Sunday, 6 November 2011

Week 12

Ok so this will be the last post for this course. This week we are looking at Security, privacy and IP.

Question 1 -
See if you can find an example of a privacy breach that was reported in the Australian or international news in the last 6 months. What were the consequences? i.e. legal, political, financial, personal etc. What action was taken in response to the privacy breach?

Well I'm am guessing that every one in the class will be talking about the same thing for this question. The News International Phone Hacking Scandal has been one of the biggest examples of breaches of privacy of our time.
Staff of the Newspaper were accused of Hacking into the phone message banks of celebrities, politicians and the Royal Family as well as relatives of solders killed in Afghanistan and families of victims of crime. The news paper then published stories about the people using the private content of their messages.
As a consequence there was an inquiry into the scandal, people lost their jobs, people high up in the news paper resigned and the whistle blower Sean Hoare was found dead in "unexplained circumstances (S, Rogers & K, Pedersen, 2011) for a comprehensive timeline and compleate overview of the whole scandle click here and you can see The Gaurdian's coverage of the scandle.

Some of the main consequences of the scandal included:
  • the aressts of seinior staff
  • the resignation of staff
  • the death of the whistle blower
  • the closing of the news paper after 168 years of publication (S, Rogers & K, Pedersen, 2011) 
  • huge financial losses for the company 
Bellow is some footage of the inquiry being announced to parliament.


S, Rogers & K, Pedersen (2011, July 21). Phone hacking: what happened when? Visualised [interactive timeline table] The Guardian. Retrieved from

Friday, 4 November 2011


This week we are looking at Web 2.0

Exercise - select five applications that you have not heard of before from Popular URL's Web 2.0 awards or the webware awards and describe on your blog page how they could be useful to a business.

First Site:
Category: Location-based services
OpenTable is an online reservation service. It lets people find reservations at local restaurants and book them from their computer or mobile phone; all the while, not having to use the traditional system of calling or visiting the restaurants in person (Webware, 2009).
Along with its reservation system, OpenTable also maintains a database of restaurant information and reviews from both its users and partners. Similar to Yelp and CitySearch, this lets people recommend or discourage restaurants in OpenTable's database. Those reviews show up to other users when they do a search or while they plan to book a reservation (Webware, 2009).

This app would be useful to business to help attract new customers. It would be particularly useful to new businesses. In urban areas it can often be difficult to find a restaurant with a vacant table on a Saturday night. This app would allow restaurants to attract new customers and also help increase the amount of customers coming through the restaurant each night. An example of how this might directly benefit a business is, if there was a restaurant out of the way a little that the customer had never heard of if this app alerted the customer to the restaurant and the customer enjoyed the food and the service, the restaurant will most likely gain a new customer. This new customer will then also tell others so there is a flow on effect.
A possible negative to the app for a business is the fact that people can post reviews. So there is always the chance of negative feedback.
Here is a screen shot of what the user will see when they use the app.  

Figure 1.

Second Site:
Category: Location-based services

FlightStats mashes up the real-time flight information with Google Maps. Like other flight trackers, it shows scheduled departure and landing times, as well as actual take-off and projected landing. It will also send you e-mail or SMS alerts if the flight status changes, which is highly useful if your carrier or Web ticketing service doesn't offer such a feature (Webware, 2009)
FlightStats also has a very good mobile-friendly site and applications for certain handsets. It's the one you'll use when you're hanging around in the airport wondering just how far away a flight you're waiting for is (Webware, 2009)

This app would be useful to airline companies to help reduce the amount of time staff spent dealing with customers asking questions. It would be particularly helpful during extreme events such as the Chilean volcanic eruption earlier this year. During times like this staff have enough to deal with so if something could deal with the masses of questions automatically that would be very useful. Below is a screen shot of what the user would see when on the site.

(Credit: CNET)
 Figure 2.

Third Site: GoodGuide
Category: Editors' Choice, Best Newcomer

We created the Editors' Choice awards for products like this: Small and relatively unknown products that demonstrate real leadership, but that don't yet have enough traction to win in the user vote part of the Webware 100 (Webware, 2009).
GoodGuide is a product recommendation system focused on "safe, healthy, and green products." It will tell you what chemicals are in your toothpaste, or if your socks are made with sweatshop labour (Webware, 2009).
The company's real value add is in acquiring the data on the products. There's an iPhone app for the service as well, so you can check on items when you're out shopping. As we said when the site launched: It's a simple story. But it's told very well (Webware, 2009).

This app would be very useful to businesses in the health food industry. Businesses that create foods and products that don't have harmful chemical in them could use this app as a way of getting the word out about their product. Bellow is an image of what the user would see when on the site.  
Figure 3.

Fourth Site:
Category: Location-based services

Yelp is an online reviews service for local eateries and attractions. Users can leave reviews for any business they've been to, including photos and personal anecdotes. Yelp then gives the establishment a 1-5 star rating based on the total number of user ratings, which makes it easy to find out whether or not a restaurant is worth going to (Webware, 2009).
Yelp's service can also be found on mobile devices, both as a mobile-friendly Web app and a native client where users can pen in the beginnings of a new review while out and about (Webware, 2009).
In the past year Yelp has suffered harsh criticisms for its advertising program, which targets businesses that want to improve the way their review pages look. Businesses that pay can remove on-page recommendations for competing restaurants, and select a single user review to go on top of all the others. In response to claims that this was giving businesses a leg up, Yelp recently introduced a way for business owners to publicly respond to user reviews (both good and bad), so that all other users can see (Webware, 2009).

This app would be useful to business in the same way as the first one was. This site has the added feature of the restaurant owner being able to respond to bad feedback. This would need to be carefully thought out though as sometimes getting into a public mudslinging contest is the worst publicity of all. Below is a screen shot of what users would see while on the site.

Figure 4.
Fifth Site:
Category: Location-based services

Goog411 (1-800-GOOG-411) was introduced in early 2007 as a way to access Google search results on your mobile phone. It's the equivalent of dialling 411, but it's free, and pulls multiple listings like the ones you'd get from a search in Google Maps. Mobile phone users can get listings sent to their phone via SMS, including telephone numbers and full addresses. You can also be connected to a business for free (Webware, 2009).
The entire service runs off voice-recognition technology, which has since been baked into other Google products, including Google's motion-activated iPhone app. Also, if the voice-recognition ever fails, you can simply dial in the name of the business you're looking for using your phone's keypad (Webware, 2009).

This app would be useful to businesses as just like Google it’s self the app tells the user how to contact the business and makes it easier for the user to contact the business. I would think that being Google there is also the ability for businesses to pay to have their business come up as a preference, simular to Google ads in the search engine. This would then become another way for businesses to get their name out to consumers.  

Webware Staff, (2009, May 19).Webware winner 100: Open Table.CNET. Retrieved from;overviewHead    

Webware Staff, (2009, May 19).Webware winner 100: Open Table.CNET. Retrieved from