Thursday, January 29, 2004

I must say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics! The NTIA survey provides an interesting demographics of whos online and what activities they indulge in. However, according to me, the survey seems to be 'conservative' and incomplete in its questionaire and analysis.

1. My first question is a two part question:

a)The important question that underlies 'digital divide' in many ways is how, it affects people, changes the face of society, commerce, and day to day living. Though the survey is longitudinal in its nature, it does not answer or touch on the above mentioned point. If quality of life, availability of information, and profeceincy of living is similar between so called 'haves' and 'have nots', does the digital divide matter? If digital divide due to access of internet is really a considerable problem one should look at ways on answering the above question.

b)I think the 'network effects' variable has been completely ignored. It could play a vital role as to why people have access and what kind of activities do they dominantly perform online. Other than education and income, 'network effects' variable could possibly explain the existing digital divide, the rate at which its growing or diminishing.

2. Activities that online users perform online also seem not to be explored to a full extent. Of course e-mail, search for news etc are dominant, but i think travel plans, booking tickets online is not far behind. Most of us nowaday book tickets online, we hardly go to a traditional booking agent for tickets.,,6071_3304691,00.html. It would be safe to assume that at least people with Internet access indulge in online booking.

3. The survey lists no disparity among computer use in school regardless of race,income or household type, among 10-17 yrs of old, but there is a sharp disparity in Internet use in school for same categories for the same age group, especially when the survey mentions rise in Internet use among young adults of same age group. How does one interpret this irony, definitely the low income groups, hispanics etc are not using internet at home. Do public libraries account for such a vast difference?

Additional comments: the survey does not ask, how much 'time' on average a person spends online, it would be interesting to see the correlational relationship with activities performed online, education, type of Internet service, and location of use with amount of time spent online. Also, when the survey mentions 'Internet too expensive' what does it exactly mean, ISP service, paraphernalia required to go online?

I think I have stretched this too far..end of lies!!

See you in class!

Thank you, Abhiyan
Here, belatedly, are my discussion questions for tomorrow. Also, I have a separate blog at this address:

Not much activity there thusfar, but it will grow for sure.

Without further ado...

1. To what extent is a/the digital divide its own thing as opposed to a manifestation of a pre-existing divide in society? For instance, wealthy people already conducted more banking and did more trading of stocks, bonds, etc., and now they do it more online; men already read the sports page more, and now they do that more online; etc. In general, those with more economic resources have used, and likely will continue to use, those resources to perpetuate their comparative advantages. With computers, the economically advantaged not only own them more, but the quality of their machines is superior and they have more and greater programs installed (and really, your computer is nothing without the programs you can buy and put on it; MS Word is just scratching the surface).

2. Among kids whose primary access to computers is at school, what is their “staying power,” i.e., when they leave school do they continue to use computers? At the library? Or do they buy their own? Are data available that would allow us to answer this? I think this question is especially relevant w/r/t socio-economic classes whose numbers are way behind until their access at school is taken into account. I suspect that allows the authors of this report to cast a more optimistic spin on the decreasing inequality shown by their data. (I don't buy the unbridled optimism expressed, for instance, in the intro blurb by the Commerce Secretary, Donald Evans.)

3. This is an extension of question #2: Does chapter 5 make too much of the claim that schools close the gap between kids with and kids without computers in their homes? For instance, figure 5-6 shows that among kids age 10-17 in the lowest income range, 80.7% have access to computers in schools, while kids in the highest income range are a comparable 88.7%. But I can’t help thinking about the quality of the machines in schools in wealthy communities vs. those in poorer schools. (There may be computers in Beverly Hills High School and Compton High School, but it’s far more likely that the ones in Beverly Hills are fast and have Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, Dreamweaver, Autocad-lite, etc.) As I mentioned in #1, other than connection speed, I think this report glosses over the variation among technologies. A pencil is always a pencil, but an Apple IIe is not a G4.
I am also skeptical that having access to computers at school is comparable to having a computer in the home. The report distorts the difference by repeatedly adding numbers for school-access and home-access and claiming that the resulting number reflects a similar level of experience with computers even though one group may have 50% access through school alone while another has 90% access to computers in their home. These considerations may dampen the reports claim (p. 87) of a trend toward lower inequality.

See you all tomorrow, or, uh, later today.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

  1. I am very interested in how the shift towards broadband is affecting conceptions of the Internet and its use (The report held this up as a major difference in the conclusion, and it reflects my own online experience). I am wondering if it is true that the Internet is becoming more like a ubiquitous utility for those with broadband access than it has for those on dialup, then how does this produce different perceptions of the medium of the Internet? Does the Internet "mean" different things to these different sets of people, or does (nearly) everyone's progression from no access to dialup to broadband make this a non-issue? Naturally, this question ignores those with no access at all (although their perceptions are arguably important too). Is this a sign of the Internet's "maturation" as Pew thinks it is? How do these issues compare with people who have broadband at school or work only?

  2. How does the net’s integration into the information economy (especially in use for work) compare to other mediums historically? What difference does this make in terms of opening or closing the divide?

  3. Perhaps a fundamental question: do the demographic divisions of Internet use matter more from an information access or from a social networking standpoint? (or is “matter more” not a good way to put it?)

Overall, I felt that the lack of context to why the statistics come out this way sort of deemphasized the existence of a digital divide. Also, the numbers seemed to fit stereotypes a little too closely (eg: Asian Americans receive absolutely no mention until pg. 48 under the "education" section).

(Seunghyun, to answer your question: Blogger accepts some html code. Take a look here under "adding links to other pages" for a description on how to do it or ask me in class ;)
-john t

1.  Although I do not care much for the statistics provided in "Who's Really Online..." (the numbers given as participant seems low, and they use actual population numbers), one thing I would like to know is the correlation between health and Internet use.  Specifically, are people gaining weight because of computer use (this is highly oversimplified, but in a health conscious society I would like to know if overweight people outweigh normal weight people online)?

2.  Many questions arose in teh movie last week about the quality of education when computers/technology is involved.  I would like to generalize that and ask if technology has really improved anything except in speediness?  The statistics provided are unable to gauge the user's relative happiness with the situation, and I am more interested in quality vs. quantity.  So, has our quality of life improved, or even, are we truly happier than those who do not have this technology?  Is the 'digital divide' really a division of happiness/quality of life? (Should our goals really be to get everyone connected?)

3.  How has computer use affected the lifestyles of other cultures in America, such as Hispanic, African American, etc?  Has it helped them maintain their cultural heritage, or are they being forced into our culture (or both)?  Or, do these other cultures in the US use technology only at work?  How have these technologies impacted the multiculture communities?

I apologize for the multiple questions inside a question, but quality vs. quantity is a lot harder to graph, and it takes a lot more to understand.  Are these questions satisfactory, or did I really overshoot the intent of these readings?  Sorry for all the questions.

In peace,

Amy M Ostrom
1. Internet use has both a practical (necessities) and an entertainment (luxuries) value. As the NTIA study indicates, not all populations use/have access to the Internet. When is this an injustice and when is this a fact of life? Some people are always going to have more luxuries than others...


2. Schools and public libraries prove to be places to ameliorate discrepancies in computer and Internet access. Provided they are moderately well-funded, is this enough to equalize access? Does the location of the access matter when determining equality?


3. Even though people in typically "technologically disadvantaged" groups show increasing rates of Internet and computer use, their increased use does not reflect the type of the information they seek. Do they use the Internet to their advantage, such as accessing job listings, or are they ebay addicts? If they have Internet access, is the Digital Divide necessarily narrowed?

Anna Palmer
1. Will the digital divide continue to close or will it plateau?
2. Where are the American Indians in the digital divide? What are the repercussions of not including them in this survey?
3. What are the drawbacks of relying on the Census Bureau’s population surveys? Is it designed to collect accurate data for small racial minority groups?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Greetings 810 Blog Mates--
Three "thought provoking" questions from reading (to date):

1) My wife helped with this one, as we were discussing the implications of health care questions being asked via the Internet: Are the extremely large number of health-related questions posted to the Internet (search engines) directly proportionate to the high cost of health care in this country? When we lived and worked in Japan, we were on the Japanese system, which was a "socialized medical system," and it was no big deal, financially (sometimes wait times were great), to see the doctor and pay a very reasonable amount of money (yen) for the doctor visit plus whatever medications were prescribed. I wonder if one looks at data such as this for those countries with socialized medicine, if Internet usage wouldn't be considerably lower.

2) E-mail is listed as the "killer app" (application, one would presume) and a very high number of Internet participants use it. I receive so many "forwarded" e-mails, that someone besides the sender actually wrote, that it makes me wonder at how many people who use the Internet actually write their own messages. Further, I wonder if there aren't a lot of people who master the forwarding procedure and then feel "smart" because they're transmitting e-mails (working on their personal computer) but don't grow much beyond that.

I can also imagine there are many who would never have learned keyboarding skills except for the ubiquitous e-mail barrage that one automatically is born into these days. These issues of keyboarding and/or writing literacy being helped along by the electronic age are implicit in "Digital Divides discussions," so that's my question's intent, to get at that discussion.

3) The findings of the Pew Institute regarding Online Blacks/Hispanics being "more likely" than Online Whites to go onto the web for "fun" is puzzling. In the first place, what is construed as "fun," I wonder (learning can be fun, for example, but also pornography--the word needs more definition), and why would that finding be so staggering? (I forget the percentages attached, but I'll try to find them before class on Thursday).

That's all for now,

Monday, January 26, 2004

LIS 810 (1/29/04) -- Three written discussion questions – By Seunghyun Lee

1. Is there any reason that the growth of the Internet use is accelerated between August 2000 and September 2001?
2. What is the reason that the Internet use rate grew faster among people living in lower income households, which this acceleration in the growth of Internet use did not occur among those living in higher income households?
3. Why has growth in Internet use among people living in rural households been rapid and strong? On the other hand, why has Internet use among people living in central or not central city urban households grown slowly?
4. Is there any reason that “people living in non-central city urban households used the Internet at a rate greater” than rural and central city urban in September 2001? (page 20)
5. Why was this survey conducted between September 16-22, 2001, such as after September 11, 2001? Is there any special reason?

Personal small questions:
1. What are additional cities within the metropolitan area? (page 20, footnote 9)
2. Why do most surveys always ask ‘Hispanic origin’ as a separate race question? In other words, why does a survey need to ask first “Are you Hispanic origin?”
3. How is the growth in use rate calculated?

Personal opinion:
1. On the page 5, the Figure 1-3 shows the individual use of the Internet only from European countries and United States. However, if it includes some Asian countries such as Korea, China, and Japan which have a high rate of Internet use, it can be a better data to see the rapid diffusion of the Internet and to compare it.
2. On the page 19, “people who have lower levels of education but live in households with a high family incomes are less likely to be Internet users than those who have high levels of education and live in households with low family income”.
à It seems to me that education affects being Internet users rather than income.

1. On the page 5, if you see the footnote 3, there is a spelling error— ‘Jejji’ Island, Korea. It should be corrected into ‘Jeju’ Island, Korea.
Greetings, fellow LIS 810'ers (like 49'ers),
I also have an up-and-running blog going--are we supposed to supply the address here? I was just wondering and didn't remember the exact directions. I'm finding that much of my other blog is weather-related. I know I need to eventually get away from that, but that's working for now in just talking back and forth with myself. See ya. John Baken
P.S. Greg, that reading is long and I'm doing it piecemeal, as I've downloaded it onto my wife's desktop and read from it each night, after kids are in bed. That's why I am not volunteering to assist with class presentation, as the material is in too "fluid" of a form. However, I will be happy to do it later in semester with a hard copy of something in front of me. It's interesting reading, by the way. I'll post my "thought-provoking" questions here soon.
Hello fellow colleagues:

I have also made my blog and shall make that known to everyone. The address is: Thank you for your undivided attention.

::The kingdom of God is within you and all around you.
It is not within buildings of wood or stone.
Split a piece of wood and you will find me.
Look beneath a stone and I am there. ::

I have a question. How can I make the link from this blog to my blog?
For example, if I click 'running' from your posted message, it is automatically linked to your blog.
Thank you for the invitation.
My blog has been also running from last week.
The address is
Thanks for the invite, my blog is up and running.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004