W3 Broken Down

This essay was very easy to understand considering it was probably one of the most intelligent ones we’ve read, or at least in my opinion. I’ve never thought about what the letters mean in the URL bar, but after reading this piece, I was able to piece a little bit of it together. I thought that the somewhat history of the different hypertexts was interesting because it shows how much the behind the scenes, or monitors, have changed just within the past few decades.

People don’t think how much work goes into just one query on the Internet. It may seem like it’s an automatic process, but the fact that it goes from server to server and then back to your computer proves how dependent we are on technology. Think about it: going to find one article in a magazine in a library is so draining, but on the Internet, with just one keyword, you can find what you’re looking for within a matter of seconds. Google even shows how long it took to find what you were looking for.

The section on recent W3 developments was interesting as well because I felt that it showed some organization with the whole system of different software and how it was presented to users. People who aren’t technologically capable of figuring out what they need for their computers or for themselves love when things are set out as a sort of checklist, because then they know what they are getting with the software instead of playing a guessing game.

The last thing I want to talk about was how they said that W3 had overflowed it’s original goal, which cold have been detrimental to a lot of things, but it turned out to expand a lot of thinking and technological innovations. I don’t think anyone saw the Internet taking off as fast, or as well, as it did. It’s changed lives, like many other pieces of technology, but I can honestly say I don’t know what I would do without the Internet.

Video Games and Mental Health

So the title of this blog is a little much, but I felt it was the best way to describe my reaction to this essay.

I felt this piece was very much applicable to today’s society with children and cell phones, and really any type of technology. The boys I nannied for this summer were so hooked on their iPods that it was sort of sad in a way because they didn’t have any social skills nor did they have any morals when it came to talking about killing/maiming/anything inappropriate in an appropriate manner. I’m all for kids playing around with programming to see what really can happen when you fix one little thing in a code, but there needs to be a line drawn so they can know how to function not only in a social situation, but how to conduct themselves in a serious situation where they just can’t hit a button and everything will go away. Children being able to use video games as an outlet is understandable, because as in Jarish’s situation where he really didn’t have a place where he felt comfortable, he felt that through video games and by “conquering” and “controlling” them.

I feel there is a dependence on video games from children and there is no way, at the rate technology is going, that it can get better. The advances in technology have created an even bigger generational gap, and unless something is done to slow it down, it’s going to get worse. I’m all for video games having a positive impact on children, but there is a healthy safe limit. I believe it can help their imagination and expand their intelligence, but social skills and moral stability need to be considered as well.

Mindstorms: Computers and Children

This essay was sort of an expansion on Kay and Goldberg’s “Personal Dynamic Media” and how children are able to learn so much by given free rein with computer programs. I thought this piece took it to a new level by adding in supervision and curriculum aspects. However, there is a difference between supervision and curricula, because supervision is giving advice and aid along the way while curricula is in a way a standard that the child will have to meet with the computer programming. The different types of thinking and learning were really interesting because the brain works in certain ways while the mind works in completely different ways. The mind is allowed to roam more than the brain is because of the different things they process. In a way, I thought it was creepy how, in the picture sequence in the back of the essay, it was as if a therapist was telling the “viewer” what to do, with all of the turns and angles and how to create the picture.

The discussion on the different types of languages in which programming can be learned intrigued me because it showed how things can be interpreted differently by different people. I thought the piece on teaching children/babies a vocabulary of 50 words would be easy for them to learn, but it would create so many problems when it came time for them to have more complex thoughts that they could not express with only 50 words. Sure, everyone has their own ideas on how to learn or teach something, but it’s important to remember that everyone is different and has different learning styles, so the same thing won’t work for everyone.

Overall, this essay was interesting, but I didn’t like it as much as some of the others we’ve read. I found it sort of repetitive and very similar to the piece by Kay and Goldberg. However, I do feel it’s possible to take things from this essay.

Kimon: Does this place exist?

The first thing that really jumped out at me was the realization that people have to sort of go through a “child” stage in every new thing they take on. It takes Bishop the entire essay to realize that the only way he can become a pseudo Kimonian is that he must be a naive child and sort of give the system some pressure and resistance, because it will show that he recognizes the expectations of society and that he is starting to conform. This happens to every person in every new stage in their life because they are no longer the person who knows everything; they are in a way inferior to the people who do know the ropes. To me, this connected back to our discussion from Illich and how you have to work your way through what society wants you to do to really prove yourself and become something in the world.

Another thing I would like to discuss is sort of branching off from the child stage, but the fact that Bishop had to go through years of studying and passing an exam that only one out of a thousand people pass is sort of parallel with high school students and college. With Kimon being so selective, it reminded me of how universities are so selective today as compared to even a few years ago. This also relates back to Illich’s essay with following what the system wants you to do, and being forced into a pattern of 12+ years of schooling just to reach the bare minimum, and now 12 years isn’t even enough.

One last major thing I found interesting was the differences in cultures between Kimon and Earth. From the differences in schooling and behaviors within the cultures, Kimon has a much more sophisticated atmosphere and Earth is portrayed as an unorganized mess that doesn’t really have a strong diplomatic standing within the “galaxy”. When reading this section of the essay, it reminded me of how different US cultures and Asian cultures are. In Japan, children start in school much earlier and start with harder material, which is why Asian children grow up to be much smarter and are more able to innovate in the technological world. A majority of American children, and the number is growing, are starting to think that they can do less and less and still do well in the world, which is wrong. It is so important to work hard because that will give you the work ethic and the motivation to be successful when you are older.

I felt that this essay could have gone in a lot of directions, but these things are what stood out to me; let me know what you think!