Gerald says hello

This is the second year of this blog and I never thought two years ago that I would be writing a post on here telling other people who I am.

Who is the writer behind 1digitalfingerprint?

I am Gerald Murphy and you can find out more details on my search engine technology blog. I have two separate blogs and I thought I would publicly connect them to help me as I seek full time employment: I will have a BSc in Information and Communications by June 2013.

Why is a blog a good thing?

Blogging shows that you can write content from nothing, or very little. Employers like this because you can think interdependently and publish material which can be read by a specific audience. So if you blog about food, your own life, or life itself (the main aim of 1digitalfingerprint)… you are also broadcasting the fact that you can create good quality content.

I hope to work within SEO and digital marketing upon graduation, so personally speaking these blogs are important. If I am working on an SEO campaign and a client wants new content, or improved content, I will be able to do it. Blogging adds to one’s skills, furthermore it shows the world (potentially) some of your skills.

This blog will not change. I will continue to write about the things that I have been writing about. I hope to see all my readers, fantastic followers and the WordPress community on here soon. From now on you will know my name — Gerald.

Getting legal music doesn’t have to be difficult

Music: what are the choices?

The internet has grew so much recently, so too has misuse of the web. More and more people are downloading music without paying for it. Sometimes some of these people get caught by their native police force, others can avoid it by making use of jurisdiction and technology (such as, VPNs, for example). But it it difficult to get legal music on the internet?

Streaming services

Spotify, for example, allows users to log on to an account and choose their own songs to listen to. Although streaming is a form of downloading, it does not stay on the hard drive of your computer [1]. This means that your computer (at home) tells a website you want a song, it fetches it (maybe sends an advert with it) from the companies server and they allow you to play it through your computer. Companies like Spotify make a lot of money from adverts because they have a high level of hits (the number of people who check out their site).

There are so many other examples, so much so, I do not want to try to name them here because I probably only know an eighth of them — if that. It also varies from country to country, which is good for us — a variety is always good. But it is worth highlighting, at this point, that streaming is easy to do. This is legal because you are not depriving an artist of their earnings. However, this option is a little time consuming (i.e. you have to go to a website, log on, and type what song you want) but maybe it will get easier?

Cheap music

I am not that old but I have noticed that music has become cheaper to purchase — legally. This is a good thing, of course. Years ago I couldn’t have imagined to buy one song off an artist I didn’t particularly like. What do I mean? Well, digital music has allowed a greater access to the various parts of artists. For example, users can buy an individual track rather than buying a whole album. For example, Apple’s iTunes allows users to do it, almost effortlessly.

Digital music has become fragmented. This is a good thing!

The ethical questions

This isn’t a solution, but it could help the world to make one. And I am convinced that the world will make a global decision in my lifetime. Imagine if we all started to use technology a little better, streaming songs rather than illegally downloading them. Would this be fairer to the artist(s)? Would this make the governments in our home nations to make technology more accessible if we start to use it correctly? Would they think about giving power to the people rather than taking it away by enforcing strict laws in every country about what can and can’t be done?

If the song is really good, why not buy it? Turn that great feeling into a great act — pay for more great songs to be released.

You and I can help this. Next time you want to listen to a song, use one of these free services. They are free and fairly easy. This small change can help, especially with ethical issues.

Reference

  1. http://www.spotify.com/uk/about-us/contact/

Technology: a reflection on this machine

A few weeks ago I returned to work within my universities’ largest library, were I work in IT Support. Over the summer they have done a lot of renovations, so much so, the same building looks completely new! But behind the exterior there are a lot of cables and a mass number of coloured screens: technology is used everywhere in the new library.

A human take on technology

I am passionate about technology. I don’t think I spend much time without it, this could be reading the news on my mobile ‘phone, or, catching up on an interesting video clip on-line. But technology doesn’t always get everything (remember the why technology gets it wrong post?), does it?

Technology does not get feelings

I was talking to a Librarian about the new gadgets within the library, as well as the use of technology in other sectors. It was interesting how we both agreed on a few points:

Technology is removing that human touch.
Self-service scanners / checkouts are putting human beings, us! out of jobs.
Electronic stores (such as the example of a bike store below) don’t allow us to have feelings with something.
Photo of an electronic bike store (inhabitat.com)

Photo of an electronic bike store (inhabitat.com)

Do you ever pick a fresh fruit over another fruit, even if it’s the same fruit, in the same container/basket?
We like to make connections with what we do. Now I am not saying we all have relationships with fruit (or another piece of food), for example, but I am trying to illustrate that as humans, this connection is important. This human touch allows us to think that we have just purchased a really good apple, for example.
We cannot form a relationship with a store
Electronic equipment is cutting the number of human beings within stores. But what about that little conversation we used to have with the cashier? We cannot form relationships with technology: technology is removing human beings from the ‘real’ world.
Technology does not cloud emotions
If a store’s closing up, the chances are that you will still get the item you are looking for are high. A shop owner is likely to let you quickly grab and buy an item, even if s/he is closing-up. With computers, they are either yes or no. As soon as it’s 18:00:00, for example, all transactions stop. Emotions are not taken into account.

Caring technology

Technology does not care, as such. It may be used within caring environments, such as a hospital, for example. But technology does not do feelings, nor is it likely to do so in the future. At least in the world in which we operate today!

Some blurs of emotions and technology do exist today, but they are not really used in everyday, real life. For example, smile detection on cameras enables the camera to take a photograph whenever a person smiles, but the same camera does not know how to associate this with feelings: camera’s do not know that smiling means happiness. It just knows to take a picture whenever we smile.

Do you care about technology, even if it doesn’t care about you?

Why technology can get it wrong?

There is an article on BBC News‘ website this evening which explains a mother’s anguish at Facebook because she found out that her daughter was dead through Facebook. Why do these thing happen?

Report a deceased person’s profile

Facebook have a form allowing you to pass on validated information that someone has died, such as a friend or family member. Okay, this might be a good idea. Maybe it is good to have a memorial page to remember a person — after all it is good to remember someone online, right?

But this form does not collect people’s opinions on a death. Facebook treat a death like they treat people — just like a number.

Technology and feelings do not mix

No matter how much of a bad day you’re having, or how much you are enjoying life, technology will never really know your emotions. Okay, maybe Twitter can analyse words in your tweets to gather that you are angry, but they will never know why you are angry. Humans can always know, and should be the only ones to ever know how you are feeling.

The mother who found out her daughter was dead through Facebook will never know why Facebook was so insensitive. Maybe she will get an apology from them, but that will not make up for what they done to her.

Technology does not do emotions. Technology needs to take a step back to know that the people, human beings, who use their stuff do do emotions. Humans do emotions really well, in fact.

Examples of where technology gets it wrong because of emotions

  • criminal gangs take place online to vent their anger, or to play with other people’s emotions — they arrange to beat other people up, or even worse, kill other people. Technology can facilitate crime!
  • paedophiles can roam around on the online world to groom young children, and vulnerable adults. Technology does not always get people’s intentions. Technology can support other people’s (sick) sexual emotions
  • technology allows people to steal off other people’s stuff. Technology allows people to download free music, movies and programs. It does not take into account the creator’s loss. How are they funding themselves? Why is your favourite artist not writing as much music as they were before? Is it because they are not getting as much money as they once were? Does this mean we need to be more ethical, as the human being using technology?

Technological suggestion?!

Why does Facebook not send a private message to immediate family members, before they tell the world someone is dead? This won’t necessarily solve their problem, but it might make ‘finding out’ less painful. Facebook do know who and where people are, why don’t the humans behind these global companies get to grips with technology? We will never know why such managers get top positions in a selfish and global company.

As you can tell, I am a little angry with technology right now. It does not always get it right: technology sometimes will never know the full picture!

Why are grades going up?

The news is filled with articles claiming that students in the UK have seen a little drop in grades [1]. But why are grades getting better? Why did this not happen thirty years ago?

Technology boom

Most people today have access to electronic equipment, and most of these people have access to the internet. With this combination, people can easily find out information. People can share information too – including past papers! We can share our knowledge, expand our understanding and allow our brains to grow with technology. This wasn’t possible 30 years ago.

The blogging effect

As we search, we can find lots of websites, some good and not so good. But if we dig deeper, we could find a site that suits us, our learning styles and our lingo. Blogs are key to this type of development.

As a producer of a blog, you are enhancing all your skills without really realising it. Does blogging automatically make you better at English? From this angle, having a blog, no matter what content you write about, automatically forces you to think (working under pressure) and produce user specific content – we all have an audience.

Search and knowledge

Computers not only allow us to expand our understanding quickly, they also allow us to find out information at a little cost. There is no need to buy expensive dictionaries, or a series of books, to find out what interests you. So, searching sometimes helps our grades go up if we are at school / college, or allows us to expand our brains if we have left.

Technology makes things easier, faster and cheaper. Information seems to become accessible. Technology also helps us feed our brain. Blogging also helps us to share an interest with one another, in a controlled medium.

So does technology allow our grades to improve? Most likely, yes! What do you think?

Reference

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19266381