Farewell, Tech Addicts

Greetings for the last time, tech addicts! 💡

The time has time to write my final post. It has been an amazing journey so far throughout the whole semester and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

Looking back to the beginning of the semester, I was feeling kind of insecure about the topic that I had to choose for my blog. But once that happened and I pinpointed what I wanted to write about, everything seemed to fall into place.

logoIt all started on the 20th of January, from the very first class during finals week. We were all encouraged to think about what topic we want to write about and share it next time with Professor Melody Gilbert. During next class we were all worried that our blogs won’t turn out right and that there might be no one to interview, but one by one we all created our very first blogs. That is when AUBG Tech Addicts was created, with all its initial design and first explanatory blog post.

In the months that followed, I interviewed 7 people in total. They were all very interested to try out the #nogadgetforaweek challenge and did great without their favorite tech. Contrary to what I expected, there wasn’t a single victim to knock on my room and crawl on their knees begging for their gadget back. But that only means we, addicts, aren’t a lost cause! All volunteers in the experiment saw the benefit of digital detox and realized they should moderate the use of tech in the future.

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I want to thank Selena, Dayana, and Aleksandar who were my victims in the first half of the semester. To learn more about their challenges and achievements, be sure to check out my midterm post where I made a short summary about each of their challenges. You can also take the time to read their full stories by clicking on their names above.

ivanAfter the spring break, I started searching for people that are ready to give up on bigger gadgets and break stronger addictions. That’s when I invited Ivan Navodnyy for an interview, who decided to give up on Facebook, something definitely worth noting in my blog. After he successfully survived 7 days without Facebook, he said he found other ways to communicate with most of his friends and also other sources to read his favorite news.

From now on, I will go easy on Facebook.

mariyaNext, I interviewed Mariya Boteva, who gave up on her smartphone for a whole week. She used her old mobile phone during the period of the challenge and could only text and call her friends, no social apps and games. Mariya said she loved the challenge and that it was refreshing for her to try to live without constantly being in touch with everyone.

I can see how easy it is to get addicted to something you can use practically any second.

fahedresultMy next tech addict victim was Fahed El Zaher who abstained from playing mobile and video games for a total of two weeks! He gave up on his favorite mobile app, 8 Ball Pool, but in return found more time for reading and other means of entertainment that were more beneficial.

This experiment might actually turn out to be a life savior, and a motivation for a better future and career.

dimitarMy last and most tortured victim was Dimitar Uzunov, who gave up on his gaming laptop for 10 days in order to finish up his senior project. He exchanged his favorite game, Hearthstone, for writing lines of code, but hopefully it all came to a good result. Unfortunately, as of the moment of writing. His senior project presentation hasn’t yet finished, so I can’t report on his performance. Still, I can say he was engaged in and almost finished with the making of his mobile game, as he asked for his laptop back in order to burn a CD with his project for the presentation.

You come at a good time. I have to finish my senior project, so that way I will have no distractions.

Along with the weekly posts I had to write throughout the semester, I also learned how to use many new tools, apps and techniques. Two very useful techniques I will remember are the 5 shot video and the structure for a news package. They definitely make any report look professional, as they are all classic techniques. For the editing of my videos and sound clips I used Sony Vegas and Audacity, programs that will definitely come in handy in the future. SoundCloud, bitly, YouTube editorStorify, and  Thinglink were all online tools that helped make my blog look and feel more professional and interactive. I learned some tips on social media marketing and advertising with the help of Facebook and Twitter. And of course, I also learned the tricks in blogging on WordPress, the platform that carries my blog on the World Wide Web.

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I believe I managed to give you an answer to how long students can last without their favorite tech. Not that long but not that short either. It appears we students can manage to live without gadgets for around 9 days if we sum up the results of my volunteers and divide them by their number.  I’m afraid, though, that with the new emerging smart technologies, these days might fall gradually to 0. Only time can show, so let’s not lose hope for now!

ribbonA big “Thanks You” to all of you readers who followed my blog every week and all those who took part in it! I enjoyed this journey a lot and might continue to reflect the cases of tech addicts every now and then in the future.

As always – stay connected!

 

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Laptop Out, Schoolwork In

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

People are starting to give up on bigger and bigger tech! Read on to find out about my first volunteer to give up his laptop for a week. But before that, let me tell you about the results from Fahed’s challenge.

fahedresultFahed gave up on mobile and video games for a week, but eventually prolonged the challenge and survived 14 days without his favorite tech. He shares that he felt a bit depressed after the challenge, since he realized how much of his life he wasted on useless games. He adds that the week without a gadget helped him become more productive and find more time for reading and other means of entertainment that are more beneficial. Fahed says he limited the time he plays games to a very short period, only in cases he really needs distraction from studying.

This experiment might actually turn out to be a life savior, and a motivation for a better future and career.

Hopefully the challenge will help Fahed manage his time better from now on and find more diverse things to do other than gaming. Now let’s move on to the story of my next volunteer.

laptopI’m sure you would agree that the laptop is a student’s best friend. We use it for everything: socializing, entertainment, school work, etc. Can you imagine that for this week, a fellow AUBGer decided to give up on his laptop to try out the #nogadgetforaweek challenge? It’s true, since the gadget is in my wardrobe under careful guard from my volunteer’s maniacal urges to play his favorite game when he should be finishing his senior project.

11073305_1568862576705995_2376753769550702165_nDimitar Uzunov, a senior studying Computer Science and Business Administration with a minor in Information Systems, decided that it’s high time to finish up his senior project so he thought the challenge would be of great help. He does classify himself as a tech addict, using his laptop all the time and his smartphone mainly when he is traveling from town to town. He uses his laptop mostly for schoolwork, but also for watching TV series, playing games, socializing, and, as he is a senior, for applying for jobs and finding information about opportunities after graduation.

Usually, Dimitar plays small games, in which he can engage often and get a sense of fulfillment out of wining and leveling up. Around February, he got addicted to a video game called Hearthstone, which is a digital collectible card game. He has been playing it almost every day ever since. To learn more about how to play Hearthstone from Dimitar himself, be sure to watch the video bellow.

Dimitar hopes he won’t have any distractions now that I took his laptop for the challenge. He believes the week will be hard without his favorite gadget and video game, but hopes he will get through it.

Since the senior project presentations are next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be happy to see Dimitar’s final project next weekend when I interview him for the results of the challenge. That will definitely indicate that the digital detox helped.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get updates about new posts and other goodies.

Don’t miss the next week’s post to learn if Dimitar finished his senior project and until then – stay connected!

Cool Tech for Creating Web Stories

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Today in class we learned about an exciting online tool called Storify that allows you to create compelling stories from different web sources.

The idea behind Storify is content curation, or in other words, creating a story by collecting, organizing, and displaying information that is relative to a particular topic. The way you use it is simple, just drag and drop content from several online sources from the panel on the right to the panel on the left. You can then rearrange the different posts to create a continuous and finished story, from top to bottom.

To learn more about  how to use Storify, click on the Storify story bellow:

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We also learned about ThingLink, another cool online tool for embedding links inside a picture and making it more interactive and informative. You can check out the example that I did bellow:

Where Is My Smartphone?

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

In this week’s post I will give you the results of Ivan’s #NoFacebookForaWeek challenge from last week and also introduce you to my new volunteer, who chose to give up on her smartphone.

ivanIvan made it! He completely stopped using Facebook for a whole week. He says that when he first signed in after the long absence, there were over a hundred messages from people who wondered where Ivan had gone. But he believes the challenge helped him realize that Facebook is just a way to connect with people and not something to get addicted to. Ivan says he found other ways to communicate with most of his friends and also other sources to read his favorite news. So all in all he is satisfied with the challenge and will go easy on Facebook, as it is just a way to communicate with people who don’t have a VKontakte account.
mariya2This week’s volunteer is Mariya Boteva, a junior at AUBG studying History and Literature. She doesn’t classify herself as a big tech addict, but really wanted to try out the #nogadgetforaweek challenge.

Mariya got her first smartphone two months ago and says she has slowly started to become a tech addict ever since. That is why she decided to take up the challenge and see if two months were enough to convert her in one of those addicts who just can’t live without their smartphone.

I can see how easy it is to get addicted to something you can use practically any second.

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Mariya uses her smartphone mostly to browse Facebook and communicate with friends over messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook’s Messenger. She has also started playing more games on her new device and also uses it to browse the web whenever she needs it.

It is very convenient, I sometimes even use it as a dictionary in class.

She believes the challenge will help her purify herself and see what it is to stay disconnected. But fear not, she still has a regular cell phone with her, to communicate with friends and family in the old-fashioned way – by talking.

Stay tuned for Mariya’s results next week and remember to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. As always – stay connected!

P.S. Watch the video bellow if you want to learn more about what a smartphone is.

If you want to find out more, check out the related story on Storify.

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#NoFacebookForaWeek

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

It was about time someone gave up on Facebook for the #nogadgetforaweek challenge!

ivanOur hero’s name is Ivan Navodnyy, an AUBG student from Russia, majoring in Information systems and Business administration. He confessed he is a social media addict who just can’t resist scrolling Facebook every two or three minutes when preparing for a midterm. That’s sooo you, I know. 😀

The social networks Ivan uses the most are Facebook, Instagram, and VKontakte (VK). For more information on what VK is, be sure to watch the video bellow this blog post. Ivan uses social websites mainly to connect with his friends from AUBG and his home country and also to read sports and political news. He says he created a Facebook account only when he came to AUBG, as that seemed to be the most popular way of communication between AUBG students.

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IMG_6120All of my sports news and news from my country are there and that’s why I’m using it so much.

So although Ivan didn’t agree on giving up on social media in general, he did agree to stop using Facebook for a whole week. That is quite something, as he’s giving up on valuable news and contacts. He uninstalled the mobile app from his phone in front of me and promised he won’t use the website from a computer. So far he has done well, as his “last seen” label displays the day he uninstalled the app.

Ivan believes he will be able to survive without Facebook for a week. He says he will find other sources for sports and political news and will try to find the people he needs in person or contact them over Viber or Whatsapp.

Make sure you read next week’s post when I will share Ivan’s results and hopefully introduce you all to a person who is willing to give up their smartphone.

As always, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and stay connected!

Halfway Through My Journey

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

Believe it or not, half of the semester is already over and midterms are behind us. And so has my fourteen week journey reached its seventh week, the time for a summary blog post. I never thought that keeping a blog would be so engaging in the first place. But writing on my favorite topic – technology – and meeting interesting people has proven to be an amazing journey so far.

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It all started with my very first attempt at bogging in January, when I introduced you, my tech-loving audience, to my little space on the World Wide Web about tech addicts from AUBG. I explained my idea about the #nogadgetforaweek challenge and how I intent to invite students and faculty to try it out and see if they can last a week without their favorite piece of technology.

The following week I introduced you to my first interviewee who was quite the opposite of what I was searching for. Nevertheless, I decided to give Selena the opportunity to tell us addicts what it is like to be non-addicted. She said that it’s mostly the way you were brought up and your current lifestyle that influence your use of technology.

selenaI use a laptop and use internet a lot but I don’t think that that’s the most important thing in my life.

 

Next, I interviewed my first true tech victim, Dayana, who gave up her Kindle for a total of 11 days! She said that at first she managed perfectly fine without her tablet, despite worrying in vain for her Sims, but later she just couldn’t manage without a portable device to read her lectures on. That’s when she contacted me to give her Kindle back.

dayanaI can’t carry my laptop around all the time and it’s not really convenient. That’s why I was forced to ask for my Kindle back.

In the meantime, Sasho also took the challenge and gave up on Sportal.bg and NBA.com for a total of 6 days. He said that taking a rest from constantly checking updates on his favorite topics – football and basketball – gave him enough time to read his lectures and prepare for a tough midterm exam, where he performed better than he usually does.

sashoI hope that [catching up with my favorite sports] won’t ruin my GPA for the rest of the semester.

 

Aside from the regular blog posts I had to do for each week, I also had my first try at photography, video shooting, and editing. I learned how to execute the 5 shot technique and how to write a script for a news report. I also learned how to prepare a whole news package for that report.

I like the fast pace of the course and the fact that it puts you in the shoes of a real journalist. I can’t wait to see the challenges that the class will put me through for the rest of the semester, as well as the challenges of colleagues and faculty I will cover in the blog.

If you want to become part of the #nogadgetforaweek challenge, be sure to sign up through this form.

Make sure to stay tuned for more surprises until the end of the semester and as always – stay connected!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

P.S. Click bellow to watch a news coverage connected with this post.

AUBG on Public Beta Testing

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

Beta TestingToday I’ll be bringing you some local reactions to a recent article in the Tech world. According to an article from the Verge, Apple is supposedly going to embrace the practice of allowing the public to beta test not only their Mac operating system, but the mobile iOS as well. Beta testing is the process of allowing developers or regular users to test a certain app or operating system before its official release. The most crucial public beta testing that the company is planning to release, according to 9to5Mac, is for its upcoming iOS 9, which is to be introduced in June. Such public testing on a wide scale, in theory, suggests that Apple will deliver a more polished iOS 9 experience for the wide audience in fall 2015, when its release is planned. Apple is yet to confirm these rumors.

This practice isn’t new as another tech giant, Google, has already employed the process of beta testing for its apps, web platforms, etc. But what does that mean for the users? Are regular non-technicians well qualified to perform tests and give feedback for an official release?

I decided to turn to the community of the American University in Bulgaria and find out what people think on the subject. First, I decided to ask the experienced people from the Office of Communications and Computing (OCC). Reynaldo Argir, who works at the OCC office in Balkanski Academic Center, thinks that beta testing is always helpful to the producers and manufacturers because people might find some problems or give some useful suggestions. He adds that beta testing from the public is probably the best one. According to Argir, when you are a big producer, you think about the big picture and often miss some small details like errors or bugs.

But when people start to use [the product], they can find something more you never thought about. [This way] the product will become better.

Argir says he would gladly participate in a public beta testing. He says it’s a big motivation when your feedback is acknowledged and when other users are satisfied with your fix suggestions.

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After that I met Sorin Petrov, an AUBG junior student studying Journalism and Mass Communication, who happens to have some actual experience with beta testing.

I’ve done a lot of beta testing for video games, applications and websites. It helps because if you have a big team of developers or designers, the chance that they will stumble across an error is minimal.

He adds that if you have a million people testing a game or whatever product, there’s a bigger chance to find bugs and errors. Sorin says that open beta testing is dangerous because you need to dedicate a whole team of specialists who can take care of the thousands of emails with feedback that are going to be received from the testers. A good practice is to have a special team and special filters to go through all of these emails and check what’s true and what’s not from the feedback.

It’s useful but it’s time consuming. But the end result is better than if you don’t do beta testing.

It seems that Apple will be confronted with an enormous amount of feedback emails if they really decide to adopt the public beta testing technique. But at the same time, their final product will be more polished and will frustrate less users after they themselves have found the errors and bugs before the final release of the system.

If you’re interested on the topic, don’t miss the WWDC15 this June when Apple will showcase the new iOS 9 and probably talk on how it’s going to be tested before the release in fall 2015.

Those were the local reactions to public beta testing, as always – stay connected!

Challenge Results – Back To Reading and Extra Time Slots

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

squareThis week’s post is a #challengeresults post! I will let you know how both of my volunteers in the previous two weeks did with their #nogadgetforaweek challenges.

First up, we got un-Kindled Dayana who survived without her favorite tablet for a total of 11 days! She says she could even go for more if it wasn’t for a ton of class readings that she just couldn’t read on her laptop.

I can’t carry my laptop around all the time and it’s not really convenient. That’s why I was forced to ask for my Kindle back.

dayanaIf we view things chronologically, Dayana had no problem with the absence of her favorite tech during the first couple of days. She says she was so busy with the BLIMUN conference during the weekend that she didn’t really notice her tablet was gone. But then as the week started, she began to feel the lack of her Kindle more and more, as she sometimes carries it to class to refer to readings and handouts. She managed somehow with that, but then the weekend came again.

I went to Sofia to visit my parents, and since I usually don’t carry my laptop with me when I go home, I felt the difference without my favorite device with me. I would rather chat with my friends from my Kindle than my phone and it was a bit annoying.

And since I know a device with a big screen is tempting for playing games, I couldn’t help but ask about the games she plays on her Kindle.

“I didn’t really feel deprived from playing games because it’s not something that I’m actually addicted to. And to my big surprise, when I opened one of my games today, it turned out that my Sims hadn’t died and they were all a hundred percent satisfied with life.”

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Now that she has her Kindle back, Dayana says she feels secure that she can do the readings for her classes. She says that whenever she has to read on her computer, she just postpones, as it’s not her favorite thing to do on a computer screen. But now that she has her Kindle, she knows she can read anywhere, on the go. We all know that the Sims missed you too, Dayana. 😉

sashoNext, we have Sasho and his abstention from Sportal.bg and NBA.com. Contrary to your votes (“will cheat”) on the Sunday’s poll that I posted, Sasho actually survived 6 days without his favorite websites. He says he took the challenge seriously and actually decided not to visit any sports websites just to test how he will manage without information about his two passions – football and basketball. Sasho admits that after he ceased his constant checks on player and game statistics, he stopped procrastinating and had more time to do his homework and read the chapters for his business classes.

During the week, I had an exam on Corporate Finance and since I stopped using the websites, I had more time to prepare and had a better result than I usually have.

studyhabitsNow that his challenge has ended, though, Sasho plans to go back to his usual habit and spend his whole time on the websites because he missed so much information during the challenge that he has to catch up now.

 

I hope that that won’t ruin my GPA for the rest of the semester.

So fellow addicts, these are the consequences of the #nogadgetforaweek challenge for my first two volunteers. It’s not that scary, is it? If you want to try the challenge for yourself, do not hesitate to leave a comment bellow the post and I will make sure to contact you and take away your favorite piece of technology for a week or maybe more!

Do not forget to follow and like my blog on Twitter and Facebook and as always – stay connected!

P.S. Click bellow for the confessions of Dayana!

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How long do you think Sasho will last without his favorite websites?

Greetings, tech addicts! 💡

You probably remember the post from last week when I interviewed the next volunteer for the #nogadgetforaweek challenge, Sasho. His tech obsession was his daily visit at Sportal.bg and NBA.com. You probably all wonder how long he will last and that’s why I decided to make a poll and let you vote.

So place your bet and we’ll see what happens. If you haven’t read the post yet, head over to Sportal.bg As A Habit. I will cover the results from both challenges up until now in the next post, so stay connected!