Miracle of telecommunication technology has changed the vast world into a global village by interconnecting and transforming the populace into a single community. People are linked to each other via networked computers and internet facilities; they can send and receive text and voice messages, talk to each other, and exchange concepts, ideas, opinions, and beliefs very easily and speedily. Nowadays, social networking applications have empowered the users to connect with each other more frequently than ever.

Let us have a look at the history of web services and applications; it will enable us an understanding and insight into the present-day scenario of the technology, as well as an awareness of its long, arduous journey from past to present.
Telegraph was the initial mode of communication; the first message through this technique was sent in 1844. The message was conveyed via a language of symbols and text known and understandable by both: sender and receiver.
CompuServe (CIS) was initially introduced in 1969 as a support network for an insurance company. However, it became first commercial online service provider in US in 1979, and from 80s to 90s, CIS was best known for online chat system and forum.
AOL Instant Messenger was introduced in the market in 1997; it offered lower rates than CIS. Eventually, all users started shifting to AOL ISP. In 1997, CIS was sold to AOL, who then offered low-cost dialup Internet Service Provider facilities, called CompuServe Dialer.
It is said that military technology is always years, and sometimes decades, ahead of technology provided to public on commercial basis. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was a Defense Department project to connect universities on a proto-internet. The first intended message was sent to Stanford Research Institute in 1969, though message was not received perfectly. In 1982, APRANET was the first network to use TCP/IP protocol; it was considered a significant step forward.
In February 1978, the first public bulletin board system (BBS) started to work online; users used to pay for long distance phone calls. Though it was not cheap at that time, it was an important stride towards residential internet services.
Usenet community was introduced in 1979 and is responsible for introducing online terms such as FAQs, spam, and threaded conversations.
In 1980s, LISTSERV promoted electronic mailing and is still in use in its novel form.

Chat and blogging

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a text-based messaging technology/ protocol and pillar of numerous chat consumers nowadays; it was created in 1988. In 1997, AOL’s instant messenger was brought into light for real-time chat, voice message and transfer of files. In 1999, LiveJournal came into existence and conquered the blogging market. Xanga brought purpose for films and book reviews on blogging platform.

Early Services

Napster, introduced in 1999, was mainly an electronic music distribution platform for sharing digital audio files, mainly songs, encoded in MP3 format. Napster’s history is intertwined inseparably to copyright controversy in music industry; it was forced to restrict its access to copyright materials only.
In 2002, Friendster was launched by a Canadian Programmer Jonathan Abrams. It was an early app like Facebook. However, it did not gain popularity due to its instability; people could not log in to the app for 02 years.
MySpace was introduces in 2004. It was a networking app to connect to family and friends, and was very popular initially. But its popularity and business came down drastically due to mismanagement and strategic blunders.
In 2003, LinkedIn was introduced in the market. Instead of social networking, LinkedIn facilitates business and employment-oriented networking through synchronization of address books to the service.
Flicker was launched in 2004. Users can connect to make friends, follow friends ‘activities, upload photos, join groups, and send messages.
Nowadays, Facebook is the biggest name in the social networking world. It was also launched in 2004, and was initially created by Mark Zuckerberg to connect university students and faculty members. The features have kept on improving since then such as uploading photos and videos, Likes, online gaming apps, events, private messaging etc.
YouTube, a popular video platform, was launched in 2005. The website developed rapidly, with almost 20 million monthly visitors by the summer of 2006. Users could quickly and easily upload and share video content with friends, and it is an especially popular used by teenagers.

2. https://www.fastcompany.com3046194/a -brief-history-of-aol
3. History of Napster:


What is API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a way for software applications to interact with each other. Thus API forms a connection between two or more applications; it works like a messenger that takes a request from an application, communicates and commands the system, and then returns the response of the system back to the application. For example, a travel service web application obtains data from the server through API.
However, API is not used to support human interaction with an application, e.g. to edit, post, and delete the data. Human interaction with an application is achieved through GUI.

Why we need an API?
API provides many uses and advantages, main being the speed and easy sharing of the data. API enormously enhances the speed to deliver the messages and receive the responses through internet. It also makes it easy to share the data among users. Further, it increases connectivity between applications, and provides people with more information.

How API is useful to developers?
Through APIs, developers can extend the projects which are publicly available, or make their projects publicly available for the developers to extend them. The developers can extend their project by first grabbing the information from server in their own program using API, and then extend it. This helps community to take advantages of the resources and thus solve the problems together.

Types of APIs
1. Source Code APIs
Source Code APIs includes Library based APIs and Class based APIs. In Library based API, an application utilizes a library and uses functions and routines to perform several actions and tasks. In Class-based API, data is provided by coding, using object oriented languages.

2. Web Services API
Web Service APIs include REST, SOAP, XML-RPC, and JSON-RPC. These APIs provide services through the World Wide Web.

3. Hardware APIs
These API helps access hardware of devices such as model number, temperature, serial number, etc.

4. Remote APIs
These types of APIs use remote protocols such as CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture).


Rhizomatic learning

What is rhizomatic?
The Rhizomatic learning, also known as “creeping rootstalk” is based upon ideas given by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. It is a stem of plant that sends out roots and shoots as it spreads. It is an image used by D&G to describe that ideas are multiple, interconnected, and self-replicating. A rhizome plant does not have center nor does it have a defined boundary; rather it is made up of a number of independent nodes. Each node is capable of growing and spreading on its own.

Rhizomatic learning:
It is a model, where curriculum is developed and adapted by participants in a dynamic way, in response to circumstances. In rhizomatic learning, the idea is to embrace and learn innovative and unknown ideas. The prime objective of rhizomatic learning is to acknowledge that learners come from different backgrounds and contexts, have different perspectives, and thus require different means to learn. Presuming that a learner knows every perspective is like believing in magic.

Rhizomatic Resarch Culture:
Rhizomatic research culture should always be capable of constant learning, always open to accept new ideas and knowledge, and competent enough to approach, search, and research any unknown material. It should be networked and connected to others.
Here are few key points of research culture:
• Expert continuous learning
• Known core content open to new knowledge
• Clear opinions
• Confident
The rhizomatic viewpoint presents the concept of knowledge to its earliest roots. It explains that a disseminated knowledge can allow a community to legitimize the work it is doing. If a given bit of information is considered valuable and useful for the community, it can be added up as knowledge. As a result, community acquires the power to create acquaintance within a given context, provides the facts as a new node, and connects it to rest of the network.
Indeed, members themselves will then connect that node to a larger network. The knowledge seekers in the cutting-edge fields are gradually finding that ongoing assessment of new developments is most effectively achieved by participation and negotiation in community.


Rhizomatic learning

Rhizomatic Education : Community as Curriculum

Rhizomatic Knowledge Communities – Edtechtalk, Webcast Academy

What is Rhizomatic Learning?

Copyright and Fair use

Copyright word cloud written on a chalkboard

To promote the growth of science and useful arts, US Constitution empowers the Congress to secure the exclusive rights of writers and inventors to their intellectual work, for a limited time. That means, the copyright holders have some exclusive rights to their work, which are protected by US copyright regulation.

However, there is some flexibility in the copyright law, called Fair use, whereby the copyrighted material can be used by others in some well-identified forms and conditions. US Fair use is by far the most flexible, broadest, and most controversial copyright exception. It is the law that allows use of copyrighted material without permission of the copyright holder.

To understand the fair use, let us suppose a singer launches his new song, and sings it in a concert. A news reporter talks about a concert in his report with a short clip of his new song. A critique writes an online review of the song and plants a short clip of the song on the website. Although the song was shared in both these examples without the owner’s permission, it has not violated the copyright laws and is fair use. The owner will lose the case if he claims copyright violation in the court of law.

A few types of examples for the use of copyrighted material, which do not require permission from the copyright holder, include commentary, parody, news reporting, scholarly research, and education.

US copyright act determines four guidelines to help determine the fair use of copyrighted material. These help courts to decide whether the use of the material is legitimate or not.

1. Purpose and character of use
• Material used for non-profit educational and non-commercial purposes
• Meaning and significance of material is changed by adding new information and creating
new content.

2. Nature of copyrighted work used
• More creative work deserves more protection. The fictional novels deserve more
protection than encyclopedias, since fictional novels require more mental effort.
• Use of published work is better protected by fair use than unpublished work.

3. Amount and substantiality of the portion taken
• Quantitative substantiality: Amount of work used is also important. The less one takes
from the copyrighted work, better it is considered as fair use. For instance, movie clip
of how many seconds is taken from the movie?
• Qualitative substantiality: Part of the work taken is of prime importance. For instance,
has one taken the heart of the clip?

4. Effect of the use upon the potential market
• It checks whether the copied work has adversely affected the copyright owner’s ability
to make money from the original work.

Internet Protocol

Communication between two remote networks is an integral part of the internet. When the data is sent from one network to another, some format and rules are to be followed; this is designated as Internet Protocol. It means the computer networks obey some pre-set protocols to successfully send the data from one computer to another.

Earlier, we had a popular OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model. OSI had seven layers: Application layer, Presentation layer, Session layer, Transport layer, Network layer, Data-Link layer, and Physical layer. But later, TCP/IP model was introduced and initiated.

TCP/IP model is the official rule book, and is commonly used nowadays. It consists of four layers: Application layer, Transport layer, Internet layer, and Network Interface layer.

Application layer: Web browser directly interacts with this layer. It uses HTTP protocol when someone visits the websites, while SMTP is used during checking of the emails. Application layer contains all programs, such as web browsers and web servers that exchange information. It is directly connected to Transport layer, where data is subsequently sent.

Transport Layer: It is also known as host-to-host layer. It identifies the application that makes the request, and the service that receives it, by using port numbers; different port numbers are assigned to different applications. Transport layer breaks the data it gets in to segments, and sends it into Internet layer.

Internet Layer: The Internet layer is analogous to the Network layer in OSI model. Here, the PDU (Protocol Data Units) are called segments. The most popular protocol on this layer is IP. The main functions of the internet layer are transmitting data to and from the Network Access layer, routing data to the specific destination network and device, and handling packet errors and fragmentation.

Network Interface Layer: This layer is the central hub, where all the information in the immediate area passes through. This is the layer where Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and DSL come in to play.

Creative Commons

My Workstation At Work flickr photo by paul_houle shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Reese, Hacker. flickr photo by donnierayjones shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Reverie (small theme) by “_ghost” shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license


Summer days… flickr photo by Orchids love rainwater shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Code: Debugging the Gender Gap from The Orchard on Vimeo.

Digital identity

I have been named as Laila, Laila Jan, Laila Shaikh, and Laila Jan Shaikh. So I can google my name by all these words. I found numerous accounts with these names.

There was not a big difference when I was searching in incognito mode or DuckDuckGo, except that google found my LinkedIn account and DuckDuckGo also found my Facebook account. I was glad to see that I could not find any personal information or biography about me on the web.

What are the top websites and apps that you use daily?

I use Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, BestBuy, Macy’s, and numerous other websites.

How much time do you spend on your phone or online?

I spend a lot of time online; sometimes, I may be online or on phone almost all the time. I feel isolated without these indispensable things.

How accurate was the information you found about yourself?

LinkedIn and Facebook account that I found were definitely mine. But I could not find any biography or information about me.

Do you ever self-censor online? (If so, which sites and why?)

Yes, I do. I have my friends from different countries and nationalities having different cultures, so it does not hurt anyone or lad to any conflict.

Have you ever actively removed content because of concerns about how it reflected on your digital identity? Why?

I self-censor my content before sharing it, not after being shared. Therefore, I have rarely removed any content after sharing.

Mindfulness on the web

Anticipating management of data surveillance through government policies is not possible in modern times. The privacy of individuals has been affected largely due to privacy invasion organizations, who have greatly accomplished their task of defeating privacy managers. Hence, it has become the duty of individuals themselves to be watchful on the web.

The first suggestion is the know-how. This means one should know and be cautious regarding dangers and risks of being monitored on the web. It is not enough to be mindful and aware of being tracked, controlled, and convinced to accept the ideas of web. One must be attentive, cautious, and vigilant while still being connected to the digital world.

There are five basic tactics to bear in mind while going online.


World Wide Web is a world in itself, where we are often misled, distracted, and lost; thus, we can be easily diverted away from our destination. However, by restating and reminding our mind, we can remain dedicated and focused, and thus keep on searching our specific tasks during web surfing. When one’s mind starts wandering and taking interest in unrelated advertisements popped up during web surfing, he should remind himself of the goals and priorities.

Crap Detection:

Searching the desired topic, without biases and with complete relevance, is another important aspect to keep in mind. Everything is present on the web; now it’s our ability and talent to filter the required results from the pool. Using key words while searching for our desired topic, and checking the 3rd, 4th, and 5th page apart from the first page of the search results, is of prime importance. Additionally, it is also necessary to triangulate the breaking news via social media: trying to find out three sources to verify the news before passing along a rumor.


Tagging and sharing different posts on social media are amongst the likely means of participation on the web, and have a significant impact on the public. Therefore, think before you post, because your digital actions are traceable, reproducible, available to the people you do not know, and will remain available to all indefinitely. This may lead to undesirable and unwanted situations at times, if you post every activity related to you on social media.


Digital media and networks are new means of economic production. People having similar interests collectively contribute in order to learn, earn money, achieve reputation, and contribute to a common good. And because collective wisdom is much better and beneficial than individual IQ, collaboration makes impossible things possible.

Network Smart:

Networking with right people, at right forum, and at right time are very essential elements for educational, economic, and career growth. LinkedIn is the best example for career hunt and enhancement. Networking skills help to get a decent job. Social media websites make it possible to maintain ongoing ties with the people who are not in contact with you through education, moving, or changing jobs.

Though we are exposed to numerous hazards and risks in this huge world of web every day, and are being monitored and convinced to accept opinions as fact, we cannot isolate ourselves away from internet. By applying these five tactics in a meaningful way, we can protect ourselves and others from being victim of the propaganda, and use it for our benefit and progress.



Howard R (2012), Net Smart: How to thrive online, Chapter 6




Misinformation and how to handle it


The term “misinformation” literally means false or inaccurate information especially that is deliberately intended to mislead. The problem of falsifying the information, intentionally or unintentionally, either by an individual or an agency, has been a problem since ages. It has just intensified with the growth of social media, as things get viral in a matter of seconds and minutes. In the past, people mostly relied on libraries and newspapers, where information was being evaluated and assessed before publicized. However, in this modern age, people mostly want and get information in a few clicks.

The individuals, organizations, or agencies, involved in creating fake news, might be doing it deliberately to misinform the public. However, the individuals taking an active part to propagate and disseminate it, through social media platforms, may not be doing it intentionally. People tend to pay attention to those online sources and resources that reinforce their own beliefs [1]. It has become increasingly hard for them to decide if the information is misinformation or otherwise. Additionally, information and misinformation cannot be separated in black and white; there may be many grey areas in between.

Considering misinformation or falsifying a serious problem, countries are trying to take basic measures to stop that from happening. Recently, German parliament has passed a bill to incur huge penalties on large social media networks (up to €50 million), if they fail to take off hateful or fake content from their sites within 24 hours [2]. Though it is hard to decide about the absolute authenticity of some news content, it may be a step forward to a better future in this context.

There are a few recommended tactics to keep in mind while trying to evaluate and assimilate the correct information. By applying these maneuvers, we can reach much closer to the truth.

  • Check for previous work: Look around to see if someone else has already fact-checked the claim or provided a synthesis of research.
  • Go upstream to the source: Go “upstream” to the source of the claim. Most web content is not original. Get to the original source, by using the references, to appreciate the trustworthiness and credibility of the information.
  • Read laterally: Read laterally. Once you get to the source of a claim, read what other people say about the source (publication, author, etc.).
  • Circle back:If you get lost or hit dead ends, or find yourself going down an increasingly confusing rabbit hole, back up and start over knowing what you know now. You’re likely to take a more informed path with different search terms and better decisions [3]

In the end, I would say that it’s not possible to accurately fast-check everything. But these tactics might prove pretty helpful, if you feel a strong urge and emotion to share something with others.


[1] Howard R (2012), Net Smart: How to thrive online




Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is one of the biggest technology innovations of our time. If you are curious about what cloud means: it is another name of internet. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more—over the internet. It provides us the means to store and access the data and programs on the internet instead of hard drive of the computer. In past, people used to store the data on their local drives and, needed to enhance the storage capacity of the hard drives of their PCs. However, cloud computing has changed that scenario altogether. It provides us the means to store and access the data and programs over the internet on some remote server instead of computer’s hard drive. Interestingly and unknowingly, we have been using the service of cloud facility since long, in the form of email.

Cloud computing has three main types that are commonly referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Web-based email service is a good example of SaaS, in which we do not have to worry about underlying operating system and the servers. It is a method for delivering software applications over the internet. PaaS is a type of service in which the Cloud computing service provider takes care of the hardware and operating system while the company buying this service focuses on the deployment and management of the application. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, and operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Cloud computing has become more popular and cheaper for startups, who are working to solve a problem when the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Cloud computing provides them with an easy and economical access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. Rather than spending large amounts of money and extra effort to purchase servers and other hardware, and hiring employees to manage this whole system, cloud computing provides these startups with on-demand delivery of low-cost IT resources. Now, these small companies don’t need to make large upfront investments, and can try their innovative ideas using cloud-computing for hardware management.

One relatively recent survey of 550 startups from BestVendor has found that a majority of them use cloud-based resources: QuickBooks (71%) for accounting, Google Analytics (70%) for BI, (59%) for customer relationship management, and Dropbox (39%) for storage and backup.

Apart from the advantages, I also came across some disagreements against cloud computing during my readings and search. One of the disadvantages of the use of cloud computing may be the risk of data theft, since there is no central supervising agency governing the use of the cloud for storage and services. Other than that, for individuals relying completely on the cloud service, it may get too costly.

In spite of a bunch of disadvantages and risks, cloud computing is a great addition to information technology. It has, undoubtedly, a huge potential to add up and facilitate the working of the industry. But at this stage, it will be premature to rely completely on it, unless near foolproof safety measures are made an essential part of it.