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VOLUME 16 NO. 1

EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

AUGUST, 2016

©2016 Ski

Words, Cartoons & Illustrations

All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Distributed by pindermedia.com, inc.

 

Happy Anniversary, Baby! Got You on my Mind.”

Little River Band


IN THIS ISSUE:

GO! UP!

IN YOUR FACE!

WHETHER REPORT

ANNIVERSARY

iTOONS

 

NEW EPISODE:

Show Hack!

 

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GO! UP! CYBERCULTURE

This is the first augmented reality blockbuster game. Pokemon Go! has captured the hearts and minds of the public as children and adults wander their cities trying to capture cartoon characters.

But it is a strange fad which adds elements of crime, cheating and bizarre behavior.

The Sun (UK) reported a woman in England, Sophia Pedraza, 26, has ditched her job as a private tutor allegedly making $2,600/ day in order to devote all her time to being the very best at the mobile game, Pokemon Go!

“I downloaded it and immediately realized there is money to be made,” she told the newspaper. “My mum thinks I'm mad but round to the idea.”

After just two weeks ago, she has a new expertise - - -capturing Pokemon “Some days I play it for 18 hours a day because you can play all the time even when you're out with your friends in bars," she said. She plans to accumulate multiple phones so she can level up a bunch of accounts and sell them on eBay. However, selling your game account(s) is a technical violation of the TOS.

“It's a big craze at the moment and there's money to be made, but if it slows down, I can always go back to teaching,” she said. Selling accounts is technically prohibited by developer Niantic's terms of service and can result in suspension from the game. Pedraza is not the only one who quit her job in the name of Pokemon Go, though. A 24-year-old New Zealand resident is now traveling the country for two months in pursuit of catching all 151 Pokemon characters in the game.

 

 

But in reality, it is a digital version of children's Hide & Seek.

Adults doing stupid things like walking into traffic without looking for vehicles or playing the game while driving their cars.

Critics say it is time to grow up!

 

The game cheat to quickly level up is to buy someone else's account. Players are selling access to their accounts on sites like eBay and Craigslist for hundreds of dollars. A level 18 account with a Charizard is currently listed on Craiglist for $350. Some Sellers have lost interest in the game while others are looking to make money. Hieu Huynh, a 21-year-old college sophomore, told The Wall Street Journal that he paid $100 for a level 12 account. Accounts listed on eBay include a level 13 for $70, a level 15 for $100, and a level 20 with CP rare Pokemon for $200. Selling, or flipping, advanced accounts is nothing new in the gaming world, so it was only a matter of time before people started doing it for with Pokemon Go!.

The game, itself, is stupid simple.

Pokemon is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokemon Company. It was released in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices. The game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokemon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices. The game is free, although it supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items. An optional companion Bluetooth wearable device, the Pokemon Go Plus, is planned for future release and will alert users when Pokemon are nearby.

When you first start the game, you will see three starter Pokemon spawn/appear in your area: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. You can pick one of these Pokemon to catch, and once you catch it, the other two Pokemon will disappear. But finding your next Pokemon is not quite so easy. You will need to venture outside to find more Pokemon. Pokemon tend to spawn in well-populated areas like parks, tourist attractions, and shopping centers. You will also find different Pokemon in different areas:water-type Pokemon will only show up near bodies of water, for example, while grass-type Pokemon can be found in parks.

The GPs beacon algorithm has its critics. The game often places characters on private property, or in sacred sites like churches or temples. Property owners are upset with trespassers wandering their property looking for make-believe characters.

Users have found lower levels repetitive with little character change. They also found server issues and game crashes. But that may have been a function that it was such an immediate hit, passing the previous record held by Candy Crush, a simple but addictive scroller.

But in reality, it is a digital version of children's Hide & Seek. Adults doing stupid things like walking into traffic without looking for vehicles or playing the game while driving their cars. Critics say it is time to grow up!

Despite some critics, there are people who praise the game. The game was credited with popularizing augmented reality, the new technology that hardware developers hope will increase future console sales. It was praised by some medical professionals for potentially improving the mental and physical health of players who have to go outside and potentially interact with other people in public. It may be a time waster but at least it gets you out of the house and into fresh air in a quest to find more Pokemon characters.

Numerous police reports have shown players finding a dead body, being robbed and causing traffic accidents.

An Auburn, N.Y., man told police that he swerved into a tree while trying to play Pokemon Go, reports Syracuse.com. The 28-year-old player suffered no serious injuries, however, the entire front end of his car was mangled in the crash. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that two boys who were playing Pokemon Go! in Lake Villa, Illinois were robbed at gunpoint. Arstechnica reported the game has already proven ripe for exploitation of its players with one major social aspect of the game - - -its beacon function - - -has already been taken by criminals as a homing device to find potential victims.

Sunday morning confirming that a group of four armed men had used the app to lure victims to a specific place, at which point they mugged the unknowing Pokemon Go players. The statement mentioned similar robberies taking place in neighboring St. Louis and St. Charles counties. A Gizmodo report received a statement from O'Fallon's police department, stating that “about eight or nine people” were targeted by these muggings in all. Pokemon Go requires that its players walk to a nearly exact point in the real world - - -whose required distance can vary based on your smartphone and its GPs signal - - - to interact with its major systems, which include battle-loaded Gyms and item-granting Pokestops. Additionally, players can use items, either found in the game or purchased with real-world money, to sweeten a Pokestop so that it attracts more collectible (and lucrative) Pokemon monsters. Police believe that robbers are using the game to find people with valuables, like smartphones, in public places like parking lots or parks.

There is also a rumor that the game developer may be selling locations to businesses to draw customers into their shops. If people come into their stores, they may buy their real world items.

This is the first bonafide Augmented Reality (AR) game because it does not require a bulky headset. The actual camera image on your mobile phone is the backdrop for AR characters popping up on the screen. All a player has to do is point, walk and find a character to capture.

The biggest complaint about Pokemon Go from many gamers is that it does not not offer enough depth or complex gameplay.. After players have found some nearby Pokemon, leveled them up a bit, and maybe done some battles at their local gym, they soon realize there is not much inherently interesting in just watching their collection grow and their numbers slowly go up. But some people may just like the challenge to collect all the monsters. It is not known whether the game developer will roll out a second enhanced version for those collectors who want more action as shown in the battle anime series.

But what everyone can agree is that Pokemon Go! was the sudden and surprising hit of the Summer.

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IN YOUR FACE! ESSAY

How people consume information is a constantly changing battlefield between traditional journalism publishers and the social media giants like Facebook. Facebook has been getting aggressive on how it manages its users News Feeds It had opened its sorting process to insert publisher content to show up on user News Feeds But in a data analysis, Facebook found that its users would rather share personal and friend posts rather than being bogged down with third party content. So Facebook did an about-face in regard to placing publisher content links.

Yahoo Finance reported that the panic among publishers is palpable. Facebook (FB) new News Feed algorithm which elevating posts from friends and family at the expense of all else is working. Profits are significantly up . This is not the first time Facebook has made changes to its algorithm. Two years ago the social network noticed Facebookers were gobbling up video at a ravenous clip.

Facebook announced in June it is changing its News Feed to prioritize friends and family over news organizations,the shift will cause referral traffic to publishers to decrease. Publishers were looking for links or referrals to their sites to drive their own advertising traffic revenue. Facebook said in its press release: Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page's distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts.

The AFP wire service notes that the change continues to underscored the rapid shift in media - - -not only is news moving from print to digital, but Facebook, Google and other tech platforms are increasingly becoming the main gateways for information. Technology and social media firms are increasingly playing a role in filtering and delivering news, often with automated feeds, algorithms and “bots” designed to determine the most relevant articles. That means the traditional news industry is rapidly losing control of the news along with the revenue that goes with it, underscoring the profound changes in the journalism world.

“In the past 18 months, companies including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Snapchat, and Google have moved from having an arm's length relationship with journalism to being dominant forces in the news ecosystem,” said a June report. As newspapers' financial woes deepen, most revenue from online news in the United States is going to five big tech companies, a Pew Research Center survey also released in June found. The poll underscored a changing relationship between readers and the news: unlike traditional newspapers where editors determine the most important stories, social platforms are “crowdsourcing” feeds based on how often their users click on stories. Global trends are similar. A survey across 26 countries by Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found 51 percent of respondents indicating they use social media for news, with 12 percent using it as their main news source. Facebook was by far the most important source, used by 44 percent in the total survey.

The ebb and flow of the future of news consumption is being driven by technology.

The response from publishers was immediate too: more video. Big, traditional print news organizations rushed to change the way they delivered content, hiring video teams and producers and photogenic people. When Facebook saw a challenge from Twitter with its live-streaming mobile application, Periscope, once again the response was predictable. It prioritized live video and publishers rushed to meet that need. It kicked off with a Buzzfeed prank involving two interns in biohazard gear, thousands of elastic bands and one watermelon. More recently another Facebooker inadvertently live-streamed his own shooting death. By definition, when something unusual happens in real time it is classified as news. And that is point with Facebook to cull its user content, especially video news stories, to increase its own pageview advertising traffic. Since the News Feed is the beating heart of Facebook's business, the front page of a traditional newspaper, it controls who can post stories. Traditional publishers paid to get their content on the FB feeds so users would hit the links to their own pages to drive their digital advertising revenue.

Since Facebook is a big data analytical company, it can closely monitor how users are interacting with their friends, family and followers. In April, 2016, Facebook noted original sharing on the network declining. That meant users were sharing less things about their lives with other people. Facebook had to stem that tide because it needs to be the primary network between users and their friends and family in order satisfy its own advertisers who target specific groups and interests.

So Facebook constantly manipulates its algorithm to encourage this type of organic people-to-people connection. It makes the network social. However, the upshot of elevating posts from family or people you may have gone to school with is fewer posts from publishers landing in your News Feed. If that decline is material, those publishers are going to be more inclined to pay to promote their content like under the Google advanced search model. That could be a win for Facebook. It gets to have its cake and eat it too. This is dynamic is not being lost among publishers. In fact, they have been worried about News Feed manipulation and Facebook's rising importance to their bottom line for a long time. Publishers are between a rock and hard place. Facebook generates the majority share of their traffic and is home to most of their readers/viewers. Publishers cannot afford not to be in the News Feed so they are forced, against their better judgment, to do everything they can to make sure they commit to social network user experience. Facebook claims it is not in the business of picking the issues the world should read about but rather, its business is connecting people and ideas - - -and matching people with the stories they find most meaningful.

CNET reported that Live Video has become the buzzword of social media lately. In just two (2) years, apps like Periscope and Meerkat arrived on mobile phones, live video seemed like a lark for tech nerds and poor college students looking to watch cable TV for free. But now after user cam videos of Ferguson, Missouri police protests tapped into the shaky and visceral feel of live video (in an unfiltered Max Headroom dynamic way), viewers are suddenly put into the emotion of breaking news events with observers who used to have to wait get the news through edited photos and delayed network news cameras reports.

In March, Facebook began giving anyone with a phone and internet connection an easy way to broadcast live video, straight to the 1.13 billion people who use its service every day. Since then, Facebook Live has become a broadcast outlet. From Ferguson protests, to the police shootings, camera video has been taken by traditional broadcasters as eye witness reports. CEO Mark Zuckerberg described these live video feeds, captured and broadcast from phones, as “graphic and heartbreaking.” That was the backdrop of Facebook's second-quarter earnings results when Zuckerberg underscored how important live video has become to the company. Facebook now views the world as video-centric. “We've seen in Minnesota and Dallas how live (video) can shine a light on important moments as they happen,” Zuckerberg said in his company's earnings conference call.

Zuckerberg is happy because Facebook video now helps add content to his revenue engine. In the three months ended June 30th, Facebook tallied 97 cents per share in adjusted profit. . Revenue, which comes primarily from showing ads to Facebook users, jumped nearly 60 percent to $6.4 billion. Analysts were looking for profit of 82 cents a share on sales of more than $6 billion, according to surveys from Thomson Reuters. Mobile users are also making a significant amount of money for the company. Facebook counted $5.2 billion in advertising dollars from mobile devices, representing 84 percent of the company's total. The growing importance of live video follows another trend at Facebook: Facebook said more than 1 billion people access its service from a mobile phone each day, a new record. That represented more than 91 percent of the people who access the service each day. Most of those mobile phones have a camera on them, and since all of them are connected to the internet, they are each a Facebook Live stream waiting to happen as independent, unpaid freelancers. When users upload video and share, it drives traffic to the News Feeds. In major news events, it draws more users to their Facebook accounts to find the latest news and video.

Traditional journalism outposts decry the unfiltered nature of social media. News is based upon accuracy and factual information not real time opinion, speculation or lack of context. In some ways, the instantaneous nature of social media (coupled with the cable news need to fill 24 hours a day with programs and filler) has created a world of shoot (video) first and do the reporting later. There is more misinformation in live breaking news stories than the final official version of events.

But Facebook does not want to take on the traditional news editor role. It does not want to pay for professionals to curate News and Video Feeds. It lives off free user supplied content. It wants its community to find the truth by mashing together shared posts to find a consensus definition of what is news.

But Facebook and other social network platforms have the power to filter what news and information comes through their servers. It can top load certain types of content. During the presidential primaries, Facebook was accused of scrubbing Republican stories in favor of pro-Democratic positions. An internal study concluded some bias and executives vowed to be more transparent and neutral in regard to political stories. But that may have been only the tip of the iceberg.

So Facebook is diluting what is traditional news by having a laisse faire view of user created posts and video. Traditional journalists are fighting an uphill battle to educate the public on what is news and what is slowly becoming acceptable, social created news content.

The business of big data acquisition is big data manipulation to find trends, profiles and formulas for targeted advertising. Based upon a user's comments and posts, Facebook can gather a bevy of information on one's likes, dislikes, favorite foods, keywords, political leanings and community involvement. Marketing companies will pay good money for compiled information on consumers. Likewise, Facebook is enabling a new kind of information gathering, the user created eyewitness account of events, to be viewed on the same plane as a vetted, balanced and well-sourced journalist news story.

Facebook does not have to listen to its journalism critics. Facebook controls its own destiny, so long as its users like what they are doing on it. Facebook will not have to change its business patterns until someone finds a creative way to get the company some liability exposure. But since Facebook is a safe harbor under the current federal digital laws (since it is not editing and publishing materials posted by individual commentators), there is no need for Facebook to shed any layer of immunity for misinformation.

It would rather continue to be the rebellious, in-your-face outside the mainstream information and entertainment company. That attitude continues to retain users who could have cycled out of the service like many of Facebook's predecessors. It is the retention of the users which is critical to Facebook's future. Using user supplied videos and commentators as the foundation of future growth at the expense of traditional news publishers is something Facebook flicks aside like a gnat at a picnic.

 

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THE WHETHER REPORT

cyberbarf

STATUS

Question: Whether Amazon's on-line dominance will affect brick and mortar retail giants?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

Question: Whether Tesla's auto-pilot accidents will slow the development of self-driving vehicles?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

Question: Whether Donald Trump's brash trolling Twitter rants will hurt his presidential campaign?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

 

cyberbarf

ANNIVERSARY FROM THE PUBLISHER

Let us crystallize the fact that this site has just completed 15 years of monthly publications featuring the examination of the Internet way of life.

Not many things last 15 years; marriages, friendships, relationships, jobs, automobiles, appliances, or even residential roof shingles.

In August, 2001, I wrote:

In the beginning, the purpose is to create a personal ejournal of net observations and essays on this new electronic printing revolution, where individuals are empowered with the tools to make their ideas well known in the public space. We will also take a neo-journalistic view of how the Internet is changing perceptions, realities, and judgments. “Examine the Net Way of Life” is the mission statement.

At the 5th Anniversary mark, we noted something hidden in plain site on blogging platforms:

I noticed that there was a static button in the upper right corner of the page. It said NEXT BLOG. Interesting. So I clicked on it. The screen loaded with another blogspot blogger's page. The button is a random link generator. Click on it and you don't know where you will wind up. You can begin to leapfrog from French, Asian, English, German, and South American pages in a matter of few clicks. Some of the pages are in foreign languages; some are plain bizarre; some are merely web billboards hawking links to all sorts of products.

It can become addictive. This random blog hitting needed a name. So I thought of combining the blogging and the leapfrogging aspects of the activity to coin the term: b'frogging, the random jumping from blog site to blog site.

In the chaos dynamics of chance, you quickly find a real cross-section of what the blogging community represents in cyberspace.

In the 10th Anniversary, we opined:

Critics and possible network system administrators bemoan the fact that the Internet is now classified as a Garbage Dump. World wide servers are filling to the brim with collective garbage. The mental refuge of millions of superficial minds.

“One man's trash is another man's treasure.” But a man going through the city dump for scrap iron, copper cable or other sellable items is recycling materials for monetary gain. In the digital dump (upload land fill), there are no designated dump divers who can take abandoned ideas to make money from them. Google thinks it can make money off of anything informational. But the minute musings of a Bertha the salon nail jockey on her daily blog is nothing the world would pay to read.

Most of the world's posting draws more flies than readers. It is the nature of having one hundred million people face booking, blogging, podcasting or posting for their own personal purposes. It is the Open Diary syndrome. Everyone's life is deemed to be egotistically important. So everyone else should be interested in your musings like you are. So your personal diary is no longer private, but a public monsoon of semi-edited blasts of angst to nonsense.

You can tell the types by those who nag their family and friends on whether they read the last great post, posted only a minute ago. Factor this personality by hundreds of thousand, one can see the pile of information turning into mountains of potential compost.

And that is the problem with digital information overload. It does not decay. Unless a server goes bankrupt, has a terminal fire, those uploads are constantly archived somewhere for no apparent reason except they were once important enough to post, they are important enough to save.

Well, we continue to scrap and save our own Internet musings in this site's archives.

In some ways, this site is pretty much the same format as the original pages. There were times that significant change was pondered but time restraints compelled a conservative course of action. Some may think these pages are retro, because they do not conform to the tiles style of web page production to cater to the fleeting mobile eyeballs. But retro is actually coming back with MTV this month relaunching VH-1 as MTV Classic to show its 1990s hit shows and possibly, gasp, music videos.

While some things change, some things stay the same. A cartoon from the first issue in August, 2001:

Fifteen years later, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is embroiled in her own email controversy. Clinton's original defense was that she was technology illiterate; she did not understand how email and email servers worked even though she directed her staff to create private email servers to avoid federal record keeping (and FOIA) laws. The Justice Department refused to file charges based on an FBI recommendation which many in the political and law enforcement fields found troublesome.

As you can tell, some of the graphics programs have improved (as well as digital cartooning skills) during the past 15 years. But the original purpose to report, digest, comment and even satire current technology and cyberculture events continues on. Why? It is not because our late tech guru first pushed me into this space. It is still a creative outlet for self-expression. Men and women of my generation still need to seek out creative outlets from their normal daily routines. And I have come to realize that there is group of readers who come to this site on a monthly basis for what it has to say. I thank you for that supportive habit.

We will continue to write, cartoon and publish this monthly site. It continues to be a worthwhile effort in an ever changing world.

 

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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

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THE STEAM PUNK SPECIAL EDITION featured new Music from Chicago Ski & the (audio) Real News:

Steampunk

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EXAMINING THE NET

WAY OF LIFE

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All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

cyberculture, commentary, cartoons, essays

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