Category ArchiveDH Assignment

How the Rise of Education Affects Aspects of Society

Collaborators Blogs:
Andrew Wiggins : Ode to Andrew – http://odetoandrew.com/digital-humanities/how-the-rise-of-education-affects-aspects-of-society/
Andrew Douglas: The Digital Stream – https://andrewdouglasblog.wordpress.com/
Eoin Long: Eoin Long Digital Humanities – http://eoinlong.com/uncategorized/how-the-rise-of-education-affects-aspects-of-society/


In recent years, there has been a massive increase in Irish people of all ages enrolling or re-enrolling in third level education in order to better themselves, increase their job prospects and secure more professional work placements. This dramatic increase is mainly due to the crash of the Irish Economic Boom in 2008, in which many found themselves out of work or unable to secure full time employment due to insufficient higher level educational qualifications. Many higher level educated individuals were still victims of the crash but had better chances achieving other employment abroad and at home. Due to the massive amounts of unemployed during the harshest period of the crash, crime was at an all-time high. There was an increase in crime within the sectors of theft and burglary, which ranges from aggravated to petty. All in all 2008 to 2010 were the toughest years in recent times for the Irish people.

We wish to highlight, through visualisation tools, the increase of individuals returning to education and how it is having a considerable effect on crime and deprivation in Irish society. The image below is an interactive doughnut-chart indicating the increase of those entering and returning back to third level degree/higher education over the last 12 years, from boom to bust and back again.


The above doughnut-chart was created using Datamatic.io, which is a partly free online interactive tool and can also be linked to one’s Google Drive. We used the Central Statistics Office and Central Applications Office of Ireland to gather the relevant datasets for student enrolment over a 12 year period from 2004n to 2015. The amount of those enrolling/returning to third level education has increased from 143271 individuals in 2004 to 182623 in 2015. The largest increase can be seen during the period of 2009 and 2010 of 4366, which is very noticeable on the main interactive graph and is also within the period best known as the height of the downturn. This period also sees a substantial decline in crime but an increase in deprivation, indicating a direct correlation between the three.

 

Crime

 


As the recession arrived in 2008, people began to struggle and along with this many people lost their jobs. This led to an increase in people returning to further their education and try get jobs either at home or abroad. However, with this dip in the economy came a rise in thefts and burglaries around these years as can be seen from the interactive graph above which was created using an online tool called Datawrapper. This information was gathered from the Central Statistics Office’s crime offences records. These record are split up between the counties Garda stations and yearly quarters. We specifically chose theft and burglaries as representations of crime increase due to the large increase in both during this time frame compared to other crimes. As more and more people chose to further their education in recent times, with an increase of approximately 40,000 new students entering third level education in comparison to ten years ago, there has also been a drop in the number of burglary and theft related incidents in recent times. It could be said that the improvement in the economy in conjunction with a more educated population has led to a decrease in theft and burglary related crimes. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in the coming years.

 

Deprivation


As seen in the above graph, which was also created using the visualisation tool Datawrapper, we can discern that there are similarities between the deprivation rate and the previous data. This rate is based upon the average living standard of a person with a third level qualification, or more specifically, their inability to provide a stable income or provide themselves with an adequate living standard. Following the Irish Economic crash and subsequent recession which commenced in 2008, deprivation rates amongst individuals who have graduated from tertiary education began to rise significantly. Between the years 2013 and 2009 there had been an increase of nearly 7%. As of 2015, the deprivation rate is still higher than at the time of the boom The reason why this is interesting is that is seen above, is that due to the financial crisis people entering Tertiary Education increased significantly. The socially agreed upon solution to poverty is to educate its population. This brings up many questions, such as the standard of Third Level qualifications, but more significantly it proves that even though an increased number of people are pursuing further education, the poverty amongst those with a third level (or higher) qualification has increased. This increase of deprivation is similar to the rise in crime following the crash.

 

Poverty


 

The above graphs represent the percentage of Irish people who fall under the poverty threshold or who are at risk of falling under this threshold. The first graph represents this in relation to those who have not gone to college and the second represents those who have received a Third level degree or higher that are at risk of poverty. We can see that between 2006 and 2015 those who had received a third level degree never rose above 6.5% while those without a third level degree soared over 10% in 2012. While it is now more advantageous to have a degree as seen by the difference in poverty rate in 2015 being 6% in Non-Degree members of the public versus 2.5% of those with degrees, it was not always the case to be in a vastly better position. As we can see in 2007, the difference between Non-Degree (1.5%) and Degree (2%) members of the public was in at a 0.5% favouring those of the public who did not have a degree. It was later around 2008-2010, during the recovery from the Celtic Tiger bust that we see the skill sets of those with degrees come into play where they became less likely to be at risk of poverty and less members of this set were in constant poverty when compared to their Non-Degree counterparts. We also see that after 2011, the Non-Degree deprivation rate also glides ahead of their Degree counterparts and even in 2015 their is ~1.5% disparity between the two.

Using this interactive visualisation and comparing the discrepancies over the years between both factions here we can see the major appeal to gain a third level degree in today’s world and also how those with degrees are more likely to remain less pressured when a crisis situation such as a recession hits again in the future.

 

Conclusion

With the use of multiple visualisation tools we wished to highlight how the increase of those enrolling/returning to third level education have had a direct influence on crime in Ireland. The argument we wished to highlight is that a better educated society can have drastic effects on the criminal aspects of a society. In researching the available datasets we were surprised to see an increase in deprivation and poverty even though education numbers had increased and crime was decreasing. The increase in deprivation and poverty highlighted how difficult it is for those trying to further their education in order to increase their availability within the workplace. Only from 2013 onwards we can see a slow decline in deprivation and poverty. This can be associated with the increase of back to education schemes and other further education allowances. Education is one of the fundamental corner stones in any developing society and need continuous encouragement in order for it to be successful.

Data collected:

Our data was primarily collected from the irish Central Statistics Office website (http://cso.ie/en/index.html). The Statbank on the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) under the Social Conditions file was critical in completion of our project. We downloaded relevant data tables and then compiled the data in a way readable the tools we used (namely Datawrapper, Datamatics and RAW Graphs). These free online tools would then use our compiled data to create visualisations. It was only a simple matter of later refining our graphs and making sure our data was easy to read for a first time viewer. The visualisations we created include:

  1. We used all datasets of enrollments all over the country from 2004 to 2016.
  2. We used all datasets of crimes in the country from 2004 to 2015.
  3. We used all datasets of the deprivation rates for third level students from 2004 to 2016.
  4. We used all datasets for the poverty percentages of third level students from 2004 to 2016.

In total, we have over 20 folders of datasets which we gathered the relevant information from in order to create our visualization in order to argue our hypothesis.

 

Bibliography:

Datamatics, Open-sourced data visualisation tool, Accessed March 11, 2017. https://datamatic.io/

DataWrapper, Open-sourced data visualisation tool, Accessed March 19, 2017. https://www.datawrapper.de/chart/s3seF/upload

Raw-graphs, Open-sourced data visualisation tool, Accessed March 24, 2017. http://rawgraphs.io/

Central Statistics Office, Ireland, Governmental free data access, Accessed March 11, 2017. http://www.cso.ie/en/

Central Statistics Office, Ireland, StatBank, Crime & Justice, Accessed March 11, 2017. http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/DATABASE/Eirestat/Recorded%20Crime/Recorded%20Crime_statbank.asp?sp=Recorded%20Crime&Planguage=0

Central Statistics Office, Ireland, StatBank, Income/living, Accessed March 11, 2017. http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/DATABASE/Eirestat/Survey%20on%20Income%20and%20Living%20Conditions%20(SILC)/Survey%20on%20Income%20and%20Living%20Conditions%20(SILC)_statbank.asp?SP=Survey%20on%20Income%20and%20Living%20Conditions%20(SILC)&Planguage=0

Higher Education Authority, Ireland, Statistics DataSets, Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.hea.ie/en/statistics/overview

DH 2002 Assignment 1

At the beginning of the new semester in my second year studying Digital Humanities and IT, my lecturer for the Digital Tools and Methodologies II lecture laid out the course work to be covered over the duration of the second semester. Consequentially, there are two assignments which are required to be covered in their own blog posts. The following post shall deal specifically with the first assignment in this module.

The Process I undertook:

The assignment in question is fundamentally as follows: the student is required to take part in a community-engaged project with the intention of generating data for public consumption. To accomplish this, I visited the website “Zooniverse”.  “Zooniverse” is a platform where individuals or groups can submit a project to, with the purpose of attracting volunteers from the users of the “Zooniverse” website to partake in their project. So upon visiting “Zooniverse”, I accessed the websites “Projects” page. The “projects” page offers the user several ways in which to browse the numerous projects on the site.  The projects have also been categorised to their specific genre. Later I set up a “Zooniverse” account, with the intention of keeping a record of the work I had completed.

One of the recommendations that was outlined in the description of this assignment, was that it would be preferable to select a project which bears some relation to my minor Arts subject. As I my Arts minor is  English, I first selected the language genre, however much to my dismay I discovered that there were no current projects available for me to assist with in this genre. Continuing on from this I selected the genre connected with literature, in which I was given four possible projects to assist with. In spite of the possible choice given it was evident that only one of the projects had a direct link with literature, and this was the Project: Shakespeare’s World. The other projects in this genre were “Measuring the Anzacs”, “Science Gossip” and “Operation War Diary”. This seemed liked fortuitous luck for me as the module I had chosen to study under the English department was An Introduction to Shakespearian Drama. In addition to studying his plays, I am a genuine fan of his work. So it was here my work truly began.

The Shakespeare’s World project’s goal is to transcribe numerous documents and letters written by William Shakespeare’s contemporaries during the time of Shakespeare’s life. The website upon which the project is hosted, offers up numerous advantages for doing so, most prominently that of learning about Shakespeare’s life and to gain a greater understanding of the society at the time. The website also allows very quick use of the site, with the ability to begin transcribing with a click of a button, no login required. The site offers a quick tutorial on how to transcribe, stating that it is imperative to the project as a whole that when performing palaeography it is crucial to record the precise way in which the document was written, i.e. preserving spelling and grammatical errors. While somewhat jarring to begin with this is just one of the many struggles which come with transcribing handwritten documents with numerous writers, from the 16th and the 17th century.

As spelling had not been strictly regimented at the time, some words bear little resemblance to their modern day counterpart. Admittedly the project does offer a visual aid of how some writers wrote their letters, there appeared to be no agreed standard amongst the writers of the documents as it is often impossible to make out certain words.  In addition to this, often grammar is thrown out the window, making it difficult to fully grasp the context of the sentence. This is of course to be expected when dealing with such old documents, as they are written in what is classified as Middle English rather than Modern English. While the site claims that ability in palaeography can be achieved after a lot of practise, it would appear to me that in order for these documents to be reliably transcribed, individuals with an academic background in these fields would be more helpful over an anonymous user with little or no relevant academic background, from the Internet.

With interest in participating in other projects I returned to the Zooniverse site and visited a few other projects, namely: Measuring the Anzacs, Decoding the Civil War and Operation War Diary. Out of them all I found the project Operation War Diary the most fascinating. The documents to be transcribed in this one were official war diaries and orders written during the First World War by the English speaking soldiers.  The project allows the contributor to pick what Army Company/Divisions they would like to help transcribe the documents from. This project was very different to the Shakespeare’s World project, as the objective was to not transcribe the documents word for word but to tag the page with information. These tags included dates, locations, unit activity and named individuals amongst others.

The Implications of my work:

By contributing to these projects, I am helping to generate data, which can be later used to learn more about history. Hopefully, the contributions I’ve made will help those who wish to use the data parsed and created from these projects. At any rate it offers a second opinion to others who may come across the same documentation, which can either corroborate their own interpretation of the document, or offer a different possibility. As previously mentioned, the work done on the Shakespeare’s World project will hopefully offer historians a greater insight into life during the Victorian Age.  The Information collected for the Operation War Diary project will help to create a clearer picture of the events that occurred during one of the biggest wars in history.

What I have learned from the experience:

By completing this assignment I feel like I’ve learned how a crowd sourced project could be designed, as well as how crowd sourcing can be used effectively. Also, I have seen several different interfaces and have seen the pros and cons of each separate project. An example of a con would be from the Shakespeare’s World Project. When transcribing a document which another individual has already worked on, it is impossible for you to see what the other individual has already transcribed. You can see from what point to what point, however you cannot establish what was actually typed out by the transcriber. As the page has not yet been fully complete, a clear indication of what work has already been accomplished would be beneficial. Also there’s a possibility that given there is no requirement to create an account to work on this project, there could be incorrect, offensive or misleading translations typed out. A pro would be the clear tutorials set out as well as the clear message in regards to the goal of the project. The tutorials were extremely helpful, concise and to the point, teaching me how to use the tools. The clear objective of the project allowed me to remain focused on the relevant/important aspects of the documents.

How I feel I might be able to apply the techniques or material developed/digitised/transcribed in the crowdsourced initiative in my own work:

 

When it comes to English literature, authors often write numerous notes and drafts of their work. These notes are fascinating to those who are either admirers of their work or work in the same field. An example of an authors’ notes being used after their death are the several novels released after JRR Tolkien’s death based upon his unfinished work. Some of his notes became a complete story. An example of this is the novel ‘The Children of Húrin’ which was released thirty four years after Tolkien’s Death. I’m not saying that the intention would be to create a novel out of the data transcribed from a now dead writer, but the information that could be collected about their methodologies applied when it came to writing would be insightful. While I’m sure a lot of authors notes have already been digitised, I would be grateful to take part in such an endeavour.  I feel that if given the opportunity I would attempt to have my third year final project be based on a concept not unlike this.

V.R. in Gaming

What was praised and commended repeatedly at the start of the year, V.R. has become a minor player in the larger gaming industry. Originally, V.R. was depicted as the next stage in gaming, a revolution in the way gaming is thought of and played. Surprisingly enough, V.R. has not become the industry innovator that many had initially hyped it as. It appears that V.R. will end up suffering the same fate as that of motion controls and the eye toy. As of August 2016, the gaming streaming service steam calculated that roughly 0.18% of their users own a V.R. head set. A significant factor in this development is the price of any worthwhile V.R. set. An oculus Rift costs about $599(or €537), an HTC vive costs about €899.00 and PlayStation V.R. costs €399.99. Admittedly, PlayStation V.R. has yet to be released, however going off numbers based off the steam survey it is apparent that not as many people are willing to fork over so much money on an accessory that could turn out to be a part time gimmick, with a lack of content. Perhaps it is because consumers have been stuck by a similar product in the past, the Nintendo Wii. This console became one of the bestselling consoles of all time. You would be hard pressed to find an individual who did not own this machine. However its follow up console, the Nintendo Wii U failed in sales comparison both with its predecessor and with its contemporary consoles; the PS4 and Xbox One. The main selling point of the Wii was its “innovative” motion controller gimmick. It appealed to the casual gamers, hence why it sales skyrocketed. However, the Wii lacked the same amount of content that was readily available on other consoles of the same generation, and it was due to this lack of content, people didn’t return to buy the Wii U. Perhaps it’s because of this past event that people have become more wary of the gaming accessories they buy. Currently the main time of games available on V.R.s are scenario games. These games often lack the replay ability of other games, being one note in design. It’s perhaps the lack of innovative, new and worthwhile content that is currently holding back the V.R. . Currently it appears that players prefer to play their games in third person.

References:

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

http://www.vive.com/eu/product/

https://www.gamestop.ie/PlayStation%204/Games/46341

https://www.statista.com/statistics/268966/total-number-of-game-consoles-sold-worldwide-by-console-type/

https://shop.oculus.com/en-us/cart/

http://vrgamesfor.com/list/

Analysing the Data Visualisation of The Aeneid by Virgil

voyant-main-paste-box

For my final assignment for DH1002, I wish to analyse the ancient Epic, The Aeneid, by Virgil.

In 30 B.C. the final civil war of the Roman Republic ended, and with it the Republic herself. Octavian became Emperor Augusts, and ended a century of civil war. Aside from securing the future of the Roman Empire for years to come, the end of the civil war created a revitalisation in roman culture and literature. The period became late known as the Augustin age. Many poets of the time owed direct patronage to Octavian, such as Ovid and Horace. However the most prolific and most influential work of this time was ‘The Aeneid’ by Virgil. This epic poem was commissioned directly by the Emperor himself. Virgil set out firstly, to glorify the ancient and noble heritage of Rome. Secondly and more importantly, the main objective of the piece was to unite the peoples of the Roman Empire. This was necessary in order to achieve stability in the Roman provinces and to prevent another Civil War. According in part to the poem, one need not be from Roman to be a Roman. One needs only to live their life under Roman ideals. While writing his mythological historical epic, Virgil took a lot pf information from the more ancient Greek texts of Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey. The protagonist of the Aeneid is Aeneas, a Trojan prince mentioned in the Iliad, who proceeds to go on a similar voyage to Odysseus in search of a new home for his peoples. He eventually arrives in modern day Italy and is, allegedly, the direct ancestor of Romulus, the founder of Rome. In this sense Virgil sees Rome as the successors to the ancient city of Ilium of Trojan Empire. Most importantly, Aeneas is seen as a Roman, despite not being born in Italy.  While the piece does take information from the aforementioned Homeric texts, the character of Aeneas is different to that of Odysseus, due to the fact that the Romans disliked Odysseus and his wittiness.

The Aeneid is a way to discover what the key aspects of Roman culture, and cultural attitude were at this time.

By using the digital tool, Voyant-tools, I was able to quickly see which key words were repeated throughout the text. Due to the fact that I used an English translation, the translator naturally used different words in order to maintain the poetic form of the piece. In this regard, some words may not appear as often as in the original version, but certain words will remain more prominent like the original.

Putting aside the word, “shall”, the most prominent words in the piece are “arms” and “war”. It is through these words we see that violence is an integral part of Roman Values.

dh1002 visualisation

We can see here how these words are related to each other and complement each other.

Other key word include words that are more centred on religious wording, such as fate, gods and Heaven. This is another key aspect of the Roman way of life, honouring the gods. It can be interpreted from the piece of the overall significance of religion in the state of Rome. Especially when backed up with these visual aids.

The third most common word in the piece is Trojan. Give the context of the piece it is not farfetched to supplement this word with Rome. While there are separate mentions of Rome in the piece, given Virgil interpretation that Rome is Troy’s successor, when the word Trojan appears in contexts such as loyalty to Troy and Trojan brothers, it is clearly meant to reflect Rome, as well as when but in context with the previous mentioned prominent words to do with violence and religious worship, it is evident that Virgil is referring to honouring the gods, by fighting for Rome.

The rest of the prominent words all follow a similar trend of violence or that of religion.

In the lectures for the course, often we covered several data visualisation tools and techniques. A lot of them appear to be superfluous, such as a poster of the text of the novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. The poster itself only revolution was that the lines of the texts left a large space which had an image of a man and a woman fending off zombies. The point of these new tool is to find a new way to read, to add a new layer to the texts that we see. Voyant-tools, in some ways, offers a summary of the piece of literature. You can quickly pick up the key words and themes of the piece.  Unfortunately however, these more beneficial tools only work in conjunction with having read the full text, in order for the reader to fully appreciate the texts for what they are. They more as a mean to analyse a text, not as a substitute way of reading and appreciating a text.

OpenStreetMaps – Humanitarian Projects and other Features

 

The latest assignment for our Digital Humanities Class required us to use the open access tool, OpenStreetMaps. The aim of this assignment was to take part in a globally run project and collect data for public use.

The tool, OpenStreetMaps, is a free to use map and mapping tool, which collects data through user input. The tool is similar to that of Wikipedia, depending solely on the interaction and volunteer work of users, in order to create the content for the service. Using satellite images from Bing, users are tasked with mapping roads as well as highlighting important features such as buildings or landmarks. For specific projects, the map of the region is divided up into equal sized squares. If a square contains too many features that you feel like you the project is overwhelming or that you simply need help, then the square can be split up into four smaller squares. And if one of these square still contains too many feature than they two can be divided up again. Using iD editor, the method used to map these area is simple place down nodes and give it a tag. For example, if marking a road then you could mark one node at the start of the road, and another at the end of the road. A line connecting the two is formed automatically. The software is designed to be as easily accessible as possible. When you think you have mapped everything there is to map in the square you simple say u have mapped everything, than it is up to someone else to come along and validate it. A spokesperson for the software admitted like all wiki-like projects there can never be a guarantee of complete accuracy due to vandalism by users, however they claim that overall their maps are no less accurate than that of goggle maps.

Admittedly there are other free services available to use maps, such as Google Maps. However, OpenStreetMaps intend to be updated on a regular basis, in case of drastic change to the cartography of an area, due to natural disaster or human intervention. Also Open Street Maps allows users to add their own local knowledge to a map, such as paths hidden from view of a satellite, or important local buildings. Fundamentally the software allows for much more interaction and change, than that of Google. Also software such as Google maps are copyrighted. This means that OpenStreetMaps would have to pay to use their maps and satellite imagery. Furthermore in some countries, costs for regions to be mapped is taken out of the taxes. As I previously stated this is an Open Access tool. This tool is free for everyone to use.

When approaching this assignment, we were given two options:

  • To assist in a Humanitarian Project task

or

  • Add one hundred new features to your local area.

My initial inclination was to help map my own are, believing that my own local knowledge would be more useful than just looking at satellite images, however when I found my hometown and started adding in features, I found that so much of the area had been mapped, and almost to completion that aside from the fact it would be difficult to add one hundred new features to the area, but also my addition to the area would not be very beneficial to anyone. So following on from this I started upon task one. Following a link to the website for humanitarian OpenStreetMap Tasking  website, I was immediately bombarded with humanitarian projects. I quickly got to work. The projects at the time, which were of the highest priority, were projects to do with Fiji following Cyclone Winston. The natural disaster killed 40 people in total and destroyed many buildings. The aim of the humanitarian projects was to map parts of Fiji, so as to help

“support recovery efforts by improving the basemap in the affected areas.”

The new satellite images were blank and required complete remapping due to the disastrous effect of the cyclone and resulting landslides. Australia’s ABC News site has an article, here, which shows the full devastation of the disaster.

The squares as they assigned randomly, can contain a huge amount of features or none at all. At one stage I was validating a square to discover that all it contained was the sea with no features at all. There were also squares such as one I completed which only contained one visible road, the rest covered by forest. I added as much as I could to squares before moving on, leaving it up to others to validate them.

When I was doing these squares however, I noticed that the project was being completed very quickly due to joint effort, and sure enough within a few days most of the Fijian related projects were completed. And as these projects were of the highest priority, they were first ones to be seen and completed. So I decided to start a different project.

The next humanitarian project I looked into was #1568 – Peace Corps Zambia. According to the projects official description:

“The Peace Corps Public Health program in Zambia and the Manyaana health clinic are requesting assistance building a better base map of Manyaana. The health clinic will use the base map data to gain a clearer understanding of the needs of their catchment zone and to conduct basic public health analyses. In addition, the Forest Department will use the data while managing the 1,000 hectare forest reserve in the community”

While not an immediate priority, I wished to help another project with the intent of helping people in need. I found that this region was a lot more populous in terms of roads and buildings, given the more precise location, and the fact that a natural disaster had not destroyed half the buildings in the area. Accordingly, it took far longer to complete the squares. I had added in well over 300 features to a square, including a variety of roads and agricultural tracks, as well as  over a hundred buildings, including huts as per the instructions of the project. Given the vast amount of features in these squares, I ended up splitting my third square in the area, so I could have a better view of the complete region while mapping in order to see if any features were left out easier.  Even though the project is being worked on by several others, currently the project has yet to be complete. I wish to get back to it soon and join in with the others on this group project. If you wish to contribute to this project, I have included a link in the references to this project.

I hope that these maps will be used in order to aid those in need. I like to think that by contributing to these maps that organisations like the Peace Corps can get to those who need help. Overall I found the experience, to contribute to something bigger than myself, humbling. I felt compelled to keep adding in more and more data to the projects, in order to help others who either need to use the software for practical use, as well as those who want to map out the area in the future. While there were some squares I did not complete, I still felt I had helped someone else. I felt the urge to continue until the project was completed.

I have learned more about how helpful accurate maps can actually be. It’s one thing to know a region from living there, but if you are not familiar to a place, more accurate maps are extremely beneficial. It is disappointing how many people cannot get access to accurate maps, in cases of emergency, knowing where to go and how to get there quicker, people’s lives can be saved. It is a sobering thought.

OpenStreetMaps is prime example of a crowd sourcing effort that works, I could see how a similar crowd sourced initiative could be used for projects. For example it could be applied to college work, where people could collaborate on notes and work together to help create accessible and understandable notes in order to help other students and themselves

So if you feel like helping out others in need, I recommend spending a few hours on OpenStreetMaps. It can be fun, but you are also making a difference.

1st tile Captureopen maps

 

References:

OpenStreetMaps

OpenStreetMaps Tasking Manager

OpenStreetMaps Tasking Manager, Project #1568 – Peace Corps Zambia – Manyaana

OpenStreetMaps FAQ

ABC NEWS:

Gephi: A Review

This following Review is a part of my Digital Humanities Course in UCC for the module DH 1002: Digital Tools and Methodologies.

This Review deals with the Data Visualisation tool “Gephi”.

Finding the Tool:

When researching for a tool to review for this assignment I first went to the website, “Digital Humanities Resources for Project Building”. The reason for this was that I wished to use a tool that would hopefully be beneficial for me to use in a project in the future for DH. While going through the list of useful tools on the website, I found that I was likely to use a data visualisation tool in the future. It was here that I came across the digital tool Gephi. The website itself describes Gephi as the following “[an] interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs”. I followed the link on the Digital Humanities Resources for Project Building page to Gephi’s website. The information presented on the website intrigued me and I wished to use this tool for my review. The website provided me with background information on the Digital Tool, showing links to publications about the tool and its applications. These publications deal with the aim of Gephi, which is that it “aims to create a sustainable software and technical ecosystem, driven by a large international open-source community, who shares common interests in networks and complex system”   Following this I checked on the DiRT Directory for this tool in order to ensure that the tool authentic. DiRT Directory listed Gephi in their directory with the same link posted.

While the tool only deals with the visualisations of networks and link analysis, I felt that it could be of benefit in future projects as a means to show relationship and correlation between certain stimuli and results.

Maturity of the Tool:

In order to find out the complete story behind the development of the tool, the website for Gephi provides a link to an interview with Gephi’s initiator, Mathieu Jacomy. The Gephi tool was created as the prototype, “Graphiltre” by Jacomy in 2006 as he was dissatisfied with the existing free digital tools available to him. Jacomy’s design for the tool was original and new as he wished to create a tool that could be altered visually rather than through script writing. Jacomy took inspiration from his experiences with digital tools such as Pajek or Guess. He found that he could not evaluate the results he received. Jacomy used some open source code available to him in order to create his digital tool. Fundamentally, Jacomy want to create a tool that would make a graph that he could easily alter.

The development of the tool was handed over to another man named Mathieu ironically, as Jacomy was primarily a software designer and had little experience in code creation. While the tool became more code based, Jacomy remained involved with the team working on the newly named Gephi to keep his vision of the tool. The most important change to the Digital tools was that Gephi had evolved having its own, original code. Jacomy claims that the vision behind the tool isn’t as important as creating good concepts however. The tool is designed for the users, not for himself.

From my use of the tool, I came across barely any issues in using the tool. While there was an issue in trying to transfer data to the tool, this was due to the issues of a third party plugin.

Sustainability of the Tool

As I alluded to above, Gephi has existed in one form or another since 2006. The tool is still in development, the latest update being in December of last year. The community supporting and using the tool is strong due to the active use of its wiki site and its members. The tool is created by a set team of individuals and rely on user engagement. As the tool is free and non-profit, the only way for money to be generated for development of the tool is through donations. Therefore the community around the project is integral to the future of the tool.  Also as the tool is open source, everyone access to the code. This allows users to ensure that the tool is safe for use, as well as allowing others to create other digital products of this code.

The tool allows for the easy exportation of data for use by the user. Gephi allows for the exportation of its graphs as a file, in csv format as well as other such formats.

 

Sustainability of Research

I admit that the tool does not use a simple interface, and that it lacks appropriate touch-pad support. However the site provides several how to slides on the usage of the tool. I was able to create a graph based upon connections between people in the book “Villette”, similar to the example graph of “les Miserables” given in the Tool. I also tried to use the pre-existing data from my Facebook profile in order to create a graph, however I was unable to download the correct information necessary from the third party app. By allowing the easy implementation of “nodes” as data points, the tool allows the creation of graphs quickly and easily.

I could see the tool as being very useful when trying to create a visual representation of connected information, to be used in presentation and in portfolios. The tool excels in its execution as a data visualizer.

 

Works Cited:

Bastian M., Heymann S., Jacomy M. (2009). Gephi: an open source software for exploring and manipulating networks. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.

Gephi Website: https://gephi.org/users/publications/

Alan Liu, Digital Humanities Tools, Digital Humanities Resources for Project Building

URL: http://dhresourcesforprojectbuilding.pbworks.com/w/page/69244319/Digital%20Humanities%20Tools

DiRT Directory Website URL: http://dirtdirectory.org/

DiRT Directory Link:

http://dirtdirectory.org/resources/gephi

The Business Exploitation of DLC

As a gamer who grew up in the age of the PlayStation 2, the concept of DLC (Downloadable content) exited me. The concept game that my experience with a game could be expanded upon and improved, without needing to purchase an entire new game, was what a lot of people wished for. However it appears that as the years go by, that DLC is actually a curse to gamers everywhere rather than the blessing.

Unfortunately for me, the PlayStation 2 did not have an in built network adapter, and so DLC was not available on the console. It was only after I bought the 8th generation of console, the PS3, was I able to purchase DLC for the games I owned. The bonus material was fun, however never seemed like a necessity for the games, or for a game to be good. I felt like the best kind of DLC was for a game that was already complete without it.

This is bonus material that can be purchased to add extra content to your game. A good example of how DLC content can vary is the DLC for the Video Game “Red dead Redemption”. “Red Dead Redemption has had two types of DLC. The first was called “Undead Nightmare”, an addition of an entire new story, with new enemy types, weapons, character skins and game modes for multiplayer. The game offered a new experience for the player in terms of story and gameplay. This type of DLC is often regarded as the best type of DLC, as it continues the game with the implementation of new features and gameplay experience. However, another DLC pack for Red Dead Redemption is the Liars and Cheats DLC. This DLC adds multiplayer improvements, adding poker and liars dice to multiplayer as well as new gang hideouts and hunting grounds. What is wrong with this DLC is that it feels like something that was left out of the main game. Players were already able to play poker and liars dice in single player. What would have been so difficult to add these mini-games to multiplayer originally? The addition of new gang hideouts sounds promising, however, if playing online, only one person needs to have bought the DLC for the hideout to start. This does not seem fair to me to the person who bought this extra content that everyone is now allowed to access it. What was the point in buying this extra content if some people can access it for free?

The game “Destiny’s” DLC, most notably “The Taken King, was designed to be unfair to those who had not purchased the new DLC. The taken King ended costing twice the amount of the two previous DLC, at $40 upon release. The Taken king was not included in the Season Pass or the Expansion Pass. It also made some original material in the game locked for those who failed to buy the new game. When first published the DLC was included as part of a new copy of the game, forcing some gamers to have to buy the game twice

Some DLC is just there to unlock material that is already available on the disk like “Street Fighter X Tekken”. When something is available on the disk there is no reason why it should have to be paid for again. The whole point of DLC, is that the content is newly downloaded from the internet. DLC is not supposed to unlock items which are already owned and already paid for on the disk.
The latest and most prolific game to do face condemnation for their DLC exploitation, is EA latest video game title, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront. Like most people my age, I am used to a game being complete when buying it. However EA has offered a season pass costing €50, for game that costs €60. Basically in order to get the whole Battlefront experience, you have to buy the game twice. There is also a strong likelihood, the material offered in the season pass is not worth the price of another game.

How can we value DLC though? What makes one game worth more than another? One view is that the more expensive something is, the more quality and quantity it should, however quality is interpreted by differently people differently. This scenario is similar to what occurred in the music industry when iTunes was introduced. All music was made to coast 99 cent. However how is that fair when some music costs more to make than others? Well its not very fair to the industry, however it was the only way for people to stop pirating music. Even though they have scince raise the price to €1.29, I feel that the idea is still there and that it can be reapplied to the video game industry. In this respect, one way to stop business from exploiting people is to have DLC priced maximum at a low price, maybe around €5. Main games are already accepted to only be 1t most €60-€70 euro, why not cap the cost of DLC? This way if business wish to make more money from DLC, they will have to produce more content in order to justify a separate DLC pack, or they will have to break up their DLC into smaller bits, this way consumers can more effectively purchase the type of DLC they want, without having to pay €50 in order to discover that they do not enjoy the DLC. Hopefully this will help highlight how exploitive some DLC packs are, as often the quality does not match up with the price.

Sources:
Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games, Take 2 2010
http://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption/
Jeremy Jahns, “Why I Refuse To Buy Star Wars Battlefront!”:

Cinema Blend:
http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Why-Disc-DLC-Bad-Crime-Gamers-Make-It-Out-48109.html
Machinima – Inside Gaming:

Prices for Star Wars Battlefront, EA 2015:
http://starwars.ea.com/en_GB/starwars/battlefront/buy
Angry Joe, “Star Wars Battlefront Angry Review”:

iTunes Pricing Article:
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/making-sense-of-apples-itunes-new-prices/?_r=0

Warfare 1917 – Flash Game Review

With Adobe no longer supporting flash, I thought now would be a good time to review one of my favourite flash games, Warfare 1917.
Warfare 1917 is a flash game that came out on September 19, 2008. The game was developed by ConArtists and published by Armor Games. Warfare 1917 is also available on many sites such as Kronegate and AddictingGames.com. The game itself is categorised as a World war One strategy game. The game offers two campaigns, each nine missions long, with the German campaign being locked to only ArmorGames.com users. As of December 2015, the game has been played over 39 million times on ArmorGames.com with a 95% approval rating

Historic Setting:
As the name suggests, the game is based during the First World War on the western front. The game deals exclusively with trench warfare, and different types of weapons in use at the time.

Simple and Accessible Gameplay:
In terms of gameplay, the game succeeds with its simplicity. The objective of each mission is to get at least one of your units to the other side of the map, where the enemy units spawn in. Upon reaching the other side of the map, you win. Another way to win a battle is to deplete the enemy moral, by killing enemy units.
The game does take some strategy in terms of choosing the right units, depending on whether you wish to defend or attack, and how to deal with enemy tanks. The HUD in the game is very simply laid out as is its menu screens. The game also allows for a lot of replayability with the use of the custom battle mode, which allows players to set the game rules and redesign the map.
The gameplay is simple yet addictive, and as the campaign progresses does become more strategic and compelling.

Great Visuals and sounds:
The artwork of this game, helps to capture the feel of the Fields of Flanders during the war, such as the barren trees and the smoke off in the distance. The units are pretty detailed, each with their own design. The death animations are also particularity well animated, as is the explosions and bullets effects.
The intro music to the game is fitting of the times and sets you in the mood. No music plays during the battles except for a victory. The units themselves are often heard giving orders to each other such as “let’s go men” or “forward”. They also shout when enemy artillery is incoming, such as mortars or gas, and is the only way of Knowing of an artillery attack before it hits. The sound effects for weapons sound very realistic, with different types of weapons having different sounds.

Annoying game restrictions:
The game is designed to only allow three units of men into a trench at any one time. This does not account for the amount of men in each unit, as some units only have one man, while others have six. Also it is impossible to have your units retreat, and if they are walking towards a trench that is full, they will more than likely be killed if alone. The campaign also lacks any type of narrative, with the main focus being on gameplay.

Conclusion:
The game is simple and addictive. It has superb artwork and sound. Its simplicity in design allows anyone to access the game. While the disadvantages mentioned are annoying, they do nothing do take away the enjoyment of the game and add a layer of complexity to it. For a game with no restrictions is only fun for a couple of minutes before you get bored. The game is free-to-play, yet is actually of better quality than some console games. It is an excellent feet of achievement, and is a game that any fan of flash games should play.

 

References:
Adam Clark Estes, Adobe Is Finally Killing the Flash Name, gizmode.com: http://gizmodo.com/adobe-is-finally-killing-the-flash-name-1745473766
Warfare 1917, Armor Games: http://armorgames.com/play/2267/warfare-1917

Anonymity

In the past, for a person to use their real name while on the internet was viewed as dangerous and extremely unsafe. Nowadays, it is common place, and it is rare that website would encourage the use of ‘nicknames’, ‘pseudonym’ or usernames over that of a Facebook account, twitter account or some other non-anonymous account. This gradual evolution towards the point where your real life and your internet presence merge together, seems like a gradual evolution, but posting your private details online is not an advisable action to take.

However, as the lines become blurred between reality and the internet, it is difficult to see a future where being Anonymous on the internet will continue to be a common method of identity. With the emergence of famous internet celebrity’s, younger people are deciding to use their own names just in case they too achieve stardom.  But this is more than just individuals using their real names, companies are actively encouraging people to put their entire lives out on the internet for the whole world to see. Personally I wouldn’t have a Facebook account if it wasn’t for job opportunities.  This shift in attitude is detrimental to the security of all.

This topic came to the forefront back in 2013, when Google attempted to force YouTube users to use their real names on YouTube. The backlash was so vicious and negative, that it wasn’t long before Google reverted its policy and allowed for Anonymous postings again. The reason for this is the fact that many people posted unfriendly, and otherwise offensive, comments on YouTube, and they were placed in a very exposed position.

It seems that to some people at least, Anonymity is the safest route on the internet. Personal security protection is extremely important.

Recently an English student named Grace Marr had her Facebook photos used on a sex website. Similarly it is estimated that around 2000 Irish students who have had their picture’s stolen and used on porn sites as well.

Humorously the television show, Dave the Physic displayed how easy it is to find someone’s personal information on Facebook. He used this information to trick people into believing he was a physic, by being able to speak about private details about their lives.

The fact is, people are becoming more and more carefree about the way they use the internet. Privacy has given way. Using Facebook to keep in contact with friends and family is very appealing, however once something is posted online, it can never be deleted. There is no reason why a person should disclose their home address on the internet or private facts about their lives.

Anonymity is the safer way to use the internet. It protects you and your family. It allows people to express themselves easier and post their opinions online. As no one knows anything about you, racism and discrimination is avoided. While cyberbullying can still occur, it would be less specific and personal to a person.

Remaining anonymous allows for a safer and a more secure use of the internet.

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/16/youtube-trolls-google-real-name-commenter-policy

http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/more-than-2000-irish-schoolchildren-have-had-images-stolen-by-porn-sites-700997.html

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/weird-news/students-facebook-photos-stolen-advertise-4634205

http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/10/19/sharing-too-much-itll-cost-you/

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