Home > Assignments > Mobile Landscape Paper, due 2.24.11

Mobile Landscape Paper, due 2.24.11

Over the last three weeks, we have looked at the many ways that various mobile technologies have transformed the way we communicate with each other and interact with the world. These technologies are fast moving and have many applications, both domestically and abroad. From geolocation to QR Codes to a technology as old as SMS texts, the many technologies inside mobile devices are changing the world around us.

Choose one mobile technology we’ve discussed in class, in use here in the US or elsewhere around the globe, and write a 500 word researched paper that talks about the technology itself (how it works, how it is implemented in mobile devices) as well as giving three specific applications of that technology (cite specific examples of use). Finally, give a way that this technology will impact the practice of journalism either today or in the years to come.

Please paste your paper into the comments of this thread–feel free to include links, etc

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Categories: Assignments
  1. Joanna Wesoly
    February 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    The auto focus in even the most basic phone has been overlooked from the very beginning. It has never been paid attention to because of how minuscule the concept is. But this feature is what helps mobile users not get frustrated when pictures come out blurry and disfigured. The start of auto focus in mobile technology started in 2004 when mobile users were noticing that their pictures were becoming blurred and pixelated. But the history of the auto focus lens began in 1960. Between then and 1973, Ernst Leitz, the inventor of the auto focus we use today, patented various auto focus technologies and their corresponding sensors. Auto focus, or AF is an optical system that uses a sensor, a control system and a motor to fully function. The motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy and they operate through magnetic fields. The control system is a set of devices that manage and direct the behavior of that specific system. In this case, the auto focus. The sensor measures the physical quality which then converts it to a signal which is read by an instrument. Finally, the optical system includes the properties of light. These devices make up auto focus. There are two different types of auto focus: active and passive. The main difference between these two is that active focus fails to find focus on a subject that is very close to the camera while passive does not. On the other hand, passive focus has trouble finding focus on a subject that has very low contrast and single-color subjects. They are also dependent on a certain degree of light from a subject in order to focus on it. That’s why there is a built-in flash in most phones.

    Three specific examples of applications and the way we use them are:

    1) Camera- The built-in camera in our phones used to take pictures.
    2) Video Recorder- The video recorder we use to record longer moments.
    3) Gallery- When looking back through pictures, zooming in and focusing on one area of the picture works with auto focus.

    I think that this technology is already impacting journalism but it will impact it more in the years to come. Right now, more and more media publications want journalists that can do it all. This meaning, they want the story, the pictures and the video. They also want the journalists to put it online. Not all media publications are online right now, but in the years to come, I believe all of them will be. Auto focus comes in handy when a journalist is out on the field and wants to take a picture of a specific subject. They can zoom in on their phone, take the picture, upload it on the website and their work is done. The same thing can be said for a video recorder. Auto focus comes in handy when you’re trying to focus on a single subject and don’t want anything else interfering.

  2. February 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Near field communication is a technology that allows a device to interact with another device within close proximity. A simple setup is to have one device be the initiator while the other is a target. The initiator’s job is generating a Radio Frequency Field (or RF Field) to power a passive target. However, it is possible for two powered devices to communicate with each other as well.

    In technical terms, NFC uses magnetic induction with two loop antennas to form an air core transformer. These antennas have a range up to 20 cm. There are two different modes for NFC, active and passive mode. In passive mode, the initiator device creates a carrier RF field, while the target device answers by modulating the field. The target device can draw power from the Initiator device’s field. The other mode is active mode, where an initiator and target create their own RF fields. One device deactivates its RF field when waiting for data from the other.

    Japan has utilized NFC for years, with several devices being initiators and cell phones being targets. One example of an initiator and a target would be using a cell phone as a train ticket to enter the subway. A device at the subway gate acts as an initiator. When someone places his or her cell phone, the target, at the initiator, a transaction occurs to allow the user to enter the subway. Another common use of NFC in Japan occurs when making purchases. Instead of scanning a credit card, users can make payments by scanning their cell phones. Finally, in the United States, there is an application called “Bump”, where two devices can exchange money with each other. The two devices must be within at least 4 cm of each other to perform the transaction. This is actually an example of two powered devices communicating with each other.

    The concept of the “Bump” application can be used for journalism when it comes to transferring pictures, video, and possibly stories. Instead of having to email a file to another device, using NFC to transfer files would be a faster, efficient way of exchanging files. This file transfer system could not only be used from mobile to mobile device, but maybe even to laptop or desktop computers. Journalists would no longer have to connect any cables or send emails to themselves in order to transfer a file. Computers are easily capable of adapting to NFC, and it’s only a matter of time before computer makers implement this technology into newer systems. A writer could finish a story, place a mobile device near his or her computer to transfer the file, and then send the file to an editor electronically as fast as if the writer were handing the editor a paper copy of the story.

    Besides file transfers, NFC can work to turn a journalist’s mobile phone into a press pass. Instead of having to wait in a line to obtain a press pass for some events (CPS School Board Meetings for example), journalists can put their press pass on their phone. To enter, a journalist would simply place their phone near a scanner to grant them access to the event, the same way phones in Japan are used as subway passes.

  3. February 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Geolocation is the identification of a geographic location of an object, such as a cell phone. It’s easy for most people to understand the benefits of geolocation if they have ever toured a neighborhood using Google Maps. Knowing where a picture takes place, or on a larger, more important scale, where an object is, is extremely informative and becoming more and more a part of our everyday life thanks to smart phones. Geolocation is the kind of technology you are probably using without realizing it. How many times a day does your iPhone ask to use your location when you launch an app? That’s geolocation.

    Geolocation has been causing people to worry about the amount of information it is able to track, such as country, region, city, zip code, latitude and longitude. It is also the cause of the highly debated and constantly changing privacy settings on Facebook. Suprisingly, many applications ‘steal’ more of your data then the highly publicized Facebook app. The US Army has an interesting collection of data about geolocation and how it can be dangerous. (http://www.nv.ngb.army.mil/Army%20Geotagging%20Safety.pdf) Their data explains that smart phones can automatically embed geodata into photos and video that users upload and SMS messages they send. At one point there was a website titled PleaseRobMe.com that highlighted the dangers of having your home robbed after tweeting from a distinct location. This brings us to the applications of the technology:

    1. Google provides a download called “Picasa” that allows users to organize, edit and share photos. Picasa has been geotagging photos since 2007.
    2. “Foursquare” is a app that allows users to check in at a specific location and redeem rewards (freebees) for the “mayor” or person with the most check ins.
    3. Google has created another social networking tool called “Google Buzz” that allows users to share geolocated status updates, images and videos that will appear on a location sensitive mobile version of Google maps.

    In addition to the above geolocation is also used on more obvious social media platforms such as Twitter and Yelp. This technology is very important for the future of journalism. Most importantly, it allows a reporter to see where his source is located. In the recent protests in Egypt and Tunisia much of the information has come from the internet and geolocation is an easy way to assure reporters that the updates they are receiving are actually coming from the specific areas of conflict. Geolocation can also be used to help in natural disasters or to plot crowds, like the BBC did during a London Tube Strike (http://tubestrike.crowdmap.com/main). Applications that use geolocation, like Twitter, could be potentially helpful in sourcing out news stories if one was able to search trending topics for specific areas (currently one can search by city, but a neighborhood or everyblock type search would be much more useful to journalists). Right now geolocation is mainly thought of by cell phone users are fun and and games it has a serious future for news professionals.

  4. February 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Rick Majewski
    Video Chatting

    Video Chatting is the use of audio and video tools to communicate with someone in real time. What makes this such a great tool because we live in a visual world and now we can communicate and see who we are communicating with.
    Surprising it is an old technology. Testing for such a concept started in 1927 by AT&T. But is wasn’t until the 1970’s that AT&T came out with video conferencing which was utilized by business. Another jump was made in 2003 by Sorenson Media Inc. for the deaf community. Now with better quality a deaf person could use sign language to communicate with someone in any part of the world.
    For journalist this is great because now you can report and be broadcasting right there with out anyones help. Case and point, if Anderson Cooper is reporting at a scene of some catastrophe, he can just stand in front of the scene hold out his phone start reporting and broadcasting. All in real time. Now is these phones have two opposite direction cameras than. while shooting himself he could then turn and film the scene and have two feeds. The one from the scene itself and another of him reporting it.
    There are a few problems. First is the networks not perfect when it comes to video chatting. There is a lot of information being sent and if everyone is doing it then it has the possibility to overload the network. Most current phones do not have a camera that is on the same side of the screen. The microphone on the cell phone are usually very bad. Also it can drain the battery even faster. Even now smart phones do not last long between charges.
    Another thing that makes it so great is that you can now tell if someone is where they say they are. It has a more personal level, being able to see and talk to someone. Lastly theres more emotion. Its not what you say its how you say it. With video chatting this becomes more possible.

    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/splash/iphone.jsp
    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Media/conversation-press-hassled-gulf-coast/story?id=10877263
    http://cjarchives.jrn.columbia.edu/article.asp?subj=arts_culture&course=Columbia_News_Service&id=1707
    http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/news_blog/comments/20101013_video_chat_pew_research_on_early_adopters/

  5. February 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    One of the most innovative tools used on cell phones today is the touch screen. It may also be one of the tools most taken for granted. Once there was a world of cell phones based solely of a number pad strikingly similar to that of a cordless phone. And with time the cell phone developed a small size screen with buttons still leading the way on how to utilize a phone. Fast forward a few years and now buttons are seemingly nonexistent on mobile phones. In fact, on most phones there is only a screen and your fingers now don’t press a button but rather, touch.
    A brief history, Mary Bellis from about.com wrote, “In 1971, the first ‘touch sensor’ was developed by Doctor Sam Hurst.” The patented the sensor as the Elograph.
    Bellis also wrote, “In 1974, the first true touch screen incorporating a transparent surface came on the scene developed by Sam Hurst and Elographics. In 1977, Elographics developed and patented five-wire resistive technology, the most popular touch screen technologies used today.”
    With the first resistive technology that was first developed, exinearticles.com How Touch Screen Technology Works article explains the technology of a resistive system. The resistive screen is made of two metallic sheets held together by spacers. As the screen is touch, the two layers meet one another and the electronic field is changed. Once held together, the screen determines the spot of the touch and what that touch means.
    Although this is the most commonly used touch screen, on its devices it is often a lag when using the touch screen. That means once the button is touched, it may take a moment or two before the action actually takes place.
    The capacitive system takes away the lag from the resistant system and allows touch screens to be much more responsive. Exinearticles.com describes capacitive system as the screen holding the electrical charge right at the top of the screen. As soon as the screen is touch it can determine right away as to what action was pressed.
    The last type of touch screen, which really is not used in cell phones too much, is the infrared system. According to explaintahtstuff.com, infrared systems uses grid patterns of LED lights and by touching the screen it will interrupt two or more beams and thus tell where to locate the touch.
    Touch screens allow for so much use on a mobile phone. Touch screens make phones possible for gaming, web surfing, messaging and multitasking. The touch screen is easy to use as well. The numbers display big and bright because there is enough room for the numbers to be displayed. Even the basic of phones gives a better chance to view a website and get exactly what is needed from it.
    Journalist should love touch screens for three reasons, the size of the screen, its multitasking capabilities, and its quickness to get the information needed. One, the size of the screen allows for accessing web pages without going to a laptop or other device. It is easy to read right on the screen and with the simple touch, navigation is as easy as ever to find what one needs. Two, the multitasking is so much better than on a regular flip phone or candy-bar-style phone. These phones most often close the applications and take much longer to navigate the phone when using buttons. Lastly being able to touch and have the screen pop up is so important for journalists who is rushing and have a strong need for information fast.

  6. Regan Crisp
    February 24, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Regan Crisp
    Mobile Journalism

    Mobile Landscape: Geolocation

    As mobile technologies become more innovative and complex, the mobile web
    is also becoming more accessible. Something that was once an amazing innovation is
    making its way into the category of commonplace, as phones becomes less expensive
    and wireless networks expand to cover more users around the world. Having the Internet
    in the palm of your hand presents a world of possibilities to the user. We are connected,
    everywhere, all the time, to everyone, everywhere – and because of this the separation we
    once experienced through physical distance and immobility is becoming less profound.
    If it weren’ t enough to have uninterrupted, mobile Internet access, now users have
    the power to determine their geographical position, as well as that of others, through
    geolocational technology. With the use of GPS, a technology that has been around for
    decades, phones have become the real-world equivalent to the science fiction notion of
    homing devices and computer chips implanted in human beings, making them easy to
    track and thus control. Aside from the eerie big brother factor, geolocational technology
    is giving us the freedom not only to connect from anywhere, but to have every interface
    we use on a daily basis connect to us based on location, giving us localized and personal
    updates regarding weather, news, the status of our friends and family; not to mention the
    ability to never get lost.

    The geolocational software on our phones tells us where we are by showing
    us our own position on a map, allowing us to coordinate how close we are to places
    and other people. It does this through the use of a Global Positioning System, or GPS.
    GPS uses a network of satellites to navigate the globe, and can determine a GPS-
    enabled object’ s position regardless of weather, or cell phone coverage. In short, with
    the power of GPS in a device such as a phone, anyone is findable. This technology
    became popular in cars before it did in mobile phones – GPS systems help drivers to see
    their route as they move across the map displayed on a small screen in the dashboard,
    though these systems are notoriously slow and unreliable at giving precise direction
    for our ever-changing urban environments So far Google manages this feature on most
    smart phones, including the iPhone, although Apple has considered changing their
    geolocational software to a map that is not Google. Google also pioneered the ability
    to zoom into a map to street level, a feature that was greeted with amazement by some
    and consternation by others who cited issues of privacy. The same concerns are present
    when it comes to geolocational technology, particularly with geolocational applications
    like Foursquare, which announce the user’ s location to an online social network. There
    have been incidents of Foursquare users being easily stalked, leaving critics to balk at the
    vulnerability inherent in the application.

    For journalists and other disseminators of information, geolocational software is
    a powerful tool that is still being realized. Applications like Foursquare can also be used
    to offer more local, personal news to users/members, and news outlets can cater more
    effectively to a reader’ s interests according to where they go and what they do. This is
    also good news for advertisers, the newspaper’ s best friend, for just as Foursquare users

    can be stalked by unwelcome strangers, so can advertisers chase their target audience
    when they know more about where that audience is hanging out.

    Aside from becoming more localized, news will be transformed like never before by
    geolocational reporting. Journalists are now able to report instantaneously from a mobile
    device, without having to drag in camera crew and microwave van. This kind of on-
    the-spot reporting will also further the growing community of citizen journalists, who
    now have the power to see events as the occur and post them to media sites or blogs
    in a few seconds. News outlets have only just begun to develop this side of reporting,
    though geotagging is already happens on news sites, in the blogosphere, and on social
    networking sites. Geotagging is added a geographical location to photographs, videos
    or other media. Facebook has become everyone’s favorite forum for posting photographs
    as they are taken, to update where they were taken. And when you link Facebook to
    Foursquare to your Huffington Post feed to Instagram – geolocational software makes a
    map, or a phone call, look prehistoric.

  7. Eric Witt
    February 24, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Modern telephone technology has a plethora of crazy gadgets and sophisticated equipment. One of the lesser-considered abilities of mobile phones is voice recognition technology. Voice recognition technology applies hardware and software in an interesting process. When a device is spoken into, a microphone receives the sound and converts the sound to a digital file for the software to use. This is done through an analog-to-digital converter built in to the hardware of the device. The most important aspect to this process is the speech analysis, which comes next. The digital voice file is separated into “phonemes”, which are bits of sound the software can more easily recognize. After the software has taken the sound, it attempts to recognize, identify and compare in order to distinguish what was said. Using an internal language database, the software can recognize different languages, dialects and pronunciations.

    Voice recognition technology can be used in many ways. The first and most obvious is the efficiency factor- executing tasks without having to touch ones phone using VR technology. This is used through Bluetooth, Vingo and other such programs and allows users to make phone calls and texts without touching a button. The better extension of this idea is the usefulness for those who are handicapped. Whether it is difficult for a person to see their phone or difficult to physically use the phone with ones hands, VR technology can aid those in need. Lastly, voice recognition technology can now detect voices of separate users that use the phone regularly and security measures can be implemented to protect the owner and user of a certain phone.

    There are many ways this technology can be applied to journalism. One such way that I suggest is through immediate voice updates to a news breaking journalistic outlet. A person would just have to simply hit a button on their phone and record breaking news which would be automatically uploaded to an aggregator or even a fact checker. This could be implemented into EveryBlock or any site similar to that. The voice recognition technology would be used specifically to categorize the news given and sort it according to subject, relevancy and any other category a user might want. Through this, one could categorize news simply by speaking.

  8. Chelsea
    April 14, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Bluetooth is a wireless technology system that uses radio waves to transmit information amongst both fixed and mobile devices. The frequency that Bluetooth uses is called frequency-hopping spread spectrum. It delivers all types of data, including audio and visual, and sends it easily by breaking the information up into smaller bits for sending. Bluetooth creates what are called personal area networks to share information between many types of devices.
    Bluetooth became popular for consumer use in cell phones in the early 2000’s for making hands free calls by use of an earpiece that is wireless connected to a mobile device. From there sending data from phone to phone via Bluetooth became one of the first ways we sent information via our mobile devices. Some specific applications Bluetooth is used for today is hands-free calls, wireless transmission of data, connection to Internet, and also as a tracking device.
    As mobile technology grows to be more commonplace in our every day lives and we become more accustomed to using it for different purposes than just making calls, I believe we will see a need for another way to connect to others. Web connections may become more crowded and less reliable as users are using it more frequently, and so another way to send information quickly is where Bluetooth’s importance can come into play. Bluetooth uses a higher speed connection than other technologies like it such as Bump. Also, with Bluetooth it’s also possible to create safe, protected networks to share information on, which is a benefit for journalists.
    The most interesting part of Bluetooth’s future is the ability to connect with other fixed devices that we might not normally associate with mobile phones and mobile technology. Journalists can already use this technology to connect to home or work office computers, printers, and synchronize their schedules or other personal information with their phones.

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