I’m scared of my Boyfriend’s Google Home, and you should be too!

BCM 206

Yes, this week’s lecture ‘The Internet of Things: from networked objects to anticipatory spaces‘ (IoT) did bring up some feelings of resentment and mistrust that I have towards my boyfriend’s Google Home. To understand why let me first explain what the IoT is, and how the Google Home is related to it.

The IoT in a nutshell refers to a branch of ‘smart technology’ wherein material objects are attached to the Internet. This includes devices such as smart watches, the Amazon Key, home speakers that take orders – like the Google Home, and many other whacky devices.

In order to preform the services that these devices claim that they do they have to be constantly analysing their environment to uncover a triad of information; your location, your identity, and your environment. In this week’s lecture, Ted states that when we invite smart objects into our daily lives we as people become “an additional input into a data stream.” 

This notion was further supported for me through some additional reading of Wired Magazine which states that “One study estimates that 35 percent of US manufacturers are using data from smart sensors within their set-ups already.” If this all isn’t freaky enough, the recordings and data from an individuals Google Home and Fitbit have been taken and used as evidence in a murder trial in the U.S. court.

why is no one else freaking out.gif


Kermit is a sock puppet?!

BCM 206

kermit is a sock puppet memes

I know, your whole life has been a lie. Kermit is not a hand-rod puppet but in fact…. A mere sock puppet.

gasps brave

In this weeks lecture on the topic of ‘Dark Fibre; hackers, botnets and cyberwar’  Ted introduced the concept of ‘sock puppets’.

Sock puppets are fictitious online personas which are heavily created to look like real people. They use a variety of techniques such as hashtags, automated posts, location settings to achieve the illusion that they’re a real person. Their goal, is to enter conversations and sway public discourse in order to manipulate opinions to suit their agenda.

Sock puppets haven been known to be used for cyberwarfare. For example, sock puppets have been used by governments to search the internet for news that makes them look bad, then to join the conversation disguised “as a regular citizen” in an attempt to manipulate the public opinion to change.

What are your thoughts on sock puppets? Does it make your second guess anyone that you have met on the internet before? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!evil soooocks

The Ethics of Hacktivism

BCM 206

hacking is this a game or is it real

Hacktivism, a reckless or heroic act?

This week’s remediation is based off the film ‘War Games’ which was shown in Ted’s lecture as a representation of the danger of the hacking subculture. The remediation represents the idea of ‘playing’ with very dangerous systems, and how perhaps what might seem as innocuous hacking to one person can be incredibly damaging to another.

It’s important to remember that ‘War Games’ a fictional film. However, it raises the question of what are the moral and legal implication of hacking? This brings us to the concept of ‘Hacktivism,’ a scenario in which a person hacks for social or political means.

Many Hacktivists feel that whilst their actions are illegal, that morally they are doing the right thing for the greater good. Hacktivism has been known to fight for information freedom and to reveal and share information that has been wrongfully kept from the general public.

But do we really have a right to this information, is it right for us to expose a person or organisation like that, and if so where do we draw the line? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Can we start a #revolution baby?

BCM 206

we want our rights

Connectivity is an inherent part of the internets nature. It enables us to have instantaneous global access to like-minded people, which is a pretty powerful phenomenon. The internet is dialogic by design, and has proven to be an excellent tool for starting revolutions for this reason.

We have seen this in cases such as the Arab Spring, Mena and Maiden. However, as the internet grows older and we all become more experienced in it’s use cracks begin to emerge in it’s use. An article by WIRED which can be accessed here, outlines some of the obstacles in using social media as a revolutionary tool. For example, governments have access to prohibit and block access to connective social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter making it hard to spread messages. Furthermore, governments can also have a hand at spreading misinformation.

In summation, it’s important to remember connectivity gives us power. However, it’s also important to realise that governments and other sources have the power to break that internet connection.

Social Media and the Emergence of Citizen Journalism

BCM 206

patrick citizen journalism

In recent years Journalism both as a profession and as an action has undertaken a transformation due to social media. As a result of everyone having access to a portable camera and multiple platforms to upload content to, the act of citizen journalism has emerged.

Citizen journalism is simply the act of the general public uploading content on current events to the internet. This sharing of knowledge is often done through platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and is usually shared by citizens who happen to be witnessing an event taking place in real time.

These pieces of knowledge that the general public uploads often includes a mixture of Tweets, Facebook statuses, images and videos which accumulatively put together the whole picture of the event. This phenomenon is often described through metaphors such as “Bridges made of pebbles,” to depict the whole product being contributed to by thousands of smaller sources.

So really, by being in the right place at the right time and documenting information that you witness, you yourself could contribute to this new form of Journalism.

Comfort or Freedom? Closed vs Open Software.

BCM 206

Comfort OR Freedom FLOWERFIED

Closed vs Open sourced software… a debate that has often been narrowed down to the two powerhouses of mobile technology; iOS vs Android. This week we discussed the differences, the benefits and the limitations of open and closed source software. Here are the main differences between the two:

Closed (iOS)

-Apple has total control of iOS

-iOS controls, monitors, censors, and can remove any and all apps on the app store

-Only Apple developers can work on iOS

-There is only one hardware manufacturer; Apple

Open (Android)

-Google gave away the Android coding for free

-Allows for independent app markets

-Many independent app developers contribute to Android

-There are many competing Android manufacturers; including- Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, and more!

Ted ended the lecture for this week asking us to think about what was more important. Having the comfort of the easy to use interface of the closed software. Or having the freedom to make your own choices with the open software. This is the idea that I based my remediation on for the week.

As you may recognise, I decided to add to my walled garden remediation from last week by using it as the example of closed software, otherwise known as the ‘comfort.’ I then expanded on this remediation and imagined what the same image would look like as a representation of open software, or ‘freedom.’

Let me know- Are you an Apple or Android user? And has this blog post changed your perspective about it!?


Lord Mimikyu’s Walled Garden – A representation of iFeudalism

BCM 206

The pikachu walled garden

The Feudalisation of the internet, otherwise known as iFeudalism is a current Social Media centred phenomenon. It’s name is based off of the Medieval European structure of Feudalism. iFeudalism is the concept where Social Media organisations such as Apple, Android and YouTube are closing off sections of the internet by creating “walled garden” structures.

The internet is decentralized by nature, meaning that every individual user has the power to unrestrictedly add content to the internet. However, when companies create walled gardens on the internet they have the power to control what content is contributed to that garden, and what content should be censored.

As you can see, in the image above is my beautifully Poke-fied representation of iFuedalism. In this representation we have Mimikyu who is the Lord and surveillance manager of the walled garden. Mimikyu controls which Pikachu’s can enter the garden, what the Pikachu’s can post, and will censor any content made by the Pikachu’s that it doesn’t like. Whilst the worker Pikachu’s are technically free to roam about the garden, they cannot leave without Mimikyu’s permission. Furthermore, they have to pay rent to be a part of the garden. This rent can be paid in two forms. Firstly, they may have to pay in the form of in app purchases, licensing fee’s or subscription fee’s. Or secondly, they may be paying by providing Mimikyu with their own personal information that Mimikyu can use to expand the walled garden.

Let me know what you think of my cutesy representation of iFeudalism in the comments below!

pikachu kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Ted teaches us about the long tail effect

BCM 206


Due an oversaturation of information in our attention economy legacy media companies only distribute the top 20% of popular content. This is due to the method of trying to appeal to a mass audience, leaving a whopping 80% of content unavailable. This extra 80% of content is described as ‘niche’ content as it appeals to a much smaller audience. This niche content is then distributed through aggregators such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon. The long tail effect is then comprised of this niche content.


The-long-tail-diagram take 2

I decided to do this weeks remediation in a medium inspired by a Sims Machinima. Sims Machinima’s are basically short films which are acted out by the Sims in game. Sims Machinima has a very niche audience, which makes it part of the long tail effect.

Whilst my remediation isn’t technically a Sims Machinima and more of a stop motion slide show (because I don’t have the tools to create a Machinima) it still captures the basic concept of the niche media form whilst also being educational 🙂

Points if you can spot the Easter Egg.


The Liquid Labour Chain

BCM 206

use this one 4 blog post.png

We live in an information economy, filled with knowledge workers. To sustain an information economy there must be a free flow of information, this demands labour that is always available and unrestrained by boarders. Hence, these knowledge workers spend their time partaking in the chronic task of sorting. However, these workers don’t get paid, because unknowingly these workers are you. This is the reality of liquid labour.

My remediation this week focuses on the topic of liquid labour. ‘But what is liquid labour?’ you may ask. Let me explain.

The most successful businesses on the internet such as Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo all share a fundamental characteristic, connectivity. They provide a platform to connect people, and we do all of the work to maintain these platforms. By utilizing and contributing to these businesses we keep these platforms functioning and thriving, and this is how we get caught in liquid labour chain. Similarly with WordPress. WordPress provides a platform of connectivity, where people are able to publish and discover blogs for free. By me writing this blog post and by you reading and commenting on it (hint, hint) we are collectively adding data, participation, and views to the company WordPress. My remediation focuses on the one-sided nature of the liquid labour relationship that we have discussed this week.

Plug in and join us in Cyberspace

BCM 206

cyberpunk plugged rendition.gif

The creation of instant global communication is considered to be revolutionary.  However, what I consider to be even more revolutionary is the day this system became a distributed network.

By creating the internet as a distributed network users inherently have control over how they connect and what they do when connected. It was an unprecedented and  outrageous thought for the time that the general public could individually and freely broadcast to the entire globe. This is where Cyberspace as we know it today was birthed.

Cyberspace is described by William Gibson as “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system.”

My remediation for this week focuses on this idea of cyberspace as a non-place yet as a civilisation of the mind. The psychology of cyberspace is interesting as it explores the concept of cyberspace being both a computer generated false reality and as a part of our physical reality (both in the physical devices we use daily such as smart phones and watches, and in the memes we gain from cyberspace that become part of our personal reality.) Furthermore, I designed my remediation in a cyberpunk aesthetic to represent the culture that cyberspace created.