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Showing posts from 2018

Code Academy Experience

Most coding I’ve done over the decades has been “self-taught.” IRC in the 90s and early 2000s provided me with a breadth of bright and eager-to-help minds to help guide me. Regardless of what task was at hand, there was always someone who knew something, or could at least point me in the right direction. Other than my own ambition, I didn’t have much in the way of a conventional “teacher” for guidance. Grabbing hints here and there made the project that much more exciting. The feeling of learning and using something for the first time after having worked for it cannot be overstated.
After my social life, work, and studies in uninteresting areas decimated my self-learning time for the years following, I decided to get back into it a bit. The landscape had changed greatly and most information could be found with a simple Google search. When I started working at Molloy, a coworker recommended I use Code Academy because it helped him. And use it I did. It helped me focus within the small…

Learning with Khan Academy

Internet-based education has plenty of advantages over its traditional forms. Some of these features specifically benefit me. For starters, the flexibility of learning on your own time is unmatched. With classic methods, striving for synchronicity between students can cause strain in learning process. Having physical presence as a necessity means that an absence interrupts the stream. In addition, it also requires students to be “on the same page” as far as grasping any given subject goes. In any mixed group, let alone a random selection of individuals, the deviation in lesson absorption between students can range greatly. This only benefits the middle of the bell curve. Students that fall behind can get stuck, while students that naturally excel have to wait for others to catch up. The ability for and individual to pace lessons, combined with the ability to pause, repeat, and alter the playback rates of videos, coalesce to raise comfort levels and personalize any given curriculum.
T…

Generation Like: A Response...

After watching Frontline’s “Generation Like,” I learned that the YouTube pop-universe is far more expansive than I thought. I’ve spent a decent amount of time on YouTube since its inception, but have never heard of these famous kids that were profiled.
A major takeaway of the program was that social media platforms seem to create their own ecosystems. Websites like YouTube have developed a social class hierarchy; highly “liked” and subscribed accounts being on top, with the lesser-knowns trying to carve out their own space in an attempt at recognition. The introduction of likes (or diggs and upvotes, if you go back far enough) created a type of currency within each sphere. The more likes and subscribers a creator has, the more valuable their output becomes.
Perhaps the most interesting part are the transactions that occur between the individual universes of each platform and the real world. For example, subscribers and likes may be the currency of YouTube, but the ability to cash th…

YouTube: WE HAVE EVERYTHING

I consider myself to have a curious mind. When I’m not working, or in class, I often spend my downtime watching YouTube. My favorite videos tend to be of an educational nature. The topics span across a spectrum of personal interests. That’s not to say I don’t get my fill of time vampires as well.
Over the years I’ve found YouTube to be an indispensable source of information; not only for my professional and academic life, but my personal life as well. The sheer number of instances I’ve used the service to look up a simple how-to makes it hard to sum up its usefulness within a few examples.
In my professional life, working in IT, I often come across errors that have been faced by hundreds of other people before. Google has obviously been the primary source of searching for information for the most part. However, sometimes reading page after page of instructions on how to fix some random error becomes a tedious process. Especially when you have to comb through forums to find the “close…

The Internet as a Platform: Identifying the Roots of...

How the hell did we get here? For millennia, humankind has communicated through various channels. As languages developed, so did the technologies through which information was delivered. At first, word of mouth and drawings on walls were the main way in which people were able to pass knowledge to one another. For a majority time, it was mostly tablets, papyrus, and paper. The 19th century brought us telegraphs and telephones; followed by radio, television, and the internet throughout the 1900s. An important aspect of each medium is its ability to evolve to become more efficient over time. Each iteration builds toward the next major revolution. Verbal language led to written, written to movable type, movable type to telecommunications. Language can be considered the basic representation of our experience from which the others are built. Traditional analog formats, such a print, directly represent the information contained within language, and can be physically moved from place to plac…

Reaction to: Instagram's "Self-Care" Scams

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Instagram aesthetic is the overall "feel" of a user's Instagram channel. It's the selective facade the user puts forth into the public sphere. But more importantly, it's the cohesiveness of the content that determines how strong the aesthetic is.
Instagram started as a social app meant to promote in-the-moment photography with the ability to add filters on the fly to enhance the shot. Although other, quite popular, services allowed for the editing and posting of pictures already existed, Instagram's unbloated approach set them apart from the rest. To the average user, that seems to still be its main utility. 
Over the years, Instagram has faced a few changes: it now allows videos uploads, tagging, stories, as well as other small features. The most dramatic changes, though, happened when Facebook acquired the company. What was once a community of photography enthusiasts is now a goldmine for the monolith. For example, injecting advertisements into users' fee…

Response to: “The Secret Rules of the Internet”

The Verge’s 2016 long-form article, "The Secret Rules of the Internet," by Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly, provides a detailed glimpse into what they call "The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech." The article talks about the role of YouTube’s early moderators in 2006 – Julie Mora-Blanco and her team, referred to as The SQUAD. Their job was to scour the website’s content for offensive or malicious content, and remove it; thereby protecting the new company’s image in the public domain.
In order to understand where the need for moderation originated from, we have to backtrack to earlier years. In those days of the commercial web, the act of content regulation was minimally practiced among the blossoming tech industry. Of course, there were the then-mainstream websites with curated content; but websites on the forefront of social media’s initial boom were driven by user-content. This idea re-sparked what was formerly known a…