Thursday, November 16, 2017

Internet and IP Adresses

Internet and IP Addresses

What is a protocol?
- Protocol is the set of rules that all users of the internet agree to follow in order to communicate between machines.


What is an Internet Protocol (IP) address?
- An IP address is a set of numbers unique to each computer or device on the internet.  This address, similar to a mailing address, allows each computer to be communicated with and is part of the standard Internet Protocol, mandating every computer address.


How is it organized hierarchically?
- IP addresses are organized hierarchically to sort them into different categories.  Most IP addresses have 4 parts, 8 bits each, and the different parts break it down by country, region, subnetwork, and specific device.  This makes its easy to locate devices and communicate with them.


How many bits are in an IPv4 address?
- There are 32 bits to IPv4 addresses, 8 bits to each part of the address.


How many IPv4 addresses does that mean there are?
- There are 4 billion addresses, but because this is not enough for the number of devices now, we are in the transition to new addresses named IPv6.  IPv4 was designed in 1973 and adopted in the 1980s so they did not accurately predict the number of devices that would be used.


What is the difference between IPv6 and IPv4?
- IPv6 uses 128 bits per address as compared to the 32 of IPv4.  IPv6 can account for over 340 undecillion addresses, much more than the 4 billion that IPv4 provided.


Why do we need IPv6?
- Because IPv4 cannot account for all the devices connected to the internet, we need IPv6 to help account for all if them.


What is an IP packet?
- IP packets are pieces of information, that take different routes to get to the destination, and are reassembled to display the finished product.  An example of this would be when someone uploads an image onto the internet, the image will be broken down into packets.


What is the difference between an IP address and an IP Packet?
- An IP address is the specific set of numbers to each device connected to the internet to helps group them by location.  An IP packet is a piece of information being sent to a destination, along with other pieces of information although each may not be sent the same way, to be reconstructed into the whole again.


What is the purpose of the Domain Name System (DNS)?
- It associates names with specific IP address.  The computer uses this system to look up domain names to get the address, which connects the device to the destination on the internet.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Personal Data Articles

The first article titled What Did You Think They Do With Your Data by John Battelle on NewCo Shift informs readers on the reality that companies offering “free” services are using your personal information for their benefit, often selling it to other organizations.  This specific example in this article is how the free AccuWeather app was selling anonymized data of their users to a third party company even though some of those users selected to not allow AccuWeather to access their location.  The way AccuWeather has managed to do this is by asking misleading questions to make the user believe one thing when in reality they are utilizing something the user did not think of, so in this situation location.  The article reminds us to always be cautious when using “free” services, because nothing is truly free.
In the next article, For $1000, Anyone Can Purchase Online Ads to Track Your Location and App Use by Jennifer Langston on University of Washington News explained the dark truth about online advertisements.  The article talks about how companies can know when someone enters specific areas based on location based ads.  The person who buys this ad can know further information on the victim, like what other apps they use.  This articles acts as another reminder on how to handle the ever changing digitalized world.
The final article When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Share Your Location Using a Smartphone by Brian Chen with the New York Times explores the benefits and dangers of location sharing services like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Snapchat.  He provided an example where his wife could use his location when he was in a motor accident where finding his location was very helpful.  Other times when sharing a location is when someone needs to meet up with a group of people or when a parent tracks a child.  He also noted that not all location sharing services are accurate and they need improvement.  It is important to remember to never give your location away to strangers, but restrictions are easy to set.
All of the above articles were very informative and in a way helped me think about using technology a little differently.  The first articles made me think of things most people like to ignore, and made me actually realize what “free” accounts are.  I am not saying all free services are bad, but when I put out my personal information is could always be used maliciously.  The second article surprised me the most on how someone can pay for ads and track your location.  UW News did a good job of simplifying the fairly complex subject.  The only question I had was what determines a “designated area” for someone to be in located via advertisements.  Could this be potentially anywhere with LTE connection or do they have to be connected to an unsecure public network?  The final article was pretty standard, and I felt aware of all of the material, but it was a definite reminder of what today’s technology is capable of.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Microchips in Humans

Recently, multiple companies have started microchipping, or inserting a tiny computer chip into one’s body, its employees.  This futuristic technology offerers many benefits and improvements, but it also has downsides that accompany it like any new technology nowadays.  The first benefit is that it has the potential to make tasks more efficient and quicker.  Modern companies, like Three Square Market in Wisconsin, allow employees to scan their ID or use the coffee machine or photocopier simply by waving their hand with the microchip.  The possibility of one’s passport being linked to the microchip is on the horizon which could seriously eliminate lines.  Another benefit would be that it cuts down on documents that one carries around.  This has the potential to be one’s ID, credit cards, and passport, and someone would not have to worry about all of their important documents when they are stored right inside them at all times.  The third and final benefit is in the medical world, doctors can quickly identify a person and their medical history when in the hospital setting.  This is slightly different from a phone or handheld device because this device is always inside the body of the person.  This small but vital improvement can make a big difference for important situations.  The new technology also may have some negative side effects along with it.  First off, inserting a computing device within or under the skin of a human could be a health issue concerning irritation, infection, or migration of the object in the body.  If a company make its employee have microchips inserted in them and the employee has a health issue relating to the chip, who is to blame?  Another issue is that one’s personal data is being stored on the device.  That personal data is transmitted to scanners outside of the body and it could possibly be intercepted.  Just like credit cards, the chip needs to be used with extreme caution; however, the only problem is the user may not be aware or have the choice, since it is implanted within them.  The third and final concern is the possibility of GPS tracking the device.  With this, your location will always be known.  Although this is basically true today, the chip is inside your body and it is much harder to get rid of.  This can help companies know where and how their employees are doing their work, but raises moral concerns and is somewhat unsettling.
This technology still seems futuristic and definitely still has a ways to go.  This chip used by companies right now is fairly simple and basically only eliminates the action of getting a card or phone out of their pocket.  To some, it is not worth inserting a computing device into their skin to eliminate a ten second daily activity.  To others, this is a large step into future technology where the technology now conforms to our bodies for maximum efficiency.  Personally, I do not believe many other companies are going to join the microchipping community in the near future.  This is because the current microchips are only used to scan ID and use machines.  Eventually, technology similar to this will replace our wallets, but based off research I do not think this will happen within the next 5 years.

Works Cited
Wright, Aliah D. “Microchipping Employees: Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?” SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management, 7 Aug. 2017, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/microchipping-employees-do-the-pros-outweigh-the-cons.aspx.

Gaughan, Richard. “Advantages & Disadvantages of RFID Technology in Humans.” It Still Works, Leaf Group, 2017, itstillworks.com/advantages-disadvantages-rfid-technology-humans-18010.html.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Everyday Algorithm

Example of an Algorithm in English of an everyday activity:

1d. Given a pile of pens, find and discard the ones that do not write any more.
1 pick up pen
2 take off pencap
3 scribble with pen
4 if pen has ink
5 put pen to side
6 go to line 1
7 else if the pen has no ink
8 throw out pen
9 go to line 1
10 else
11 put all pens back where found

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Tech Spotlight

Spotify is an online music streaming streaming service designed to innovate the concept of listening to music.  In 2006, two young Swedish entrepreneurs, Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek, founded Spotify.  It was designed to allow users to find a more affordable way to listening to music instead of purchasing and downloading every song onto their device, and within the next decade it had transformed the music industry and had become one of the most popular music streaming applications in the world.
Spotify is an application for phones, touchscreen tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.  From a selection of over 30 million tracks, users can sort through thousands of playlists depending what genre they are interested in or mood they are in.  The application also allows you to create your own playlists and save songs, so in the future you are able to listen to your favorite songs.  Spotify takes a whole new approach to the music business by creating the online “radio” way, by customizing your own preferences. Although there were previous applications using the online radio approach, like Pandora, none were as successful as Spotify.  This may be because in marketing, other companies offer random playlist of different genres, whereas Spotify allows the user to save their own songs, which turned out to be an alternative to buying each individual song. There are some limitations to Spotify, however.  For the mobile version used on smartphones, there are two versions.  There is Spotify Free which allows the user to shuffle play any playlist he or she chooses, but they cannot play any track on demand. The user is also limited to skip a track 6 times in an hour and are subject to advertisements between the tracks after a short time of listening.  The paid version of the app, Spotify Premium, allows the user to select any track of their choice and has no limitation regarding advertisements or skips. The premium also allows the user to download tracks for offline use because the free version uses cellular data when offline. Spotify Premium is available for a monthly fee of $4.99.  To millions of people across the globe, this is a very reasonable alternative to purchasing the many songs of their choice, which may cost hundreds of dollars. In recent years, Spotify has made many improvements broadening their horizons to showcase their many options of soundtracks.  Talk shows and podcasts are now available, as well as a running mode which selects a track based on the speed of the user.  Spotify also automatically designs playlists for the user based on the different songs, genres, and artists they prefer.  The music industry greatly changes from decade to decade.  The walkman was replaced by ipods, and now it seems we are seeing what has replaced that older technology.  The application itself on the mobile version is only around 80 megabytes, when songs are saved on the app additional storage is used up on the device. One minute of music averages at one megabyte of storage. Personally, I used Spotify as the source of my music that I listen to multiple times a week.  I prefer Spotify because it allows me to listen to any music depending on whichever genre I am currently in the mood for, and does not limit me like previous methods would.  Music plays a role in my everyday life, and although it cannot be seen, it can control the atmosphere of any situation.
Works Cited
Harris, Mark. “Essential Details on the Spotify Music Service.” Lifewire, Lifewire, 7 Oct. 2016, www.lifewire.com/spotify-music-service-2438399.