Term 3 - w1. Please go here, read the instructions and work through.

Teleconferencing and Video Conferencing (complete the following by the beginning of Thursday's lesson)
For the following topics:
- Teleconferencing and Video Conferencing
- Webinars
Take notes as you progress through using the following headings as a guide:
- What do we mean by these terms?
- How does it work?
- Advantages / Disadvantages
You can then compare your notes with those posted on the wiki

Smart Phones and Convergence - Complete by Beginning of Thurs w.2
Work through the wiki and respond to the following:

Identify two technological developments that have led to the widespread use of wireless networks. [2 marks]
Wireless LANs are increasingly being installed as a service in businesses, coffee shops and outdoor spaces to allow access to information. Describe two benefits of this service for users. [4 marks]
3. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), mobile phones (cell phones) and digital cameras are often
connected to computer systems in order to transfer data.
(a) Identify two ways in which PDAs can communicate with computer systems. [2 marks]
(b) The term “convergence” is used to describe instances where different mobile digital
devices are combined to produce one new product. Describe two new products
where the features from different mobile digital devices are combined. [4 marks]
(c) Some people think that PDAs will eliminate the need for people to use laptop
computers. Examine this argument. [4 marks]
(d) Discuss the advantages of multi function PDA equipment to businesses and their
employees. Evaluate these advantages. [10 marks]

Intercepting Communications Thurs/Fri w.2
Read the materials on wiretapping and packet sniffing.
Keep the following in mind: Who are the stakeholders? What are the social/ethical issues? What are the security/privacy issues?
We will discuss it on Tuesday based around this article and this article.




Teleconferencing and Videoconferencing


Web Seminars


Push Pull Technologies

Intercepting Communications

Technological Convergence

Traditionally, communications media were separate and their services were distinct. Broadcasting, voice telephony and on-line computer services were different and operated on different platforms: TV and radio sets, telephones and computer. Each of these was regulated differently by different regulators. Convergence is the combination of all these different media into one operating platform. It is the merger of telecom, data processing and imaging technologies. This convergence is ushering in a new epoch of multimedia, in which voice, data and images are combined to render services to the users.
Traditional convergence is noted in the combination of the personal computer and the internet technology. This combination provides a convergence of data processing, images and audio services. Recent examples of new, convergent services include:
  • Internet services delivered to TV sets via systems like Web TV;
  • E-mail and World Wide Web access via digital TV decoders and mobile phones;
  • Web casting of radio and TV programming on the Internet;
  • Using the Internet for voice telephony

Technological convergence points to the way technologies are increasingly converging into one. The availability of carrier technology with high bandwidth means that, transmission is not limited to voice only, now data, picture and other multimedia and interactive media can be transported in one single carrier technology like the fibre optic cable and satellite technology. One other noticeable technology that perhaps is the epitome of convergence technology is the Computer technology. This technology provides the most striking convergent service: Internet. The Internet combines all know communication media into one single service on a computer screen.

Convergence and medical applications

Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter and Facebook can make history TED

Are we ready for the ramifications of every person being a potential publisher? Does social media undermine the possibility for a fair trial? Trial by social media a threat to justice - ABC News

Teleconferencing and Videoconferencing - beware of the terms!

When describing video conferencing systems, there is a common interchanging of words that mean the same thing. Video conferencing is the same as video teleconferencing. The phrases are both used to describe a meeting between parties in different locations wherein the meeting participants use communications equipment to both see and hear one another as they interact.

There is similar usage for phrases associated with teleconferencing. Teleconferences are called both audio conferences and teleconferences. In each, three or more telephone callers are linked together in a telephone call with all parties hearing one another and some or all parties interactively speaking.

Therefore, teleconferencing is a blanket term used to describe, overall, communication between two people at remote sites, via video and/or audio. This also includes the term "video conferencing", "voice over IP", etc.

How teleconferencing works?
All about teleconferencing
Advantages and Disadvantages of Teleconferencing

Alistair's Notes:

Jeremy's Notes:


How VoIP works video
How VoIP works

Web Seminars / Webinars

How Web Seminars work
Advantages and Disadvantages of Web Conferencing
Disadvantages of Web meetings

Alistair's Notes:


What Is a Mobile Phone?
A mobile phone is more frequently called a cellular phone or cellphone. These communication devices connect to a wireless communications network through radio waves or satellite transmissions. Most mobile phones provide voice communications, Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Message Service (MMS), and newer phones may also provide Internet services such as Web browsing, instant messaging capabilities and e-mail.

What Is a PDA?
Short for personal digital assistant, this is the name given to small handheld devices that combine computing, telephone/fax, Internet and networking features. A typical PDA can function as a cellular phone, fax sender, Web browser and personal organizer. These devices are usually pen-based, which requires the use of a stylus rather than a keyboard for input. PDAs today are available in either a stylus or keyboard version. Traditionally, PDAs have not had phone or fax services.

What Is a Smartphone?
A smartphone is considered to be the combination of the traditional PDA and cellular phone, with a bigger focus on the cellular phone part. These handheld devices integrates mobile phone capabilities with the more common features of a handheld computer or PDA. Smartphones allow users to store information, e-mail, install programs, along with using a mobile phone in one device. A smartphone's features is usually more oriented towards mobile phone options than the PDA-like features. There is no industry standard for what defines a smartphone, so any mobile device that has more than basic cellphone capabilities can actually be filed under the smartphone category of devices.
Smartphone basics

Smartphones & PDAs: Smartphone Basics

How Smartphones Work - How Stuff Works

Smart Phones are an excellent example of technological convergence. David Pogue, a journalist from the NY Times, provides some excellent examples of this on new Smart Phone technology.

Smartphones or hand held computers?
Smartphones - the pro's and the con's
The advantages of using a smartphone include:
  • live (online) access to data
  • reduces the number of devices a doctor needs to carry
  • much better web browsing capability than a cellphone
  • integration of contact / phonebook databases
The disadvantages of using a smartphone include:
  • requires an expensive wireless data plan
  • a single device means a single point of failure
  • policies restricting cellphone use at many hospitals
  • bigger and heavier than a regular digital cellphone
  • hard to use your PDA at the same time as talking on the phone

Mobile workers push for smartphones
The benefits of smartphones

The effect of mobile phone devices on human behaviour - have we really become anti-social?

Shock tactics for anti-social mobile phone users
Mobiles 'let you control your life'
Beware what you share. We know where Adam Savage lives.

Mobile Phone Addiction
Mobile phones becoming a major addiction
Are kids becoming phone addicts?
Technological stimulus affecting our ability to concentrate

Mobile Phones and Health
Effects of wirless communications on our health
Mobile Phones and Health Effects

Push Pull Technologies

Interestingly, comes first with communications technologies?


Of pulls and push:
Traditional Web browsing has been based on the model of 'pull' - wherein, when a user requires information he visits the website thereby making a request and the browser 'Pulls' or downloads the information into his computer.
A new form of information delivery called 'push' is rapidly gaining popularity. 'Push', in fact, amounts to pull and push, pull out relevant information from a large number of sites and push into computers of individual clients. The information can be made available to viewers just like television broadcast media except that the viewer 'subscribes' to his channels of interest. Information is then sent regularly to his system.
The technology uses client-server software of varying degrees of sophistication. The advantages are several :
  • It cuts down on browsing time, particularly for those who have low - speed connections.
  • It enables a client to know when updates have been made to their favorite sites, because notices of these are sent out via e-mail.
  • Channels offered by 'push' developers could be seperate ones for news, weather, sports, softwares and so on, so it lets you select channels that deliver focused content.Focused content here means, the user is given hyperlinks only to selected news.
  • Advertisers & Internet Programmers listen !!! Server can authoritatively push advertisements and make sure that Client has to view all those advertisements while receiving genuine information in background from Server. This can be achieved either by displaying those advertisements in Client's window, or by inserting the same in pushed information.
  • The big disadvantage is that the more push players there are, the more it increases Net traffic. push companies send out crawlers to check websites for updates, and these can be a factor for congestion on the net.

The mechanics of push-pull :
How it works?
Surfers find it quite annoying to reach for the 'reload' button every time transfer is interrupted. Web pages with dynamic content is another reason to refresh pages at the client end. push-pull technology seeks to solve this problem by periodically downloading pages to the client.
There are two ways of doing this : "Client-pull and Server-push".
With client-pull, the change is instigated from the Web client end. After a certain period, (usually defined within the Web page), the browser requests a page again, during which time elements on it may have changed, causing the displayed Web page to evolve.
Included with the data is a directive that might say, 'reload this data in 10 seconds,' or ' go load this other URL in 20 seconds.' After the specified amount of time has elapsed, the client does what it was told to do in the directive (reloads or goes to another URL.) . The browser automatically displays the reloaded data or new URL.
Alternatively, server-push can be used. In this , it is the server that determines when things change, and simply sends down the new data. This method can be more efficient , since new HTTP connections don't have to be opened all the time. The downside is that the open connection consumes a resoruce on the server side while it's open (only when the server knows it wants this to happen, though).
Although at first glance these might seem very similar, there is a fundamental difference.
With client-pull, the connection is closed after each transfer in the normal way. The client is told when to open a new connection, and what data to fetch when it does so. But with server-push, the connection is left open so that the server, whenever it wants, can send more data for the client's browser to display. The process continues to repeat itself with the connection remaining open and the server sending new information periodically. Now the client is able to surf the internet from the local disk.

Intercepting Communications

How wiretapping works
Wiretapping, whistleblowing and IT ethics
Phone snooping prevented riots - BBC
Hackers hit Blackberry over police help
See also Intercepting Communications, Chapter 3.2, A Gift of Fire (p.98-109 in the 2003 edition)

Packet Sniffing
Packet Sniffing
Techstuff Podcast - Is your ISP sniffing packets?

Location Logging
How Apple tracks your location
Apple's Response