Лекция: Tour the Collectives of Cyberspace

The Internet isn’t just about e-mail or the Web anymore. Increasingly, people on-line are taking the power of the Internet back into their own hands. They’re posting opinions on on-line journals – weblogs, or blogs; they’re organizing political rallies on MoveOn.org; they’re trading songs on illegal file-sharing networks; they’re volunteering articles for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia; and they’re collaborating with other programmers around the world. It’s the emergence of the “Power of Us”. Thanks to new technologies such as blog software, peer-to-peer networks, open-source software, and wikis, people are getting together to take collective action like never before.

eBay, for instance, wouldn’t exist without the 61 million active members who list, sell, and buy millions of items a week. But less obvious is that the whole marketplace runs on the trust created by eBay’s unique feedback system, by which buyers and sellers rate each other on how well they carried out their half of each transaction. Pioneer e-tailer Amazon encourages all kinds of customer participation in the site – including the ability to sell items alongside its own books, CDs, DVDs and electronic goods. MySpace and Facebook are the latest phenomena in social networking, attracting millions of unique visitors a month. Many are music fans, who can blog, e-mail friends, upload photos, and generally socialize. There’s even a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents, called Second Life, where real companies have opened shops, and pop stars such as U2 have performed concerts.

Some sites are much more specialized, such as the photo-sharing site Flicker. There, people not only share photos but also take the time to attach tags to their pictures, which help everyone else find photos of, for example, Florence, Italy. Another successful example of a site based on user-generated content is You Tube, which allows users to upload, view and share movie clips and music videos, as well as amateur video-blogs. Another example of the collective power of the Internet is the Google search engine. Its mathematical formulas surf the combined judgements of millions of people whose websites link to other sites. When you type Justin Timberlake into Google's search box and go to the star’s official website, the site is listed first because more people are telling you it’s the most relevant Justin Timberlake site – which it probably is.

Skype on the surface looks like software that lets you make free phone calls over the Internet – which it does. But the way it works is extremely clever. By using Skype, you’re automatically contributing some of your PC’s computing power and Internet connection to route other people’s calls. It’s an extension of the peer-to-peer network software such as Bit Torrent that allow you to swap songs – at your own risk if those songs are under copyright. BitTorrent is a protocol for transferring music, films, games and podcasts. A podcast is an audio recording posted on-line. Podcasting derives from the words iPod and broadcasting. You can find podcasts about almost any topic – sports, music, politics, etc. They are distributed through RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds which allow you to receive up-to-date information without having to check the site for updates. BitTorrent breaks the files into small pieces, known as chunks, and distributes them among a large number of users; when you download a torrent, you are also uploading it to another user.

Ex. 19. Choose the answers YES/NO. Read the text to check your answers.

1. Can you send music in an e-card? 2. Do you have to save an e-card to view it? 3. Do you pay for freeware programs? 4. Can you download a movie from the Internet?

You can view many interesting websites with your browser. Some let you view and send e-cards for birthdays, holidays or other special occasions using your e-mail program. An e-card can contain pictures, cartoon animations, or play songs. You can type your own personal message on the card, change the music, preview it, or send it as a screen saver. Most e-cards open automatically in your e-mail, others give you a link to click. You usually view e-cards like a standard Web page.

You can download computer programs, games and utilities, such as virus protection programs. Some of these programs are shareware, which means you pay a fee if you keep the program, or freeware, which have no fee. To download a program, you save it on your computer. After you click the download button, the Save As dialog box appears. Choose the location where you want to save the file and click Save. It can take anything from a few seconds to a few hours for a download to complete.

You can view e-mail attachments on the Internet or you can save them onto your computer. To open an attachment your computer needs a program that can open it. If your computer does not have compatible software, you cannot open the attachment. All digital files have a file extension that shows you the file format, for example, .avi for video, .doc for MS Word files and .mpeg for music files.

Ex. 20.Read the article about cloud computing and say if the following statements are TRUE (T) or FALSE (F).

1. Salesforce has been operating cloud services longer than the big players. 2. Salesforce has had to change its business model because of falling profits. 3. Benioff believes cloud computing will replace call centres and helplines. 4. Cloud computing suffers from more unplanned down ti me than average in-house IT departments.

The “cloud” and cloud computing are among the buzz words of the year. The big players are moving into this area in a big way. Google will already run your e-mail and host your documents, and its App Engine lets users run custom applications. Amazon has a service that allows users to set up virtual servers on the Internet, and Microsoft is joining the party with Windows Azure. At the same time, the concept of cloud computing is far from new, and one company that has been in the business since 1999 is salesforce.com. The business lets customers manage their sales data, leads and other information on the Internet using salesforce.com’s on-line applications, and with over $1 bln in annual revenue. It is clearly a model that works.

Marc Benioff, the company’s 44-year-old chief executive and co-founder is convinced that cloud computing is the way ahead. “This is the future,” he says. “If it isn't, I don’t know what is. We’re in it. You’re going to see this model dominate our industry.”

Benioff sees the service cloud as the alternative to call centres and telephone help-lines. He believes that when customers have a problem with a product or service they no longer call a helpline, they go to Google. Companies like Orange are already using the service cloud, where they can set up their own web portal with links to customer services and other applications.

But are there any dangers to this the brave new world? When Gmail was hit by an outage in February, Twitter was alive with cries about the risks of moving mission-critical data and applications outside your own IT department’s control, even though the downtime lasted only about two and a half hours. Besides questions about reliability, some doubters also voice worries about privacy and security. But supporters of the cloud say that organizations like Salesforce and Google do a much better job of uptime and transparency than most IT departments. “All complex systems have planned and unplanned downtime,” says Benioff, who claims 99.9% uptime last year. The reality is we are able to provide higher levels of reliability and availability than most companies could provide on their own. His 55,000 customers and 1.5 million subscribers, will be hoping that he is right.

Ex. 21.Read the text and match the words (1-7) with the definitions (A-G).

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