Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Super Hyper-Advanced Mugger

I saw this comic and couldn't resist keeping it to myself. What better outlet than our visual culture blog?


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Future of Advertising

I first began to notice interactive advertisements not long after I started using the Internet. This was still the dark era of obnoxious pop-up and banner ads that would scream “Congratulations!” every time a new page was loaded. This style of marketing was just about as bad as telemarketing and I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this way. These ads were wildly unpopular and a new approach was necessary if companies wanted to keep the attention of their audience. The first types of interactive ads I began to notice were modeled after games, allowing the viewer to play the game, and after winning or losing be forwarded to the page of
the advertisers product. This style, known as “advergaming” caught my attention because I found myself participating for fun while the ad was able to infiltrate my subconscious just like it was intended to. As time went on I began to notice to notice other kinds of ads utilizing this same type of concept.

Google AdSense was the next big change in the way ads were shown and consumed on the Internet. I’ve always wondered how these ads work because they are different depending on what you’re looking at. It works by using an algorithm that allows Google’s ads scan the page they are embedded in for keywords, which it then uses to try and find ads that are relevant to the content. These don’t always work (sometimes with hilarious results) but the concept is very interesting. This concept is taken even further with websites such as Hulu which allow to viewer to choose which kind of ads they prefer, and even allow them to watch one extended advertisement, or several shorter segments. Both of these examples have had a huge impact on advertising because they are much more likely to be clicked than ads that are completely irrelevant to the content on the page.

All of these techniques are relatively new, especially compared to the history of advertising and I’m very interested to see how far it will go. With the integration of social media into our everyday lives, I can see the potential for highly personalized, relevant advertising that might be so well integrated you might not even notice it is happening. One example of this might be product placement in movies that would change based on the viewer. As much as we want ads to go away, I think they are here to stay. They are just going to get smarter.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Livestrong Foundation was created, in 1997, by world-renowned cyclist, Lance Armstrong, a year after he was diagnosed with cancer. After beating the caner, he went on to win seven consecutive (1999-2005) Tour-de-France races, the most prestigious bike race in the world, setting a new world-record for consecutive wins. The Foundation was created to raise money for cancer research and awareness.

In 2003, the website was created specifically for people affected by cancer. One-on-one help was available as well as other practical materials to help members battle cancer .

In 2008, the website was launched. The site is built to encourage people to take control of their own healthy living. It is geared towards the population at-large and not just those with cancer. The site contains interactive applications that help people in the areas of: fitness, diet, wellness and lifestyle. Some of the applications include:

- My Plate: online food tracker (largest food database)
- Loops: online fitness tracker and map tracker
- My Quit Coash: online smoking cessation program
- Recipes: online database for healthy recipes and for recipes created by members provides articles, videos and Q & A's from reputable, expert sources. And the site provides links to other related articles that fit your search criteria.

What makes a new media source is it's interactive nature. Member's are free to give input to the editor's of the site and therby, content is constantly being monitored and updated to fit their needs. Also member's can form forums and groups to share their health stories, concerns and successes with others, making it a place of community.

As the 2009 New Media Award winner, I predict will continue to be a trusted site for information concerning health and wellness. Its library and content will continue to grow as the world's population continues to increase its awareness of the importance of healthy living.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Google+ at first glance seems to be yet another social media platform available to us, but after watching a few videos and reading a few articles, I think Google+ offers something new.

"Real-life sharing,
rethought for the web."

I do believe that their tagline rings true. Google has offered a way to make sharing very simple, but a different way of sharing from Facebook and Twitter. The three components of Google+, Circles, Hangouts and Games, allows users to immediately specify which of their friends they want to or need to share things with. It provides social activity and presentation in a new way. We also can't forget it's search engine and mobile features.

The intimacy and specificity of this social platform is what I think will cause it to continually rise in popularity. Google+ is not only just a social platform for families and friends, but it is now open to businesses. --->
I think this was a brilliant idea! Although some would argue that they don't want to see more advertising on yet another social platform, I think it fosters a great environment for companies (whether big or incredibly small) can be more interactive with their customers.

I now have a greater appreciation for Google+ and predict that it will reach it's peak within the next 3 years as they improve it with the help and feedback of it's users.

The YouTube Phenomenon

YouTube has a surprisingly short history, and yet marks the beginning of the cultural phenomenon that is Digital Cinema. Video sharing was not simple before YouTube. This challenge sparked three young adults working at the internet company, PayPal, to establish a video sharing website that we know and love as YouTube today.

The site uses flash video to allow for multiple videos on the site without file size being a problem. If one should choose to have a YouTube account, it could be classified into one of the following categories: Classic YouTuber, Comedian, Director, Guru, Musician, Nonprofit, Partner, or Sponsor. Likewise, the site organizes its main page according to categories that were placed by any particular account member.

YouTube has affected the global population, but in my daily life, YouTube is prevalent. Virtually any media that contains image or sound can be placed on YouTube in some sort of fashion. This has raised a plethora of controversial copyright discussions because many users use YouTube to watch their favorite movies (like myself) and play their favorite songs that were uploaded by users who may or may not have rights to the material they uploaded (and made available to the public for Free).

In its five short years, YouTube has undergone tremendous and almost unfathomable growth, and I do not see its dominance in the video sharing realm ceasing at any point in the near future. Because of YouTube's popularity, the term "YouTube" is as ubiquitous as "Facebook" and are often used as verbs, which further emphasizes its assimilation into our visual and social culture and psyche. If you have some extra time, "YouTube" the video, "Lazy Sunday," (which you probably already have) and you'll see the video that first experienced rising popularity in a short period of time that it would not have seen without YouTube.

YouTube is the social media responsible for isolating many young artists, including Berklee's very own Emily Luther and Charlie Puth, who were "discovered" by Ellen Degeneres through a Youtube video the students posted that went viral. It is a social platform for alter egos and pseudo-identities. It's a place where families and friends can share their most intimate videos with each other and the world. YouTube is an essential part of our modern technological culture, and will continue to be for generations to come.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The New and Improved Battery

· Battery advancements have been slow and have barely able to keep up with the other advances in cell phone technology.

· In the past advances have had to be in processor and display efficiency, in order to better use that limited store of power

· Other advances have been delayed because of the limitations of the inner workings of batteries. Inside batteries, there are innumerable layers of graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms. Batteries can only charge as quickly as the Lithium ions move from one sheet of graphene to the next. In the past, scientists have tried using silicon instead of the layer of carbon, which lead to the battery charging much faster. However, silicon is less durable and the material would expand and contract, causing it to break to quickly for the battery to be efficient.

Recently, researchers at Northeastern University claim to have created an improved lithium ion battery that not only would hold ten times as much energy, but would charge ten times as quickly. Professor Harold Kung, researcher at NU, has discovered two techniques for improving this charge process. First he decided to combine the strengths of both materials, carbon and silicon, by populating the area between the graphene sheets with silicon nanoclusters. This helped to improve the charge capacity of the battery.

2. Also they thought of perforating the graphene sheets, allowing ions to take a “shortcut” to the next layer. They call these 10-20nm holes “in-plane defects,” result is Charging is ten times faster. "Even after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today," says lead author Harold H Kung.

· It has been estimated that these new batteries could be on the market in three to five years. The process has changed enough that existing manufacturing techniques are likely insufficient, so it would involve a lot of previous phones and handheld gaming systems to be completely extinguished from the market. Most likely in the future, all phones will use this method or one similar. This will enable users less charging time. People will likely only have to charge their devices once a week.

· In speculation this will also enable other developments in phone technology that zap more power, things that cell phones have not previously been capable of due to power restrictions. Maybe the iphone myth of a holographic keyboard will actually come true. This tech could also lead to more energy efficient cell phones. As charging will require less time and electricity and will last longer. Eventually we might be able to find the right combination of materials to create a battery that you only have to charge every few months or once a year.