Installing RUMP/Genplot in Linux! (finally)

Posted in Linux, School, Science! by Cameron Kopas | No Comments »
My research requires that I use Rutherford Backscattering Spectroscopy to analyze samples at least a few times a week.  I use this amazing technique to characterize multilayer samples, and regularly get information such as: composition by layer, contaminants present, layer thickness/structure, and crystallinity.  There is a powerful (albeit command line) software package available for analyzing these files, called RUMP/Genplot, but it has so far been only available for Windows. (well it was “available” for Linux, DOS, and OS/2, but the professor who wrote it never responded to my emails requesting a Linux copy).
Anyway, I was very pleased to learn recently that the program has gone from a paid license, to being completely free.  Even more recently, they posted the source filename (previously completely hidden) with a note that an experienced user should be able to find the file.   This meant that I could perform data analysis on my own computer, and not have to run down to the iBeam lab every time i wanted to re-check some results!
Well, needless to say, I finally managed to get RUMP/Genplot for RBS analysis compiled on Linux, I suspect it will work the same way on OSX, Solaris, or any of the exotic UNIX variants that the program is compatible with.

first, download the source code tarball at:
http://www.genplot.com/downloads/linux/cgs32j.tar.gz

(the filename might have to be updated with future versions)

if the user is on a mac, they need to install Xcode first (free, form the apple app store https://developer.apple.com/xcode/ ).  any *NIX distribution should already have a c compiler installed.

due to the nature of the makefiles, you have to copy it to the “home” user directory, not any downloads directory, so in the terminal, cd to the downloads directory, then;  (note, the $ preceding each line indicates that this line is to be entered into the terminal, it is not a command itself)

$  mv ./cgs32j.tar.gz ~/cgs32j.tar.gz
move to the main user directory
$  cd ~/
then unzip

$ tar -xzf cgs32j.tar.gz

then move into the new directory
$  cd ./cgs

now you need to choose the correct makefile for your operating system.

$  ls

will output a list of the files in the directory.  makelnx is “Makefile for Linux”  and makeosx is “makefile for OSX”

choosing the makefile for your system,  run it using make -f.  the -f flag allows you to choose a particular file, otherwise “make” will be confused by the multiple files available

$  make -f makelnx

wait for that to finish, then as long as it ends with “leaving directory[…]”  and does not spit out any errors, its done.
The program is all command line, so it must be launched from the terminal each time,  to launch, open a terminal, cd to the ~/cgs/bin directory and start it using:
$  ./rump

then you can use the program as normal.

sweet!  maybe now i’ll write a “getting started with RUMP/GENPLOT” article, since learning basic analysis is horrible.

Things I Want to Learn in College

Posted in Dreams, Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

So I’ve been in college for  three years already, but there are still lots of classes I have not been able to take, and may never get a chance to take.  I am going to stay and get at least a PhD, so I don’t think that I’m completely out of time yet, but I definitely do not have time to complete all of these during my undergraduate years.  Here is a short list of things that I have not yet learned.

  1. Math
  2. Photography
  3. Jewelry design/manufacture
  4. Web Design (PHP/CSS)
  5. Programming (Python, Perl, or another interpreted language)
  6. Cryptography
  7. Wilderness Survival
  8. Natural Materials (wood, stone)
  9. Glass-blowing

Not really things for me to learn in college, but I also need to learn an instrument, and some form of art…

This is an old post, from March 7 that I have no clue why I did not post. I changed “almost 2.5 years” to “three years” in the first sentence, and added glass-blowing (there is a class on that here!)

The Internet and it's Effects on Social Interaction in Modern Society. (Reprise)

Posted in Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

This is the second iteration of my paper describing how the internet has changed social interaction.  The full document is 7 full pages of text, a title page, and one page of works cited. This essay is essentially my “final exam” entry for my FMS 110: New Media Studies class.  I am releasing the full text under the Creative Commons 3.0 US Attribution Share-Alike license.  You may reprint, edit, or do anything you want to this essay as long as you give me attribution for the original work and you redistribute any derivitive works for free under a similar license.  There is also an attached .odt (open document standards are better than .doc!) file at the end with the full contents if you prefer to download the file.

The Internet and it’s Effects on Social Interaction in Modern Society. (Reprise)

Cameron Kopas

cameronk@gmail.com

For: FMS 110

Prof: Michael Burke

Prof: Matthew Rodgers

Due: 12.11.2008

Before the popularization of the Internet, communication over long-distances for things such as friendships and relationships were limited to forms such as the telephone and the postal service. These methods of correspondence allowed for these relationships to exist, but only in limited form compared to what we have today. Writing letters takes time and dedication, and the message may take a matter of days or weeks before the it is even received on the other end, let alone responded to. While the telephone is in some ways equal to or better than the forms of communication discussed in this paper (ability to better convey emotions, and one can hear the other person’s voice), it is generally used in a much less casual way than the methods discussed. This paper will not discuss email in depth, as it would require repetition of information that will be included in other sections. Within the scope of the Internet, the three most significant effectors of social change are likely online chat mediums, social networking, and personal websites.

One of the first online1 social technologies that became popular to the masses is chatting. Online chats have existed since the beginning of the Internet, in forms similar to USENET (which was not implemented until 1979) and similar email lists and bulletin boards, however, these traditionally were used by the technologically elite, who usually do not appreciate the mannerisms and behavior of new or casual users2. The fist major online chat service, IRC brought dynamic chat rooms. These rooms allow people to chat in “realtime” with groups of people regarding nearly any subject. ICQ (meant to be pronounced “I seek you”), released in 1996, was the first Internet-wide chat service that had the chat rooms similar to IRC, but also assigned permanent UIN (identification) numbers to each user. This promoted one-on-one chatting between users, encouraging friendships between specific users 3. However, an online dating program being the main business model behind ICQ likely scared away many people who would have been users at the time, because of the common negative opinion about online dating at the time. Perhaps if ICQ had focused equally on the other possibilities of their software in their early days they would have a larger share of the instant messaging market today. The next widely popular chat software after ICQ was AOL’s Instant Messenger, or AIM. This offered all of the features of ICQ, however with a focus more on talking to friends or people one might already know in the real world instead of meeting new friends online. These services are still available today, however ICQ has only a small fraction of the total instant messaging community, with approximately 15 million active users4. The most popular instant message service on the Internet is QQ, which was released in 1998 meant to be an “oriental version of ICQ.” This service has about 318 million active users, almost all of whom are in China. AIM, released in 1997, has about 53 million active users.

When these chat services became popular among kids and teenagers, there was much controversy over the safety of online chat. Because there is no regulation in the chat rooms, especially in private chat, people can claim to be anybody. As a result of this, there were, and still are, many predators frequenting chat rooms with malicious intent5 should they convince somebody to meet them in person. There has since been a campaign alerting parents and children about the safety precautions that need to be taken to ensure this does not happen6. Law enforcement agencies, and organizations such as Dateline NBC also work trying to catch these predators before they can cause harm. Chat services may have lost some members as a result of this, however, there are sill many people with active accounts.

These chat forms of communication allowed people to talk over long distances about anything they wanted to. The messages are transmitted and received instantly, however these mediums are less useful for archiving discussions (without installing additional or third-party software) than letters sent by post, or emails. Friends are able to have a “buddy list” of people they know, in order to see who is online and available to chat with at any time. This makes it possible to talk with people even if you may not necessarily know their schedule, and you can send a message without worrying about bothering somebody. Often, people activate instant messaging software every time they log onto a computer, making them available frequently, for long periods of time, and allowing conversations to start at nearly any time. One can prevent interruptions by using the “away” or “invisible” feature, which most major chat services enable. This feature tells other users that while you may be logged onto the service, you are not necessarily available for a conversation at the time. It is general convention to tell users why you are unavailable, or when you will be back in case somebody needs to contact you , however they can still send a message and it will still be received the same way as a regular message. Many businesses use Jabber (now XMPP) for on-site chat, because there is no centralized server. This allows for higher security, and makes for easier moderation of discussions 7. Keeping all of the chats within their own systems allows a company to take measures of security into their own hands, to prevent interception, or accidental release of sensitive data into the outside world. It also ensures that instant messaging will not be the cause of any viruses that may get into the system.

The changes in social habits brought by personal websites are also evident. Many families and individuals have personal blogs. These blogs are websites where posts are generally made in a journal style, reverse-chronological order entries that are often about personal events. This type of communication was previously reserved for long letters to relatives or very close friends, and things like Christmas letters to friends. While neither of the previous two have been replaced by blogging, it allows for many more people to subscribe (this involves RSS feeds) to your life and what is going on. There are many different kinds of blogs, and they can be used for many more applications than simple social connections. Some of the other kinds of blogs include video blogging (vlogs), and audio blogging (podcasts). These simply present what information the blogger wants to share in a video or audio format.

Businesses, companies, and individuals trying to promote products have also taken to creating blogs. Many traditional companies use a blog to alert their patrons of news, new information about the company, or simply to build a better relationship with customers. Even when used in a formal setting, a blog generally has a more personal feeling, and is not written with such a formal tone. This helps people to think of companies as being people, or at least more personable. There are also many new business models that have come out of blogging. Companies have sprung up posting information on blogs, sometimes news related, some are product reviews, and recently, productivity and “hacks” (used to describe a way of doing something more efficently or better than normally) blogs have become very profitable. These are generally or product mention supported. One very popular example of these corporate blogs is the Gawker Media Network. This company owns 11 blogs covering many different topics, including tech news, celebrity news, and a productivity blog called “Lifehacker.” Many book authors are also using blogs and podcasts to release their novels for free before publication. The idea behind this is that once there is a large listener base who is loyal, and already knows they like the story, they will be willing to purchase it once it comes out in print. This has worked quite effectively for the authors that have tried it, many making it on the New York Times Bestseller list, and on Amazon’s top sellers lists8.

Similar to regular blogging, but used to a different extent, is microblogging. Microblogging is similar to blogging, however it generally has character limits of approximately 140 characters. This is often used for small insignificant messages that would not be appropriate for a regular blog, or a phone conversation. However, there are many very useful things people have done with microblogging, such as tracking insulin shots, diet, exercise, appointments, and quick notes9. Frequent posting is usually achieved via SMS messaging. Because microblog posts can be done without being near a computer, they are an amazingly fast way to send news to a large group of people. The most popular microblogging website is currently Twitter.com10, which allows you to have a list of people you “follow” (similar to a instant message buddy list) and if you choose, those people’s updates, or “tweets”, will be forwarded to your mobile phone, via SMS, or a “twitter client,” which is similar to an instant message client. Many businesses have begun to use twitter to help solve customer service issues and to quickly get news out to those who follow their company profile11.

Social networking websites have, out of those mentioned so far, the greatest effect on modern social practices. The most popular social networking websites in North America, Facebook and Myspace12, are also a good representation of features offered by the majority of this genre of site. The basic structure of these sites is that you add people as “friends” at which point you can see pictures of them (posted by themselves, or by others who know the person), read about their interests, what they are doing, and communicate with them. Much time is spent creating and updating one’s own profile, posting pictures and changing things like current status (very similar to microblogging discussed above.) This structure makes for constant updates and changes on each page, which means there will be very high page view counts, making this a perfect market for advertising13. Advertisements are what support and make these social networking websites free to their users, and they generate a very high income considering that all content is user generated. Myspace and Facebook both have had different consequences on social interactions today. Myspace generally encourages adding as many people as friends as is possible, which creates many more opportunities for advertisement and unsolicited messages. This has affected many people in that they are now more worried about the number of friends they have, instead of worrying about quality relationships like people have in the past. However, this means that people are able to interact with many hundreds of people on a daily basis, people that they may never have met under normal circumstances. Differently, Facebook encourages only adding people you know or have met in person as friends. While it is possible to add people you have not met, if one indicates that they have never met the person it asks: “then why are you adding them?” This makes Facebook a more personal social networking site than Myspace is. While generally social networking websites require you to know a name, or find in a search people that you wish to add as friends, some networks offer a “people you may know” feature. This suggests people you may want to add as friends based on attending high school at the same time, or if you have a high number of friends in common. This enables people to find and keep in touch with casual acquaintances who may not have been a significant part in one’s life previously, but can become so.

One facet of social networking that is rarely looked at is videogames and virtual worlds. While videogames may have a social connotation of being an escape from real life, the opposite is starting to become true for many players. Most evident in MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games), people now have entire virtual worlds formed by game designers (who are becoming to be seen as artists14) to socialize, live in, and to meet new people. Games like Second Life allow players to chat and meet with their friends, visit stores and businesses, and build their own home, however they want to. These kinds of games actually offer more opportunity to interact with people than their regular lives do15. Even more traditional MMORPG games, like World of Warcraft have social structures in the form of clans, guilds, groups and raiding parties. People who are active in guild membership often meet socially or to discuss strategy in places other than the game, and most guilds heavily use audio chat software to coordinate while playing the game.

Overall, the many opportunities the Internet offers for new kinds of social interaction do effect our social lives today. Social networking, blogging, and instant messaging offer ways for people to stay in touch with those who would have been forgotten if only the previous methods of communication were available. However, on the downside, it dilutes a friendship to something that is only as involved as pressing a few buttons on a website. While it does not prevent the propagation of meaningful relationships, it may over time cause many to forget how it is appropriate to act with those you do not know in person.

Works Cited

Aftab, Parry. “For Kids, Danger Lurks a Click Away.” 19 Dec. 2008. MSNBC Today Show. 4

Feb. 2005 <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6893488/>.

“Guide to Instant Messenger Clients.” Digital Trends. 8 Dec. 2008 <http://reviews.digitaltrends.com/guide/59/guide-to-instant-messenger-clients>.

Hanselman, Scott. “Twitter: The Uselessfulness of Micro-blogging.” Weblog post. 19 Mar. 2008.

18 Nov. 2008

<http://www.hanselman.com/blog/twittertheuselessfulnessofmicroblogging.aspx>.

“ICQ Extends Beyond…” 11 Dec. 2001. Time Warner. 19 Nov. 2008 <http://www.timewarner.com/corp/newsroom/pr/0,20812,669115,00.html>.

“ICQ Safety.” ICQ. 9 Dec. 2008 <http://www.icq.com/specials/safety/>.

Jenkins, Henry. Games, The New Lively Art. 2005.

<http://www.asu.edu/courses/fms110/readings/jenkins_henry-gamesnewlivelyart.doc>.

Jarvis, Alex. “Jetblue- Twitter faster than customer service rep.” The Consumerist. 20 Nov. 2008. 20 Nov. 2008

<http://consumerist.com/5093978/jetblue-twitter-faster-than-customer-service-rep>.

Lapinski, Trent. “MySpace: The Business of Spam 2.0 (Exhaustive Edition).” (2006).

Lewin, James. “Podcasting Promotes Book Sales.” New Media Update. 14 Apr. 2008. 9 Dec. 2008 <http://www.podcastingnews.com/2008/04/14/podcasting-promotes-book-sales/>.

Masters, Charles, and Scott Roxborough. “Social Nets Engage in Global Struggle.” 5 Oct. 2007. 18 Nov. 2008

<http://www.adweek.com/aw/national/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003653287>.

“Microblogging.” 3 Dec. 2008. USA.gov. 9 Dec. 2008 <http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/technology/microblogging.shtml>.

Raymond, Eric. “September that never ended.” The Jargon File. 19 Nov. 2008 <http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/s/september-that-never-ended.html>.

Saunders, Christopher. “Jabber Offers Chat Forums, Upgraded IM Security.” Instant Messaging Planet. 19 Sept. 2003. 9 Dec. 2008

<http://www.instantmessagingplanet.com/enterprise/article.php/3079831>.

Slagle, Matt. “Online video games meet social networking tools.” 26 Nov. 2007. Associated Press. 9 Dec. 2008 <http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695229677,00.html?pg=1>.

1 For the purpose of this paper, the term “online” will be used to describe events that happen over the Internet.

2 September that Never Ended

3 ICQ Extends Beyond…

4 Guide to Instant Messenger Clients

5 For Kids, Danger Lurks a Click Away

6 ICQ Safety

7 Jabber Offers Chat Forums, Upgraded IM Security

8 Podcasting Promotes Book Sales

9 Twitter: The Uselessfulness of Micro-blogging

10 Microblogging

11 Jetblue-twitter faster than customer service rep

12 Social Nets Engage in Global Struggle

13 MySpace: The Business of Spam 2.0 (Exhaustive Edition)

14 Games, The New Lively Art

MSE Presentation

Posted in Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

My Materials Engineering class has an assignment asking us to make a presentation on a materials problem and it’s solutions. I chose fusion reactors and the problem that steel is not good to use to build them. Here is my presentation, which I made using SlideRocket (which does NOT work in linux thanks to a flash bug… ugh I had to use IE6 in Crossover.) You won’t be able to watch this embedded slideshow in Linux unless the big is finally fixed, so I am only posting it after the break.
If you do not want to view the embedded version, here is another link to it (this link doesn’t work in linux either…):
http://app.sliderocket.com/app/FullPlayer.aspx?id=3D46F587-E42C-D451-1D60-1A19CCF27557
Read More »

Promoting Good Brain Development Through Child Raising Practices

Posted in Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

This essay was written and submitted for my online Educational Psychology class at ASU. Citations are not accurate, as they refer to document names and page numbers of works provided for this class, none of which had author or publisher information.  If anyone is really curious though, I can email the professor and ask her for that.

Promoting Good Brain Development Through Child Raising Practices

Cameron Kopas

Due: 12.05.2008

Instructor: Lisa Hildreth

Arizona State University: EDP 310

Our children will literally inherit the world from us. However, they will not only receive what is fine and good about it, but all that there is to hurt and hinder them as well. A developing brain is not something that happens by itself. It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to equip the next generation with the skills and strength to deal with, and overcome these setbacks. There are many topics that need to be understood in order to provide preparedness for these children.

The concept of nature versus nurture is very important in understanding a child’s developing brain. Both nature, or things that would occur without external stimuli, and and nurture, which is environmental stimuli and things that are learned, affect the psychology of an individual significantly. The first ten years of life are the most important for learning, and will shape how a person ants and thinks for the rest of their life. Between the ages of three and ten, children’s brains are more then twice as active as the brains of adults. This period of learning is critical for brain development, and all of the neural connections for adult life are made during this time.

When children are very young, they are learn much more quickly, and they will learn from everything they encounter. This is in part due to to high synaptic density at birth. What that means is that there are many more synapses, or connections, per neuron in children than there are in adults. After a certain period of time though, the body begins a process called synaptic pruning(Developing Brain, 1), which essentially kills off those neurons that are used infrequently or not used. In order to prevent the loss of important synaptic connections, parents and caretakers need to provide a stimulating environment for young children.

Most westernized cultures have a similar outlook on this aspect of child development. Providing a stimulating environment in these cultures is the norm, so in most situations parents do not need to worry about providing significantly more stimulation than is normal. In these cultures It is customary for a baby’s room and and belongings to be very colorful, and most toys aim to stimulate the visual, auditory, and tactile senses. Interaction with other children of similar ages is important, and much of this interaction occurs in places like daycare, preschool, and kindergarten. In the early stages of development there is little to no difference between genders, so it is not important to treat one gender differently than the other, as long as both have the same opportunities.

Ethical considerations prevent most research in this area from being performed on humans because some of the research involves deprivation that can cause debilitating handicaps. Many other parts of the research require physically examining parts of the brain, and cannot be performed on live subjects. This results in most of the experiments being performed on animals. One extreme example of sensory deprivation research is an experiment performed on rats by Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel in the 1960s. This experiment consisted of covering one eye of newborn cats for a period of about three months. Even months after the cover had been removed, the cats still were virtually blind in that eye, and there was a significant lack of neural connections between that eye and the brain (Developing Brain, 6). Another study in this area, performed on rats, shows the importance of many stimuli. It provided some rats with multiple wheels, ladders, and other rats to play with. These rats had on average 25% more synaptic connections versus a control group kept in relative isolation. The rats with more connections were able to perform significantly better on learning tasks, including navigating mazes (Developing Brain, 13).

Language acquisition is another very important segment of child development. Parents need to expose children to the sounds of languages that they want their children to learn early on. This will ensure that when it is time for the child to learn to speak, they will already be familiar with these sounds and be able to learn their meanings faster. Before learning a language completely, all repeated sounds are treated as words or significant by babies. As a result of this, it is also very important to talk to children with full words instead of nonsense or “baby talk” to prevent them from learning and being confused by those sounds instead of a coherent language. If children are to fully understand multiple languages it is important for children to learn at least two before age 10. Unfortunately, many public schools in the United States do not include a second language until well after this, generally in high school, after age 13. This combined with the fact that most children in the United states are primarily only exposed to English at a young age, means most Americans can only speak English.

There is a significant difference between cultures and their languages. Many languages contain sounds that other languages do not, and some languages have completely unique set of sounds. One example of this is evident in Japanese adults who learn English. Because the sounds do not differ in their language, they cannot perceive a difference between the sounds that the letters “L” and “R” make (Words and Numbers, 5). Similarly, native speakers of English cannot distinguish a difference in the equivalent of the sounds “ba” and “da” in the Hindi language. The ability to understand differences between new sounds is available at birth, but that disappears between 8 and 12 months after birth. It is possible to learn to differentiate between these subtle differences at a later age, but only from repeated exposure to a live human speaking the sounds (as opposed to hearing them on a tape or video.) The areas of the brain responsible for language differ from person to person, specifically between those who are left-handed and right-handed, however this does not have an effect on aptitude or the way the language is learned.

Those who are not exposed to spoken language before about 10 years will never be able to fully learn a language (Learns to Talk, 2). This critical period is due to the synaptic pruning discussed earlier, which will remove the neural connections necessary for understanding language if they are not used. This is evident in many people who are born completely deaf. Without speaking training, or a cochlear implant they will not be able to learn to speak completely after the critical period. But those who have a cochlear implant put in at a young age will keep all of the synapses responsible for understanding spoken word, and, if the procedure is done early enough, actually create more synapses than they would have had otherwise. There are ethical issues concerning cochlear implants though, particularly within the deaf culture. Many in this group see this as a type of genocide, trying to eradicate the deaf. However, one positive side of this mindset is that there are people willing to participate in studies involving language isolation without purposefully taking the ability from animals or people.

The caregivers of young children have many responsibilities to promote good development of the brain and to provide a safe environment for the children. Caregivers are generally parents, a hired babysitter, or professionals such as preschool teachers, but all of them need to be able to provide attention and a good environment for children. In the United States it is becoming increasingly popular for parents to put children in day care and not give a young child much attention when parents are with them. This can cause problems, because an important part of brain development depends on strong attachment to a warm, loving caregiver. Specifically, this attachment prepares children for the hard parts of life, enabling them to positively deal with trauma (Rethinking The Brain, 1A-1).

In later years the caregiver is also the primary role-model for children, as most learning is done through imitation. One of the best things caregivers can to to raise a child’s IQ is to talk to them in full sentences (How the Brain Learns to Talk, 5). There is an amazing correlation between how much children between the ages of one and three are spoken to, and their IQ in the future. It is important to note that the television is not a substitute for the attention that a caregiver can give to a child.

Being prepared for a social environment is something that also is learned mostly in the first ten years. There are many things that are important for creating this preparedness, and some are mentioned above. One significant variable is the amount of time the child has around peers. The more time spent playing with other children, the better prepared they will be to deal with social situations. This can be achieved through preschool and kindergarten, outside interaction with other children, and later through structured education.

In conclusion, there is much that needs to be done in order to promote good brain development in children. Fortunately, most parents already know the importance of a few of these through cultural teachings and watching their own parents raise them and siblings. Hopefully though, with the information presented here, caregivers can learn to give children the optimum environment for brain development, and the next generation will be even better prepared than the current one.

Soundtrack to writing this essay, in reverse-chronological order (including repeats, sorry, I just copy-pasted from last.fm)

The Ataris – San Dimas High School Football Rules
squeak e. clean f. karen o – hello tomorrow
Evan and Jaron – Crazy for This Girl
We The Kings – Stay Young
Britney Spears – Gimme More
Paolo Nutini – New Shoes
We The Kings – Skyway Avenue
Blur – Song
Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
We The Kings – Check Yes Juliet
The Maine – I Must Be Dreaming
Jonathan Coulton – Still Alive (J.C. Mix)
Panic at the Disco – The Only Difference between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage
The Maine – We All Roll Along
Taylor Swift – Love Story
The Raconteurs – Steady As She Goes
Carly Comando – Everyday
Britney Spears – Womanizer
Ne-Yo – Miss Independent
Third Eye Blind – Never Let You Go
The Hush Sound – Sweet Tangerine
Jack Johnson – Do You Remember
The Wallflowers – One Headlight
Taylor Swift – Our Song
Sublime – What I Got
Forever the Sickest Kids – She’s A Lady
Motion City Soundtrack – Everything Is Alright
Relient K – Must Have Done Something Right
Wyclef Jean – Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)
We The Kings – Secret Valentine
The Fratellis – Flatline
Paramore – That’s What You Get
Britney Spears – Piece of Me
The Wallflowers – When You’re on Top
Panic at the Disco – The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage (Tommie Sunshine…
The Hush Sound – Wine Red (Tommie Sunshine’s Brooklyn Fire Retouch)
Relient K – Pressing On
Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank
The Hush Sound – Wine Red
The Killers – When You Were Young
The Maine – Everything I Ask For
The Maine – We All Roll Along
The Hush Sound – Wine Red
Britney Spears – Piece of Me
Cansei de Ser Sexy – Music Is My Hot Hot Sex
The Wallflowers – When You’re on Top
The Killers – When You Were Young
Evan and Jaron – Crazy for This Girl
We The Kings – Stay Young
We The Kings – Check Yes Juliet

The Internet and it's Effects on Social Interaction in Modern Society.

Posted in Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

This essay was written for the Introduction to New Media class I am taking at ASU currently (FMS 110)
I release it under the same creative commons 3.0, attribution, share-alike license that this blog is under. You are free to quote, modify, repost, and do just about anything you like, as long as you give me credit for the original work and notify me.

Any comments on this would be appreciated, as I will be editing and significantly lengthening this essay for another assignment in the same class two weeks from now.

Before the popularization of the Internet, communication over long-distances for things such as friendships and relationships were limited to forms such as the telephone and the postal service. These methods of correspondence allowed for these relationships to exist, but only in limited form compared to what we have today. Writing letters takes time and dedication, and the message may take a mater of days or weeks before it is received on the other end. While the telephone is in many ways better than the forms of communication discussed in this paper (ability to better convey emotions, and one can hear the other person’s voice), it is used in a much more formal way than the methods discussed. This paper will not discuss email in depth, as it would require repetition of information that will be included in other sections. Likely the three most significant effectors of social change are online chat mediums, social networking, and personal websites.

One of the first online1 social technologies that became popular to the masses is chatting. Online chats have existed since the beginning of the Internet, in forms similar to USENET (which was not implemented until 1979) and similar email lists and bulletin boards, however these traditionally were used by the technologically elite, who usually do not appreciate the mannerisms and behavior of new or casual users2. The fist major online chat service, IRC brought dynamic chat rooms. These rooms allow people to chat in “realtime” with groups of people regarding nearly any subject. ICQ was the first Internet-wide chat service that had the chat rooms similar to IRC, but via it’s assignment of permanent UIN (identification) numbers, it promoted one one one chatting between users3. An online dating program being the driving force behind ICQ likely scared away many people who would have been users at the time, because of the negative popular opinion about online dating at the time. The next widely popular chat software after ICQ was AOL’s Instant Messenger, or AIM. This offered all of the features of ICQ, however with a focus more on talking to friends or people one might already know in the real world instead of on meeting new friends online.

These chat forms of communication allowed people to talk over long distances about anything they wanted to. The messages are transmitted and received instantly, however these mediums are less useful for archiving discussions (without extra software) than letters sent by post, or emails. Friends are able to have a “buddy list” of people they know, in order to see who is online and available to chat with at any time. This makes it possible to talk with people even if you may not necessarily know their schedule, and you can send a message without worrying about bothering somebody. Often, people activate instant messaging software every time they log onto a computer, making them available for long periods of time, and Some businesses use Jabber (now XMPP4) for on-site chat, because there is no centralized server. This allows for higher security, and makes for easier moderation of discussions.

The changes in social habits brought by personal websites are also evident. Many families and individuals have personal blogs. These blogs are websites where posts are made in a journal style, reverse-chronological order entries that are often about personal events. This type of communication was previously reserved for long letters to relatives or very close friends, and things like Christmas letters to friends. While neither of the previous two have been replaced by blogging, it allows for many more people to subscribe (this involves RSS feeds, which are beyond the scope of this paper) to your life and what is going on.

Similar regular blogging, but used to a different extent, is microblogging. Microblogging is similar to blogging, however it generally has character limits of approximately 140 characters. This is often used for small insignificant messages that would not be appropriate for a regular blog, or a phone conversation. However, there are many very useful things people have done with microblogging, such as tracking insulin shots, diet, exercise, appointments, and quick notes5. Frequent posting is usually achieved via SMS messaging. Because microblog posts can be done without being near a computer, they are an amazingly fast way to send news to a large group of people. The most popular microblogging website is Twitter.com6, which allows you to have a list of people you “follow” (similar to a instant message buddy list) and if you choose, those people’s updates, or “tweets”, will be forwarded to your mobile phone, via SMS, and twitter client.

Social networking websites have, out of those mentioned so far, the greatest affect on modern social practices. The most popular social networking websites in North America, Facebook and Myspace7, are also a good representation of features offered by the majority of this genre of site. The basic structure of these sites is that you add people as “friends” at which point you can see pictures of them (posted by themselves, or by others who know the person), read about their interests, what they are doing, and communicate with people. Much time is spent updating one’s own profile, posting pictures and changing things like current status (very similar to microblogging discussed above.) This structure makes for constant updates and changes on each page, which means there will be very high page view counts, making this a perfect market for advertising8. Advertisements are what support and make these social networking websites free to their users, and they generate a very high income considering that all content is user generated. Myspace and Facebook both have had different consequences on social interactions today. Myspace generally encourages adding as many people as possible as friends, which creates many more opportunities for advertisement and unsolicited messages. This has affected many people in that they are now more worried about the number of friends they have, instead of worrying about quality relationships like people have in the past. However, this means that people are able to interact with many hundreds of people on a daily basis, people that they may never have met under normal circumstances. Differently, Facebook encourages only adding people you know or have met in person as friends. While it is possible to add people you have not met, if one indicates that they have never met the person it asks: “then why are you adding them?” This makes Facebook a more personal social networking site than Myspace is. While generally social networking websites require you to know a name, or find in a search people that you wish to add as friends, some networks offer a “people you may know” feature. This suggests people you may want to add as friends based on attending high school at the same time, or if you have a high number of friends in common. This enables people to find and keep in touch with casual acquaintances who may not have been a significant part in one’s life previously, but can become so.

Overall, the many opportunities the Internet offers for new kinds of social interaction do effect our social lives today. Social networking, blogging, and instant messaging offer ways for people to stay in touch with those who would have been forgotten if only the previous methods of communication were available. However, on the downside, it dilutes a friendship to something that is only as involved as pressing a few buttons on a website. While it does not prevent the propagation of meaningful relationships, it may over time cause many to forget how it is appropriate to act with those you do not know in person.

1For the purpose of this paper, the term “online” willl be used to describe events that happen over the Internet.

2“Eternal September.” Wikipedia. 19 Nov. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/eternal_september>.

3“ICQ.” Wikipedia. 19 Nov. 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICQ>.

4“XMPP.”Wikipedia 19, Nov 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabber>.

5Hanselman, Scott. “Twitter: The Uselessfulness of Micro-blogging.” Weblog post. 19 Mar. 2008. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.hanselman.com/blog/twittertheuselessfulnessofmicroblogging.aspx>.

6“Microblogging”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microblogging>.

7Masters, Charles, and Scott Roxborough. “Social Nets Engage in Global Struggle.” 5 Oct. 2007. 18 Nov. 2008 <http://www.adweek.com/aw/national/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003653287>.

8Lapinski, Trent. “MySpace: The Business of Spam 2.0 (Exhaustive Edition).” (2006).

Physics Homework

Posted in Life in General, School, Stupidity by aliencam | No Comments »

a physics homework problem I just encountered:

A 2.7-kg ball is thrown upward with an initial speed of 20.0 m/s from the edge of a 45.0 m high cliff. At the instant the ball is thrown, a woman starts running away from the base of the cliff with a constant speed of 6.00 m/s. The woman runs in a straight line on level ground
At what angle above the horizontal should the ball be thrown so that the runner will catch it just before it hits the ground?

… why are we throwing a 6 lb ball off of a 135ft high cliff at someone who is supposed to catch it??? I imagine this would be painful…

-aliencam

More Picage

Posted in Life in General, Pictures, School by aliencam | No Comments »

I have a few more pictures I took at ASU in the time period since my last photo post. Here are some of my favorite pictures ive taken using my phone:

one picture of the secret garden in west hall.
another picture of the secret garden in west hall
A tree with purple flowers outside the ECG Building PlazaThe same tree pictured abovethe It\'s Yours Take It manefesto, nailgunned to a building by salvation army
a panda graffiti\'d near the IYTI manefesto on salvation army bldgalways resycle! (seen in the MU)

mouseover the pictures for their captions.

13,583 steps.

Posted in Life in General, School by aliencam | No Comments »

not bad; i more than doubled how many steps i have taken the past three days at home, i am making a guess on how many steps though, because I know i was at 7,900 and then I looked down a few hours later and i was at 641. so i just assumed that at the first time i was at 8,000. so yeah whatever.

Super mario world in the lounge at hassayampa is pretty awesome. would have been more awesome if i thought about it before and brought the pomegranate juice and hte dark chocolate. that’s a real party right htere; super mario world, pom juice, and dark chocolate.

I still ahve some chemistry homework to do, and its almost 1:00 am… damn. i ahve to get up early for class too, but there are people in the room still and all over in teh hallways. damn.

I got my elements poster up in my room, the electromagnetic spectrum one is next, but i dunno when i’ll have time for that–probably between history and chem tomorrow. I also need to get a surge protector so that the plug for my air filter and the water cooler will reach… now that the fridge is where the water cooler used to be, there are no outlets near enough to it. dang.

i am really hungry… i need something to eat other than pom juice that ive been drinking. i did have a big dinner, lunch, and breakfast.. but im still hungry. must have been that silly plumber and those crazy turtles and mushrooms and stuff.

got my printer working today. and by “my” printer i mean the one paul lent me because there are no drivers

for the one that is mine for linux. so paul’s HP all-in-one is an HP so it works by default. w00t for linux and HP being pwnage together. boo for dell and no drivers for dell stuff eventhough dell sells ubuntu laptops. wtf is that. dumb.

Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything.
– Charles Kuralt

…when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I had a monumental idea this morning, but I didn’t like it.
– Samuel Goldwyn

-aliencam

take that, American energy drink companies!

Posted in Life in General, School, Stupidity by aliencam | No Comments »

Bitter Orange (Zhi Shi)

first introduced in Chinese medicine, used for, among other things, increasing circulation and liver function. Bitter Orange increases the metabolic rate and functions to burn fat, increase physical performance and build lean muscle without adversely effecting heart rate. It replaces Ma Huang and Taurine, found in other energy drinks, which may cause heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

Taurine is THE WORST thing you could put in an energy drink. not only does it taste SUPER-GROSS but it also kills you. why can’t american energy drinks understand this?? its not that hard to just not put in taurine!!! it’s not the caffeine in monster and energy drinks that kills kids, it’s the taurine, but nobody believes this. they just want to take the easy road out and blame the caffeine. kids aren’t going to stop drinking caffeine just because you say it’s bad for them. if you genuinely want to save the lives of the kids who will die from drinking these energy drinks, don’t ban energy drinks, just inform people that its TAURINE that kills them! there are plenty of alternatives to taurine, and plenty of drinks that don’t use taurine. when was the last time a kid died from drinking 15 cups of coffee??? never? but 15 cups of coffee has more caffeine than the 7 monsters that that dead kid drank. it was the TAURINE (and preexisting conditions that the kid didn’t know about…) that killed him, not the caffeine.

this [situation] is stupid.

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