Google forbids users from reselling, loaning Glass eyewear –

Digital Divide?

Google forbids users from reselling, loaning Glass eyewear –

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Redditors Crowdsource Boston Marathon Terrorism Investigation | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Redditors Crowdsource Boston Marathon Terrorism Investigation | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

Posted in Communication, Data, Social Informatics, Social Media | Leave a comment

Do you know who is tracking you? Choose Privacy Week is May 1-7 | American Libraries Magazine

Do you know who is tracking you? Choose Privacy Week is May 1-7 | American Libraries Magazine.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment – Yahoo! Finance

The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment – Yahoo! Finance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Moving People From Welfare To Disability Rolls Is A Profitable, Full-Time Job : NPR

Big Data in action.  Private Company scrolls through welfare data to see if recipients qualify for disability,

Moving People From Welfare To Disability Rolls Is A Profitable, Full-Time Job : NPR.

Posted in Data, Government, Poverty | Leave a comment

Week 9: Library 2.0

This week’s discussion is focused on Web 2.0 and how it affects libraries.  Of particular interest this week was the folksonomies created by tagging.  One cannot go anywhere on the internet without seeing tagged content.  I add tags to this blog that I think are relevant, but in many spaces users/readers are tagging the content that they find.  Although I am not a tagger, nor do I participate in any social media, one site I do love for its tagging is LibraryThing, a wonderful Library 2.0 tool.  Many times I run out of authors to read, and because I am a member of LibraryThing, I can sign in and click on a book in my library and find recommendations, both from the site itself and it algorithms as well as from other users.  LibraryThing like other recommender systems aggregates the data from its users in order to make recommendations.  If you have an Amazon account, you know what this is.  If you like, then you may like . . .  Library user data if used can be very helpful in the library when readers would like to find something similar to what they know they enjoy, making books selection an easier task.

Speaking of books, we also read about ebooks.  Last year for the first time ebook sales surpassed print sales.  Readers are falling in love with their Kindles, Nooks, iPads, etc.  Availability of titles from Amazon or Barnes and Noble has allowed ereading to skyrocket.  Libraries are doing their best to keep up with the ereader phenomenon, but unfortunately, costs and title availability from the publishers are preventing library patrons to have access to the titles they may most want.  The following link exhibits how most best sellers are not being offered by their publishers to libraries and if they are, the exorbitant cost of these titles.  In order for library users to be satisfied with the available etitles, publishers and libraries are going to have to find common ground. PDF of the Top Twenty Bestsellers and Their Availability

Interesting articles relating to ebooks:
AAP Reports US eBook Sales Up 46% in 2012, Now Well Over a Fifth of US Book Market
The Big 6 – eBooks in Libraries
21 Book Publishing Predictions for 2013: Indie Ebook Authors Take Charge
Libraries Can’t Buy Many of Amazon’s Ebook Hits: January 2013 Ebook Report from DCL
ALA applauds Macmillan Publishers’ entry into library market

Posted in Data, Social Informatics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Week 8: Poverty

This week we discussed Microfinance.  I think that some of the points that Aneel Karnani discussed in his paper, “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: A Mirage,” are not really true.  I am definitely not an expert on microfinance or any type of global commerce, but from observations in my day-to-day life.  Just from reading the paper, I get the feeling that Karnani is making assumptions about a population that a sociologist would be more qualified to make, and if indeed others think like Karnani and believe his solutions, then poverty will never be eradicated.

To be clear, I also am not a sociologist, or do I know anything about the levels of poverty in developing nations, but contrary to popular belief we do have poverty in the United States.  Yes, the threshold for poverty in the U.S. is not $700 per year, and to be considered impoverished in the U.S. is vastly different than impoverished nations, but for today’s blog, I am merely making a couple of comparisons of human nature.  Again, I just want to state here that I know nothing about poverty or developing nations; I am commenting on human nature.

“Selling inexpensive, low-quality products does not hurt the poor. Insisting on not lowering the quality actually hurts the poor by depriving them of a product they could afford and would like to buy”(Karnani 21).  Karnani makes this statement after describing an affordable laundry detergent that “c[an] cause blisters” (20).  I think that the poor would like to have a low-cost quality product that does not physically harm them in any way, and as we have learned in our discussions of frugal innovation, this is not impossible.  I realize that this is just one example but it angers me.  It almost seems that by saying that good quality actually hurts them, he is saying that because they are poor, they have no feelings, or are less than human- they do not even want the good stuff- they want to buy harmful products merely because they can afford them.

It is a dichotomy they would like to buy faulty products or are faulty products what they can afford?  Logically, I cannot wrap my head around his reasoning.  Should we not be trying to provide quality products for affordable prices instead of saying that poor people really only want the low quality products.  To me, that is like saying, oh well, your child is really smart, and maybe we can give him financial aid, so you would not have to pay out-of-pocket for a great education, and the parent then saying, no, although we are getting this great education for free, we do not want it because the quality of the education is too good.

I have one more point of contention (to discuss in this post- I could write a paper on this).
“Poor people are, of course, price sensitive. “Companies assume that poor people spend only on basic needs like food and shelter.” Prahalad and Hammond (2002) disagree, stating that “such assumptions reflect a narrow and largely outdated view of the developing world. …In fact, the poor often do buy ‘luxury’ items.” Quite the contrary! The poor spend about 80% of their meager income on food, clothing and fuel alone (Gangopadhyay and Wadhwa, 2004). This clearly does not leave much room for luxuries!” (5-6).
Karnani disagrees with Pahalad in that the poor spend on luxury items.  Later in the paper he implies that the poor “know better,” so they only spend money on exactly what they need.  As I read his paper, I keep forgetting that the poor are different than the rest of us- they do not want what they cannot have, and they never spend money on items that they do not need.  In the Matt Damon video I linked to in an earlier post regarding sanitation, Damon recites the stat that more people have cell phones than access to toilets.  Matt Damon Goes On ‘Toilet Strike’.  Karnani thinks that poor people wanting such luxury items is ridiculous, but as we know from our discussions, a cell phone is not only a cell phone, and mobile technology can improve one’s condition.  People are going to spend money on items they do not need, and just because you are poor does not mean that you are more conservative with your money and spend more wisely.

If what Karnani is saying about poor people across the globe is true, then we need to fire all of our government workers around the world, because according to Karnani, they are inherently different, and they do not need or want quality in their lives; they understand that no matter what cheapest is best, and they will be more fiscally responsible because somehow they missed being a part of humanity.

Side note:
India’s income inequality has doubled in 20 years– Karnani mentions that research shows trickle down economics works.
More recent poverty stats:
Poverty Facts and Stats– 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 per day.  Karnani apparently feels that this is sufficient: “Surprisingly, Prahalad (2004, p.33) even claims that “the poor as a market are 5 billion strong” (4). Surprisingly? he claims? Does Karnani think that $10/day is adequate for people’s needs?

Posted in Innovation, Poverty, Social Informatics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Two Articles About Privacy

Opinion: Privacy was good while it lasted –

The Internet is a surveillance state

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Video on

Charity and Microfinance?

Posted in Innovation | Leave a comment

Syrian Cyber-Rebel Wages War, One Hack At A Time : NPR

Very relevant to ICT and protests.

Syrian Cyber-Rebel Wages War, One Hack At A Time : NPR.

Posted in Government, Social Informatics | 1 Comment

Week 7: Government: Protests and Revolutions

Wadah Khanfar: A historic moment in the Arab world

This week we read about ICTs as a vehicle for Social Movement Organizations.  We also mentioned in class the role of Facebook in the Arab Spring and the fall of Mubarak in Egypt.  Starting with Tunisia, many countries used ICTs like Twitter and Facebook in order to connect with others to organize protests of their countries’ dictatorships, and as a result, many dictators fell during the Arab Spring. The goal was to create democratic governments with democratic elections.  Although this did happen, our discussion made me wonder . . . after these historic protests and the rise of democracies, what happened after the Arab Spring?

A couple of days before class, I heard something on NPR about Egypt, so for this week I decided to check out those countries and see what has happened to those involved in the Arab Spring.  To me, it does not seem to be going great- there is a Civil War in Syria with the Hitleresque Al Assad (he even rocks the mustache)refusing to step down, the military government in Egypt kills protesters, and in Libya, a US Ambassador is dead.

In other oppressive countries, according to Evgeny Morozov, technology is being used as a major propaganda tool: Evgeny Morozov: How the Net aids dictatorships

It seems to me that without a plan, the protests made possible through the use of Social Media, cannot possibly be successful.  So, while Social Media is a viable asset for democracy, other tools must be used in order for that democracy to be sustainable.

These are some of the links I found interesting regarding the Arab Spring:
The Arab Spring Two Years Later
In Post-Revolution Egypt, Fears Of Police Abuse Deepening
Not So Fast: Egyptian Court Suspends Upcoming Elections
Arab Spring two years later

Posted in Government, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Big Data’ : NPR

All kinds of correlations can be found between anything if you have enough data to crunch. This is pretty crazy.

Author Interview: Kenneth Cukier, Co-Author Of ‘Big Data’ : NPR.

Posted in Data, Innovation, Social Informatics | Leave a comment

Week 6: Online Education

This week we talked about how technology has afforded many more opportunities in education MOOCs, MIT and others’ availability of open online courses, distance education programs.  Our SIS program is predominantly distance even if you are, like I am, an on-campus student, but I do like the fact that although I have had to take most of my classes online.  The online classes are not merely read this and turn this in.  We meet through Blackboard Collaborate and have weekly synchronous classes.

What was actually surprising to me this week in our education informatics class was that we did not discuss the downside of online learning, and while I was looking up information on online learning, I came across this: Online Education Vs Online Dating: 9 Similarities. When we discussed social media and kids’ use of the internet, we discussed some of the downsides and how people need to have some information literacy skills. What I thought was interesting about this comparison between online dating and education is that with online dating, people are aware that WYSIWYG is not always the case, so I just wanted to bring up that this also may not be the case with online education.

There are several for profit institutions that have taken advantage of the easier accessibility of online/distance education.  While we have a great SIS program, many of the online programs do not have the same synchronous types of meetings that we have, and the statistics for the for profit schools are alarming in their students’ debt accumulation and job opportunities, so just like in online dating, when choosing a school, one should exercise those digital literacy skills, and stick to the old adage of “buyer beware.”

Here are a few articles about this topic:The Trouble With Online Education
Students at For-Profit Colleges Earn Less, Study Says
How Online College Could Hurt Graduation Rates
The High Price of For-Profit Colleges

Posted in Education, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gates, Zuckerberg: Kids, learn to code –

Thought this was interesting and relevant to our Education discussion.

Gates, Zuckerberg: Kids, learn to code –

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

Week 5: ICT and Women

Although society has made great strides in gender equality, women are still behind in the area of technology.  Some of this week’s reading concerning women’s knowledge of ICTs was rather surprising.  As an adult non-technically proficient woman, I have had notions of what a computer programmer may be like, but my perceptions are changing.  I know many women who are more tech-savvy than their male colleagues, and one of my favorite female hacker role models is found below, Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.


Although many women and girls may have had equal access to computers growing up and in school, statistics still show that girls are not taking advantage of this access the same as boys may, and although they may use computers, their use varies from that of their male counterparts because technology is seen as a “guy” thing. Gaming is a huge industry, and it is a traditionally male enterprise by and for males, but women are becoming more involved in gaming than ever before.  Women gamers dominate mobile market  Unfortunately with this increase of women playing traditionally male games, women are being discouraged by some of the male gamers.  Women are being harassed by men for becoming part of their world.
Online Harassment Gets Real For Female Gamers
What It’s Like For a Girl Gamer

Just as I was surprised by the lack of women in the ICT field, I was surprised that in 2013, men still think that they should have their own “things.”  But, more than that, because men and still have the ability to say, “you are a girl, you can’t do that,” we have to combat these traditional early gender roles.  In order for women and girls to be successful and confident in what are traditionally seen as male subject i.e. STEM, we need to give them their education in a comfortable setting,  Studies have shown that girls in same sex environments feel more confident about their abilities, so I think especially in the STEM classes, same sex classrooms should be seriously considered.  A three year study in Australia showed that girls are more positive about ICTs once they have studied them in a same sex class: Digital Divas The research is pretty interesting, and as a graduate of a same sex high school, I know that not having boys to make fun of me for being a “dork” was definitely helpful to my confidence, and if I had had the opportunity to learn ICT skills, I would have jumped on it without feeling like a geek.

Posted in Communication, Social Informatics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Google chairman: 6 predictions for our digital future –

Google chairman: 6 predictions for our digital future –

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia may block Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, others –

Saudi Arabia may block Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, others –

Posted in Government, Social Informatics, Social Media | Tagged , | Leave a comment