Archive for August, 2010

Jaws Post

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Jaws Theme

Just a tester, but wanted to tell Professor Groom that I was watching history channel the other night, and guess what the topic was?  The making and filming of Jaws.  Thought it was quite funny the chances of this special running after just talking about the narration of the USS Indianapolis  in Jaws.  Oh, by the way, the fun fact about that scene was when they first filmed it, Robert Shaw the actor who played Sam Quint, tried to do the scene completely in the tank.  He asked Spielberg if he could drink before the scene to make it more authentic, but I suppose he was really dedicated to the part and was belligerent.  Shaw then asked the director to do it again sober while acting slightly drunk, and absolutely nailed it.

Another funny behind the scenes knowledge I found pretty funny: everyone remember the famous shark cage scene? Well they used a smaller person, or a dwarf sized stunt man, to get into the cage and make a 16 foot shark look like a 25 foot killer.  And Hooper. the scientist?  He was actually supposed to originally die, but due to amazing real shark footage where a shark tore apart a cage, they decided to let Hooper escape from Jaws to explain the empty cage.

Enjoy the movie facts!

C. Hamp

I Don’t Want My First Post to be an Assignment…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

While it would be fitting, seeing how I made this blog specifically for the class. You know. Since I already have one and all. Still. I figured it’d be nice to have a little bit of something not for class before I go bombarding the random visitors to this site with class assignments. Though they probably should get used to it…

I’ll probably come back later and edit this and make it more of a real post, but we shall see

Assignment #3: “What is Web 2.0?” and a few other things.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Due before class on Tuesday, September 7th no later than noon.

Read and blog your questions, ideas, and thoughts about Tim O’Reilly’s essay “What is Web 2.0?” Please blog at some length about the ideas here, claiming not to understand and limiting your post to one or two sentences saying as much does not constitute a thoughtful response.  You need to both list and struggle with the questions you have, while at the same time outlining and relating some of the salient points in the reading.

Additionally there are a few other things I will have expected you to do by next Tuesday, September 7th.

  • Add your domain info, preferred email, twitter account, and blog URL to the Course Directory (you will be updating this regularly over the course of the semester)
  • Add everyone’s blog in this class to a Feed Reader
  • Start commenting on each others posts (best get into the habit now!)
  • Explore themes and plugins for your blog. Be sure to check out Matthew Keaton’s tutorial for experimenting with themes, and this tutorial for exploring and installing plugins should also be useful. Finally, be sure to write about your choices and process.

The Wildnerness Downtown

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I just got wind of this crazy digital story through Alan Levine on Twitter—who is always good for some great Digital Storytelling links, as is Bryan Alexander. It’s called The Wildnerness Downtown, and I recommend you play with it. But keep in mind that in my experience it only really worked on the Google Chrome browser.

Gardner Campbell Presentation

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Personal cyber infrastructure is an extremely interesting concept. Our world now obtains the tools (widespread internet access, abundant computer usage, etc) to create an online infrastructure much more complex than websites such as facebook. This infrastructure could be a place for both academic and social purposes. One idea is to give newly enrolled undergraduate students a domain for them to create, explore, invent, and connect.

While the thought of having a place to post all academic work is great, instead of merely tossing it at the end of each semester, I see several drawbacks that may occur with these new domains as a whole. I believe that Campbell has this idea that these sites will be completely unregulated and that students will be able to add, post, and comment at their own will. If these domains are issued through a University there will undoubtedly be regulation. This will hinder the effectiveness of these domains, as student’s imagination and expression will be monitored for inappropriate content or possibly “non-University” related things. Because the sites will be in plain site for the entire world to see, each University will only want positive, clean, acceptable items on these sites. This will significantly reduce the success of these pages as a whole. One suggestion would be to not issue the domains through universities, but have the students purchase them on their own. Removing the ties from an educational source would allow more freedom for the user, overall creating a much more interesting and diverse cyber infrastructure for the entire world to share.

Number 1

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Just a tester post!

Shoot Frank.

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Shapes shift and dance before my muddy eyes as my brain attempts to process what it is I am subconsciously creating. I’m back in my high school which doesn’t look quite like it used to but it doesn’t matter; it never matters. Something is always wrong. It’s the little details painted inside my hippocampus that slowly blend as the colors run, and the picture is lost. The difference is recognized and the difference isn’t recognized; I feel like a puppet in a movie without a plot.

The hall melts into the trails behind the school, before the shopping center next door was finished. The ripped up land of the center’s future site is a clay canyon, and every time it rains the creek we jump across runs red. Erosion, muddiness, the loss of clarity, and it’s as if my dreams themselves are well written with little symbols and clues.

We stand over the canyon looking down at its mucky depths, the cross country team and I. It melts, they melt, and time speeds up. The shopping center is back, and a sense of urgency and purpose washes over me.

I’m walking through a gym I once played Parks and Rec. basketball in, somewhere in Spotsylvania County. The urgency grows, but the pseudo-clarity in my head fades. The children are playing basketball and I am running through them trying to get out, back to the shopping center which is miles yet only seconds away. Time is running out as I tumble out the gym door.

Sunshine and fresh air, the suburban dream. Harrison Crossing, the shopping center next to my high school is now full. It looks different and people are in the streets. My semi-lucid thoughts cling to the notion expressed in Inception, that being, that all these people are projections of my subconscious. These people are me. Time is ticking and the urgency is drowning me as panic floods into my lungs. I run into the street and cry “Shoot Frank!” The desperation on my face begins to spread to the surrounding faces like an infection. The sun is gone and in its stead are dark ominous thunderclouds, rising to the occasion. We as in me and my unconscious are screaming for Frank to be shot with increasing fervor. One more time I bellow “Shoot Frank!” I am in the middle of one side of the road, in the other lane I see someone, a man. He seems especially livid among the masses. Time has almost run out.

He stops, looks at me and says “Wait, I’m Frank.”

Time is up as a speeding car materializes beyond my peripherals and runs over Frank. He nor I saw it coming. He is my subconscious, he is me, and we are dead. My eyes open and I swing my legs out of bed. I open my computer and play Cage’s song: Shoot Frank.

Stories in pop culture: What gets you thinking?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

In the ninth grade, my best friend introduced me to the film Almost Famous. If you haven’t seen it, the movie basically tells the story of William Miller, and aspiring rock journalist who travels with the fictitious band Fever Dog to write an article for Rolling Stone magazine.  Before meeting the band, William runs into Lester Bangs, a famous rock journalist who attempts to dissuade the naïve teenager from associating with rock stars.  In his monologue, Lester mentions rock and roll’s transformation into an “industry of cool,” (which, William, of course, takes note of) and how rock stars “are trying to buy respectability for a form that is gloriously and righteously dumb.”

Almost Famous: William meets Lester

Lester’s advice makes me wonder, what is “cool”?

This movie, and Lester’s advice, probably couldn’t’ve come at a more applicable time in my life.  Think about it: the ninth grade was a pivotal time for self-expression.  If you didn’t make the right impression that year, there was the unspoken potential to be—gasp!—dubbed “uncool” for the next four years.  Although I’m sure not everyone felt this pressure to the same degree, chances are, it was there, lurking behind the pictures you chose for you locker and the pins you attached to your bookbag.  In retrospect, and despite my efforts, I definitely didn’t know what “cool” was at the age of 14.

Now I’m 21.  I still find myself saying “That’s cool” in everyday speech.  What I’m trying to express, however, is, “that’s neat” or “awesome”—I think?  But, when applied to the individual, e.g. “I’m cool,” is the speaker implying, “I’m awesome”?  Somehow “cool” just doesn’t seem that versatile.

By describing cool as “an industry,” Lester Bangs makes an interesting point about the commodification of this ambiguous… term/thing.  Apparently “cool” can be something with value, and perhaps even a price, for some people.  If so, is “cool” only attainable to those who can afford it—but what would you even buy it with in the first place?

I think Lester’s “industry of cool” represents the human obsession with what others think, and how, if it goes too far, we stop thinking for ourselves and begin acting how we think others would prefer us to act.  Maybe “cool” a state of mind or being.  In the ninth grade, maybe it was a social status.  Whatever “cool” is (if it’s really anything to begin with), it will always linger in the grey area for me as a term I should probably use more sparingly.

Okay, enough with this, I think I’m going to edit my blog to ensure it looks nice (or cool?) enough so other bloggers don’t judge my digital façade too harshly.

Response to Gardner Campbell’s article and presentation

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Having no prior experience with computer science, I have to say, reading Gardner Campbell’s article and listening to his presentation was quite a different experience for me.  Some of the technical jargon made it a little difficult to follow parts of the article, but I think that’s just something I’m going to have to get used to for the semester; and that’s okay, I’m willing to try it.

I think Dr. Campbell makes some valid points about the need for students to create “personal cyberinfrastructures,” particularly when he discusses the need for self-expression in a digital space.  I have had few classes where online interaction—let alone creative online interaction—played a role in coursework.  However, in the one class that I was required to “blog” (Blackboard-style), it was nice to participate in a space where students could collaborate beyond the traditional classroom environment.  To put this experience some context, it was for an education class, so students were required to share student teaching experiences in online discussion groups.  I truly think the opportunity to collaborate in a digital environment enhanced the challenging process of learning how to teach.  It was easy to learn from everyone’s experiences as we constantly shared interesting tips and anecdotes from weekly or bi-weekly practicum sessions.  That being said, considering that an environment as stifling as Blackboard could induce productive student-driven discussions, I think a more creative and versatile cyberinfrastructure could only improve on this means of sharing ideas.

Speaking of development as a student, I was interested in the notion of building on a personal cyberinfrastructure from matriculation to beyond commencement.  I think of how I have changed as a student at UMW and all of the “data” that I’ve produced in the last three years.  The type of environment Dr. Campbell describes would be the perfect space to track my personal and academic development since freshman year—much more satisfying and revealing than a boring GPA or standardized test score to “prove” how I’ve matured since matriculation.

I was also interested in the notion of being a producer and user of data.  Dr. Campbell used the game Little Big Planet as one example.  Although I’ve never played this game, he mentioned tagging user-created game levels for other gamers to use.  This tagging reminds me of a website that I use (http://www.last.fm) for tracking the music I listen to with iTunes and my iPod.  Similarly to Little Big Planet, users (i.e. music data producers) can tag artists according to user-created genres so that other users can use these tags to listen to artists relevant to their musical tastes.  Data acquired from your account is also used for suggesting artists you might like.  I wonder if this kind of tagging could work for students’ ideas, too?  It would probably make sharing ideas easier, as well as connecting with people with similar interests.

If nothing else, perhaps creating personal cyberinfrastructures will redirect students’ energy from constant Facebooking and toward more productive, but similarly engaging, environments.

Hello world!

Monday, August 30th, 2010

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