Sunday, 8 April 2007

Bonus Mission #2: Second Life a game? No way!

Online gaming or multiplayer games have been around for quite a few years already. Some famous games that have gone online would be The Sims Online and World of Warcraft. However, some people would argue and say that World of Warcraft is different from many online games because of its "immersive nature and compelling social dynamics" (Levy, 2006, para. 4). With that in mind, comes the newest and increasingly popular virtual world called Second Life, which is a little like World of Warcraft, except without all the fighting.

Second Life was started in 2003, but only gained much media attention in 2006 and 2007. It was developed by Linden Lab and was inspired by "the cyberpunk literary movement, . . ." ("Second Life", 2007, para. 2). Linden Lab's goal in developing Second Life was to create a "user-defined world of general use in which people can interact, play, do business, and otherwise communicate" (para. 2). Some people consider Second Life to be a game, but is it really one? The answer is no. This is because of two reasons - it does not have any characteristics of games, it has its own economy in and out of the world and education has found its way into it.

Games, be it online or single-player offline games have "points, scores, winners or losers, levels, [and] an end-strategy" (para. 3) of which players must fulfill. However, with Second Life, there are no such things. There are no points to be gained from games, because it is not a game. There are no winners or losers in it either because when there no points to be gained or lost, no one is keeping score.

With virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, economies have been established both in the virtual world and in the real world. In World of Warcraft, the currency of that world is gold, which has resulted in a "thriving industry makes tons of real dollars by "gold farming" (accumulating in-game currency and selling it) or . . ." (Levy, 2006, para. 10). This is the same thing in Second Life. There, the currency, Linden Dollars can be earned by creating and selling products or by selling land. In turn, the money earned in the virtual world can be sold in the real world. An example would be on, people are selling 100,000 Linden Dollars for as high as US$316.73. Even a small amount of 4,000 Linden Dollars can be sold for US$13.00. This buying and selling of currency does not happen in games because ultimately the game will come to an end when all goals are completed. However, with Second Life, this buying and selling of currency has led to the fuelling of an economy outside of the virtual world.

Lastly, Second Life is not considered a game because education can now be seen in it. In games, any form of education in it is meant for the game characters and not for the player. However, in Second Life, schools such as Harvard, New York University and Delft University of Technology have started to use the virtual world to teach their classes. This is because Second Life has managed t bridge the gap of distance - learning. According to Rebecca Nelson, an instructor from Harvard, she was quoted as saying that "no matter how good a distance-learning class is, an inherent distance does still exist between you and your students, . . . Second Life has really bridged that gap" ("Second Life", 2007, para. 26).

Therefore, Second Life is not a game because unlike games that normally end after all the objectives have been met, Second Life can go on for as long as the user hasan account. Things are constantly changing around us, and Second Life has given people a perfect place to go. Here, they can study, shop, work and relax all at the touch of the keyboard. Once, virtual reality and reality had a very distinct line drawn between them. However, with Second Life, those lines have become blurred.

Levy, S. (2006). [On-line]. Retrieved April 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Second Life. (2007, April 6). [On-line]. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:22, April 7, 2007, from

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

QotW10: My first go at Second Life!

I got this for this particular blog! :)

Finally, I'm in Japan! Look at how beautiful it is...

Surreal Japan

My Second Life (SL) name is Lorac Beresford. I actually wanted to put my own name, but unfortunately it was taken already, so I chose this name instead. My screenshots are not close-ups of me but at least you can see what my avatar looks like. I fashioned my avatar to look physically like me, with black long hair, and tanned skin. Another likeness to me is the clothes that I had my avatar wear. I like to dress casually and comfortably, so my avatar is also dressed the same; in jeans and in a black top, because black is one of my favourite colours.

I chose the one place that I want to go to and that place is Japan. Since there are so many places under Japan in Second Life, the place that I chose was Nagaya, Little Kyoto. Even though Japan is a country which is very advanced in many different things, it is also a place where traditions are still held very strongly. Many places outside of Tokyo are very surreal and still stick to their traditions rather closely, and this can be seen in the buildings in the screenshots. As you can see from my screenshots, the place that I chose looks really peaceful and untouched by the fast-moving pace of society. When I travelled there, I felt that I was thrown back into the past. That is why I picked this particular place, it is exactly what I like - peace and tranquility.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

QotW9:The new & revamped STOMP

Citizen journalism has been around for quite sometime already, only that it existed in different forms in the past. However, with the advent of gadgets that have the abilitie to take photographs or to record videos, citizen journalism has been given a very big boost. So what exactly is citizen journalism? According to Tom Stites, citizen journalism is "a rather narrow and very privileged slice of the polity—those who are educated enough to take part in the wired conversation, who have the technical skills, and who are affluent enough to have the time and equip­ment"(Gillow, "Introduction", 2004). Unlike professional jouralism, citizen journalism is more about observations which include "some personal experi­ences . . ." (Gillow, "From Tom Paine to Blogs Beyond", 2004). So with that in mind, is the Straits Times Online Mobile Print (STOMP) a form of citizen journalism?

Personally I do not think that STOMP is an ideal form of citizen journalism for Singapore because it also contains many other sections that are done by the professionals working at the Straits Times. Examples of such sections would be "The Courtroom", "Stompcast", and "Ask ST". The only sections that seem to support citizen journalism is "'Singapore Seen" where the slogan is "You generate the content. You write the reports. You take the photos. You shoot the videos" ("Singapore Seen", 2006).

In order to make it fully about citizen journalism or a platform for an ideal form of citizen journalism, I would take out all other sections except "Singapore Seen", "STINK", "ST Foodies Club" and "ST Digital Club". This is because these are sections where normal citizens can write about their personal experiences be it in restaurants, schools or even with gadgets. However, the problem with these sections except for "Singapore Seen" is that there seems to be resident writers writing about the specific sections. For example, in the digital section, there is only one write there by the pseudonym of Spendrik. I think that this should be improved upon because this is only one person's view of the gadget. This should be a section whereby anyone who has had experience with the gadget shoule be able to tell others his or her experience of the product.

Another section that will be improved upon will be the "STINK" section. In this section, secondary school students are encouraged to share things with other students. However, if students wanted to read more articles in the section, they had to ask their teachers to subscribe for them. This makes it very inconvenient and unaccessible for the students to share things with others. What I would do would be to make the entire section free access to all students, and that they would be to share things or information while abiding certain rules.

The last thing that I would improve would be the food section. Firstly, I would keep the list of eating places so that people can always find new places to go and eat at. However, what I would improve would be that people would be able to write about their experiences either about the eating places recommended or new places. The reason why I would make these improvements is so that citizens will be able to play a bigger part in the information for others. When there many people looking at the information together, they can practice fact-checking, which is a tool whereby "when there are lots of citizen reporters scrutinizing what other people say, they have a way of getting to the truth, or at least shining light on inconsistencies" (Gillow, "Citizen Reporters to the Rescue", 2004.).

With these improvements made, I am sure that STOMP will definitely become Singapore's platform for citizen journalism, and showcase the wonderful works of citizens.

Gillow, D. (2004). [On-line]. Retrieved March 28, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

"Singapore Seen". (2006). [On-line]. Retrieved March 28. 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Saturday, 24 March 2007

QotW8: Democracy from the Internet?Hmm...what's that?

I Adopt -

Blog's Title: a writer's blog: my life, my thoughts

Blog's URL:

Blogger's name: Ephraim

Blogger's occupation: Citizen blogger (but he's with the Youth PAP, and very active in the political scene...I wonder where that puts him)

Blogger's DOB: 19/8/2002

Blogger's Technorati rank: 54,599 (179 links from 73 blogs)

Blog Intro -
Ephraim Loy's blog has 2 main contributors and they are Ephraim himself and Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr George Yong-Boon Yeo. His blog features a lot of events that Minister George Yeo attends because he is one of the ministers for the Hougang-Punggol GRC. Besides blogging about his own life, he also blogs somewhat on the political scene. The way that he writes about the political scene is very subtle. What he does for example is when he attends an event, he will talke about the event in general and then touch on what was spoken of during the event. He then adds his own comments which seem to be hedging on the maybe and maybe not answers.

An example of his hedging would be the below:
"[more goodies]channel news asia reported yesterday that political watchers predict that, no it's not the date, the next ge will likely be fought upon bread and butter issues...

Some four years later, political watchers say such issues will still form the backbone of the upcoming contest, due by June next year.

then today, the straits times reports that jobs have been a steady figure, if not increasing still..i shall not speculate if that is an election ploy...."

Democracy in Singapore from blogs? Is it possible?
On Alina Thornton's article of "Does the Internet create Democracy", the notion of the public sphere was developed be Habermas. He stated that the publis sphere is "part of social life where citizens can exchange views on matters of importance to the common good, so that public opinion can be formed[, t]his public sphere comes into being when people gather to discuss issues of political concern" (Thornton, 2002. p. 8).

With that in mind, quite a few blogs in Singapore have started commenting about the political scene in Singapore. Although quite a few bloggers comment and occassionally criticize the local political scene, many go under psedonyms thinking that they will not be as easily found. An example would be during the 2006 elections when many Singaporeans posted videos of the opposition rallies. Even though it is possible for the governments to track down the bloggers, they found no neccesity to do so because the PAP thought that the "the lack of knowledge about these websites among the general populace, . . ." (Giam, 2006, para. 5).

So is it possible in the future for the democracy of Singapore to come from the Internet? I think that that is going to be impossible. It is because of two reasons - the ban on podcasting during elections and the government's distrust for the "free-wheeling world of cyberspace" (Giam, 2006, para. 20).

In 2006, the government came up with a ban for all podcasting and vodcasting during the elections. It was in response to "to the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) plans to circumvent the government-controlled mainstream media by reaching out to the electorate using sound and video clips on its website" (para. 3).

The second reason that democracy cannot be created through the Internet is that the government does not trust the world of the Internet. This is because the comments that people may make on their blogs may or may not be the truth. According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, he said that "Singaporeans [need] to be “sceptical” and not believe everything they read, as “there will be half truths and untruths which will circulate, and you won’t know which is which" (para. 20).

Therefore, democracy created from the Internet does not seem like a likely thing to come in the near future because the Singaporean government must be willing to "incorporate this process into their standard practices" (Thornton, 2002, p. 41). Maybe this will only come about when the government is infused with younger people from the Internet-surfing generation. Let's wait and see how this goes.


Giam, G. (2006). [On-line]. Retrieved March 23, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Thornton, A. (2002). [On-line]. Retrieved March 23, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Saturday, 17 March 2007

QotW7: Online Communities

What exactly are virtual communities? Although people have different definitions about what virtual communities are, there is one integral part that runs through all the definitions, and that is that communication is the most important part of maintaining communities. With the invention of the Internet and the increased use in computer-mediated communication (CMC), this online communication method has become one of the most rapidly growing ways for people to communicate with others from all over world. This is because CMC “will do by way of electronic pathways what cement roads were unable to do, namely connect us rather than atomize us, put us at the controls of a ‘vehicle’ and yet not detach us from the rest of the world” (Wellman & Gulia, 1996, para. 5).

With that in mind, this rapidly growing communication channel has resulted in websites such as, and being set up. So are these virtual communities? According to Rhinegold, he said that virtual communities are “social aggregations that emerge from the [Internet] when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace” (Fernback & Thompson, para. 23). Taking the example of, it was set up so that people can stay “in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing” (“Twitter”, 2007, para. 1).

What sets Twitter apart from other websites is that essentially it is about users letting other people know what they are doing at that very moment. It also allows users to keep in contact with their friends and find out what they are doing as well. Twitter is also a virtual community because it allows communication and interaction to flow amongst people from all over the world.

On Twitter, even though it is mainly used as an update of what people are doing, it also allows users to “use words on screens to exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends and lose them, play games, flirt, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk” (Fernback & Thompson, para. 26). I also consider Twitter to be a virtual community because there are always people who are constantly keeping in contact with strangers or with their friends.

Although some people may argue and say that websites such as Twitter are not virtual communities, it evident that many people who have used such website think otherwise. It is through such websites that they have been able to communicate with people from other parts of the world and to make new friends. And with its ability that allows users to use Instant Messaging (IM) or Short Messaging System (SMS) to contact with their friends as well, it is definitely here to stay and open up more worlds to other people.

Fernback, J., & Thompson, B. (n. d.). [On-line]. Retreived March 15, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (1996). [On-line]. Retrieved March 15, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Twitter. (2007). [On-line]. Retrieved March 15, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Thursday, 8 March 2007

QotW6: Power to the People

Have you ever felt like you were being watched when you were doing something? Or have you ever secretly recorded someone doing something right or wrong? Even worse, have you ever been caught by the police or someone of a higher authority, while doing something wrong?

Well, in this time of age where the Internet is everywhere, and with the advancement in technology, power has slowly shifted from the rich and powerful to the hands of the common people. People like you and me are now acting as our own journalists and judges by capturing images or footages of what we perceive as right or wrong. This is all thanks to technology. In the past, many may have called this surveillance, but now, this act is known as sousveillance.

So, what exactly is sousveillance? Sousveillance is actually a French word, which literally means “watching from below” (“The Emerald Buddha”, 28/7/06, para.1). According to Wikipedia, sousveillance is “the recording of an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity” (“Sousveillance”, 7/2/07, para. 1). With that in mind, why do people practice it? There are many reasons – it could be to gain control or to gather evidence in the times of confrontations.

Sousveillance is happening all over the world in many forms. It is even happening in one of the most media restricted country in the world - China! One of the most common forms of sousveillance nowadays would be citizen journalism, which is also known as participatory journalism. Citizen journalism is very similar to professional journalism only that it is the citizens playing an “active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information" (“Citizen Journalism”, 3/3/07, para. 1).

As with some people who value their privacy, they have said that it is wrong to practice sousveillance because it is an invasion of privacy. However, with gadgets such as mobile phones being so easily accessible to, and with the Internet being everywhere,“ . . . we choose to expose personal information – we all do at different times and places” (Rosen, 19/7/04, para. 17). For example, when we buy something online, we have to voluntarily give some of our personal information to the company. Another example would be when we voluntarily give up personal information when registering for some websites.So if we voluntarily give up personal information, how can sousveillance be an invasion of privacy when it is merely capturing images or recordings showing people doing the wrong or right thing.

For some people, they do not mind that they may have embarrassed themselves in front of strangers, this could be due to the fact that “private moments offered up for public consumption tend to be generic hopes of informality which . . . have a homogenising effect” (para. 16).

So, it seems that with the prevalence of the Internet and the different gadgets that have recording and photography functions, sousveillance is set to stay and make its stay known to the world. As the saying goes, “power to the people”.


Citizen journalism. (2007, March 3). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 7, 2007, from the World Wide Web: title=Citizen_journalism&oldid=112367092

Rosen, J. (2004). [On-line]. Retrieved March 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Sousveillance. (2007, February 7). [On-line]. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 7, 2007, from the World Wide Web: title=Sousveillance&oldid=106389703
The Emerald Buddha. (2006, July 28). [On-line]. Retrieved March 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Monday, 12 February 2007

Lessons learnt...

The National Library which opened in 2005 was the classroom for COM242 today. Since the classroom was different, so were the teachers. The teachers for the day was Miss Wun Han, Ivy and Sharon. Even though many people have been to the National Library, not everyone knew everything about the library or used all the facilities available to them. The main places that we were all shown to today was Level 7 (Social Sciences and Humanities, Science and Technology Collections) and Level 11 (Singapore and Southeast Asian Collections). There is also one very special point about level 11. We were told that for all local books, 2 copies of the book must be given to the library under the National Library Act. This Act has resulted in the National Library having a very comprehansive collection of local books. Although we were supposed to go to Level 16 (The Pod), we could not go because it was closed for maintenance.

However, before we were given the tour of level 7 and 11, we were first given a short lesson on the library and the electronic databases available both at home and in the library. We were taught how to use the library's OPAC system, both the basic and advance searches, and search tips on how to find what we are looking for. We were also given a list of the different call numbers of the different topics of the mass media collections.

We were then taught how to use 3 electronic databases - EBSCOHost Academic Search Premier, Proquest and Newsbank. In all 3 edatabases, we were taught how to use the basic and advanced searches. In addition, we were also taught some search tips such as the wildcard search (?) and the truncation search (*), both of which produce different results. At the end of the presentation, we were also informed about the library's blog, called Highbrowse Online. On the blog, people write reviews of particular books, and every month, a lucky reviewer will will a $10 voucher for either Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Breadtalk.

During the tour, we were all given some time to look around and browse the library's collection of books, periodicals and multimedia on level 7 and 11.

Personally, I think that all of us learnt how to use the electronic databasesmore efficiently and to our advantage. I also think that through the entire session at the library, many of us learnt a lot more about the library and what the library has. Kudos to Miss Wun Han, Ivy and Sharon for teaching us so much. Kudos also to Mr Kevin Lim and Miss Elaine Ng for arranging this trip.

Friday, 9 February 2007

QotW4: The magic of gift economies

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (cited in “The Holy Bible: King James Version”, 1972, ACTS 20:35)

What exactly are gift economies & how are they different from capitalist economies?
Essentially, gift economies have been in existence ever since all the way back into history. People have always been involved in gift economies, and nowadays with the advent of the Internet, more people are getting involved in gift economies.

Gift economies are also known as “sharing econom[ies]” (“Gift Economy”, February 2007, para. 4), and they are the exact opposite of capitalist economies. The first difference is that gift economies are “characterized by a web of social connections created by the exchange of gifts” (Roberts, 7/2/2007, para. 8). The exchange of the gift, be it goods, services or products are always given without any form of agreement “upon a quid pro quo [or favor for a favor]” (“Gift Economy”, February 2007, para. 1). According to Lewis Hyde, he said that status in a gift economy is “accorded to those who give the most to others” (Pinchot, 7/2/2007, para. 10).

The second difference is that the gift economies are an “adaptation not to scarcity but to abundance” (Raymond, 7/2/2007, para. 7). That is why gift economies tend to arise from societies that do not have “ significant material-scarcity problems with survival goods” (para.7). It is because people tend to give when there are more than enough to share with others.

Capitalism on the other hand, is based on an “exchange and socializes us into its ego oriented values of competition and domination which also often coincide with the values involved in the male gender identity” (Vaughan, 7/2/2007, para. 1).

Examples of gift economies
They are many different kinds of gift economies around us, be it a big or small one, and they exist in the different societies and on the Internet. An example of a gift economy outside of the Internet would be the Pacific Northwest Native American potlatch ritual. In this ritual, the chiefs of the various tribes always competed with each other to give away the most blankets and valued possessions to the others.

There are many different kinds of gift economies on the Internet. One kind of gift economy in the digital world or the Internet would be that of emails that are sent between colleagues in an office or between friends in different countries, sharing information about their home countries. With regards to an email gift economy, I am in one with a friend in South Korea. We regularly share information about our home countries and travels through email.

Another example of a gift economy is that of discussion forums. I am currently in a discussion forum about an author and the genre of fiction books that she writes in. Through this discussion forum, everyone shares information about the author’s books, and recommendations about other books.

Another kind of gift economy that I am going to talk about is one that is outside of the Internet. It is embedded in our festivals such as Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Christmas and many others. During these festivals, people give packets of money or presents to each other. In these instances, the giver does not expect anything in return from the other person.

The last kind of gift economy can be seen when people do charity work or practice philanthropy. These people tend to give either money or goods for basic survival to those who are in need of it. They in turn tend to be given a boost in their social status because helping the more unfortunate tends to touch the hearts of many others.

Magic of gift economies

Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life's blood. But everyone has something to give. (cited in Lewis, 7/2/2007, para. 10).

Gift economies are a part of society that seems to be here to stay. Through gift economies, many people, both the unfortunate and fortunate, have benefited from it greatly. In the end, people benefit from gift economies be it on the Internet or not. They benefit through stronger social relationships with each other, and stronger connections with each other, even if they will never know each other. That is the magic of gift economies.

Lewis, J.J. (2007). [On-line]. Retrieved February 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Pinchot, G. (1995). [On-line]. Retrieved February 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Raymond,E.S. (2003). [On-line]. Retrieved February 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:$223

Roberts, H. (n. d.). [On-line]. Retrieved February 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Vaughan, G. (n. d.). [On-line]. Retrieved February 7, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Image: Copyright of Carol Liu.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

QotW3: Sharing, Copyright & Creative Culture

With the creation of an idea or object comes the protection that all creators are given - copyright. Even though many countries have enforced the Copyright Laws, there are still many cases of online piracy, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and copyright infringement cases on the Internet. According to a report in BBC News in 2002, "over 2.6 billion music files [were]downloaded illegally every month" ("Spears warns against piracy", 26/09/2002, para. 4). With an increase in the number of copyright infringements, in 1998, the United States of America (USA) came up with the Digital Millenium Copyright ACT (DMCA). However, many people are not happy with this new law because of the Digital Rights Management (DRM).

I agree that copyright laws are extremely important because it "encourage[s] the creation and wide dissemination of a wide variety of works" (Litman, Nov 23, 2003, para. 1). However, I feel that in order for both the creators and the public to be contented with copyright, the DRM software of the DMCA should either be scrapped or changed. This is because by maintaining DMCA, the creators' works in the digital world will still be protected by the copyright law, and at the same time, the users rights will not be violated.

Firstly, what is DMCA? DMCA is a law that was passed in 1998 by the USA. The two main purposes of it is to "make it a crime to circumvent copyright access except in narrow circumstances", and it "gives copyright owners the right to control access to works in which they own copyright" (Ovalle, 2005, p.10, para. 2). With DMCA, comes the software DRM, which refers to "several technologies used by publishers or copyright owners to control access to and usage of digital data or hardware, and to restrictions associated with a specific instance of a digital work or device" ("Digital Rights Management", February 2, para. 1).

The first problem with the DRM software is that it can exceed the "statutorily-defined period of time any copyrighted work becomes part of the public domain for anyone to use freely" ("Digital Rights Management", February 2, para. 21). Normally a work that is copyrighted will be protected by the law for a limited time of the span of the creator's lifetime and an additional 50 to 70 years after. After which, the work is put into the public domain for the public to freely use it. The reason for the time limit for the creators is so that the they "can benefit financially from their creations, which should provide them an incentive to continue creating" (Orvalle, 2005, p. 2). For the public, the time limit benefits them because "the authors and inventors [will] continue creating original works that these creators may not have otherwise developed . . ." (p.2, para. 3).

However, the current DRM software is not programmed with any time limits, and this causes the work to still be copyrighted even when it is suppose to be in the public domain for the public to use.

Another problem with the software is that it obstructs the user's rights of Fair Use. Fair use is a "doctrine in the law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, . . ." ("Fair use", 2007, para. 1). Unfortunately, the DRM software restricts the copying of any part of the work, because it cannot "determine if a given use is fair, because fair use is decided on a case-by-case basis based on a number of criteria that technology caanot measure" (Ovalle, 2005, p. 10, para.5). This then prevents the user from using any part of the work, even if it is for educational purposes.

The last problem that the software has is that it prevents the user's rights of the First-Sale Doctrine. The doctrine allows the user to sell his or her copy of the work without the creator's permission, as long as the user does not keep a copy of the work.

Therefore, in order to keep both the creators and the public content, I propose that the DCMA should still be used. However, the current DRM software should be taken out and replaced with a software that will not prevent the users from exercising their rights and will follow the time limits of the copyrighted work.

Digital Rights Management. (2007, February 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 3, 2007, from the World Wide Web:

Fair use. (2007, January 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 3, 2007, from

Litman, J. (2003). [On-line]. Retrieved January 30, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Ovalle, C. (2005). [On-line]. Retrieved January 30, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Spears warns against piracy. (2002). [On-line]. Retrieved January 30, 2007 from the World Wide Web:


Saturday, 27 January 2007

COM125 Week 2: History of the Internet

The most important aspect all began with an invention by two men, Ted Nelson and Douglas Engelbart in the 1960s. In the 1980s, Tim-Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web in response to the constantly changing computer industry. Today, Nelson and Engelbart’s very invention is being used in what the World Wide Web, and that invention of theirs is called – hypertext.

Hypertext is “a special type of database system, in which objects (text, pictures, music, programs, and so on) can be creatively linked to each other” (“What is hypertext?”, August 20, para. 1). Another definition of hypertext would be that it “is a way of organizing material that attempts to overcome the inherent limitations of traditional text and in particular its linearity” (“Hypertext”, January 26, para. 1).

The first system to implement hypertext was the NLS or “oNLine System” that was a “revolutionary computer collaboration system designed by Douglas Engelbart and the researchers at the Augmentation Research Centre (ARC) at Stanford Research Institute (SRI)” (“NLS (computer system)”, January 13, para. 1) in 1968. One of the biggest features of the NLS was The Journal. It was a hypertext-based program that supported “collaborative document creation” (“NLS (computer system)”, January 13, para. 7). However, NLS was difficult to learn, and it ended in 1976.

In the same year that NLS was introduced, the Hypertext Editing System (HES), which also used hypertext, was introduced. This system was a research project that was conducted by Nelson, Andries van Dam and several students from Brown University. The system mainly organized data into two groups – links and branching text. Although HES was considered to be the pioneer of modern hypertext concepts, it focused more on printing and text formatting.

After the failure of the NLS system and the Hypertext Editing System, Tim-Berners Lee, a CERN scientist, invented ENQUIRE, which was an early hypertext database system in 1980. However, in the later part of the 1980s, Tim-Berners Lee addressed “the issue of issue of the constant change in the currency of information and the turn-over of people on projects” (“Computer History Museum”, 2006, para. 48). Hence resulting in the invention of the World Wide Web. The “demand for automatic information sharing between scientists working in different universities and institutes all over the world” was met by the World Wide Web. (“Hypertext”, January 26, para. 15).

The current World Wide Web is very much influenced by hypertext. Hypertext in the World Wide Web has “reduced the sharp distinction between [the] reader and [the] writer” (Pathak, December 1999, para. 14). Hypertext has enabled the readers to create their own paths when scanning through pieces of texts. When this happens, a part of the “writer’s power is thus effectively transferred to the reader” (Pathak, December 1999, para. 14).

As the current World Wide Web is filled with information, it is not easy for someone to search for a particular webpage or item. With the hypertext, it has enabled users of the World Wide Web to develop search skills necessary sifting through all the information. For example, in the past, when people needed to find information about a particular subject, they would very likely have to read through a lot of documents on the computer or from books. Nowadays, with implementation of hypertext in the World Wide Web, all we have to do now is to type a few keywords in a search engine and we will be able to find the information that we need.

Although hypertext has made the World Wide Web a lot easier for us to look for things on the Internet, it has also caused problems like users feeling lost or disoriented while searching for things. However, learning the proper ways to use hypertext in the World Wide Web can solve such problems.

In ending, hypertext has influenced the World Wide Web and how we use it to a great extent. As technology, the Internet and the World Wide Web further advances, one thing is for certain – hypertext is an integral part of the entire system that will not be gotten rid off anytime in the future.


Computer History Museum. (n. d.). [On-line]. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Hypertext. (2007). [On-line]. Retrieved Jauary 25, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

NLS (computer system). (2007). [On-line]. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Pathak, A. (1999). [On-line]. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

What is hypertext? (2003). [On-line]. Retrieved January 25, 2007 from the World Wide Web:



NLS System:

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Elections, is it time again?

Elections time! It's time to vote for the one you think will make your life a lot easier! I'm not talking about Singapore's elctions, if you've been following the news, you'll know that I'm talking about the Presidential race for the upcoming American elections next year. Frankly, as a Singaporean, I didn't even pay as much attention to my own country's elections, but this American elections is one that I'm keeping an eye out for. You must be wondering why? It's because for the first time in American history, a woman, namely Hilary Clinton, is running for the Presidential seat in the White House. Another first for American politics, would be Barack Obama, who is an African-American who is also running for President. Current President Bush is also getting his speech-writers to compose the most perfect speech to get the voters to vote for him. Besides the 3 of them, there are other candidates also, but they aren't as high-profile as Clinton, Barack or Bush. You must be wondering what's the American Presidential elections got to do with you if you're outside of the States? Well, I think that this will be most interesting race ever, not only because there are so many firsts, but also because this elections is coming at a time where things have changed rather dramatically with the US (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, the rapid rise of China as a superpower, etc). So, this race is one that you should be watching out for, it's going to be really interesting. Let the battle begin.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Blog on Monty Python video

Ok, this post is about the Monty Python video I watched on Wednesday. It's late, but nevertheless, I'm still putting the post up.

First, the good things about the video. It was interesting in that the video showed how people used deductive reasoning to figure out whether or not the woman was a witch. For example, when the peasants were being asked questions by Berevond.

However, even though the logic of the people seemed right to them, it is not right to me. To judge a person based on the weight of a duck is simply ridiculous. From the beginning of the video, the peasants were already sure that she was a witch. By asking them questions, the process of killing her was only prolonged. Although the questions were asked to try and prove that she may not be a witch, in the end, the lady was still killed.

In short, although the measurement used was wrong, the result was still what the peasants wanted. In my opinion, it is obvious that the peasants had already judged her and their method was just to justify the ends - a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Me? What's there to tell? Let me think about it....

Goedemorgen/Goedemiddag/ Goedenavond ! That's Good morning/ Good afternoon/ Good evening in Dutch to you, depending on what time you're reading this...Here's a little about myself...I'm Carol Liu, and I'm turning 23 this year and I'm not shy to tell the world about it. I'm also half-Taiwanese, because my dad's a Taiwanese and my mum's local, so I'm pretty lucky that I get to be part of 2 very dynamic and different cultures. No doubt both countries are made up of a lot of Chinese, but the Taiwanese peoples' ideas of issues like money is very different from that of Singaporeans. Over there, they don't place as big an importance on wealth as we Singaporeans do.

In terms of hobbies or likes, I guess I'm like most people, I like movies, music and reading. However, I have an interest in two areas that many people find either utterly boring or too troublesome to learn- History, especially in the field of Egyptology, and languages. I've just started learning Dutch, and although it sounds just like German, it is very different. Other things that I like to do is to travel and take nature photos.. I have had a few of my photos published in a calendar that was done by Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies. I also love to bake! I've baked cheesecakes, apple pies, quiches, chocolate cakes, and cookies...I guess if i decide not to work for anyone, I'll probably sell cakes & pies for a loving. Well, I guess that's all to me...Looking forward to your classes! Tot ziens (Goodbye!)