Security Breach

This week’s reading scared the crap out of me. I was tempted to unsubscribe to every email account I have and change all of my passwords to French words mixed with my brother’s middle name. Being an Apple user for over six years, I have acquired a few email subscriptions; have my Chrome settings saved to everything from my bank account to my Twitter page.

The convenience of having all of your information saved to your bookmarks bar is something many of us do not really think about on a day-to-day basis. One of the reasons I have yet to switch over to an I-phone is because I know if I ever lost it, I would have a major meltdown and be paranoid for some time. Not because of anything out of the ordinary, but because the Internet can be hacked at any moment, giving people access to all of your accounts is not on my to-do list.

Hackers have expanded especially over the past decade with all of the technology present. In high school, I had a friend, “he who should not be named,” who could hack into the school system and create his own report card. A certified genius in my book, but undoubtedly wrong, he was seventeen. Now think about how many professional hackers roam the Internet on a daily basis, stealing peoples’ information and many cases their identities.

“ With this AppleID, someone can make thousands of dollars of purchases in an instant, or do damage at a cost that you can’t put a price on.” This seems to be the overlaying issue today.

We think we can trust people and our computers. We hope that because we spend money with Amazon, Nordstrom, and Itunes, we have security and can log in anywhere in the world and be secure. This is just not the case in 2012. No one is safe. It is more likely that you will get hacked on the Internet than if you left your wallet at a gas station and someone stole your credit card.


I will be sure to log off my accounts from now on.

Time’s Archives Unveiled

The website Time Magazine Corpus was compiled to allow readers to find Time Magazine articles and covers from the years after 1923. I began my search with the 1970’s and “JFK” and was automatically linked to over 80 articles mentioning him.

I honestly looked at this website for a good hour because I was so intrigued with how it worked and all of the information that was available for consumption. Mark Davies of Brigham Young University designed the site and to gain full access to the content, you must register and state whether you are a student, teacher or researcher.

The corpus allows someone to search people and words that have been part of Time in some way as well as demonstrating how the words have changed over time.

The debate of how the site gained access for Time’s archives is congruent with our discussion on Monday. The tricky thing about websites such as this is that at one end I do believe that the information should be public for historical reasons and research, though, the question of whether it is legal or right is a debate that will continue as long as there is an Internet.

Time Magazine, is a publication that people pay for. Like any other magazine or newspaper, it has the right to its stories, photographs, op-eds, advertisements, etc. I’m not a lawyer, no do I work for time, and so my stance on this issue is not overly examined. Though, if I was a journalist or photographer and my work was up for grabs on the Internet without my permission, I would not be very happy.

The ethics is that again; there may be no way to control the flow of information on the Internet. Whether it is an article, a song or a historical archive, each source will have its own laws that coincide with how much of their product is up for public domain.  Historically, I do it is important we can reference images, videos, maps, and stories from the past but there are lines to be drawn on each side.  I think we often forget that even though the Internet is public, we have to know where the real source comes from.

Coping with Copyright

After viewing both of the videos as well as the copyright basics slide show, it is apparent that we do live in a “remix culture.”

Music is rapidly changing. Beats, effects, singers and produces are using material that was popular in the 50’s and 60’s, or even the 20’s, and incorporating it into their current music and lyrics. Mixing music may not seem to be a criminal act to most people, though, the artists themselves are at risk of being unaccredited for their original work, and in some cases, forgotten as a whole.

On one end, I really enjoyed the reference to how DJ’s are taking parts of history and putting them into their current spins and music. I never really took the time to think about how similar music is. Whether it is Bluegrass or Hip Hop many of the same riffs and sounds are put into each genre’s music.

History is not just artifacts, books or paintings; rather it is the sounds that make up generations and movements. Similar to the Amen Break, a drumbeat that has carried so many popular tunes, such a simple melody has continually been prominent in many songs throughout the years.

Though, the question of copyright is one that is subjected to the artist.  Many producers featured in the video “Copyright Criminals” highlighted that the artists who take from other persons music should feel “cheap.”  I do think that the authenticity of music has drastically declined throughout the decades.

When I listen to my parent’s music, The Beatles, The Who, they feel such a connection to the artist. I will never forget when my mom told me she saw Madonna perform in New York City, before she was famous. She idolized her as well as many other artists of the 70’s and 80’s. Now a days, I do not even trust half of the “artists” I hear on the radio because of the technology that allows them to have talent.

Not every person in the industry will see this debate eye to eye. Some feel that these current artists are paying homage to previous legends such as James Brown. I do think that the original artist should be credited for their work. Though, with the rise of illegal music that is downloaded and remixed, tracking such things would be extremely difficult.

I do not see this trend slowing down, in fact I believe there will continue to be artists and producers who use old tracks as influences for their own music. Whether they are credible or legitimate is up to the audience, or the people who sue them.

Who Runs Wikipedia?

(sorry for the late response)

I distinctly remember my editors saying, “Never use Wikipedia as your source.” As I pondered how newspapers actually found their information on my first day of my internship, it occurred to me that there was somewhat of a stigma when it comes to the wiki pages we have grown so found of.

In college, having surface information on a variety of topics is crucial to almost every subject we take. Wikipedia has been a foundation for millions because of its ability to spit out information at the drop of a hat. But when we examine whether this information is entirely true, the tables start to turn. Who has the final say on Wikipedia? Who are these editors? Do the have backgrounds as historians, journalists, and political experts?

We may never know the answers to these questions, but lets take the site at face value and see what we find, and what we find to be missing.

My search began with a simple “Anne Frank” search. Not a historical event per say, though, a historical figure to say the least. I read a couple books on Anne Frank in elementary school and remembered some key details of her childhood and early life.

Wikipedia was able to flush out the important details of Ms Frank’s life: her birthday, where she lived, her infamous diary’s details. The bibliography entailed BBC articles, books, and pdf that the information was taken from.

I found the sources to be legitimate though, I still had questions on how the information was compiled.

We began to talk about in class who controls this uber popular site and its information. Although a great platform to grab quick facts about a person, place, war or religion, no one site can have all the credible information to make a subject absolutely truthful, renowned and complete. I think that considering there are groups of people controlling the contents makes the site less credible.

I don’t think that Wikipedia will ever been a sole source for credible information. There is too much skepticism when it comes to the site. There may very well be correct facts on each page, but the overall validity of the sources will continue to be scrutinized by experts.  Also, the site can be manipulated by various outside sources, whereas a book is written by a historian or the author himself or herself.

A Picture is Worth 10,000 Words

Photography is a tool that translates so much of what we perceive to be true in the media and history. After reading the NYT article “Photography as a Weapon,” it is apparent that many of the photographs we see, that strike us on such a personal level, are sometimes manipulated in order to generate that exact affect.

I never really thought about this concept in depth until after reading this article. It is somewhat ironic, considering last week was the anniversary of September 11. If there has been any point in my life where I distinctly remember the front-page photos, it was that day, eleven years ago. The impact of such astonishing photos really never leaves you. These photos make you stop and think, cry and ponder how something like that could have happened. But eleven years ago, I was not reading about an act or terrorism. I was viewing photos that captured peoples’ faces or horror and firemen and policemen and women who were rushing into burning buildings.

In this article, the role of technology and programs such as photoshop come into play. Once again the question arises of whether having the option to fabricate images is right or wrong. Regardless, it is done on a daily basis. From magazine covers that boast our favorite celebrities losing 20 pounds, to blown up images of the weapons of mass destruction (that may or may not have existed), images convey a story, and many people do not even read the text that accompany that story.

“If you want to trick someone with a photograph, there are lots of easy ways to do it. You don’t need Photoshop. You don’t need sophisticated digital photo-manipulation. You don’t need a computer. All you need to do is change the caption.”

We are a country of convenience where everyone is on the go. Despite this being a positive thing when it comes to work and education, the quote above highlights that so many individuals cease to read the copy of articles, because they take the photo and caption and run with the idea.  We even trust images that we know cannot be truly accurate. The change of a couple of pixels can ultimately determine what the image is trying reveal. The answer is how much we trust the source and ourselves to decipher what is really being said within the words and the pictures.

Let the Search Begin

I discovered how much information is available online during this exercise. After an exhausting forty-five minutes of my eyes glued to the screen of my Macbook, I was able to untangle the web that these spiders make while searching for this information.

 1) An op-ed on a labor dispute involving public school teachers from before 1970

This article highlights the voting and decisions based on New York City school teachers negotiations with employers regarding working conditions in the 1960’s. I started my search on JSTOR, which I had never used before. I typed in key words using the + sign to indicate that I needed a long description of words. I typed in “1960’s,” “op-ed,” “teacher,” and “labor dispute” and scanned by year and title. When I saw New York City + public schools I scanned the article and thought it applied.

  • This process was relatively fast.

 2) The first documented use of solar power in the United States

  • I started my search using google and typing in “ Solar Energy” and “US Department of Energy.” I figured The US Dept. of Energy would be the best source to find an archived document of solar energy.
  • I could not find anything on google so I then proceeded to use jstor.
  • Information from the 1980’s was prominent in each search so I went down the page and found this source from Jstor: Eisenhower’s Solar Energy Policy outline which stated that talks of solar energy actually began in the 1950’s.

3) The best resource for the history of California ballot initiatives, including voting data

While using google scholar, I typed in “California” + “ballot initiatives” and hoped for the best. I remembered that this past summer, when asked to find statistics for certain states, I found the best resource to be the state’s actual government site that highlights all of their laws and voting history.  Easily enough, after I searched what I had orginially asked google for, I was sent to this link,

  • I’m not sure if this is the exact document that is needed for voting data in CA, but it gave a detailed summary of the history of initiatives in the state.


Weaving Through the Web & Digital History Chapter 3

While surfing through the university online catalog, I searched an array of topics. I found using the database to be relatively straight forward and useful for finding particular topics, such as book titles on World War Two or authors.

As we discussed in class on Wednesday, the Internet has both pros and cons. There is an abundance of information on the web, ranging from news topics to old archives, and navigating the web can often be stressful or overwhelming. Having a database to find specific information is crucial in this day of age because of the high volume of text online.

I worked for a newspaper this summer, and their databases alone would often leave me with a headache. I remember my editors always asking for specific information from the Wall Street Journal, Dept. of Labor, etc. and it would take me sometimes up to an hour to find the specific statistic or quote they needed. Though, the plus side of having all of this information online, is that we have so much to explore. Whether it is historical data or someone’s blog half way around the world, the information we seek is literally one click away.

After reading chapter three of the text, and learning more about the digitization of historical information, it is apparent that technology is rapidly exceeding its own expectations when it comes to the web. The thought process behind realizing that all the pictures and words we see online is actually the encoding of 1’s and 0’s or html tags, is somewhat strange to think about. Maybe it is because we have become so accustomed to having the web, and anything we want to know or see we simply type in a search engine.

It was amazing to read the costs of digitation especially when it comes to things such as hand written documents.

“This exciting prospect of universal, democratic access to our cultural heritage should always be tempered by a clear-headed analysis of whether the audience for the historical materials is real rather than hypothetical.”

The cost of all of these documents and pictures really does play into effect. Also the authenticity of having all of these things online raises the question of what should and should not be available to the masses.

Overall, I think that digitizing, on the Internet, has both positives and negatives. The cost is somewhat outrageous, but the convenience as well as the options are limitless when it comes to having access to historical documents, news clips, etc. online.

Review T.H. Nelson, “A File Structure for The Complex, The Changing and the Indeterminate”

The purpose of T.H. Nelson’s paper, “A File Structure for The Complex, The Changing and the Indeterminate,” was to explain the significance of why we use files, how they are created and used, and why they are important through many facets and occupations. Nelson’s work began in the 1960’s while trying to create ways to organize file systems.  Nelson’s goal was to assemble the dream file which, was “the file system that would have every feature a novelist or absent-minded professor could want,” to organize their notes and content in a specific way catered to their own preference.

 Nelson stated that there were three obstacles that impede filing systems:

1. Cost-stating that although relatively high, having a device that could do the work of many individuals was ultimately more sensible because each individual could use the machine at any given time.

2. Matter of Fashion-computers are not just for corporations anymore. Any individual could benefit from the speed of acquiring anything we have previously written by using a computer.

3. Design-the most important of Nelson’s points, he then begins to introduce Bush’s paper, “As We May Think,” and quotes Bush throughout the next 2-3 pages of text.

* Nelson finds that Bush’s ideas coincide with his discussion of the composition of the computer system which hold these filing systems.

He then continues to discuss what constitutes as a good writer and the elements that coincide with writing. Nelson states that “writing is a matter of inspiration, writing consists of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and all  you  really  need  is  a  good  outline.” Nelson dismisses that any of these theories are correct by adding statistics and thoughts of his own towards what constitutes a good writer.

Nelson’s purpose was to demonstrate how writers can utilize a filing system to stay organized and have their content stored for any future use or references when needed. Nelson then links how filing systems play into philosophy and the ability to track information and ideas that have been rapidly changing in our world, such as data stored on files such as an ELF system.

I agree with Nelson’s perspective that computers and filing systems give individuals the ability to alter the information they seek, rather than reading a book and literally having what you get in front of you. Information online is constantly changing, therefore having stored data is crucial to the research and anyone seeking past information.

I found this content a lot to digest but overall I agree with Nelson’s perspectives and found the content relatively interesting. I liked that he linked his idea to Bush’s because it tied the two concepts together.


Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think”

If someone told me ten years ago that I would basically spend half of my day on some sort of computer or cell phone, connected to the internet, I would have told them they were crazy. To say that my generation is addicted to the web, from research tools such as or Google search, to interacting with people around the world via social media, is an understatement. Since the boom of the Internet, which was a blessing and curse if you ask me, we have been sucked into our machines and devices, weighting less than five pounds that spew out any information we desire with the click of a button.

 I found Bush’s prediction of the web to be incredibly intriguing. Although technology was on a rise at that time, for someone to have that amount of knowledge toward a concept that was merely on the cusp of invention, is slightly eerie. Bush’s successful attempt to map out how information should be stored and retrieved through databases is the premise of the Internet.

 His views may have be seen as radical to some, though, he was a visionary. Bush’s ability to understand that we needed a way to find information through an available source at any time was not something that was previously considered to an extensive degree.

His thought that, “The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain,” is spot on with how the internet serves our everyday usage of retrieving any information we seek.

 His association with how humans are able to track and memorize data is their ability to have what he calls a “private library.” This library is a machine that stores information and links it to its source as well as other information that is similar in sub categories.  Sounds a lot like a computer to me.

It will be far more reliable than “any human operator and a thousand times faster.” was his vision for the “meme” he associated a computer with.

Overall, I was impressed by Bush’s otherworldly predictions of what was to come for technology especially the web and computers. I found his reading somewhat dense, though to think about times when computers and the Internet were not the norm, it is hard to believe how far technology has come and will continue to grow with a new wave of devices and apps for that matter.