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  • Computers Sharing Data?

    Posted on April 11th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    Unfortunately I did not find many nuggets within this article. I found that the article was extremely technical. However, after some research I found some interesting nuggets on the world wide web (W3) about the world wide web (W3).

    What I find most fascinating about the world wide web (W3) is how it came to be. It is mind blowing that Tim Berners-Lee single handedly invented the medium. Even more mind blowing is the fact that he handed the medium over to humanity rather than making a profit off of it. Can you imagine how wealthy he would be?

    What I also find fascinating is the fact that Tim Berners-Lee was the first one to come up with this idea. The idea for websites, https, and urls. The idea to share information in a new medium. We often think of such an idea as a norm. However, we rarely think about how revolutionary ideas are when they do not have direct competition. We rarely think about how difficult it is to come up with an idea that has never been thought of before. I believe the following video says a lot about Tim Berners-Lee and his devotion to humanity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IQFjTnDozo

  • “I Don’t Think, My Fingers Think.”

    Posted on April 9th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    After reading Sherry Turkle’s “Video Games and Computer Holding Power” one video game came to mind.  That one video game was Beatles Rock Band.  I felt that my experience with Beatles Rock Band paralleled Marty’s experience with Asteroids. I felt that we had similar personalities and played the video game for similar reasons.

    Marty describes himself as “a real worrier. A real ‘type A person.'” “The game forces him into another mental space where the thoughts and the cares of his day cannot intrude.” “The game allows him to feel swept away and in control to have complete power and yet lose himself in something outside.” “It’s the relaxation of forcing himself to withdraw from the rate race, yet receiving a score that reassures him that he is the winner.”

    I would also describe myself as a real worrier. A real “type A person.” I find it difficult to escape the anxiety of tasks upon tasks I have to complete. However, the anxiety is suppressed when I play Beatles Rock Band. I purchased the game junior year of high school. In a under a week my best friend and I had managed to beat the game on all levels of difficultly from beginner to expert. We couldn’t stop. Marty describes the feeling “where he feels like an extension of the game or the game is an extension of him.” After that week I realized that the movements my fingers made on a guitar were similar to those movements made when on a keyboard. I did not think about what buttons to press but saw the trigger on the screen and my finger pushed the button. It was as if my mind had created a short cut. “Call it ‘muscle memory,’ call it ‘flow,’ call it ‘trusting your instincts’ – the experience of feeling a continuity between mind and body is part of the inner game.” I did not work at this feeling, this feeling simply came. It was relaxing. It was a sort of meditation.

    It is this feeling that leads “one to say he or she is more “possessed” by the game then playing it. I think everyone can relate to telling themselves “one more game.” More times than not there will be more than one more game. What is it that causes this addiction? Why doesn’t this addiction wear-out? We may never know. However, what we do know is that the feeling is unlike any other achieved through drugs, alcohol, or any sort of psychoanalysis. Maybe video games will be the next form of medication.

  • Are You A Skeptic, A Critic, or a Papert?

    Posted on April 4th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    Diving into Seymour Papert’s “From Mindstroms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas” we were met with the all too familiar idea of recursion.  Papert states that in “in teaching the computer how to think, children embark on an exploration about how they themselves think.” He then states that “thinking about think turns these children into an epistemologists.” We can all now thank Dr. Campbell for turning us children into epistemologists.

    Papert then shifts from the idea of recursion to discussing the cultural divide that exists between not different countries within our world but between precomputer cultures and the computer cultures within our world. After Papert defined this divide I couldn’t help but think of the divide between our generation and the generation before us. I couldn’t help but think of the hours spent attempting to help my mother understand FaceBook, Twitter, and Youtube. All inventions that did not exist when she was my age. When she was my age the idea of a personal computer was uncommon. Of course there were the few who believed it was possible. Overall most did not agree with Papert’s prediction that “long before the end of the century, people will buy children’s toys with as much computer power as the great IBM computer currently selling for millions of dollars.”

    The different perspectives on personal computers fell into three categories: skeptics, critics, and what I like to call, Paperts. “Skeptics did not expect the computer presence to make much different in how people learn and think.” “Critics did think that the computer presence will make a difference and were apprehensive.” In the middle lied Paperts who were able to view both perspectives. What intrigued me most was the idea of taking our current society and placing them within these roles. Honestly, I believe society has become a bunch of critics. We are constantly criticizing the medium that has brought us more than we could ever imagine. It has opened up doors we never thought could be opened. Personally I do not think I could fit into any three of these categories. Do you think you could?

  • Synonyms: Adoptive Citizen, Alien, Colonist, Documented Alien, Foreigner, Incomer, Migrant, Naturalized Citizen, Newcomer, Outsider, Pioneer, Settler, or Undocumented Alien.

    Posted on April 2nd, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    “Immigrant” by Simak stuffed my noggin full of both questions and answers… Of these questions and answers, there were two nuggets in particular that left me asking question upon question upon question.

    This first of these two nuggets came from the title of the reading itself. I didn’t quite understand what such a title could be referring to. However, this class has given me the ability to think thoughts that lead to additional thoughts that lead to additional thoughts. After reading “Deschooling Society” by Illich and “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat” by Morningstar and Farmer I have developed a new perspective on society as a whole. This perspective takes into account a lot of factors I had never considered before. For example, the first thought that came to mind of my series of thoughts was that the immigrant was a person within the experiential level not able to access the infrastructure level. I think of an immigrant as a foreigner who is able to experience (experiential level) the United States but not able to live (infrastructure level) within the United States. Thinking even deeper, this immigrant is able to live (gain access to the infrastructure level) within the United States with time. What I then asked myself was with time could one gain access to the infrastructure level? I believe this is a question we may never know.

    The second of these two nuggets came from the general idea of “Immigrant.” Once again I felt that “Deschooling Society” by Illich and “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat” by Morningstar and Farmer resonated within this article. What sat most with me was the idea of the IQ tests. I believe that these IQ tests were a direct comparison to our modern schooling system. In “Immigrant” only a few select humans were permitted to emigrate to the alien world.  I viewed these IQ tests as SATs or ACTs where only a few select humans are permitted to enter college.  Everyone who has the ability to attend college will tend to share their experiences with those who did not have the ability to attend college. However, due to the fact that our society is full of glamorous actresses and actors it is too easy to think that the quality of life once one enters college may not necessarily be what one imagines beforehand entering college. What I then asked myself was why did Simak choose to put these IQ tests within his story? I believe that he shared a lot of the same views as Illich, Morningstar, and Farmer. The three best friends that anyone could have.

  • The Usefulness of Blogging.

    Posted on March 28th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    Since I am presenting this thursday on “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat” by Morningstar and Farmer I thought that I would save my ideas for presentation day.  I have a lot of ideas that I don’t want to you all to get previous exposure to before presentation day. With that being said I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my blogging experience.

    Before taking this course I had been slightly against blogging. It seemed like an activity created to gloat about oneself. Something that was created to say “hey look at me,” “listen to me,” “I’m so interesting.” Being an introvert I like to keep my thoughts to myself. Sharing these ideas was a challenge for me. However, like most activities, with time I became more accustomed to it and more comfortable with it. It has evolved into a form of conversation. The conversation being before me and the read. Or more specifically, me and my blog. As if my blog was just another one of my friends.

    Now, at this point in the course, I am completely pro blogging. Honestly, I never thought I would be saying that. However, blogging has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me I never thought imaginable. This summer I am interning for a company called Job and Talent in Madrid, Spain. As a Finance and Accounting major I’ll be helping the company in investing its assets. Surprisingly, the blog is helping me with this internship. Job and Talent offers a scholarship for those who will blog over the course of their internship about their experience in Madrid, Spain. The qualifications to apply for this scholarship included having a previous blog. I was able to use my blog from this course to apply for the scholarship. I haven’t heard yet but if I do receive it you all will be the first to know. The fact that the blog gave me this opportunity is only the start of things to come.

  • A Life Without Schooling, Not Possible.

    Posted on March 26th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    It is generally accepted that the schooling system we have today is corrupt.  The purpose of schooling is no longer centered around gaining knowledge.  With such widespread dissatisfaction, one would think that something could be done.  However, it is hard to imagine what this something could be.  Ivan Illich’s “Learning Webs” from Deschooling Society helps to outline what he thinks this something could be.  More importantly, it outlines some of the major problems with schooling in our society.

    Ivan Illich states that “a good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.” He says that “what are needed are new networks, readily available to the public and designed to spread equal opportunity for learning and teaching.”

    Though I think approach is a great idea, I feel that it is extremely unrealistic.  Even if students had access to all of these networks, society has conditioned students to do the least amount work possible for the best grade possible.  In theory, “someone who wants to learn knows that he needs both information and critical response to its use from somebody else.”  This condition is idea.  Unfortunately, this is not the case. Currently our  condition would be extremely hard to reverse.  In order to reverse it, the generation undergoing the deschooling could not be exposed to the behavior of the generation before them.  With this said, I believe Ivan Illich’s theory is great in theory but impossible to attain.

     

  • The Gestalt Principles of Time.

    Posted on March 21st, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    “Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space?” by Bill Viola left me with a whole new perspective on time (not unusual for this course). We all understand that time is continuous. However, there are certain situations when we do not perceive time as continuous. For example, when we recall memories. As Bill Viola says, “it is memories, and to some extent sleep, that gives us the impression of a life of discrete parts, periods, or sections, of certain times or ‘highlights.'”

    I believe that Bill Viola intentionally drew a parallel between the gestalt principles and time. Rather than our eyes attempting to make sense of a photo, our minds are attempting to make sense of the concept of time. “Gestalt is a psychology term which means “unified whole”. It refers to theories of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920s. These theories attempt to describe how people tend to organize visual elements into unified wholes when certain principles are applied.” In short, the gestalt principles attempt to describe why we as humans tend to view the whole and then view the sum of the wholes parts. We first view time and then we view the discrete parts, periods, or sections of time. I find this extremely interesting because it applies to everyday life. When we tell a story to a friend we do not simple tell the story from beginning to end with every mundane detail in between but rather skip around and tell the parts that apply. The sum of these parts make up the whole story. As Bill Viola states “life without editing, it seems, is just not that interesting.”

  • The “Aristotle of Comics.”

    Posted on March 13th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    I never thought such a simple concept could cause such a headache. I grew up reading the comics in the Kid’s Post and I still read them in the Washington Post. Some of my favorites growing up included Archie Classics, Calvin and Hobbes, and Dennis the Menace. To be completely honest I still read these same comics today. However, from a young age comics just came to me. I never had to think much about the complex ideas behind what I was reading, I just enjoyed them.

    After reading Scott McLoud’s “Time Frames” which is an excerpt from his popular book “Understanding Comics,” I have a new perspective on comics. “Understanding Comics” is “an exploration of the definition, history, vocabulary, and methods of the medium of comics, itself in comics form.” In short it simply describes “how the comic format works and its structures and techniques.” He goes in-depth about how this new medium does in fact have rules and regulations that one may not pick up on as a child when perusing the Kid’s Post.

    By far, the nugget I found most fascinating was our perception of time in comics. It is a concept that seems so logical yet seems so illogical at the same time. As we read through a comic we usually read from left to right. The amount of information contained in each frame tends to define our perception of time in each frame. A crowded frame would take a significantly longer period of time to read than a blank frame with only an image. As we pass from frame to frame we assume that time is continuing on. However, we have absolutely no clue at what exact time in history the comic is illustrating. We tend to assume the present but it may actually be the past. It could be a past or future memory or situation. How do we define now? How do we define the present? It is these situations that often lead us in a vicious cycle of thought with no end solution. I think after this cycle of thought, similar to what we experienced in class, it is only appropriate to take a brake and read comics for what they are.

    Reference: http://www.slideshare.net/hexakali/scott-mccloud

  • Changing The World One TEDTalk At A Time.

    Posted on March 1st, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    Most recently, “TEDTalks, Ideas Worth Spreading” have gone viral.  Believe it or not TEDTalks actually began in 1984.  TEDTalks began as a conference that brought it’s audience together to discuss technology, entertainment, and design (TED.com).  This conference met twice a year in Long Beach and Palm Springs California (TED.com).  The recent hype about TEDTalks came with the introduction of TED.com in 2007.  This website stretched the scope of TEDTalks topics.  This website put everyones favorite talks from TED online for FREE.  Right now more than “900 TEDTalks are available online”(TED.com).

    What is most impressive about this website is it’s goal.  It does not aim to make a profit like most capitalistic organizations of our time but rather to “spread ideas” (TED.com).  This seems a bit cliche but is actually extremely impressive.  On TED.com it is stated “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.  So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

    Though a website cannot single-handedly change the world it is definitely a starting point.  The ideas that have branched from TEDTalks including the TED Prize “awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, “One Wish to Change the World” (TED.com) and theTEDx Events “designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level” (TED.com) all contribute to a world where one is open to sharing their opinion without fear of rejection.  From this innovative ideas and a more progressive world can come.  By progressive I mean a world in which countries not as advanced as the United States can break the societal roles they are given at birth due to their demographics.

  • What Does “The Medium Is The Message” Really Mean?

    Posted on February 28th, 2012 halliedominick No comments

    Reading “The Medium Is The Message” by Marshall McLuhan left me a bit foggy. I understood several nuggets of information but they seemed to float around within my mind. I wasn’t able to connect them. I think confusion may be an appropriate word to describe how I felt. However, I decided to do some addition research to better understand McLuhan.

    After reading “The Medium Is The Message” by Jason Gross I gained a whole new understanding of McLuhan’s point(s). The first point was that “the medium through which a message is experienced shapes the user’s perception of the message.” The second point was that “a medium can be the message itself if it is delivering content that would otherwise be impossible to access.”

    After coming to this realization a light bulb went off in my head. Everything FINALLY made sense. It isn’t the invention but the way we perceive the invention that helps us understand the message. It isn’t just the invention but the way we use the invention. This doesn’t just pertain to technology. We can bring this idea back to the some of the oldest inventions. What first comes to my mind is the invention of the wheel. Some may have viewed it as a strange rock formation. However, when the first person picked up that strange rock formation and allowed it to roll we had a completely new medium which created a completely new message. The wheel is our medium and the action of it rolling is the message. Our message is motion. Motion is of no use without the wheel. We view motion as it is through the rolling of the wheel. If we were to experience motion through another medium we may have a different perception of it today.  A more relevant example today may be with the invention of the computer. We were given this medium of the computer and through the message of the internet we have gained mass amounts of knowledge. Without the internet the computer would simply be another technological device. We would not have the level of communication that we would have today. The internet would be of no use without the computer. If we were to experience the internet only through applications such as the kindle, the iPad, or the nook, we may have a totally different perception of it. When thinking about how this medium has shaped the message it is mind blowing how it can go full circle and before you know it the message is shaping the medium.