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Another tip is to always update my iOS or system because outdated ones are easier to hack into.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