Digital Genetics

Internet


An Age of Rage?

by on Jul.26, 2011, under Internet, Psychology, Society

Tim Adams (The Observer) in his article ‘How the internet created an age of rage’, details his argument that the internet has created a cloak of anonymity, allowing its netizens the freedom (or deindividuation) to descend into new levels of hatred.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

“The worldwide web has made critics of us all. But with commenters able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, the blog and chatroom have become forums for hatred and bile. … The psychologists call it ‘deindividuation.’ It’s what happens when social norms are withdrawn because identities are concealed. The classic deindividuation experiment concerned American children at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters were invited to take sweets left in the hall of a house on a table on which there was also a sum of money. When children arrived singly, and not wearing masks, only 8% of them stole any of the money. When they were in larger groups, with their identities concealed by fancy dress, that number rose to 80%. The combination of a faceless crowd and personal anonymity provoked individuals into breaking rules that under ‘normal’ circumstances they would not have considered. … One simple antidote to this seems to rest in the very old-fashioned idea of standing by your good name. Adopt a pseudonym and you are not putting much of yourself on the line. Put your name to something and your words are freighted with responsibility.”

For the full article, visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jul/24/internet-anonymity-trolling-tim-adams

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Protecting your online presence

by on Jun.14, 2011, under Internet, Security, Society, technology

Imagine you were one of the millions of account holders which were recently compromised when sony’s security was breached by hackers! It was not simply credit card details which were stolen, but personal details as well. Unfortunately, events like these are becoming increasingly common.

Protecting your online presence extends beyond simply thinking about what information you share on social media sites.  So what exactly can each of us do to ensure that we protect our privacy online? the answer to this is simple:

  • Limit the personal information you reveal. Just because a website is asking for personal details, that doesnt mean you are obligated to provide that information. In fact, you make it easier for identity thieves when you make lots of information about yourself public.
  • Think about how you are disposing of your personal documents – A shredder is a cost-effective way to safely destroy personal documents, and the resulting waste can be easily recycled or even used in the garden as mulch.
  • Avoid making online purchases or checking banks or investment websites on a public Wi-Fi network (ie. free internet at mcdonalds or your favourite coffee shop, internet cafe’s etc).
  • NEVER use the same passwords between websites. If the details from one website or organisation is compromised, then your banking and social media accounts such as facebook or twitter may also be compromised as well.
  • Check online privacy settings so you are aware of how your information is used – Find out what someone else intends to do with your information, exercise your right to choose who sees your posts when social networking and ‘opt out’ of receiving marketing material from third parties (if you choose to).

For help choosing suitably strong passwords for your favourite websites, checkout the following youtube video titled ‘How to choose a strong password – simple tips for better security‘.

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The Cicada Principle and Why It Matters to Web Designers

by on Apr.08, 2011, under development, Internet, web design

One would not have first thought that the amazing world of cicada spawning cycles and web design have anything in common at all. However, through this insightful article, Alex Walker shows us that irregularity in our designs can lead to beautiful solutions.

when you notice a distinctive feature — for instance, a knot in some woodgrain — repeating at regular intervals, it really breaks the illusion of organic randomness. Maybe we borrow some ideas from cicadas to break that pattern?

To read more, visit:
http://designfestival.com/the-cicada-principle-and-why-it-matters-to-web-designers/

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Prey: they can run but they cant hide

by on Jan.07, 2011, under Internet, Security

Prey is an open source anti-theft solution for Mac, PCs & Phones. According to the official website:

“Prey lets you keep track of your phone or laptop at all times, and will help you find it if it ever gets lost or stolen. It’s lightweight, open source software, and free for anyone to use. And it just works.”

Some of its features include:

  • 100% Geolocation aware
  • Wifi Autoconnect
  • Small footprint
  • Full use of laptop / phone camera for evidence collection
  • Allows access to screenshots of active sessions
  • Keeps passwords and email safe
  • Render the PC useless by fully locking it down
  • Hardware scanner
  • Self updating

To download or get more information about prey, visit:

http://preyproject.com/

There is also a youtube video available, which will take you through downloading, installing and configuring prey:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OomHeFt9j44

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A Collection of Online Avatar Generators

by on Dec.13, 2010, under Internet

http://www.picassohead.com/
This has to be one of the more creative and original avatar generators. It allows you to produce a completely user driven picasso style image utilising a basic array of items and effects. By far the most enjoyable to use!
Rating: 9/10

http://www.planetcreation.co.uk/createpic/
Although it is simple in comparison to other generators. It has a certain quality about it which radiates user-friendliness and produces quite a good end result.
Rating: 8/10

http://www.mangatar.com
Creative interface with loads of options to choose from. Requires an email address in order to download the produced image (although a screen print with minor image editing could do it, for those not willing to be part of the marketing and email trawling).
Rating: 9/10

http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/
The simpsons movie website features a really cool avatar generator which allows you to create your very own simpsons character.  what it lacks as far as accessory options, it certainly makes up for in terms of its interface. There is a membership requirement in order to download a copy of the generated character, but thats where the print screen key comes to the rescue again.
Rating: 8/10

http://www.sp-studio.de/
This site produces some hilarious south park style avatars. It has a number of easy-to-use features, even though it did take some to get use to. One notable annoyance was figuring out how to remove items I no longer wanted as part of my avatar, tho im sure some people would say that it was fairly obvious.
Rating: 7/10

http://doppelme.com/
This website produces some amusing caricatures for use as online avatars. There are a number of basic options available, which would do the majority of people, and the finished result looks good.  The one drawback with this service is the membership requirement prior to download of the finished avatar.
Rating: 6/10

http://turnyournameintoaface.com/
‘Turn your name into a face’ is (as the name suggests) a simple tool that will generate lego-style avatars based on your name. It is dead easy to use, simply type in a random name (or your own) and it will generate for you a fancy bitmap-esque avatar. Although it is very basic in comparison to the other generators featured in this post, it is fun to use and muck around with. Give it a go and see what it generates for you.
Rating: 4/10

http://www.nobleavatar.com/
This is a simple java based vector avatar generator with a fairly moderate suite of customisations available. Amongst its features was an easy to use ‘export image’ function, which didnt require the user to sign up or provide an email address.
Rating: 7/10

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Are you ready for the 21st Century

by on Nov.29, 2010, under Internet, Society, technology

“Intuitively, people everywhere are now sensing that they are living on credit … borrowing from the future in terms of the economy, the environment and sources of energy. People from all walks of life are beginning to realize they are borrowing from an uncertain future to finance current levels of prosperity. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that the current models for society are mortgaging the quality of life from future generations in order to fulfill current desires.

Thus, mental models are beginning to change, and people don’t want a range of disparate studies on various disconnected problems; rather, they are seeking concrete analyses and approaches that can help redirect or remedy difficult and complex situations.”

For more information visit: http://www.constellationw.com/

Are You Ready for the 21st Century ? from Michel Cartier on Vimeo.

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New Tool Reveals Internet Passwords

by on Jul.02, 2010, under Internet, Security, technology

Mike lennon writes:

A Russian software company today released a password cracking tool that instantly reveals cached passwords to Web sites in Microsoft Internet Explorer, mailbox and identity passwords in all versions of Microsoft Outlook Express, Outlook, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail.”

For the full length article go to:

http://www.securityweek.com/new-tool-reveals-internet-passwords

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Google Urged To Let Personal Data Fade Away

by on Jun.18, 2010, under Internet, technology

Andrew Donoghue from eWeek Europe UK Writes:

Rather than amassing personal data and holding on to it as long as legally possible, companies such as Google should allow the data to degrade over time, according to researchers.

In an interview with the BBC this week, Dutch researcher Harold van Heerde discussed his work on the idea of allowing data to becomes less specific over time. Letting the specifics gradually disappear could protect consumer privacy while also meeting the needs of service providers, he said.

For the full article please visit:

http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/google-urged-to-let-let-personal-data-fade-away-7794

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