New Search Technologies Mine the Web More Deeply – NYTimes.com

02/23/2009
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In terms of convergence, the whole of shared knowledge, and collective intelligence, Google is cutting themselves off from the “Deep Web” — the trillion databases of information that remain untapped as sources of information, cross information, and potentially, artificial intelligence:

Beyond those trillion pages lies an even vaster Web of hidden data: financial information, shopping catalogs, flight schedules, medical research and all kinds of other material stored in databases that remain largely invisible to search engines.

The challenges that the major search engines face in penetrating this so-called Deep Web go a long way toward explaining why they still can’t provide satisfying answers to questions like “What’s the best fare from New York to London next Thursday?” The answers are readily available — if only the search engines knew how to find them.

via New Search Technologies Mine the Web More Deeply – NYTimes.com.

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Does Social Media Make Us Better People?

02/22/2009
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Here’s something very close to my argument, but more about interpersonal communication effects. Perhaps I should broaden (or tighten) my thesis.

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Rather, I’m talking about the cameraphone user who automatically uploads her photos to Flickr or Twitpic, who with the tap of a screen can post a video to YouTube or stream a scene live on Qik. I’m talking about the immediacy and accessibility of Twitter messages that make private conversations public; tools that open up the very real possibility that every action you take, whether in a public space or in seemingly private emails and text messages, is being logged and possibly shared with thousands of people.How does this change the way we act? Might it actually make us…nicer to one another?

via Does Social Media Make Us Better People?.

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Reading Review and Journal (for February 24th)

02/22/2009

1. Topic for your final Paper

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How Google is making us brilliant; how Google, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other tools like these will allow us all to achieve higher collective intelligence on several layers and at several axes.

2. Thesis for your final paper. It is the central idea you would like to present in your final paper. The more specific the better. Please make sure to demonstrate how your thesis is related to the Internet and digital media convergence concepts, theories, or models we have covered in our class.

Google provides an interface to a growing collection of collective knowledge, which with proper training, can be tapped efficiently to help solve any problem that has been previously solved and shared. Twitter allows you to ask the world a question, and get 1,000 answers in an instant. Facebook allows for us all to interconnect on a visual verbal basis, actively or passively, allowing for a more comprehensive look at each other’s (constructed) profiles and provides a way to grasp deeper socio-emotional connections with others. Blogs allow us to quickly produce our own pieces of collective intelligence, feeding Google all the while, providing new fodder for Facebook and Twitter, and generally increasing the amount of known published knowledge with each post.

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3. Two articles (academic or professional) that you would like to use in your paper.

Ivana Marenzi, Elena Demidova, & Wolfgang Nejdl. (2008, June 30). DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://dspace.learningnetworks.org/handle/1820/1260?mode=full&submit_simple=Show+full+item+record.

L. Johnson, A. Levine, & R. Smith. (n.d.). 2009 Horizon Report. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/.

Readwriteweb, S. P. (2009, January 30). How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook…Safely. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2009/01/30/30readwriteweb-how_to_friend_mom_dad_and_the.html?em.

Stone, B., & Stelter, B. (2009, February 19). Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/technology/internet/19facebook.html?_r=1&em.

4. Brief summary of the two articles.

LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning provides a theoretical framework that focuses on the sublime ability for social networks and technology services to enhance learning. This article brings to light some of the ways in which social networks can be particularly utilized in supporting and enhancing teaching and learning. This is in stark contrast to the idea promoted in “Is Google Making us Stupid?”

The 2009 Horizon Report is a yearly prediction of the ways in which current and emerging technologies will affect teaching, learning, and society in general. It is a strikingly accurate and thoroughly enjoyable read for a technologist who has faith in the ways in which technology can help us change for the better.

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The two New York Times articles focus on Facebook. One describes best practices for information sharing for the new user, how to avoid the pitfalls of sharing the wrong information or sharing it in the wrong way. The other article speaks about the recent flap in which Facebook changed its terms of service (TOS) to indicate that the content that users add to the system belonged solely to the company forever. A blog post on The Consumerist brought the change light and public scrutiny, and Facebook quickly reverted to its previous TOS language. This speaks to the concepts of collective intelligence, bottom up media vs. top down media, information ownership, and others that help define Digital media convergence.

5. Brief discussion about how the two articles are related to your thesis.

The LearnWeb 2.0 article shows a framework that could potentially exemplify my thesis that learning is enhanced and magnified with the proper application of Social networking tools.

The 2009 Horizon Report defines a long list of technologies and the ways in which they will theoretically affect learning spaces, learners, teaching, distance learning, mobile learners, portable media in learning, and other aspects of gathering and gaining intelligence.

An example of a social network diagram.
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The two New York Times articles on Facebook will help to bring to light issues regarding the broad increase in information sharing and the relevant importance of guiding new users to use the systems properly. It also helps to show the blurry line that exists between producer, consumer, content owner, intellectual property owner, and privacy in the shared online space.

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Crossing a line with Live streaming?

02/14/2009
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A new father decided to stream the birth of his child on the internet, and some blogs following the story are asking if it ‘crosses a line’? I wonder, since there, again, is no editing going on in the blogosphere, whether it matters if it crosses a line. Perhaps a better question would be, how will this new found empowerment of consumer turned producer sans editor affect the ways in which we consider what is objectionable in the media. That is, when we are the media.

Leaving aside the fact that Branch ignored the advice of the attending nurse, who asked him to turn it off (many hospitals prohibit any video taping in surgery rooms for malpractice reasons), doesn’t this make you cringe just a little bit? There’s no question that everyone has the right to determine how far he or she wants to go in sharing their private lives on the internet, but I imagine a lot of people will deem live streaming a child’s birth inappropriate. Are there no private moments left anymore?
Address : http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/02/13/another-baby-birth-streamed-live-does-this-cross-a-line/
Date Visited: Fri Feb 13 2009 20:19:30 GMT-0500 (EST)

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Google Latitude

02/04/2009

So this is pretty crazy — Google is releasing Latitude, a way of seeing where other people are via cellphone GPS if they allow you to (and vice versa, of course). Given the conversations we’ve had in classes about the erosion of privacy, the use of cellphone devices as an extension of the senses, and the idea that we are always and forever connected and ‘on’, this is an interesting development from the major player.

Google Latitude

See where your friends are in real time!

Enjoy Google Latitude on your phone, computer, or both.

Start using it on your phone

See your friends’ locations and status messages and share yours with them.

via Google Latitude.


Journal Entry: Mediation Chapter 2

06/03/2008

In this chapter, Mediation as a process is described and introduced, much in the same way we do in a very abridged way in the beginning of a mediation session. The ideal role of the mediator as facilitator, empowerer, and face manager (not judge) is described. The benefits of mediation, including convenience, effectiveness, preventative nature, relationship preservation and redefinition, and confidentiality are discussed, if in a somewhat biased way. The types of mediation are also discussed. At the end of the chapter there is an interesting exercise which asks us the look at one definition of mediation, and to dismantle it in order to see what aspects of the process are lost when those definitive elements are removed.

Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition. (2nd), 198. Waveland Press.

Personal experiential influence:

Mediation: A confidential, voluntary process where a neutral third party facilitates negotiation between two or more parties with mutually acceptable agreement as one possible outcome (Domenici, et al., 1991, p. 43).

Without confidentiality, mediation could be embarrassing, fear generating, or hurtful to disputants.
Without being voluntary, mediation generated agreements might be less likely to hold.
Without neutrality, the mediator could have a powerful influence on outcomes they themselves want.
Without facilitation, mediation could degrade into chaotic name calling.
Without all parties present, mediation could reinforce barriers between disputants.
Without mutually acceptable agreements, they will be less likely to be actually agreed to by all parties.
With mandated agreements, disputants might be unwilling to accept outcomes.


Journal Entry: Mediation Chapter 6

05/24/2008

This chapter focuses on the concerns in mediation practices, and specifically focuses on four concerns: Appropriateness, use of caucus, confidentiality, and ethics (p. 117).

Appropriateness refers to the ability to use mediation effectively in order to work to resolve a dispute. In some cases, such as these where disputants are being coerced to mediate, have a long standing reinforced distrust that mediation may fail to bypass, or where legal issues, abuse, or immense sums of money are involved, mediation may not be the best choice, though it may be a good starting point for beginning to encourage communication between parties on their way to other dispute resolution methodologies (pp. 117-121).

The use of caucus is a concern because it potentially works against the most effective aspects of mediation, e.g. bringing parties to the table, and engaging in face to face communication with openness and transparency (pp. 121-123).

Ethics of course is always a concern in mediation, since trust, openness, transparency, and commitment require that all parties are there in good faith, that the mediator is not leading the process, nor biased for or against any of the disputants. It is important that mediators are always asking themselves if they have lost their impartiality, and if so to remove themselves from the process or if possible, refuse their own biases and question their own assumptions (pp. 123-126).

Finally, confidentiality is a concern because without it, disputants may be reluctant to participate at all. In order to gain trust, open up, and focus on positive outcomes, it is important to be able to get all relevant information out on the table. That can only happen in some cases if that information goes no further than that room. The mediators must let everyone know up front (in the introduction) that information recorded during the mediation, (other than the agreement itself, if reached), will be destroyed and carried no further (pp. 127-129).

Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition. (2nd), 198. Waveland Press.

Personal Experiential Influence:

The appropriateness of mediation in context is an interesting topic. I can think of several situations in which mediation would have been more or less appropriate in my life: Small hallway skirmishes in high school might have benefited from mediation, and small jobs in design, where I lost thousands of dollars in unpaid consultant fees, would definitely have benefited from the parties having the opportunity to voice their opinions. I’ve also encountered conflict in the car, where someone cuts me off, or fails to signal – it wouldn’t be apropos to bring that party into a mediation session, for instance. In the design case, We missed our day in court because we decided to stay out of court and use an conflict avoidance approach, but we might have agreed to mediation.