Saturday, December 18, 2010

Week 11 EOC: The future of the internet

Behind every great invention is the inventor known for thinking outside the box. The person who doesn't accept things for the way they are, but sees things the way they could be. Steven Jobs is known as the inventor of Apple computers, more specifically the personal computer. He started the revolution that has lead to each of us being able to carry a computer anywhere with us in the palm of our hand. Although Steven Jobs did not have a clear vision of exactly what would come of his ideas and inventions, he knew that he was doing something that had never before been done. He knew he had million dollar ideas that would lead to world wide innovation. "Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do." (Steve Jobs)

The future of the internet is more than any of us will ever image or fathom. It is the future of the world. Take a look at our the worlds history. Go back to the dawn of human civilization. For thousands of years our technological advances remained stagnant. It wasn't until the last 200 years or so that we really started industrializing and making major technological changes. This is all due to the invention of things like the personal computer and the internet. They have launched our advancement as humans into hyper speed. We are now cruising at full speed and there will be no stopping tomorrow.

The futurist Alvin Toffler wrote a book in 1970 that scared some, and motivated others. He presented many interesting concepts about the next 3 decades that no one had considered or imagined possible.
"He anticipated, long in advance, today’s computer revolution, as well as cloning, the fragmentation of the family, cable television, VCRs, satellites, customized products, the speed-up of daily life, niche markets, virtual agents and the rise of the "knowledge economy." (
His main thesis however, couldn't have been more wrong. "In three short decades between now and the turn of the next millennium, millions of psychologically normal people will experience an abrupt collision with the future. Affluent, educated citizens of the world’s richest and most technically advanced nations, they will fall victim to tomorrow’s most menacing malady: the disease of change. Unable to keep up with the supercharged pace of change, brought to the edge of breakdown by incessant demands to adapt to novelty, many will plunge into future shock. For them the future will have arrived too soon." (
40 years after Toffler published his work, we look back and read this thesis and can't help but laugh. Yes, technology and society has changed dramatically and at faster and faster speeds. But today's society is most certainly not suffering from these quick changes and technological advances. Yes, human kind is changing the way they behave, interact, and live but this is not what I call "future shock". I call this survival.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week 10 EOC: What I learned today

One of the topics discussed in class today was the term "War Driving". War driving is a term used to describe hackers who are on the move, using a computer with a modified wireless adapter that has wider range. Sometimes they will even modify a computers built in adapter by adding an antenna that can increase the range. Hackers will drive around in a vehicle looking for hot spots or open wireless networks in neighborhoods and other heavily populated areas.

The question is, why do they do this? The answer is quite simple, yet scary. When a hacker finds an open unprotected network, they connect to that network and begin to transfer data from other computers connected to that network. Anything that is sent over the internet, whether it is encrypted or not, can be apprehended and decoded by the hacker. They can obtain information about someone's email passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and anything else that you send into cyber space.

The funny thing is that I had already discover this technique on my own a few years ago. Of course I didn't use it to steal anyone's identity or money. I had a more innocent motive. My band was in an online battle that required a large number of votes in order to win an amazing opportunity to play in front of thousands. Because the online voting logged your IP address, voting was limited and we could not vote for ourselves over and over. I came up with the idea to drive through neighborhoods and connect to other people's unprotected wifi's in order to vote on their IP address. The process was genius and our band ended up winning first place in the battle. I knew this was cheating and I knew it was wrong but I figured any of the other bands in the contest could have thought of this same technique and used it. I was the only one clever enough to think of it and actually do it, without even this is done by hackers every day and is called "War Driving".

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Week 9 EOC: What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the Black Friday of the cyber world. It occurs the Monday immediately following Black Friday. The term originated in the 2005 holiday season by after research showed a 78% increase in online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving 2004. "The name Cyber Monday grew out of the observation that millions of otherwise productive working Americans, fresh off a Thanksgiving weekend of window shopping, were returning to high-speed Internet connections at work Monday and buying what they liked." (New York Times). This spike in internet shopping seems to be the cause of disappointed Black Friday Shoppers that didn't quite get everything on their list over the weekend. They turn to the internet after a long weekend of sleepless nights, running from store to store, fighting the lines and trying to catch the best deals. "As the official kick-off to the online holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday shoppers will scour the internet looking for holiday gifts from a variety of retailers, making sure to take note of specific prices and deals which offer them holiday savings," (Joan Broughton, Interim Executive Director of Online Retailers have been researching and tracking sales numbers for years now and have been seeing increasingly more people shopping online each year.
"Shoppers are surfing the Web in droves to take advantage of Cyber Monday’s sales and promotions, highlighting a new consumer shopping trend—increased online purchasing. In 2009, shoppers spent $887 million on Cyber Monday which was the second biggest online shopping day in history next to December 13, 2009, when online shoppers spent $913 million." (The Washington Informer). This year that record has been broken yet again."Online spending in the U.S. reached $1.028 billion this Cyber Monday, growing 16 percent over the same day last year and representing the heaviest U.S. online shopping day on record." (data from comScore).