Sunday, 23 September 2012

Communication Online

Communication Online

Emails are also known as ‘Electronic Mail’. They are a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging. Today's email systems are based on a store and forward model. Email servers accept, forward, deliver and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need connect only briefly, typically to an email server, for as long as it takes to send or receive messages.                                                                      
Statistics, extrapolations and counting by Radicati Group from April 2010 estimate the number of emails sent per day (in 2010) to be around 294 billion. 294 billion messages per day means more than 2.8 million emails are sent every second and some 90 trillion emails are sent per year. Around 90% of these millions and trillions of messages are but spam and viruses.

Email Spam

Email spam, also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email, is a set of electronic spam involving nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by email. Email spam has steadily grown since the early 1990s. Botnets, networks of virus-infected computers, are used to send about 80% of spam. Since the expense of the spam is borne mostly by the recipient, it is effectively postage due advertising.
·         Emails are delivered extremely fast when compared to traditional post.
·         Emails can be sent 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
·         Webmail means emails can be sent and received from any computer, anywhere in the world, that has an internet connection.
·         Cheap - when using broadband, each email sent is effectively free. Dial-up users are charged at local call rates but it only takes a few seconds (for conventional email, e.g. text only) to send an email.
·         Emails can be sent to one person or several people.
·         The recipient needs access to the Internet to receive email, viruses are easily spread via email attachments (most email providers scan emails for viruses on your behalf).
·         Phishing - sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be a legitimate company to scam the user into providing information, such as personal information and bank account numbers on a bogus website. The details will then be used for identity theft.
·         No guarantee the mail will be read until the user logs on and checks their email.
·         Spam - unsolicited email, i.e. junk mail.

Social media/ networking 
Social Networking sites online have grown in the past few years and make a lot of money through advertisements on their websites used by millions. The most used sites are Facebook, Twitter and myspace. They are all very different sites as Facebook is designed to connect old friends and link up relationships, twitter is known as the ‘stalkers paradise’ of celebrities as small posts are posted about what people do in their day and myspace is more about spreading the different genre and talent of music.
Facebook- The first step of Facebook is to create a profile in which you put details about yourself, add pictures and edit however you like, this is then entered to a database which other people can find if they type in your name and add you to their profile. This can be good because it helps reconnect old friends but is also bad as it can attract unwanted company and unless the profile is hidden may lend out personal information. Facebook profiles have walls and friends can comment on them with open, non-private messages as others can see these messages. People leave these messages if the comment isn't urgent and can be read at a later time, whereas if it is urgent they can use the 'Facebook Chat' to privately talk direct to the person like an instant messaging service. Finally the final way of communication that facebook offers is a 'private mail' which can be used to transfer more formal information and again private conversation.
A type of software that can be downloaded is ‘Windows Live Messenger’ and this is an instant messaging service that with an email address allows friends to casually communicate ‘instantly’ through chat windows.
Windows Live Messenger- Those who are keen on social networking sites may also be into 'Windows Live Messenger' which is an instant messaging based software which is downloaded to the computer from the internet and friends are added by an email address created with the software. This is completely private and personal and can be used in more of a non-formal way. Windows Live Messenger is the most popular messaging site and also comes with a 'hotmail' section for emails and is great for formal emailing such as letters. I used to Windows Live Messenger a lot more frequently when I was younger, but now I prefer to use Facebook as you don't need to dedicate as much time to it.
·         Can keep in touch with friends and family via the internet. Making arrangements and building bonds between you and those you may not have seen for a while, or sustaining good friendships with others.
·         The sites are interactive and allow you to upload pictures, videos, send and receive mail and interactively talk through chat windows.
·         There is no cultural divide and you can get to know all kinds of people
·         Social Networking sites can be used as tools to promote businesses, products, services and websites. Social Networks are so popular and many use them to advertise.
·         The worst threat is identity theft or fraud. The information entered on to social networking sites can be used by dubious people for illegal activity. If email addresses, address, phone numbers, and age are found out, this can be used to commit other crime.
·         Many people pretend to be someone they are not and create false profiles with wrong information. If you don’t know the person face to face, it is hard to identify who they are, and this can lead to a lot of trouble.
·         Stalking and Harassment is a big problem within the social networking world. Cyber Bullying can happen and be severely hurtful towards the person getting bullied. Paedophiles can look through young people’s profiles depending on the chosen security settings and all kinds of information can be taken.

An Internet Forum or message board is an online discussion where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible. Forums have a specific set of jargon associated with them; e.g. a single conversation is called a "thread". A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of sub-forums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum's topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish. Depending on the forum's settings, users can be anonymous or have to register with the forum and then subsequently log in in order to post messages. On most forums, users do not have to log in to read existing messages. In my own personal experience I haven’t really used forums as a form of communication as social media seems to appeal more to my age bracket.
The Advantages are:
·         You can start up a topic and discuss it with other people in a forum.
·         You can post up different types of media.
·         A moderator can edit and reply other people’s posts to control the forums.
The Disadvantages are:
·         Anyone can spam on the forums if not controlled by a moderator.
·         Disagreements may occur and cause cyber fights.
SMS- Smartphones 
Short Message Service (SMS) is a text messaging service component of phone, web, or mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages between fixed line or mobile phone devices. SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world, with 3.6 billion active users, or 78% of all mobile phone subscribers. The term SMS is used as a synonym for all types of short text messaging as well as the user activity itself in many parts of the world. SMS is also being used as a form of direct marketing known as SMS marketing. SMS are used on modern handsets originated from radio telegraphy in radio memo pagers using standardized phone protocols and later defined as part of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) series of standards in 1985, as a means of sending messages of up to 160 characters, to and from GSM mobile handsets. Since then, support for the service has expanded to include other mobile technologies such as ANSI CDMA networks and Digital AMPS, as well as satellite and Landline networks.  Most SMS messages are mobile-to-mobile text messages though the standard supports other types of broadcast messaging as well.

A smartphone is a mobile phone built on a mobile operating system, with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a feature phone.  The first smartphones combined the functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a mobile phone. Later models added the functionality of portable media players, low-end compact digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and GPS navigation units to form one multi-use device. Modern smartphones also include high-resolution touchscreens and web browsers that display standard web pages as well as mobile-optimized sites. High-speed data access is provided by Wi-Fi and Mobile Broadband. The most common mobile operating systems used by modern smartphones include Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry OS, Samsung's Bada, Microsoft’s Window Phone, Hewlett-Packard's webOS, and embedded Linux distributions such as Maemo and MeeGo. Such operating systems can be installed on many different phone models, and typically each device can receive multiple OS software updates over its lifetime. I have a HTC smartphone which I am able to access the internet on my phone which means I am able to communicate with other people via that. But I sometimes struggle to find a secure connection which therefore puts me at a disadvantage if I would want to contact someone via the internet.
Advantages of smart phones
§   Smart phone has the ability to browse full websites with large amount of data and it will appear the same way as it is in the desktop browser.
§  Also has QWERTY keyboard which is similar to the computer keyboard. The key board can be hardware (physical keys that you type) or it can be software (on a touch screen like you will find on an iPhones).
§  Smart phones have got application that can help you create and edit Microsoft office documents.
§  Smart phone also has GPS which can be used to locate place that are new to you. When traveling to unknown places it is a good idea to have a GPS to help you find the place you’re looking for. Smart phones will help makes your tour navigable.
§  When it comes to messaging a smart phone will send messages and also email messages. A smart phone can synchronize your personal and most likely your professional email account. Some smart phone can support multiple accounts depending on the make and model.
Disadvantages of smart phones
§  Smart phone not durable especially when not taken good care of. For example it can malfunction easily when they come into contact with water.
§  It is very expensive to buy compared to other phones.
§  More complex when it comes to operating because of the many applications which need to be mastered to avoid confusion when operating it.
§   Can only work efficiently where there is accessible internet connection when it comes to browsing. Smart phone cannot be used to store large amount of data due to their storage memory. You cannot depends on smart phone for all your work you will all need a computer to do some tasks.

A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often were themed on a single subject. More recently "multi-author blogs" (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities, think tanks, interest groups and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other "micro blogging" systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into societal new streams. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
The Huffington Post is an American news website, content aggregator, and blog founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbart, and Jonah Peretti, featuring columnists and various news sources. The site offers news, blogs, and original content, and covers politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women's interest, and local news. I personally have not really come across blogs such as the Huffington Post until I started the AS Applied ICT course as I haven’t had the urge to use such sites.
Advantages of blogs
·         They allow the freedom of speech.
·         You get to share knowledge with other people.
·         You get to make friends online.
·         You can use your blog as your own personal diary.

Disadvantages of blogs
·         Need to keep it constantly updated otherwise you will lose potential readers.
·         It is easy to start but however hard to maintain.

Video Conferencing 
Video conferencing is the conduct of a videoconference by a set of telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to communicate by simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. It has also been called 'visual collaboration' and is a type of groupware. Videoconferencing differs from videophone calls in that it's designed to serve a conference or multiple locations rather than individuals. It is an intermediate form of video telephony, first deployed commercially in the United States by AT&T during the early 1970s as part of their development of Picture phone technology. With the introduction of relatively low cost, high capacity broadband telecommunication services in the late 1990s, coupled with powerful computing processors and video compression techniques, videoconferencing usage has made significant inroads in business, education, medicine and media. Like all long distance communications technologies (such as phone and Internet), by reducing the need to travel to bring people together the technology also contributes to reductions in carbon emissions, thereby helping to reduce global warming.
·         Reach anyone you need to reach immediately, no matter what time of day it may be for anyone involved. Time differences between states and countries can be overlooked without anyone travelling long distances for the conference.
·         While a phone call may suffice for two people who need to have a short conversation, web-based conferencing allows large rooms of people at different locations to interact with one another effectively. Ten business execs in Amsterdam can easily interact with five others in New York and two in Tokyo to create a full conference with everyone able to see and hear perfectly.
·         PowerPoint and other visual displays can be shared with everyone attending the conference at the same time, giving the feel of everyone being in one room and keeping everyone on task and focused.
·         Virtual whiteboards allow people from different locations to add in their own thoughts or ideas into one collaborative space. This enables everyone to form a plan of action or collaborate on a design or slogan instantly.
·         It is possible, with some services, for everyone to gain access to another computer, seeing whatever is on that computer screen. With more advanced services, a document can even be changed and typed into directly from other computers connected into the conference. Businesses that require active collaboration on one project form can be greatly enhanced with this possibility.
·         The price may be the biggest drawback for some people, though there are very cheap options if you do not require the more advanced features. Usually, a business that can make good use of the more advanced features often finds that the money they save flying clients or employees around the country or world more than makes up for the cost of the service provider. As fuel becomes more of an issue around the world, the price becomes less of a disadvantage and more of an advantage.
·         There are some human ways of communicating that do not translate very well over a distance, such as eye contact. When you sit in the same room with someone and listen to a speech or presentation you will make eye contact and they will judge who is paying attention by looking around the room. Much of this contact is not easily delivered through a webcam.

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