Tyler’s Weblog

They’ll be watching you…
December 4, 2007, 3:43 am
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So yet another reason to stay off social networking sites has sprung up, this time dealing with Facebook’s key advertising platform known as “Beacon.” It turns out that Beacon can track users’ activities even when they are not logged in. Beacon was intended to track certain activities of users on certain sites and would report the activities to the user’s friends. Users had the option of not being tracked or reported on their activities. It just so happens that now Beacon is tracking and reporting activities whether the user is logged in or not and whether they like it or not. Beacon has been under criticism lately by several groups and this new finding won’t help its case. If a user checks the “Remember Me” box in order to keep from logging in every time, they are at risk of being watched every time they surf the internet.

I have never enjoyed putting much personal information online. Personally, the less people know about me and my activities, the better. This kind of stuff is happening more and more, there is spyware and hacking can be done in seconds. Is anything safe? How do I know that if I decide to purchase movie tickets from Fandango, my credit card information isn’t being saved and distributed to all of my friends, or even worse, people who don’t know me at all. As an advertising major, I have to think that this can’t be helping the business of online and interactive advertising. With so many people suffering from identity theft, and so many more reasons of why not to trust the internet arising, how difficult is it going to be to convince people to go out and get a product from the internet. It doesn’t matter how high tech a company is, if it can’t keep the trust of it’s customers, then it will crumble in a relatively short time. Technology has never been the most trustworthy tool, and I can safely assume that this incident didn’t help at all.


December 3, 2007, 1:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So I was just scrolling through some of the new tech gadgets while I was looking for presents for family and friends and I saw some things that I had to take a second look at. The first one is just plain weird… the second one is just plain sad… So what are they? Good question! The first is something that every mini-van driving mom and beer chugging hooligan will both add to their Christmas shopping lists. Me? I add it to my “pointless” list. So let me set the mood for this one. You are watching television in the middle of a soccer field and you decide you want to play soccer. The only problem is, all you have is the tv and the remote. Well, since I know this happens to everyone atleast twice a week, I have the answer. There is now, available for purchase, a soccer ball that is also a television remote… Yeah, I’ll say that again because like me, I’m sure you don’t believe what you just read: There is a soccer ball that doubles as a television remote. The ball has buttons and batteries but don’t worry, you can play a World Cup match with the exact same ball. Some things were meant to be combined. Peanut butter and jelly… great combo… cameras and phones… a little bit excessive but still nice sometimes… soccer ball and television remote… are you kidding? I guess that people have figured out that soccer is so boring to watch on television that they should even give the players a chance to change the channel. You can buy this thing online for about $40… and then kick yourself for making such a ridiculous purchase.

The second item is more sad than it is stupid. You can now purchase a wristband that is equipped with Bluetooth. The wristband will let you know when you are receiving a phone call. This isn’t new, there was already a wristband that did the same thing called the “BlueQ” except it didn’t really work. You may be saying, yeah, this is a tiny bit strange, but it’s not sad. But wait, there’s more! The wristband will alert you when you go more than 15 feet away from your phone! Are you serious?!?!? Why don’t they simply design the wristbands to look like handcuffs? If you are tethered to your phone that much then you need a lot more than a bracelet to help you out. What a nice holiday gift! You can now feel like you are under house arrest or a Labrador crossing an invisible fence whenever you leave your room without your phone! You can buy the bracelet for around $48 but maybe they could think about combining it with a watch so it actually serves a real purpose.


In conclusion, yes, technology is great but there are some things that should stay away from production.

The Pen Is Mightier…
November 28, 2007, 4:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So I am not too sure how “new” this techonology is, but I just heard about it. I don’t really watch too much tv but the past week I have seen commercials for a new… toy? tool? writing untensil? I don’t really know. Its called the FLY Fusion Pentop Computer and it is… a pen. Not just any pen though! This pen can help with math homework, translate spanish, play mp3s, and even creating word documents out of the notes you wrote down by hand. Again, I do not know how new this thing acutally is, I have heard of a pen that helps with spanish translations, but this pen can be personalized with tons of programs, your own music and your own handwriting. The pen can talk to you! By taking notes on the notebook (which looks like a real notebook) that comes with the pen, it can tell what you write and send it to a computer. Small dots on the page tell the computer where you have written. This thing makes me wish I wasn’t graduating in two weeks so I could by it and use it. I’ll probably by it anyways without justification.

I never would have thought a pen could do work for you. Think about it… all you have to do is write things, and it will basically tell you what to write. What the heck more can a pen do without doing the work for you? I think that technology like this pen are is going to do one of two things. Either creativity will rise because technology will take away the problems with actually creating things. If you can think it, you can find the technology to do it. OR creativity will begin to decline. Think about it. If we want a pen to do our homework, what else can we get it to do? Write movies? Create art? All we have to do is ask… What do we want technology to do and what do we want to keep for ourselves?

Still Not Interested…
November 25, 2007, 8:07 pm
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Ok, so I have never been too excited about Beowulf. In high school I was caught drooling on my books after I fell asleep in English class. What was the class doing? Listening to a TAPE of Beowulf read in it’s original Old English language. And don’t let the world “English” confuse you. The language is like a mixture of Gaelic and Cat with Hairball. Once every twenty words I would think I heard something that sounded like a word I might have recognized. So when I found out that Beowulf was coming out as a new movie with new technology I can admit I was less than intrigued. I still haven’t seen the movie, but since it earned $28 million in the box office it’s first weekend, I assume SOMEBODY had. I don’t really care about the movie itself but it is pretty cool reading about how they made the movie. The movie makers used performance-capture technology to film the entire movie. Sensors were placed on actors bodies and faces. These sensors detected even the most subtle movements.

The actors performed each scene and their movements and voices were recorded. Digital imagine created the environment and even the skin of the characters. I thought that it was pretty cool, especially when I saw how some of the characters looked. I know that the filmmakers were holding their breath when this movie came out. If Beowulf did well, it would mark the beginning of a new era in film making. The new technology could change the way movies are made because a director can get any shot they want, no matter whether or not it is actually possible. “We began one draft on a flickering firelight, and you realize it’s flickering on someone’s eyeball as he watches the fire, and then we pull back from the eyeball, move all around the hall watching what’s happening in a slow circle. It’s an impossible shot.” said one of the movie’s writers, Neil Gaiman. I think this stuff is pretty cool but I don’t really think I will get too into movies created like Beowulf. The technology is interesting and I understand what Beowulf did for technology in the movie making industry. I am sure there will be plenty of people who will embrace movies like Beowulf, but I can’t say I will be one of them.

A shoe that talks to you
November 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
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Although the technology has been around for close to two years now, I thought I would blog about the Nike Plus because many people are still unfamiliar with what it actually does. I have to admit,the Nike Plus products are the some of the coolest things I own. I’m not sure if that say much about the rest of the things I own… but seriously, this thing is pretty cool. Nike and the Ipod have connected in order to allow runners to listen to music, track their distances, maintain paces, and plan running routines. It was only a matter of time. I have been saying that Nike and Apple were the two companies that were going to take over the world, I just never thought that they would do it together. But back to the technology. Nike has created shoes where a small hole is built into the sole of their running shoes. If you have an Ipod Nano, you can buy a chip that fits into that hole, as well as a receiver that is plugged into your Ipod.

The chip acts as a pedometer. It counts the steps and sends the information to the receiver on your Ipod. While listening to your music, you can press the center button on your Ipod and a voice will tell you your time, pace, and distance run. The technology is not groundbreaking. Pedometers have been around for a long time, and you can find the wireless technology in your television remote. I just think its cool because Nike and Ipod found a way to plug new innovations into the most basic sport: running. Runners can race each other no matter where they are. Marathons are allowing people to “participate” without running a specific course as well. The runner pays that entrance fee, and on the day of the marathon, runs the allotted distance and then plugs their Ipod into their computer. The Ipod sends the information to marathon officials and the results are included with those who run the actual course. How mad would you be if you finished 1st in a marathon only to find out you were beat by a guy that didn’t even show up? Nike and Ipod have made the running world a smaller and more intimate place.

I understand this technology is not going to save the world, get us closer to finding a new energy resource, or help us survive on a different planet. It simply is some fairly new technology that I think is cool. The chip and receiver are fairly cheap (around $40) and you don’t NEED a special Nike shoe in order to use it. I love to run and I love anything that makes running more interesting for other people.

For 10 year olds who have identity issues…
October 24, 2007, 10:56 pm
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A while back I found out about this virtual world where people can create their own characters and walk through a world, earn money, buy virtual stuff… the only thing is, this one is for children. Whyville.net is a place where children go to do all the things that adults do on sites like Second Life. As sad as I think online worlds such as Second Life are, Whyville is probably the coolest site I have ever been to. I signed up out of curiousity (I lied about my age and said I was… 12… which makes me sounds creepy but anyways…) This site offers kids the chance to learn at different worlds. The food they buy for their characters affects it’s health, there is even a beach which was created by Penguin Books in order to introduce kids to their kid-friendly version of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” This beach suffered a hurricane and kids spent their time online learning about the affects of global warming and even spent time rebuilding this online beach. Virgin Records sponsored an online concert of Stacie Orrico. The lessons this site is teaching people are incredible! I am actually learning stuff… is that sad or exciting? Scion is offering online car loans for these kids in order to teach them about loans and credit. I know plenty of college students and even adults that could learn from that. The site is now offering virtual flu shots in order to teach them about diseases and disease prevention. And the thing is… this site is growing like crazy. The site now has over 2 million registered users. I would definitely suggest people check this out… you’d be surprised at what you can learn. I was!

All that Apple stuff…
October 2, 2007, 2:25 am
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After last weeks presentation on Apple, I can’t help but get excited about the future. I mean, its amazing how far technology has come since I was in high school… and I haven’t been out very long. The presentation reminded me how fast this stuff is changing. I forgot that ipods used to have actual wheels instead of the touchpad. Who knows where we will be in another six or seven years? I used to be the skeptic that wasn’t comfortable with Apple, I didn’t have an ipod until this past Christmas, and it was a gift from my girlfriend. I still wouldn’t have one otherwise. The computers made by Apple gave me the willys because I thought they looked confusing. I was so familiar with Windows, I thought that Macintosh must be the anti-Christ. A few years ago my job was to make sure all the computers in the publications lab were taken care of and kept up to date. It was surprising how fast I became so comfortable with the different look. Now I feel just as comfortable with Mac as I do a PC and I have decided to make my next computer an Apple. I could care less about the status symbol, too. I have just become fed up with Windows and the viruses destroying it. Apple seems more reliable. Back to the status symbol thing, I don’t think status plays THAT big of a role in Apple’s success. I just believe that our generation wants technology that flows, which I believe Apple does much well with both the ipods and Macintosh. It seems like they are easier to navigate with and find what you need. Maybe thats just crazy talk, but… thats just me.