Archive for the ‘Module 4: Using the infosphere’ Category

Module 4: Using the infosphere

August 26, 2009

Module 4:

I already had windows media player, adobe and flash to help with my online travels, I had to have them to view different sites or media from emails or random websites.

I find media player quite useful as it seems to be what most people use to send media files through e-mail (in forwards as one example). However I decided to download Realplayer, as that’s something I didn’t have already and it was a brand id heard of. To download this software I just went to Google and typed Realplayer and that took me straight to its webpage ( which upon opening had a massive download symbol. Clicking on this led me to the option that allowed for me to download to my PC. It was useful for .RM files (which are its own version) but also plays regular media files for the most part like MP3’s etc.

I find all three useful but realplayer was little more user friendly as in it was less intrusive on screen than media player and the skin when I minimized it was small enough to have along with my word document so I could manage music without having to switch back and forth. Media player offers this functionality too but real player was better.

The search engine started with was Google and the words I typed in were “New Movies” that took me to the results screen with Google show times results at the op of the page then as the first website hot the total number of hits came to 151,000,000.

The alternate engine I used was Copernic which was good for displaying results  but it felt less familiar and also was a little annoying to have to set up to use where as Google works as soon as you type in the website URL. The other item of note was that Copernic seemed t be less marketing based it was more critical and had a more artistic focus on results whereas Google was more about show times and movie websites that would give you reviews but were more about opening dates and the blockbusters.

For the Boolean portion of this module I wanted to be a little cheeky and use Simon and Garfunkel as my test term. I first typed in Simon Garfunkel and received about 1,970,000 hits starting with you tube pages and Wikipedia and then their official page. It was funny as they had the & in their name so I wanted to see how having and in my search would effect this.

This test was done because I wanted to see how intuitive search engines were as Simon and Garfunkel can work independently but put together should only reference that musical group. However when I added the “Simon and Garfunkel” I received only 1,480,000 hits.

This showed that Google was fairly intuitive, for a truly Boolean search I decided to use the term “Vietnam wear and drugs” which resulted in 3,480,000 hits and compares it to Vietnam war drugs which resulted in 1,900,000 hits. Both came back with a similar results in the first few pages but there was more intensive search for the combined term. I guess it comes down to when you have a vaguer question its best to incorporate as much as possible so that you get the best number of hits to search from.

I decided to annotate the page on the Vietnam drug war as that’s a topic I searched:

The Vietnam War and the Drug War
Robert Higgs

The independent institute

I saved this information in my favorites folder in my Internet explorer. I did this because this is software I have and use regularly.


Higgs, R, The independent institute, The Vietnam War and the Drug War, Retrieved July 4th, 2009 from

  1. Purpose: This paper wants to convince us that the drug war is similar to the Vietnam war and to make us focus on the issues we face today with another that we have faced to give us a comparison
  1. Author: The author is PHD. Holding professor who has taught at the best schools including Oxford and was himself schooled at Johns Hopkins.
  2. Content: This piece is certainly biased against drugs, and biased towards the more purposeful approach of fighting them as opposed to perhaps hiding from the issue. He doesn’t present too much evidence but compares a lot of the issues to the issues faced in Vietnam in clouding that of the
  3. Coverage was hard to do here as the piece is almost like an opinion page, I looked for pages that talked about Drugs in Vietnam and the war itself but no one else offers this up as a comparison. The quote she attribute sot Kissinger and other leaders were traceable offering him more credibility as well
  4. This piece was written in 1995 which is scary when you think it was over 14 years ago but the piece was written in a way that makes it timeless, it captures the issue of the war on drugs well and compares it an event even further out so we can appreciate its significance even now.
  5. This site was great because it was from a reputable source as it had notable names including US Senators and Novel laureates praising their work. They are basically an organization that fosters public debate and an excellent source for discussing policy reform and the like.

I think when I consider using this site the annotation which I saved in my favorites folder would be useful for myself but the information above would be most useful for someone else to consider reading or using this site for their own purposes.

I think the best way to judge whether a page or site is useful is consider whether someone else would considerate it worthy of referencing from. I believe this page passes that test and the way to check that is to read the above post that describes the page.