percent sure that none of the text messages I have been sending while driving have been that important. From now on, I'll wait to text.

If you're still not sold, The New York Times has created a game you can play that allows you to gauge your distraction while driving. The game requires you to switch lanes repeatedly and respond to text messages. Realistically, I hope no one would attempt to switch lanes while sending a text message and I think that this game is a little bit harder than actually driving and texting. Give the game a try and see how you do! Here are my results:


In addition to this game, there are actual driving simulators available that give a more realistic experience of driving and texting. Recently on the Today Show, Meredith Viera gave it a try and quickly realized how difficult it is to text and drive, check out the video below.


I'll be the first to tell you how much I depend on my cell phone and how tempting it is to just send a text or even skim through my emails while in the car. However, it is a dangerous habit that far too many drivers are risking their lives doing today. Although mobile technology has afforded us many conveniences, we should not let these conveniences put us in harm's way. I hope you think twice before you grab your phone in the car next time because I can assure you that one text message is not worth it!

iTunes Takes on Concert Tickets... and Weddings?

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I have already discussed how iTunes has changed music sales, but now iTunes is ready to take on another facet of the music industry - concert tickets. With Concert Ticket +, iTunes is looking to capitalize on the sale of concert tickets. Concert Ticket + would include special offers and perks like discounts on food and even have recordings of the concert sent to the person's iPhone.

E-tickets have been around for quite some time now; however, the patent that Apple has filed could truly revolutionize the sale of concert tickets. Remember, MP3s were not new when iTunes first came around and look where we are now...

I was not aware of this until now, but Ticketmaster and iTunes are working together with a little promotion when you buy a ticket. Apparently, when you buy a ticket with Ticketmaster you will get a free song on iTunes. I'm not sure if a free song is really any incentive to purchase an $80 concert ticket, but I'm a sucker for free stuff so I'll gladly accept my free $0.99 song.

Furthermore, iTunes is even venturing so far as to capitalize on the wedding industry. Through iTunes, guests could purchase 'wedding videos, photos, get an audio recording of the toast or even get the actual playlist played during the reception'

What will iTunes do next?

Sources

iTunes' Impact on the Music Industry

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Everyone can agree that iTunes dramatically changed the music industry as we know. In fact, iTunes recently sold it's ten billionth song just a few months ago (Guarino, 2010). The number of songs purchased each day through the iTunes Store are startling. Other than just merely selling inordinate amounts of music, iTunes has specifically changed the music industry in three ways:
  1. Gone are the days of going out and buying our favorite artist's album, instead we simply buy our favorite single. During the days of the CD, consumers were forced to buy the entire album even if they were only interested on that one song on the radio. Today, iTunes allows consumers to "peck around for specific songs." Artists who slave away on creating excellent albums may not receive the same acclaim as an artist with one catchy single. So iTunes made music more affordable for consumers while inadvertently taking some money out the pockets of record labels.
  2. Portability - iTunes was/is so successful because it allows music to be so accessible. Nearly everyone has some sort of handheld device that stores and plays music on the go. No matter the product, Apple or not, iTunes is probably responsible for getting your favorite songs onto your handheld device.
  3. Death of the "brick-and-mortar" store - Remember that CD store in the mall? You probably don't. By now the store has probably been replaced and so has the memory of it. iTunes is very much responsible for the downfall of the record store. In 2007, record stores were responsible for 80% of all record sales. Today, they only account for 64%.
Source

More (Dis)Advantages of Technology Illustrated

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Multitasking: A Game

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All the forms of technology available today allow us to multitask in ways we never imagined. In fact, as we speak I am chatting with friends online, watching TV and attempting to post some blogs. However, it is still unclear how effective we are when we are multitasking. I will admit, I am exponentially more productive when I sign off of iChat and ignore Facebook and Twitter for a few hours - so maybe multitasking is not quite as effective as we thought. So, this 'advantage' of technology could very well be a 'disadvantage.'

Illustrating the difficulty of multitasking through a video game would be a fun way to see how effective we really are while multitasking. The game would show how effective/ineffective multitasking is in varying contexts. For instance, a player would have to send a number of text messages while driving. A player would get more points for texting accurately, but would conversely lose points if his/her driving suffered as a result. Another game could involve a player doing a remotely simple task while also having to watch a character demonstrate certain movements. Afterwards, the player would have to repeat the movements. Points would be rewarded for accurately repeating the movements; however, points will also be given/taken away based on how well he/she did the simple (distracting) task. The accuracy of movements could be measured with the same types of software used for the Wii.

Ultimately, this game would illustrate how difficult it is to really multitask. Although we can attend to multiple tasks at the same time, how well are we really doing each task? In the context of the texting simulation, without risking your life on the road - you can see how dangerous it is to do so. Through a point system, the game would quantitively illustrate how effective/ineffective multitasking is. Knowing how effective, or even ineffective, we are while multitasking can help us make better decisions about how we spend our time. Instead of doing everything at once, maybe we will revert back to the days of doing one thing at a time.

Photo




Printing from iPad

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I originally found this photo on thedailywh.at. It may not necessarily follow all the rules of photography we've recently learned in class, but it definitely made me laugh a little. With the iPad's release just a few weeks ago, there have been plenty of jokes circulating the internet, as well as rave reviews. I just wanted to share this funny look on the newest member of the growing Apple family.