Grammarly and Hemingway Editor Review

You have a paper due 11:59 P.M. that night. Every single college kids worst nightmare. Well, at least one of them. Anyways you have to rush to finish the paper and mess up a lot of grammar. Luckily, we have to writing tools on the internet for free. In this article, I will review the two free writing tools, Grammarly and Hemingway Editor.

First up is Grammarly. I will start with my likes first and the segway to my dislikes. What I like about Grammarly is how easy it is to install. Go to your web browser, type in the website, make an account and then install the extension. It’s really easy and free! In terms of Grammarly itself, I have found it to be very useful. One thing I like about it is that it asks if you are a student, teacher or a writer and then proceeds to ask you if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced. After selecting your two options it tells you what it will look out you while you write. My dislikes include the fact that you have to pay to unlock all of Grammarly’s features. It is $30 a month which is pretty expensive for a grammar editor. Overall I would recommend the free version. It gets the job done and it is an easy process to install.

Next up is the Hemingway editor. What I like about this writing tool is that it gives you more suggestions on what to do. The problem is, it doesn’t always tell you exactly what to fix. Sometimes it will just say it’s hard to read. That’s great but what if you review that sentence multiple times but can’t find something wrong with it. It’s confusing sometimes but it does give some helpful insight at the same time. It also points out when you are using “fluff’ words and when you are using the wrong tenses. While you need to pay for Hemingway Editor to get all of its features, it is a surprisingly reasonable price. It is only $20 which I find to be very reasonable. I do not all the full features that you would obtain. I do however know some of them. If you upgrade you can edit anywhere. It also includes the ability to send your papers to others with the recommended edits and then others can tell you how you could potentially fix that.

Overall I think both are great for being free. I would pick Grammarly because once you install into your web browser, and you see suggestions everywhere you write. After writing this article, I can definitely see a difference in certain things I used to make mistakes with.

You’re Not as Private on The Internet as You Think

 
So we are in November and Christmas is creeping up on us. You have to start to shopping for Christmas presents. You go to buy that new video game and you see an ad on the right side of the screen. It’s an advertisement for a new type of clothing. That’s cool and all but have you ever thought that the advertisement is spying on you? That’s right, an article written by Jennifer Langston-Washington called “Anyone can track you with $1,000 of online ads” tells us that like the article title, anyone can track you if they pay $1,000 for ads. An example given in the article was that your boss spying on you doing your working hours. With that being said, if your boss cared enough to spend $1,000 on an advertisement to see what you are doing, they could.  In fact, a research team went out to see if they could do it and they did. They discovered that “that an individual ad purchaser can, under certain circumstances, see when a person visits a predetermined sensitive location.” (Langston-Washington, Jennifer) Well, what is considered a “sensitive location”? An example is a hospital someone might be in or if someone has their location turned on, on their phone. They also found that they could see what apps people were using. It’s amazing that they don’t even have to click on the advertisement to enable the tracking, it happens which is pretty scary.
 
Discussing the various ways people can spy on you with ads is already scary enough. How about cybersecurity failures? “The Decade of Security and Privacy”  by Danielle Sabrina, she talks about these various threats. Do Target and Equifax remind you of anything? How about the fact that they lost our credit card information to cyber thieves? Obviously, Targets scenario was no one close to as severe as Equifax because you can switch your credit card. With Equifax, they lost over 145 million Americans social security numbers, bank account numbers and more important private things. If I could summarize all of that in two simple words, those words would be ‘not good’. At least we can that the government is taking some steps by spending $90 billion in cybersecurity efforts.
 
Is there anything we can about this? Are we screwed and we are going to have to sit back and hope that we do not get hacked? No need for trepidation, for we have Blockchain! Basically, Blockchain is using different computers and networks to safely secure your private information.  Blockchain is a technology, not a company. Most notably in the article, FortKnoxster is the company that uses this technology. Their goal according to their CTO Mickey Joe Nathan Johnnyson (cool name by the way) wants to make sure that their customers “have a secure place to store their information” and “want to make sure no one is listening in or tapping into the lines of communication.” They want to end all of this spying that anyone can do with $1,000 advertisements. Who honestly cares enough to spend $1,000 to spy on someone? I mean it is outlandish but, people still do it anyways. At least now we are in pretty safe hands.

Net Neutrality and You

What is net neutrality and what does it mean to you? Net Neutrality is the regulation that says that Internet Service Providers (ISP) must treat all data the same. Basically, this means that web sites can not charge you extra for a faster experience on their website or a little benefits like that. Now that Trump is in charge he said he promised to shake things up.

In 2015 the FCC voted to regulate broadband internet. This has allowed them to enforce Net Neutrality just like any other public service. With Trump coming into power, he and his administration will look to turn Net Neutrality back into an information service. Well what does this mean? ISPs would manage their customers data differently. The government would not be involved anymore and it would be up to trade groups and industries to determine what is fair and unfair. In addition to this, “Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will expire at the end of 2017 and along with it the federal government’s ability to spy on the communications of foreigners outside of the U.S.” (Greenemeier, Larry) Trump also wants to increase cyber security. This is what Trump planned to do in his first 100 days. An article after he officially became president helps summarize what has happened since then.

Recent activities favors the internet companies over customers. The U.S. Senate voted last week to allow internet service providers to sell data about their customers’ online activities to advertisers. (Ali, Christopher) Last week was late March 2017 which is when the article was written. It used to be about what is best for society. Now, it is what is best for business. Today a few companies own the media market. Companies like Comcast and Time Warner make a majority of the money and while the public does not get to see some of that money. In addition to all of this, we need to worry about apps as well. There was an investigation about phone companies not having mobile data with apps like Spotify. Another point that we should all know is that the U.S.A has a budget of 445 million dollars for public broadcasting. That means that it relates to about $1.35 per person. Other countries? Germany spends $143 a person and Norway spends $180 per person. This means that broadcasting will not get the exposure it needs in the U.S.

This seem like a disaster if Trump decides to go through with less regulations on net neutrality. Companies could have the power to make us pay for things we did not have to previously. We can not have few companies run the market or else we will see a decrease in what we are able to say. Just to quick paraphrase Nicholas Johnson. He said that “no matter what your first reform is, your second reform should be about media. His point is we need our voice to be heard so that our wishes can be fulfilled. I like his thought process because believe it or not, it makes sense.

Video Games and Violence: Do the two correlate?

Video games have come a long way since the first game invented back in 1958 called ‘Tennis for Two’. Now we have 4k graphic compatible games and multiple game consoles. There are many genres of games ranging from adventure to sports. One genre causes more discussion then the rest. That genre is violent video games like first person shooters and fighting games. Examples would include Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, Gears of War, etc. Even Pokemon can be included because the monsters have to fight each other to determine a winner. So now to the main question, do video games cause violence or violent actions?

I came across an article on CNN titled “Do video games lead to violence?” About a year ago a teen killed nine people in Munich, Germany. This teen was a fan of first person shooter games, so naturally the discussion came up about if video games cause violence. The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics each agree that teens should not being playing violent video games. The American Psychological Association (APA) says that 90% of children play video games in the United States. 85% of games for sale contain violence of some sort. The APA says that “research demonstrated a link ‘between violent video game use and both increases in aggressive behavior … and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy, and moral engagement.'” The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says “that violent media set a poor example for kids” and “should not use human or other living targets or award points for killing, because this teaches children to associate pleasure and success with their ability to cause pain and suffering to others.” The academy conducted over 400 studies that show a link between violent video games and acts of violence or aggression in society. However not everyone is on the same page. Some scientists have some other thoughts and experiments.

Whitney DeCamp has discovered other evidence that opposes the APA and AAP. Whitney is “an associate professor of sociology at Western Michigan University.”  He concluded that evidence does not show a correlation between violence and violent video games. He says the studies have shown that the two correlate, however, he says that there is a chance that the kid or teen “may have a predisposition toward aggression.” In his own studies he asked 6,567 eighth graders if they had played violent video games within the past year. He concluded that violent video games do not predict violent behavior. Christopher Ferguson, associate professor and co-chairman of the Department of Psychology at Stetson University, not only agrees with this statement, but even goes as far to say that playing these games reduces societal violence. His reasoning behind that statement is that they stay off the street and do something they enjoy, hence causing less harm to society. During the week of the release of a popular new game, there is a general decrease in societal violence.  Recently a group of 238 scholars told the APA to retire its “outdated and problematic statements on video game violence.” To me it seems as if times are changing and these two professors and other scholars seem to think there should be an update in the studies. DeCamp said that almost young males play violent video games and the large majority do not commit crimes in society.

Personally I do not think video games and violence have a direct correlation. I have played violent video games since I was 12 and I have never once thought of committing a violent act in society. Obviously I can not speak for everyone who plays violent video games. There are studies that prove and disprove the correlation. I think there is a slight correlation but I think there are other factors besides just the violence of the video game. The best method which was pointed out in the article is that parents should monitor the games they play and their actions.

 

Distractions are Everywhere

I would have started this sentence earlier, but I got distracted. Sorry that was corny but appropriate. The technological world we are growing up in is different than anyone born before 1990 or so. Why is that? It is because we grew up with this never before seen technology. Now we have phones that can send instant messages or pictures. Oh yeah, then there is social media. Social media has been the distraction champion every since it was created and will most likely never be dethroned. I’d be willing to bet that within the last week you were distracted by something on social media while working or doing homework. These distractions do not seem like a big deal but it could affect how we learn.

Lets start off by saying that we can all agree that overall, studying is not fun. Wouldn’t you rather be with friends or watching TV? Well the sad reality of that is that we can’t always have that. Adam Gazzaley stated in a interview that “When we switch between tasks, we suffer a degradation of performance.” For every distraction that we come across can slowly make us less likely to perform our current task at a high level. This does not just apply to work, it also applies to everyday tasks like driving. Texting and driving is very dangerous and checking your phone once to see what Billy Bob had to say could alter your life or someone else’s.

Digital distractions are not the only thing that can slow down the learning process. Today, we can read articles online for a class instead of having to buy the book. Yes! We all get to save money now, but it still comes at a cost. In the article A textbook dilemma: Digital or paper?” The author (Claudia Wallis) says that Patricia Alexander, educational psychologist, discovered that out of  “878 potentially relevant studies published between 1992 and 2017, only 36 directly compared reading in digital and in print and measured learning in a reliable way.” So 842 studies say the opposite. If that does not say something then I don’t know what else would. It all comes down to personal opinion on what you prefer, but studies do indicate that we should all consider studying print instead of digital text.I personally find it easier to study off of a text book. I will say however that in some cases I do prefer reading online. For the most part I find it easier to read on paper.

Now, you would think that in this digital age that reading online would be more popular and would arise a problem right? Well not necessarily, actually it is the other way around. In the article “Book Reading 2016” that “Nearly four-in-ten Americans read print books exclusively; just 6% are digital-only book readers.” However a 26% of Americans do not read a book at all. So 38% of Americans prefer books in print than digitally. Thankfully that trend isn’t going anywhere, for now.

At least we know that people so far are sticking to the old fashion way. As time goes on it will be interesting to see if people start shifting towards digital learning, reading and writing. Maybe technology will change and we may see that learning, reading and writing can be scientifically proven to be better. For now, I am content with how it is now.

 

Benefits of Blogging

With the evolution of the internet, ways of spreading information have become more broad. If anyone could start a blog, they could. It could be to write about their life or write about a variety of different topics. Did you know there are hidden benefits as well? In the blog post https://kdshives.com/2016/04/22/blogging-to-establish-your-digital-identity/ that a good way to stand out is by starting your own professional blog. That is only one source though. You could be thinking so what? It is just one website. Well I found others that agree with me and others who have the same thought process.

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2472969/internet/why-blogging-is-still-important.html

The man who writes this post talks about the reasons he finds blogging to be very important. He recalls submitting his first post and remembering getting feedback on all the grammar and structure mistakes he had. That is understandable because when you start blogs. He also talks about how you get to create content and not just consume it. Also that it should not be too long. Long enough to get the important details across but do not make it too long so that the reader loses focus. One final thing is he is to support others. Comment on other peoples blog to help them out with their process of writing.

Not convinced yet? Well in https://blog.wishpond.com/post/47804902390/4-reasons-why-blogging-is-important-for-your-business we see that the author agrees with some of the points in the last post and has some points of their own. The blog is mainly focused around if you have a business however I still thing the points are valid. The author states that blogging can help create traffic to your own website. I like this point because if you want to start a small business you can have a blog on the side and plug your business in occasionally. Another point the author mentions is showing your leadership at your business. Well written articles can indicate that you are running your business successfully. One final point relates back to the first article and that is communication. Being able to communicate with others on their blog is important to help them and it also helps your business out as well.

If you use your blog correctly, it could benefit you a lot. They are many benefits of blogging and the reasons shared above are only a few of the many reasons.

Have you ever googled yourself?

I think it would be safe to say everyone here has used google. In fact, you probably used googled when you were young. Back then you could not really google yourself because you most likely did not do anything worth notice. However now it may be a different story. Have you ever googled yourself? I did and what I saw shocked me a little bit.

Okay so it did not really shock me because I did not really expect too much. I am not really into social media that much so I did not think I would see much and I was right. The only social media applications that came up was Instagram and Facebook which is what I expected. I only created my Facebook so I could join the Muhlenberg Class of 2021 page. My twitter for my First Year Seminar also came up. Now I know from doing this in the past that people with the same last name as me also show up. In fact the people with the same last name as me show up more than I do.

Now besides social media and other people my name does actually appear on google! Is that not crazy? In high school we had a news network that I was apart of and we covered sports and other school events. Since I was a senior I took one of the leadership roles in developing the sports footage. The featured video was from my friends and I covered National Signing Day. My friend and I also made sports hype videos for the school and for professional sports. We made Super Bowl, March Madness and NBA finals hype videos.

A year ago in the summer my friend asked me if I wanted to write a sports blog for fun with him and his friend. I accepted as I thought it would be a cool opportunity to write about sport topics I liked to talk about. Throughout the course of a month I wrote four different blog posts. One about football, another about basketball and two on baseball. As I continued to write I noticed my writing was getting better and more people from my school would read it. The blog never really took off but it was still fun during that last month of summer.

Naturally I used google before I looked up myself like I would assume everyone would. It is interesting to see if Yahoo or Bing came up with something else. It was interesting to see that Yahoo and Bing showed less of me and more of others with the same last name. My Facebook did not show up as well as my twitter for my First Year Seminar. My blog post were also nowhere to be found either. So do not just google yourself, check out the other search engines as well. Overall googling myself was interesting. You never really know what you are going to see on the internet. Hopefully down the road when you google my name you see that I am sports broadcaster.

 

My Technology Life

Being born in 1998 I have gotten exposed to a lot of technology. When I was about six years old my parents bought me Backyard Football 2004. I absolutely loved that game to death and I would play that game after school every day. So I decided to research to see if this company made more games and they did! They made hockey games, soccer games, baseball games and basketball games. These games really sparked my interest and my love for these sports. So as the years progressed I continued to play these games and I would ask my parents to buy me the new version of these games as the years progressed for our computer.

As the years progressed I continued to get these new games. However in 2007 my parents surprised me with my Wii! I played the Wii everyday and when Mario-kart Wii came out and I played that almost everyday. At the time I got Mario-Kart I was in 4th grade. I loved it so much that I joined online clans that would play in online tournaments. I was playing with people who were five or six years older than me and I was able to hold my own in the races.

While I loved my Wii and Mario-kart I had another piece of technology on my mind and that was a PlayStation three. In fourth grade a I met a friend who just recently moved into my neighborhood. So I went to his house one day and got to play on his PlayStation three and I loved it. My parents would not let me get a PlayStation three accept under one condition. That condition was that I had to make it to the final of a 24 competition. I ended up finishing second and I was able to earn my PlayStation three!

In the Summer of sixth grade year heading into my seventh grade year I played Call of Duty and I was able to meet some people from my middle school that I am still friends with today. All throughout middle school I made good friends playing Call of Duty and then I got other games like Madden and NBA 2k and FIFA. During all of that video gaming, in seventh grade I got my first phone! It was anything special, just a simple Nokia. Finally for finishing middle school I got my first iPad.

As I went into high school technology stayed the same accept new applications like Twitter and Instagram became big “must have” applications. So I had to get an upgrade for my phone. For my birthday I ended up getting an touchscreen LG smartphone. Again, nothing crazy but it got the job done. Then in my sophomore year my PlayStation three broke witch I was pretty upset about but luckily we were able to get it fixed and I also got a PlayStation four for my birthday! One year later I got a new Samsung Galaxy S5 Active which I still have to this day. While I am writing this it just hit me that the last piece of technology I received was this laptop I am writing my paper on, My Dell Inspiron 13.

Technology is a big part of my life for sure. My generation basically does not have a clue what it is like without computers, televisions, phones, etc. Myself as well as others are truly blessed to be able to have technology like this available to us. If you ask someone 50 years ago if they would read my blog they would look at me with six heads.  Overall though I am happy with what I have and that this technology can help me out with my life whether it is a simple google or just keeping me updated on weather.

The Advancement

We are closer to the year 2033 than we are to 2000. Is that not crazy? Time really flies and you know what else flies? The advancement of technology. We have phones that can do almost anything a computer and camera could do. Our computers lightning quick. Any Television show you want to watch is mist likely on Hulu or Netflex. Social Media is one of the quickest ways to get in contact with anyone who has a Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Texting, calling and of course talking are still options but you tell anyone about this 70 years ago they would call you crazy.

Actually lets be specific and talk 70 years ago in the World War two era. In this article “As We May Already Know” the author (Vannever Bush) says methods of getting information across are old and weak. Keep in mind this was written in 1945. Today, we just type something and hit a button and boom, your thoughts are there for the world to see. He goes on to mention that two centuries ago, a man by the name of Leibnitz invented a calculating machine but it was to hard to construct so it kind of fell though for the time being. Let me ask a question, have you ever gone a time within the past 5 years and not had a calculator at your fingertips? Most likely not because they are everywhere! Your phone, pocket calculators or you could just google one!

As the article goes on he mentions that all we to do to keep a record of something is either write it or push a button on a typewriter. Now, we could text on our phones or type something like I am doing right now! The best part? If you mess up, you do not need to start over like on a type writer. If there is anything to take away from this blog is that we should all appreciate the backspace key.

He seems to have a big pet peeve and that is the way technology was handled back in his time. He had problems with how information was organized. Now everything is organized perfectly and you set it however you want on your phones and laptops. His purpose in writing this article was to point that the technology they had then was great, but, it could be better. Now in 2017 we definitely hit his expectations. We even far surpassed his expectations, but was it for the better?

I am about as guilty as the next person when it comes to social media. I do not tweet everyday. I do not post on Instagram everyday and I do not post on Snapchat or Facebook everyday. I do however go on them everyday whether it is for news or just enjoyment. In an article titled “How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media?” Teenagers spend approximately nine hours on social media a day. I never spend that much time on social media but I’m sure Bush never expected this. They broke it down by each social media application to demonstrate how much time a typical lifetime. You will spend 1 year and 10 months on YouTube, 1 year and 2 months on Snapchat, 1 year and 7 months on Facebook and 18 days on twitter. I personally find the twitter approximation to small and I think it should be much longer. It almost seems like it is controlling a big part of our life nowadays.

A website called www.internetlivestats.com is a place where you can see how many tweets, e-mails, facebook, etc, that are sent in one day. Crazy stats like 520,000,000+ tweets have been sent today. That is a lot of people on social media at once. There are plenty of other crazy out of these world stats and you can look at them are there website. There is one however that boggles my mind. There are 3,727,125,000+ internet users in the world. To think the internet was not existent to the public 50 or more years, makes you appreciate where we are now.

Do we own our Domain?

Writing for a blog during your first year seminar is pretty cool. You feel like you have a job and that you are writing for people who can read online anywhere any time. In the The Web We Need to Give Our Students article, the author (Audrey Watters) mentions that the students have more control over what is viewed and said on their own personal site. The author also states that students can express their thoughts and opinions through writing. I agree completely that when you can free write your thoughts for others to see and give feedback. Another cool thing about this whole concept is that you can look back at what you have written throughout your time of schooling. Having your education travel with you throughout your life is a big advantage.

I love the points that the author brings up in the past article, but in this next article “Do I Own My Domain if You Grade It?” the author (Andrew Rikard) brings up some good points I agree with. His first point he brings up that what is the point of making it public if the only people who will see it will be your peers in the class and the teacher. To us students I can absolutely see where he is coming from in that regard. The point he is trying to get across is that the students will see it as public grading system and therefore it would not feel like a blog to them. However, overall having a blog that is part of my education has more pros then cons.