Intro to Networked Collaboration

Twitter Hack Attack

CSO Online has an article about how Twitter was hacked by someone (possibly an inside job) using a phishing scheme to try to steal the user’s password. Phishing is exactly what it sounds like. Some unsavory person will set out a web line with an attractive little worm on the end (a prize, a newsletter, freebies, etc) to try to get you to bite (give up private information). In this case, the tweet would appear in a person’s message stream with a url to a site that would ask you for your password. The article: 3 Ways a Twitter Hack Can Hurt You
Just another warning to always, always, always beware when you’re asked for passwords online.

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Twitter Connections via Search

I’ve been getting into Twitter on a daily basis now to find out information on photographers and events that might be happening in the city. A useful way of search for new tweets to follow has been to use the Search link on the banner at the bottom of the page and enter the search terms “photography”, “photographer”, or “photographs”. Through those I found someone had mentioned the documentary series In Harm’s Way. I’ve admired the work of James Nachtwey, Robert Capa, Margaret Bourke-White and others. By putting their names in the search box I can find links to what others are saying about them, news about gallery shows or new images on the web. Through a tweet I discovered Matt Armendariz who specializes in food photography and also runs a humorous and informative food blog, Matt Bites. I was so inspired by his photographs that I’ve written him an email telling him so. So who knows, maybe he’ll write me back. But even if not, it’s exciting to be as close as an email to artists I admire.
UPDATE: Matt Armendariz responded to my email with some very kind words of encouragement. To my classmates: if someone you admire has put their email on the web, use it! You have nothing to lose and a new contact to gain.

November 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Education and the Virtual Classroom

About social networking in the educational context, using a blogs, chat room or even a virtual environment like Second Life can enhance the learning experience. Not everyone communicates well verbally or are excellent writers. The limitations of the traditional classroom is the cookie cutter approach to teaching, teach everyone the same way and you hope to reach the majority of the students. But what happens to those that don’t learn in the traditional manner.  The visual learner or tactile learners?  In a virtual space an instructor could use photographs, have puzzles for students to work on. Even host a round table to go into some questions you couldn’t answer in class. These methods can be used in a traditional classroom but the school day is only so long. An online classroom also lets a teacher experiment with allowing students to communicate without the invisible barriers that are erected in the real classroom:  gender, ethnicity, race, accent when speaking, appearance.
The student who is silent because of fears of looking stupid now has another venue to express his thoughts and opinions.  What makes the internet the great equalizer is that one can be anonymous and at the same time have an identity, even if it’s manufactured.  And from what I remember of high school, most students were playing roles anyway.
In the “Educators Flock to Blogging”* reading one person who commented said “My handwriting sucks. (Blogging) should’ve been invented long ago.” Of course this doesn’t mean we stop teaching good penmanship, but the legibility of his writing should not be an obstacle to a student’s being able to communicate.

The greatest limitation to the brave new world of network classrooms are the availability of computers to inner city students. I know kids who are still limited to using public libraries or school labs to do their computing.  According to a survey** by the Center for Digital Education where the “rankings reflect the vision, policies, programs and strategies that states have deployed around online learning in an effort to transform their academic environment to meet the needs of students” New York State came in 48th.  That’s at the bottom of the list for one of the richest states in the USA (per capita income)***. My nephew just started in a NYC middle school with limited computing resources.  By the time he gets to high school I worry if he’ll be able to compete.  He has the advantage of a wired tech-savvy aunt but what about those without the resources?

*Educators Flock to Blogging; http://www.901am.com/2007/educators-flock-to-blogging.html
**Online Learning Policy and Practice Survey: A Survey of the States; Center for Digital Eduation, 2008 (http://www.centerdigitaled.com/fileReg.php?pub_id=136) Registration required to download PDF
*** According to the 2000 U.S Census quoted in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highest-income_states_in_the_United_States#States_ranked_by_per_capita_income

November 12, 2008 Posted by | education | , , | 2 Comments

Organized Meetings in Second Life – Search for Spirituality w Kavya and Nancy

Once Kavya and I became accustomed to navigating the landscape of Second Life we decided to be more focused about what to look for since it is easy to spend hours of time aimlessly exploring the environment.  One of our interests was how spirituality can be presented in a virtual world.  Since Second Life is so vast we did some research beforehand.

Google is a helpful tool to find general information about areas in Second Life, but the application itself has a search box in the upper right of the GUI.  If you click the magnifying glass icon a tabbed search tool pops up that allows you to enter search terms such as “mosque”, “mystic” “Buddha” or “church.”   You can then choose from a number of places to explore by teleporting to them.

We visited Mystica, SL address: Mystica 27, 228, 3 – Land of Light, a Muslim area.  We were able to listen to the Koran and change our outfits to those of dervishes and tried a whirl or two.  There was also the capability to download audio readings of the Koran.

Whirling dervish

Whirling dervish

Later on I  was looking for more of a community experience and found Lifechurchtv.com. This is a Christian church that exists in the bricks and mortar world that also offers online meetings.  The website is clearly organized.  I was able to find a schedule of the meetings and teleported to a live service on a Sunday morning.  SL address: Experience Island 163, 132, 27 LifeChurch.tv

Lifechurch.tv on Second Life

Lifechurch.tv on Second Life

The sound and video quality were good.  There was conversation back and forth via instant messages during the message, people felt free to comment or ask questions.  In the crowd were Christians, the curious, atheists, and elfs.  Afterwards we were able to mingle in the virtual lobby, eat donuts and drink coffee and chat about the message of the speaker.  Lifechurch.tv also provided a separate conventional chat room to continue discussions.

Live stream of a spiritual message

Live stream of a spiritual message

The benefits that I see for online spiritual communities is the ability to reach out and serve those who might be unable to physically attend a religious service due to health or even social restrictions.  And it can serve as an educational tool for those who want to explore religion and spirituality.

A sample video

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Social Media Classroom

Howard Rheingold has launched the Social Media Classroom. Described as a “.. web service that provides teachers and learners with an integrated set of social media that each course can use for its own purposes.”

It uses blogging, video, wikis and other types of technology to enhance the classroom learning experience.  This is heady stuff.  Especially for a newbie to social media and related technologies, like me.  For a short video on his thoughts and his journey to arrive at this virtual classroom go to:  http://socialmediaclassroom.com/index.php/using-the-smc

Wow.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Social Protocols, Tools and Methodologies…

James Highsmith’s reading on “great groups and the ability to Collaborate” speaks a lot of truth on how groups can be made more effective.  His statement comparing two ways of looking at an organization, one: “organization as machine” and second: organization as a “complex living organism.”   When organizations are viewed as a well-oiled machine that has to be kept running the same way, no matter what, collaboration becomes stilted and is less daring to take risks to reach desired end result.   A complex, living organism by its very nature grows and changes, goes through cycles.  It becomes ill and then returns to health.   The members of the living organism cooperate and try to find a balance so that the organism can function efficiently.

I’ve worked in a corporate educational environment for many years and have been to scores of technical meetings where it has been more of a joust to see who has the better idea or  berating someone who tries to think outside the box.   Needless to say, that group did not produce much innovation.

October 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NancyAJones – Assign#1

YouTube is an example of a simple idea: make a movie, upload it to the net and wait for the reactions. And there’s always a reaction. What made YouTube a mind-blowing success is that they left their bandwidth open to anyone and everyone.  From the kid next door who wants to show off his bike tricks (to sometimes disastrous results), to the lip-synching Chinese Backstreet Boys, to the next aspiring
Robert Rodriguez.  YouTube has been a mostly no holds barred site (except for pornography) and that’s been its great appeal.  The lure of the site is that the commenting is as much a part of the video experience as watching the video.  You become part of the filmmaker’s experiment.  It’s global in the sense that a Japanese movie can be commented on by someone in Germany, or an American moviemaker can get kudos from an Indian viewer.  It becomes a global experience.  By “convergence culture” I think Jenkins is referring that YouTube brings people together from all over the globe to experience other cultures and points of view by way of an uploaded video.  One becomes a participant not just a voyeur.

I’ve discovered this personally with my wanderings on YouTube.  I enjoy watching other people’s creativity. It’s amazing what a person can do with a webcam, microphone and a bunch of personality.  There’s a certain attraction about being anonymous and still in full view of someone else.  I’ve used YouTube to learn Photoshop tips, have religious discussions, to laugh a whole lot and be once in a while be inspired to create (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTJCyykZB34).  I also just started getting into Facebook (Nancita Maria) which is more of a fun thing.  But as one of our classmates mentioned, you can get really get absorbed in the community as you catch up with what your “friends” are doing and try to keep them up to date with you.   I, too, did MySpace (theNAJzone) for a while until I got bored.  But I still have some funny movies I’ve gathered from the web.  My fascination with all these sites have been the ability to connect,  even if only once, with people and share ideas, stories and like interests.
I think one of the best outcomes of the new technologies is that people will no longer see themselves limited by the boundaries of location or social structures.  I hope that once day this technology will become very inexpensive and accessible to everyone.  From the poor man that will be able to enter the library and not have to wait an hour for a computer, to the villager in mountains of Peru taking a break from herding llamas to text from his portable wireless laptop, to the entrepreneur making available open source software to the masses.

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments