Head in the clouds

 

Being in a media and technology major and surrounded by the culture of internet, it’s interesting how even after three years and one month into New Media, I still cannot define what the Cloud is. To be honest, I don’t even think anyone really covered the basics of the cloud until my EID100 lecture.

Whenever the term, cloud came up in conversation, my initial thoughts immediately go to Apple products and their iCloud system. From my prior understanding, the Cloud is a digital space where you can store and upload your digitalized data (pictures, documents, scans etc). But digging into the background of where the cloud came from and what exactly is the cloud, I found that my understanding was very limited.

The Cloud didn’t begin with Apple products and it doesn’t only store your information. The Cloud is a network of servers that use the internet to store, manage and process information. These servers allow you to upload and download information.

As university students, we use cloud services everyday. Here are some examples of cloud services that I typically use.

Let’s start with some more serious and important cloud services.

Google Drive

Google Drive have become an essential tool in university. Anything larger 25MB in GMail cannot be sent through the email platform. This has cause a huge problem in the past especially for those of us who may have to send presentations, graphics, video or massive files of codes. Google Drive allows us to upload our files onto their cloud service and enables us to download these files when we have access to the internet. Google Drive also has an option to enable others to have access to the information. So instead of giving a USB to your prof at the end of the term and having the prof keep your $20 USB, you can give them access to your Google Drive instead.

Evernote

This has been a lifesaver for me. There are off days for everyone. Maybe you weren’t feeling well and you skipped class. Maybe the classroom (ahem, ENG106) was really stuffy causing you to lose focus. Your nice fellow classmates can take notes on Evernote and send or post the link so others can access the class notes. This has been a game changer in my program for those who don’t actively take notes. Fellow classmates often post a combination of notes at the end of the semester onto our FaceBook page for everyone’s reference and benefit.

Adobe Creative Cloud

A few  years ago, Adobe products were sold in electronic stores in boxes along side Microsoft Office and eFile softwares. Now Adobe offers their products on the cloud where users pay a monthly or annual fee to access their products. On Apple products, Adobe programs can be accessed on the little cloud icon at the right hand corner of the screen. I never really understood the significance until the lecture so it was a huge ‘Ohhh’ moment for me. Basically, when you click on the cloud icon, you can download and update the programs you paid for and all of the program data is stored in their cloud. Much more convenient than going out and physically purchasing the program because who would want to go out when you’re a few clicks and a credit card payment away from your product.

Some not so serious cloud services…

Snapchat

Snapchat is a service where you can upload your images and send to others for a maximum of 10 seconds or uploaded onto your story for 24 hours. When Snapchat came out, their marketing strategy was the fact that the photos sent will be gone in 10 seconds. But let’s be real, nothing you upload through the internet is ever really gone.  These pictures sent through the service is saved on to the snapchat servers for god knows what, but they’re not really deleted. Snapchat also came up with a new service that allows your to save your photos in a memories tab. So Snapchat has essentially became a image storing app as well. Snapchat is a good alternative to communicating to others as you can send short videos and images with ease compared to text messaging or email.

Instagram

Instagram is an image-sharing platform that allows you to upload your image for others to see. Instagram is interesting because over the time you upload your pictures, it creates a timeline of your experiences. This allows you to look back on your memories as well as stalk other people’s lives. Although the act of downloading Instagram pictures is not an option in the app, it can easily be done by screenshotting and saving it into your phone. I prefer Instagram over other image-sharing platforms because of the application layout and the timeline effect it creates unlike other services like Flickr or Facebook where images are often mass uploaded and doesn’t really have a time sensitive aspect to it.

The Cloud is always around us whenever we need it. When we need to upload information, we upload it into the sky of possibilities and when we need it back, we reach up and grab it. The Cloud has become essential in our personal lives as well as our professional lives.

http://mashable.com/2013/08/26/what-is-the-cloud/#5PLePibfokqk

 

How to make your website accessible to everyone

 

The use of computers and the internet has been incorporated into our daily lives. In the way we communicate to the way we pay our bills and other adult things that I like to avoid doing (like my g1 and health card renewal). The use of technology is to allow us to do tasks conveniently within the comfort of our homes. These changes seem to have been implemented gradually however, for those with disabilities, these changes can become more of an inconvenience rather than being helpful.

In 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act came into play to help enforce standards for accessibility to remove the barriers for people with disabilities. These standards allowed people with disabilities to use and participate on the internet with the rest of society.

Here’s a quick and short guide that covers the basics of creating an accessible website for everyone:

  1. Websites are created by html and css. In css, you can use alt texts to  caption your visuals for those who uses a screen reader. If there is no alt texts, the screen reader will simply ignore the image, which will defeat your purpose of taking the time to include those images. screenreader
  2. Similar to number one, use html and css to your advantage by using headers to organize your content in order to allow the screenreader to express your content clearly.  The use < h1 > header one is typically for the title, use < h2 >, < h3>, etc for subsections of your content. (Avoid using headers for aesthetic purposes as it may confuse your audience and how the content is laid out.)
  3. Use colours to your advantage. When using colours on your website, make sure the colours have enough contrast to be read clearly. Avoid colours such as red and green for those who are colourblind.
  4. Use simple fonts that people can easily read. Preferably, sans-serif fonts such as Arial and Veranda to cater to those with dyslexia.

    helloworld
    Cute font but not everyone may be able to read this.
  5. For video, use closed captions to display the text from the audio of the video. This allows those who have hearing impairment as well as those who cannot access the audio to have access to the content of the video.
  6. For audio posts, include a transcript to allow those with hearing impairment to read the content of the audio.
  7. Internet has become crucial in today’s methods of communications. To cater to the older generations or anyone who may have limited motor control, consider keyboard input and speech input to replace the use of the mouse.

I learned a lot by researching for this blogpost. Prior to researching, my websites only used alt texts for accessibility and I was definitely guilty in using headers for aesthetic purposes rather than accessibility purposes. I hope this guide will help others realize the important and how easy it is to make your website more accessible for your audience.

 

 

Etiquette of the Web

The etiquette of the web, also known as netiquette pretty much means:

Basic netiquette is similar to the basic etiquette of life. Be polite and be aware.

The internet has basically become an alternate universe which we live in virtually. We essentially become people behind screens that create and type your own story and personality (or be truthful, there are those people too!). Be polite by being clear and concise in your posts and conversations and don’t spam as that is annoying and most likely ignored and deleted. Be culturally and socially aware as in today’s culture, both online and ‘IRL’ (in real life), people can be extremely sensitive to topics such as race, sexuality and equality.

Here are some quick pointers to good netiquette:

  • Have something to promote? Don’t spam. Whenever I see any signs of spam, I automatically glance past the multiple posts and continue onto the next one. No one will read your promotion even if it’s good. Tip: Use other methods to draw attention. Perhaps, caps your TITLE or bold important information.
  • Have a general understanding of your audience/receiver so you can use the proper language. For example, when sending an email to a friend, using short-form or slang can be acceptable however, when sending an email to an employer, you might want to refrain from using slang and modern abbreviations.
  • Do not steal. Yes, yes you can steal on the internet. People who publish their own blogposts, photos, artwork etc. That is copyrighted information. If you want to use someone else’s pictures or quote a sentence, remember to always give credit and source them.
  • You have internet and so does your employers. Everything is a click away to finding who you really are. Everything you post online, stays online and everywhere else. Don’t be rude and/or abusive.

That’s all for this week! See ya later!

 

[Week 10]: Kill La Kill

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As usual, I changed my idea last minute but thankfully, it was the prototype and not the final project.
I was working on my Avatar piece and I wasn’t feeling it anymore. I didn’t have the effect I was looking for and it was more suitable for my upcoming computer vision project instead. Music was a big issue as well, being a New Media 2017 student, I have very limited resources, I would not be able to use equipment in the cage since I wasn’t “trained” to use it. We were offered to be “trained” if we asked but I’m not sure how I’m going to juggle a full course load plus RTA103 and workshops. I’m already behind enough.  So I chose a song in the iTunes library and it reminded me of an anime I watched over the summer. Listening to the ten second clip, I could already imagine my final project and that’s what I settled for.
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There are quite a few things I need to fix up before my project is complete. I need to figure out something to replace the names of the characters and I am also hoping to squeeze in a two second clip of their uniforms before the title comes in. Because I am adding a little bit more to the sequence, the timing is a bit off and I am hoping to get everything to match up. The graphics are hand drawn with references and I want to change it to my own poses rather than use the same poses in the show.
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I’m not quite sure what motion graphics inspired this as I got the idea late at night after listening to the music clip, but I’m sure I got it during a lectures or surfing online. I’ll post it as soon as I figure it out.