Travelling Without Connections: Part 2

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Yosemite’s a reception dead zone – oh WiFi, where did you go?

The Fear

My unsettling experiences of lacking WiFi are mirrored with my friend Amelia’s, as I’ve said in my previous post. But despite our difficulties in finding a connection, this isn’t a regular occurrence in America: there’s a Starbucks at every corner, free WiFi in almost any cafe or fast-food restaurant. Amelia didn’t buy a SIM card for her smartphone whilst she was in America and is an exception. In the Facebook group for that semester’s exchangees, with over 70 members, there were several posts debating which phone provider to use, sharing family plans, which phone plan would be best; to the best of my knowledge, very few people didn’t get an American SIM. In our conversations throughout the time we’ve known each other, Amelia’s mentioned that it was challenging to go without one and only have to rely on free WiFi – she would feel stressed when she went outside her “safe” zones of the campus and town of Chapel Hill.

During some of my travels, I came to view free WiFi as a blessing; specifically during my holiday to Yosemite. Yosemite and my hostel received absolutely zero reception (at least for my AT&T SIM). I relied on free WiFi completely for three or four days. In addition to this, my monthly plan needed renewing and I could barely find a place that received even one bar of connection in the park. I stood on top of a bench for five minutes whilst calling my provider to renew my pre-paid SIM. I would say this this moment was one of the most terrifying of my life: I had only a small window of time to call AT&T to renew my plan or I would risk not having data and minutes for another two or three days. That the last bus of the day was to arrive at any moment during my call had me shaking with worry that I wouldn’t be able to renew my plan in time. This heavy reliance on Internet has me worried for how I’m to travel to other, more remote places in the world. My talks with my tutor revealed that people used to travel and not keep in touch with their friends and relatives, whereas now we stay tightly connected to everyone back home and are constantly updating people on our journeys. I simply can’t imagine not having the ability to let my loved ones know where I am in the world; where a lack of connection worries me, people used to revel in it!

Knowing Amelia and I went through the same trials together gives me a modicum of reassurance, that I’m not the only one so attached to the Internet. Even now, we rely on the Internet to talk, regularly using Facebook messenger and Skype to talk to each other. Amelia’s said she even uses FB messenger to chat to her friends at home in England, even though she’s got her English SIM back and has been home for some time now!

The Need for Permission and Rules

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This was fine to share on Snapchat with my friends, but should I have uploaded it to my blog? I can’t quite decide.

In public spaces, we have to be conscious of others. Public spaces and their peace hinges on us knowing the rules of behaviour. And one of these rules revolves around the ethics of photography or videoing others without their permission. I’m not talking about up-skirt shots (which shouldn’t exist in the first place), but the accidental appearance of you or your friends in the background of a tourist’s family photo, or a street photographer capturing you sitting pretty under a tree. Continue reading

Exchange Part 1: Done

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Carnival Night at Rams Dining!

I’ve only just now decided to divide my exchange into three parts: 1st half of the semester, 2nd half and the month after that where I get to travel and spend all my hard-earnt money.

Fall Break is coming up and guess where I’ll be?

Yosemite!

(Oh, and spending a lot of time actually getting there. But I’ll be there nonetheless, after a looot of travel time.)

Continue reading

Australian Universities vs American Universities

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How different can the US be? I chortled to myself as I picked out my subjects in April. The best difference, in my opinion, was that UNC’s classes were more plentiful and far more interesting than at UOW. I could take Astronomy, Geography (which didn’t require lab hours) and a whole heap of languages other than the standard Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Chinese.

Well it turns out I was fairly wrong. Continue reading

Alan Jones and Gina Rinehart to receive Knighthood under new Order of Australia Honours.

Silently shaking in class and trying not to laugh-slash-cry.

BULLSHiT

There’s no doubt Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s reintroduction of ‘knight’ and ‘dame’ into the Australian lexicon has been a controversial one, but a surprising new appointment has swayed detractors. Formerly strident critics of the new Order of Australia Honours today rescinded their comments upon hearing the latest of the possible four appointments: radio shock jock Alan Jones and mining matriarch Gina Rinehart.

“It is a fitting honour,” the Prime Minister said in a press conference statement this morning. “They have both considered the proposed honour and happily accepted.”

The announcement came as no surprise to the 2GB host, who told a Bullsh!t source he “always knew it was coming.”

“The Australian people have been clamouring for this for years,” Mr Jones confided. “It’s a recognition of old-fashioned, true-blue Aussie achievement.”

Ms. Rinehart couldn’t be contacted for comment, but was said by a close friend to be ‘overjoyed’.

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Meanwhile, prominent politicians…

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Well, FINALLY

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Looking at this email makes me even MORE impatient!!

Okay okay, it’s not as if I’ve been waiting THAT long but I’m impatient and incredibly eager to start this process. The wait actually drove me silly enough to start counting the days from the 2nd week of January. Luckily I only got to Day 5 and then got lucky! 🙂 My spirits were dampened considerably when I realised I have to wait another two months for this little journey of mine to get moving.

Continue reading

Society6 iPhone 5C Case Review

today is the day KF
“Today is the day!” – Wally West, Kid Flash aka Kid Dork

Another update: Last night, 18th May, I dropped my phone down my driveway and the case popped off and my phone was left unprotected as it slid, on its screen, down my steep drive. So thanks for nothing, phone case. I need to buy a sturdier one. Do not buy if you drop your phone often!!

Update: As of now, late April, this case has cracks in several places, none of them acquired through any serious trauma. I have yet to drop my phone more than 20cm and it hasn’t been treated badly, but the phone case will soon be too cracked to hold my phone (the cracks are along the corners and has loosened its tightness around my phone, as best as I can describe it). I love the phone case but it’s not worth the $35 I paid for it considering it’s barely 5 months old and already at the end of its life.

I searched far and wide for a review of Society6’s new iPhone 5C cases but haven’t found any, so I figured I’d review it here so others can check it out and make a smarter decision when purchasing a case for their phone. Continue reading

The art of food-snobbery

New Year’s Resolution: Be nice to people about what they eat.
It’s common courtesy!

BULLSHiT

It has come to my attention that people like to get outraged about a lot of things, things that they actually have no right to be so emotional about. One of these things is food and people’s food choices.

Since it’s the new year and you’ve written those all-important resolutions, you might want to add this onto your list; I’ve made a small list of reasons about why being so invested in people’s food choices isn’t the way to be happy, how not to be annoying about your new diet and also some pointers in case you happen to encounter someone who is a snob about their food.

Will the fact that someone doesn’t eat pork/rice/gluten/dairy/red food really make a difference in your life?

So your friend is Jewish and eats strictly kosher. Maybe they’re severely lactose intolerant. Maybe their favourite colour is blue and all they want to eat…

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Duck, Duck, Goose

So BCM112 will be over soon – blogging has finished up for this subject and now it’s time for me to pick my three best posts and justify my decision to do so. So here I am taking a mad guess at which posts I like more than the others!

  1. On Making Our Mark in the World
    This post talks about the ways in which we can use various media technologies create new things and upload them to the Internet and the variable success some people have had. I loved writing the post because one of my favourite things about the always-evolving media technology is that there are so many creative outlets. In BCM112 we have a lot of discussions about topics like these, talking about how being able to use media and media platforms enables us to become more than a “passive audience”.
  2. Adventuring in Virtual Reality
    Tying in with the above post, I talk about the many ways in which TV shows, books and movies have been expanded upon in other media platforms. The creativity of the creators of the original content is now discussed, instead of the audience’s. Showing two sides to the “audience and creators” coin, I think.
  3. Three Clicks and You’re Home! 

    A more serious post, I discuss our generation’s need to get focused on the important issue as we have a lot more power than we are led to believe by older generations. I also theorise on why the older generations keep discouraging us and calling us lazy and try to encourage the millennial generation to take an interest in politics. This brings home the amount media and technology we have at our command, and how much more we will keep having due to converging technology.

I picked these because they are topics that I really like and that I think are important to focus on when we learn more about the media and emerging technologies. Creativity and social movements are where it’s at, in my opinion.