Journal(s) of Misrepresentation

It is often said that the Internet has democratized the world. Maybe not in terms of governance, as we all know various governmental organizations collect huge amounts of data about our web use, but in terms of information.

When I was a teacher I saw many students relying on Wikipedia for information. I do the same myself of course, but I am at least wary about the accuracy of the information. They were not, and were shocked when I suggested to them that maybe all that is written is not true.

One worrying aspect is that the more critical a person is the more they are likely to distrust newspaper and TV reporting. This leads to more trust being put into Internet communication. The younger the user the more likely they are to get their news and information through digital media, but the more likely they are to trust it too, and this has consequences.

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How Much Freedom Does the Internet Bring You?

On the surface Internet living seems to bring a great deal of freedom to many different parties. Last month for example I posted from the USA, Italy and the UK, we can work from home, buy direct and have access to all kinds of information.

This might make us feel that the web itself creates freedom, or that it is free to operate as we wish. I am not so sure that this is the whole story however, and others agree.

How much freedom of speech really exists?

How much freedom of speech really exists?

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Bridging the digital divide

In this day and age, people have come to expect at least a modest speed for their internet connection. In many urban parts of the UK, speeds of around 10MB per second are commonplace, with some homes experiencing five times that amount. Home internet access has become a prerequisite for many school pupils in their learning, but not all of them are so lucky.

For many children based in rural areas or internet blackspots or for those whose families cannot afford to pay a premium for access, getting the information they need in order to complete their homework or simply boost their knowledge is extremely challenging. This is something that was raised by Estyn, the Welsh education watchdog, and they’re not alone. Continue reading

Fighting spam and recapturing books with reCAPTCHA

A CAPTCHA is an anti-spam test used to work out whether a request has been made by a human, or a spambot. CAPTCHAs no longer seem to be as popular as they once were, as other spam identification techniques have emerged, however a considerable number of websites still use them.

CAPTCHA pictures

Some common examples of CAPTCHAs.

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Music Royalties and Spotify

The BBC World website is reporting that Thom Yorke, the singer from Radiohead, has pulled some of his music off Spotify and Rdio because he says that their royalty payments are too low.

To be exact he tweets:

Radiohead are not new to this type of provocation however. In 2007 they released an album “In Rainbow” that could be downloaded only from their website. The interesting line was that the listener could pay whatever they wanted for the download, there was no fixed price.

They came in for a lot of criticism as this article in the NME shows, with some people claiming they were making it more difficult for new bands to make any money from their releases.

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Is a lazy website key to online success?

Speed matters. Once upon a time, if a business had a website, it was revolutionary. Now in many cases if a business doesn’t have a website, it will usually suffer as a result.

When the internet was in its infancy, speed wasn’t really on the agenda. If your site loaded super fast (remember we are still in the days of 56kbps/dial-up internet access here) great. If it didn’t, people would be prepared to wait.

Nowadays there are so many different websites offering such similar information, if your site is slow, your traffic (or as I prefer to call it visitor numbers, or even better: people) will suffer as a result. There are countless studies into this, almost all of which conclude that the slower a site is, the fewer visitors it has.

Furthermore, speed is starting to become an evermore important search engine ranking factor – if your site is slow, you are less likely to rank at the top.

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