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  • Blogs, or as they were originally known, weblogs, first hit the World Wide Web back in 1997. The term "weblog" was coined in December that year and almost immediately abbreviated to "blog". The subsequent two decades saw the rise and rise of millions of blogs, they rode the wave of Web 2.0, became multi-author publication tools, and many matured into fully-fledged information and news services.

    Now, writing in the in International Journal of Electronic Business, Parag Uma Kosalge, Suzanne Crampton, and Ashok Kumar of the Department of Management, at Seidman College of Business, at Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, ask whether blogs have had their day given the rise of social media and social networking sites and systems, such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, which are outpacing blogs in so many ways today.

    Their study of over four hundred internet users found statistically significant evidence for reduced user awareness and consideration of blogging in recent years. However, their study also identified four business areas that users still find important for blogs, such as employee networking and online sales. As with many aspects of technology and in particular information and communications technology, the services on which users rely and use the most are constantly shifting. The services must, in the parlance of natural selection, adapt or die. Blogs may not have had their day, but it is critical that bloggers recognize the opposition they face from other non-blogging services online and in order to be sustainable must find ways to ride whichever wave comes along.

    Kosalge, P.U., Crampton, S. and Kumar, A. (2019) 'Blogs: are they headed downwards in social networking? An empirical analysis', Int. J. Electronic Business, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.72–91.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2019.099063

  • There is much debate about whether or not violent video games give rise to violent tendencies in those who play them. Some research shows this to be the case while other studies demonstrate the opposite. However, a third factor may be critical to understanding what role, if any, such games play in society and that is "family resilience." Writing in the International Journal of Innovation and Learning, Mirjana Radetic-Paic of the Faculty of Educational Sciences, at Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, in Croatia, has investigated the influence of violent video games on player aggression and violent tendencies in the context of this third factor.

    She has found that in general, emotional maturity, responsibility, and an ability to keep promises within the family is linked to playing video games with non-violent content. "The results are especially important for future teachers, since they need to be able to develop appropriate strategies which prevent adverse impacts on learning abilities such as social and communication skills," Radetic-Paic explains.

    "Although special attention has to be paid to reaching conclusions and looking for a direct correlation among violence, video games with violent contents and family resilience factors, it can be deduced that this occurrence has many causes, which means that a larger number of variables has been used in the interpretation," she adds.

    Radetic-Paic, M. (2019) 'Video games with violent contents and family resilience factors', Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp.223–236.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2019.098883

  • Music is big business. It has been since the advent of the sheet music industry in the 19th Century and the ensuing piracy scandals, right through the invention of radio, recorded music, and the usurping of the family piano for devices that could replicate the songs we loved without anyone having to be able to sight-read, play or sing. Into the 21st Century, the industry is still playing catchup with the pirates who found technological ways in which to replicate and share the music they love without spending a penny of their own money.

    Writing in the International Journal of Electronic Business, Teresa Fernandes and João Guerra of the Faculty of Economics, at the University of Porto, in Porto, Portugal discuss the advent of music streaming services. Streaming services emerged as an alternative business model to the failing CD-buying model in the wake of file sharing and the mp3. It was obvious to the technology, as opposed to the record companies, that are a new model was needed if money was to be made and an industry soaked in the copyright and intellectual property laws founded in the 19th Century if not before was to survive in some form into the 21st Century.

    The problem remains, however, whereas video streaming services are adding millions of users each month as on-demand alternatives to cable and satellite TV, music lovers are not adopting music streaming at quite the rate its purveyors would like to reach a solid bottom line in their business model. Whereas ten dollars a month for almost unlimited TV show and movie streaming on-demand seems like a bargain, the same fee for music does not compute when it is so easy for listeners to quickly download the latest hits and even the golden oldies without it costing them anything even at the risk of legal action being taken against them under copyright laws.

    The team's analysis suggests that there is no simple solution, no magic button that the music (streaming) industry might press to persuade people to sign up for its offerings. They must instead now consider how to generate revenue through balancing free and premium components as well as adjusting their strategies for different market segments based on age, gender, for instance. There may well always be consumers willing to pay as long as they are targeted correctly, but one might suggest that the billion-dollar music industry of the 20th Century is probably long gone and a new paradigm is needed. Perhaps we could all go back to making our own music...

    Fernandes, T. and Guerra, J. (2019) 'Drivers and deterrents of music streaming services purchase intention', Int. J. Electronic Business, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp.21–42.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2019.099061

  • There are many ways in which hackers and crackers can break into a Wi-Fi network. It is trivial if the network uses out of date security protocols or weak passwords. But even if the system is setup with the latest security measures, strong passwords, and firewall and malware protection, there are still ways and means that a malicious third party might access such a network. Writing in the International Journal of Wireless and Mobile Computing, researchers from China review the various hacking techniques that might be used and show what defensive measures might best be taken to preclude system compromise.

    Rui Guo of the Department of Internet Crime Investigation, at the National Police University of China, in Liaoning Province, China, explains that there is a fundamental security flaw in all Wi-Fi systems. Because of the way Wi-Fi works, the access-point, must listen passively for a signal, a beacon, from devices that may wish to connect whether legitimately or illicitly. This beacon is wholly unencrypted, it has to be because until a connection is made no data can be exchanged to encrypt subsequent communication between the access-point and device.

    "This makes Wi-Fi easy to use because you can see networks and their names around you without exchanging some key or password first, but it also makes Wi-Fi networks prone to many kinds of attacks," explains Guo. He has now looked at the top three exploit kits used to break into Wi-Fi: Rogue AP, ARP spoofing, and Wi-Fi MITM. The first point of concern is that none of these kits need physical access to the network, by virtue of its wireless nature, Wi-Fi is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, whereas a wired network would require the hacker to have a plug-and-socket connection to the network to be able to breach its security.

    These "automated cyber weapons" can cause havoc by penetrating and bypassing protections, they can also forge disassociations and deauthorise packets, compromising legitimate communications. Guo describes the protection tools that are available but none of them is perfect and there almost always ways in which a hacker can breach a Wi-Fi network.

    Guo, R. (2019) 'Survey on WiFi infrastructure attacks', Int. J. Wireless and Mobile Computing, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.97–101.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJWMC.2019.099026

  • Music is an essential element of both the tourism offering and promotion in branding a holiday destination, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Tourism Policy. Indeed, music can make a tourist destination unique and distinctive. Christian Stipanović, and Diana Grgurić of the University of Rijeka, working with Nataša Jurina of the City of Krk Tourist Board, Krk, Croatia, discuss the details.

    Krk is the most populous islands of the Adriatic Sea, lying towards the north near Rijeka on the Dalmatian Coast in the Bay of Kvarner. It covers more than 400 square kilometres as does the neighbouring island of Cres, although Cres has a population of three thousand or so compared with Krk's approximately 20000 inhabitants. It is a popular tourist destination being connected to the mainland by a concrete bridge and in relatively close proximity to Slovenia, Hungary, Southern Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy.

    The team reports that the traditional music of Krk, whether performed live or recorded music at various venues and locations across the island is an important part of the authenticity, culture, and heritage of the island. “Recently the destination has sought to innovate its music offering to reflect the island's sustainable development strategy and, by implementing its own development concept model,” the team writes.

    The team's study shows that audio management represents a crucial dimension of an integrated tourism product based on sustainable development and indigenous values. They add that it can improve the destination's tourist offering and the overall experience for visitors but only if there is planning for music, noise control, and acoustic design, in venues for instance.

    Stipanović, C., Grgurić, D. and Jurina, N. (2018) 'Audio management in the development and branding of Krk Island', Int. J. Tourism Policy, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.319-336.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2018.098933

  • Research published in the International Journal of Energy Technology and Policy shows how a neural network can be trained with a genetic algorithm to forecasting short-term demands on electricity load. Chawalit Jeenanunta and Darshana Abeyrathna of Thammasat University, in Thani, Thailand, explain that it is critical for electricity producers to be able to estimate how much demand there will be on their systems in the next 48 hours. Without such predictions, there will inevitably be shortfalls in power generation when demand is higher than estimated or energy and resources wasted if demand is lower than expected.

    The team has used data from the electricity generating authority of Thailand (EGAT) to train a neural network via a genetic algorithm. The results are compared with the more conventional back-propagation approach to prediction and show that the system is much better and predict the rise and falls in electricity demand. The genetic algorithm neural network (GANN) approach takes about 30 minutes to train for prediction compared with 1 minute for back-propagation training of a neural network. However, the added value of much more accurate predictions far outweighs this additional time and effort.

    Jeenanunta, C. and Darshana Abeyrathna, K. (2019) 'Neural network with genetic algorithm for forecasting short-term electricity load demand', Int. J. Energy Technology and Policy, Vol. 15, Nos. 2/3, pp.337–350.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJETP.2019.098957

  • An ego network is one perspective on social network analysis, it looks at the individual and their circle of friends and the connections that fan out from that person. Writing in the International Journal of Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Tinghuai Ma of Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China, and colleagues describe a way to look at an ego network and to automatically and accurately glean information about the community surrounding the person at its centre. Obviously, by applying such an analysis to different individuals it should be possible to build up a picture of the wider community. The approach developed by the team could be useful users themselves, allowing them to take control of their contacts in an automated manner.

    The team can build up circles of friends from their analysis. In a three-step process that looks for the similarities between user attributes, features of network structure, and the contact frequency between the central user, the ego, and their friends. "We compare the similarity among attributes of users first, the team reports, they can then "divide all friends by the similarity of properties between any friend and the central user.”

    Xing, F., Ma, T., Tang, M. and Guan, D. (2019) 'Friend circle identification in ego network based on hybrid method', Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp.224–234.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJAHUC.2019.098860

  • A soundscape workshop offered young people an opportunity to participate in the conversation surrounding the urban sonic environment, changes in it, and its future. The outcomes are discussed in the International Journal of Electronic Governance in the context of a large, creative Europe project known as "The People's Smart Sculpture".

    Aura Neuvonen of the Department of Film and Television at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, in Helsinki, Finland, examined the issues of creating and experiencing soundscapes in the mobile soundscape workshop. "The soundscape platform and the workshop method was created to experiment with mobile and participatory methods with sound and sonic experiences," she explains. The sub-project entitled "Neighbourhood as a living room" was focused on finding new ways to make exhibitions at the Helsinki Museum of Technology more interesting especially to young people. The findings could have wider implications for other museums, galleries outdoor installations, and events.

    During the workshops, participants generated soundscapes using a mobile tool known as "Soundspace" and an Audio Digital Asset Management System developed at Metropolia. Having created their soundscapes, they listened to each other's and discussed their experiences and opinions. "The participants' focus on hearing, listening and observing their surrounding sonic environment increased when emotional engagement and personal experiences were acknowledged during the workshop," Neuvonen explains, an important point in the wider context of taking part in the discussion about our aural environment.

    Neuvonen, A. (2019) 'Experiencing the soundscape with mobile mixing tools and participatory methods', Int. J. Electronic Governance, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.44–61.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2019.098811

  • How might we ensure that our young people are safe and secure while being sociable online? That is the question addressed by a team in the International Journal of Business Innovation and Research.

    In the age of online social networks and social media, countless millions of us are connected to internet services other individuals and corporations almost constantly. We rely heavily on social media to obtain and share information, news, and multimedia content. Moreover, we share much of this information with relatives, friends, and other online users. What is not always obvious to many users is just how much of our personal and private information is being shared across these networks and with the corporations that offer the services, often at no obvious financial cost to us, but ultimately at some cost to our privacy and perhaps our security.

    Ajith Sundaram of Anna University, in Chennai and P. Radha of the SNT Global Academy of Management Studies and Technology, in Coimbatore, India, have investigated the impact of phishing, profile squatting, image tagging, spamming, cross profiling, and other activities on youth security and safety online. Their modelling of social media activity does show that security and privacy concerns have a moderating effect of perceived privacy on trust. The pair offers practical and theoretical implications that could be applied irrespective of whether an individual or an organization is being discussed. The researchers highlight best practice that might be employed to protect online privacy.

    Sundaram, A. and Radha, P. (2019) 'Social media security and privacy protection concerning youths. 'How to be safe, secure and social'', Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp.453-471.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2019.098761

  • Vaccination is the most effective and safe preventive strategy against many childhood infectious diseases. We can vaccinate effectively and safely against potentially lethal and debilitating diseases including measles, mumps, influenza, smallpox, tuberculosis, Rubella, poliomyelitis, and various other diseases. However, there are still outbreaks where vaccination is not available and increasingly in the era of contrarian thinking where vaccines are not taken as an option by some parents for their children, we are seeing the re-emergence of epidemics of these horrendous diseases.

    Now, mathematician Kazeem Oare Okosun of Vaal University of Technology, in Gauteng, and Oluwole Daniel Makinde of Stellenbosch University, South Africa, have derived and analysed a deterministic model for the transmission of childhood disease perform optimal control analysis of the model. Writing in the International Journal of Computing Science and Mathematics, they report on how a disease might be controlled optimally to reduce the devastating impact of an epidemic. Their approach also looks at how financial costs might be minimized in efforts to control a childhood disease.

    Vaccination has proven to be the most effective prevention strategy against childhood diseases, the team writes, the need to achieve an optimal level of vaccine coverage is essential to controlling the spread of childhood disease in the twenty-first century, they add. Prevention is ultimately better than cure the research suggests especially given that many of the most debilitating and lethal diseases have no effective pharmaceutical, or indeed, any other form of, treatment.

    Okosun, K.O. and Makinde, O.D. (2019) 'Mathematical model of childhood diseases outbreak with optimal control and cost effectiveness strategy', Int. J. Computing Science and Mathematics, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.115–128.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJCSM.2019.098743


2018 Best Paper Award announced by International Journal of Masonry Research and Innovation

The International Journal of Masonry Research and Innovation has established an annual award for the best paper published in each respective year.

The best paper has been selected using a new formula for the 2018 competition, with the aim of increasing the involvement of the editorial board members in the procedure. An online voting system was set up, allowing each board member to express his/her vote for one paper published by IJMRI in 2018. Associate Editors and the Editor in Chief were allowed to express two and three votes respectively (or multiple votes for the same paper). The best paper was then awarded by the Editor in Chief according to the results of this online voting system. In order to avoid bias, each paper was labelled with the following alphanumeric string: 3_N_ppp, where "3" represents the volume, "N" the issue and "ppp" the page number of the first page of the paper.

For 2018, twenty papers were eligible for competing, and 32 votes (including the multiple choices of Associate Editors and the Editor in Chief) were received. The first three places were as follows:

The editors and board congratulate the authors for their significant contributions to state-of-the-art research on masonry. They should be very proud of their achievements in a very competitive pool.

The 1st place winners will receive an online subscription to IJMRI's 2018 volume and a certificate.

A sample issue collecting the papers ranked in the top three plus the following papers selected by the Editor (based also on the final ranking) is now available for the readers free of charge:

This sample issue showcases the range and quality of the content provided by the International Journal of Masonry Research and Innovation.

New Editor for International Journal of Earthquake and Impact Engineering

Dr. Ehsan Noroozinejad from the Graduate University of Advanced Technology in Iran has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Earthquake and Impact Engineering.

New Editor for International Journal of Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Prof. Xiao-Zhi Gao from the University of Eastern Finland has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology.

International Journal of Big Data Management invites special issue proposals

Dr. Riad Shams, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Big Data Management, has released a call for special issue proposals for the journal. Details are available here.

New Editor for International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking

Dr. Dharma P. Agrawal from the University of Cincinnati in the USA has been appointed to take over editorship of the International Journal of High Performance Computing and Networking. Prof. B.B. Gupta of the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, India, will be working alongside Dr. Agrawal in the role of Editor.