Sean Fitzroy : Internet Technologies
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Create a blog to which you will post your writing assignments. This is similar to writing a standard 5 paragraph / 3 thesis paper but you will post it as a blog entry instead of turning it in on paper.

Semester Blog Response Topics

Note: These assignments are not personal response papers or article summaries. The assigned articles should server as an introduction to the topic, after which you are expected to seek out further research and contextual information before forming your arguments and writing about them. Assume the reader has read the assigned articles so you shoudln't summarize them. Cite all sources and references by linking to the specific URL where you found the information.

Topic #1: Piracy is Progressive Taxation (due 10/7/09)
Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution - Tim O'Reilly
Topic #2: The Long Tail (due 10/14/09)
The Long Tail
Topic #3: Digital Rights Management (DRM) - 5 articles (due 10/21/09)
Cory Doctorow's DRM Talk at Microsoft Research
Read the PDF and listen to the mp3 or watch the talk on Google video
DRM sucks redux: Microsoft to nuke MSN Music DRM keys
Wal-Mart now says they'll keep DRM servers on forever
NYT: Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle and follow-up blog entry
Topic #4: 1,000 True Fans - 4 articles (due 11/4/09)
1000 True Fans
The Reality of Depending on True Fans
The Case Against 1000 True Fans
The Problem With 1,000 True Fans
Topic #5: The Web as random acts of kindness (video)
Jonathan Zittrain (TED 2009)
Topic #6: It's Not Information Overload. It's Filter Failure (video)
Clay Shirky (Web 2.0 Expo NY)
Topic #7 (extra credit): RIP: A Remix Manifesto (feature documentary)
RIP is available as a "pay what you want" download from the RIP web site. RIP is not available at the NEiA library and is most likley not available at video rental stores.

Blog Entry Guidelines

  • Title your blog entries with the blog assignment number (and preferably the title of the article to which you're responding)
  • Do not just summarize the article.
  • Your summary of the article should only be a couple of sentences. Most of the blog entry should expound on the issues raised in the article. (assume that the blog reader has already read the article)
  • Your blog entires should be in the form of thesis papers. They are not personal responses papers. Research the issues raised in the article, formulate you arguments, and support your arguments with outside information (don't just cite the article).
  • If you're "stuck" for something to write about try answering these questions like "What happens when the current technologies become 1/10 the size or the price or 10 times faster? How will those changes magnify the issues presented?" For instance, how does the power of a desktop in a laptop (1/10th the size) or a smartphone (1/100th the size) affect how they are used? How does broadband connectivity (50 times fast than dial-up) affect how people use the Internet?
  • You are encouraged to link to outside sources to support your arguments.
  • Grammar, spelling, clear communication, and well-supported arguments all count.
  • Entries should be about 2 double spaces pages (about 500 words) of solid writing and well-supported ideas. Do not attempt to pad lazy thinking by filling your entry with with fluff that says nothing.
  • Remember your blog name, login, and password or things will go very badly.
  • You may want to type your blog entries in a text editor or word processor, in case there is a problem posting to the blog. Safari sometimes has issues pasting rich-text into Blogger, try using Firefox if you are unable to paste text in the Blogger window.
  • Always keep a backup copy of your blog entries in case Blogger has a problem or you have trouble posting.
  • Blog entries are due before class on the date specified regardless of whether you are having a problem with Blogger. Bring in a paper copy and an electronic copy on disk if you have to.

Creating Your Blog

  1. Go to and create an account (if you have a Google or Gmail account you may be able to sign in with those credentials)
  2. When you have the option to choose where your blog will be hosted, choose the option.
  3. Name your blog, write a short description, and choose a visual style for the blog. (you can go back and change these later). Your first and last name must appear on the blog.
  4. Enter your 1st and last name (or something close) to create a unique URL at for your blog. For example:
  5. Post a test entry to your new blog and then publish your blog entry to make sure it works.
  6. After you have posted an entry, choose "View Blog (in a new window)". Notice the URL and the appearance. This is how other people see your blog. You should see the test entry that you just made.
  7. Copy and paste the complete URL of your blog from the browser ( and email it to me.
  8. I will subscribe to your blog with an RSS Reader and see your new blog posts automatically when you publish them.

Posting to Your Blog

  1. Go to and log in. DO NOT create a new account or a new blog for every entry.
  2. Write your blog entry (saving frequently as you go) or cut and paste the previously written text from your word processor into the Post window.
  3. Publish the Blog.
  4. After you have posted an entry, choose "View Blog (in a new window)". You should see the entry that you just made at the top and older entries should appear below. If you don't see the post that you just added, return to the other window ( and re-publish the blog.
  5. Save a copy of your blog entry in your word processor.
  6. You should check your actual public blog page or subscribe to your blog's RSS feed to confirm that your posts are successful.

Additional Guidelines and Clarification for Blog #1

  • You should do enough research (via articles, reputable blogs, and twitter) that you can select a service or application that is particularly interesting or has the potential to open up new possibilities for communication and/or reshape the way people do something now, in the future. Facebook, Twitter, or Friendfeed would be a examples, but you'll probably have to do some research to learn more about the issues around those services, then when you find something to hone in on, do further research on articles that discuss that particular issue, then form an opinion and write about it. Defend your arguments by citing sources.
  • You might argue why a particular aspect or feature of a service (or the way people currently use it) has a positive or negative effect on a particular industry or group of people (or might in the future) - for instance, the availability of freely viewable content on YouTube, or how podcasts might affect the radio industry. How does it change how people currently do something, like families interacting on Facebook, or journalists using Twitter to communicate and fact check stories in real-time? What works better on the service - or not as well? How could a particular service reshape a job or a whole industry? What do you think will happen when that service or application has 10 times or 100 times the number of users? What if it became accessible via mobile phones or if it was built into other devices - like using your phone to gain access to buildings instead of keys or Facebook to pay for transactions instead of a credit card? If the application has a hardware component, how might in change in the next 5 - 10 years as hardware gets cheaper, better, and faster, and more ubiquitous?
  • For example, the original iPhone's processor (in June 2007) was the same speed as a G4 laptop in 2001. How does this change how the device is used, which it becomes 1/6 the price and less than 1/16 the size.
  • Another example, video editing in 1997 used to require an expensive computer with a special video card, a few years later it could be done on any laptop and journalists began editing news videos on planes when returning from their assignments. Now in 2009 the iPhone 3Gs can shoot, edit, and upload video. How does this further change how people will use it?