Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Someone Else's Term Project

Virtual Worlds: Multiple Perspectives
Nadia's presentation about virtual worlds was very informative. I learned more about virtual worlds from different perspectives, including how they are used in education, businesses and their sociological effects.
In education, faculty members from various educational facilities use virtual worlds to hold lectures with students and meetings with fellow faculty members. Different universities offer online courses and even degrees to offer full-time employees to obtain their Degrees without leaving from home. Computer tutorials also use virtual worlds for demonstration purposes specifically for modern medicine. Also, virtual libraries, museums and galleries are resources for educators and students so that they can easily spot in what section of the library they can find the book that they are looking for. The military also uses virtual worlds for training purposes (e.g. learning how to use a weapon and proper sights for targets).
Virtual worlds are also used in business from marketing to recruiting. They also use them for internal collaboration where employees from various countries can conduct meetings and meet in virtual worlds.
Lastly, Virtual worlds are analyzed on the sociological perspective. Virtual worlds have been communities for online users. They have provided new opportunities for interpersonal relationships increasing social awareness for both individuals and the society. We have seen one video during one of our discussions that some disabled people feel a sense of belonging in virtual worlds because they can be the online character that they want to be. They can create an avatar online and they are not limited on what they can do, compared to what they can't do in the real world. This is sad in a way because virtual worlds cannot replace the real world.

The Next New Thing

The next new thing: The Holographic Television

At the present time, 3D viewing are available on the movie theaters. But if today, 3D viewing is still limited, how about the future? It is possible that now, inventors are in the process of making the Holographic Television which may be available in our homes in the future. The Holographic television involves the projection of floating 3D images.

Currently, there is not much information available on how a holographic TV set would work. But according to a University of Arizona research team, "they could be constructed as a screen on the wall (like flat panel displays) that shows 3-D images, with all the image writing lasers behind the wall; or it could be like a horizontal panel on a table with holographic writing apparatus underneath." A "hologram projector" would draw the image through the television.

They are currently being invented at the present time. So in the future, we may expect them to be available to the future generations.

Imagine if you are watching in this holographic television, a villain of a movie could be jumping out of your wall like it is happening for real. Exciting, isn't it?

Monday, April 26, 2010

About My Project

Social Networking Sites: Threat to Online Privacy and Security

My Presentation evaluates Social Networking Sites (SNS) as a threat to Online Security and Privacy.

Both privacy and security breaches are often intertwined with Social Networking Sites, especially since anyone who breaches a site's security network opens the door to easy access to information belonging to any user.

According to Susan Barnes of the First Journal, "In the United States, we live in a paradoxical world of privacy. Users of SNS reveal intimate thoughts and behaviors online while on the other hand, government agencies and marketers are collecting personal data about us."

Online, the information you post form your identity. Personal data has become a commodity. Once your information is added to the SNS database and users post user content on these pages, you automatically grant the company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferrable, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly display, excerpt and distribute such for any purpose.

Privacy Issues:

  • User content are distributed to a worldwide audience
  • Defaults settings are set to increase social awareness (by defaulting the public and allowing users to make profiles private)
  • These companies record all interactions and retain them for potential use in social data mining and passed to third parties
  • Vast repositories of immensely personal data, thus becoming a goldmine of information for marketing companies
  • Corporate Espionage
  • Cyberbullying, Stalking and threat of sexual predators

Security Issues:

  • Vulnerabilities in applications/widgets
  • data theft e.g. malicious applications attempt to steal information from Facebook profiles
  • Viruses e.g. Samy worm virus
  • Cyberscams - cybercriminals increasingly using PDF and Flash files as vehicles for distributing malicious code and for infecting end-user PCs
  • Phishing and Spams Bogus emails and malicious apps
  • Identity theft

Why SNS are targets of Hackers

  • A hacker’s motive: “Hit all Once”
  • Because SnS have such large user-bases. If you can infect the [social networking] website you can get to a whole lot of users.
  • Hackers find it easy to disseminate viruses or steal identities from SnS


  • Remember that the internet is a public resource. Limit the amount of personal information you post.
  • Evaluate your settings. Modify privacy settings to restrict who can access/see your profile information and post on your profile
  • Do not disclose too much information, especially your personal sensitive information e.g. phone number, address
  • Manage the information you post on your profile. Do not post inappropriate messages where everyone can see.
  • Keep track of the type of photos you upload.
  • Use strong passwords.
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software.
  • Be wary of strangers who add you online and be skeptical.
  • Be careful with third party applications/widgets.