The Mobile Visual Environment

From black and white to colour, from encyclopaedia to Wikipedia  we have entered the digital age  it is no longer the revolution as technology has advanced to become a part of everyday life.  We have come a long way from the Motorola DynaTAC, dial up connection, and the Whole Earth Catalogue.  We are now at a time where people have phones smaller  than the palm of your hand , high speed fibre optic wireless broadband, even phones today have constant access to the internet with speeds that put dialup to shame. The Whole Earth Catalogue is now Google, and even Google itself has advanced dramatically in the recent years, its innovation has inspired the product Google Glass which allows people access the uses of Google on the move. People can follow maps, browse the web and even use voice activated commands to take pictures and record notes whilst completing their day to day tasks. From the first computer appropriately named “Colossus”, which took up the majority of a building, and was used in the war simply to perform tasks such as code-breaking, we now have tablet devices such as the Galaxy Note, the Nexus 7 or the iWannatakeyourmoneypad (iPad) which allows us to achieve even greater significant feats such as the ability to shoot small birds at coloured pigs for maximum score. Full working computers have also reached the size of a credit card with the invention of the Raspberry Pi, an ingenious but compact computer fit to carry out all of the functions as a standard desktop only 10 years ago. With the digital age evolving so has Computer Gaming, games in the 70’s and 80’s such as Pong, Asteroids and Tetris are considered Retro or Antique in today’s society as we now live in an age where the idea of gaming is a Worldwide online environment where people are infinitely connected to other people who are also playing these games. Xbox Live, Playstation Network and games such as World of Warcraft have entirely constructed virtual worlds where people can interact, socialise and generally have the craic with friends. We now have seen new technologies such as the 3D printer which allows something that can be created digitally on a computer for example, to become a reality. If you can design it, it can be created in 3D. While this may allow us to open a new world of possibilities, it can take away from the personal care and attention that  a human would put into handcrafting products. An item such as a 3D printer is very expensive at the minute but with the rate that we are moving forward it is only a matter of time till a 3D printer becomes a household standard. However with great technology, comes great stupidity, by this I mean people become more dependent on technology and lose the ability to think for themselves and make choices based on reality rather than technology. When the Sat-Nav became popular and road users got on to this technological advancement, they also lost their common sense and when the device had bugs such as confusing some major rivers as roads, a number of natural-selection candidates where not able to use their own vision and blindly followed the technology’s advice which was not very useful at the bottom of a river. With the advancement of things like social networking we also have a noticeable decline in our privacy as people can frequently see what we are up to, where we are going or have been, or  even know what you had for breakfast this morning. This is very different to the way things were not only 20 years ago where the home landline was the only method of communicating with people you were not immediately with. Information you share online is not only seen by the people you are “Friends” with online but is also held by large date collection companies such as the NSA. Technology is so common in everyday life now that children from the ages of 2-3 have access to these tablets, this allowance is causing long term psychological effects.


Dr Graham said that young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts, when the devices were taken away.

He warned that the condition prevented young people from forming normal social relationships, leaving them drained by the constant interaction.

You could argue all day about the pros and cons of advances in digital technology, but the long and short of it is, we ARE moving forward, at an alarming rate at that. So it’s sink or swim, keep up to date or fall behind like the senior citizens we try to teach internet to, but technology will keep moving on, as innovation waits for nobody.


Big Data- The new Revolution

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count. Everything that counts, cannot necessarily be counted.” Albert Einstein.

You are being sold! Using free public wifi which has limited or no security enables a third party to access and collect your personal data. Your data is then constantly being sold through many companies which monitor your internet usage, for example if you are online shopping on Ebay and you look up a various amount of products you will receive unwanted spam to your email address in relation to the various products that where clicked upon. Every webpage and link clicked upon is being monitored. Google stores any website that’s been viewed for up to six weeks, so bear in mind what you are looking at on the internet because Google is watching! Google receives approximately two million searches per minute.  It is always advisable to use a private internet source. C-T net  is the internet source used by the students of the Ulster University, it is a walled garden which means only the people signed up/ go to the university can use the internet source and therefore personal data is not being sold onto a third party.

We live in a world where everything we do, everywhere we go is being virtually monitored.  The NSA in California has a tighter grasp on peoples personal data especially post 9/11. After the terrorist attack in America peoples phone calls are monitored for specific buzz words, for example if a certain buzz word is said in a phone call that phone call and person speaking is flagged for investigation.   We could look into the UK  Leveson  enquiry where a number of high ranking figures had their phones tapped by the News of the World to get stories, which lead to the downfall of Rupert Murdoch.  We can see how peoples personal data is very important not just to companies wishing to spam your inbox everyday but to big corporations such as the new/media  and mainly the worlds governments.

Technology has evolved so much so that even a fridge can be bought internet included. There are so many devices that have GPS tracker included or can be downloaded onto the device.  Four square is a free app that can be downloaded onto your phone and everywhere you go and everything you do is uploaded to Facebook. Everyone on your friends list and those who are not know where you are and what you are doing, so do not be surprised if you go on holiday and come home to find your house has been burgled. Approximately two thousand four square check ins are posted every minute.   People upload so much personal data (approximately  six hundred and eighty-four thousand bits of data per day) onto Facebook  and other social networking sites. Once it is on the site it cannot be removed even if it is deleted by the user a digital finger print is now in place. If you take a look at your friends list on Facebook how many are your actual friends whom you see and speak to on a regular basis? Now look at how many randomers  are left behind, do you know these people? Do you really want your personal information to be seen by these strangers not to mention the NSA again.




On the other hand sometimes collected data is not necessarily a bad thing. For example during the swine flu outbreak of 2009 the government where desperately trying to figure out where the next outbreak of the flu will appear. Google tried to help with this task, maybe offering help so the government will turn a blind eye to those virtually none existent taxes they pay. The search engine was able to identify where the next outbreak would appear. Google was able to acquire the information due to people searching their symptoms online then the company narrowed down the search to which specific area had the most searches. Unfortunately the government thought they knew best and did not listen. This use of data could of been very helpful to the government if they had of listened .  The data maturity spectrum is the efficient use of data and the potential for big data. If data is used correctly and maturely data lead decision making as mentioned above can be a positive thing it can help people.  People use the data to make decisions to think small a device for example a phone which tells the user what the weather is like outside they can make the decision whether or not to put on a coat or not.

What is happening to data from closed and controlled towards open and complex.

  • Volume
  • Variety
  • Velocity

Big Data “a loose term which is commonly used to mean the increasing volume, velocity and variety of data created by digital technology, and in particular, the amount of data which arises from the scaling effects of digital networks” (P.Moore, A Lilley)

The Volume, Variety and velocity of data is a big factor for when the data is being analyzed or managed.

Big data offers the opportunity for analysis  and future planning.

Big Data offers three new possibilities’

  1. We can analyse both the macro and the granular.
  2. We can both curate and measure.
  3. We can move from causality to identification of pattern and correlation. i.e. infographics/ information graphics. These are images which visually show statistics and other data.