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Monthly Archives: May 2011

The End………………….(Or perhaps the start of a new chapter in my relationship with the web and its friends!)

Wow, I actually can’t believe I have created a website from scratch.  I have been tearing out my hair for a few weeks trying to get it to work and now it does!   I must say I am pretty proud of myself, considering  I have had no experience in web design ever!!!!

I can use Fireworks and have a complicated but amicable relationship with Dreamweaver.  (Ha, Ha)  In a way, I’m sad to see my trial relationship come to halt.  On the other hand I am looking forward to some space from Dreamweaver.

I actually really enjoyed playing around with Fireworks.   Although my graphics look fairly simple, there was a great deal of fiddling and googling that took place to create layers, rollover buttons and effects.

Perhaps the best thing for me, is that I understand codes ( although I can not remember them all) and I have acquired a behind the scenes knowledge of the million and one websites I have examined in my time.  I can embed sound and video and can cast a critical eye over those that I interact with. 

Fluid, informative websites are definitely the way to go and the use of a personas and storyboards is the way to achieve this.   That background information is essential.   Had I not been introduced to this excellent and essential prior planning, my website would probably been overly complicated and busy.   My graphics are deliberately simple and easy to navigate.  

So, what do I know and what have I learned?   Perhaps, the biggest revelation I have had, comes under the topic of web neutrality.   I had never realised that the freedom we are offered by the web, is not something we can take for granted.  I would hate to see stringent controls, dictated by financial profit take a grip.   I love the way the web allows me to get many versions of the same story.  I also love the fact that we can think about what we believe based on many versions.  Within society, this type of knowledge acquisition should be applauded and protected at all costs.   The reverse side is propaganda and if we cast our minds back seventy-odd years ago, we can see how truly destructive this can be.

Although I believe in the liberty of the net, I am not so ignorant to see some of the issues that such freedom brings with it.  Pirating, copyright breeches and plagiarism are relevent concerns in our modern world.   How can we truly protect ourselves from these issues?   Many legal battles have been won and many sites shut down, however, others always arise in their wake.  I am not sure what the answer is.   This debate has much life in it yet.

So here I am, the very last paragraph I am to write in this unit of study.   What a journey.   I have been well and truly taken out of my comfort zone.   Having said that, the challenge has brought with it new knowledge and a desire to continue to keep abreast of this rapidly changing technology.    Phew………………………………………

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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Intellectual Property and Copyright….. WK 10

This weeks readings were of particular interest to me.   Although I had some knowledge of the stringent issues surrounding copyright, I had not stopped to consider them in my every day interaction with the web.

My children are always going to the Web to copy photos and diagrams to assist them in various projects.   Of course these violations of the copyright laws seem small-scale and insignificant, however, they are in fact often breeches of the law. I have  made a mental note to discuss this issue with them.

The notion of intellectual property has become apparent to me over the last few weeks.  I have been constructing my website and spending hours creating content.  The ownership I feel in relation to this website, is enormous.   I would be very disappointed to see a copy of my site being used by another student for a similar project.   I fell that it is a little protected, due to my copyright notices pasted to each footer, however in reality, if it was an active site I do not have the means for recourse.

On the other hand, corporations and companies, have reserves for legal action and need to protect their intellectual property with the full force of the law.   Even the little fish need to be aware!

From now on, when i am in doubt of IP, I intend to check it out or leave it out.  

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2368045,00.asp

The above link is an article that looks at net neutrality and copyright issues.  It outlines the concerns that the record companies have in relation to pirating of music and the implications of this on-line.   There is a huge conflict of interest involving the freedom of web surfers to download copyrighted music and the music corporations that lose money as a result of this.  

We certainly live in fast-moving, ever-changing, technical times.

 
 

Net Neutrality……..WK 9

If some of the major telephone companies got their way, we would not be able to scan the web to find out about net neutrality.  I have taken it for granted that the web is an open forum of free speech, expression and creativity.   I enjoy the fact that much of what is posted, is posted by people, not corporations.  The individuality of this, ensures that i can examine a range of issues, topics and media from several angles.  It allows me to use critical thinking skills to ascertain my own ideologies, thoughts and beliefs.

So……..what if this is restricted or in the worst case scenario, removed completely.   The idea of tele-communication companies having control of the content that I view is horrifying to me.   This is web dictatorship and means that such corporations will only release information that benefits them.   Freedom of speech and the web allows us to expose  injustices, rather than covering them up.

Where does Australia sit in all this.  Well at this point in time, if you pay for access to the web, regardless of your download restrictions, you have access to all of the web.  There are no restrictions.  Using the Optus plan guide as an example, no matter your plan, consumers can currently access all web content.

In 2009 the Internet Freedom Preservation act was introduced to congress.  It has been criticised on the basis of its many loopholes, however, I can’t help but think that it is a sign of hope that we are travelling in the right direction and our basic liberty of free speech, will be upheld.

 
 

Sounds, Screens and Videos. Wk 8

It is interesting to reflect on my website knowledge, prior to entering this course.   I am an avid user of a variety of websites on a day-to-day basis, however, I have never stopped to consider their mechanics.  My role has always been that of a user.  I like to navigate effectively within a site and am often annoyed by those that prevent me from a simple course of action.

Now I am learning how to design my own site and going behind the scenes has allowed me to identify the annoyances that were always on my superficial radar.  I am also having to consider the details of design that 

I simply took for granted.

I had never considered such elements as screen resolutions.  I read with interest that 57% of computer users have screens pixels above 1280.   I quickly latched on to this and thought, I must make mine to suit the majority of users.   Of course, I failed to consider that those with large screen resolutions often modify them to maximise their clarity for full potential.   Therefore, it is best to use 1024 x 768.

Again, another oversight on my behalf.   I thought popping video on a web page was as simple as hyperlinking a You Tube clip.   I had not considered the potential of streaming media, rather than storing it on my hard drive.  Streaming allows the media to play as it downloads. The media files are often huge and need to be compressed, so as to not take up too much room.  Sounds easy enough!   Not so!   There are many choices to consider in terms of operating platforms.  As an Apple user, my eyes were immediately drawn to Quicktime.  It is made by Apple and has some great compression capabilities that do not compromise too much on quality.   This seems to tick the boxes for me.  .WMV is the Windows version.  It is a whizz bang operator, that also has some great features and compression ability.

Sound is not just a technical consideration.  It can also have an enormous impact on a users interaction with a website.  Websites that automatically play music or sound is often a turn off. In fact, that is exactly what users want to do!   TURN it OFF.    If a designer does use sound, it is important to allow users control.  This can be done by putting “true” into the controls and ensuring that the auto play box is not activated.   Having said that, there are often times when sound can enhance a site.  For instance, clicking on a button and hearing a ‘click’ symbolises that the user has actioned the command.

So, back to the beginning, there is so much for me to learn.  I have to use a different perspective when creating my site.  I am looking to enhance the user’s experience and by doing this, I need to have great attention to even the smallest (Or in some cases, the largest.) details and sounds