Text Analysis

For my text analysis assignment, I chose the poem “If -” by Rudyard Kipling. I’ve known of this poem from a post I saw on the internet fairly recently and I loved it so much that I decided to center this post around it. The poem is inspirational and gives advice to the reader on how they should live their life. I made the shape of the bubble into a plus sign to represent the positivity from the poem. The largest word being “you” is symbolic of what this poem is trying to portray. The author talks about how it is up to you to make your life into something positive or negative. He gives different scenarios that will occur in our lives and how we should go about dealing with them.

Analog Return

There is no question that we are living in a world overtaken by digital technology. The convenience and simplicity of these products are what make them so unique and so desirable to all of us. Imagine telling a researcher in the pre-smartphone era that instead of having to scour through dozens of books in a library in order to find information about a topic that you will one day be able to search it on a device even smaller than a typical reading book and get results within a few seconds. It’s safe to say they would tell you that you are out of your mind.

As our world shifts more towards this digital age, there are a few analog technologies that I can count on sticking around. Physical books for one are something I don’t see dying out anytime soon. The ability to read for hours and not get eye strain from staring at your screen for too long is something you only get with physical books. Also, most readers retain information better when they read in print rather than on digital books. Furthermore, the unique experience you get when owning a physical book is something that can’t be replicated digitally.

Physical money is another thing I don’t imagine ceasing to exist. Cash is the primary form of medium of exchange for the poor in the United States. Unfortunately, with the poverty and homelessness problem in this country continuing and not seeing an end anytime in the near future, cash will likely still remain in high demand.

Privacy and Online Exams

Drake Privacy & Data - Drake Middle School

Privacy

Privacy is an important part of all of our lives, but some make an effort to protect it more than others. I can definitely say that I’m one of those people. Privacy to me started meaning much more as social media and the internet became more prominent in our society. We’ve all heard stories of people’s online accounts being hacked into and their personal information being leaked. In the majority of these cases, those people could have done something to prevent such a horrible thing from happening. Changing your password for your online accounts frequently, creating strong and unique passwords, considering using a VPN, and only putting information about yourself online that your fine with everyone seeing are a few of the steps one can take to securing their privacy online. Also, making sure that the website you are entering your information in, like your email, name, and phone number, is a credible and trusted site is beyond important. Here are a few tips one can take to ensure the website they’re visiting is a credible one:

1. If a website begins with https, it is most likely a secure site. https sites use ssl, which basically means that your connection to the site is encrypted.

2. Check if there is a lock icon on the left most side of the address bar. If there is, you will be able to find a valid certificate for the website proving its authenticity.

3. Look for a privacy statement at the bottom of the website.

Online Exams

Online exams have become the new norm ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. With online exams comes online proctoring by the teacher or a substitute. Most often the setup will be on a video communication service, most commonly zoom, where there is a host, the teacher, monitoring the exam. The teacher will likely require that all students have their cameras turned on at all times during the entire duration of the exam to ensure that the students don’t engage in cheating. Some schools even use what is known as a browser lock, where the student cannot open up any new tabs or windows on their computer. I have taken plenty of online exams over the past 2 years, however, most of them are take home exams where we complete them at our own pace. I’ve only taken one exam where I had to be present in a zoom class at a set time and had my camera turned on the entire time. For me personally, I didn’t have much issue with it overall because I’m not a very self-conscious person and at that point in the semester, I had adapted to the whole online learning concept.

Final Project: Tracking Personal Nutrition

For my final project, I decided to track my nutrition today using myfitnesspal.com. With this incredible app, which was developed by Under Armour, I was able to track the amount of calories I ate per day, as well as the number of macronutrients, which consists of protein, carbs, and fats, and micronutrients, which consists of vitamins and minerals, that I consumed.

Before I started charting my meals, I first wanted to check how many calories I need to consume. I calculated the amount of calories I need to consume using calculator.net. I entered in my age, gender, height, weight, and the amount of physical activity I get per week. Based on all those factors, the website estimated that I need to eat roughly 2500 calories per day to maintain my weight.

As you can see from the above photo, I entered each food, as well as the serving size, that I consumed for each meal. For breakfast I had a bowl of cereal along with a banana and black tea, which I didn’t put since tea has no calories or nutrients. For lunch I had 2 turkey sandwiches with a large cup of apple juice. Finally, for dinner I had plain chicken and rice with a bottle of Gatorade as well as a dark chocolate granola bar as a snack. After entering all my meals, I clicked on generate report and was given a progress report about my nutritional facts as a whole.

As you can see from the above image, I ended up being 132 calories shy of my calorie goal. I was also 14 grams of carbohydrates below my carb goal, 39 grams of fat below my fats goal, and 57 grams of protein above my protein goal. I exceeded the amount of salt I needed to consume by 627 milligrams and sugar by 41 grams. The pie chart shows each of the macronutrient’s proportions to the total. My carb total was just over 57% of my total macros, protein was at 35% of the total, and fats was 8% of the total.

Furthermore, I was able to track the amount of water I drank the entire day. The recommended amount of water consumption on the site was 8 cups per day, however, I only ended up consuming 6 cups of water. That amounts to 75% of my goal total water intake.

Overall, I enjoyed the entire process of this project and can honestly say that I will be using this app more often in the future. I’ve always believed in using technology to improve our lives and what better way than to use it to monitor our eating habits. This website is great for people looking to shred a few extra pounds or for people like me who are trying to maintain their weight.

Misinformation and social media

How Private Information Helps Fake News Hoodwink the Public

The amount of misinformation on the internet is mind-boggling and social media seems to be a breeding ground for a lot of it. The unfortunate part about this is that many impressionable people fall for it and spread it among their friends and family. Social Media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have an ethical responsibility to track down the misinformation posted on their sites and remove them.

I immediately chuckled when I saw one of the articles assigned being about Facebook and its management, or in this case mismanagement, of vaccine misinformation because this was one of the main topics me and my friends would discuss constantly. It has at this point become a well-known meme amongst people in my age group with new humorous images about this topic showing up online almost every day. Facebook has made an effort to create algorithms to detect and remove Covid-19 misinformation, but like the article suggested, the posts and comments are outpacing the removals.

I absolutely believe that misinformation is a much larger issue now than before the time of social media. The main reason being that now anyone, and I mean literally anyone, can create a post or a comment on social media and have it seen and read by millions of people. There is no filter or anyone overseeing these posts before they are sent out and this is a huge problem. The only real solution now is to improve on the algorithms that these social media platforms have created to find the misinformation and remove it, especially since there’s no possible way to have a human go through each of the millions of posts made every day. It of course will never be 100% accurate, but with technology constantly advancing and being improved, I remain optimistic.

Making a video game

For this assignment, I chose to create a remake of the space invaders video game using Microsoft Visual Studio. I used the software library Allegro to help me develop the 2d game. For me, this project was relatively simple because I am a comp sci major and I’ve been making video games for fun since I was in high school. The entire game was built from scratch using C++ code.

This is what the beginning screen of the game looks like when you launch it. The controls of the game are similar to the original space invaders game with the user using left and right arrow keys to move right and left and pressing space to shoot the cannon laser. There are three levels in total and with each level increases the speed of the aliens.

This is what the game looks like when you start it. You are the green cannon at the bottom of the screen and the red aliens falling are the enemies. Your task is to move directly under each enemy and shoot them with your cannon. If the enemy reaches the bottom before you kill it, you lose a life. If you lose all three lives, you will get a screen that looks like this.

It will tell you your final score, which is the number of enemies you killed, and the level you reached. If you manage to beat each level and win the game, you will get a screen that looks like this.

Again, it will tell you your final score and instead of saying game over, it will give you a congrats message on beating the game.

Below you will be able to find some screenshots of what the code I wrote to create this game looks like. Overall, it was a bit over 500 lines of code, including empty lines and comments.

This is the Aliens header file, which is the class where I defined the alien object’s functions and variables. The bullet class and player class are very similar looking to this, with the main differences being what is written in the functions in the .cpp files, which is where the source code for the functions in the header are written out.

This is the primary class where the main function is located. Here I created the display, which was an 800 by 650 pixels black display. I created a fps timer to render the game at a smooth and consistent 60 fps. I loaded in audio for the game that is triggered with different actions, such as shooting, losing a life, and killing an enemy. I created a loop to enter the game and remain in the game until the player loses all lives or wins the game.

Terms of Service

Do You Read Terms Of Service Contracts? Not Many Do, Research Shows : NPR

Terms of Service, or TOS for short, is something that is viewed by many as a long and boring piece of document made by service providers. I for one can only think of one time in my entire life where I actually made an effort to read the TOS for one of the new products I purchased. My thought process when it came to reading a company’s TOS has always been that I only use products from companies and manufacturers that I know and trust, so I never feel fearful or concerned about not reading their Terms of Service. Also, the time I spend reading the Terms of Service can be spent on something more important to me.

Jonathan Obar, a professor of Communication and Media Studies at York University, discussed how it would take 40 minutes every day to read all of the Terms of Service policies for all the products and services we use. The average daily time spent reading by individuals in the U.S. is half of that amount, which is 20 minutes. It’s hard enough to get people to spend more than 30 minutes reading a document in general, but with something as tedious and monotonous as a Terms of Service document, I find it near impossible.

There have been many instances over the past few years where someone prominent in the space of TikTok would get banned for a post they made and would create a video ranting about how they felt they did nothing wrong and would blame and bash TikTok. This happened much more frequently the past year with the two most notable events being the Coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. There have been numerous news articles about people being banned for spreading misinformation on vaccines, the election results, and the pandemic as a whole. After spending time skimming through TikTok’s TOS, and especially their community guidelines, it is clear that TikTok is very committed to removing and banning individuals spreading misinformation with the company having an entire section dedicated to this topic in their document.

Rebuild the Internet

For my Rebuild the Internet project, I chose to create a representation of how the internet is our second brain. The Internet has so many features that we can use anytime to create anything we want and also grab as much information from as we want, like our minds. The internet is as creative, imaginative, and full of information as our minds are.

The bubble above the computer that the individual is using represents some of the most used applications of the internet that aren’t physical things that we can touch or feel, but they make huge impacts in our lives every day. The mail people use to receive on paper is now mostly sent through email. We rely on digital calendars to let us know what day it is. We now shop online instead of making a trip to our local markets. Money is now stored on the internet as a number in online databases. We use google to search for information on any topic we want instead of libraries. We have GPS, or Global Positioning System, to guide us to any location we want instead of physical maps.

The Web 10 Years Ago

Blame the Internet | Mixxer Makerspace

What is the Internet?

The Internet is a massive network that connects digital devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets from all over the world. It is seen by many as an incredible piece of technology that can contribute positively to our society and help us become more intelligent. With others, it is seen as the complete opposite. Some consider the internet as something that is “destroying our brains”.

In the article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, Nicholas Carr talks about how the internet has made changes to our mental habits. Many people have developed a habit of skimming through text in online resources to grab information instead of reading through the text fully. We’ve also relied on retrieving much of our information from the internet, rather than exercising our memories, which has made us more forgetful.

My take

I personally see the internet as an overall positive invention. Think for a second about the amount of money that has been raised and sent through the internet to charities, struggling countries, people in need, etc. Think of websites like gofundme.com, which would have never been possible had it not been for the presence of the internet.

The internet is a reflection of our world that uses it, that’s why you will find good and bad features to it, just like our world in real life.

The one thing that does make me worried about the internet is its correlation with the rise in mental illness in our society. I think the internet has created a culture of introversion and isolation, which is known to be damaging to our mental state in the long run. The internet has also facilitated the creation of social media, where people can be scrutinized, judged, criticized, and berated every second of every day of the year. Bullying in schools used to only be a problem when kids were physically present in the schools. Now it is a problem all day for these kids with cyberbullying on people’s social medias existing.

The Web 20 Years Ago

“Small Pieces Loosely Joined”

The first three chapters of the reading go into detail about what the internet was like for many people in its initial stages and how in many ways it relates to the space we have in real life. The author did a great job of explaining how the web has changed our experiences as human beings and how we perceive and relate to reality. He explained how we can use the web for good if we want to make positive contributions or we can use it for malice reasons if we intend to do so.

Digital Artifact

The artifact I chose is the Wii, which is a video game console created and released by Nintendo in late 2006. This console revolutionized gaming with its packaged games Wii Sports and Wii Fitness. It was the first time that someone could get decent exercise at home while playing a video game. The console also broke grounds in terms of the age group that consumed this product. I remember a great majority of my friends’ parents at this time had and played Wii sports with them as a way to relate, spend quality time, and get a simple workout in together.

This artifact relates to the reading because the Wii brought millions of people into this virtual space and allowed us to interact and play with each other, like in real life.