Internet-Speak

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Over the past year, I took the Japanese 1 class that was available to us at our school. This is the first time that I’ve actually taken and completed a language class. In the process, I always compared the challenges of learning Japanese to the challenges a foreign person might have when trying to learn English. For example, in English we use am/is/are for defining the subject of a sentence. I am, he is, you are. However, we also say “they are”, which is the same as “you are”. why is it that we have the same word for both a singular second person word and a plural third person subject? It doesn’t really make sense, but since we’ve grown up with the language, we don’t tend to really notice it very often.

Assume hypothetically that you are a student from Indochinalumbiland. You’ve attended your school and taken one year of English. You can probably write some great, complex sentences and do so with good grammar and spelling. Perhaps an assignment was to write a paragraph about yourself in English:

Hello. My name is Arrow. I was born on May 12, 1996. My favorite color is red. My family is four people: me, my mother, my sister, and my father. I live in Hindrawyt, Indochinalumbiland.

I know that a select few of you might be thinking to yourselves, “there is incorrect grammar here – when listing people in addition to yourself, you should include an ‘I’ at the end of the sentence, as in ‘my mother, my sister, my father, and I.” Well, Mr. English master, I know. Did you get the point? Probably. Despite the slight issue with grammar, the sentence is still easily comprehensible.

Now lets say that our pupil Arrow continues to take classes in English and becomes completely fluent. He can do business in English and has even learned Western customs and culture. He could come over to America and fit right in.

Then Arrow discovers the internet. All of the sudden he is faced with a new, untaught version of the English language.

eyy, wassup?

not much lol, just tumblin

ermagerd turblurrrr lelelel

omfg lel?

:D

lol, dont judge bro

lol im not. amyways I gtg. c ya late

What is this mad language? Arrow never learned about this odd dialect in school. It’s still Emglish, but it is vastly different. Arrow has come to the barrier of Internet-speak.

The Internet is a very interesting experiment in language and communication. Online, there is no MLA or Oxford Dictionary telling people what’s allowed and what isn’t. Instead, users have taken the English language and adapted it to their needs. Due to faceless communication, people online use a plethora of acronyms and emoticons to adapt non-verbal communication to be suitable online. In addition, words are shortened and grammar is omitted in favor of shorter words that are easier to type. The internet is a wonderful example of the evolution of language. In fact, the online version of English is basically an entirely new species. A well-educated English speaker from the late 1900s would have a hard time understanding the conversations that are held online today, only a few decades later.

However, this presents a new problem for modern people: We must all be bilingual and use the appropriate language depending on context. Teens in school must know how to talk online in lolspeak and the next day write a paper in diverse, formal English. For some (like me) this hasn’t been much of a problem. However, many others haven’t been so lucky.

Terry Wood, a foreign language teacher at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Md., has seen a “dramatic decline” in the writing abilities of her students “due to Tweeting, Facebook, and texting.”

“They do not capitalize words or use punctuation anymore,” Wood, a teacher with 10 years of in-class experience, says. “Even in E-mails to teachers or [on] writing assignments, any word longer than one syllable is now abbreviated to one.”

(US News)

Online communications has revolutionized not only the method of communication, but also what is being said. The internet has become a fast-paced consumer-controlled network of information and communication. Perhaps as the internet becomes more prevalent in our lives, formal English will fade out from our society in favor of more widely-used Cyberspeak. Prominent dictionaries have already begun to add words such as LOL and OMG to their vast expanse of words, but only time will tell what the future of communication will truly look like.

Yahoo Buying Tumblr? Alright.

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In case you haven’t heard, Yahoo recently bought tumblr for a whopping $1.1 billion.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, says that they don’t want to Yahoo-ize Tumblr. In fact, they want to keep it as a separate entity. Marissa herself actually said that she promises “not to screw it up” on her personal tumblr. But it’s not all cookies and cake: Yahoo! plans on using Tumblr to target ads towards younger audiences.

This means that you can expect to see ads cluttering your Tumblr dashboard soon.

But there’s an upside as well: with a behemoth like Yahoo! running the backend, users should expect to see less downtime and technical issues with the service. That’ll be nice.

Overall, it’s an alright trade. As long as Yahoo! does what they promise to and nothing more, Tumblr should still remain a popular service.

Google Glass Brings Us One Step Closer to the Dystopia of Wall•E

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As you probably know, Google Glass was recently released to a select set of developers for testing. For those of you who don’t, however Google Glass is a pair of glasses that connects to the internet, has a build in webcam, and lets you talk to people and get directions.

This means a few things. First of all, you will soon be able to always have the internet readily available to you without even having to look away from what you’re doing. Secondly, the internet will become such an integral part of our daily lives that we will no longer remember what it was like without it.

Sound familiar? I don’t know if you’ve watched Wall-E, but here’s a basic synopsis: It’s way in the future, and earth was destroyed by the humans. The humans then made a giant space ship and lived on it. It was on this high tech spacecraft that everyone eventually got extremely fat by spending their lives in hover chairs. Every passenger also had a screen projected in front of them, and they were always so focused on what was on their screen that they completely neglected the outside world around them.

walle

In fact, when two people bumped into each other and were forced to interact in real life, it was a new experience for them both.

Here’s just a simple overview of what google glass looks like to a wearer. Notice any similarities?

With Google Glass you can also send and receive messages, get directions, find information from Google Now, and even record video and capture your view through a camera – all available in your eye. Soon people will be walking around completely oblivious to the existence of a real world, and augmented reality will become the only reality.

Compare this scene from Wall•E with this demo of Google Glass:

As you can tell, we aren’t quite to the point of complete social isolation. However, the widespread availability of a product like this will bring mankind one giant step closer to the Wall•e-an dystopia that we fear.

Firefox Jumps on the Mobile OS Bandwagon at MWC 2013

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At Mobile World Congress, a bunch of people with ties huddled into a room in Barcelona, Spain to hear what Firefox had to say.

Firefox announced Firefox OS, a new mobile operating system that will inevitably compete against Apple, Android, and the other big names. I’m not going to go into super specific details, but here’s the important stuff:

Firefox OS has secured shipments on many different devices (many of them very cheap) from LG Electronics, Alcatel One Touch, and some other unheard of companies. It won’t be coming to any devices in the US until 2014.

The big headline of Firefox OS is that they’re ditching a typical app store and instead hoping to have an “open market” of HTML5 based apps. In essence, the OS is basically a web browser. “Apps” are actually just links to websites.

Essentially, I think this is a good idea that will succeed in foreign markets but not in the US.

I’ve covered the quality+userbase=userbase++ concept in my post about Google+. In case you didn’t read that, basically, any social networking site’s best feature is more users for people to socialize with. When you have users, other users want to join, and your user base will exponentially grow. This same system can be applied to app stores. For your phone to be successful, you need apps. For developers to make apps for your phone, there need to be users. For there to be users, there need to be apps. The more users you have, the more apps you have, the more users you have, the more apps you have, and so on.

Firefox OS has the edge here because the “apps” are all HTML based (websites). This means that anyone who has ever created a website has the knowledge to create an app for Firefox OS – so there are already 8 million developers for this OS. Removing the learning curve of a new language and new library for a mobile OS will make it much more compelling to developers and, in turn, more compelling to users.

Phones running Firefox OS are going to be released mainly in China and developing cell areas for a fairly cheap price. As a result, I think it will succeed in those markets where iPhones and Androids are often too expensive. I don’t think it’s going to succeed in America as the competition from Microsoft, RIM, Android, and iOS is very hot.

Overall, I think that Firefox OS is a controversial approach to the Mobile OS – websites as apps – and will thrive in less modernized countries, but fail in others.

 

Our Children Will Have No Idea About Computers

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For the past decade, we have undergone a staggering revolution. Suddenly, computers are becoming faster, more powerful, smaller, and most importantly, easier to use.

If you listen to any speech from the CEO of a hi-tech company, there is almost always a reference to usability.

Steve Jobs, Macworld Expo 2007: “There’s no power brick necessary. And they’ll hook up an HDMI cable to their wide-screen TV, and they’ll use wireless networking to get their content. So it’s really, really easy to use.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Surface Event: “We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience hardware and software are considered in working together.”

Hugo Barra, Google IO 2012: “Android makes your life easier. Simple tasks should never require complex procedures.”

The list goes on and on. Today’s focus is on making it easier to use your devices so they become an integral part of your life. (Now I’m talking like Steve Ballmer after watching all of those keynotes.)

This evolution both gives and takes.

As devices become easier to use, the knowledge needed to use these devices is less. And when we don’t need to know something, we usually don’t.

Basically what I’m saying is that as devices become seamless, anyone will be able to use them, and very few will bother trying to know what’s actually going on inside. To prove my point, I give you an iPad – an extremely intuitive, easy to use tablet – and Iggy the cat – a feline with no technical training whatsoever.

If an illiterate kitty is able to use our devices, it is likely that our children will know as much about the device’s insides as Iggy.

This has another consequence. My generation (the millennials) is extremely involved and educated in computers. As the demand for computer engineers increases, there are more and more millennials coming out of college ready to work. The next generation, however, will be far less knowledgable about computers. This means that as the demand for computer engineers increases over time, the supply of young coders will decline. This will mean that either they will become far more valuable, technology will come to a standstill, or we will decline back into the dark ages.

Okay, that might be going a bit far.

But my general point still stands: As devices are easier to use, our children will know less about them.

Google Kills Free Apps for Business

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Google has announced in a blog post that they are disposing of the free version of Google Apps.

For those of you who don’t know about Google Apps, it is essentially the suite of Google Applications (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Docs/Drive, etc.) but tailored to fit a custom domain/business. I personally use Google Apps for maxswisher.com, and I must say – it’s great. I love having the spam filtering, organization, and amazing reliability of Gmail under my own custom domain. It’s a wonderful system which I love dearly.

And thankfully, this update to the pricing plans won’t affect any current users – meaning that I won’t have to say goodbye to my beloved account.

For new Google Apps signups, the cost will be that of Google Apps for Business – $50/year per user. This is fairly pricey for an individual, but the services were created for businesses in the first place.

Although I don’t like it, I believe that this is a very sensible decision for Google. Think about it from Google’s point of view: Here are businesses paying $50/year for a full customizable suite of high-quality business applications, and there’s individuals creating accounts just so they can have gmail at their own domain (I am guilty of this). As quoted from Google’s blog post:

With focus we’ll be able to do even more for our business customers. We’re excited about the opportunity to push Google Apps further so our customers can do what matters most to them…

 

Apple’s new iPods and iPhone: Simply screwed up

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Today Apple had an announcement about their much awaited iPhone 5 and a few new iPods.

The iPod touch was updated to be thinner with a newer camera, new dock connector, a new chip, a taller 4 inch screen, a new camera and some colored backs. They’ve also added a small magnet for a wrist-strap, implying that it’s targeted for kids. The screen is the same screen that they’ve put into the new iPhone 5, and you’ll read about why I don’t like that later.

The Nano was revised to be a bit bigger, with surprisingly unappealing icons and a stupid design that makes it look like a zune. Seriously, their designs are near-identical (but Microsoft won’t sue because Microsoft isn’t that malevolent). The new Nano introduces nothing interesting and nothing new except for a dock connector which requires a big expensive adaptor to be used with older 30-pin accessories. Worst of all, they called it the “Lightning” connector.

The most awaited product on their list was the iPhone 5, which really, I’m disappointed about. It features 4G LTE connectivity (about time), an “updated” dock connector, a tall, 4″ screen, no NFC, and an overall not-so-great design.

First of all, the screen. It’s the same width as the current iPhone, but they made it a bit taller. I don’t think that it’s the right way to go, as the proportions of it are simply weird. The ratio is very awkward in general.

 

 

Flip the thing around and you’ll think you’re staring at a prototype. On the top and bottom edges of the back of the iPhone, you’ll be greeted with glass. The rest of the back is a piece of aluminum. It looks unrefined and unfinished.

 

 

 

Then, there’s “EarPods.” Apple basically revamped their old headphones and renamed them with a name that I will never come to accept. EarPods? Seriously?

Overall, the announcement was not just underwhelming, it was disappointing. They revamped the insides a little bit, but I think that they went very, very wrong with their design.

 

Brand over Writers? The Magnate Story

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All over the world, blogs are started, maintained, and written to. They are read, whether it be by 1 viewer or 1,000,000,000. Some eventually turn into magazines. Other times, it is a magazine + blog combo. Some just stay blogs. Others might collate their blog posts into a book.

These blogs, sites, and magazines are written by people of all kinds of ages for people of all kinds of ages. There’s fashion blogs written by experts, food blogs written by stay-at-home moms, and there’s plenty of blogs written by tech-savvy teens about tech.

Lets take an example: Magnate Magazine.

Magnate was a magazine that followed Corby magazine, all manned by Sean Spooner.

At the beginning of Magnate’s journey, Sean asked a bunch of people that he knew to start writing and give it some content. A bunch of people from many different age groups said yes, most of them fairly young.

I was one of them, along with a couple more of my friends, Jack Benson and Miramar Jackson.

All three of us volunteered and wrote a few posts for Magnate, all of which got attention and were great content.

It is now quite a while later. Magnate has grown a bit, and they’re getting ready to print their first hard copy issue, when both Jack and Miramar get this email:

Dear Jack,

First of all, I would like to thank you for contributing to Magnate Magazine. Your pieces have helped build and develop the website to the point that it is at today and it couldn’t have been done without your support and hard work.

As we near the launch date of November 10th, 2012 we are looking to strengthen our online and print teams. Because of this, we are required to seek new authors who meet our target audience and due to your age, this does not factor into our ideal target age and we are saddened to say we are having to let you go.

Thanks again for your support and contributions, Jack. We are very grateful and wish you the best of luck for the future.

Warm Regards on behalf of the Magnate team,
Jonny Rowntree
Head of Online

They’re not at the ideal “target age”.

Not to mention, I was kicked off the team without them even telling me. Thanks.

Anyways, why is “brand” associated with “age”? Why do they need to be connected?

Well, here’s what magnate did.

  1. Start off with a website and get anyone we can to write for free
  2. Collect ad revenue and don’t give it out
  3. Create a print magazine
  4. Kick off everyone that was young and helped out in the beginning to make the brand seem older

Basically, they’ve used us. They used us to get them going, then screwed us off because they have more important things to deal with.

I know that this isn’t the only time that something like this has happened. It happens all of the time – people give young, passionate writers a place to write, then once they’re big enough, they forget about the young and passionate writers and move on to being a brand.

So this is what I say:

People with companies, please don’t just forget about your writers who sacrificed their time and effort for you.

People with computers, try to stay away from sites or magazines that you know doesn’t care about writers.

I’ll let you all know of more sites like this, but for now, stay away from magnate – don’t let them win. #boycottmagnate

(PSST: Click here to tweet that you disapprove of Magnate’s “brand development strategies”. )

My Take on iPhone vs. Android

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People ask me about phones all the time. They wonder what they should get for their budget. 

Whenever someone is looking for a smartphone, they always have the exact same question:

iPhone or Android?

Yes, it is the most debated question in smartphone history, similar to the Mac vs. PC battle. And like the Mac vs. PC battle, neither will ever reign superior to the other on all fronts. 

After a lot of thinking, I came to one definite conclusion: Macs or PCs will never be “better” than the other. PCs have more games and more flexibility. Macs have always been trusted for multimedia and are made very carefully. PCs can be upgraded for years and years. Macs have tightly integrated components. 

Neither the Mac or the PC will ever be superior. Macs are right for some people, PCs are right for others. Macs tend to be more refined and user-friendly, but PCs are flexible and can be modified to be lightning fast and always stay up-to-date. 

I’ve also concluded that it’s the exact same with the iPhone and Android phones. 

Android phones are like beta tests. 

They feature the latest and greatest of technology. In an android phone, you’ll find 3D cameras and screens, NFC chips, 4G LTE, new software technologies, and tons of other fancy technology. However, this technology never comes quite perfected; there’s always some little glitch somewhere, and you end up with more of a learning curve to master and take advantage of all of these newfangled capabilities. 

iPhones are like refined, tested, and perfected production products

When Apple decides to integrate a new technology into their iPhone, they really integrate the technology into their iPhone. In an iPhone, all of the technology is closely integrated and embedded into the operating system. This often means more stability, more user-friendly, and easier-to-integrate APIs for developers. 

In conclusion,

iPhones are better for some people and Androids are better for others. Some prefer android because they want to have the latest and greatest and be able to be part of the future. iPhones are for people that want a solid, integrated, working phone that is easy to use and doesn’t take much effort or comprehension of technology to use the more advanced features. Either way, there is no winner. 

Sales of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus are Illegal.

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Seriously people, I’m not kidding.

The phone that I just recently purchased (and love) is now illegal to be sold in the United States.

The culprit? Apple, as expected.

Apple filed a boatload of patent infringement lawsuits against samsung, and where there’s money there’s power. Apple won the lawsuit against Samsung with flying colors, and now the sales of the flagship android device are banned in the United States.

I’m one of those people who thinks that Apple is using its patents too harshly against the competition. It’s like a towel company saying to another towel company “HEY! We have white towels! You’re not allowed to! We’re the only ones who can sell white towels!!”

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Apple has fought (and mostly won) many different lawsuits with Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and every other company who dares set food in the world of creating a smartphone that could possibly compete with the iPhone. Apple went against HTC for the user interface. Motorola initiated the lawsuits against Apple saying that they infringed some their, then Apple said that Motorola infringed THEIR patents, then Motorola said that Apple infringed MORE patents, and the story goes on. In fact, nobody really knows what the patents were about in te first place.

The list goes on. In fact, there’s an entire wikipedia article full of them!

I don’t like the way Apple does things. That’s for sure. Profitable or not, it’s just not fair.

Iranian? Good Luck Getting your Apple Product

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Well, isn’t this surprising.

An 19 year-old student and her uncle were at an Apple Store shopping for an iPad and iPhone at a mall in Georgia. They were talking in Farsi, and when an Apple employee overheard she said “I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations.”

Leave it to Apple to discriminate not only against other platforms, companies with similar home screens, or any other firm that dares to threaten their authority, but also against people from different parts of the world.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time that this has happened at an Apple store. Another customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, went with his friend to a different Apple Store and received similar treatment. “We never talked about him going back to Iran or anything like that. He was just speaking full-fledged Farsi and the representative came back and denied our sale,” said Jafarzadeh to WSBTV. “I would say if you’re trying to buy an iPhone, don’t tell them anything about Iran. That would be your best bet.”

It gets better. An Apple Store manager told a news team from WBSTV about their policy, which said the exportation, sale, or supply of Apple products from U.S. to Iran is not allowed without prior authorization by the federal government. The manager explained Apple Stores have to “rely on customers to be honest.”

And here’s the best part. An Apple Store employee apologized and recommended that they buy their products online. Hah!

So when a US citizen and her uncle come into an Apple store speaking Farsi, they aren’t allowed to buy anything and are basically instructed to purchase the products as long as no Apple employees need to look at them.

This is how Apple rolls, everybody. I could be annoyed at the employees, or the manager, or the Store, but really, Apple is to blame. The same thing can happen anywhere in the US, as long as Apple decides that selling an iPad to a US citizen that speaks Farsi is breaching a US law stating that it is illegal to enter Iran with “laptops or satellite cellphones” without U.S. consent.

Android, anyone?

Apple Says Things at WWDC

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So Apple had some fun at the WWDC Keynote this year.

Siri did stand-up comedy to open.

No really, I’m excited about the new Samsung. Not the phone, the refrigerator.

I must admit, that was pretty funny.

First of all, Apple updated its notebooks. The MacBook Air finally got a speed boost, the MacBook Pro got a speed boost, and the 17″ MacBook Pro bid farewell.

Apple also announced their next generation MagBook Pro, which is almost as thin as an Air, has a retina display, and a new Magsafe Port. Great.

All of these computers have gotten upgrades to USB 3, which is nice for those people who actually have devices that can take advantage of that.

Then, our friend iOS got an update.

Finally, iOS has turn by turn navigation. Siri is available on the new iPad, and has supposedly gotten a bit better. Facebook is now integrated as much as twitter. FaceTime is available on cellular networks. Photo streams can be shared. A new app called Passbook allows you to store tickets for planes, movies, and stores. There’s also a few other things that aren’t worth mentioning.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion didn’t get anything new from what we knew already, except thatdictation will be available in any text field. For many people, this will definitely come in handy.

Some people were unhappy with the absence of an iPhone 5. But I think we should be content with iOS 6, and expect the new iPhone this fall – along with the public release of iOS 6.

I’ve been playing around with iOS 6, and so far it works well. Siri works just as expected, and the Facebook and twitter integration is also very handy.

The MacBooks that were updated are available now, but iOS will be available in fall. Mountain Lion will be available this July.

MacBook Pro

Macbook Air

iOS 6

Mountain Lion