Tag Archives: internet

Politweets: The Growing Use of Twitter and Social Media for Politics

Now more than ever, politicians turn to Twitter and other Social Media platforms.

This isn’t anything new. Since the beginning of Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media, politicians have increased their presence on the internet to reach out to many potential supporters and keep up with constituents. Today, when running a political campaign, it is almost necessary to have a web presence in order to make your name and positions on certain key issues known to voters. But can there be too much twitter? Too much of a presence online? And could social media be hurting the game of politics for the future?

(Source: New York Observer, 2016)

During the 2016 election cycle, Twitter became the go-to platform for ranting and discussing politics to endless users doing the same exact thing. Politicians noticed this, and ran with it, tweeting non-stop and even directly at their political opponents. Most notably, the three main candidates, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, all used twitter the most to rally support, attack each other, and tweet their stances on many issues. Even our previous president, Barack Obama, has an active web presence, logging 95 million followers and being the most followed notable politician worldwide.

Politicians like President Trump and Hillary Clinton have taken politics on twitter to the next level. Not only would they tweet about the latest story to rile up their respective sides, but they would also use it to directly mud-sling each other on the platform. Whether it takes the form of Trump’s long rants about “Crooked Hillary” or Hillary’s simple but effective “Delete your account” response, these tweets start a flood of supporters from each side going at it in the replies and in the twitter universe in general.

As the British website “The Guardian” points out, Twitter is relatively small in the political sphere, mainly used by politicians’ key and sturdiest supporters that help push an agenda, politicians use twitter to start a discussion and get into the mainstream news on TV, in newspapers, magazines, and even other websites. These sometimes outrageous claims and tweets by politicians make it on all of these platforms, furthering discussion of their agendas and somehow still making it into the minds of people who don’t even use social media at all.

This trend isn’t limited to twitter, as this carries over to Facebook and even YouTube as well. Facebook has also become a hot-bed for political debates and agenda-pushing. Despite the negative stigma around social media and politics, it seems to be working. According to the Pew Research Center, “one-in-five social media users have changed their minds about a political issue or about a candidate for office, because of something they saw on social media”. 

That number is astounding. A simple post supporting one candidate, one policy, and movement could have a huge adverse effect. Theoretically, if someone has 500 facebook friends/twitter followers and they make posts concerning on topic of political discussion or supporting a candidate, a good amount of those followers would see that post. Say 100 people see that post out of 500 friends, 20 people of that 100 would be change their mind on an issue or candidate.

Whether you like it or not, Politicians using social media to further the political discussion is working, and is here to stay. President Trump will continue to push his agenda; his opponents/supporters will continue to spread their beliefs across the platform, and tweets by any politician will filter through the world of social media into everyday news outlets. This is a trend that is only expected to grow in the next coming elections and years, and a trend that could potentially either help or hurt the political sphere as a whole.

For more reading, you could visit either of these sources based around the political discussion that I used to research this article:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/31/trash-talk-how-twitter-is-shaping-the-new-politics

2. The tone of social media discussions around politics

So You Want To Learn HTML? (Part 1: What IS HTML?)

Hi there! If you’ve clicked on this article, there is a non zero chance you want to learn HTML.

Today, I will be going over some of the basics of HTML. But first we must answer the question:

What IS HTML?

HTML Stands for HyperText Markup Language, and it provides the backbone for the code that makes up most web pages you visit on a daily basis. HTML code is usually written and modified using a variety of tags, styles and scripts.

  • Tags are the backbone of HTML, providing a basic structure for web pages.
  • Styles allow a web developer to modify the layout of a webpage but modifying attributes like the positioning, color, or size of elements on the webpage.
  • Scripts allow a web developer to create ways for users to interact with webpages in a variety of ways.

Today, we will be creating a basic HTML document. To begin, open up A simple text editor. The most common/easy to use for this exercise are Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac).

notepad-blank.bb647ae001a4fc7d168c240e01088787[1]

This is where we’ll begin. As previously stated, tags are the backbone of an HTML document, and are what we’ll be using to create a very basic text page. Every tag has an opening tag and closing tag. Text is then placed in between these tags.

Let’s run through a quick example: To create a full header tag, one would simply type the opening tag for a header: <h1>, followed by some text, and finally, the closing header tag: </h1>. Altogether, it would look something like this:

<h1> This is what a header looks like! </h1>?

Got that? To break it down one last time:

<h1> is our opening tag. It tells the document, “hey, I’m about to start a header tag. The stuff to follow is going to make a header for my page!”

</h1> tells the document, “I’m done writing the header now. Close it up!”

On a very basic level, this is all it takes to write a line of HTML code. Now, let’s dive into a few of the basic tag types.

Tag Types

Today we will be going over two very basic HTML tags to help give you a taste of writing HTML code.

Header

The header tag is a very important one, usually used to format the title of a webpage. We worked with it a bit up above, but there’s an extra part about headers that is important to know, for formatting purposes. The number that comes after the “h” in the header tag ranges from 1-6. These numbers rank the “importance” of each header in a given HTML document. Each rank, from <h1> all the way to <h6>, produce a progressively smaller header.

Consider the following block of code:

<h1> This is what an h1 header looks like! </h1>
<h2> This is what an h2 header looks like! </h2>
<h3> This is what an h3 header looks like! </h3>
<h4> This is what an h4 header looks like! </h4>
<h5> This is what an h5 header looks like! </h5>
<h6> This is what an h6 header looks like! </h6>

This code, when saved and viewed as an HTML document, looks like this:

headers

As we can see, each successive “rank” in our headers produces a smaller and smaller line, with the last couple of lines ending up quite small. This allows you to create “sub headers” to rank and organize items on your page by importance.

Paragraph

The paragraph tag is a simple and elegant way of “wrapping” text in your document, so that it doesn’t all stay together on one, long line. To represent a paragraph, use the following structure:

<p> This is my paragraph! By using this tag, it will wrap all of the text that I’m typing inside of it to make it much nicer to look at and read in my HTML document. Thanks <p> tag! </p>

Now that we’ve learned a couple of HTML tags, let’s use them to whip up your own HTML document!

  1. Open up Notepad, TextEdit, or similar text program.
  2. Type the following on the first line: <h1> This is my first HTML Document!</h1>
  3. On the next line, copy and paste the following: <p> The paragraph tag allows me to input text into my document, and format it to make it readable!</p>
  4. Finally type an <h2> header, with your name, and the date. Don’t forget to close the tag!
  5. Save the file as an HTML document. To do this, when naming the file, type ‘.html’ after the file name (for example: MyFirstHTML.html). Save it somewhere on your computer that is easily accessible.

Your final code should look something like this:

<h1> This is my first HTML Document!</h1>
<p> The paragraph tag allows me to input text into my document,  and format it to make it readable!</p>
<h2> First Name Last Name, October 4, 2016 </h2>

When you try to open up the HTML document, it should look like this:

headers

Congratulations! This article provides a very basic overview of HTML, and teaches you the basics of creating your first HTML document. Next time, we will discuss some more basic structural tags, as well as begin discussing styles, which will allow us to further modify the layout and color, as well as other features of our web page.

Windows 10 Eduroam Configuration

With the release date of Windows 10 approaching (7/29/15), and with that comes good news; Windows 10 shares the same method of configuring eduroam as Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, despite the changes to the user interface. There are two methods to configure your Windows 10 device to eduroam.

Method 1 – Without XpressConnect 

  • Select the WiFi tray icon located in the bottom right corner and select “Network Settings.” The Network & Internet settings window will appear
  • eduroam1In the Network & Internet window, select Eduroam and select connect. Enter your NetID@umass.edu and your IT account password and select OK.

eduroam2

  • Accept certificates if prompted. Once complete, the device should now be configured and connected to eduroam

Method 2 – Using XpressConnect 

NOTE: At the time this article was written (6/25/2015), XpressConnect does not have a version specific for Windows 10, and the XpressConnect client will state that the current operating system is Windows 8.1. 

  • Select the WiFi tray icon located in the bottom right corner and connect to UMASS.

eduroam3

  • Open a browser and navigate to http://login.wireless.umass.edu (any other webpage will redirect to the wireless gate) and select the “Set up eduroam”

eduroam4

  • Log in using your NetID and password and then select the “Run Xpressconnect” button. Select the download link for NetworkWizardLoader.exe.

eduroam5

  • Save and run the executable, allow xpressconnect to open. Once prompted, enter your NetID and Password and follow the remaining steps for installing SecureW2 and necessary certificates.

eduroam7

  • Grant access to any User Account Control windows that appear, and once the device is connected to eduroam, xpressconnect will state that the device is now connected and what the IP address has been assigned to the device.

eduroam8


If you wish to reserve your copy of Windows 10, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade. The upgrade is free for users with Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 and can be done from your computer at any time. Cheers!

Bittorrent: An explanation of the Protocol

What is BitTorrent as a technology?

BitTorrent Logo

BitTorrent is a technology that is mainly used in the sharing of large files, though it is also favorable in achieving maximum redundancy of a file on the internet. Basically the technology is a Peer-to-Peer system, in which clients (your personal computer) connect to a central tracking server, the “tracker”. This “tracker” keeps track of all the “peers” connected to a single file that is being shared on the network. When peers connect to the server they begin to capture bytes of the file that is being downloaded and in the same likeness begins re-uploading those bytes to allow other “peers” to get at the file being downloaded. The action of re-uploading is also called “seeding”, which allows other “peers” connected to this file to get a maximized connection for download. All in all, it can be summarized as being a file sharing service.

What’s the controversy?

The controversy around the use of BitTorrent technology lies in the notorious connotation that the technology has with enabling copyright infringement. Infamous torrent trackers make headline news as they are among some of the most trafficked websites in the world. According to the Alexa Internet Site Ranking service, the 217th most trafficked website in the world is a known torrent tracker. People are very aware of these websites, but if they are unfamiliar with the technology and what it means to be a patron to these sites, they can suffer consequences that can impact their lives severely.

What’s “seeding”?

Seeding is the act of uploading to a torrent data stream. As a key part of the technology, seeding is what allows for data redundancy when other seeders go offline, as well as a boost to overall throughput/data speeds when other peers want to download a file. As a seeder you connect to the torrent network, and other peers are able to see where to retrieve data for the file they want to download. The way the download works is based on a network identifier known as an IP Address, so every “peer” connected to the same torrent are either uploading or downloading and are known to every other “peer”.

What’s being a “peer”?

A peer is anyone connected to a torrent file, and downloading or uploading data to the collective network.

What’s being a “leech”?

A peer who rather than committing to upload and download data, is stopping their clients uploading to resist contribution to the collective network.

BitTorrent Protocol Diagram

BitTorrent for legal and legitimate use.

BitTorrent can be legally used for file transmission, when the material isn’t subject to Copyright, some materials such as open-source software or media with Creative-Commons licenses can be subject to a lesser extent of Copyright, and are often okay to distribute freely. One such site that takes advantage of the BitTorrent protocol is http://linuxtracker.org/ where individuals can download various distributions of the free and open-source Linux Operating System using BitTorrent.

What are the consequences of infringing copyright?

DMCA Logo

Because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act enacted in 1998, any person caught violating a copyright owners exclusive rights, can be penalized in ways where the violator would have to pay damages, being forced via injunction to stop infringing activities, and potential jail-time. As a UMass student you are also subject to the policies of Copyright and Fair Use instituted by the University, which outlines penalties for violating Copyright.

UMass Copyright Policies: http://www.it.umass.edu/copyright/copyright-umass-amherst-higher-education-opportunity-act-information

Source: https://www.lib.purdue.edu/uco/CopyrightBasics/penalties.html

How Does the “Cloud” Really Work?

cloud

Cloud Computing is becoming increasingly popular among both businesses and consumers; but what is the “Cloud” and how does it work?

A Cloud Computing System can be divided into two parts: the Front End and the Back End.  The Front End consists of either a user’s computer or a network of computers connected to the Internet.  The Back End is comprised of many different servers, computers, and storage databases that are all interconnected; these components, functioning together as a whole, form a “Cloud”.  A central server exists to administer the entire system, constantly monitoring it to prevent failures.  All these different components interact and communicate with each other through the Internet, forming a web of inter-connected, redundant devices.

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