Inactive

February 17, 2012

This blog is mostly inactive, please visit my new blog here: http://bryanlew.wordpress.com/

It details my dreams and random musings.

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Google Chrome OS Netbook Cr-48

February 4, 2011

When I applied for Google’s Cr-48 netbook pilot program I did not expect I would ever be a beta tester.

Under the pilot program, Google sends each of its beta testers a Cr-48 netbook, which runs on the new Chrome OS (distinct from Windows and Mac, but runs on Linux).

I am excited to report that Google sent me one of its Chrome OS netbooks. (See the unboxing video below)

It’s an interesting device. The OS is unique. It functions like some sort of deeply immersed internet browser and is built exclusively for web applications. If you’ve used the Google Chrome browser before, imagine that but applied to a desktop variation.

For word processing I can use Google Docs, an open source program.

Chrome OS operates under a relatively new commercially applied concept of cloud storage and servers. Instead of storing your data and files locally, you store them on remote servers. If your local machine or device is destroyed, your files are not since they are stored remotely.

Cloud computing has already transformed the way I manage, store and use my files. From DropBox and now to Chrome OS.

At 3.8 pounds, here are the Cr-48 Specs:

Processor: Intel Atom Processor N455 1.66GHz 512K Cache

Chipset: Intel CG82NM10 PCH

Motherboard: Tripod Motherboard MARIO – 6050A240910 – MB – A03

Ram: Hynix 2GB DDR3 1Rx8 PC3 – 10600S Ram

Read Only Memory: ITE IT8500E Flash ROM

SSD Drive: SanDisk sdsa4dh-016G 16GB SATA SSD

Wireless Wan: Qualcomm Gobi2000 PCI Express Mini Card

3g Adapter: AzureWave 802.11 a/b/g/n PCI-E Half MiniCard

Bluetooth: Atheros AR5BBU12 Bluetooth V2.1 EDR


Wikileaks Under Fire

December 7, 2010

After revealing classified American state secrets, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces a heap of trouble.

He was asked to resign from his job at the Pentagon. A Swiss bank froze his assets and bank account. And this morning he was arrested on allegations of rape, which Assange insists is part of a smear campaign. “I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US citizen.”

In his article from The Australian, Assange says that democratic societies need strong media and that Wikileaks is part of this media. He coins the term ‘scientific journalism.’ Assange writes, ‘Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?’

I wrote about this concept for my final report in a journalism class. My research pointed to a future of journalistic transparency where news stories would be linked to original documents, interviews etc. In this way, readers could see the hard facts for themselves.

Wikileaks has been a forerunner in this concept. But the world’s governments and corporate powers that be have exercised their power and influence in an attempt to curtail Wikileaks.

The public outcry that springs from its periodic leaks has embarrassed politicians and demonized the American military. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the leaks put “people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”

Now, some are biting back at Wikileaks. Amazon.com banned Wikileaks from its servers while Mastercard and Paypal have withdrawn their financial services. China moved to block Wikileaks from its servers and governments across the globe have engaged in distributed denial of service attacks – cyber attacks that  prevent access to Wikileaks.org.

Wikileaks fans have swarmed to support the controversial site, agreeing to host Wikileaks with a slew of mirrors. Essentially, they are providing their personal servers to run Wikileaks and keep it accessible to the public.

Information wants to be free. Should governments have the right to hide information from its people? Should they try to squash whistleblowers? Was it right for the media to edit and redact leaks before revealing them to the public?

~I’ll try to post a video with further commentary soon.

‎”If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.” Julian Assange, Dec 7 2010



Do Newspapers Only Get It Right 50 Percent of the Time?

October 8, 2010

When my Environmental Policy professor called Al Gore’s global warming book “dangerous” I saw my classmates awake from their dazed, falling asleep in class, drone-states.

“The book [An Inconvenient truth] is based on foggy science,” said Professor Koppelman, a 78-year old WWII veteran and leader of Long Island environmental initiatives. “90 percent of environmental literature is polemics!”

He cautioned against trusting the media and prohibited citing newspapers as sources for the term paper. “They only get it right about 50 percent of the time.”

He also said that a more fitting slogan for The New York Times would be, “All the News That Fits.” “Now, I know none of you are from the School of Journalism,” he added.

That was when I leaned back on my chair and put on a poker face.

Professor Koppelman raises a point: doubt your knowledge and doubt your sources of knowledge. He explained that American newspaper reports on hotspot regions of the globe drastically differed from the reality when he personally visited these regions.

He had one more comment for the term paper asignment: “I don’t want ‘an expert says,’ I want the specific source and the source’s credentials.”

Perhaps news reports should take this to heart. I often get flustered when I see “a report says, an official says, an expert says.” As the reader, how can I independently research and substantiate that claim or dare I say “fact?”


The Blogosphere

September 18, 2010

HTML coding, hyper-links, citations, quotes, individual style – it’s no wonder a new blogger might be lost and befuddled!

But you can survive the pummeling: here are a couple fast tips to help you maintain and navigate your own blog through the blogosphere.

1) Sources!

Have you ever read a blog, seen an un-cited fact or statistic and wondered, “hmm, is this really a fact or did the author pull it out of thin air?” When you cite a fact or when you link to a reputable source – it not only substantiates your fact, but it helps to show, indeed you did not make up this fact. (Note also: stating un-cited facts for which you are not the progenitor of may technically be plagiarism)

The prefered method in the blog world  would be adding a link, either through HTML code or simply with the WordPress tool.

ie: In one NYT article, consumers lamented about a Cascade line of dishwasher detergents.

Also, I’d suggest setting your link to open in a new window or tab (as opposed to opening in the same window) Once readers reach your blog, you want to capture them for as long as possible.

2) Content

For JRN 301, blog content should be related or relevant to journalism, its ongoing transformations (in business, the internet, quality, service, delivery etc), or news that affect journalism, including, but not limited to:  cultural consumerism, stock markets, mergers, media giant enterprises and changing FCC regulations that affect journalism.

3) Style

Your blog is an expression of your voice. Make it as formal or informal as you like. Use your discretion as you craft posts that convey news and your point of view to readers. Some students have went on to include their blog in their journalism/resume portfolios.

I hope this helped. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to comment here or email me. :]


Internets [sic]

September 3, 2010

In the heat of a 2000 Presidential debate, former President Bush created a catchphrase that cyber trolls continue to use today.

“I hear there’s rumors, on the uh, Internets.” Internets?

Motivational posters, satirical videos and news pieces critical of the new Bushism raced across the Internet and streamed to millions of users.

In the year 2000, data and information exchange on the Internet was generally free and equally fast (or slow depending on your perceptions or ISP).

Websites featuring information critical of governments and corporations generally went unrestricted and remained data neutral. (Please see Net Neutrality)

That may soon change.

Imagine trying to access a website critical of the telecom industry only to find it loads 5x slower than a telecom PR website. This may be a result of an internet with tiered-pricing schemes.

Already we see motions toward tiered pricing and the restriction of data and information exchange. These steps away from net neutrality have prompted The Economist to call the world wide web a “walled wide web.”

Nations like China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam hold tight reigns over domestic internet service and internet links to foreign websites. China readily controls and blocks users from accessing sites like Facebook and Youtube. (Of course data and information want to be free, so there are continuing efforts to circumvent these internet restrictions. )

Meanwhile, proprietary entities like Apple, Facebook and Google are creating what The Economist calls, “walled gardens.”

Apple acts as a gatekeeper by arbitrarily controlling which Apps may or may not be used and sold on its various mobile devices. Facebook has an internal and closed correspondence system. Google has an array of integrated services like Gmail, Google Voice etc.

Finally, there are growing concerns among Net Neutrality supporters that money hungry Network operators and ISPs might offered preferred services to content providers willing to pay.

Democratic Senator Al Franken, a leader on the front of pro-Net Neutrality, discusses his view:


The Washington Post and Facebook

May 7, 2010

On April 21st, Facebook released a series of new features that would connect users and let them see friends’ comments on non-Facebook sites, such asWashingtonPost.com.

The idea is to build a more personalized user experiance .

Yesterday, I received an email from The Washington Post. It touted a new feature that offers “a more personalized and social experience as you read the news.”

This is just another way that news and its consumption is changing. I’m looking forward to fussing with this new feature.