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Power to the People!

November 10, 2011 1 comment

“‘In Florida, activism is rare. I wanted to let people know that it’s normal to care about stuff and want to do something about it. Activists aren’t crazy.'” -Andrew Stelzer

Eesha Williams’ story about the battle against Wal-Mart is especially interesting to me. I grew up in southwest Colorado, Telluride and Durango, and have watched corporate developer move into Durango (included Wal-Mart) and also seen them successfully barred from Telluride.

In the mountains of Telluride, the closest corporation is several hours away by car. Telluride sits in a box-canyon, with only one direction to sprawl: west on the valley floor. For over a decade the town of Telluride fought to raise money to buy the valley floor, in order to preserve the land and likewise prevent development. After raising $50 million dollars, and a 6-1 vote of the Colorado Supreme Court, Telluride won.

Durango on the other hand has more room to sprawl. I have witnessed the exponential development between the rural fields of Bayfield (just 20 miles east of Durango) and downtown Durango. While several small businesses have withstood competitors and successfully established a loyal customer base, many businesses struggle to survive and eventually close. There is one Wal-Mart in Durango, and while it seems convenient to purchase all one’s necessities at one location, I also wonder what impact Wal-Mart has had on all of the local competitors who have lost business due to its establishment. I am also wary to support Wal-Mart due to its low values—its history of mistreating employees and of ignoring its negative impacts on the environment.

As a journalist I am excited to read about small, local news sources, such as the WMNF radio station and The St. Petersburg Times, which have been able to make such a huge impact on their communities. I especially think that WMNF covered the Wal-Mart debate in an effective and extremely ethical way. Through interviewing a variety of specialists on air, Stelzer was able to expose listeners to multiple negative effects of the proposed Wal-Mart, without actually telling the listeners what to think. Also, the radio station provided listeners with vital information on where, when, and how to get involved with the debates—once again giving power to the people, and connecting them to the information necessary to take action.

Questions for Eesha: With the continuing advancement of media conglomeration, how can we help multiple local media sources survive? In your opinion, what is the most effective media medium for reaching people, at the local, state, and international levels?

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Globalization? – Americanization?

November 8, 2011 1 comment

We see the process of globalization often as a positive force which gives us the power to cross cultural gaps, unify widely different societies, bring people closer together and integrating them into a “global village”. Thanks to the spread of electronic and digital technologies, physical distance is no longer a barrier and instant mass communications around the world becomes possible.

Seeing all the benefits and advantages of a globalized media makes it easy to forget the fact that a majority of all media is owned by a very small percentage of wealthy corporations in the wealthiest countries imposing their media content, their ideas, images, values and ultimately their culture on the rest of the world.  Local media, let alone individuals do not have the same voice as these global media corporations.

A big part of the world’s population does not even have the chance of making their voices heard or hearing other people’s voices as they are excluded from accessing the internet or other information and communication technologies resulting in isolation from globally distributed media content and information.

While the world’s richest countries have long been using such new media, most of the people in the world are just now seeing television for the first time. Even though there is an apparent global imbalance in the flow of media content and information, a global divide, we still talk about globalization, a wishful thinking of a “global village”, when maybe we should rather talk about an “Americanization” of the media all over the world.

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The Google Empire: Android and Youtube

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

With Android at the top of the smartphone market and Youtube easily atop the video platform market, Google and its acquisitions seem to be in perfect position to remain relevant in the near future of technology.   In 2010, Google’s Android operating system was used in more phones than Apple’s iOS4,  and I think it will continue to be more utilized than the iPhone, due to its flexibility and open development system.  Android has managed to create a very open ended platform, and it has shown so far to be a more popular one than the iPhone.

YouTube really does not have much competition from anyone in its market, including Vimeo.  It has established a chokehold on video hosting on most other websites, and is a household name around the world.  With its branding power, I really don’t see anyone being able to overtake YouTube in the video market.

Categories: #5, #6, wiki Tags:

Wiki Posts

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Social Smackdown

For anyone that follows the news it is clear who has won the battle of the social networks. With over 600 million users Facebook dominates the social media landscape. Facebook, as demonstrated in the wiki, still has tremendous potential for growth, both from current Internet users not on the site and from those not yet online. With an IPO likely next year Facebook should have a tremendous amount of cash on hand to further refine its platform and focus on monetizing its tremendous user base. As long as it can keep on the right side of the regulatory authorities Facebook should have a bright few years ahead of it.

Smartphone Showdown

After examining the competitors in the smartphone arena, I feel that the Apple group has the strongest argument. This hinges primarily on one thing. To quote, “However on February 10, 2011, iPhone will join forces with the Verizon network which may help increase iPhone sales.” This is perhaps the single most important statement in the entire wiki about the iPhone. AT&T and their sub-par network has been a source of continual frustration among iPhone owners since its release. Additionally, many Verizon customers have been unable or unwilling to switch networks. With increased availability and an enhanced network support structure, the recent future of the iPhone looks exceedingly bright and hard to beat.

Blackberry, on the other hand, seems to have lost much of its competitive edge and is being propped up by its strength in the business sector. This too, however, is being eroded as iPhone and Android beef up their business offerings and security, giving business users additional choice. Blackberry is clearly on the defensive and is more concerned about keeping customers and is less able to focus on stealing market share from its competitors.

Android seems to have the best long-term potential of the three offerings. It is open source, has a positive image, is currently the fastest growing of the three offerings and has great support from Google and other developers. The most customizable and open offering, there is great promise for the platform in the long term. Where I believe iPhone edges out Android in the short term is the move by Apple to allow the iPhone on Verizon’s network in the near future. This makes iPhone’s short-term prospects very bright, which I feel should be the focus of which entry presents the strongest argument. It is harder to predict the distant than the near future.

The winners of the Wikis

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

The three smartphones in competition (the iPhone, Android and Blackberry) all have their own personal styles and followers in the market, so it’s sometimes difficult to compare.  While it’s clear that the iPhone dominates in the market, I believe that there is room for competition.  The Blackberry’s time came and went with the introduction of the iPhone, but the Blackberry will always have its followers (especially in the business world).  However, I think that the Android operating system could take over the market as the leading smartphone.  It has a similar touch screen interface as the iPhone, but there is much more depth to the operating system (Linux) and lots of room for the phone to constantly grow and evolve because it’s open source which means people anywhere can make apps or improvements for the Android phone.  While I think the Android has a persuasive argument, there is definite substance to the argument on the Blackberry Wiki page.  The recommendations for updating the workability of the Blackberry are very important and could be simple fixes that would perhaps give them another boost in the marketplace.  The Blackberry Torch is comparable to many of the other leading smartphones out there, so it looks like the Blackberry company has been working towards those improvements.

Read more…

Categories: #5, #6, wiki Tags: ,

Wiki Project

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Out of all the Wiki groups that are presenting on Thursday, I found that the iPhone looked to be the strongest argument of all. The iPhone page was the most organized and easy to read out of all the other Wiki pages. It was categorized very neatly and clearly showed that the iPhone is the best smartphone out of all the other cellphones.  The iPhone page was much more superior than the other pages.

Another reason that the iPhone provides the strongest argument is because of its dominance over the other smartphones. The page shows that the iPhone dwarfs all other cellphones when it comes to apps with over 50,000. Also the simplicity of the iPhone makes it very appealing to customers who aren’t as technologically savvy as other people may be. The was the phone runs is very straightforward and is designed so that almost anyone can use it. Features such as FaceTime and HD video are also strongpoints to the iPhone. The convenience of being able to call someone, play music, play games, and surf the net all on one small hand-held device is what makes the iPhone so appealing to customers. Being the first type of smartphone available to the public is another thing that makes it so popular. Since it was so innovative the name iPhone has become one the most recognized technological devices.

The iPhone is also released by one the most powerful companies in the world, Apple. Apple has an annual revenue of about $60 billion. Being a product of a enormous technological company just makes the iPhone seem much better than the other smartphones.

The only weakness to the iPhone may be that the phone is offered to users of AT&T. The iPhone would just completely dominate all other smartphones if they decided to team up with networks like Verizon as well. If Verizon users had the option to pick between the Android and the iPhone, it is almost certain the more people would choose the iPhone.

Categories: #5, #6, wiki Tags: ,

Android

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Out of everyone’s wikis, I believe that the Android’s is just barely ahead of the others.  The Android’s wiki opens up with some very interesting history (even though it is still a relatively new device), like naming their updated phones based off of foods (e.g. donut, honeycomb, Gingerbread, and the ice cream sandwich).  A very powerful point that the Android wiki initially makes is that they’re owned by Google.  Google is widely recognized as a market power, and anything owned by it will also be recognized as just that.  Their next strongest point as to why Android is the number one operating system because they claim (according to Google) that 300,000 new phones are activated on average per day.

If you briefly look at the pie chart on the Android wiki, it looks to be a very strong argument in favor of the Droid versus other phones.  But if you look closely, the chart is just a pie chart comparing how many different phones have the Android operating system within them (and how many there are relative to each other).  Depending on the reader that is either a very strong, or very weak point.

Because the authors point out that Android technology is still relatively new, beating out the iPhone in 2010 is a huge deal (especially considering that the iPhone just recently took the top spot in the market from Blackberry).  Adding to that point are some hard facts, 33% handsets sold last year were Android enabled; followed by Research in Motion (Blackberry) at 28%, and finally the iPhone with 22%.

The Android wiki also shows a brief chart on how the operating system works for Android phones, followed by a video of the Android system on a PC.  Overall this wiki was very informational and well organized; everything just seemed to flow nice and smoothly from start to finish.

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