Final Post

Over the last year I have learnt a lot about social computing and how it has influenced the world around us. Each couple of weeks we learnt something new that played a big part within the social computing world and it has really opened my eyes to see what one subject can really do for the planet.

The topics we spoke about covered many different aspects about social computing and it was very good to see how each one contributed in its own way and was good to reflect and learn how it did that.

one topic that always sticks out for me was computing in crowds. This is where people come together on a website to share and post things about any topic. One e.g. of this is Wikipedia. This stood out for me because it shows how powerful social computing really is by bringing peoples knowledge and understand and passion on things to one website and people being able to read and learn the information being posted. This helps people in  so many ways and shows that crowd sourcing is a great way to being people together and a great source of information. http://ellisstrouthos.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/computing-and-crowds/ this is the link to my views on computing and crowds and goes into more depth.

going on from this kind of topic another thing that jumped out on the page to me was liveness and the mobile.  http://ellisstrouthos.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/liveness-and-the-mobile/. again this is a great way that social computing is being used and shows how it can help all types of people. In this article i explain a lot about how the mobile has changed over the years and how it has affected our society, this is especially seen in Africa. We all know that they are not as advanced as us with mobile technology, but it still helps them in many way. farmers are using simple mobiles to try and sell stock and market what they are selling. We maybe using phones to find out instant news, which is great and another amazing aspect of social computing as we now have websites such as twitter and Facebook that give us instant news. But in another part of the world a simple phone is helping a farmers business grow and become successful. This showed me how the phone and live updates can help all different societies in the world from all different angles. Another reason why i find social computing to be such an interesting topic to learn.

from seeing all of my blog posts i can see several good things that come out of social computing. The first is how it brings people together. There are many websites now that allow us users to contribute to a website and make the website successful due to us using it. i like the way how social computing can bring us together and mix people that might not normally mix in other situations. Not only this but social computing has also made and brought some good causes to the world. For instance say a natural disasters has happened in a certain part of the world. People have made campaigns online for people to donate or come help repair what has been damaged. This is all due to the power of social computing and the internet.

All in all i love the fact social computing can help all different kinds of people in all different type of societies in many different ways. it can bring people together, create good causes, help businesses grow, update us when something is happening and general day to day use of social computing websites. Social computing really has defined the web and defined how we live by giving us more power than we thought we had. People are able to do things they might not have thought of doing due to social computing. The amount of information and websites created that help us everyday due to us added the information and putting in the time to make it grow astonishes me. This is what I have learnt the most and taken from this course and im glad that I have been apart from it as it has changed my views on the social computing aspect. Before this course I just thought social computing was bout Facebook etc, which I found boring and not useful. Now learning and seeing what I have seen, social computing is actually on a massive scale and has helped millions of people around the world and made some life changing stuff happen.

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[09-06-12, 11:04] 반사 (Bansa)

This year in social computing has taught me many things and certainly opened my eyes to areas of the cyber world that had been previously unknown. These days I am subconsciously careful in what information I give out on the internet and I always make sure what I am dealing with, and if it is safe and secure.

The main topic that particularly interested me this term was the Liveness and the Stream lectures. They were the most enjoyable; it was interesting to be able to be ‘live’ with other people sitting only metres away. As much as it is used in today’s social communities it is something that I would to see be taken to the next level. It should become integrated into everyday life.

Of course not everything live can go without its fair share or errors and mishaps, but it’s always something that can be fixed. I’ve noticed recently that practically every single bus stop in my area now has a live feed of how long the next bus will be. I was informed that a long time ago all bus stops already had this feature, but were taken away due to failures etc. Now I think it has become a necessity and that the technology is there for such failures to not occur anymore.

Topics such as Civic Hacking and Datascapes did not interest me as much to be frank. Politics has never been an area in which I’ve cared to explore. Hearing stories about communities gathering together online to tackle certain issues does make me feel happier. As if something is being done and no one is sitting around waiting for somebody else to take charge. I’m proud about how the internet has been quite effective in that sense. Perhaps I’m just a still a bit too young to appreciate the time and effort people go through to achieve a goal since I can be quite impatient (or more accurately, lazy) when it comes to getting a job done.

Datascapes, in my opinion just felt a bit pointless. Yes it’s very nice to have pretty representations of data; maybe it does help people understand them better. But to me, something clear and concise (no matter how dull) does the same trick. And at least I’m sure about what I’ve interpreted. Visualisations can be risky as perhaps not all people will interpret the data in the same way, I think it can be a risk, but hey if you have the time for it, why not.

The end of term OSM assignment was enjoyable, but again probably something I would not attempt outside of class. Google maps along with their ‘street view’ capabilities have never served me wrong and I will probably never stray away from them. However, I do think that the idea of contributing to site which allows you to edit and change the layouts is quite fascinating (and addictive I might add). OSM should not be taken for granted, it’s certainly up and coming and more and more users are logging on every day to add their bit of knowledge.

The final blog for year 2 social computing is done, the end is here. It all has a melancholic tone to it. Honestly I have enjoyed all the blogging and expressing my opinion etc. But outside of these ‘assignments’ I probably wouldn’t. I think if I had endless amount of time on my hands, and a significant following of people who are genuinely interested in what I have to say, then just try and stop me! Unfortunately it’s not like that and the only place I can let out a few words of myself would probably just be on Facebook (which after all can be linked to so many other social sites i.e. Twitter, YouTube and Instagram). I certainly have no regrets and it shall forever be an experience I will not forget.

Thank you for providing a course that lets us as students think for ourselves and giving us a platform to express ourselves. It was all well worth it.

Links for term 2 blogs:

Datascapes

Liveness and the Stream

Civic Hacking

Open Street Map

(Bansa means ‘reflection’ in Korean).

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Final blog post collation

What I can say without a shadow of a doubt was that Social Computing was by far my favourite module of the course. It was handy having 100% coursework and no exams as I don’t do as well with exams, but more so it was the content. Extremely interested and interactive, always pushing me to get involved and I actually wanted to which made a big difference. What we learned inside the classroom I found myself linking and researching outside the classroom to real life situations. I have thoroughly enjoyed these lectures and labs and it was one I could never and never did miss.

Datascapes and data visualisation was studied one week and although I knew obviously data could be shown in different ways I had no idea just how many different tools and simple ways this could be done. It shows connections and data in visual ways as the name suggests e.g .charts and graphs for easy understanding.

https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/2199/

Mobile and liveness was a topic I was always aware about but not to the extent I soon realised. This went into the fact how everything now in realtime is so live. As simple as I have put it there it is true. Everything can connect now from pretty much anywhere via mobiles etc. Infact I was on the tube at one point during the week we were studying this and I took a look around the tube and literally everyone was on their mobile phone which was a littler ridiculous as it is underground and there is no signal for them to have been actually sending out anything into the digital world. Technology has come far and will no doubt keep going further.

City camp Brighton was a website we looked at, they were a company who set up meetings and such yet their website was very vague and didn’t give us a real understanding as to hwat they were about. In order to research this further we sent them an email enquiring further as to who they were but they never replied. Civic hacking you would presume to be a negative thing but in actual fact it is a good thing. It is where a group of people come together to create things for a greater good. 3D printing was just a small side note that a I must mention as it fascinated me and I still don’t see how it is possible but it is very intriguing and no doubt something we will be seeing and hearing more about in the future.

Open street map was turned into an assignment and It was one of the most interesting hands on assignments I have ever done. It involved getting outside to explore the area further and mapping onto an open source site on the internet where everyone can come together to help create something to benefit everyone.

http://kamala28patel.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/open-street-mapping/

Something I was annoyed with myself about is not so much to do with the course but myself and my time keeping issues. I am disappointed with the fact I had not even done one of the blog posts and I can honestly come up with no reason as to why it is missing. I think I could have easily also included more things in my blog posts from things id researched and seen outside in the real world, and online. Social media is such a huge and under-appreciated topic in society and I am glad I got to investigate further into and delve into the depths of some of the aspects in and surrounding social computing. It is something I will continue to be interested in and take a part in and take notice of. I believe if you take something out of a course, it has been successful so for that Thank you Dan.

 

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Summary, final blog post.

This is the last and final post for the most enjoyable module I have studied this year; Social Computing.

This post is a reflection and summary of topics covered through the second semesters.

I have learnt a lot about what being social through a computational view means and how being social through computing is the way forward and the grasp it has on the world.

The first topic of the second semester was data, datascapes and data visualisation.

Data Visualization in the process of turning raw, un-interesting, dull data, into an infograhpic which is informative as well as visually appealing.

Data has taken a new form, including the way it is collected. Data is no longer being gathered from tables and tows upon rows of numbers, it is now gathered from polls, taken on social media platforms and from us : users of social media.

An example of this was in Italy, with a project called ‘Il Manifesto’ which collated public data from a London archive in partnership with Italian government data and reports where sunken ships are and how they were being sunk deliberately due to the toxic waste they were holding.

http://scma801as.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/data-visualisation-new-way-of-viewing-data/

The next topics we covered were liveness and mobile; the question being how live is live?

The idea behind this is ‘real time; when something is defined as real time is it being streamed as it is being recorded, therefore being real time.

An example of  liveness or real-time, which is displayed perfectly through an application called Bambuser.This application allows you to film, from a smart phone or webcam enabled device, and publish your stream to the world (or anyone who has your username noted down).

During the lab, I was amazed at how easy this application was to use and how easy it was for people to view the streams being filmed, this really was ‘real-time’. I then started to think, when would this turn into something that can be used to help lives, maybe keep people out of danger.

While watching the news last night, they were going through the events that had happened ‘concluding’ the six day attack on residents in Syria in the city of Homs. I thought this is really useful to other Syrian citizens living in Homs as it allows them to see where conflict is taking place and therefore stay indoors if they can.

Another clear example is  of this is the Copenhagen Wheel.

The basis of this was to transfer kinetic energy to a motor which would then help the cyclist if travelling up a hill or something similar, but it also had another motive which was to collect a ‘real-time’ data-stream from the user (the cyclist).

The hub includes  GPRS which gives cyclists a real-time view of the area they are in, cycle lanes and directions based upon the vicinity they are riding in.

The Copenhagen Wheel can even give you temperature and humidity readings again based on your location.

This is acting upon activity and converting it into data that can be used , this is as real as it ‘real-time’ can get.

http://scma801as.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/how-real-time-does-something-have-to-be-to-be-considered-live/

The next week we looked at Civic Hacking, this is the idea of individuals with common interests, ideas or goals and working with others to achieve these goals.

It is also defined as  this :  One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. (http://y2socialcomputing.doc.gold.ac.uk/2012/02/civic-hacking-part-1/)

Civic hacking groups are usually formed to help with emergency situations, including natural disasters, one of which being  a  meet up based on the earthquake disaster in Haiti.  They realised that people needed aid, they needed food and water, but how would they get the aid to the people that needed it the most if  the aid agencies weren’t actually able to travel to those points of interest and places that needed aid the most?  They said to themselves that we are able to donate money but unless the money we donate can go towards supplies that are able to be transported to a remote village or city stuck  under rubble or with no access to it would be pointless. This lead them to set up a Crisis Camp, this is an example of Hacking being used for good.

They designed maps, showing ‘hotspots’ for areas that had been hit the worst and with no transportation links to them. This allowed aid agencies to find other routes to these areas, instead of travelling to an area that could not be accessed. Promoted through Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, the maps spread like wildfire and soon many aid agencies were able to work together to deliver supplies quicker. Recently their focus has been on Environmental problems, to try and save water and monitor wastage.

http://scma801as.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/changing-the-world-one-hack-at-a-time/

The next week we studied a social community called Open Street Map, which is essentially developed by users and altered by users.

Open Street Map, because it is contributed to by users, it allows for small shortcuts or pathways to be mapped. This is beneficial because as Dan said in the lab: ‘the main reason for using a map is to get from one point to another.’

Mapping itself is fairly straightforward; you have to click an area, chose from the side bar a picture/logo which is suitable then fill in details.

As explained, user contribution is what makes up the website, the Open Street Map community as they have named themselves.

With this community of mappers, many places have been mapped and they have been mapped heavily.

This makes for an interesting find of footpaths and certain amenities in particular areas.

The problems with OpenStreetMap are pretty straight forward, for one the configuration of the website  is not brilliant and actually mapping an area or place can be  hard work, this said the benefits outweigh the problems largely, with OpenStreetMap being an excellent source of information for people who travel in central cities.

Another benefit is the fact that it is open, (we here in Social Computing love everything open) the user contribution is what makes the site. It is this knowledge that makes it unique from other mapping systems out  there.

Google  is not open source and therefore contributions can b e limited whereas Open StreetMap is as open as it can be.

Different users, mapping different routes that are unknown is another benefit, the majority of these benefits will and do, centre around the whole system being open.

I think Open StreetMap can work in hand with Ushahidi (http://ushahidi.com/) to map areas in distress as this is what would be beneficial to citizens globally (mapping for the global good).

I think using it in disaster stricken zones is what it can be used for, as stated, it could be used in countries which needed community resources and help. By having a map of side roads, aid could be given if roads were blocked or un accessible.

http://scma801as.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/open-street-map-mapping-for-the-greater-good/

In conclusion the whole social computing course was one of the most enjoyable and interesting modules as it focused on what was going on around us rather than feeding from an outdated textbook.

This module allowed me to explore in detail various social tools that I would not have heard about previous to studying social computing.

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Social Computing: The Finale

When I was first introduced to the course “Social Computing”, already I felt interested by the name of it and felt eager to know more about the course. In my opinion, this course had less stress compared to the other courses which I was doing. Reason being was because there was no programming, PHP or database involved (Thank god for that). But also because it was more of a reflection of what I feel and gave me the chance to express my opinions. During my time in this course, we covered various topics such as Civic Hacking, Datascape and Street Mapping etc.
Every week, there was always something interesting about the lectures. I remember after coming out of Dan’s lectures, there was always a talking point which me and friends discussed while having lunch. Furthermore, I was also very keen to do my own independent study to understand more about a specific subject we discussed in lectures. For example, I remember I came in late for lecture and realised that we were discussing 3D printers.  I was very intrigued about this as I’ve never heard of such things until then. So the first thing I did when I got a chance was to research and find out more about this.

Throughout term 2, we covered 7 different topics. Below I will briefly talk about what I learnt during each week as well as providing a link to my blog post.

Data Visualisation
This lecture was all about how data is presented to us in different forms which make us understand it better. For example, the use of graphical representation of information, such as graphs, charts, colours etc. This type of data representation is used very frequently to allow people to understand and analyse data better.
I still remember the video which was shown to us about data representation. It featured Hans Rosling and his animated presentation of the free online service, Gap Minder. It was very entertaining to watch.
https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/data-visualisation/

Liveness and Mobile
This was one of my favourite topics in social computing. We talked about real time information and how they worked in social media. I found it very interesting as to how the news is always constantly updated. This is important so that people can get up to date information of what is happening around the world through live feeds and reporters who are constantly re-writing reports in order to produce the most recent news.

However, using the application Bambuser was the highlight of this topic. It was just amazing to see how it all worked. Being are able to broadcast yourself live on the internet, for the whole world to see, was something which I found quite extraordinary. I was also amazed as to how easy it was to do and ho anyone can do it, as long as you have a device which can video record and a Bambuser account. One thing which I can’t forget is when Asraful and Emrul took Dans camera and started recording around the university. We were all sitting in the classroom and watching their every move on the whiteboard, LIVE as it all happened, which was quite cool.

https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/liveness-mobile/

Civic Hacking
When I heard about “Civic Hacking”, the first thing I thought was we will learn to hack, and I felt quite excited about this :D. However, it wasn’t exactly how I planned when I went into the lecture.  But in addition to this, I learnt what the term Civic Hacking actually meant and became very interested in it. In my opinion, “Civic Hacking”, it would be when a group of people who have a particular skill (i.e., software development, programming, web designing), all come together and produce something “creative” that would help better society. I thought this was a brilliant idea in terms of how people are actually putting all there talents into something which will benefit their community.

fixmystreet.com was also something interesting we had a look at during this lecture. It was a website which allowed you to report problems in your local area. In my opinion, this was a great service for the local community as it allowed them to report problems by just sitting in at their computer and typing away.

https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/civic-hacking-working-for-change/

Open Street Map
last but not least, we looked at street mapping. This was a group project where we had to get into teams and start mapping different areas within Goldsmith University. We used open street map to do this. As a team of 4, we worked well together, planning and discussing what our main theme was. We decided to map places which would be relevant to new students. Such as the great hall, ATM machines, different departments of the university (such as the computing department block, sociology block etc).

I learnt many things while working on this project. I always wanted to know how to edit public maps. Due to this course, I now know how to do this and would like to do more of this work in the future. I would also teach other people about it as well. Furthermore, it gave me the opportunity to become an active team member and working as group in order to complete our project, which in my opinion was a success.

In conclusion, I feel that the entire Social Computing course was a great success. I feel that everything I learnt throughout my time in this course was very beneficial as well as relevant to our modern day society. I thank Dan for all the effort that he put in to deliver this subject. I would definitely recommend this course to everyone as it opens your eyes to the world of technology we are all currently living in!

https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/open-street-map-7/

 

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Last Reflective Collection Blog (Term 2)

This is the last reflective collection blog of the second term, which I’ve been very fortunate to find out the day before its due that this blog was set and because of my schedule I have already pre arranged carrying out this blog a few hours to the deadline.

datascapes

When thinking about data capes what comes to mind, is just data on a visual level making data more interesting to view and look at. This is changing the world because people understand things different and lets people how graphics has become very important in the world social computing and the virtual world.

Liveness & moblie

liveness in social computing when I think about it means real time. Its what makes socializing on-line work causes people to feel they are together based on have fast they can get a response. When it comes to businesses whether they are providing a service or product needs and information can be provide straight away, this bring to the concept below:

Real-time business intelligence (RTBI) is the process of delivering information about business operations as they occur.

The speed of today’s processing systems has moved classical data warehousing into the realm of real-time. The result is real-time business intelligence. Business transactions as they occur are fed to a real-time business intelligence system that maintains the current state of the enterprise. The RTBI system not only supports the classic strategic functions of data warehousing for deriving information and knowledge from past enterprise activity, but it also provides real-time tactical support to drive enterprise actions that react immediately to events as they occur. As such, it replaces both the classic data warehouse and the enterprise application integration (EAI) functions. Such event-driven processing is a basic tenet of real-time business intelligence.[1]

Civic hacking

The term civic hacking is when a group people come together manipulate or make better a issue/problem throught a computer promgrame/software and looking at the civic which comes from the word  civilization that is self expletory.

Civic-hacking has a lot of good benefits community as well as countries and to see how people can come together to sort out small issues to big one major global problems is very interesting to understand.

Open street mapping

This task was a very percueliaer topic and task to carry out because the size of the task, but was funny once a person was to get the hang of the program, and can the purpose of this site.  Many people will see this site  as a waste of time why not use Google maps/earth there two reasons why, one is that if was add it through google they keep the rights and also Google usually take up 2 months to update Google earth/maps. I will telling the theme which was chosen and how the mapping of some of the location went and also tell what I’ve learnt from doing this task.

The theme I have is local businesses and only choosing to map local businesses within the goldsmith university area, this was done to help promote and for people to identify the small/local businesses around the area, which I believe has its importance and brings life to the local area.

This was a good and different from any other course I done so far in goldsmith, and given me a different out looking how to study things on line and knowing that there is a virtual version of almost any things, looking at the many things computers have recreated.

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Final Blog Post Collation and Reflection

In term 2, there was a lot of new information about social computing that i learnt. Looking back on this term, i have realised how useful it has been and i will take all this information away with me and use it in later life. Such things that i have learnt include: different types of hack days and what they do, further expanding my knowledge of the importance of data visualisation, different apps used for everyday life and how information can spread quickly through mediums such as the OpenStreetMap website. This effective learning is thanks to the blog posts each couple of weeks. I have definitely found it helpful to retain information in my head by regularly posting about them and being able to read and comment on other students blogs. After reading a few, i realised that we all have different perspectives on the topics but all of our opinions are valid.

My first blog was about datamining and data visualisation. I interpreted datamining as the breaking down of data into smaller and more meaningful data which can be turned into new useful information. Data visualisation is the visible alternative to plain, standard black and white text. I came to the conclusion that, for me, i work better with colourful graphs or anything visibly more appealling which shows and explains data, rather than reading pages and pages of visually repetitive text. I find that pictures that accompany text makes me remember and retain information more easily because i can see the picture/ colours/ shapes in my head. This is why, for example, i use/ create mind maps when revising; i can remember and picture where each bit of information was written on the page. Overall, i thought that these topics were interesting to know about. I have not really heard of data mining before this course, but i knew the concept of ordering data to find patterns, so it is good that i can now put a name to this concept. An example of datamining could be finding out, in supermarkets, what items are generally sold together, such as bread and milk, and then trends can be made and analysed in order to create profits.

 

First blog: https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/data-mining-and-data-visualisation/

 
The second blog dealt with liveness and mobiles. At the time, it was very relevant to be involved with the liveness topic because, as stated in the blog, for part of my course (software projects), i worked in a group to improve learn.gold and this included incorporating twitter. The liveness topic especially appealled to me because i use different forms of live media on a regular basis, such as twitter, skype and various forms of social networks which obtain video calling features, live status updates etc.

The basic aspects of the mobile topic was already evident to me, such as, technology is expanding and advancing in terms of features. However, what was new to me was the apps mentioned in lectures such as the free iTriage health checker app for android phones and iphones. This app in particular grabbed my attention above the others because i genuinely think it is a good and beneficial idea which could help people for
multiple reasons. One example is if someone who has a leg/ foot injury and can’t immediately walk to the doctors could, as an alternative to ringing them, use the app to detect the problem based on the symptoms. I have more examples of the apps benefits in the blog.

Second blog: https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/liveness-and-mobile-4/

The next topic covered was civic hacking where it became apparent to me that hacking is not always a negative thing. We talked about hack days which are events that bring people with the same computing interests together in order to create new projects, allow open data and to socialise. In particular, BBC Backstage was mentioned; an event where information behind the scenes of the BBC were shared with the outside world as a way of collaborating and sharing ideas. In this blog, i stated that i think it was a great idea because the BBC is a well known, prestigious company that many people would love to be a part of, so giving the opportunity to various outsiders allows the public to be involved.

Next blog: https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/civic-hacking-blog/

 
The last blog i wrote was describing my experience using OpenStreetMap, which is a website that allows users to look at and edit places around the world. Our task was to mainly focus on Goldsmiths University and it’s surrounding areas. To get used to the features provided on the website, we were encouraged to map other places first, such as areas near where i lived or just locations familiar to me. This task was not too
challenging which made it more enjoyable. As i previously said in the blog, it was dragging and dropping features onto the map and then labeling them to create a compact area full of information. The problem with a whole class mapping the same area was places were taken quickly and as i looked around the campus, duplicated were seen.

Final blog: https://y2socialcomputing.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/openstreetmap-blog/

I have really enjoyed this course and the way we are being assessed. Blogging has made doing the work more unique than other courses and has allowed me to express myself in creative ways that are also effective and detailed. As written in my last blog reflection, these creative ways are portrayed in the layout of the blog posts. The structure of each post is similar, as in, i always want to include pictures and videos alongside the text. For me, it makes the blog more interesting and eye catching.

The course content was varied which made it more appealling because it was not repetitive or dull. It focused on many aspects of computing and was related to many world wide events and real life medias and situations. I always find that it helps to learn new things when you can compare it to something you are familiar with. For example, in my civic hacking blog, i compared my vision of BBC Backstage with an event i went to which also involved the BBC a few years ago (BBC Blast). This enabled me to get an idea of the atmosphere and the general idea of bringing people together through innovative activities.

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