Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Twitter’s Fame: Can We Really Change Society with 140 Characters?

Instant messaging is no stranger to society. Way before the grassroots of Twitter’s surge, AOL had a feature in its software early on (during the mid-1990s) that allowed you to send messages back and forth between multiple users, with none of the conversation ever being recorded. The phrase “IMing” became an instant hit with young people. You couldn’t send pictures in this format, just plain text, ideas, humor, and good-old elbow-jabbing jokes.

You can even step back further into the time machine and return to a period when BBS (Bulleting Board Services) ruled every college campus. This allowed users to download software and exchange direct messages between each other. It may have had an archaic feeling to it, but during this period, it was fascinating to think your thoughts could go digital to someone else in a matter of seconds. These thoughts were then stored on a server for everyone to read.

Private instant messages soon turned into public forum postings. Twitter’s fame started with its co-founder, Jack Dorsey, sending a message on March 21, 2006, saying, “just setting up my twttr.” Nicknamed a “tweet”—like that of a little bird talking from a tree branch—this new way of communicating offered you 140 characters to post a message (equivalent to 3 sentences). People would read these messages, and either retweet or consider them favorites. Retweeting gave more popularity to the author and gave more credibility that thousands of people liked and supported it—almost similar to starting a revolutionary movement without stepping outside.

So the world began tweeting. And tweeting they did.

After 10 years of this service being available to the public, who could have predicted this kind of output: “every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.” With Twitter having 974 million active accounts in 2017, there’s plenty of voices out there that post breaking news stories, post opinions about controversial topics, post topics about freedom of speech rights, and post various liberal and conservative political views. Even government leaders, congressmen, statesmen, and other political elites love to use Twitter as a personal reservoir of their own slanted opinions and rhetoric. Because there’s an audience, they keep tweeting both day and night.

Twitter offers an intimate, unfiltered conversation with other people. Because of its limitless boundaries, various questions arise due to the impact of the service upon society’s core values and beliefs. Here’s a few:

  • Can proper solutions be offered in 140 characters?
  • Is it possible to influence all of society by merely sending out a simple tweet about your opinion, while offering no specific details on how to back it up?
  • Is it ethical and proper to post your own philosophical ideas to the world as a government official?
  • Why does the news media solemnly trust the messages being posted on Twitter? Why do they fall for the hook-and-bait message?
  • Professionally speaking, does tweeting “off the record” really do any good? Or is it more harmful to everyone?
  • If it weren’t for Twitter, would people really come forth and say these same thoughts in a “live” public forum?
  • Overall, is Twitter discouraging society to hide behind mere tweets rather than stand tall for what they believe in?

As one can see, more questions continue to arise each day because of another tweet. Twitter is gaining more notoriety, more popularity because big-name people are using the service for personal gain, and they are gaining lifelong believers. These people include: celebrities, government officials, leaders, college professors, reporters, and intellectual scholars. It’s the progressive movement of people’s Internet usage that propels Twitter’s success. Since people don’t trust the news media as much, they search for a more common ground with others they can trust. Twitter’s sense of “true innocence” draws millions of people each day to read and believe in every posting.

Twitter’s immediate success could also be their quick exit from the Internet. The real question is: Is Twitter a fad? Maybe so. Email is still more popular in communicating with others than mere tweeting. In reality, all it will take is a misuse or abuse of the service to send followers into an upheaval of distrust. Then, and only then, will people stop reading the posts and stop hanging on every word someone more daring has to say.

Author's Note: Twitter is growing by leaps and bounds. Their rapid success is because of people who long to voice their opinion about on-going topics and political views. People are listening. But who would have thought that posting a message online would mean anything 10 years ago? Who would imagine that society would care at all about "Joe" in a small community posting a thought on the Internet about racial injustice? Email's still more personal, more enduring than a tweet, but time will tell how long these tweets will turn some people into twits.     

Tweeting too much? Order this book: Ordinary Reflections

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fake News: The Secret of Deception and Deceit

The world is full of deception and deceit. This statement personifies anyone who believes everything is true on the Internet. It is a highly technical and digital world now. Some even believe the facts and figures of every article, every story, every vlogger, every website posting, and every Facebook wall.

Because some people believe in the Internet’s full disclosure policy, the deception and deceit moves into high gear. This is what fuels the realms of digital leaks, a powerful new way to get information, unfiltered and unreliable, to the masses, 24/7. With a rising culture dedicated to reading news online (some 57% of users in a recent poll), there is some just cause for concern.

That also applies to “fake news”—a rather new, powerful, political development.

With “fake news,” you can alter the real storyline into an abstract argument. Although you can argue either way about the philosophies and the ideologies presented in each news story, there’s always a possibility someone (a writer with an evil mission) will twist the truth, twist the meaning, and twist the facts, presenting it online as fact, as truth, as whatever you want it to be.

Information, then, is plentiful in cyberland. The secret of “fake news” is to get the information out there—in any shape, form or style—and let people decide for themselves what they think is real or not.

With so much information available, the global audience is rather confused. They have mindless amounts of information at their fingertips. Digital information is a vast, ever-growing, ever-expanding overload of raw facts and figures, growing larger and larger each day due to the daily use and need for technology with users. Users feed raw data from their computers, smartphones and tablets at an astounding rate per day—some 4 million hours of video content go to YouTube; some 4 million Facebook posts; some 246 billion emails. You see, information keeps pouring in like water.

By definition, digital leaks are unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information that could have substantial repercussions to the safety and well-being of any country. This is such a sensitive issue that server companies that host fake news immediately get attacked by political groups, forcing them into the limelight with negative media stories and threats of legal action.

Viral activities are common events on the Internet. You must consider that a “post” can go viral within a matter of hours, not weeks. You don’t have to wait for the 9 o’clock news, or even wait for the paper to be delivered late, late in the afternoon. Instant means instant; now means now; viral means global.

In a recent political manifestation about unclassified digital leaks, President Donald J. Trump claims that “the leaks are real, but the news is fake.” Whether you agree or disagree with what he is saying, it is true that certain websites post false and misleading articles about mainstream media stories. The hope is that people will get false impressions and characterizations about certain individuals or controversial mainstream headlines. The fact is more than one billion websites worldwide are up and running as of 2014, so there’s no way to monitor the originality of any piece of information; there’s no way to control the quality of Internet postings; there’s no way to authenticate a “viral” event.

All of these false claims and false reports lead to a world full of deception and deceit. The Internet is the cause of all these problems. In the end, people are deceived and swindled out of the truth, a truth that should otherwise be available to access from their handheld technical gadgets with ease. The Internet loses some credibility over the lack of its own credentials. People are then forced to decide for themselves whether something is real or not, leaving many people to cry foul and turn angry and judgmental before anything can be verified or nullified about a fact or figure presented online.

Let’s face it: we live in a technical world. The idea is to expose all fakes. We must allow for the truth to find its way through all the trappings of a digital world. Humans created this tool; humans must learn to manage it better.

You can review and study more about fake news websites by visiting the following website link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fake_news_websites

Author's Note: Fake news is real. Because of the mindless amounts of active websites, there's no telling how many "fake news" outlets feed the average mind. Users become interested in and follow certain websites because they believe in what they are reporting. You can become a fan of anything on the Internet, a cheerleader for the cause, a supporter for the needy, and a follower of the strange. Literally overnight, you can cast a viral shadow over the world, leaving many to believe that what they read and saw stands as the overall and definitive truth. Kind of sounds like George Orwell's classic novel "1984," doesn't it?     

Need a break from this digital world? Here's some honest thoughts: Ordinary Reflections

Sunday, February 26, 2017

What Real Privacy is Left in 2017?

Privacy. It can be closely examined within difference broad viewpoints, especially into aspects of your personal life, your digital life, your lifestyle, your relationships, your interests, and into your basic human rights as an individual. Each of these broad viewpoints paint a portrait of your most-guarded secrets. In an age of server data breaches and Russian hacking attempts capturing the media’s undivided attention, you wonder what real privacy is left in 2017? There’s so little privacy left that if you hid under a rock today, the Internet would know about it tomorrow.

First, let’s define privacy in simple terms. Merriam-Webster defines privacy with two distinct clauses: 1) the quality or state of being apart from company or observation (seclusion) or 2) freedom from unauthorized intrusion (one's right to privacy). Both clauses seem to describe privacy as a given right, a human right entitled since birth. That means every human being, regardless of their social media or smartphone usage, is granted this right. Former U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) calls it “the right to be left alone,” which he first declared in 1890.

This digital world doesn’t allow for any privacy. Ever since the invention of the Internet, it’s been nothing more than an open book with new pages being written 24 hours a day; it’s a money-making machine where new data flows in with a price and gives huge financial gains for finding the “dirt” on someone else’s life; it’s a library filled with endless books, movies and videos on topics beyond human comprehension; it’s a data goldmine worth more than all the gold on Earth. Digital privacy, you see, is turning into a systematic way to control people, to influence people’s behaviors, to influence government leaders, to stir human ethics, to cause a revolution without setting a foot in another country, and to allow for terrorists, hackers, and other evildoers an equal chance to destroy whatever good there is left in this world.

But it’s a human right. Is it not? It’s a basic fulfillment of human decency that protects us from someone’s watchful eye and judgmental opinion. In a private world, you can succeed or fail, can have good relationships or not, can be yourself or transition into something else without anyone knowing, without anyone commenting on these aspects of your character. There’s no timelines. There’s no one writing commentary on your life’s choices. Therefore, that would be your human right (with privacy leading the way).

The fourth amendment of 1789 (rev. 1992) hints at privacy, stating that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” It’s close to defining privacy, but not the type of privacy that defines today’s digital world. It doesn’t define the trappings of social media, smartphone usage, Twitter and Facebook content, email content, stolen digital identities, private digital images, security breaches, and the hacking of financial and private data. Another revision needs to be made in order to get privacy back into the forefront of the American dream.  

But in truth, privacy is almost fully extinct.
Keeping all this in mind, different aspects of your privacy are threatened by this digital world. Here’s a summary of what they mean to you:

  • Personal Privacy—this protects you against observation and intrusion. Do you just want to be left alone each day? No more cameras spying on you in grocery stores and gas stations. This is considered your personal space and your daily ritual of living. It’s everything to you to have intimate private moments that don’t end up going viral.

  • Digital Privacy—this can best be described as the protection of your information as a private citizen who uses digital mediums. Do you feel like your digital cookies are being tracked? How about your digital purchases online? What about date and time of your searches? Or things you read about online? No one should know these interests.

  • Human Rights Privacy—this protects against existential threats resulting from information collection or theft. Do you feel threatened by the actions of a government or other entity? Is your freedom at stake? These are threats that could change your life in an instant.

  • Contextual Privacy—this protects you against unwanted intimacy or contact. What about others knowing your relationship status? Your sexual orientation? Your personal philosophy? Your religious views? Any of these topics could lead to unwanted advances from others.

Author's Note: This is becoming a very intense, intimate topic in this digital era. The problem really is with the actual definition of our fourth amendment rights, rights that don't clearly define the type of privacy we desire in today's digital world. It doesn't define social media's power and its data-collection trappings; it doesn't define anything about contextual privacy or human rights privacy; it doesn't define the advent of security breaches and the release of private information to the public; and it doesn't define the new addition of fake content and news  that seems to be popping up every day. Is our privacy fully extinct? Time will tell.

Is your private life at risk? Read this to bring back your sanity: Ordinary Reflections

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Moral Hacking: Dark Web Gets Attacked

Let’s face it: there’s always two sides to everything. Two sides to every story. Two sides to every argument. There’s even two sides to every coin. Then it must come as no surprise that there’s even two sides to the Internet: one is called the surface web (the good) and the other is called the dark web (the bad). After more than 20 years of the Internet’s existence, it’s finally been proven that these two sides coexist in a world full of information, deception, and raw data.

Since first being discovered in 2006, the dark web has eluded the public with lies and secrecy, maintaining an existence of deception, fraud, and countless illegal activities and services. The dark web has a full range of illegal content, including gambling, murder-for-hire services, child abuse, child pornography, hacking services, counterfeit activities, bitcoin scams, informational leaks, and guns. This list is rather enormous and almost impossible to trace.

But the dark web can still be attacked and brought to its knees—similar to the surface web’s potential vulnerability.

And, most recently, it has.

The good news came in a short article posted online by Newsweek in early February, stating that “more than 10,000 websites on the dark web were knocked offline.” An Anonymous hacker decided to target an internet provider called “Freedom Hosting II for allegedly hosting child pornography.”

Is there some morality in this hacking? Yes, there’s moral intention here, because there’s many out there who want to defend and protect young children from the far reaches of pornography, and to further halt the humiliation of human beings. The Anonymous group is one who tries to defend people’s rights and liberties through hacking activities and denial of service (DOS) errors on websites. It’s their group’s mission to convey the truth to the world—even if that means blocking immoral content.

How does this relate to human trafficking, though? It’s interesting to note that, with all this dark web activity on the rise, human trafficking cases have doubled from 3,000 in 2012 to 7,500 in 2016. People are being sold, abused, and tortured on a daily basis. The dark web is responsible for these behaviors and actions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize the full extent of the problem. Let’s put it into layman’s terms: “human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.” In other words, it’s a modern-day fraudulent business that happens to be digital and profitable.

Hacking is frowned by experts. But this hack might do some good. By taking down some of the dark web, you alter the fraudulent services of human trafficking and child pornography, limiting these websites from having no Internet access to sell these services to other potential buyers. Even though the interruption will be limited in time, it proves the point that even the dark web is vulnerable to attack.

One strange observation should be noted here: it seems that the longer the Internet has been in service, the longer this list of illegal activities seems to have grown. Business is growing and expanding on both sides of the Internet. In fact, since 2006, it’s estimated that over 10,000 websites contain all of the world’s most illegal content. That’s a lot of daily business activity that’s not being monitored or abolished or observed by government agencies; that’s a lot of business that goes under the radar of statistics, studies, and national polling numbers. Therefore, nobody can really indicate, unanimously and unequivocally, the depths of this abuse on society’s morality side.

It’s also apparent that the secretive and anonymous nature of the Internet helps to hide the real face of its business intent. With over 1 billion secured websites in the world, there’s very few chances that one person will ever visit them all. If you break down the numbers, here’s what you get: only 4% (or 40 million websites) have legal content. This leaves more than 96% (or 960 million websites) having illegal content. You do have to give or take that many websites are on “lock down” or “have been disabled” or “don’t have any content.” It’s almost virtually impossible to state, year by year, the final number of websites that exist in the world.

Even so, there’s always two sides to every story. This is one of them.

Author's Note: There's an effort in this world to expose the Dark Web. Since it represents so much of what the Internet is made of, it's worthy of the attention. This essay proves that even the bad side can be attacked at any time, disrupting its service, and putting a small dent into its operation. The Internet's problems are only starting, but this gives you, the reader, some small insight into the depths of this world-wide issue. There are no easy answers here. When I report on this subject next year, I really don't expect any improvements.

Feel like hackers are moving into your living room? Read this to escape: Ordinary Reflections

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Real Longevity: Portable Flash Drives

The world’s greatest portable tool is not that of a standard hammer. That would not even be close. In the wake of a rising technical world, it’s the small, tiny, hardly-noticeable, very-portable flash drive—a tiny gem of unlimited possibilities. With storage powers nearing an incredible 1 Terabyte (TB), there’s plenty of power packed in something you can literally wrap around your neck and walk outside without anyone taking notice of how much information can be saved on such a tiny, tiny gem.

Flash Drives come in all types!

In true form, the portable flash drive has shattered all the norms and perceptions of data portability. The idea that any user can carry “thousands and thousands of documents” has made this device a fast seller—amassing more sales than any external device ever made. All data, essentially, comes down to a smaller form of storage potential. Users love it. Corporations love it. Terrorists love it. Hackers love it. Just about anyone who transports data loves this gem.

But where did the inspiration come from? Going small had not been on the forefront of any inventor’s mind in the past, so why the sudden interest in downsizing the whole method of storage?

The inspiration for its foundation and portability goes back to the 3.5-inch floppy disk. Downsizing data into a smaller form had been in the works for years. In the late 1980s, 3.5-inch floppy disks were the standard for backing up data and transporting it in a sufficient manner. At that moment in time, floppy disks were much easier to care for and were less bulky than tape drive systems. The days of bulky data backups were nearing an end during the late 1980s.

Users were given a powerful alternative by 1999—something so solid that cloud storage may have matched its power and storage capacity, but not in the same way that flash drives promote true ownership and control over individual data.

The idea came rather easy to a small group of engineers in Germany: give users something that’s small, with non-moving parts, fast transfer rates, impervious to electrical shock, a dust-proof case, and incredibly lightweight in design. There’s no doubt, the flash drive came at the right time.

Over the past 16 years, the flash drive is still used often. The main use, above all the rest, is that of simple data back-up: pictures, documents, music, downloads, favorite places, and videos to name a few. Think of all the ways this information can be transferred and delivered to other places, other computers, and other systems. The usages are endless; the applications are endless; and the creative ideas are endless. Thanks to such a powerful invention, billions of people around the world are able to transfer information, freely and uneventfully, to other places with little skill level.

What about terrorists and flash drives? What’s their angle? The most prolific story to ever come out of a USB flash drive’s use is with non-other than Osama bin Laden, the former founder and head of the Islamist group Al-Qaeda. The story goes that after the 9/11 attacks on America, Osama bin Laden went into a long period of hiding, and limited his use on the Internet, knowing quite well he would be traced, arrested and/or killed. Before his death on May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden would literally type his commands on a standard, off-line data processor, then save them to a USB flash drive. His dedicated couriers would then take these commands, deliver them to an Internet cafĂ©, and then type them in an anonymous email account. This routine and methodology of dictating his Islamist group lasted for about 10 years. Through a stroke of genius, he found a perfect way to transfer documentation under the eyes and ears of powerful government officials.

And hackers? What have they done with this powerful technology? Much can be said about today’s viruses, but a virus can only go so far from a website or email to a potential victim. This process is made much easier by infecting a USB flash drive with destructive programming codes. Once the device is placed into another computer, it can turn it into a blue-screen, unusable paperweight in a matter of seconds. This “virus transferring method” is still used today (even though solid antiviruses are in place), allowing hackers to destroy thousands and thousands of machines by using the weakness and limited skill-level of the common computer user.

Regardless of all the good and bad of its potential usage, the world’s greatest tool still exceeds in a diverse world full of cloud storage and wireless networks. Flash drives still have their place. Add larger storage space designs, and portable flash drives are reaching a sustained longevity.

Author's Note: It comes as no surprise the impact portable flash drives have had on society. Since 1999, this tiny gem (which is truly deserving of this entitlement) has lived up to growing expectations. Users want control over their dataFull control. Private control. Unlimited control. Cloud storage doesn't offer any competition, although younger generations of users don't see it that way. They simply want convenience and quickness, not portability and reliability. But don't expect much to change here: the standard in portability is with flash drives. Unless something else comes along that outplays this product in the years ahead, I only see good outcomes for this amazing and incredible gem.

Need a mental break? Read this: Ordinary Reflections

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lifelong Scam: Technology Robs Human Relationships

Some may say that “life is so much better with technology.” But is that a fair assessment of our modern times? Consider all of the recent worldwide hacking and malware attacks going on with electrical grid and email systems. Even the ethical debate about Russia hacking into the presidential voting system (whether it’s true or false) should raise a few eyebrows with various political parties. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of a peaceful, modern era, does it?

But that’s not what the average computer user thinks. If someone did a survey on the subject right now, most would say—if given the chance to logically consider how much technology impacts their daily living and their way of life—that they find deep satisfaction in it, regardless of the constant threat it imposes. The connection to other people’s lives and information tends to motivate millions and millions of users on a day-to-day basis. In some strange light, it seems that our world is headed for great prosperity and unlimited success in the realms of a digital world, even though threats linger on the horizon.

The benefits of a technical world are opening new doors, opening new possibilities, solving problems, and offering unique connections to a deeper, more meaningful human experience. Smartphones, for example, are bridging that benefit to a whole-new level of human satisfaction, mixing want and need together into a perfect relationship. People can witness that relationship play-out on the streets, in professional offices, in department stores, and anywhere someone can communicate via text or email through a smartphone. They are connected; they are experiencing first-hand instant gratification; they are using technology to better their lives, better their way of living. The “new-normal” of society is being connected every minute of every day.

But really, technically speaking, is technology a lifelong scam? Is it a huge scam by making people believe that technology is a necessity, a means through which to survive and adapt in a new world? Not many consider this as a debate, because their minds are diluted and influenced and brainwashed by brilliant corporate marketing schemes. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a scam as “a dishonest or illegal plan or activity, especially one for making money.” Let’s face it: the computer industry makes money; the smartphone industry makes plenty of money; the government makes even more. It seems anyone connected to tech industries are benefiting by our participation. The average person spends upwards of $100 or more per month on tech gadgets and their ever-increasing service fees.

Let’s get down to it: What could be so dishonest about technology?

It’s simple. Loss of human relationships. While we pour our hard-earned dollars to corporations for their silicon dreams and their golden digital databases, we are being robbed of our personal skills and abilities to communicate with one another. The dishonesty comes from our own actions, our own doings. Most technology is done in “silent mode,” where users don’t physically interact with anyone; they click on a mouse or download an attachment or take a picture and share it or, even worse, monitor someone else’s life without ever participating in it. Plus, they don’t make any effort to have a real friendship. Talk about “silent mode” behavior.

This is a debate with a clear answer: loss of human relationships. That’s what we lose by believing that technology is the new fad, the latest craze—everything under the sun. Maybe that’s why it’s a lifelong scam? All the money, time and effort is not worth the total investment, except for those that benefit by our spending habits.

The real purpose behind technology is the advancement of the human race, but there is a hidden purpose and cost unbeknownst to the public. That cost is robbing us of our personal abilities to communicate with people. The idea is to separate people from each other, then you’ve got control. Complete control. We would have people with little or no critical-thinking skills; people would be unable to survive without technology; people would live in fear; and people would wait for a miracle.

Technology. Life’s so much better with it, yet the flaws of a perfect utopia are being exposed to a new generation of users. Will they view these modern times as safe and peaceful? Or will they view technology as a lifelong scam? It’s up to them to determine how far they’ll allow technology to interfere with their lives, their relationships, and, in the end, their peace of mind.

Author's Note: The real scam is that technology costs money. Pure and simple. It's similar to the hidden fees and charges with credit cards--you just don't realize how much you are paying until you take a closer look at the bill. You pay the bill. You use the card. You want the services and features from it, but you don't know the tiny details written in the user agreement and various service fees. All this money, time and effort is put into this tiny card. You get the benefits. You get the quality service. Yet, you deny there's any scam because you been taught all your life to accept and not question these services. Is that a scam? Or is it corporate marketing done well? 

Need some gentle worlds? Read this: Ordinary Reflections

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016: Technology’s Best Year Ever?

Maybe 2016 wasn’t the best year ever in technology? It didn’t have any extreme improvements with an iPhone or iPad product. It didn’t offer any new protection against identity theft and security breaches (because criminal attack rates were as high as 48% of all causes this year). We didn’t see any new products that took the Internet to a whole new level. Instead, it may have been the year of things we couldn’t see: bot-nets, self-driving cars, Internet of Things (Iot), license agreements, version upgrades, OS upgrades, countless new apps for smartphones and tablets—all the inside parts that make up the whole of technology. This year, programmers and hackers were the award winners.

By the law of averages, good years are usually followed by bad ones. Could 2017 be the year of sagging computer sales, more security breaches, more fake computer support services, fewer free programs from the Internet, and modest subscription charges for using social media outlets? It seems that the Internet is getting a bad rap, especially from the year-end, super-duper mammoth story of Yahoo being breached, affecting more than one billion Yahoo accounts—that’s every single user that has an account with them. Maybe there is hope in a breached world?

But all of us in cyberland have hope. We hope that things can turn around. We hope that the world can sustain the failures of data breaches and malware attacks on businesses and people. Not only do we carry a small candle for religious and political conflicts, our personal hope carries into the world of technology. This deep-seeded passion keeps us using the very products and services that make it all worthwhile: ease-of-use applications, immediate results to all inquiries, good levels of communication and commerce, and even plain and simple curiosity that keeps many users of technology accepting whatever improvements are ahead for 2017.

As stated before in prior articles, technology keeps moving forward, regardless of the outcome. Human beings tend to recover from failure, especially in the world of technical advancement. Each failure in this business is followed by something extraordinary, something vibrant, something noteworthy, and something earth-shattering. Users of technology are hungry for a vast change in the Visual Department. We want to see, to touch, and to experience new forms of technology every year—and it seems this theory follows right in line with how computer speeds double each year (Moore’s Law). Because 2016 wasn’t a year of mind-bending new experiences, we can believe that people are wanting and desiring a proud mix of technology to enhance their pampered lives.

That pampering has included some incredible technology inventions over the years. This year’s award-winning technology developments hardly put a dent into the past inventions of our times. Here’s just a few to note:

  • Microwave oven. Developed in the 1940s, this invention has forever changed the food industry, making meals more convenient and easier to prepare for all age levels.

  • GPS. Originally developed for the U.S. Military in 1978, this invention helps avoid the confusion of road maps, because half of all Americans carrying a smartphone will have GPS apps leading the way.

  • Computer mouse. Invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1964, this one invention is easily overlooked and hardly ever mentioned in today’s rapid-fire, fast-paced digital world.

  • The Internet. First available to the public in the 1990s, this invention has arguably changed the world in ways beyond any other invention.

  • Cellphones. Martin Cooper makes the first cellphone call on April 3, 1973. Ten years later, the mobile phone industry grabs the interest of the public, motivating people to communicate wirelessly over a network of cell towers.

It’ll be difficult to match the awe-inspiring nature of these legendary inventions. But this year still made huge advances under the hood of electronic appliances, phone support bots, self-driving automobiles, and smarter apps. Each advancement saw a change in connecting these same devices to cloud services, giving them the ability to upgrade themselves without human intervention. That’s an amazing year—when you consider that people didn’t even know about these new services. Smarter, faster—these 2016 devices grew to be more self-smart, more self-reliant than ever.

That leaves only one question: Will 2017 be a tech-breaking year?

Author's Note: In the world of technology, 2016 will always be remembered for its data breaches, malware attacks, and product failures more than anything else. The newest developments happened without any fanfare or media attention. Self-driving cars and bot-nets were the overall winners of the year. You could even push the envelope and say that Windows 10 began to be accepted more by the public, although it still seemed under keen skepticism and resistance from technical experts. More than presidential races and political unrest, 2016 seemed to cement technology into the mindset and forefront of human life, a life that is now almost completely digital.
Need more advice? Little Black Book: Protecting Your Digital Life.

Twitter’s Fame: Can We Really Change Society with 140 Characters?

Instant messaging is no stranger to society. Way before the grassroots of Twitter’s surge, AOL had a feature in its software early on (duri...