Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Technology: How much is too much?

By Nat Whiting

There may be a surprising amount of truth in the term "crackberries". The sudden rise of portable technology - like Blackberries, and the ever-increasing use of internet in our homes, schools and workplaces, has some experts claiming people are now becoming addicted to technology.

While support for the diagnosis continues to grow, debate persists within the medical profession, as to whether the term "addiction" is too strong. Dr Robert A. Zucker, director of the Addiction Research Centre at the University of Michigan in America, said the term addiction is used indiscriminately, and that the criteria of the psychological definition must be met before someone is labelled an addict.

When talking to Homepage recently, Federal vice-president of the Australian Medical Association Dr Steve Hambleton said he supported the diagnosis of technology addiction.

"Technology addiction certainly exists. That's when people are using technology in various forms, be it the internet or be it games or be it other things, and just find that it begins to take over their life."

Research is continuing to show that excessive technology users display similar behaviours to people with more common addictions, such as craving, withdrawing from others, neglecting responsibilities and compulsive usage. Dr Hambleton insists technology addiction is having detrimental impacts on people's lives.

"If you look at other addictions, in the more traditional sense, it's when people can't control their ability or they can't say no to the substance or the issue they're addicted to and it starts to interfere with their life - that's when it becomes a difficult problem... and certainly technology can take over."

Director of addictions services for the Menninger Clinic in Houstan, John O'Neill, said excessive technology use can cause people to neglect their families, and hamper their ability to communicate.

Despite on going debate over the validity of the disorder, treatment centers have already been established, targeting aspects of technology usage such as internet addiction and gaming addiction. Mr O'Neill recommends people at risk to observe their current technology use and then enforce limits on it, dedicating a certain number of hours that must go uninterrupted.

Dr Hambleton insists the first step to treatment is acknowledging excessive technology use as an addiction.

"A lot of the things that work for other forms of addiction do work. The first thing though, is getting the person involved to actually recognise they have got a problem."

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Is email the new snail mail?

By Nat Whiting

The process of a letter: from writing to posting to processing to delivery.

It seems inordinately long and complex in this new digital age. The advent of email has made traditional post superfluous in many ways, but as social media continues to grow, email may become the new snail mai

Nielson Online's latest report showed that time spent on social networking sites had grown by an astonishing 43%, while time spent on email had dropped by 28%.

The results have people asking: are social networking sites usurping email?

With the number of people using sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace growing everyday, it would hardly be surprising if their dominance over the online world now includes email.

As social networking sites continue to grow and develop they have taken on some of the applications previously reserved for email: sending private messages, sharing videos or online content, contacting a group of people or simply keeping in touch.

Further supporting the idea, the report also showed that 65.1% of internet users from across the world accessed email, while 68% accessed social networking sites.

Once the new, efficient form of communication is email being made redundant? Will it become the next generation's fax machine: useful, but mainly reserved for business.

Listen in next week on Homepage when I'll investigate.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Green IT

Hi everyone,

On this week's show, you will hear about the exciting new front of Green IT initiatives that are taking place around Australia.

I interviewed Dr Idris Sulaiman, director of www.computersoff.org
Visit the site to find ways to improve your carbon footprint at home and at work, as well as links to more information.

Dr Sulaiman also promoted websites www.byteback.com.au and www.teleworkaustralia.net.au
Check them out to find out different ways you can stay fresh with the newest technology but still help the environment.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Google Wave

It is official Google is going to crush the world.

Well, maybe not but if in fifty years time we don't have Christmas, Easter or Australia Day just Google day, don't say I didn't warn you.

For Insight this week I am looking into Google Wave, which in my opinion will revolutionise internet communication. Honestly, I am still shaking my head at what the team at Google Australia (yes it is made in our very back yard) have done here. I'm not going to spoil all the secrets on the blog but can I implore you to tune into Homepage this week as this Insight is a must hear.

If, however, you can't wait check out wave.google.com and you can discover it for yourself. I will also add some extra bits of information that didn't make the show to this very blog, so watch this space.

I will be recording the fills for the segment tomorrow morning so wish me luck.

Looking forward to the show,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our Twitter Minister


Seems good old Kevin is racking up the Twitter followers, hitting 500 000 mark, despite his tweets being as boring as his pre-written parliamentary speeches. He is now so popular new tweeters are directed to follow him when they start their account. In fact a large percentage of his cloud of fans comes from Hispanic regions and the U.S.A. Have we elected a Twitter tart as PM?

I would suggest not every single little tweet comes straight from Mr Rudd but possibly from his army of media advisors, but that is not important. The part that really intrigued me in this article was the Twitter activity during Parliament. Is it right for parliamentarians to be Tweeting from their Blackberries when they are supposed to be shaping the future of our country? Does this activity actually reveal how little influence debating with the opposition has on policy? Or does is, as this article hints at, allow for a concerned citizen to tweet a parliamentarian who can then raise the question in the house setting up a new corridor of communication between the government and its constituency?

Well you tell me what you think?

Friday, September 04, 2009

My very first blog

Hello and welcome back to Homepage!!!!!

I'm Sam one of the not so new Producers for the tech and IT show you know and love, Homepage. I hope you have been enjoying the shows so far and if you want any details on them feel free to send us a yell and we will gladly provide (well I will, I don't know about those other producers...)

So I suppose you would like to know a little about the show I have planned for next week.

Well for Tech Talk I will be having a look at Distrubuted Computing, particularly BOINC. It uses a global network of computers to aide scientific research and has helped with projects such as the Linear Arc, a particle accelerator burried under the Swiss/German Border. And you can easily get involved yourself, simply downloading a program and setting it to work in your down time. Even I on my crummy off the shelf laptop am giving it a go. Here is the Australian BOINC team's website, if you want to get involved. http://www.boinc-australia.net/

For Hotsites I found a nifty little news site called Homepage Daily (not to be confused with your favourite radio show Homepage). It takes a very different and sometimes irreverent look at the news. It was co-founded by Richard Neville and is very much a mature version of the legendary OZ magazine he created in the 60's. Here is the site so you can go have a snoop around: http://www.homepagedaily.com/.

Hope this is the first of many more blogs; lots of love from your favourite producer.


Monday, June 08, 2009

shut down in China

Micro-blogging site, Twitter is one of the many blogs, forums and social networking sites closed down this week by the Chinese government in a bid to increase censorship in the country.

In an attempt to stem online political discussion ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the bloodshed at Tiananmen Square, the shut down of social media sites highlights the influence of new technology upon Chinese youth in a society which is heavily controlled.

Each year China gets nervous in the lead up to the Tiananmen Square anniversary, where pro-democracy students protested against the government in 1989 with expected thousands of lives perished by government soldiers, but this year people across the world are outraged at the extents the government has gone to.

With China having the world largest online population with the advent of internet communities proving increasingly influential in providing public awareness, people are resorting to going outside normal controlled channels to set up communities and spreading online information.

Several blogs with anti- autocratic government activists have been blocked, along with photo sharing site Flikr, Yahoo and social networker Facebook.

Jason Khoury, spokesperson for Yahoo and Flikr says the Chinese government hasn’t offered any explanation for the blocking of access to the sites.

High profile video sharing site YouTube was blocked in March for similar censorship reasons.

Educational institutions have not been excluded from the shut downs either, with more than six thousand message boards across various websites connected with Chinese colleges and universities closed in order to shelter discussions.

New search engine Bing and its email affiliate Hotmail, have also been blocked by the Chinese Government, with creators Microsoft reaching out to the Chinese government to find a way to move forward.

In a statement from AFP, Microsoft director of Public Affairs, Kevin Kutz says "Microsoft is committed to helping advance the free flow of information, and is committed to encouraging transparency, due process and rule of law when it comes to Internet governance,"

Director of The Berkeley China Internet Project, Xiao Qiang says it has been an intensified clampdown on quasi-public discussion of awareness of the event.

"It's a discussion about where China is now and where China can go from here. So the authorities are making a major crackdown to block user-generated sites such as Twitter and show there is no right to public discussion," he says.