Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Mobile Phone: It is part of ME

I do think that you will agree with me that: 1. No other device has infiltrated society so widely and so quickly that lifestyles have altered subsequently, and no other portable medium is used so frequently that the mobile phone. 2. No other medium has been considered to be so personal that panic arises when it is lost. And you would wish the person dead if your mobile is stolen! 3. It is part of us. 4. It is as if the mobile phone has come to meet a biological need, more, it has become part of our bodies, and therefore of ourselves. The role of the mobile phone The mobile has become so embedded within society that it is indeed becoming part of the culture of late modern societies. Perceptions of the mobile phone have changed over the years; the mobile phone is taking on a new meaning and has superseded its utility as a medium solely for voice telephony; it is increasingly perceived as a multi-purpose device. Media Companies such as CNN, software companies such as Microsoft, and Internet giants such as Yahoo are all angling for a piece of this market. Mobile telephony is beginning to affect the perceptions and, more importantly, the use of other content media as Townsend(2000) declares: “… the cellular telephone, merely the first wave of an imminent invasion of portable digital communications tools to come, will undoubtedly lead to fundamental transformations in individuals’ perceptions of self and the world, and consequently the way they collectively construct the world” (Townsend,2000) With the introduction of mobile phones, to a certain extent, communication has been abstracted from the constraints of physical space – people can be reached anytime, any place. Along with this, the use of time has also, to a certain extent, been abstracted from location; for instance, people can now use the time sitting in a bus or car to organize their meetings for the following day. Moreover, social systems have become less location based and more people based. People can stay in touch on the move, maintaining a ‘nomadic intimacy’(Fortunati 2002). The social world has become a system of networked communities which are held together not by place, but by ‘symbolic processes’ such as trust building (Nyiri 2003). Communication and boundaries have become much more fluid. The result of this is that while people are physically in one place playing one role, they can be forced into another role, in the same physical space by a mobile call from someone from another context. ‘The old schedule of minutes, hours, days, and weeks becomes shattered into a constant stream of negotiations, reconfigurations, and rescheduling. One can be interrupted or interrupt friends and colleagues at any time. Individuals live in this phonespace and they can never let it go because it is their primary link to the temporally, spatially fragmented network of friends and colleagues they have constructed for themselves’ (Townsend 2000). Traditionally, an individual’s social identity has been interlinked with their location within physical space. The revolution in mobile communication has partially replaced the old location-based paradigm with the new social network-based paradigm. Hence, The mobile acts on many levels, as a fashion statement, as a communicator, as a badge of identity and as a decoder. We all read signs from other people, we decode in effect everything around us. Roland Barthes (1957) develops an approach to identity and consumption, in which he argues that there is always a dual aspect to consumption, that it fulfills a need but that it also conveys and is embedded within social and cultural symbols and structures. A mobile phone, for example, could be used for keeping in touch whilst also signifying an image of the kind of person one is or wishes to be seen to be. The mobile can be tailored to the individual by changing the ringtone, adding logos, stickers, the interface, the colour of the phone and now, more recently we have the Bluetooth Wireless connectivity, the VGA Camera as well as MP3/MP4 mobile enabled integrated devices. Jean Baudrillard (1983) notes that all goods have meanings that are generated within the system of signs and symbols which engage the attention of the consumer. Mobile phones meet no biological need. Baudrillard sees the consumer as always actively creating a sense of identity, both individually and collectively. In this sense, the mobile phone can create or reinforce identity, the status of the device is much more meaningful that the actual device itself. Recently, Nokia state that a mobile phone is the most intimate communicators device in the modern world. Within this privacy, intimate space can be created, constructed and reconstructed. Giddens(1991) theories about the reflexive project of self-identity are useful in thinking of how the mobile can create identities: Gidden writes: A self-identity has to be created and more or less continually reordered against the backdrop of shifting experiences of day-to-day life and the fragmenting tendencies of modern institutions. Hence, as intelligent mobile portals become available, the user will be able to select who and what is privileged access through this highly personal device. Mobile phone users are, in Gidden sense, clever people, at home with postmodern uncertainties and skilled in the reflexive reworking of identity. In another study, Peter S. Alexander (2000) explores how teenagers define and re-define the identity of the mobile as a dynamic social technology. The symbolic identity of fashion and style becomes even more important as a catalyst for social interaction within teen subculture. Identity, however, is fluid for all groups, not just for teenagers. The mobile has many functions, not only as a communicator but also as a signifier for identity and an added device for consumption of communication. Always on technologies such as GPRS and 3G will be significant to this group. Connectivity will not only influence their patterns of mobility but also influence their identities and how they see themselves. Nowadays, mobile phones are equipped with the GPS-Global Positioning Systems. This device is a miniaturized personal computer with a satellite connection which is able to signal your position accurately anywhere in the world with an error of one or meter or less. Hence, behind providing a service of mobility around the world, mobile technology also offers tracking of the individual. So, beware if you are lying to your boss!!!! Hence, As various media become interactively connected, information flows more easily across technological, social, and geographical boundaries. The internet and other technologies such as cellular phones and digital video, enable people to organize their life in ways that overcome limits of time, space, identity, and ideology, resulting in the expansion and coordination of activities that would not likely occur by other means. The importance or irrelevance of space, time and identity in relation to new media depends highly on the users and their level of interactivity within these medium. We might use and abuse of new forms of media but everything has to have a limit and a balance, be it in the cyberworld or the physical space we are living in.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Peer-To-Peer Technologies

A P2P computer network is a network that relies primarily on the computing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating it in a relatively low number of servers. P2P networks are typically used for connecting nodes via largely ad hoc connections. Such networks are used for many purposes. Sharing content files containing audio, video, data or anything in digital format is common, and realtime date, such as telephony traffic, is also passed using P2P. Some P2P sites are: 1. : Program: imesh 7.0 Details: 15 Million free songs and Videos, over 2 million original high quality songs licensed from the record labels. It is described as a P2P files sharing that’s 100% legal 2. : IM, chat, free email, message boards and file collection organizer. 3. : What you need, when you need it!!! Details: Free Movie downloads/music, Download full movie, file sharing software, concerts 4. 5. 6. Programs: edonkey, emule, bittorent, limewire, etc For instance, Gnutella and Freenet are just two of the many P2P technologies that will redefine the way we share digital files. is a small but powerful site. You can swap not only music files, but also digital media like video, pictures and text… a complete sharing of files among peers in a network. If you download Aimster, you can share any kind of digital file with anyone on buddy list, and that could be up to 60 millions buddies all around the world…. P2P techcnologies have changed the way we share our files within a network…. When u get connected to a peer (acting as a server), you can swap your files with it… and in turn, people who get connected on this same peer can even download your file on that server… It is a whole never-ending process of file sharing…. Just think of Amster whereby you can share any kind of digital file with anyone on the buddy list…. Each buddy becomes like a platform for the user to get connected to other peers. Don’t they have an end or limit??? My First Question would be: how far the sharing of resources through interconnected peers is reliable? Taking into consideration that sharing of files may bring all types of Viruses and Spywares. My Second Question relies on the copyright laws that regulate the music industry: Are the artists getting paid for all their songs that are being downloaded for free? Isn’t it a type of piracy? An open type of piracy?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Electronic Informational-Communicationalism"

The term "Electronic Informational-Communicationalism" really got my tongue and mind twisted when i read it in the article by Manuel Castellls in Informationalism, Networks and the Network Society : A theoretical Blueprint... However, while continuing to read the article, i find imperative to share some of his points as i do think they come in line with what we do in class... New Forms of Media did not start from nothing, it has to have a start and some force behind them to enable their rapid challenges... and leading us to a world of 24/7 connectivity and interactivity... Manuel Castells wrote :" what is specific to this new system of information and communication technologies that sets them apart from the historical experience? [...] what specifies this paradigm in relationship to previous historical developments of information and communication technologies(such as printing, telegraph or the non-digital telephone), are in essence, three major, distinctive features of the technologies that are the heart of the system 1. Their Self-expanding and communicating capacity in terms of colume, complexity, and speed 2. The recombining ability on the basis of digitization and recurrent communication 3. Their distributing flexibility through interactive, digitized networking" Hence, just think of the internet, online communities, P2P Technologies, Digital TV, as well Messengers(Yahoo, MSn, Aol) and: 1. to the extent they get us connected to friends, families, unknown people, and 2. how their ability to upgrade themselves lead us to new platforms of interactivity within this networked arena, and thus forming a powerful Network Society....

Monday, October 30, 2006


Hi Friends/Lecturers at the University, May be you are seeing me for the first time without my usual 'hijab'... Well, this is "ME" when i am home... I have started wearing the head veil since 2001 and i do not regret my decision at all... i am the only one among my 4 sisters to wear the 'hijaab'... Everyone has her own perception of life and how they will pursue it. fortunately i have tolerant parents who never impose things on us(their only 5 girls), otherwise, all my sisters would have worn the head veil and perhaps may not be happy wearing it. well, The baby i was holding in the Eid comments is my little cousin Salmaan and not my baby(am sorry, if u've already thought he's mine....)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Eid Festival

The Eid-Ul-Fitr festival is indeed a great day for the muslims to celebrate the end of a month of sacrifice... Sacrifice! Be it in terms of food, body, soul and spiritual being.. It is a month where we learned to reflect on our true self and being and our reason to life... The Zakaat becomes obligatory.. and for those who does not know, Zakaat is a form of taxation imposed on all people and more obligatory on the rich... The Eid-ul_fitr say is not only a day for joy, it is also a day where we all think of the poor and contribute to their minimum/maximum happiness by providing the 'fitra'. The 'Fitra'(food in arabic) is an amount of money/food accounting for the whole year that we should give to the poor before the salaat-ul-eid(eid prayer) so that the poor can also celebrate Eid as us.. Eid-Ul-Fitr is also a day for sharing and reconciliation with families and relatives... May we not forget our origins an this great day Eid Sa'eed Eid Mubarak

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just testing

My first experience on the webLog. It piqued my curiosity in New Media class today... as i don't like to be lagging behind in technology... especially those related to internet and online communities...