Week 13: And that’s a wrap!

Wow! We’re finally at the end of the semester. I still remember my first day coming into COM125 expecting nothing. But now that I’m finishing the course, I realised this mod has taught me many valuable skills and knowledge which I can effectively apply in real-life situations. Shout out to Prof. Abel for imparting these useful information, making us smart fishes that ain’t scared of the net. (hehe).

One major takeaway from this course is that there is a huge potential for the Internet to evolve over the years. The Internet will only become smarter, better, faster and we humans have to be able to keep up with it. One issue that we have to address with a more semantic web is that of privacy. As we become more connected and reliant on the Internet, how is it then we can protect ourselves from malicious hackers?

One trick I learnt is to create smart passwords. Or as Edward Snowden says, smart passphrases.

Another tip is to always update my iOS or system because outdated ones are easier to hack into.

Also, because we were tasked to work in groups, I got an in-depth understanding about our topic, the rise of Memes. Memes may just seem like a “just for fun” thing but it actually has great influence. So much so that companies are using it to promote their products/services.

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And although it might not have much to do with the Internet, Prof. Abel’s project really opened my eyes to the traffic issue that is rampant in Thailand. Everyday accidents occur and lives are lost just because the traffic system in Thailand is not advanced enough and road culture is messy. More needs to be done to improve their road infrastructure and to educate the people about good road sense. “Always drive/ride as if someone is trying to kill you.” That’s what I remember hearing from a motorcyclist. He meant that people should drive/ride on the road defensively so as to avoid any dangerous situations. Therefore, it is good to see initiations such as RoadSafetyForThailand.

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giphyOverall, I’ve learned loads from this course. I hope I can effectively apply what I’ve learnt in the exams to get that A. hehe.

All the best for exams guys! Thanks for reading my blog till now. Signing off mates! ❤

 

 

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Week 12: Microsoft, Google & Apple (Who will win?)

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This is Microsoft’s latest product, the Microsoft Surface Book. It’s main purpose? To compete with Apple’s Macbook Pro, or at least that was what Surface exec, Panos Panay claimed.

Take a look at this post about the Microsoft Surface Book. Apparently, Panos Panay had said that the Surface Book was “twice as fast” as the Macbook Pro. By pointing out their own pros and comparing them against Apple, Microsoft is effectively challenging Apple.

In fact, this is not the first time we have seen the tech giants competing with one another. Apple, Google and Microsoft are known as the three largest tech companies in the scene right now. The competition between them can lead to positive changes in the market, such as an influx of innovation as companies are trying to come up with creative ideas/products to out do one another.

For instance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are permeating the connected car business that Microsoft has been in for years. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant emulates the voice-activated Google Now and Siri software of its competitors. However, not all innovations are value-added as we have seen with the disappointment following the release of the iPhone 7.

In the past decade, Microsoft monopolized the technological scene. But in recent years, we witness Google and Apple’s steady rise in dominance, becoming big competitors for Microsoft. As for where these tech giants stand now, Apple and Google are outplaying Microsoft. This could be due to Microsoft’s complacency – once they were the only player, they did not innovate, rather, only minor updates were provided. Therefore, when their competitors came up with better products/services, it came as a “big slap” in Microsoft’s face as they started losing many of their customers to their competitors.

Furthermore, Microsoft tends to stick to their old business model, such as providing paid softwares. This results in their softwares looking less appealing when compared to Google’s softwares which are provided for free. Not to mention how similar the Google apps are to the Microsoft Office Programs. This makes Microsoft pale in comparison with its competitors. What Microsoft can do is to rid themselves of their old business model and take some risks to outshine their competitors.

After all this talk, who exactly will win in this competition? Well, we shouldn’t hope for any company to win. If one wins and takes over the technological scene, us consumers may be faced with stagnant products/services. (Microsoft’s case study repeated all over again.) We need constant competition between these tech giants so that our technology is always up to date and fresh.

Week 11: Smart Dust

In this week’s lecture, it’s all about the Internet of Things! (IoT)

IoT is defined as “the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.”

Prof. Abel showed us many examples of IoT in class, such as the Driverless car and the Smart farming system. Today, however, I want to talk about another example – the Smart Dust.

Smart Dust is a system of many tiny microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) such as sensors, robots, or other devices. These “motes” are the size of a grain of sand and can be used in many areas, mainly medical, environmental, industrial and military.

In the medical field, Smart Dust can diagnose and cure diseases in real-life. For instance, it can detect issues inside the body or brain (i.e. Blood clots, Cancer cells) and eradicate it early.

In the environmental aspect, the Smart Dust is released into the environment and this helps:

  • Detect weather conditions
  • Spot fires and earthquakes
  • Adjust the climate conditions in an office building
  • Monitor road conditions

In the industrial aspect, Smart Dust allows companies to observe the state of the building, factory, plants and/or farms in real-time. This ultimately helps to improve safety, efficiency and compliance which reduces system and infrastructure costs. As a result productivity increases.

For instance, a F&B store can utilize Smart Dust to monitor their food stores. If it is running low, the dust immediately detects it and places order for the new batches of ingredients.

Smart Dust can also be used as military intelligence. We can use it for surveillance and security. For instance, to detect vibrations, sound and temperature change or to monitor real-time data.

But with all its benefits, the Smart Dust is bound to come with disadvantages. Since the Smart Dust’s reach is widespread, people’s data could be collected without their consent. This gives rise to the issue of privacy. Many people may get the “Big Brother feeling” where they feel as if they are being watched 24/7. One way to tackle this problem would be to create an external governmental body to oversee the operations of this technology.

With this, I hope you’ve gotten a good insight into this IoT. When Web 3.0 is fully established, we will see more IoTs coming into play.

Week 10: Web 3.0, is it here already?

Everyone is talking about Web 3.0, but wait… What exactly is Web 3.0? How is it different from its predecessor, Web 2.0? To answer that, we’ll have to look at the main characteristics that define Web 3.0.

1. Semantic

First of all, Web 3.0 is also known as the semantic web. This means that the Internet is able to process data across different applications and programs. It can also determine meaning automatically, reuse it, and share it. As a result, the web can understand words and phrases as a whole, rather than just keywords, just like humans! (Natural language processing) This will allow users to access data that is more accurate and useful.

An example of how this semantic aspect is put into use is Google’s semantic search engine.  In class, Prof. Abel had shown us a video of how Google’s search engine can filter information that we want smartly, showing us only relevant information. We no longer have to sieve through a bunch of information to find those that we want because Google’s algorithm would have done that for us. (For a more in-depth explanation of how Google’s search engine works, click here.)

2. Ubiquitous Connectivity

This means that users will be connected to the Web 24/7. Networks and services will accompany us daily (whether or not we want it to). Also, softwares will be embedded in our browsers so that it doesn’t require any downloading or installation on your desktop or server.

smart-desk2Not forgetting to mention, every device will be connected to your web. Just imagine accessing Facebook with a smart desk?!

 

3. Personalization

Web 3.0 also allows us to personalize our data. This means that whatever information we ingest online can be tailored to our preferences. Or rather, the Internet is intelligent enough to know what we like and dislike and customize online data to our liking.

This is already apparent with Facebook’s algorithm where they will send tailored advertisements to its users.


As we have seen, Web 3.0 is so much more advanced than the current Web 2.0 which is mainly used for social purposes. Web 3.0 will then path the way to what we know as the “Internet of Things” (IOT), but we’ll talk more on that the next blog post.

For now, let’s answer the question – Is Web 3.0 here already?

Many would argue that the Internet now is far from becoming Web 3.0, but we have to acknowledge that some characteristics of Web 3.0 are actually present in today’s world. For instance, Apple’s Siri is one good example, where techniques of speech recognition and artificial intelligence are utilized to perform tasks for the user. One can request Siri to “Call Mom” without inputting the numbers themselves. And with the new and advanced Samsung Bixby, I expect more of such AI to surface in the market in the future.

With that, Web 3.0 is something I’d like to witness. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to witness Web 4.0 as well.

 

Week 9: Augmented & Virtual Realities

Have you seen this ad on the TV recently? The ad promotes Samsung’s latest release of their Virtual Reality (VR) headset and it comes with the tagline “DoWhatYouCant”.

That is exactly how VR appeals to the public, it allows people to do what they can’t do.

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing. This means that users can be put into any virtual situations they want, be it a horror movie, a cooking show or one where they’ll be flying a fighter jet in the sky.

Other than using VR as a form of entertainment, it can also be used for health care purposes! For instance, VR is able to provide exposure therapy for patients with anxiety disorders such as phobias or traumas.

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Bravemind is one such VR application that treats post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military soldiers. By fighting wars in other countries, the soldiers risk/develop PTSD after returning home due to the stressful conditions they have been placed in. Bravemind gradually puts the soldiers in the same environment, allowing them to be desensitized to the situation. It also allows the clinicians to document the reactions of the soldiers to better assess their medical condition.

VR is often confused with Augmented Reality (AR), although they may seem the same, they are actually different.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed into apps and used on mobile devices to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance one another, but can also be told apart easily.

This means that AR applications combine the real world with virtual elements, unlike VR where the created world is purely virtual. AR applications include popular apps such as Snapchat and PokemonGO.

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Despite their differences, VR and AR do have their similarities. For instance, AR is also used in the medical field, such as providing remote surgery. The video below shows Proximie, an interactive augmented reality platform which enables surgical support to be seamlessly provided from anywhere in the world.

AR and VR can also be seen working together. For example, we can have the user immersed in a VR world while receiving haptic feedback which is considered part of the AR. Seeing how VR/AR products and applications are increasingly coming into use, I am sure there lies a bright future for this two realities.

 

 

 

Week 8: Hello Handsome ;-)

Remember seeing this billboard before? Well, I’ve seen it almost everywhere and anywhere. This Wechat Sex Scam is one of the more well-known cyber crime that was committed in Singapore. So what is this scam all about?

Basically, scammers who claim to be pretty, young girls will go onto Wechat to hunt down gullible male victims who are seeking for sex. These so-called “pretty girls” advertise their services on Wechat for a cheap price, enticing men to engage them. They even send provocative photos to further lure these men into their trap. And when the day comes for the man to meet the pretty girl, he will be asked to pay first through online credits. These credits often come in the form of Alipay Purchase Cards, or in some cases, iTunes cards. After paying, you will think that they will be able to meet the girl to receive her service, but NO, *poof* she disappears on Wechat (by blocking the victim) and the victim would have just lost their money without even meeting the girl. Many men have paid a few hundred dollars to buy these cards, and in one case, a victim lost $35,000.

You might think, “Wah, why these people so stupid?” But do you know, maybe it’s because online scammers are getting more smart and utilizing better techniques to trick people into believing them. In fact, online scams are becoming so widespread that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) have reported a 46.5% surge in online crimes. Posters (as seen below) have also been created to curb this problem.

In an increasingly Internet-dependent world, it is no wonder cyber crime is on the rise. We have to take more precautions when surfing the Net to prevent ourselves from falling prey to these vices. Even changes were made to the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA) so as to reinforce our security against cyber crimes.

The amendments to the CMCA help strengthen our response to cybercrime. The threats have so far been under control, but they lurk in many dark corners of cyberspace. We therefore need to put in place a robust legislative framework, with safeguards, but also with the necessary enforcement levers as part of a comprehensive cybercrime and cybersecurity strategy to ensure that our computers, systems and data are better protected.

– Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee

With that, I end this post and stay safe on the Internet guys.

Week 6/7: Video Editing

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^ Me when we were given to freedom to write about anything this week, as long as a video is included. And did somebody said video ??? DOUBLE YES! Talking about videos is something right up my alley.

Things that provided me with an creative outlet have always sparked my interest. Creating videos is one of them. To fuel my interest in video creation, I bought myself a compact camera late last year. Compact cameras, although not the best in the market, provides adequate functions to film vlogs – which was exactly what I was going for. So here’s what I bought!

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The Sony DSC-WX500. I feel that this camera is value for money plus it fits my skill level (meaning I’m not handling a DSLR when I do not have the skills to do so). With this new toy of mine, I brought it when I went overseas/visit places of interest in Singapore.

It went along with me to trips to Japan, Batam as well as Sentosa and caught a whole lot of footage. As said before, I was interested in producing content. Therefore, I wanted to compile my footages into a single video. In doing so, I choose to use Sony Vegas Pro 13 to edit my videos.

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This is an example of how the software looks.

Complicated? That’s what I thought so when I first used it. But in time I became familiar with how the software works and discovered nifty shortcuts – and this was all due to the help of the YouTuber JustAlexHalford. Remember last week when I thought about e-Learning and YouTube? Well, if you are unsure of how to use softwares like Sony Vegas Pro, you can search the “How-to” videos on YouTube, and in no time, you will be an expert in using these softwares.

Some other video editing softwares that are popular include Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. However, all these softwares require users to purchase it. Still, they also offer trials so you can get a taste of using the software without having to spend money.

After all my rambles, I finally get to the part where I can show you my video.

Here’s a video I did for my trip to Batam. And if you’d like, you can check out a video I did when I went for Sentosa for a day trip.

I’m in the learning process of creating videos, and there’s many videos out there that inspire me to up my video editing game. This is one of them. My fellow classmate, Asyraf, also does amazing videos.

One day, I aspire to create beautiful and interesting content for others to see! But I prolly have to get my school work done to squeeze out time to complete videos and to hone my skills. It may be tiring to do up even one video sometimes. Gotta stay committed!

With that I conclude this post.

See ya on the next post friends! (: