Code & Cheat Sheets

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What we can say about code is that it is predictable. It does exactly what we tell it to do.Code is relatively static; once you write code into something and produce it, it is there to stay. With this being said it allows users of programs to predict the performances of software. Specifically, the predictability of code and there program functions allows for gamers to write cheat sheets to games. because they know the scenarios that will arise, they can produce manuals that explain how to successfully get through them.

Most notably for me are the cheats associated with the Pokemon Go game. Gamers have “cracked the code” so that other users can get specific Pokemon and receive bonus points. For example, when first starting up the game, if you want to avoid receiving one of the basic initial Pokemon you can perform certain actions so that you are presented with a Pikachu.Similarly, you can do certain things so that your Eevee evolve into your desired Pokemon. By naming your Eevee certain names, you ensure that when you evolve it evolves into what you want it to.

There are entire sites dedicated to provided users with cheats to the code of Pokemon Go and I am sure a plethora of other games. In fact these sites are regularly updated so that as code changes and users get further in the games, they can maintain cheats. The predictability of games allows for gamers to anticipate actions and mass distribute cheat sheets because they are confident in how they will work because of how static the code behind the game is. Code does what it is told and gamers use this to their advantage when developing cheats to games.


Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

The MP3 versus Taylor Swift

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The MP3 serves as a medium for audio files to be compressed and more easily distributed. The MP3 is what makes streaming services like Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music possible. These streaming services don’t actually hold unlimited amounts of space for the audio data files, the files have to be efficient enough to be held and transported throughout the cloud. These services are useful for consumers because it allows us to be able to have access to our music files without having to physically store them on our devices. The consumption of music is a booming industry. It has become so central to almost every aspect of our lives. We can’t even imagine our phones without having the music app down at the bottom.

The MP3 was designed to maximize the portability of audio files, but unintentionally the MP3 has revolutionized the music industry. Artists are no longer selling physical albums and records like they use to. Everything these days is about how many times their songs get streamed or how many times it get viewed or listened to on YouTube. But one artist in particular is fighting the streaming industry. Pop singer Taylor Swift has removed her music from the Spotify platform. She states that the service devalues her music; she believes consumers should pay appropriately for her music. So while listening to music and access to music may be getting easier for consumers, some artists fell as though their sales are being hurt because of such streaming services. How do we decide what’s more important? Access and portability? Or artist profit? But with these advances in technology there are new ways for musicians like Taylor Swift to be profitable. While physical albums may not be as central as they use to be, advances in technology have offered social media as tools for increasing profit for entertainers.


Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch

Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

Lab #3

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Reaction GIF


Reaction GIFs are looped videos of an emotional response to something vague and therefor can be applied to various contexts. The most popular reaction GIFs exhibit some form of extreme emotion. The first image is a good example of a useful reaction GIF because it’s displaying a clear emotion, shock. This is juxtaposed by the second GIF because the woman in the GIF isn’t exhibiting any useful emotion that will likely be applied to an online context, therefor making it a counter GIF. The counter GIF fades in from a black screen, making viewers anticipate some form of emotion, but instead they are presented with a blank stare and fades back to black.


Sports GIF


Sports GIFs are about building up anticipation and seeing a heightened action follow. Sports GIFs usually take memorable sports moments and preserve them so that can be watched and rewatched. The above example shows Kyrie and DeAndre teaming up to complete a high energy duo-dunk. While the second example showcases Lebron seemingly going in for a dunk but then the scene gets cut off. The second GIF is a counter to sports GIFs because it does not showcase any memorable moment. We are lured in by what seems to be a great moment but are let down when the GIF restarts.


Fandom GIF



Fandom GIFs are representations of iconic moments in films and television. They are a single action that represents an entire scene, but most importantly they are meaningful scenes for fans.The first GIF is an iconic scene from the Harry Potter franchise with two main characters present in the scene. From the second-long clip you can tell what number movie in the franchise its from and what are the moments around that one action, leading up to the scene and following it. While in the second GIF you don’t see any of the protagonists and may not remember the events surrounding that particular moment. Without the tag saying that it is a scene from Harry Potter a fan may not even be able to pick that out, thus making it a counter fandom GIF.

Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

Instagram Vixen

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Roberts’ article on Commercial Content Moderation makes the point how there is so much content online that it makes it difficult for reviewers to sift through them and uncover inappropriate content. They majorly rely on the content that has been flagged to find inappropriate content; material is posted, flagged and only then is it removed. This means that only content that someone else has flagged and reported are likely to be removed.

What flagged content assumes is that it was flagged by a user. But of course communities of people with the same ideas will converge on ideas and will not think their contents are inappropriate. What do we do about content that is not flagged that is still inappropriate? When we rely on users to flag content we are relying the social norms that dictate what is appropriate versus what isn’t.

Photo from Tazs Angels Instagram

The image above is a snippet from the Instagram page of a group of women who call themselves Taz’s Angels. They frequently post images of themselves half naked or doing acts that are inappropriate. But why hasn’t there been tons of people flagging their images and videos as being inappropriate and boarder line pornographic? Society has accepted these women and the content of there pages. Why are pages like these so openly accepted but pornography sites are so taboo?

The people who visit these pages most likely go to specifically see these types of images and will not report them and those who would report them are not in the circles to find such pages. Therefor pages and sites with inappropriate content are majorly visited by people who want to find them and therefor will not likely report its inappropriate content. How do we make new policies and systems that address these issues?

Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

Pop Culture & GIFs

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Many times the GIF image is a representation of some cultural aspect that has the general consensus of the public. In order for the GIF to work, audiences need to understand the cultural context in which the GIF is referring. GIFs both refer to the universal experiences of the digital age but also to several subgroups. For example only people who watch certain shows will get GIFs that reference them. This may be a way to create social hierarchy within groups. Only those who get pop culture references can be listed in the “in-group”. Kate M. Miltner and Tim Highfield’s “Never Gonna GIF You Up: Analyzing the Cultural Significance of the Animated GIF” writes of how GIFs use humor as way to create and in and out groups. For you to understand the joke being referenced you need to understand the social context in which it is being derived, you need to have the cultural knowledge of the situation. Just think of a time when you felt uncool because you missed the cultural reference being referred to in a joke, or you felt left out because you didn’t know why “winter was coming”.

Only cool Game of Throne fans will understand why winter came long before December this year. Photo from Giphy

On the other hand some GIFs speak to the human experience as a whole. GIFs expressing emotions like happiness, love and anger will be relatable to all humans. Universal archetypes like these are easy to convert to GIF form and circulate.


You don’t have to appreciate Easy A or Emma Stone to relate to this portrayal of feeling embarrassed. Photo from Giphy


GIFs have become apart of the culture we have created in which we employ forms of media to shorten and speed up our communication with others. Why send a lengthy message when you can send acronyms like “omg” or animated images like GIFs that say everything you need them too?

Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

False Transparency

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The obsession with the internet and its providers remaining transparent is quite interesting. Not many companies and/or forms of media are under the same scrutiny to provide this level of transparency that companies like Apple and Facebook are required to do.

We know how connected the internet makes us and as grateful as we are for this fact we are also fearful of the power this gives to companies and individuals who run the digital world. We often find our selves questioning who has access to our digital activity and who could be watching what we are doing if they wanted to? We have this social anxiety of being watched yet we will gladly and willingly engage with multiple forms of social media on a daily basis as of means of letting our “friends” into our daily lives. In fact who’s social media friends are actually people they know? The internet has for so long fostered this culture of anonymity that we are ok with users becoming anonymous and becoming a username. But yet we still hold onto this anxiety of being watched and tracked. Why is it that we will submit ourselves to these social media platforms that allow for million of people to view our profiles will remaining weary of the people who make that exact thing possible?

We ask digital providers to be transparent, but are these companies actually being transparent with us? Companies like Google don’t even have a number to call to reach a person when needing help with services; the process of expressing help with their company sends users on a long path of emailing and waiting. Photos of break rooms, server racks and cooling technology are not very representative of this invisible world that we have created.Those things are not what create our anxiety, but yet why are we so satisfied with them as means of being “transparent” with digital corporations?


What information does this picture actually give us? Picture from Google.

Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

Romance & Technology

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It seems that since the beginning of modern technology people have believed the purpose of these technological innovations were to connect us with other people. Therefore, it should be no surprise that technology had been used like we use it now as a method of romance or dating. The second chapter in the novel, When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking about Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century (1988) writes of how, “New forms of technology created unprecedented opportunities not only for courting, but for infidelity” (70). We have always had this understanding that the technological innovations we have developed put us in a private sphere, privy to only us, when in fact it does the opposite. So it should be no surprise that people use technology as a medium to accomplish private and intimate things like dating and infidelity because individuals feel as if they are anonymous and protected behind the technological mediums they use. Even today we use Google’s search engine to ask things we may not necessarily feel comfortable asking another person. On a more extreme level, people even make fake social media profiles to talk to other people they feel they have no chance with in “real life”.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have now developed apps and websites intended to make dating more transparent. By having users create profiles and listing their hobbies, likes and dislikes, dating is supposed to have become more easy. But we have to ask ourselves the question of whether or not technology actually brings us closer to other people because it in fact eliminates a whole human element of face to face contact some would beg is necessary to create and maintain relationships.

Here we have two individuals seemingly feet away using their computers to communicate when they are within ear shot of each other. We have to ask is technology disconnecting us from our immediate world by connecting us to the larger world? Picture from Softec Labs.

Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.

Fear of Artificial Intelligence

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In both the novel and “Building the Star Trek Computer”, we can observe the common theme of humanity fearing the capabilities of artificial intelligence. We don’t seem to want the technology to reach its full potential; we want the technology to serve as assistants to humans rather than independently functioning organisms. In Finn’s article, it was mentioned on several occasions how the goal of smart computers are to be “intelligent assistants”. Scientists wanted programs like Siri to merely respond to human queries and not initiate any activity. In fact Apple didn’t present Siri to the public with all of the technology’s capabilities.

This can be similarly seen throughout Neuromancer. In fact there is an entire division of law enforcement devoted to shutting down artificial intelligence that become too intelligent; once the AI starts to act on its on free will the Turring Police come to erase it.

Based on the ideals discussed in Neuromancer and the article, technology should be a mere extension of human capability and needs. Technology is to be secondary to human and never more than that. In fact, one of the main anxieties the novel focuses on is the fear of artificial intelligence becoming to powerful. We have this understanding that technology cannot precede the abilities of the person who programmed it, but we would we do when that day does come? Is the Neuromancer story an accurate prediction to how society will react to artificial intelligence with its own free will?


Posted from Course Blogs by Shayla B.