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16 Oct



16 Oct

Before this course, I didn’t really know much about #hash tags. I did not know how to use them neither did I know what they were for. To be blatantly honest, I only really began using hash tags when I signed up for Instagram (an app on the i-Phone) – and even then, i used them infrequently!

Instagram Hash Tag

Instagram Hash Tag #electricalsky

But as I continued through my Netmed course, I began to use the hash tag more frequently. I still wasn’t entirely sure if i was using them correctly, but I figured all I had to do was just add in a ‘#’ (hash tag) and write related words to my image. Regardless, I still wasn’t sure were the hash tags were going, or what they were doing. So, I decided to investigate.

And here is what I found along my way:

Hash tags enable people to find you based on what you’ve tagged, through a common topic. Put more simply, if you hash tag #electricalsky for example, and others hash tag #electricalsky too, then anyone can find you through that same hash tag #electricalsky.

Now, enough about #electricalsky. To further clarify hoe hash tags work, I went to the Twitter Help Centre to find out more, and this is what I found:

Using hashtags to categorize Tweets by keyword:

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword..
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Using hashtags correctly:

  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.


16 Oct

Where would we be without the internet?

In order to understand its phenomenal developments and assistance to mankind, we must first look at its initial conception…

The internet has a much more vast history than is commonly known among the masses. It began in the sixties and has evolved into the expanse that we are so familiar with today. As Ethan Zuckerman states in a video entitled History of the Internet, the first email was sent in 1965 over a network at MIT. In 1971 the first internet email was sent and in ’73 email was being used as the main source of communication over the internet. Now, fast forward to 1990 and we have the first appearance of the World Wide Web, written by Tim Berners-Lee, which leads us to the internet and web we know today.

In regard to the web we know today, there are several different details that work as a cohesive unit in order to allow the web to function in the manner that it does. First off, in order for a computer to be able to be a part of the Web, it must be running web server software that has the ability to read Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. On the other side we have the software that requests information from these servers. This software in known as browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc. These information requests and responses are handles via the HTTP protocol. Now given all of the information on the web, there must be some way to organize it all in a manner that would allow one to pinpoint exactly what they are looking for. Enter Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs. A URL will allow someone to request a particular file from a server. These files are constructed through a text based language known as Hypertext Markup Language or HTML. This language consists of purely text that is generated by the browser into the interactive pages we see daily.

This was a quick crash course of the history of the internet and how the web works as interpreted as I have just learned it.

Solving Life’s dilemmas, one app at a time

16 Oct

You’ve probably heard everyone talking about ‘apps’ – but what are they? In short, they’re a way to perform almost any task on your phone, and in just a few years they’ve become a phenomenon

“A new game or a new recipe. Something to help you stay on top of world affairs or something to help you stay on top of your finances. For all the incredible things your iPhone already does, there are thousands more, waiting for you at the App Store.” – APPLE

I have had a Blackberry for the past 5 years and have constantly watched i-Phone users with envy. I would more than often, ‘borrow’ the nearest i-Phone to play with the dozens of apps on it to no end. I felt entirely consumed by the flashing lights, and chirpy sounds which would come out of the small hand-held device. I almost felt like i’d been siting on a pokies machine for endless hours.It was at that point that I had decided. I needed an i-Phone. Fast.

So, exactly what is an ‘app’?

Well, strictly speaking the term app is short for the application which refers to any piece of software that works on a software system of sorts.  In 2007, Apple launched an online store where you buy all sorts of these mobile phone applications specifically designed to run on the iPhone. They sexed it up a bit by referring to them as “apps” and the rest is history.

Application Fixation Facts:

There are over 50 million iPhones and iPod Touch units in use today

Total Active Apps (currently available for download): 688,652 
Total Apps Seen in US App Store: 

Most Popular Categories
1 – Games (123918 active)
2 – Education (71138 active)
3 – Entertainment (64439 active)
4 – Lifestyle (58256 active)
5 – Books (52385 active)

Current Average App Price: $1.83
Current Average Game Price: $0.90
Current Average Overall Price: $1.70


The Rise of the E-Book

15 Oct

I love the sensation of turning worn pages between my fingertips as I sit beneath the warm sun. But, the reality is, the e-book phenomenon seems to be taking over.

WhenAmazon’s e-book reading device, the Kindle, was launched in the US in 2007, chief executive Jeff Bezos said the name referred to “a kind of fire” he planned to start in the book world.

Since ’07, E-Books now represent a staggering $969.9 million (USD) of US sales, grasping 16.55% of the total sales of books and as such, E-Books are substantially linked to the decreasing sales of printed books and bookstore closures.

The Book vs. The E-Book

The Book vs. The E-Book

Although the book industry continues to grow, the book itself seems to be losing its role and relevance in modern life. The US National Endowment for the Arts last year released a comprehensive report on changing reading habits among Americans.


  • They’re easily readable. Most readers offer zoom functions, letter resizing, and so forth
  • They’re easily portable. You can carry multiple books on one device.
  • They’re much more environmentally friendly. You don’t have to kill a few trees for each book, and let’s not even talk about the ink. Recycling only goes so far.
  • Note-taking is much more powerful, and the notes you write can be found and referenced quickly and easily. And they don’t have to be permanent.
  • Lighting conditions essentially become meaningless. Many readers incorporate display lighting allowing you to read whenever and whereever you like.


  • Eye strain and RSI. Long periods spent in front of a screen are definitely not healthy!
  • Power: Your average e-book has 4-6 hours of battery life.
  • Nasty software bugs in the reader can cause it to freeze up.


SO, what’s the verdict?

Personally, I mix and match. I have an i-Pad, and read novels, websites, blogs amongst other things. I own more actual books than I do E-Books, and one of the main reasons why i have the i-Pad was to save me from lugging 2 or 3 heavy textbooks to-and-from Uni, where as now, I can simply download them! (That, and they are less than half the price as the actual hardcopy!) Paper books are still, and will always be my favorite though.


Flipped Lecture Four: A Lecture on Creativity

15 Oct

Much has been said about how creativity works, its secrets, its origins, and what we can do to optimize ourselves for it. In this excerpt from his fantastic 1991 lecture, John Cleese offers a recipe for creativity, delivered with his signature blend of cultural insight and comedic genius.

5 factors that you can arrange to make your lives more creative, as explained by John Cleese, are as follows:

  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate thediscomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

Who is John Cleese?

John Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s he became a member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely DifferentThe Holy GrailLife of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

In the mid 1970s, Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and former Python colleague Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He also starred in Clockwise, and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films as Q, two Harry Potter films, and three Shrek films.

Key Ideas I found in this Lecture:

Creativity and Cleese seem to go hand in hand – which is why I personally found this lecture to be really interesting. It isnt often that an audience gets insight into the mind of one of the worlds funniest and yes, creative geniuses. I walked away from this lecture questioning my own level of creativity – but then I realised, that’s just what Cleese’s lecture was about – the fact that everyone is creative, or can be creative & the very reason why people give up on their efforts is because initially they may be disappointed with the result. But, like Cleese suggests, creativity, and more importantly, inspiration for creativity takes effort and time – and of course, Cleese’s 5 steps for creativity!

Flipped Lecture Two: Where Good Ideas Come From

15 Oct

‘What are the spaces that have historically lead to unusual rates of

creativity and innovation?’


In this flipped lecture, Steven Johnson provides his audience with the compelling and intriguing story of how people are able to generate the ideas that can push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward.

I found this lecture to be extremely interesting, especially when he uses ‘real life’ examples to further support his contention, such as

I also very much enjoyed the overall stylistic presentation of the lecture and found that the use of imagery assist me in understanding the information and also kept me interested. Through this, I decided to watch a TED lecture of Steve Johnson, where he further explains his ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’ approach. This video can be found here: 

Key insights gained from watching Johnson’s presentation:

  • Looks at this problem from an environmental perspective: what are the spaces that have historically lead to unusual rates of creativity and innovation?
  • People often credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments.
  • Flash, Stroke, Epiphany, Eureka, Lightbulb: All moments of inspiration which share a basic assumption that an idea is a single thing
  • Ideas need time to incubate: The ‘slow hunch’
  • With today’s tools and environment, radical innovation is extraordinarily accessible to those who know how to cultivate it.
  • An idea is a network: Ideas are part of larger networks of connections, not the singular trajectory of epiphany.  Though it may seem like we’re struck with that lightning bolt of inspiration—that storm had been brewing the whole time.
  • The Liquid Network: where you have lots of ideas, lots of eyes, different backgrounds, different interests jostling with each other bouncing off each other – that environment is in fact the environment that leads to innovation.

Who is Steve Johnson?

Steven Berlin Johnson  is an American popular science author and media theorist. Johnson is the author of eight books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. He has also co-created three influential web sites: the pioneering online magazine FEED, the Webby-Award-winning community site,,  and most recently Johnson is also a contributing editor to Wired and writes regularly for The New york Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

His recent book, Where Good Ideas Come From, puts forth the notion that innovative thinking is a slow and gradual process based on the concept of the “slow hunch” rather than an instant moment of inspiration, or a ‘eureka’ moment. This book adduces seven conditions that enable discoveries and inventions, which include:

1) The adjacent possible: The inventor must use the components that exist in his environment. 

2) Liquid networks: Large cities, and now the Internet, make it possible for loose, informal networks to form, and these enable discoveries.

3) The slow hunch: It can take years for a hunch to blossom into a full-blown invention.

4) Serendipity: The occurrence and development of events by chance.

5) Error: This can also be a creative force. 

6) Exaptation: An example can include: ‘Birds developed feathers to keep warm and regulate their body temperature and later used them for flight.’ 

7) Platforms: He gives the example of the development of  a precursor of GPS, by the Applied Physics Lab in his lecture. 

Search Engine Comparison

29 Sep

Halloween: Search Engine Comparison


This task required us to make a comparison between three different search engines: Google, DuckDuckGo and Instagrok. For this specific task, I chose to research the topic of Halloween. Admittedly, I had not heard of the last two search engines until I read the assignment brief. However, I did found it to be an interesting experience using the three different search engines.



Google provided me with the most straight-foward and basic response to the topic. I believe that I found this to be the easiest search-engine to navigate because I was already so used to using it. The first result that popped up was Wikipedia, followed by any relevant news relating to the topic. The right-hand-side featured a definition for Halloween, followed by more search results about Halloween films.



Instagrok was probably the most interesting search engine I have used to date. I really liked the way in which it presented the information results. The results on Instagrok’s Search Engine were very well-organized. InstaGrok lets you share links to your favorite searches. Within the results, however, it is difficult for a person to find the exact result that they are searching for as simply as they could in Google. There are also no specific ranking in Instagrok, yet rather organized it search in key facts, mind graphs, mind maps and completely separate the search for website,pictures and videos. The right-hand-side of this search engine also features a key facts section, displaying useful information about the topic.



DuckDuckGo was very similar to that of Google, however it appeared to be more simplified. I found this search engine to be less informative than the previous two, and as such i would less likely use it. The first result that came up was the various ‘meanings of halloween’, followed by the Wikipedia page. Like the previous two search engines, the right-hand-side of this webpage also featured more search suggestions, however with less visible information.


Overall, I believe that Google still remains the best search engine. This is because Google has the ability to compress a lot of information into a limited amount of space. Also, the information given are also very up-to-date which is very important. Furthermore, the simplicity of Google is what makes it popular and while I am all for interactivity, I believe that the other two search engines have failed on all levels in comparison to Google.


How to change your default search engine in Safari: 

  1. Go to the search bar in the top-right corner of Safari.
  2. Click the tiny arrow next to the search engine icon (a magnifying glass), and a pull-down menu will appear.
  3. Change the search engine by clicking the one you want. The new search engine will automatically be added to the search bar.

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