15: Awareness tools

Today’s topic for class discussion was Internet awareness tools. Awareness tools are very similar to search engines in the way that they allow you to search complete a search of the web using key words. They commonly display current national and international news information. For they hands on activity we  went through the process of setting up Google Alerts so that we would be able to receive current news on our selected subject of interest sent straight to our email. Next I looked at the other awareness tool websites and decided to set up an account on Digg. I found the site to be very interesting because I hadn’t stumbled upon a similar site before. Users provide links to articles videos , pictures and other media that they find interesting or “digg”.  Other users can also choose to dig the link as well if they choose, increasing the popularity of the dig item. When I did a quick search of the site i came across a video of a crash that occurred during one of the 24 hr la mans races.The video had already had quite a few comments on it already and being that I love to talk about cars and watch auto racing , I choose to comment. Within an hour of arriving home from class i had already received responses to my comment , further increasing my interest in the site. Of all the web sites that we have signed up for this semester , I can see myself using this website the most.

Used links:


Google News

another awareness tool website:


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thing 14: Forums

Today in class we discussed forums and web discussion boards. Forums create a community of people that have a interest in a specific topic. Usenet was one of the first web discussion websites and was established in 1980 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis. Visitors to forums are often able to view older post s on forum threads but are not able to make comments until they become a member. I enjoy viewing forums because they are a good resource for finding out information. Forums are available for pretty much any topic of discussion . A quick google search of your topic of interest will bring up many different sites that are forum structured. Information that is posted on forums often is not removed and is display from most recent to older posts. When I am looking for information on doing repairs to my motorcycle I find forums to be most useful for finding out how to diagnose the issue. Since the posts are not commonly removed on forum websites you can look back at order posts and possibly find something that you would want to comment on.  Even though I use them occasionally Ive never joined a web forum before  Web forums are easy to set up and most, like Boardster, are free. Boardster is a website service provider that allows you to create your own forum for free. Private forums sometimes  require that each user login for access to forum content. Forum websites have categories of discussing usually relating to the over all theme of the website.





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social networking

Social networking websites offer services that allow people to stay in contact with one another and meet new people. These websites often have multiple was to get in touch with other users such as messaging, which is similar to regular email, and instant messages which is organized like a chat. Personal profile pages are made my each user. Users can request to become friends with other users which must then be accepted by the reciever of the request before a link between the two profiles is made. This also users to have what is known as a friend list. Groups of friends can be organized into groups so that information regarding a certain event can be shared amongst its members. Plurk is a social networking website that is organized like a microblog, very similar to twitter. The only difference I see from the two sites is that twitter allows users to post pictures and videos. It looks like users mainly use it to give quick updates on daily life. Ning is a website that allows you to create your own social networking website. Ning has all the features of the lastest social networking websites but has a monthly fee making it less appealing. Meetup is another social networking website that is focused on setting up meeting places for groups. I think that this website is great because I have never seen anything like it before. All you need to do in go to the website and type in your zipcode and subject of intrest and it will list all the events occuring soon and clubs in the area.

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Podcasts are online audio files that can be downloaded to computers, portable devices, such as ipods and enabled mobile phones. Some podcasts are also accessible through internet radio devices. The primary topics that are discussed in podcasts are sports , news. Most websites dedicated to news make podcasts available after broadcastig. Podcast users can subscribe and listen to segments of podcasts at anytime after they are download.
also we use podcasts to upload lectures or other discussions that the creater desires to make available to the public. My dad last year once had to perform a live podcast from home for work. As you can seed podcasts are used in a variety of different ways.
the most popular and well heard of provider of podcasts is itunes. Itunes organizes podcasts so that they can be search by subject and popularity. Subscribers can easily download podcasts to their ipod or stream right from their computer. Apple itunes U is another part of itunes that allows universities to upload media. Univerisitys can upload files such pdf files, lectures, videos, powerpoints and other resources for students. To upload and download files from itunes U is completly free. Universities that upload information on itunes U have the option to make their content public or private. With a lot of universities sharing their data along with libraries, itunes probably has a large database by now. I intend to try to download from itunes U to see if its beneficial to me and determine its ease of use. I also going to try finding a program for downloading podcasts to my phone so that I can experience those for the first time.

Itunes U

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Videos on the internet are one of the most entertaining sources of entertainment on the internet. Videos are definitly my favorite media to access online because if you’ve ever been on youtube , you know that its one of the best ways to pass time. The internet provides videos from many different sources. Some are produced by film companies and others could be simply uploaded via a mobile phone. Videos on the internet do have education value as well. Some videos , such as the ones we watch in cpsc 104 provide informative lectures regarding different aspects of the internet from Ted.com. A quick youtube search can produce all types of useful information. Tutorials , showing step by step instructions on how to complete desired tasks from installing a new hard-drive into your desktop or a spicy Cajun fish recipe.  Most of these videos can be accessed free via sites such as youtube and Hulu but others charge a membership fee for accesss such as the popular movie watching service netflix. Although a fee for access may detere you from interest in site that requires membership , I personally think that it is well worth it. From my personal experience , when  netflix began releasing their movies , season off shows , and documentaries  for instant viewing online , i probably hadent been away from my laptop longer then 20 minutes. Hulu provides similar video  titles and has the same idea as netflix but its free , so if you haven’t experienced viewing movies and shows on your computer before you should probably give that website a shot before investing in what I consider in my opinion as a well-worth it website with modest monthly charges.


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Virtual Worlds

Before class on Tuesday I thought I had no idea what virtual worlds were. After using and reading a little information about them I remembered hearing about them before on an Mtv show called true life. This specific episode of true life was about how people who are very shy and not very outgoing may really enjoy a program that allows you to socialize with others without being necessarily face to face. A significant issue raised by the teenage to adult age users was that they began to not work very hard in maintaining or improving their real world social skills, shutting out all but a few people from their lives. Given what I had already known about virtual world programs I was not very excited to experience it personally. This may be a common reaction to virtual world programs because when I booted virtual worlds on my laptop at home in front of my girlfriend, insisting that I was only researching it as an assignment for my internet course, she said that she found it creepy that I was using it. Although I don’t intend on using the program it had many cool features. Players can navigate many 3D virtual locations, some replicating actual locaations or even create their own new location.
The program is relatively easy to get started. You simply need to download the program from the website , install it to your computer and create a username . Once the program is booted you can create your personal character known as an avatar.
I did have a couple issues with the program. Ounce it was installed on my computer, my laptop operated noticeably slower. Also , my roommates thought u was strange just for talking about my experience with it.


Other Virtual Worlds:



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The web as a search engine

Yesterdays class topic was using the web for research. It was a great topic because being able to use the internet for research efficiently is an important skill at the collegiate level of education. Some of the new skills I learned yesterday make me wish I had taking this course earlier in my college career.

Being able to effectively use the internet for research is not only important for students. People who want to look up information on the web want to be able to find the correct information that they are looking for and be able to find it quickly. The easiest way to do a web search is to use a search engine. One of the common search engines is Google.com.  This website lists links to pages with the content of interest by searching for key words.  Different search engines will produce different results for the same topics. For instance the first link for a search of “brownies” on Google.com is to a page about girl scout brownie awards. This was definately not what i was looking for. The same search on AltaVista.com provides a link to Wikipedia’s description of chocolate brownies, perfect . That being said, selecting a search engine for use is up to personal preference. I personally use Google as my primary search engine. If your just looking for  quick information or descriptions ,Wikipedia.org isn’t a bad way to go either.

Another option for researching on the web that i rediscovered yesterday are meta-search engines. They allow you to search multiple search engines at once. This will assist in making sure you are getting the best results for your search. Meta-search engines also will will provide directories related to your topic of interest. Databases are commonly associated with libraries. When searching a database the results will be listed in many different types of media.

Check these Out:



My old favorite search engine


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Wiki Me

Wikis are websites that are unique in which they can be modifyed by anyone given permission to edit the page. They are useful when discussing. Information about a specific topic or providing new information on the web. The most popular wiki today is probably wikipedia.
Wikipedia is organized as a massive online encyclopedia. It was created january 15 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. This wiki provides information on over 3,643,000 pages in 281 languages. This wiki is constantly growing due to anyone being able to add or edit information on a page. The ability to edit pages is a great and unique feature of wikis because it allows immediate correction or updates of informmation.

Yesterday in class I learned that wikipedia wasn’t the only wiki and that wikis were a certain type of page. I was able to experience a new wiki during our lab known as wikispaces. It was very easy to use and best of all, free to join and create a new page. A youtube video suggested that wikis were a great tool for created lists that needed to be discussed amougst a group of people. We did a hands on excercise in whcih we planned a party.  Wiki spaces allowed for organization of categories of items needed because you can create new pages to link to your wiki. Although in class this method for planning a party seemed to work out great , I don’t think many of my friends would log onto a wiki in order to find out the location of a party. I dont think that wikis will become much popular for this then they already are because social networking is the way that the majority of people find out information about events.





Create your own wiki


Another useful Wiki

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