Monday, April 12, 2010

Are you up for a game of Foursquare?

This isn't the game of foursquare you used to play with your neighbors in the driveway. This is the new way to stay connected with friends and family. 

Foursquare on your phone gives you & your friends new ways of exploring your city.

Here's how it works: Say you were going to a local coffee shop and wanted to invite a couple friends. You would connect to the Foursquare application and send a message to your friends (who are also connected to Foursquare) saying you were at the coffee shop and wanted them to join. They would receive a "ping" on their phone showing where you were for example, 4 blocks away at the coffee shop. 

It sort of eliminates the need to call all the friends you wanted to invite and ask each one what they were doing or what their plans were for the day. It's all about mixing social networking with where you are. 

It is also a game where you can earn points & unlock badges for discovering new things in your city. Once you have a checked in to a certain location or place a record amount of times, you can become the "mayor" of that place. In addition you can also start to earn freebies and discounts at businesses that are connected to Foursquare. Not only does this involve the community into the game, but also increases awareness and business. 

This changes the way people experience their Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It is also helping people make better decisions about where to go and exploring their city, all while staying connected with their friends. Over 700,000 people are out exploring their city and have joined Foursquare. When will you join? 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Death of the desktop?

A radical shift has occurred in the computer world. This shift is the effect of newer hand held technologies like Apple products such as the iPhone and the iPad. The computer desktop used folders to store your files where you have to manually file and organize your files. 

That is where the shift comes in. Media is going to be pushed away from the desktop to eliminate the trouble and complexity for users. This has already been put into effect. iTunes and Windows Media Center are helpful for separating the files for you and keeping it organized. 

This is a far more efficient way of storing information. Accessing it is more natural and form or organization. The end result...the iPad. The iPad separates your media for you, so the music stays in iTunes and word documents stay in a word processing programs like Pages. 

"Although the iPad applications can allow users to create and manipulate files..this does not mean that people should have a sense of the file structure of the iPad." 

But that is not the only company moving away from the desktop. Google has made a big transition from moving off the desktop. Google's Chrome replaces the desktop with a browser. If you can access the browser, then you should never have to see it in the desktop. 

So between the iPad and Google Chrome, does that mean that the desktop interface is dead? "The iPad is not going to replace your Mac or Window PC, but it will start a new shift in the parameter of new interfaces." This is the answer: simplified computing. 

What is your thought? Would you prefer to work on a small screen to minimize desktop file organization? In my opinion is it nice to be able to organize your files in the places and formats that you want. I feel it is also easier and less time consuming to have to work on 3x2 screen when working with word documents, etc. Any heavy computing should be done on the desktop where you can personalize and organize how you want. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

To advetise on internet tv or not?

As advertising on traditional TV continues and increase, so might advertising on web television. Each network and show has created a website episodes for viewing- just in case you missed it. In addition to watching your show, you will also be 'forced' to watch commercials before, during and after the show. But the question is, should the amount of advertising on web television equal the amount of advertising now showing on traditional TV? This might be the case, since viewers are turning over to web television for reasons of convenience, and even because of fewer interruptions due to advertising.

"Internet TV has the potential to be the most powerful ad-supported medium ever created if we learn to leverage the strengths of both television and the internet. Give it a chance. "

At the expense to its viewers (some may say), networks plan to increase the amount of advertising to equal traditional advertising. The key for them is to create advertising or change/modify the advertising to intise the viewer to the message quickly.

For now, enjoy web television until advertising takes over.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Despite bells and whistles, the device misses the 'fun factor.'

Call it a matter of touch-screen envy, but many BlackBerry users are starting to feel the 24-month-contract itch.

And they're willing to switch to Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone or Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Nexus One, according to a recent study.

Conducted by the online market researchers Crowd Science, the survey results show that Research in Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry users are more likely to abandon the brand than iPhone or Android users. When asked of the likelihood of buying a particular brand of cell phone or smartphone if the purchase was made the following day, 39% of BlackBerry owners said they "definitely or probably would" nab an iPhone. And roughly one-third of the participants claimed they'd snatch up an Android phone.

Crowd Science Chief Executive John Martin addressed the study in the company blog. "These results show that the restlessness of BlackBerry users with their current brand hasn't just been driven by the allure of iPhone." He added, "Rather, BlackBerry as a brand just isn't garnering the loyalty seen with other mobile operating systems."

iPhone, Droid and BlackBerry.

So what's the allure of the competitors? Why are BlackBerry users more willing to jump ship?

BlackBerry has long been the choice of tech-savvy executives who are wirelessly tethered to their jobs. But as evidenced in the study, only 7% of BlackBerry owners still use their device exclusively for work. For years, the smartphone has ceased to be merely associated with work -- an evolution that Apple played a large role in influencing. However, the BlackBerrys, the Palm Treos, and the Windows Mobile devices never successfully adopted the veneer of "recreational smartphones" nearly as well as Apple or Android.

Put simply, iPhones, Droids, and Nexus Ones just look like more fun. And as the "fun factor" became a significant reason why smartphones became as popular as they did, any manufacturer still focusing on the business aspects fell out of favor with users.

What's the appeal of a physical keyboard if the iPhone can remember where you parked? Why use Microsoft Exchange when the Droid works seamlessly with Gmail -- a service more businesses are using anyway? Is there a point to waiting for a BlackBerry version of an app that has dozens of variants available in the App Store or Android Market?

Unless a new BlackBerry device sheds the brand's stodgy work image, RIMM is going to miss out on all the fun -- and customer

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Talking to a computer

The idea of talking to a computer and it understanding your commands has been going in and out since the seventies. Despite the increasing popularity of text messaging, voice-activated technology will soon be. Because of tiny keyboards and small touch pads, 'big-fingered' adults would rather shout out than type it out.

"Mobile voice-recognition technology now allows people to send text messages to friends by talking instead of typing; to scan through transcriptions of voice mail instead of taking time to listen to them all; to tell their phones what they're looking for on the Web; and, soon, to post to Twitter from their cars by speaking, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road."

A number of phone applications, such as ShoutOut now translate speech into text messages and e-mails. Eventually, computer might be able to listen so well, that the computer can anticipate the upcoming commands and sounds. The technology works by listening to a voice, translating it into digital data and then anticipating the next words or sounds. But as of right now, it's more of a guessing game.

Each year the technology and accuracy of these programs advances and improves. But there are some issues to resolve:
1. Background noise- If a person is on a bus or in a busy street, the voice recognition diminishes. Google's Nexus One is a solution to this problem. It has two microphones that records both voice and background noise and then it subtracts the background noise from the voice.
2. No one speaks the same all the time- A computer might not recognize your voice the first time, so the following time you might change your inflection and tone, leading to frustration. Just speak clearly and have a neutral accent.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Feds cracking down on social networking profiles

The next friend request you receive might not be who you think it could be FBI. The Obama administration is considering sending FBI undercover to scope out social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The U.S. Department of Justice said undercover work would help "communicate with suspects," "gain access to nonpublic info," and "map social relationships." On the other hand, the IRS produced a document stating that it was ok for the FBI to review information of public sites, but they are not allowed to "misrepresent your identify (sic) or obtain information from a Web site using a fictitious identity to register." The problem is that if the FBI do plan on joining the sites for investigation that they have to be careful not to violate the terms of service. Most social networking sites say that you cannot not make a profile using a name other than your own or without permission.

The FBI logging on to social networking sites might help them reach suspects or valuable information. I don't how ever think it is good they change their identity. As they gain information on daily suspects and investigations, they do not change their identity for the sake of gaining information and the law. The social networking sites can be a form of research.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are you ready for 4G?

What if a 4G wireless connection could match a DSL or Cable connection speed? Would you still use DSL or Cable? Clearwire 4G Wimax service is the only company with an available 4G wireless connection on the market. Because of this, people who live in the 27 markets that Clearwire offers it's fast connect are ditching their DSL or Cable companies for this 4G experience.

Several DSL or Cable users are switching over to the 4G connection. For example, Tim Elliot, who lives in the area that Clearwire began its service, canceled his AT&T DSL contract and switched over to 4G. He says that he loves "being able to go anywhere in town with my laptop and no worrying about finding a hot spot." This service might also be convenient for users who do not want to triple or bundle TV, phone and internet.

But Clearwire is not the only company that will be offering 4G connections. Verizon Wireless and not putting together a 4G network called LTE and expected to service 25 to 30 markets by the end of the year. Even though companies like Verizon and AT&T will be offering the faster connections soon in the next year, they are careful to advertising anything about replacing any DSL or Cable connections due to the fact they offer those plans.

With the quick advances of technology and a race for speed, all internet and cable companies will be at war for the fastest and most efficient service. Because of this, the cost of creating new infrastructures will increase, but so will the customers lining up for more.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pivot your way to a new type of search

Sometimes the web can be a distracting and confusing element in our lives, where everything is taken over by data over the spread of page after page. Pivot, a newly-engineered program gives a user the ability to zoom in and out of web databases- spreading from topic to topic, with everything being connected and related.

The data we consume is greater than the sum of the parts. By filtering certain areas of the web, you can break down the data and information piece by piece. For example, looking at a mortality chart, you can filter down the types of death, which one is more predominant, going through which ever age you want. You can filter by age, sex, gender, types of death, by year, etc just by the click of a button and you are 'swimming in an info graphic.'

But if it is possible to do it for data (info graphic, etc), then why can't you do it for raw data (web searches, web sites, magazines, etc.). Well you can. Pivot lets you search a url for any website and zoom in and out of it and breaking it down to its different components of information, organized all to what you want to know. Example: You type in Sports Illustrated magazine. You can filter and zoom in/out of every magazine ever produced by Sports Illustrated.You can go into decades, years, specific issues, people featured. If you find a Sports Illustrated that Lance Armstrong was featured in, you can find all the magazine (Sports Illustrated) that Lance Armstrong was featured in and then you can see all the bicyclists that were ever featured in Sports Illustrated. Because of this, you can look at everything on the web, instead of page by page, but by filters, extracting information and teasing out knowledge.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today I did some research on online newspaper resources, comparing and contrasting what an actual printed copy would give a reader, rather than an online site. I focused on the area's newspaper, The Lufkin Daily News, and this is what I found.

InClass 6—Online News

Newspaper Name: Lufkin Daily News

Story/ Topics: Snow day, dietitian speaks at high school, funeral of Charlie Wilson

Features: color, graphics, advertisements, stories, weather

Newspaper website:

Items on home page: advertisements (web banners), motion graphics, photo slideshows (for top stories), calendar, weather

3 stories to compare:

First story I saw discussed the winter weather in the Lufkin/Nacogdoches area- This story offered several photos to see the different parts of the area with snow.

Second story I clicked on was Charlie Wilson’s funeral service. This story offered several pictures to see of the event with little to no story attached.

Third story I look at was a case files by the city of Dallas and the Texas Water Development Board that the Supreme has decided not to hear. This story offered a detailed of the updated news.

The content of these stories were completely different but offered either several photos, descriptive story or captions to photos to tell the story.

Reading an actual newspapers gives me the chance to use my sense of touch. I am appreciative of the printed newspaper because I know that was the one things used to be and how much time is put into making/printing one. Although, I enjoy seeing the stacks of newspapers in front of buildings, it now the digital realm, where I am always on the computer. It is convenient for me to ready online where I am always connected getting the latest news a click of a mouse. Some news forums or resources are not free, like some newspapers are. Many times you have to pay for a subscription of the online newspaper in order to view its daily upload.

As an editor of the newspaper, I would prefer my newspaper to have a broad range of news topics. It is important to note that the area or different parts of the nation are becoming more diverse and culturally aware, where it is key to make that active in the newspaper awareness. If my newspaper were an online version, I would like the website to feature a lot of interactivity between the viewer and the story. Perhaps, instead of written articles, they would be audio clips, or video clips, more photos and color. The newspaper would perhaps be supported through advertising, since online advertising is becoming very big due to the transition in social/digital awareness. I think a lot of newspaper will see more progressive and feedback with an online version, where print will slowly decline.

More these days, generations are becoming more technologically savvy and are able to navigate across the www. With that, it is important to keep that older media begin to evolve into digital news. Current online newspapers have the ability to print the pages where that is sometimes convenient for someone working from home or always in the office. Online is the way to go.

If you have any thoughts, let me know :)



Health Blog- Blogtalkradio

The first blog I listened to was a health blog that discussed "Fighting Weight Gain and Depression in a Recession." What I noticed first was that the host introduced herself well so that I could fully understand who she was and what certification she has. She is of Christian faith and talks with a viewpoint of God. She started off with a scripture from the Bible and related the rest of her talk to the reading. She assured listeners that she believed in you and does God and that the listener is not alone. She said that you could call in to chime in about your experiences where you might have been lost or thoughts about weight loss/gain, etc. She went into what feelings what might be associated with depression due to weight gain and the effects of weight gain.

This is a 'weekly, monthly, or whenever we get around to it' video segment on what they think is the latest and greatest on twitter. He introduced different users on Twitter- geeks, art re-makers, web junkies, etc. Each Twitter had a different niche and had thousands of followers on the social site.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Wireless Future of Medicine

The world of medicine is forever advances, and with the constant changes and upgrades in technology, medicine is evolving to the wireless realm. Since the invention of the stethoscope in 1816, wireless medical devices are the future to saving lives in and out of the hospital. One of the first adaptations to the this changing technology is a electrocardiogram that has the ability to be seen on a iphone or smartphone that shows the cardiovascular information of a real patient to be seen at anytime, anywhere. You might be checking your e-mail now, but in the near future you will be checking your vitals, such as heart rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen, temperature, all available from hospital to smart phone. What if an expecting parent would have the ability to monitor continuously the fetal heart rate or contractions so as to not to worry till delivery? What if you could measure your glucose with a "stick on" patch on skin, instead of implants? What if you could track your sleep where every minute could be tracked by how deep you sleep? What if you could manage your weight hour by hour? All of this is now going wireless and as an application on the iphone. One of the most recent and being advertised is the a handheld ultrasound stethoscope.

All of this is helping the medical field and doctors, but more importantly patients. Patients don't have to worry as much about ending up on a hospital bed with a constant wireless monitor through their iphone. These inventions will also further the advancement and detection of diabetes, breast cancer, atrial fibrillation, and sudden cardiac death, where the sensors can be of easy access and transportation. The smart phone is one of the most important and most used devices of the day, where taking advantage of that will be of much use for the medical field.

Keep an eye open for wireless medical equipment.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Augmented Reality

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing provide maps and directions to places all around the world. Once an address, location or directional points are entered into the search engine, it is possible to sort of be in two places at once. Bing Maps provides a punched up interactivity level of mapping. Microsoft has created a new augmented-reality for users to coexist in two places at once. The program gives basic and fluid ability to zoom in and out, pan in different directions and view photographs of the location. As you zoom in, you can three dimensionally see what might be a "Sim-city" imagery that you can view in all directions. Green dots will pop up indicating that someone has taken a photo of that area or of something that represents that location. Once you zoom in or "fly down," it seems as though you are standing at that specific location or intersection. What the program also offers is the ability to phase three dimensionally through intersections, roads and buildings. Once at the location you have the ability to pull up Flikr photos that have been uploaded of other people at a different time at that same location. The same image that Bing Maps gives for the location might be the same photo that Flikr shows but taken at a different type, etc. The augmented reality comes into affect when the user has the ability to actually enter a store or any location (so as long the information is there). Not only is the company photography on tops of cars outside, but photographing with a backpack camera inside of stores. The best part about this is that not only can the map give you the photograph of the location but also stream live video. If it has the ability to press play, you can actually watch video feed of the location. In addition of all this, Microsoft has engineered a world-wide telescope that when you pan the map towards the sky, the sky turns into satellite view of stars and constellations. You can change the date, time, and zoom in on planets, etc, providing satellite images of the such masses.

This changes the way we interact with the worldly locations. We can freely experience other locations and cities through the interaction of Bing Maps. The technology has pushed reality into another stream of interactivity, giving the user full control.

Check out Bing Maps.

Below are some pictures of what Bing Maps offers.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First post!

Welcome! My name is Judith Barroeta and I am a senior at Stephen F. Austin State University. I am a Journalism major with a minor in Advertising Design. The combination of these concentrations has allowed me to understand a publication inside and out.

This is my first post for my design blog. Here I will share my designs I have been working on. Suggestions and comments are welcome. I'd love to know what you think. I am attracted to clean and organic design. I will updating soon with more posts of my work.

In addition to my design work, I will be posting facts and information about interesting new media and graphic design topics.