Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reading Response 4: Will Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade?

I had no idea before reading this article how content of wikipedia was actually checked. I admit that I use wikipedia fairly often to retrieve information and it never occurs to me to second guess my findings. I immediately take the information as valid if listed in wikipedia. Since the information is updated by users, I assume it can be very easy to put in false information. After reading the article “Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade” I have realized that there are people who are constantly checking the validity of new posts, editing or deleting, and then contacting (in the nicest possible way) the false reporter to make sure they have their facts straight. Apparently scholars doubt the information posted and are skeptical, but I believe they should join the wikipedia crew and share their knowledge with everyone to help make the online encyclopedia more credible. I did not know that original research is discouraged from being posted, which could lead to the fact that scholars are not so keen on posting. Furthermore, some scholars post and things they write get edited and chopped down, this could also make scholars dislike the process. It makes me wonder who the person is editing the posts and how they are expert in that field. The article stated that topics like science are more accurate than those about law and art. Science is all about facts, formulas, and numbers which can be hard to get wrong. I can see how it could be easy for posts to get messed up when they are covering areas that are lacking in cold, hard facts. The article does not make me want to stop using wikipedia, but it does make me think twice about using it in research and where the information is coming from and if it is all completely accurate. Furthermore, the ease of use and conciseness of the text make it extremely appealing to refer to when trying to find information...wikipedia makes the grade for me. (Word Count:329)

Monday, March 24, 2008

News Report 7: Government taking $44 Million Technology Risk

John Markoff, a writer for the New York Times online site published an article on March 24, 2008 about a technological breakthrough that will most likely occur due to a new grant by the United States Pentagon of $44 Million to Sun Microsystems. Sun Microsystems wants to experiment with replacing wires that connect internal microchips in computers with lasers. Lasers will have the ability to communicate information faster between chips and will increase speed of processing for computers. If this technology proves successful, computers will be much more efficient and able to be “faster, more energy-efficient and more compact.” The plan seems to be risky, but they expect if it works for the performance of computers to be a thousand times faster.

This technology is really great and can definitely improve the functioning of computers. I imagine that computers will be able to handle the multiple things users try to do at a time way better. Hopefully there will be less computer crashes and every computer will be a much better performer. The article claims that it will be cheaper to produce these computers using this technology, but I think that companies will take advantage of this and just increase the prices to make higher profits. This technology will completely change the way get information. It will either decrease the amount of time that we spend on computers or it will increase the amount of things we try to do at one time. I hope with the $44 million grant that every succeeds as planned and in the future we will see cheaper, quality computers available to everyone. (Word Count:268) Replacing Wire With Laser, Sun Tries to Speed Up Data

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News Report 6: TiVo brings YouTube videos to the TV

From an article published on the New York Times website on March 12, 2008, Brian Stelter discussed a new breakthrough in the technology and internet fields. TiVo and YouTube are joining forces to be able to bring YouTube videos to television screens. The videos offered on YouTube will be able to be accessed from TiVo subscribers that have up-to-date TiVo boxes that can support this new advancement. There is a lot of content on the internet and especially on YouTube that is causing people to spend more and more time on their computers and to abandon their televisions. Currently users can watch almost anything on their computers because the internet makes things incredibly accessible. TiVo working with YouTube will combine all ways to watch videos and television shows. Recorded programs, YouTube videos and playlists, movies, cable, and satellite will all be able to be watched from one component.

I think this is a good idea because I am seeing in my life I spend most of my time on the computer. YouTube is a site that I go to multiple times daily; I rarely turn my television on. TiVo is taking advantage of YouTube being such a strong site. I think this will be good for existing TiVo users that have the box that has the right specifications. However, as far using this as a marketing tool to get more people to buy and subscribe to TiVo I don’t believe that this gives people an incentive to run out and drop some cash on this product and service. Computers are a part of everyday life and if YouTube is free to watch on a computer it would be extremely stupid to pay money to watch it on a television set. (Word Count: 290)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Reading Response 3: The Infodiet: How Libraries Can Offer an Appetizing Alternative to Google

Steven Bell’s article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education was a spot-on article that clearly stated how Google is competing against academic libraries for university students’ use in research. Bell stated most of the reasons why students are more inclined to using Google than complicated databases and on-site research in libraries. Academic libraries pay a lot of money for subscription to these databases, but students rarely take advantage. Bell made the point that Google does not always provide accurate information on the questioned topic; Google was designed to provide the most hits on the search topic, but it not always trustworthy to use when writing research based papers. Databases are not as user-friendly as Google and it can be intimidating for university students especially when a lot of the time they are not shown how to use them. Bell believes faculty members should play a part in getting students to use the valuable resource databases provide.

I believe like most of my classmates that Google is the way to find information; it produces lots of results and is extremely easy to use. Although, when trying to find information for school projects and papers Bell is right… Google’s information rarely is substantial enough to even think about using in that context. I think it is a good idea to make databases more like Google. Not a lot of students like to ask for help at the library; we are a technology-savvy generation and it makes us feel incompetent when we can’t find what we are looking for. Asking for help is admitting that we have given up. Bell made a point to get professors to require database articles in papers and I have already seen that at UNCW in some of my classes. It has been helpful when librarians have come into our classes and demonstrated how to use the library website and databases. It has not happened a lot, but it would definitely be a better resolution than making a library class required for graduation. I think UNCW is moving in the right direction to make more students information literate by providing classes, but simplification of databases could really help students prioritize research engines. (Word Count: 364)