Net Neutrality

What would our digital media environment look like without Net Neutrality. Who is for Net Neutrality and why and who is against it and why?

Net Neutrality is the idea that all forms of communication on the internet should be treated equally (Honan, 2015). Similarly, the idea of the ‘open internet’, was defined by the FCC (2015) as an internet where “consumers can go where they want, when they want”

The idea of an open internet has been challenged multiple times, most notably in 2011, when the US Government attempted to pass the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) bills. These “propose that anyone found guilty of streaming copyrighted content without permission 10 or more times within six months should face up to five years in jail” (BBC, 2012). Due to outside situations in the US Government, voting on these bills was postponed, and no agreement on them has yet been reached.

In 2012, the FCC began considering the value of Net Neutrality being required by law. This caused many people to voice their opinions, both for and against, Net Neutrality. Everyday users of the internet are the primary advocates of keeping the internet neutral, as changes to the way they interact with the internet will affect them greatly. Ammori (2014) outlines the basis of the argument for Net Neutrality, saying the Government has two choices, “allow the Internet to remain an a engine of innovation, a platform for speech in even the harshest tyrannies, and a unified connection for people across the globe — or cede control of the Internet to service providers motivated by their parochial interests.”  ISP providers on the other hand, could benefit greatly without Net Neutrality, as they could then limit their users access to certain sites, offering them for a set price per month, and so making a much greater profit off their users.
Ciarlo (2013) created a graphic depicting what could happen if Net Neutrality was no longer around:
Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 12.24.45
(Screenshot from, an infographic about Net Neutrality and its benefits)

In conclusion, I believe making Net Neutrality a legal obligation is the only way for the internet to remain as free and accessible as it currently is. To allow ISP providers to alter what content they give their users would significantly decrease the quality of the internet experience.


Structuring My Blog

In last weeks seminar we discussed the structure of a weblog; how it’s organised and the visual construction of it. A task was then set to create and implement a structure into our own weblogs.

The main things I will be changing are:

  • More tags to find posts more easily
  • Consistent image and video width of 500px across all images and videos on my blog
  • Begin writing my posts in HTML instead of Rich Text, to assist in the development of HTML skills and also give me more flexibility in creating my posts
  • Using bullet points instead of posting large chunks of text at once
  • Post more regularly – aiming for twice a week at least

Over the next few days I will be going back through my old posts to adjust the size of images within them and add tags where I think they’re needed, and hopefully this will give my blog more structure and a more professional feel.

Entity Relationship Diagrams

In this weeks seminar we were introduced to Entity Relationship Modelling (ERM), a way of planning tables to be created and the relationships between them. This is a very important step in regards to creating a database, as it is important to plan ahead. If the tables were created without a plan, then many changes would have to be made to them, so planning ahead saves a lot of time in creating a database. ERM involves deciding on important entities, as well as what attributes each entity will hold. An entity is a distinct thing which has data stored about it, and an attribute is a piece of data about an entity.

For homework we were tasked with creating an ERM for a cookbook website, where recipe book contributors can store their personal data (relevant to a cookbook application), and where all contributors are optionally able to create 1 or many recipes. Within this each recipe has a title, contributor and description, as well as at least one photo, and each photo is accompanied by a description. Below you can see my entities (in capitals) each followed by the attributes I think each one should hold.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 16.44.53
This is then converted into an ERM, showing the relationship between each entity in my database. The crows foot indicates many, whereas a single line indicates one, so for example each contributor can make many recipes, but each recipe can only be contributed by one person.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 16.40.24

This is obviously a very simple ERM, as in a larger database it would be much more complex, with many more entities, but I believe this has solved the problem presented to us.

Participatory Culture

In this weeks lecture we were introduced to a new module, Design for Digital Media Environments. In relation to this, Rob introduced us to the idea of User Generated Content, abbreviated to UGC. As homework to help us contextualise this concept, we were asked to make a contribution to a community based UGC platform, such as OpenStreetMap, Wikibooks, or Zotero.

I chose to look into OpenStreetMap, as I felt I could contribute data to the map. Focusing on my hometown of Banbridge, I zoomed into the main street, to try and identify things that I knew, but which weren’t already on the map. I decided to add a cafe onto the map. It was very easy to do, I simply clicked on the ‘Point’ button and chose where to place it.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.47.20

Then a window popped up for me to insert the information about the point, as shown below:

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.48.16

This gently introduced me to the simplicity of contributing to a UGC community, and also showed me just how useful they can be. Though the map is generated by thousands of users, it is constantly being updated and so shows a very up to date version of the map, one that may show even more detail than Google Maps, for example. The idea that I can contribute to it makes it feel more accessible, and makes me feel like I have earned my use of it.