Thursday, May 31, 2007

A sad moment..

I came into this course feeling a little terrified and a lot apprehensive! While I use computers on a regular basis, the majority of my time is spent using msn, email, MySpace and Word. This being said I don’t consider myself completely computer illiterate, and normally find I can pick most things up just by spending some time using the program. However, considering this course is name ‘New Communication Technologies’, new being the operative word, I thought I would have a lot of difficulty in completing the tasks. Admittedly, I did struggle with some components of the course however, on the whole, found it to be rather enjoyable and interesting and am actually a little saddened to finish it.

Not being an avid fan of technology and computers, I was surprised to be interested in a majority of the lectures and found they all had relevance to many aspects of life, not just restricted to complex technology functions and information. I am appreciative furthermore that the lectures were structured in simple and easy to understand terms which also proved beneficial when studying for the ‘100 QUESTIONS IN 60 MINUTES’ test! While I’m on the subject of the test, I’d like to say a big thanks to Adam for designing the exam revision table which helped me enormously! Anyway, while I know most people hated the lecture on Public Relations, I found it very interesting and helpful to my decision in choosing Public Relations next year. This, along with Jason Nelsons ‘interesting’ lecture, was my favourite.

The movies shown in the lectures were the only negative I found associated to the course. I know they were relevant to the course content etc but I found them incredibly boring and would have liked to have studied movies a little more recent and that covered a broad range of interests, not just sci-fi, warped films. Sorry.

When I first realised the tutorials, as well as the lectures, were two hours long I was a little disheartened but they turned out to be fairly interesting. I liked the way we were able to work at our own pace and follow along with the instructions rather than it being like a formal lesson. The laid back approach made me more inclined to actually do my work as I didn’t feel as pressured and felt I had a lot of flexibility about how to do the tasks. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Adam for being an excellent tutor, who made the classes interesting and was extremely helpful.

Overall, I found this course helped me immensely in learning about new communication technologies and broadened my knowledge on many topics associated with issues such as the internet, cyberpolitics and new media. I have no doubt that I will carry and apply this new knowledge with me in any career I enter.
For the last time...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

week 12: Exam Revision

Nothing much to report this week.

Exam revision was very useful in the tutorial and it was great to learn some more on certain important definitions.

The lecture moreover was fairly interesting and it was good to learn about open source and free software.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Microsoft Excel

Hey there,

I must start by saying that i thought this task would be easy like last week. I was pleasantly surprised however. So thank you.. =]

Anyway, as i have not used Excel nearly as much as Word, i found this task slightly more interesting, and complicated.

While i had no problems doing the first exercise, i found entering in some of the formulas, in the second exercise, a little more trying. For some reason the formula for the column 'gains/losses' would not work for me (i probably did it wrong) and as a result, i ended up just writing in the text. I did not overcome this problem as i don't no what i did wrong. I followed the instructions and copied the code correctly but it still didn't work.

Anyway, making the graphs came a bit easier and i had no troubles with the exercise. Completing the Advanced exercise on 'Macros' was more challenging however. While i followed along in the first few steps, it became increasingly harder and by the time i had to record things, i got stuck. This being the case however, i managed to realise what i was doing wrong and finish the task.

I believe Microsoft Excel would be extremely useful to business people as it is extremely beneficial in aiding them to arrange various pieces of data in an effective and comprehensible way. The only problem i find with Excel is that if you are unsure of the correct formulas to use, it can often be a complex program to use. That being said, i can see how this software is would helpful to many people, especially businesses and the like.

Thanks for another week,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fun with Microsoft Word:

Hello for another week,

Well, the assignment is done, emailed and posted and I could not be happier that this week is almost over! Leaving assignments (yes that's right.. more than one) to the last minute has meant my week has been very busy, and consequently resulted in a severe lack of sleep.. one more night wont hurt though and my plans for tonight are all that has kept me going.

Anyway, onto this weeks tutorial task..
My new friend Brooke isn't here today so I haven't had much fun with word, but anyway, not long till my evening of fun begins! (I cant stop thinking about it)

Okay, so after completing the various exercises set out to learn more about Microsoft Word, I found myself, mildly put, a little bored.

I had no problems using Word and following the instructions on how to 'bold text' and 'insert headers and footers.' While the advanced exercise on mail merging was something new to me, I had no problems trying to use it and following along to the instructions. Furthermore, the track changes exercise was also a function I had never used but I didn't really see much point in it and how it could help me.

Overall, I didn't find the exercises too confusing, and while the first few were way too easy, the advanced examples got my brains working a bit!

Microsoft Word is one of my favourite programs. It is simple to use and allows me to do everything I need to do. As a result, I can definitely see how this software would be useful in creating various applications and documents and would be especially helpful when constructing a resume for example.

Creating letters, reports, documents etc is extremely simple to do using Word and, according to the Tutorial introduction, it is an important skill to know not only while at uni, but also in the workforce. Therefore, while I may have already known how to bold text etc, any extra knowledge which will help increase my word processing skills is valuable and thus a productive afternoon.

Anyway, for another week, good bye and have fun!

Music Piracy: New Communications Essay

Music is an art form which plays a significant role in the lives of many people worldwide, and has done so for decades. With the advancement of new communication technologies and music programs over the past few years, the question begs, ‘has the music industry been affected by the advancement of internet technologies and music piracy?’ Through thorough investigation into the history of music piracy, the flow effects within society and other various literature examinations, it can be found that while some aspects of file sharing may be beneficial to the economy, overall, illegal downloading and sharing of music has immeasurable consequences on the music industry and subsequent sales.

The music industry is typically dominated by four main corporations consisting of AOL-Time Warner, Sony/BMG, Universal and EMI. These four companies were responsible for 80 per cent of global music sales (Crewe et al 2005, p.177) in 2005 and hold significant importance in the music business. The ‘Golden Era,’ as it is often referred to, was a time in which the music industry ‘enjoyed fifteen years of steady growth in record music sales following the introduction of the compact disk, better known as the CD’ (Crewe et al 2005, p.177). However, since this time, the major companies have experienced a turnaround in success which is linked to falling sales due to increasingly popular internet downloading technologies. After the post war period it is said music truly developed and began to grow in popularity. Increasing levels of income in the 1950s were linked to teenagers and people in their early twenties who thus represented the majority of music revelers (Crewe et al 2005, p.184). From the 1970s onwards however, when music cassette recording was increasing in popularity, it was disputed that ‘home taping was killing music as the straightforward way in which cassette recorders could duplicate music encouraged large-scale counterfeiting activities’ (Crewe et al 2005, p.180). Such claims reveal music piracy is not a new activity and highlight the scale in which this criminal activity has magnified. With the increase in internet usage moreover, came the statistics from surveys released in July 2003 that ‘30 per cent of internet users felt entitled to download copyright protected music’ (Richardson 2003, p.95), and thus highlighted the emergence of the digital age in which companies such as US based Kazaa, introduced flexible, market based music downloading. While some believe free distribution of music is good for the industry in that it allows previously unheard of musicians to become more easily recognized, others claim such acts to be unlawful and among other things, stealing (Greiner 2006, p.58). Launched in April 2003, Apple iTunes developed a response to music piracy by distributing music online, selling ‘10 million songs in the first four months of operation’ (Richardson 2003, p.96). Such an idea is purposeful in developing strategies to decrease the number of people downloading music illegally. ‘From the development of cheap and simple tape recording technology in the seventies and eighties’ (Richardson 2003, p.90) to the illegal downloading of Mp3’s and other music files nowadays, it is evident to see how far technology has come and makes it necessary to discover the flow on effects within society before further action can be taken.

While music piracy is nothing new and with it being virtually impossible for an audio pirate to experience legal trouble – prosecution is extremely uncommon, it is not surprising that in 2000 alone, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) declared the global value of pirated music to be $4.2 billion (IFPI in Marshall 2004, p.163). With this in mind, it is evident there has been innumerable effects within the music industry, mostly of a negative nature. While, according to Francesco D. Sandulli and Samuel Matrin-Barbero, Associated Professors in Spain, ‘legitimate digital music sales have increased steadily, reaching an estimated US$1.1 billion in 2005 and accounting for approximately six per cent of global music sales’ (2007, p.63), global music sales on the whole have fallen by over nine per cent in 2002 alone (Crewe et al 2005, p.177). Such immense declines in sales have prompted most major recording companies to reassess their financial position and, at times, resort to terminating underperforming acts contracts in a bid to avoid spending money on material that may not regain sales. Such efforts have forced many record company executives to pay more attention to the ‘significantly increased rate of circulation of illegal copies of copyright music’ (Crewe et al 2005, p.179) and foreshadow the death of the music industry due to such practices. Moreover the fact that ‘only one CD sold more than ten million copies world-wide between 2001 and 2002’ is claimed by the head of IFPI to be the ‘direct result of the internet’ (Crewe et al 2005, p.179). A result in which the illegal copying and transferring of music over the internet is decreasing sales rapidly and forcing money that would otherwise be spent on discovering new talents, to be used to save the company. Despite the fact that illegal copyrighting of music has seen rapid declines in the profitability of record companies, other areas within the economy have also suffered.

While file sharing and other music downloading programs are damaging the music industry, there is also evidence to suggest that music piracy cannot be held solely responsible. Some claim that ‘the problems facing the music industry have not suddenly been manifested overnight, or even in response to on-line digital file exchange, but rather have accumulated over time in response to a set of broader cultural forces that have changed the role of music within society,’ (Crewe 2005, p.184) highlighting the versatility and vulnerability of the music industry and its ability to adapt in numerous ways. Other than the identification of music piracy as a reason for decreases in sales within the music industry, newer media and consumer electronics can also be to blame as the amounts of money people spend on such products subsequently reduces the amount of capital received by record companies. The Economist explains this best when stating ‘new passions, be it computer games, mobile phones or even the internet itself, have all attracted expenditure that, in many cases, was previously spent on music’ (2003). However, it can also be found that through music piracy, new businesses have been formed in order to take advantage of innovative modes of production, distribution and consumption. While this may be the case, it is indisputable that the music industry is a volatile and fickle market and is thus very difficult to predict with changes in fashion and taste also indicators as to the success or in most cases, failure, of the market.

Either way you look at it; there are certainly many factors to take into account when considering how the music industry has been affected by the advancement of internet technologies and music piracy, with it difficult to single out one reason. While numerous issues render the argument complex however, it can be said, considering the above information, that the development of music downloading has, overall, had a damaging effect on the recording industry and left its’ future in question.



Brander, Scott 2005, ‘Is it threat or availability?’, Network World, vol.22, no.4 (January), 26.

Cooper, Jon & Harrison, Daniel 2001, ‘The social organization of audio piracy on the internet’, Media, Culture & Society, vol.23, 71-89.

Crewe, Louise & French, Shaun & Leyshon, Andrew & Thrift, Nigel & Webb, Peter 2005, ‘On the reproduction of the musical economy after the internet’, Media, Culture & Society, vol.27, 178-208.

Economist 2003, Unexpected Harmony, Accessed 4 May 2007.

Freeman, Miller 1999, ‘The musical internet’, Studio Sound, 1 Mar, 75-79.

Greiner, Andrew 2006, ‘Download dilemmas’, Down Beat, vol.73, no.3 (March), 58.

Harrison, John & Hirst, Martin 2007, Communication and New Media: from the broadcast to narrowcast, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Marshall, Lee 2004, ‘The effects of piracy upon the music industry: a case study of bootlegging’, Media, Culture & Society, vol.26, 163-181.

Martin-Barbero, Samuel & Sandulli, Francesco 2007, ‘68 cents per song’, The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol.13, 63-78.

Miguel, Renay 2005, ‘The problem with file sharing’, Technology Review, vol.108, no.10 (October), 39.

Richardson, Megan 2003, ‘Downloading music off the internet: copyright and privacy in conflict?’, Journal of Law and Information Science, vol.12, no.1 (November), 90-100.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Week 8 Internet Field Trip

Hello again,

Well i got all excited this week as i thought we might actually be going on a field trip! Afraid not...

This weeks tutorial task was in actual fact, all about 3D worlds and socialising on the Internet.

After checking out and i began to realise the differences between IM programs like MSN and other 3D type socialising providers.

Being a huge MSN fan and user, i noticed many qualitative differences when using these alternative 3D environment programs.

Beside the obvious difference that Active World is 3D and MSN isn't, many other aspects also differ.

Firstly, programs like Active World raise the very important theme of text vs visual and the effectiveness of both. This program, while still using text to communicate, uses a myriad of visual aspects which add an extra dimension to the environment. Including so many visual aspects in the program allows users to interact fully with the people they are communicating with in a fun and social environment.

While MSN allows people to communicate only by text, this program not only allows people to chat, but also visit incredible 3D worlds that are built by other users, make new friends and chat with people from all over the globe, play interactive 2D and3D games and finally choose from a vast range of avatar identities and chat with other avatars.

The kinds of socialising that happens in these spaces is different to those of programs like MSN as the visual aspect means people are able to interact in a different type of environment which is new and exciting and more interactive. The 3D aspect therefore, makes a huge difference to the way people communicate.

This sort of application may lead us to a more interactive world where people are able to see first hand, the people they are talking to. In the future, a program like this could easily be adapted from cartoon to real life etc.

Overall, i really enjoyed this task. It was fun to use a new program like this and explore the different communication programs on the internet and the alternative ways we can communicate globally.

Thanks for another week!