Tagged: Internet

Learn to Code for Free

Posted on December 9, 2014 by - Development

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As the digital universe continues to grow, the more you know the better off you will be and the easier it will be for your company to be elite. That’s one of the reason Thoughtwire Media was created—to make sure you have the absolute best digital support so your brand and presence online is above the competition and in line with the latest technologies.

For the unfamiliar, code, or computer coding, is basically the set of instructions the computer follows in order to perform certain tasks. The code is composed in some kind of human-readable language of the computer, such as HTML.

Coding allows you to create webpages and content from scratch and gives you more operational freedom. Since having the ability to write code is so important and intrinsic to computer function, more and more people want to learn how to do it.

President Obama, for example, became the first U.S. President to write a computer program.

“It was a very simple program—all it does is draw a square on a screen—but that’s the point. All programming starts simple. No one starts by creating a complicated game,” said Hadi Partovi, co-founder Code.org.

So, are you ready to get started or want to get some employees, interns or your kids going on writing and understanding computer code?

A great place to start is at studio.code.org. You can begin instantly, ask questions, watch how-to videos and more.

Want to get your children involved? How about having them code with Elsa from the hit Disney movie “Frozen?” Visit http://studio.code.org/s/frozen/stage/1/puzzle/1 to make the Disney characters do what you want them to do.

Do you have coding or any other digital questions? Thoughtwire Media is here to help and we want to connect with you: 800-367-2570.

Net Neutrality—What You Need to Know

Posted on November 12, 2014 by - Websites

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When the President of the United States makes a public address and plea to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make tougher regulations on something, you know it’s a big issue. And that’s just what President Obama did Monday when he urged the FCC to “implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”

With 84 percent of the U.S. population using the Internet, any changes to public policy or law concerning online use will be affecting millions. That is why Internet use and access is such a big issue.

Let’s back up and start with net neutrality itself. The term was coined in 2003 by a media law professor at Columbia University named Tim Wu, who argued common carriers should operate through “net neutrality” to ensure an open Internet still exists.

The most basic way of describing and defining net neutrality is by saying it is a principle or a concept where all online data should be treated the same, regardless of the user, website, platform, mode of communication or equipment used.

Website providers, however, believe that in the free market capitalist economy in which we operate, that those that own the hose should be able to control the flow of the water. Utility companies operate in a similar fashion and it is a generally accepted business practice.

“Ever since the Internet was created, it’s been organized around basic principles of openness, fairness and freedom,” Obama said in the video. “There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites you get to access. There are no toll roads on the information superhighway. Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the Internet as we know it,” Obama said.

Not everyone is as convinced as the President. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas went to Twitter to voice his disdain over the President’s position: “‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”

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Preferential Treatment for Those That Pay

In America, if you want an upgrade you usually have to pay for it. Internet providers feel that same principle should be applied to online connection speeds. The FCC was quick to intervene, or in the least, put principles to paper, that spell out who can limit or grant what kind of connections.

Last May, the FCC began the process of making formal rules concerning net neutrality and control.

“The rules proposed by Wheeler, whom Obama appointed last year, could allow preferential treatment for some companies willing to pay broadband providers for faster content delivery,” said LA Times columnist Jim Puzzanghera.

If it was as simple as paying for the $100 dollar ticket to the game as opposed to the $50 seat, the issue wouldn’t be so polarizing. But in the case of net neutrality, you’re not picking your seat at all. The Internet is the arena, and if you want in, you will have to show up and go to the seat they give you. Individuals can’t necessarily pay for a bigger seat—the companies control that. If your corporation is big enough you can get a box seat, but for the rest, you will deal with the connection that is available to you.

Here is a clearer picture of how it works: recently, the investment consultancy group NEPC did a research study looking at the Internet providers Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink and AT&T. The study found that those providers were “intentionally squeezing data coming from some incoming networks — in particular, networks associated with Netflix, which competes with these companies in video entertainment,” stated the report.

So it’s not that you can just pay money for a faster speed—the Netflix and similar entities will have to do that and you will be left with whatever provider is available at whatever speed they wish to offer service.

“Every argument against net neutrality I have read assumes perfect competition for internet business at every doorstep in order to be logical; even then, it’s usually argued that this competition will have the same effects on pricing as the FCC implementing basic controls on content discrimination right now. At best, anti-net neutrality is free-market fantasy. At worst, corporate shilling,” said IT expert Russ Fink of MKG.

4 Quick Internet Security Tips

Posted on August 5, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Because you clicked on and are now reading this blog, we now have access to your webcam. The indicator light isn’t on, but the camera is, and you are being recorded. Sound insane? Although Thoughtwire would never hack into your personal computing device, thousands have already fallen victim to just such a practice. Here are some quick tips to make sure your Internet security is up to par:

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If it looks bad—chances are it probably is. If the website looks like it was built for Windows 98, tread lightly. You are more prone to getting a virus or malware from unsupported and old sites.

There are no free lunches on the Internet—it’s a cliché, but it’s true. Free virus scanners, free streaming videos and music, the free version of a pay product…usually they just cost you in the end. Loaded with malware and ads, anything free that you download could just be a bear with lipstick.

Firewalls—install them, make sure they work and get a good one. The number one way your computer gets compromised is through connection compromises. How can users online reach and talk to your computer? Firewalls restrict them so only who and what you want to get through actually will.

Protect your email—if you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email. Also, don’t fall for promotional garbage telling you that you’ve just won a billion dollars. If something gets through your spam filter, you can still mark it as such.

Remember the Early Web?

Posted on July 16, 2014 by - Uncategorized

The World Wide Web (WWW or W3) has changed a lot over the past 20 years. Some similarities remain though.

The World Wide Web (WWW or W3) has changed a lot over the past 20 years. Some similarities remain though.

If you showed anyone under the age of 18 a 1990’s website interface, it would probably be as unfamiliar as an original Gameboy, typewriter, or record player.

Despite the fact that Millennials have grown up with the World Wide Web, the early Web is just as much of an artifact as any other piece of old technology. Especially to those born in the mid-late 90’s and it most certainly wouldn’t be recognizable to anyone born after the turn of the century.

The Atlantic recently wrote an article on How Coolness Defined the World Wide Web of the 1990’s. They gave a brief overview of when “cool” started and what makes something cool in American culture. The early Web only further pushed the concept of cool:

“Maybe today’s users find the early web’s preoccupation with cool to seem little more than the juvenile boasting of Internet novices. But a closer look at sites like Cool Site of the Day, and the countless other cool directories like Netscape’s “What’s Cool?” and Yahoo!’s Cool Sites listing, might actually tell us something about how and why networked technology and digital culture forged such an enduring link to the concept of cool.”

Although the “cool” 1990’s World Wide Web seems ancient and futile when compared to the 2014 Web, which consists of social media, mobile-responsive websites, photo-shopped pictures, videos and more than previously imagined, the purposeless content still remains! It now comes in the form of Buzz Feed quizzes, celebrity and athlete watching, and worthless smartphone apps.

The difference? As The Atlantic points out:

“…work produced by amateurs was featured alongside that of IT professionals, and the most trivial content sat side-by-side with useful productivity tools.”

Today’s Web has more content that can be easily accessed, the importance of that content is more easily discerned, and most importantly, we can discover what’s popular and newsworthy without having to wander through hundreds of hypertext links.

The Web is always changing. And it’s changing at a rapid pace. What it will look like 10, 15, 20 years from now we can only imagine.

If you remember, what was your favorite 90’s website? Give us your thoughts here!