A Time to Help

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Home of the Future November 29, 2010

Bradley’s chapter on Home of the Future was incredibly interesting.  She discusses the changes in the home, as well as the possibilities of the changes for the future.  A cross-disciplinary research study was conducted over the course of four years on Home of the Future and the ICT.  In 1999 it was conducted in the United States, in 2000 in Asia in collaboration with the Swedish Trade Council and the Soul Business Innovation Group of Stockholm and in 2003 in Japan with the Swedish Institute for Future Studies.  The purpose of the study focused on ICT and changes in society and human behavior patterns in the Net era.  (p. 96)


According to the study, some of the social issues that have an affect for the role of the home in the future include:

  • New forms of living – both flexible living and stable living melding both mobile lifestyle and traditional values.
  • Concept of “Working from Home” and “Homing from Work”
  • New physical meeting places will parallel to virtual meeting places.
  • Overflow of information and communication.
  • New models for office workplaces, mini-communities.
  • Family ties strengthened, neighborhoods revitalized, cooperation with schools made easier.
  • Being “Glocal” – a combination of being both more global and more local.
  • Homes can function as virtual marketplaces.
  • Citizen’s role can be empowered with IT and provide opportunities to widen and strengthen democracy

(p. 100)


Based on the social issues above, I think of how the use of ICTs and the Home of the Future has changed, even since the writing of this book.  I’ve decided to focus on the last four items.


Family ties strengthened, neighborhoods revitalized, cooperation with schools made easier.

With my own experience, the use of ICTs has added an enhancement to my life that I didn’t have before.  By means of the ICTs, and Facebook, I have “met” several of my cousins in Italy that I never met before.  We are allowed glimpses into each others lives, whether it is from photo postings, or general postings, allowing us to connect.  On Thanksgiving this year, we had an extra special call, as we were able to Skype with the exchange student we had living with us a couple years ago.  Talking to someone on the phone is one thing, being able to see them and watch their mannerisms is such a wonderful bonus!


Cooperation with school hit a high point for me this year, my daughter’s school rolled out the use of EdLine.  I am able to on a daily basis know every step and detail of her education, right down to the daily grades on homework assignments and class work.  (Good thing for her she is a High Honors student!)


The nature of my own classroom environment here at ESC being conducted through the use of computers is something I would not have thought I would have done even 10 years ago.  But it allows me to complete my degree on my time, yet with rigorous and demanding work.


Homes can function as virtual marketplaces.

On the eve of Cyber Monday, the annual Monday after Black Friday holiday shopping event where online retailers thrive with the use of free shipping and a variety of deals not offered in stores.  With the use of the internet, one can do their holiday shopping and have items shipped to many different locations all with the simple click of a few buttons.  Small businesses who don’t have the advertising budget that larger businesses have can use social media to their advantage to promote the goods and services.


Target’s marketing for this year’s Black Friday shopping was nothing short of sheer genius.  Not only did the Target Lady make the commercials on television, but was on YouTube, FaceBook as people shared the commercials.



Citizen’s role can be empowered with IT and provide opportunities to widen and strengthen democracy

I think that the use of IT and the affect that it had on the 2008 election, and looking ahead to the 2012 elections will be staggering.  In addition to their own websites, candidates use sits such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogging sites, to gain support and discussion legislation that is important to them.  For the November ’10 midterm elections, where much was at stake for control of the House, Facebook became a reminder to vote, and served as a gold star if you voted.  I received many reminders from friends about going to vote in the days leading up to the elections.


Being “Glocal” – a combination of thinking globally and acting locally.

Again, the use of the internet can inspire and create a following for a cause to serve the greater good.  It is possible that the study intended this in another way, I look at what the virtual world reveals and inspires for others to become involved.  The causes are universal, yet the grassroots efforts are what pushes to make the world a better place.  I again use Facebook, which is a clearing house for idea sharing an inspirational stories of involvement.  I’ve added a few of my favorites:


Then there are the organizations that are known world-wide, and through the use of social media and websites improve their name and image.  Most recently, I came across Macy*s pledge to donate up to $1 Million to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each person who sends a letter to Santa either in the store or online.  It brought to mind Miracle on 34th Street and Macy*s goodwill toward the customer.  Now, it’s Macy*s goodwill toward making a brighter tomorrow or creating a lasting memory for families whose time is, sadly, limited:  http://social.macys.com/believe2010/#/events/santa-national-tour


My hope is, that the use of use of social media and networking sites will continue the domino affect and doing good/helping the cause will make the world a better place – think Glocally.

Bradley, Gunilla.  Social and Community Informatics  Humans on the Net.  New York:  Routledge



Doilies and Networks? November 4, 2010

Filed under: Information Technology — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 4:05 am

What do a crocheted lace doily and a computer network have in common?  More than one would think.  Bradley uses this analogy to describe networking in a very unique way.  I’m a crocheter and know how each little hook and turn relates to the whole.  A little short cut here or there, can change the whole look of this work of art.  As she points out, each new loop is a computer being added to the network.  They are all connected together by the continual piece of yarn or thread, much like teletechnology connects computers together through wired and wireless networks.

Not only is the example of the crocheted lace doily used, but a visual variation is used to prove a different type of point.  When one works a circular crocheted doily, all the threads build off the initial 5 or 6 loops.  Then, there are patterns that are individual circles or squares, which end up being connected to another piece the same/like size.  (p. 75)

Again, I use my experience with work.  Up until a few years ago, my department was decentralized within the overall networking system of RPI.   We were networked within our own office, but not entirely networked with the main system.  We didn’t have the ability within the network to interact with another department.  Yet, overall, like the connections of the doilies, the networks were indirectly tied through an overall main system.  A few years ago, we became network centralized.  Now I can log in to any computer on campus and access my entire file system.  I can print from one computer to a printer that is located 8 blocks away.

Within our network, we have layers.  Our individual layers where documents can only be accessed by one individual.  There are departmental layers where information can be accessed by anyone within the department on shared drives.  There can also be inter-department shared drives where groups of people can access documents and data while within the network.


Bradley, Gunilla.  Social and Community Informatics  Humans on the Net.  New York:  Routledge


IT is Everywhere November 2, 2010

In 2006, Gunilla Bradley, and I’m sure many others, indicated that IT was going to be everywhere.  I think back of the advances I have realized in the past near 5 years and am amazed at the new technology systems that we have.  Information Technology exists and is used everywhere from the stores we shop in, our employers and the markets we go to, to name a few.  One little scan of the Advantage Card at Price Chopper and they are able to track our buying habits and use that information to market and advertise products to our particular demographics.


She discusses the computer technology as it applies to cars.  (p. 65)  Bradley states that cars are becoming more and more intelligent.  Use of GPS’s can determine locations; cars have become entertainment centers with surround sound, and DVD dual DVD players located within the vehicle; higher end cars such as Mercedes Benz tout their Attention Assist system which alerts drivers who may be falling asleep at the wheel or be impaired.



Though I am sure this is a wonderful feature, I did find one of their commercials incredibly disturbing.  I have scanned the Internet, YouTube and Google to find the commercial ad, but was unable to locate it.  This featured 3 different customers who narrated their tale of woe to the audience.  Two had been falling asleep at the wheel and the alert system startled them, and the computerized brakes kicked in to stop an accident from happening.  The other customer had said he had a couple drinks, and this saved him with the computerized brake system.  I do commend the computerized brake system and the cars interior “brain”, but I have to take a moment to fault the advertising and marketing group for this commercial.  Never, do I find it acceptable, to drink while ability impaired – regardless if a vehicle’s brain is more intelligent than the driver’s.


Back on task …


Bradley also discusses the demands of complex systems, having the right information at the right time to make good decisions, are pushing system development.  These types of systems must be reliable, secure.  The systems should be able to interact between user and environment and be multilingual and multicultural.  (p. 67)  Though I’m guessing the list of criteria may not have been written in the context of smart cars or On-Star Systems, I see the correlation.  Attention Assist systems must be acutely aware of the drivers tendencies and the environment sensors surrounding the cars.  On-Star needs to be able to communicate with people of any language if they will sell their service.  It must also be tested and reliable, as one of the features is that even if the driver cannot alert them, they will know there has been an accident or situation.


A little lighter note, but important none the less. This book was written before the first iPhone was put on the market.  The iPhone seemed to have set a new pace in what a small handheld device could do.  One could talk on the phone, listen to downloaded music, and search the Internet with a breeze.  Since then, more phone manufacturers and cell phone service companies offer internet, or data, as part of their package and phone abilities.  Blackberry, Verizon, AT&T all offer services with their smart phones which are computer based that are intended to make our lives easier.  We can keep our calendars on there, use them as alarm clocks, use for email, multimedia (including both photo and video features).  We can be anywhere, and still be able to retrieve sports scores, weather forecasts, or have the ability to change our lives in just one moment as AT&T promotes with their 3G Network commercial.




Bradley, Gunilla.  Social and Community Informatics  Humans on the Net.  New York:  Routledge