The Media Swiss Army Knife

You carry it with you everywhere you go, you can do almost everything with it. It’s probably one of the biggest example of media convergence to date; yes, I’m talking about your mobile phone.

Your phone can access all different types of media from reading an eBook to watching the newest episode of Game of Thrones. And whilst you are reading you get constant BBC News pop ups and messages from your friends on Facebook. In fact it’s difficult to think about any kind of media that we can’t access with our phones!

Because of this I like to see it as a Media Swiss Army Knife, which has everything you need in order to get through the day whilst being engulfed in the world of the internet. It’s also been reported that by 2020 the mobile phone will be the world’s primary connection tool to the internet.

And if all of this has only been accessible to us in the past few years, it’s scary to think what we can have access to in a few more. To quote Ray Kurzweil, a computer scientist and inventor “What used to fit in a building now fits in your pocket, what fits in your pocket now will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years”

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Online Resources – blog

An online resource that I found quite interesting was called ‘New media and internet activism’ which is a journal article by Kahn & Kellner (that I found searching into Google Scholar). The chapter I found the most fascinating was ‘Blogging: Virtually Democratic’ as it talks about how blogs are seen by Google and how the writers believe that blogs are the “ultimate killer application” of email.

The writers go into a lot of detail about points they raise as they are able to back it up with the evidence and offer a link to the website. An example would be ‘Google Bombing’ which apparently revealed that the popular search engine had a special affinity for blogs. Because of this, bloggers would take advantage in popular search topics and use the tool as a ‘justice bomb’ where the example given is searching ‘McDonalds’ into Google and a blog post called ‘Lies About Their Fries’ pops up.

However they do not just talk about bombing search machines, but also different types of blogs such as political and mainstream. And at the convenience that we all happen to have a blog, I feel that this could be an interesting read for those who are interested in knowing a little more about blogs other than posting something to WordPress every week.

The history of dial-up

Dial-up. I’m sure many of you can remember that glorious sound you’d hear coming from the phone. However, according to the United States Federal Communications Commission in 2013 only 3% of the American population still used dial-up internet and is now generally only used as a backup.

Dial-up internet allowed users to connect to the internet via their landline telephone. The computer would dial a server’s modem number and then connect to the internet. I remember running home from school and going straight onto AOL Messenger and having my friend say goodbye at around 5pm because his mum wanted to use the phone.

So how did it all begin? The dial-up modem was originally created for American universities in the 1980’s although due to the popularity and possibilities it offered, was then open to the public in 1992 by a company known as Pipex.

However broadband came along in the 2000’s. Seeing as this was a faster, cheaper and less restricted way of accessing the internet it soon grew to become very popular. In 2007 more than half of the homes in the UK used broadband over dial-up and by 2011 BT Broadband became the leading provider of internet within the UK.

So will dial-up ever come back? Of course not! With today’s technology of fibre optic cables and WiFi connections it would feel like going back to prehistoric times, and who wants that?