Digital Project – Media and the Public Space Reflection

Focus:

For my Digital Project, I chose to look into public spaces and how people use technology and social media within them. I wanted to explore the idea of how media affects the connections people make to public spaces, the other people around them and whether introducing technology into a public space have been beneficial.

In order to explore this, I decided to take photos of the public spaces to show how they are being occupied and used and add them to the blog post. I found this to be quite fun and a good way to show people what I was talking about on the blog. My original idea with the photos was to take one before people were in the public space then take another during. I, however, wasn’t able to do this and stuck to taking photos of the public spaces during the time there would be people occupying it.

I thought it would be interesting to look at three different public spaces and do some research into them. I chose to look at the university of Wollongong, the lighthouse and restaurants and food centers. Most of my primary research methods were to watch people in the spaces and take notes on what was happening. In order to flesh out my discussion about the media spaces I chose to talk about topics relating to space, so for example with the lighthouse, I talked about the Pokémon go craze and how this used the lighthouse as a public space. I thought by doing some research into these kinds of topics it would really enhance my observations and also add some good information about how technology is being used in the spaces.

 

Challenges:

I faced a few challenges with this project which included time. I did end up leaving this project a bit late which did end up influencing what I could and couldn’t do. For example, I didn’t realise that when I went to go to university to take photos of the spaces that there wouldn’t be that many people there because the class had finished – total blonde moment. This lead me to looking through previous blog posts for photos as well as finding some online.

Another problem I though I would have been taking photos of people in public spaces. I had to consider the fact that these people wouldn’t want their photos being taken. This influenced me to take photos off people from far away from where you wouldn’t necessarily be able to recognise them or take photos of people from behind for the same reasons. I tried to be ethical and respectful when taking the photos of people and I think I did okay in that department.

 

Presentation:

I chose to present my Digital project on my WordPress blog as I thought it would be easier to use. WordPress is a great place to blog as it is very easy to format your blog posts which make it a whole lot easier for your audience to read. I thought that by using WordPress my content would really benefit from the layout.

 

Usefulness to the Media Industries:

I believe a project like this would benefit media industries as it provides a good insight on how people are consuming media. This would, in turn, allow industries to build themselves around the subject in a way which they would benefit from. I believe this project gives a unique insight which could be very helpful and informative in the ways in which people consume media on a day to day basis in public spaces.

 

Results & Future / what I took away from the Project:

The results of my digital project weren’t very surprising, in fact, I had a suspicion about the way that media is used in public spaces. Overall, watching and observing the behaviours of people in the spaces really opened my eyes to the crazy media usage there is on a daily basis. From these results I have received it has really highlighted that we are constantly on our phones. Whether it be to check up on Facebook or to text someone we are always connected and we don’t have a break. I think from seeing all this that it’s actually quite dangerous. This project has definitely opened my eyes and made me reconsider how much I use my phone during the day when I don’t have to.

 

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Digital Project – Media and the Public Space

For my BCM240 digital project, I have decided to look into public spaces and how technology is used in them. I have decided to take photos of people in public spaces to highlight how these spaces are used and how technology has been introduced into the spaces as well. By doing this I aim to explore the idea of how media affects the connections people make to spaces and also to the other people around them and whether introducing technology to a public space can be beneficial.

Public Space – Wollongong Lighthouse 

 

Wollongong’s breakwater lighthouse is a scenic public space that attracts a lot of people. A lot of the time, there can be a whole lot of people taking photos of the scenery, however, recently it has become the main spot for Pokémon Go players as PokeStops have been placed at the landmark, which I will get to in a bit.

When I arrived at the lighthouse I was very surprised to see quite a few people wondering around in groups or spread out on the grass considering it has started to sprinkle. Whilst there I observed the public space in order to gain some insight on how it is being used by the people. I found that there were quite a lot of people walking around on their phones or using them as cameras to take photos of others and themselves with.

What was interesting to see, however, was the amount of people in small groups laying on the ground/ sitting/ walking around together on their phones. One couple was laying together on a small picnic rug together with their phones out and seemed to be quite entranced in what was happening on it. As well as this a lady was walking around on her phone with a child following along behind, headphones in and totally transfixed on her device.

What was interesting about the lighthouse is how the space is being used. Technology seems to have taken over the space and is being run by it. Over the half hour, I was there watching and taking things in the amount of people attached to their phones was actually astonishing. What was even crazier was to see children on phones in this space as well. It seems that the line of using phones in a public space has blurred quite a lot, especially when taking the lighthouse as an example.

r0_0_3456_5191_w1200_h678_fmax.jpgThe introduction of the game Pokémon Go in the Illawarra has had some great advantages for game players. Because Pokémon Go uses augmented reality that combined real space places like parks and buildings with virtual characters or object which appear on your smartphone a lot of participants have had to walk around to participate. This has then encouraged a whole lot of people to head down to the lighthouse because of the sheer number of PokeStops and Pokémon.

The game Pokémon Go would be both an advantage and disadvantage for people to make connections to the space. An advantage because players are being lead to these places, it could be seen as an advantage because players would be gaining more of an insight of the areas around them, even if it’s to catch Pokémon or reach PokeStops. Or even the idea of this game bringing people with common likes and interests together,the game provides the perfect stimulus to create a bond between people leading to players interacting with each other. A Disadvantage would be that a lot of players would get caught up in the game and forget their surroundings and would lead to them seriously hurting themselves.

 

Public Space – University of Wollongong

University is another world entirely when it comes down to public spaces and technology. Technology is used in basically every situation on the university campus, whether it be in the lectures, tuts or even out on the duck pond.

When going out to study the habits students have when it comes to technology and being connected, it is clear to say that students are fully enveloped in the digital world through their phone and laptop. Many people seem to be using their phones and laptops to information about others or just to plainly avoid interacting with people who are nearby.

Looking around the campus and especially focusing on the McKinnon Lawn there are plenty of examples of people using technology in a public space. Many people on the Lawn were sitting in groups, some had their computers out and seem to be doing work. A majority, however, were on their phones – either sitting down or walking passed whilst staring at a screen. What’s interesting to see is how people are multitasking between their phones and the people they are talking to. Walking around some couples don’t seem to be talking, just transfixed on their phones, whilst some were talking on off with each other whilst also being glued to the phone.

Mobiles can have a negative effect on the connections people make between the space that they are in and also with the people they share it with. Because people use their phones to waste time or to distract themselves for a period of time, it becomes a habit that persists further in their lives and can get worse. The constant of having our phone with us all the time gives users the promise that they won’t be alone, that they won’t get bored, that we can effectively put our attention where it needs to be and most importantly the promise of the ability to multitask. The ability to not have to commit yourself 100% to a situation and have that availability to avoid the terror that there will be a moment in an interaction when you will become bored is the selling point, and the thing people feel that they want most in their interactions.

It could also be said that the constant interaction between a person and their phone in any space can hinder real life interaction with people and their surroundings. Some individuals can find it difficult to remove themselves from their phones of laptops for long enough to re-connect with the people around them and the real world. Addiction to the technology and the constant connection it gives people can be a problem as it could hinder the person’s ability to socialise with people in real life because they aren’t comfortable chatting face-to-face.

Advantages are the obvious need for instant and easy communication with someone despite a distance that could be present. Public spaces become more resilient when this happens, and they open up to the ability for the space to become shared with someone else’s. Also if you’re with a friend in a public space and are talking and need instant information on something you’re talking about, being attached to your phone allows you to become instantly connected to information through the internet.

Constant information is available at a student’s fingertips allowing for a student to instantly look up things that don’t make sense to them or to further enhance their idea on a topic by searching up examples.

On a university level, the constant connection to people in the class can also be seen as a benefit. Interactions through social medias like twitter are encouraged in order to participate with other people in the class. Interactions like this encourage people in the classroom to bounce ideas off each other when certain topics come up and also allow for a more fluid interaction with the lecture itself. The way you choose to use the media that you have constant access to determines whether or not it can be positive or negative in a person’s ability to make connections with other people or the public space.

 

Public Space – Eating Out at Restaurants and Food Centers

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Eating out at restaurants and food centres is another public space which can be run by technology and media. It’s not unheard of these days to be on your phone whilst having a nice meal at a restaurant with a friend or a group of people. Doing this can be considered rude, however, the experience of eating out has become a more social experience inside and outside the digital world and has become a norm is some ways.

I did end up going out and having a look at how people were using their phones and social media at the dinner table, and what was interesting to see was that a whole lot of people actually reach for their phones quite regularly during a dinner or lunch out with friends. A few of the people I was watching picked up the phones only at certain times when there wasn’t any conversation and others were on it quite frequently throughout the experience. What was interesting to see was that when someone picks up the phone it generally gives permission to the other person to do the same thing. When looking around and watching people interact is can be seen that a lot of the time some people don’t look to have a problem when this happens as they just follow suit and copy the other or most of the time just continue eating and look around the public space.

When doing some research on the issue I found a study which concluded 88% of people believe that it’s generally not okay to use a phone during dinners. And to delve further in 82% of respondents found that using a phone during a social setting hurts the conversation, at least occasionally. Because technology makes it a whole lit easier to document every aspect of our lives, including when we go out for dinner, people have started to adopt a food blogging ways, which could be said to have altered the dining experience.

Technology and media at the dinner table can have both positive and negative associations. While the experience of eating out has become more sociable in the digital world thanks to instant technology and the availability of social media, it’s come at an expense of human interaction, where people feel the need to connect to others that exist through social media rather than the people who are real and are sitting around them at present time. Because of the tendency of people to upload everything that they are up to this takes away time from real life conversation and interaction. There has seen to also be a shift in the way conversations are run when technology is involved as conversations are produced in a way to recycle conversation and jokes present on social media.

Again negatively, as food is seen as a time to come together and celebrate for a lot of people, mobiles also inherently become a part of their events. And in turn, the event becomes more a social one – but not a connection made through talking to people face to face, but more people talking and sharing online. In a way, people participating through social media at these events could be considered to be there as they are filled in on what is happening and who said what.

Positively thinking the introduction of technology at restaurants has allowed for a power shift in the dining industry. People who eat at the restaurants have more power as they can instantly use social media or technology to broadcast how their meal is or how good the service was. This leaves the reputation of the industry in the hands of the public consumers, which is great as people have the power in this case to express themselves.

restaurants-online-marketing-1200x801.jpgAs well as this, food blogging has emerged on social media. Food blogging allows for a more altered dining experience, where communities are created based on food and enthusiasts create a more dynamic space and interaction with the food and industry. Food blogging also gives the power back to the people and allows for them to express themselves freely. This gives the food bloggers the ability to use social media as a tool to encourage people to go to or not to go to a particular place for their food. This is seen as a good thing as it allows for the public to be influenced by everyday people and not professional food tasters who may not be relatable in any way to the public.

In this way, its clear to say that social media and technology does, in fact, affect the way that people interact with people and the space that they are in, and the examples explored in this post does support this theory.

The Internet of Things

The internet of things is about connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us and applications. The rapidly growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data using embedded sensors. Devices can include smart fridges, smart home and smart watches. The introduction of these devices is more about the use of personal argumentation – which means less about individual devices and more about living services that people program and connect smart devices however they feel.IoT_20141023_01.jpg

Smart heating gives the user the control to turn down and up the heating remotely or turn it off even though there isn’t anyone home. Smart homes are the most readily available for consumers, from the amazon echo or the Nest thermostat there are quite a few products on the market for users to control and make their lives feel more connected. As well as this the smart fridge which would tell you when it’s out of milk or text you when an items went out of date.

Smart watches like the apple watch and other smart watched in the market are great examples of how the market has turned our wrists into a smartphone with the availability for text messages and phone calls.

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There could be some downsides to this awesome technology, though. You could seriously compromise security and privacy if these items were hacked, however, because there isn’t really that big of a market for some of these products yet you would think that hackers would ignore it. But that’s just my wishful thinking.

Think about it, a house which his fully controlled through a little device you can control. However, let’s hope that it doesn’t go down the same road as that Simpsons episode where the house goes crazy and ends up attacking the characters.

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CyberWar!

Cyber warfare is known as an internet conflict which involves politically motivated attacks on information and information systems. Each side attempts to compromise and destroy the others infrastructure, disable websites and networks, disrupt of disable essential services or steal or alter classified information. Physical weaponry, in this case, has changed and become the not so important part of welfare. Cyber warfare levels the playing field between the riches and the most technologically sophisticated nations and those without the same resources.

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Cyber warfare is used by a whole lot of different groups such as CyberCaliphate. The group has hacked multiple websites of newspapers, TV nations and Twitter accounts in the US. CyberCaliphate has successfully hacked the US central commands Twitter account and during the times they had the account in their hands they posted threatening messages to the US soldiers. The Islamic state has also claimed to have hacked into the US’s department of defence services and posted the names and addresses of the US service people that are engaged in a war against ISIS.

Another group of people who are known for Cyberwar fare is Anonymous. The group declared war on ISIS and sprung revolutions against regimes in Egypt and other nations against them. One act which was their first was to start a cyber war and take down ISIS’s social media accounts.

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In 2009 a cyber spy network going by the name of Ghostnet accessed confidential information belonging to both governmental and private organisation sin over 100 countries around the world. It was said that this network was originating from China however they denied this.

Reading up on the Cyberwar fare and the things they are capable of is quite interesting. It’s not something that you would hear about very often through the traditional news. I guess the most effective way to protect yourself against Cyberwar fare would be to secure your information and networks properly and also update your security frequently!

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Hacktivists

Hacktivists are people who gain unauthorised information or access to computer files or networks in order to further social or political ends. We all know there are people out there that would do anything to get a hold of our personal information, even out social media sites. We have to be careful to use a variety of different passwords and usernames in order to avoid our accounts being hacked.

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If you don’t already know, Myspace has been hacked and it has been said to be the largest breaches ever on social media. Yes, your old Myspace account has been hacked and has come back to haunt you. In the days of Myspace, 1464367311324180.pngpasswords were not protected very well which means that if you are sill using the same passwords on any other site today as you did for this social network your account is at risk!

Thomas White who is a security researcher known as ‘TheCthulhu’ has published the database of 427 million passwords for more than 260 million users of the Myspace social network. So right now, the passwords have been dumped on the online public domain for anyone to access. Once this information is out there it’s going to be hard to get rid off.

So moral of the story, check your accounts and make sure that your passwords are all secure. Hackers are interested in your passwords more than your account because they cause it to access anything that you have used the same password for, so that could mean your bank account or any other important account you have. Be careful!

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Social Network Revolutions

Social media has the power to unite and link people around the world. During the #Blacklivesmatter protests in America, Twitter became the platform used to unite all people from around the world to one very big topic.  Twitter was used in order to bring pressure and light on a number of shooting that had been taking place around America to unarmed, innocent black lives.
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trayvon4.jpgIn July 2013 the trial of George Zimmerman who had shot dead a 17-year old African American Trayvon Martin while he was unarmed on his way back from a convenience store was where the black lives matter hashtag was created. Using the hashtag allowed and encouraged people to speak out on twitter and other platforms about their experience and their outrage over these issues.

url-1.jpgAgain, another incident happened where 18-year old Michael Brown was shot dead by an officer in Ferguson. The officer fired 12 rounds at Brown even though he was unarmed. Again protests broke out on the day of the shooting, which started riots and a freedom ride under the black lives matter hashtag and campaign.

The movement used to unite people and inform people about the black lives matter campaign is powerful. Social media plays a very big part in these situations, where it becomes a tool that people use to find out information from as well as inform others. “Social media could serve as a source of live, raw information. It could summon people to the streets and coordinate their movements in real time

From across the world, people know about the issue and want to help the people in need in a way, and social media allows for this to happen.

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Digital Coding Artworks

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Inspiration for my piece

For my second assessment using processing, I found inspiration from a past students photo that had been taken during the MEDA computational thinking and instructions workshop. My sketches use the themes of iteration through the process of creating the numerous bars that crossed through the centre of the page. By including iteration in this art piece it allows for it to become somewhat aesthetically pleasing and interesting. However, not all of the bars are created equal, as a selected few of them have been put to ‘random’ letting the system pick the thickness of the lines each time. With each repetition of the lines, the space between each one, the thickenss, size, width and colour change and vary. I believe that by doing this it makes the artwork interesting and somewhat pleasing to the audience.

 

The finished product:

 

 

My processing Code:

size(450, 600);
background(255, 255, 255);
noLoop();
}
void draw() {

// Center Line
stroke (random (150, 255), random (150, 255), random (150, 255));
// function allows for an array of different colours within the specified
// colour codes
strokeWeight(2); // Thickness of the lines
rect(220,25,0.1,550);

// First Rectangle
// ( Side to side, up and down, length, Area )
strokeWeight(1);
rect(120, 50, 200, 10);

// Second Rectangle
strokeWeight(random(20));
// Stroke weight will remain random, affecting the positioning of the squares
rect(80, 70, 300, 35);

// Third Rectangle
strokeWeight(2);
rect(60, 130, 350, 20);

// Fourth Rectangle
strokeWeight(1);
rect(15, 160, 420, 35);

//
strokeWeight(random(20));
rect(180, 230, 100, 10);

//
strokeWeight(1);
rect(120, 250,200,40);

//
strokeWeight(5);
rect(100, 300, 300, 10);

//
strokeWeight(2);
rect(120, 330, 159, 20);

//
strokeWeight(random(20));
rect(140, 390, 200, 10);

//
strokeWeight(random(20));
rect(115, 415, 200, 35);

//
strokeWeight(1);
rect(50, 460, 350, 20);

//
strokeWeight(10);
rect(130, 500, 200, 5 );

//
strokeWeight(random(20));
rect(50, 530, 350, 20);
}

Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is present in the everyday society through the use of the internet and mobile technologies. The basic idea of the news and how it is being presented and captured is experiencing a fundamental shift in society. Nearly 60% of people are not using Facebook as a recurring news source while magazines and newspapers struggle to keep up with the news. Many people express the idea that traditional news outlets have become slow in reporting news and in some cases have too much of an underlined agenda in their reporting.

Citizen journalism has the opportunity and the tools of modern technology and a limitless reach of the internet to create content that would probably not have been reveal without. This new system of journalism allows for independent parties to create a wide range of relevant information that can be seen as crucial to a democratic society.

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Citizen journalism can be a very powerful tool, as individuals can bring aspects of information to the forefront of a case. An example of this would be the news release of Jamaica’s constabulary communication network which indicated that a man who was shot and killed by police attacked them first. However, citizens that were witnesses to this case circulated a video of the attack that told a very different story to the one that the police were circulating. It was seen through the footage that the man had in fact been attacked and beaten by the police officers before being shot whilst lying subdued on the ground. In this case, citizen journalism was a very important aspect of evidence that revealed the truth of the encounter.

However, citizen journalism doesn’t always go as planned. During the Boston bombings, there was a search for the suspect on the website Reddit. There were unchecked facts which lead the manhunt to the wrong man who was found to be dead from suicide. The website Reddit is a valuable resource which allows users to post and aggregate content in a way that could have really helped the investigation, however, due to the wrong facts in the event found to have gone off track.

Citizen journalism is great, especially when it’s done through the right platforms and with the right information.

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Sources:

Have You Been Paying Attention?

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We all believe that we have great multitasking skills as it’s become very easy to do with access to technology. When we focus on more than two tasks at once the amount of attention and quality of the tasks can diminish. This idea becomes more apparent when talking about using multiple media platforms and different types of technology at one time. A great example of this would be a lecture or tutorial – where people are partially paying attention to the lecturer as they are presenting while surfing Facebook and other media platforms. This kind of multitasking happens frequently within university lectures and tutorials and it’s become quite easy to pick up when it happens.

Overall it can be said that only 5% of us can actually multitask effectively. If you decide to multitask it can, however, come with some negative aspect which can include:

The ability to produce more errors in your work because you aren’t giving your full attention to what you need to do. Mistakes can be made often when doing this and in some cases difficult to pick up after you’ve made them. An example of this would be when writing an assessment, you may be talking to a friend whilst looking a Facebook and also doing research. When your attention is spread so thin it can be difficult to concentrate on the most important thing which would be the assessment. Because of this, you may have grammar issues which lead to you sending in a document which hasn’t been read over properly.

Stress levels can increase as you multitask because you could be overloading your brain with too much information and things to do. This can, in turn, affect your health and even lead to procrastination. A great example of this would be when you leave your assessments to the last-minute but you also have other things you have committed to like work so you won’t be able to work on the assessment for long. This leads to stress and also procrastination as you put things off because thinking about them causes too much stress.

To test these theories out and the process of multitasking I’ve decided to draw out a little experiment on my nine-year-old sister. Now, she doesn’t own a phone or anything but she’s constantly on the computer playing games as well as watching TV and talking to us. You could say that she’s learnt early how to multitask. So within an hour I recorded a number of times she switched between talking to us (and keeping a conversation), watching TV and also playing games on the computer.

So within that hour her main focus was, of course, the computer as it was her main media platform. She looked up to watch the TV at least 20 times and some of them were just a quick glimpse to see what was happening, others were a few good minutes watching. When it came to talking to us it didn’t last very long, she was frequently talking to use until she was distracted by the computer of the TV again. After a while, she didn’t respond to any questions because I think she caught on what I was doing and started ignoring me. I did ask her at the end of my little experiment what the TV show (cartoon) was about and she gave me a vague recount of what was happening, however, she couldn’t give me specific answers when I asked them.

After the experiment was over I told her what I was doing and asked if I could write about it and she gave me her permission. So to refer back to the consequences I wrote about multitasking I have to say that both ‘producing more errors’ and ‘becoming stressed’ where both evident factors. At the start of the experiment, my sister started to make more mistakes when I was talking to her. I would ask her a question and she would respond however sometimes it didn’t come out wrong or she misinterpreted the question. As well as this when she was talking she kept making noises to the computer, which I take as her making mistakes in the game she was playing. This then, in turn, lead to her becoming stressed because she was failing the game and getting frustrated at me because I wouldn’t stop talking to her. As well as this she had very little specific information about the TV show that was on because of the focus being primarily on the computer.

Overall my sister was definitely preoccupied with the different media mediums, and in turn, this did shorten her attention span. Conducting this little experiment has shown that multitasking can be difficult but it also can be done but there are consequences of doing so.


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Apple and Android – Does it Really Matter?

The classic iPhone vs. Android debate, the two dominant operating systems for mobile devices today. The two are basically the same at the lowest level of operating: they allow for the user to call, text, access the internet and use applications. However, there is a very clear difference between the two operating systems which I will get into.

iOS.pngThe Apple iPhones IOS operating system is a more closed or a ‘walled garden’ where users can only access applications and other software which have been accepted by Apple themselves. In doing this the IOS system only holds applications which have been reviewed by apple which can be a bit of a process. This limits the user’s control over the platform and also the types of applications that they can have on their phone.

url.jpgOn the other hand, Android is more of an open ecosystem which allows for more user flexibility. The phones software can be easily manipulated and customised by the user, which also allows the user to create and download applications when they desire. The user is able to manipulate the phone to what they want.

 

Now, I have to fess up here. I do own an iPhone and love the way that the apple ecosystem works. I like the idea of having a controlled platform as I really don’t have the need to customise my device or the software in it. The apple system just seems easier to me and it’s the system I grew up using so its like second nature. I must admit, though, I was seriously thinking of changing to an Android, only because I wanted to test out the whole system. I never got around to it though because it was a bit of a commitment plus I was worried how it would go with connecting to my MacBook and such.

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Its great to see people branching out into the Android ecosystem, I mean go for it! Even people who absolutely love the simplicity of the Apple products, good for you! But I honestly don’t understand why this has to be such a bit debate or thing. People will choose the system that they feel comfortable with which is totally okay. My parents, for example, wouldn’t be able to operate an Android because they are so used to a simple operating system and that’s all good. My point of this post is to highlight that yes, both these two operating systems do come with positives and negatives and it’s totally okay to pick whatever you feel is good for you because in the end it really doesn’t matter!

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