Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Educating our Digital Natives

There was an article on Wall Street Journal that I found extremely interesting. It is about a new tablet application that allows young kids to practice coding skills using blocks. The Osmo Coding kit comes with basic blocks for move, jump, and grab. The children can string together the blocks and add variables and loops to create a complex scene. Once the kid has put together the blocks, they can execute the script by pushing a start button on the green block. 

I think this is really amazing because now kid's can start to understand some of the behind the scene stuff of what they play with everyday. Just like Danah Boyd says in her book, our youth uses technology everyday but they do not always necessarily understand how it actually works. Our society does seem to moving toward a more technological world and I think that it is great that companies want to encourage that kids start to learn some of these skills. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tear Down the Gamergate


 In response to John Ellement's article, I am honestly appalled. The entire Gamergate issue is truly saddening and angering. Being a female gamer myself, I know that prejudices against female gamers do exist and I honestly do not understand why. Gender has not ever, and WILL NOT ever matter when it comes to playing video games or designing video games. For some reason though, some of the male population (not all of them!) believe that video game culture is like this holy grail and female's are not worthy of possessing it. Really? It is very discouraging for female's who develop an interest in video games to see issues like Gamergate when they decide to immerse themselves into the culture. There is no logic behind out-casting females, why wouldn't you want more people participating in games, and bringing new game ideas into the community? 

Aside from the Gamergate issue pointing out the obvious problems of gender in the gaming community, it also points out issues of cyber bullying. The article talks about how the male who was harassing his ex-girlfriend argued that his First Amendment right's were being violated. Nice try. I did not realize that harassing someone online, and getting a whole community of people to join in as well could be considered free speech, obviously he thought so. I think the moral of the story here is, just be a decent human being and don't be a cyber bully. 

Video games are a lot of fun, share love in the community not hate. Instead of building gates, let's tear them down.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Social Media's Hidden Gems

Picture from Article

Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have become a prominent part of our culture. With all the hype over those outlets, some other forms of social media are being neglected. An article from T3 by David Nield brings up 10 social media outlets that you may have never heard of. If you want a little more information and another opinion about these 10 gems, definitely take a look at the article!

1. Peach: Peach seems to be another way to post statuses for everyone to see. (look out for the diary entries) Looking at their website, the app seems like it could be interesting but they are lacking in the information department.

2. Ello: Ello seems to be a place for people to share artistic ideas and thoughts in one huge feed of posts. You can scroll through the feed without making an account, which is pretty neat. 

3. Beme: Beme is something you would get if Youtube and Snapchat got together and made a little social media baby called baby Beme. Basically, the user makes a video, and shares it..then once it is seen, it disappears. (sounds like trouble to me)

4. Yik Yak: Ah Yik Yak....looking for anonymous status updates from around your area? Look no further, you have found the right app!

5. Untappd: Not only is the name clever, but the app is clever as well! This is social media all based around beers and bars. If you like going out with friends to have a drink but can never decide on where to go, Untappd is social media all based around finding that place.

6.Path: Path is pretty interesting, it is all about close friends. The app only allows the user to add a certain amount of friends. There is also an option for private sharing and public sharing. 

7. Kik: Kik is just a straight forward messaging app. User's can message anyone who has a Kik, and also different chat Bots now as well. 

8. ASKfm: ASKfm is basically the new Formspring. The whole social media app is all about asking other people anonymous questions, and getting answers from them. (it can get pretty brutal).

9. Oovoo: Oovoo, meet Skype. Skype, meet Oovoo. 

10. Telegram: This is a messaging app that is based on security and speed above all else. The user can send documents of any type, and send messages that self-destruct based on a timer.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Yearbook Oops

Los Osos Highschool in California made a HUGE oops earlier this month in regards to their yearbooks. An article from USA Today explains that there was a "typo" in one of the students names..

wait for it..

Bayan Zehlif, a Muslim teenager who attends Los Osos posted a photo on Facebook which was very upsetting to see. 

Apparently, the people in charge of the yearbook misspelled Bayan's name as "Isis Phillips".

In the article it says that the High School district superintendent says that Bayan was misidentified with a former student named Isis. This was a huge mistake on the school's part and there is no possible way that a person can confuse "Bayan Zehif" with "Isis Phillips". This is extremely sad and angering. They said that they asked all of the students to return the yearbooks, but they will never be able to undo that mistake.

I feel sad that stereotypes are so prominent in our world that people assume things such as a Muslim teens name being Isis. We build all of these stereotypes in our life, and then people end up getting hurt by them. I can only imagine how embarrassed she must have felt knowing that this was misprinted and given to all of her classmates. People need to pay more attention and stop allowing stereotypes to determine their judgements.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Be A By(STAND UP)er!

What is the bystander effect? Well, PsychologyToday defines it as "when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation." Online abuse could definitely be considered an emergency situation if you have a person's reputation, emotions, or eventually what could be their life at stake. When people witness online abuse they become bystanders to the situation, even if the situation is occurring through a computer screen or mobile phone. 

Be like this kid. Put on your hero mask and save someone's day.

I found that the article by Carrie Rentschler brought up some very interesting points in regards to this bystander effect on the internet.

Rentschler quotes Jacque Wernimont saying,
“There is no technological fix to online violence. The problems are social and so are the solutions.”
This is so true in regards to online abuse. People may want to say that we should make more laws fighting against online abuse to make the internet more friendly but the reality is that laws are meant to be either followed or broken. Abusers on the internet will continue to find different ways to keep on doing what they do. The real solution is to fix the social aspects of the problem. If we can create an online society of non-abusers than it will be less likely that people will act in an abusive way. As Rentschler says, "To be effective, bystander intervention must be a collective effort, not only an individual act." As a society, if we start and continue to take away bystanders and turn them into by(STAND UP)ers than abusers may start to shy away knowing they will not be able to get away with that behavior. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hobbyhorse Gaming!

Hello everyone!!

I have something exciting for those who enjoy the video game world..

A buddy of mine has decided to start up a game review and news website! I will be taking part in writing reviews and posting news regularly which I am super excited about.

Here's the moment you have all been waiting for

So check it out if you enjoy reading about video games and all things related.
Also, you can check out the Facebook page and give us a like if you "like" what you see!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Everyone Gets A Personal Shopper!

Have you ever just been having a chat with your friend on Facebook messenger and decide "Oh, I think I am in the mood to buy something online....immediately." Well friends, what a time to be you can! 

That is right, FACEBOOK has just recently announced that people will be able to go shopping directly from messenger. How, you ask? Well..let me enlighten you.

 According to THIS article the messenger chat service will soon come equipped with artificial intelligence called "shopbots". As of now, only a few companies are signed onto the service but the article states that if more companies start to hop onto the personal shopping band wagon, all of us could soon be chatting with these "shopbots". The shopbots work much like a conversation. The bot opens up with asking you what kind of items you are looking for, men's or women's. Then, each time you speak to the bot the search becomes increasingly specific  until you ideally find what you are looking for. 

Seems pretty interesting, right?

After doing further research into these personal shoppers I found an article by Lukas Thoms who has tried out these shopbots. Long story short, his experience with these bots was not up to par. ( I recommend reading the article, it is pretty funny) It is pretty clear that Facebook has some work to do if this is the path they want to pursue. 


Just like the article mentions, Facebook is no Amazon... people do not log onto Facebook to shop much like they would not log onto Amazon to chat with friends. How do you feel about Facebook trying to expand its purposes into the realm of online shopping? Will Facebook become an online shopping mall?