Thursday, December 6, 2012

The First Art Walk of the Holiday Season

The first Art Walk of the Holiday season takes off tomorrow at 5:30 in downtown St. Augustine. This event is a self-guided tour of the beautiful scenery of downtown St. Augustine, as well as the amazing artists that dwell in the heart St. Augustine. This event is a great time to spend with family and friends to stroll along the lit ancient streets to enjoy the beauty of art. 

There will be free parking offered at any participating AGOSA art galleries. Being a local of St. Augustine we can easily forget about these amazing events that take place in our city. We have the chance to partake in refreshments, live music and new exhibits! These events take place every first Friday of the month. So do not hesitate to get up and get out to enjoy the beautiful city of St. Augustine and what it offers!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Online Privacy

In today’s young generation everyone is online. Many parents, teachers and guardians worry about their children being a victim to criminals searching for easy targets online. Online privacy is a growing fear on the mind of these caretakers. Having your identity stolen is much easier nowadays than 50 years ago. Furthermore, now it’s even easier for pedophiles to come in contact with the children of this time. Therefore, online privacy must be put at the top of the list to protect our young people. 

However, according to the article, “Teens and VentureInvestors Demand Online Safety and Privacy” written by Lora Kolodny in the Wall Street Journal explains that many teens are aware of the importance of online privacy and intend to protect themselves. This is a very admiral thing to do as a young person. 

According to the article, “Forty-four percent of teens surveyed count identity theft as their top concern, 32% worry their social media posts may create college application problems, and 30% worry their online behavior may get them in trouble at home. A majority of them use, and seek out privacy controls when they use social media.” These teens are taking pre-caution on their social media sites and protecting themselves not only from creepers, but protecting them from themselves. This may not make sense, but these teens are aware that what they display on the internet and on their personal sites can and will be detected by future schools and employers, therefore they must not post inappropriate things because it ultimately reflects back on them. 

Due to these privacy issues, social media sites like Facebook developed intense privacy settings to allow their users to control who saw their information and who did not. But many users not only do not trust these social media sites with their personal information they also may not understand how to operate such controls. Therefore, many users’ profiles lack such information. 

In addition, social media sites should offer helpful tips to educate their users on how-to set their privacy settings to further protect themselves. Because, privacy online is a growing factor in today’s world. According to the article, “Earlier this year, as VentureWire previously reported, a venture-backed San Francisco start-up called Skout–the creators of a mobile-social network, commonly regarded as a “flirting app”–decided to shut down the Skout teen community when pedophiles used it to target their eventual victims.” These instances happen and they happen often. Thus, we need to further educate ourselves to protect us and the ones we love.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cyber Warfare

An article in the New York Times titled “Iran’s Hand IsSuspected in Computer Attacks” written by Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger explains a recent attack of cyber warfare. Iranian government developed a cyber-attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry’s computer systems. Due to this silent and killer attack, Iranian government successfully crippled about 30,000 of Saudi Arabia’s systems by erasing files and overwriting them.

Even though Iran’s attack was not as powerful as something Russia or China has the potential to do, it still wreaked havoc among the Saudi’s systems. This has become a new threat to the world. Instead of going to war like we use in the past centuries, now we have a new threat through the internet. Due to the internet’s potential access to confidential files and special ops systems that is dealt with our government and military, our enemies could possibly have access to these files information. Or they could even erase essential information for America’s well-being. 

According to the article, James A. Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote Friday in an essay for, “Iran has discovered a new way to harass much sooner than expected, and the United States is ill-prepared to deal with it,” thus, we as American’s need to become more aware of these potential cyber threats, and develop constructive ways to help protect ourselves from these enemies. 

Iran is only one of many potential cyber threats. These attacks are not only happening between countries governments, but also between regular people and ordinary companies. These viruses can be conducted by anyone and sent through emails or websites, consequently putting everyone in risk. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of cyber-attacks. It has the potential to get stronger, more destructive and ultimately more frequent. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself, your files and your information kept on your private or work computers. 

Hopefully, in the near future America’s government and military will develop stronger fire walls to keep these threats away. Possibly even create a new style of protection for the civilians as well. Ultimately, now as a nation we not only have to worry about terrorist attacks consisting of plane crashes, bombs or shootings, we also need to be aware and possibly worry about attacks over the internet. This can be attacks from other countries or even attacks from within the own comfort of our nation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Digital Divide

“The New Digital Divide” an article written by Susan Crawford and published by The New York Times, discusses a new outlook on our current and future digital divide. This article explains that recently the quality of the internet has greatly increased, however this increase is only available to the consumers who afford it.
According to Crawford, “Over the last decade, cheap Web access over phone lines brought millions to the Internet. But in recent years the emergence of services like video-on-demand, online medicine and Internet classrooms have redefined the state of the art: they require reliable, truly high-speed connections, the kind available almost exclusively from the nation’s small number of very powerful cable companies. Such access means expensive contracts, which many Americans simply cannot afford.”
Simply put, America is divided into two parts. Consumers with high-speed web connection and consumers who either have second class web connection or no connection at all, so a complete divide between the wealthy urban consumers and the poor, rural minorities.
These wealthy urban consumers not only have access to the exciting world of high-speed internet, but they also are always a step or possibly a few steps ahead of the rest. Basically meaning these consumers have a hand up in education, the latest entertainment and local, national and global news and information. Therefore, the informed stay informed and the less fortunate struggle to keep up.
The problem we are having with the digital divide is it’s simply not affordable to everyone in America. In reality, that makes sense and that is just how the world works. However, this is a way America can be a step ahead in the digital world. If this high-speed internet access was available for everyone then the possibilities for us as Americans could be endless.
As a quick example, to truly show how fast this internet is, according to Crawford, “The connections are truly high-speed: based on a technological standard called Docsis 2.0 or 3.0, they can reach up to 105 megabits per second, fast enough to download a music album in three seconds.” This is incredible, even though downloading an album is not that big of a deal or that important compared to politics or foreign policy found online, however it just shows that the faster the internet is, the faster we as consumers can take it in and ingest the information.
In all, this digital divide is a setback for America. However, there is a possibility in the future, with how quickly our technology is developing, that this high-speed access will be affordable for many American citizens.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Online Identity

Online identity is a viral phenomenon that has hit the college generation and all the ones following. These younger generations who are in middle and high school believe to put their Reflexive identity online, which is what we think we are. However, many of them are, in reality, putting their Ascribed identity online, which is what society believes them to be. This is exhibited in the social media outlets like Facebook. Unfortunately, these young generations do not understand how they impact their fellow peers through their online aviators on social media.

These na├»ve actions are further explained in the article On Facebook, Bullies ‘Like’ if You Hate  by Emily Layden on the New York Times website. This article explains how middle school students use their online identity to bully other students by posting ‘hate’ likes. ‘Hate’ likes, in other words, are posts that ask you to ‘like’ it if you agree to ‘hate’ it as well. Layden explains, “For my brother’s half — the younger set, the one that did not grow up in step with the Internet, but rather with it already established — there is no wariness, no understanding, no concept of an Internet identity. There is no such thing for them, for example, as “Internet famous.” There is only fame, and the allure of instant gratification. This is how cyberbullying has reached a fever pitch, and where I feel my half of this generation has failed the younger.”  This article starts to open the eyes of the older generations that are selling this digital life idea to the negative impact they may be having.
The article by Layden further explains how these children’s online identities not only give them too much power, but also shows a perfect example of interactivity. Interactivity is briefly one judging people on the internet that are not like us, basically being uncivil to one another. Therefore, through these aviators these young generations are able to mask their true identity and act out in cruel and unfair ways towards their innocent peers. If this progresses further, which is inevitable, the concept of ‘bullying’ will no more be as simple as It might have been back when the college and older generations were back in their grade school days. Through these various identities, cyberbullying will continue to grow and go viral through the internet. This will leave a stamp on these young generations’ records to forever be known as being bullies or forever be known as being bullied. Nevertheless, this concept of online identity may have positive outlooks for some, but there can always be pitfalls to good things.