Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ham it Up

Culture and Technology indeed. Alaska has shown me many things and one of them is that what the lower 48 deems 'old' technology is the best up here. Think about it, it is -14 F and your $500 cell phone is not only out of service, but frozen. When I arrived in Nome I was surprised that people still had HAM radios, and not just for fun night talks, but for direct means of communication.

Leave the cell and laptop at home, they are meaningless in the field if it is 0 outside. What about the old fashioned pencil and notepad instead?

Also, from a radio standpoint, it seems that the good ole cassette recorders are more reliable then the current digital rival.

Keeping up with today's trends doesn't always seem to pay off. Unless you are a school district up here. If you want to see learning technology at it's best, check out Bering Straight School District. Their students take 'virtual' field trips, watch away basketball games on a big screen, have a broadcast team that follows the Iditarod and have a set technology curriculum.

Money is stretched, people are trained. That is what is necessary. If you feel that brand new laptops and virtual trips are not productive for students, well here are some other things Alaskans are learning.

There are teachers the are having labs on how to use a GPS devices, HAM radio classes, and topo map instruction. These are things crucial to rural living regardless of global position.

Navigation is a part of the culture in the North. Like rural life anywhere, it can be life or death. Knowledge of tools and technology can help reduce death and injury.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Republican YouTube debate is scheduled for November 28th. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are the ones that have officially said they will be there. I have not researched enough to see any more updates. The debates for the Democrats was at the Citadel in South Carolina. The Republicans are invited to Florida.
I would like to say thank you to the blogospere for really having an impact on this. I know everyone of you really helped push this along. You showed the members of the Republican party that these debates do matter and are important. Unless your daughter is getting married or you in a coma you need to be at these debates.
If you do not show up, in my opinion, it really makes you look like you do not care about making an appearance to your constituents.
What we think matters- whichever way look at it all, you know it is true.
So, apparently the Republican party candidates for president are having 'scheduling' conflicts and some feel that the YouTube debates are not professional.
WOW. I am appalled. They have the audacity to look into the eyes of voting Americans and tell them, 'You are not professional enough for me to even entertain your questions.'
I mean they have some guts.
This is a time when technology is being used to represent today and tomorrow. We have people asking, in my opinion, outlandish questions, however, that is what people want to know. At least give them the benefit of the doubt. I think that CNN did a great job in regulating the Democratic Debate questions.
Technology can be used for great things... If you are open to the idea of hearing from the people that use it on a daily basis. I have friends that spend hours on YouTube and other various video sharing sites. If you feel that it is not professional enough to utilize such a tool then you need to get with the program. You are losing a great asset and many other politicians have already jumped in the band wagon. If you are trying to be 'different' that is not going to work. Some of the things you have done for years will work for the older voter (no offense grandmas and grandpas)but today is different from yesterday. Accept that, and move forward.
Also, IT IS FREE. You can have supporters right there. Helping out your campaign. What is the problem? I do not see how you could ignore this, REALLY, I do not, I wish someone would explain this to me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

YouTube debate for the Democrats I thought was a success, and yes I watched the entire thing in suspense. People from all over the world where able to address anything from broad to specific issues that mean something to the people of this country.
I think that using a media outlet like YouTube was a great things for CNN. In order to diversify the questions as well as answers the media needs to use alternate sources then just the reporters- do not get me wrong they probably now way more than most mainstream Americans- but they can begin to have tunnel vision.
One set of brothers feeding their mother that had Alzheimer's and discussing the Baby Boomer generation was something in my eyes was very original. Yes, Baby Boomers are talked about frequently with Social Security but when it comes to many other aspects that road is a little less traveled.
The questions where also delivered frankly, nothing held back- at least after CNN 'chose' the winning YouTube questions. I think that sometimes the questions delivered are focused on sounding intelligent, and this leaves room for dancing around.
Asking something so straight forward leaves little room for 'Democratic Dancing' if you will.
We do not have too many of 'I do not like that word- I prefer this one...' crap that is often used. If you do not like words or definitions- I am sorry, mainstream America uses them. Get over it Washington hopefuls.

Next YouTube debate is in September for the Republican party. I have to catch that one.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Slow iPhone Network

New York Times:
SAN FRANCISCO, June 28 — On the eve of the Apple iPhone’s sale, the top executives of Apple and AT&T defended their decision to rely upon AT&T’s slow Edge wireless data network, rather than a faster network that is less widely available.

Why go with a slower network? If you are looking at consumers that are going for the best of the best, they are not going to settle for slow connection that they can get on the blackberry or thier LG flip phone.

According to reports AT&T has spent over 16 billon on it's network over the past two years. They have spent so much money to have these network capabilities. So why would Apple settle for something less. Is Apple turing into the Zune issue? Releasing something and saying that it is not as good as it could be?
That is what they are saying... isn't it?

It comes out Friday June 28th, 2007.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Online Presidential Debates?

Now, no matter where the presidential candidates are, they have the power to debate one another. Thanks to YAHOO!, Huffington Post and Slate Magazine, who are hosting the debates, a web page will be dedicated strictly to this. The pages will be opened around Labor Day. The moderator will be the PBS host Charlie Rose.
The pages will consists of blogs where voters and post questions and respond to current situations. The voters are able to have a cyber conversation.
In addition to blogs there will be video debates available for viewing. In the past, according to an article in the Yahoo! News, debates have gotten various responses depending on the medium used. During the Kennedy-Nixon debate apparently people that listened to the debate on the radio thought that Nixon won, and those that watched the debate felt that Kennedy won.
The online only debates will bring a new genre of people to the presidential debates.
The blogs and online debates will not be a rebroadcasts, they will be specifically be only online. Cyber politics. Anyone surprised it took this long?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Contemporary Worship

Across the nation there is the phenomenon of 'mega churches.' They are popping up everywhere giving the members the contemporary worship with the best technology and presentation material. Pastors are using everything from Power Point to arena style sound systems in order to spread the word of God.
There are some people that love this style of fellowship. Think about it, you are surrounded by thousands of believers praising LORD Jesus, for some people that is powerful. Jade Love a member of a 3,000 member church in Kannapolis, NC said 'I like it becasue the sound quality and it just really sets the mood.' Love's opinion is not a minority in these worship services. Churches are finding that these types of services really attract the younger worshipers that do not necessarily like the tradiational church practices.
There are those that are not fond of this style of worship. Some parishioners feel that all it feels like is a concert.. How could they praise the LORD 'correctly' while singing at the top of their lungs, with surround sound and flashing slide presentations going on? Some feel that technology takes away from worship services. There main argument is that you are not there for your enjoyment, but for God's, to praise him! Now, everyone does things differently in life, why not worship?
Traditionally, when it is time to sing, heads would be in the Hymnals, and everyone is looking down. However, with the technological advancements the words are projected on a screen. Now, everyone that has the ability to read can look forward and experience the singing with everyone around them.
Technology has defiantly changed the way people can worship. Who is to say that one way is better than another? I feel that as long as it is bringing different into worship, what is the problem? After all, it is not about 'us' it is all about Jesus.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bluetooth. MP3 Player- The Insignia
You know, the bud that people have sticking in their single ear and seem like they are talking to themselves. Well great news for music fans! The Insignia 4-Gigabyte mp3 Player is now connecting the ears to the player wirelessly through a bluetooth connection. So, no worries, music and podcast fans you too can walk around wirelessly carefree from being tangled in your jacket or bunching wires in your pocket.
Of course you do have to spend more to get the bluetooth headphones.

This mp3 player is impressive since it is only $160; it offers bluetooth capabilities, and an alleged 20 hours of battery life, and a FM tuner.THese features beat the iPod in price and capabilities. The Insignia can only be bought at Best Buy, however, you can safely assume the only place you can purchase this.

The Insignia is also able to play movies and store up to 14. If 4-gigabytes is not enough space for you, then you can also purchase a memory card. It has a MiniSD slot that can let you insert 2 additional gigabytes of music or videos.

There are problems with the Bluetooth options. There are countries and cities in the United States that are attempting to pass legislation regarding no use of electronic devices while crossing the street. This makes sense since people are walking down the street with the buds in their ears and their phones glue to their head. People are not aware of the world around them, they are aware of ‘Furgylicious’ and Tim McGraw’s latest song. This is something to think about.
The more people are creating ways to be discrete the harder it is to make people make more attention.
(picture from

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Advertising in the US v. Germany

While in Germany over spring break my friends and I noticed the abundance of advertising wherever there could be a poster, billboard or flyer. Sure in the states we experience a constant feed from the media. BUT, it seemed that on the back of every chair in every metro station there was something that was trying to be sold.

Now I had never been to Europe before and had no idea what to expect when it came to advertising. In their defense, of course the highest amounts of advertisements were in larger cities like Frankfurt and Munich. However, even in the historical cities everywhere you looked there was an advertisement. Most were subtle in places like Trier and Augsburg. In other places, they screamed at me enough to notice.
Compared to the Unites States the advertisements reflected the cultural differences. For instance one can see the difference between media violence in the United States and the high level of comfort the Europeans have with the human body.
This is a cultural difference by far. While society in America is alright with blood, guts and gore, Europe is alright with the human body being in advertisements in ways the Americans would probably view as obscene.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Facebook, MySpace, Social Networking

Over the course of the past few years there has been a slew of social networking sites online that have given people the ability to have their own website where they can post personal information as well as have friends that can look at their profiles. In a world where people fight for privacy it seems odd that others are putting themselves out there. I am one of those people but I try to keep perspective on what I am posting as well as what information I give to the world.
With MySpace having over 90 million visitors every month there are people out there that use it for stalking tools.
So the question is:
How can we use these sites for positives? It seems that everyone in society around us is bashing and using them for personal gain only. The culture of the United States does reflect a selfish and materialistic society. Thus, the MySpace and Facebook pages possessing egotistic representations of people.
The World Wide Web has some wonderful advantages, you can express yourself freely and however you want to without restriction, unless of course it is slander, libel or talks about harming someone or a group of people. You can talk and discuss religion, your personal philosophies as well as aimless venting about technological advances and society.
Positives always outweigh negatives but everyone has a different perspective on what is positive and what is negative.
Should a sixteen year old be able to have pictures up online with them and their buddies in bathing suits? What about sexual predators? They have the ability to look, and have contact with all of these minors, that are 'legally' allowed to have a site.
The sixteen year old would probably say that it is all about freedom of speech and the pictures were just of them swimming at a pool party. The predator would have the argument that they are trying to be accepted again into society, thus they need socialization.
Child molesters and confused teenagers aside. MySpace and places like YouTube have given many bands and even want to-be actors the opportunity to display their work.
A band can play their music online and give fellow MySpacers the option to listen or host their songs on their site. Adding to promotions. Word of mouth is now being replaced with a click of a mouse. One person can have an artist’s song and have 10 friends visit their site that day. Five like the song and visit the band's site, maybe add the song, add the band as a 'friend' or even buy the CD.
Social networking- business or pleasure? Are you willing to put yourself out there as a product, because that is ultimately what we are doing now. Displaying what we have, are you single? Divorced? A vegan? Maybe you are a nondenominational 35 year-old night student that loves to go four wheeling on the weekends and loves life?
We are turning into a globalization turntable of products. If we do not like what we hear or see, the next one is just one mouse click away.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I was fortunate enough to go and visit Germany this past spring break with some school friends. We ventured to countless museums and cathedrals, but a memorable technological stop was the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
The host that we stayed with in Stuttgart referred to the Mercedes-Benz Museum as the ‘alien building.’ As we got off the train and walked toward the vicinity I noticed the description was extremely accurate.
Upon entrance into the museum we were given headphones and mp3 players, and ventured up the elevator. Upon exit the mp3 receiver immediately began playing an introduction on the history of travel beginning with horses as the original means of transportation, and then going into the first mobile carriages and cars. This was interesting and abrupt, but it was easy to adjust to.
As you walk around the room you have the option to aim your receiver at numerous exhibits, and you can have information sent to your receiver hearing more information about the car, boat, or gadget. I feel this allowed me to personalize the tour to my liking. In the world where we want it our way all the time, this tour gave me a sense that I was the only one in the room.
After two hours I was fed up with the headphones and the narrator talking to me in my ear. When I looked around, and was becoming aware that others where in fact around me, I saw that everyone else was in their own world of discovery.
Even though as a society we sometimes feel that we are venturing further and further from human interaction, sometimes it is for the better, we are able to get more out of it by being alone and venturing into our own worlds. The audio guides gave people the freedom to roam around and really get a feel for the time and the history of Mercedes-Benz.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


If anyone has ever been to a city for vacation or just to sight see they know the drill. You talk to tour companies to see rates and times for available tours. After all you want to be able to know the little things about the city you are visiting. There is now an option for those that do not enjoy the huge crowded and constrained tours. IJourneys is a company that gives you the tour in the mp3 format, allowing you to take your time and explore cities at your own pace. This way you are able to have the personal feeling of a tour while having the flexibility of being able to stop and have ice cream at a reknowned parlor.

The site gives you all the information needed in order to give yourself a guided tour of Barcelona.
The person in charge is an Emmy Award-winning network news producer and executive, Elyse Weiner.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Instant Gratification

In society today everyone is running around with a high number of activities to finish by the end of the day. Life in today’s world consists of the need of instant gratification. You have college students and parents running around trying to get everything done with the demand for instantaneous responses. In the world of text messaging, instant messages, voicemail on email, photo sharing, social networking sites people have the need to be connected constantly. With all of these things tugging on people’s minds television shows and movies are not at the top of society’s list to see and watch when they are initially released.
This created the world of illegal downloads, getting the things when you want to see them, and not necessarily in real time. After all, most people could reach someone through Myspace, Facebook, cell phone, home phone, text message, email, or instant message. Heaven forbid a hand written letter appear in a mailbox.

Thanks Apple, they have done it again. Forget the time spent syncing up the VCR with the channel and audio level to record the show you miss while waiting in line to pick up the new phone. ITV is Apple’s new addition to their proud collections of user-friendly advancements and iTunes accessories. This product can wirelessly sync up with your iTunes on your PC or Mac and can relay whatever you have stored in your iTunes to your television screen. There are those people that already know how to put your computer screen onto the television. S-video cable has been amazing.
The iTV will go for only $299 according to Apple’s website.
This means if you download a new movie, television show, or songs you can play them on your iTV. Goodbye cable and satellite.
So no worries everyone, you can keep up the continuous connection to everyone in England while watching your show you downloaded in iTunes later that week. We have increased our need for connection and instant gratification. The companies are competing and feeding off of that need. No wonder as a society most do not have any attention span.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Podcasting- a Generation Communicates
Kristina Proctor
Staff Writer- Lenoir-Rhynean
The term ‘podcasting’ is derived from the Apple product iPod and the word broadcasting. This allows audio files to be downloaded for people’s listening pleasure anytime they desire. A common misconception is that you have to own an iPod to download a podcast, or a netcast, to listen.
This is not the case! Podcasts and netcasts do not even require an mp3 player. You can enjoy these broadcasts through your desktop’s regular player.
A popular question among college students is always in regards to price. Is it free? You can get a majority of news podcasts for free; the iTunes music stores as well as websites have many of them posted just like their recent blogs. They are similar to blogs. A blog is the text form of what consists of a podcast usually.
Many broadcasting outlets are using them as another means of communication of their messages. For instance, the New York Times has a brief podcast regarding what is on the front page, even Illinois Senator Barack Obama has a podcast in which he talks about his recent endeavors and his work with the Network Neutrality bills.
There are ways that podcasting has been integrated for educational purposes. Some Supreme Court cases actually are on podcast form now and can be downloaded online at where the arguments can be heard from past decisions. According to podcasting can be a way to assist non-native speakers; this would allow the repetitive audio for review later in case there was confusion.
Public Radio has been able to podcast their topics so they now can reach a world-wide audience. This is just one more example as to how people can hear news in other areas, allowing a different point of view.
As a college student I have thought that podcasting was a wonderful feat for more freedom of information on the Internet, allowing people to broadcast their views and provide information to the public, if people do not want to hear it then they can refrain from downloading it.
This also allows me to be in my car or cleaning my room while I listen to a lecture a political candidate gave last week that I missed due to class or work.
One con that has been brought up is that this is something that compares to TiVo. People in the broadcast industry have feared that this would take away from their live broadcast channels.
Unfortunately, change happens and if something is going to last it will. Industries come and go; there will never be a period of blissful glee for media outlets, which for the better will continue to keep them working for our attention. Until then, we will continue to be immediately gratified.

This article was published in the November 17, 2006 issue of the student newpaper Lenoir-Rhynean of Lenoir-Rhyne College