Archive for the ‘Assignment 2’ Category

Bag of Gold?

Friday, September 17th, 2010

After reading Gardner Campbell’s essay, A Personal Cyber Infrastructure, I realized that the internet meant a lot more to people than I had thought. Also that it had much more potential that I had thought. Who would’ve though you could do something with the internet other than facebook, gmail, and online banking? Campbell went as far as saying that refusing to take advantage of the web’s full capability was like rejecting a bag of gold. This is a little further than I would’ve taken it…primarily because my blog hasn’t quite turned out to be second income I had hoped, nor has my twitter for that matter. All jest aside though, Campbell makes a lot of good points. He calls the cyber infrastructure an alphabet, as in the necessary tool to create. I think it would be great if students were the Admins of their own sites, it almost forces us to become more computer literate as it were. A great idea that could actually happen, but requires three levels of openness according to Campbell. These levels include: open to the world, open to each other, and open to ourselves. All of these seem somewhat challenging, because a lot of people don’t really want that kind of interaction. I’m sure some students don’t even use facebook (maybe), so if that would be too much for them then this cyber infrastructure would totally shut them down. It sounded cool to me though. I really liked how the UMW staff had to do this, and they often grumbled about blogging and doing the work. It gives them an idea of what they would be getting themselves into and the rest of us, should this ever be required of all students.

Assignment 2

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

While I was reading O’Reilly’s article called “What is Web 2.0″ I learned what different website and engines were the updated versions of the others. At my age I have mostly only had experience with Google and have never thought to use Netscape as my preferred search engine. i also found it interesting that that article says “Google requires a competency that Netscape never needed: database management” which to me sounds like Netscape was more user friendly or maybe developer friendly but was still overtaken by Google. One question I also had about the article was what it meant by “the value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamism of the data it helps to manage”. I get the it means that the site is only as good as the data it is made of but do you guys really agree with that? Also, is this information still valid in this world? Technology is ever changing and some aspects in this article may already be outdated and some of the Web 2.0 sites might have been replaced already.

Assignment #2 – A Response to Assignment #1

Monday, September 6th, 2010

As an introduction to what we would be doing in this class, the first week of school we were assigned to read an article and watch a presentation by Gardner Campbell, a former professor here at Mary Wash.

My freshman year here at Mary Wash I had Professor Campbell for English 295 – an english class entitled “Art of Literature”. I did not need to take any english classes for my major or for gen eds, but I figured it would be a good idea to take a basic english class my first semester in college. Little did I know that I was signing up for the class that is basically the gateway class for all english majors. You know, the one that people take to decide whether or not they really want to major in english. Needless to say, the class was a bit more work than I anticipated. But the one thing I remember (ok…I’d like to think that I remember more than one thing from that class…) is that everyday before class we had to post a blog entry about the reading for that day. And I hated it. I love writing. It’s how I organize my thoughts and get stuff out of my head that would otherwise float around forever. But there’s just something about feeling like you’re forced to do something, even if it’s something that you love, that takes all the fun out of it. So even though I loved reading and writing, I hated blogging twice a week for Gardner Campbell’s Art of Literature class.

Being that this experience is the one I most remember about Gardner Campbell, I was not too terribly excited about this assignment. Seeing that the video was just short of an hour long did nothing to boost my excitement meter either. However, as I sat and watched the video I remembered other things about the class – like the fact that I actually liked him as a teacher and he was great at articulating his ideas. So upon recalling the positive aspects of English 295 and Gardner Campbell I was more willing to listen to his ideas on what he calls a “personal cyberinfrastructure”.

I see the merit in the concept of a place where all my work would be in the same place. A place where I could establish and present an identity – really of my own choosing – to the rest of the world. As I prepare to graduate at the end of this semester and move forward into a professional career, it would be nice to go back and pull information and projects that I have created during the past three years here at school and show it off to potential future employers. I am certainly intrigued by the possibilities presented by allowing each student to create their own personal web space for academic, personal, and even potentially professional use.

Assignment #2 – A Response to Assignment #1

Monday, September 6th, 2010

As an introduction to what we would be doing in this class, the first week of school we were assigned to read an article and watch a presentation by Gardner Campbell, a former professor here at Mary Wash.

My freshman year here at Mary Wash I had Professor Campbell for English 295 – an english class entitled “Art of Literature”. I did not need to take any english classes for my major or for gen eds, but I figured it would be a good idea to take a basic english class my first semester in college. Little did I know that I was signing up for the class that is basically the gateway class for all english majors. You know, the one that people take to decide whether or not they really want to major in english. Needless to say, the class was a bit more work than I anticipated. But the one thing I remember (ok…I’d like to think that I remember more than one thing from that class…) is that everyday before class we had to post a blog entry about the reading for that day. And I hated it. I love writing. It’s how I organize my thoughts and get stuff out of my head that would otherwise float around forever. But there’s just something about feeling like you’re forced to do something, even if it’s something that you love, that takes all the fun out of it. So even though I loved reading and writing, I hated blogging twice a week for Gardner Campbell’s Art of Literature class.

Being that this experience is the one I most remember about Gardner Campbell, I was not too terribly excited about this assignment. Seeing that the video was just short of an hour long did nothing to boost my excitement meter either. However, as I sat and watched the video I remembered other things about the class – like the fact that I actually liked him as a teacher and he was great at articulating his ideas. So upon recalling the positive aspects of English 295 and Gardner Campbell I was more willing to listen to his ideas on what he calls a “personal cyberinfrastructure”.

I see the merit in the concept of a place where all my work would be in the same place. A place where I could establish and present an identity – really of my own choosing – to the rest of the world. As I prepare to graduate at the end of this semester and move forward into a professional career, it would be nice to go back and pull information and projects that I have created during the past three years here at school and show it off to potential future employers. I am certainly intrigued by the possibilities presented by allowing each student to create their own personal web space for academic, personal, and even potentially professional use.

Assignment #2.0

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

So, I couldn’t resist adding in the 2.0, since this reading was in fact about the web 2.0. I found this article very interesting to read because of the fact that it outlined the shift in the internet, and the reasons behind it. I always had the general sense that the internet was changing but I never really had a firm understanding of how. There a couple points within the article that really caught my interest and they are as follows:

The Consumer becomes the Server:

This I had never really noticed before but after reading the section about BitTorrent it makes so much sense! In reality it benefits everyone involved, not only can the consumer access files faster off the internet but the company does not need to pile large amounts of resources into increasing their server space. By making the consumer the server more time can be spent into pooling large amounts of files into one server space…. at least I think thats how it works :/

RSS Feed:

I have to admit that I am a fan of the RSS feed. Even before this class I was already subscribing to many different websites through Google reader, the reason being that I didn’t have to go to each individual site to gather the same information. It saves time, is practical and I can add in whatever I want to follow…. And as a side note! If you use Google Chrome you can download an extension that shows you every time you get an update in your reader and gmail…. here is the link!

Software is Service:

As I read this I couldn’t help but fervently wish that Microsoft would adopt this practice, namely because I am tired of having to approve updates for my computer. If they would do it automatically like Google has so effectively done, my life would be greatly improved…

In conclusion, I did find this to be an interesting article. It especially odd to think of yourself as a client of the web, and the reality that the web is being built to serve you… so you could better serve the web…..

Honestly, one thought that really struck me is where the Web will go after this… especially with the rise in the use of Smartphones, how portable will the web become? Will it be as Gardner Campbell said, where we will carry it in our pocket?

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Assignment 2

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

When I started to read Gardner Campbell’s article, I honestly thought it would be completely unrealistic for every new college student to be required to have a domain and web servers. In my mind I was thinking, “I would have had a panic attack if I had to do that when I first came in as a Freshman!” To me it seemed like a lot of unnecessary work to have to do in the first stressful semester at college. Now that I’m started in the process of having somewhat of my own cyberinfrastructure, I can see that it would be easy to do, and even easier if all professors had assignments that could be completed and “turned in” online. One of my friends said something along the lines of- the fact that he writes a paper and turns it in so that one person reads it and assigns a grade on it and then throws it in a box or in the trash, there isn’t a lot of incentive to agonize over what you write because no one else is ever going to read it except the professor.

I then read Campbell’s argument that if most professors want students to be creative and come up with their own thoughts and ideas, then creating a personal cyberinfrastructure would be the most logical and, in my new opinion, fun way to be creative. In my “striving to be an elementary school teacher” brain, I want to encourage students to be creative and make connections to previous knowledge and experiences. I think that having a personal cyberinfrastructure is a great way to make those connections and constantly build on previous thoughts. I don’t, however, think that this is feasible for elementary students at this point, but I think that it’s very doable for college or even high school students.

My First Blog Post Ever and Gardner Campbell’s presentation

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Alrighty, I am not quite sure how to approach this blog, so I am just going to start by taking a jab at it!  However I can tell this class is going to take a lot of trial and error, but thats how you learn whats right, by first figuring out whats wrong!  Now to get to the point of this blog to talk about some of the things that made me think in Campbell’s presentation.

The first thing that comes to my mind is one of the first quotes he shares that states that human race is in the middle of one of the largest increase of our expressive capabilities in history, which then Campbell then expresses his feelings that we are only at the beginning. I am not going to argue with what Campbell stated, but I can honestly say that for me it is sort of mind-blowing trying to think of what is to come if this is truly the beginning. I then think about how people must have felt with the invention of the telephone. How amazing it would have been the very first time you talk to someone in another building entirely, and how they probably never would have conceived that it was possible to have a machine where you could see and hear someone instantaneously with no wires attached that can fit in your pocket. So if this is really only the beginning I really have trouble figuring out what is to come, but for that only time can tell. For me it is a great and powerful idea, which in some ways is also frightening.

One of the other things I thought of that was mentioned  in the presentation, and that we discussed in class is the idea of a “Big Brother”. After class I was thinking about who all has access to my facebook life, and how we use sites like facebook like they are our own little slice of the web that is our own, but in reality anyone can be able to see it. I think about how many people would post certain pictures if they knew their future employer would see them when they are being considered for a position, is that really the impression they want to leave them with, yet people still post them time and time again. Sure you can “select” who can see your profile, but companies have ways of getting past those securities. Because of this, in certain aspects I believe the  previous generations to have it easier then us. As long as they didn’t let their home lives affect their work no one would know what they did with their friends on the weekends, or at least not as easily therefore their private life was that private. I do recognize that people do have the choice of what to present to the world on facebook, but why do people expose themselves so much of themselves to the world,when they never would  reveal so much of themselves to the world off the web? Something else that is a long the same lines that I found interesting is that when I saw one of my “facebook friends” at Panera, who didn’t acknowledge me  nor I her,I started thinking that if I am not good enough friends to even say hi to her, why would I allow her to have the open book of my life on facebook. Just somethings I thought were interesting to think about.

Jar of Teeth

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Okay, so since this is already the best scene in my favorite movie, I have absolutely NO alternative but to comment on representation here!

First, I’m going to just say how fantastic it is that this scene is really representative of the entire film.

Second, I’m going to explain how this scene actually ties directly into the theme of my blog and site (floopsjarofteeth.net).

Third, this scene is pure poetry and probably the most terrifying of any in the film.

1.) So like any dorky Jaws fan, I have watched every documentary available, learning all sorts of useless but equally fascinating trivia about the movie that altered the way we look at the ocean forever. This summer I ran into one I hadn’t seen on the Biography channel, so of course I watched the entire 2-hour special. Insert judgement here :] Still, I learned about this scene and how particularly difficult it really was to shoot. Not only was this scene rewritten by several screenwriters and actors, but it was emotionally draining for everyone to execute, especially Robert Shaw who had the daunting task of representing every man who survived the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Anyway, so here’s what’s so incredible about this scene. We see absoutely nothing, and yet, the scene is chilling. All the viewer sees are the expressions on three men’s faces. This one scene, the documentary revealed, was what gave the entire movie real hope, because up until then it seemed like nothing was working. Scenes on the ocean were impossible to shoot, the mechanical shark NEVER worked, and the director, producers, and actors were constantly threatened by deadlines and overspending. This scene changed all that. It was the breath of life in a drowning film. After this scene was shot everyone felt renewed, and began to believe in the film.

What makes this scene so representative of the movie is what made the movie work so well. Due to malfunctioning mechanics and pretty bad special effects, there wasn’t really a lot of footage of the shark. This happened to be a real blessing in disguise for the movie. Quint’s monologue here proves that what we don’t see is actually more frightening than what we do see. The unknown is always scary; that’s why no one likes the dark!

2.) The theme of my blog has everything to do with this one scene, and ties in with my domain name, pretty poetically I might add :] On the first day of class my story was all about my trip to the beach, my traditional viewing of Jaws, and my eventual reality-check upon discovering at least a hundred little black, fossilized shark teeth scattered down the shore. There’s something unavoidably real about finding actual evidence of the thing you most fear. Somehow, in a strange sort of paradox, it makes it a lot less scary too. Just as the Quint story, and most of the “shark” scenes in the film work because you see nothing, so does our general fear of the unknown. However, when you watch the few scenes in which the shark is quite obviously fake (aka Quint’s death scene) your fear disappears, and it almost seems laughable that you ever could have thought it was a monster.

This semester I’m participating in a residence life program called KARC where I room with a Korean Exchange Student and become part of community of South Korean students studying at UMW for one year. This is a country and a culture that is completely and absolutely pitch black to me, I mean I really know NOTHING about South Korea. Each day I’ve spent with this brave group has been like lighting a tiny match in a locked closet, shedding a sliver of light. So, just like picking up each shark tooth from the sand initially shocked me but later revealed a grain of truth, letting in just a trickle of light, so I’m going to do with this blog. What I learn and experience with them, our commonalities and differences, these will all be little black, fossilized teeth in my jar. Sometimes the teeth will surprise me, leave me anxious, or just make me smile. Whatever they do, they’re definitely worth picking up, if only to see that yes, it really is just a mechanical shark.

3.) Funniest scene in the movie, just thought you should know! :]

Farewell!

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.