My Digital Experience

I have had classes before that have us meet both in person and online for different purposes. I have found the use of computers to work really well with requiring that I learn the necessary components of technology to be involved in school and learning. I have enjoyed this class as well. I loved doing a blog with the class and only wish it could be more “live” when it comes to our posts, much like an in class discussion. Which brings me to the in class portion of the course. I loved only meeting once incase the technology did not work or we needed a real person to teach us what we need to know.

It is hard to summarize. I just know it was fun learning the different programs and doing the projects. I like the idea that I have it available to me, the knowledge on how to use them if I need them. Sometimes I was angry because program versions wouldn’t work or be compatible with each other. This part of technology drove me mad. I did not like being confused and not able to find a solution to my problem.

I have found my classmates to be interesting and have unique views on the readings for class. That is always nice to see. Especially in group. I hate doing group work but only having one group assignment was the perfect amount, and blogging with them. Dr. Bridgeford is a very good teacher and helped me multiple times to understand my mistakes and fix them. I prefer a class taught like this and working together to understand the programs.

I can honestly say that if this course wasn’t required, I may never have even thought to take it. I am glad I have taken it and that now I have the knowledge I need to use programs and attempt to learn more in my future.

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Manovich’s Media Technology Theory

Manovich discusses new media theory, technology and its interfaces with the user. I honestly hated reading this because I couldn’t keep my thoughts on it or concentrate enough to comprehend it all. The only thing I could focus on was the creation of web sites in the 1990’s and how the pages were all the same format. In an artistic sense that drives me nuts. The whole attraction of websites today is because of the wide variety that there are. Just like there are many ways to communicate and languages to speak in, the internet holds so much more ways to communicate and see the world.

I also really liked the part where he mentioned that the format changes as the device used changes. I see that personally today in the technology I use. Using a website on the computer seems easier to navigate and easier to get into the gritty details of how to get where I need to go. Then the same site opened on my cell phone changes extremely to a mobile use and quick navigation monster. The page will be smaller and the important  parts of the site will be there but the unnecessary parts are left to be discovered only on the desktop version. The buttons sometimes change and sometimes the site looks nothing like it did on my computer.

Now I am having a hard time thinking of something else to write about. I will have to reread Manovich and spend more time on my responses.

Opaque Transparency in Technology Today

Now this seems to be an interesting topic worth thinking hard about. My list would start with my phone(T-5,O-7), television(T-8, O-4), email(T-4, O-4), Skype(T-8, O-7), and a bit of everything else probably mentioned in the other posts for this class. My phone, because I have had it so long seems like something I understand at first, and since I use it everyday, it does feel natural to a degree. Ultimately though it is more opaque because it is a piece of technology that I have been taught or learned on my own, very few things to use it for. There are many things on the device and things it could do that I have not bothered with and have not made the effort to understand because it looks to hard.

The television is bit different, because it is a screen showing recorded actions of real things(mostly) I can imagine it is real and happening or happened in the real world, not just Hollywood. It brings my brain closer to seeing it and feeling I know so much about what is happening when they recorded whatever it was I happen to watch. It’s very hard to explain. The low opaque is because it is still television and there are times I don’t know how it works and can blatantly see that the show or movie is fake but I am still seeing it.

Email, I use almost everyday. It is a different method of communicating not face-to-face. It is easy because I can type down my thoughts and words. It seems a basic and easy to understand way to communicate, but this is another piece of technology I do not utilize in all its ways. It is primarily used to send messages short or long to someone too far away to meet in person or may not contact by phone. It is weird though because it is just your own thoughts put into a computer and sent digitally around the world to be seen by someone. The possibility of something being misunderstood, or many other things is there. I use it for few things besides short bursts of communication but wouldn’t trust it with important communication with real human beings when it is needed.

Skype seems to be my biggest thing that I forget is just technology copying my image and sending to another computer somewhere. I get so immersed into talking and seeing someone who is not actually in front of me and I do forget that it is just a computer screen I am looking at. I may control how I look and who I talk to but it is due to someone being smart enough to find a way to let people live hat from such a distance that it is possible. But it is still technology and when I think how it is done, how I can see and be seen from such a distance, my mind is baffled and I feel I do not know what I am actually using and that at any moment, this technology could not be doing what I use it for, communicating with those so far away from me.

Picking one of the above to explain what I lose seems difficult but I would have to pick email probably. By using it, the desire to talk to a person face-to-face diminishes. Because I have to ability to do it this way, I can forgo the meeting I supposedly had scheduled, or I can inform them that something has changed and not have to physically find anyone, but another downfall of that is having to wait for them to read their email to be able to have the information that I want them to. If something is time sensitive, then I would revert to using my phone and calling, or quickly finding the person to tell them in person. Email makes it too easy to skip the leg work and phone calls, and in this way, there can also be misunderstandings between people.

I unfortunately can not recall every being a type of hacker. I never used “cheats” in games, nor did I use any of the above technology for anything other than what it was intended for. I am not a hacker as Jones and Hafner say many people are. In fact the only thing I can think I have done that comes close is using my laptop as a desk for my pen and paper.(I know that is stupid.)

Beyond a Text Message

Following the activity on page 72, chapter 5, I have asked my brother for a print out conversation of a typical conversation with his friends, ones that use emoticons and abbreviations and such. I, myself do not use them because I do not like to risk any misinterpretation of my text messages. My brother however seems to be exactly the person for the type of interaction that Jones and Hafner discuss. Besides the content itself, my brother seems to be very creative. For example, part of his text conversation was a bit of flirting with this boy he likes(yes, my brother is a cute little gay kid, good for him). Amid the conversation he has used emoticons like winky faces and hearts. As far as I can tell he was trying to be cute and flirty but also keep it light-hearted in case the other boy did not feel the same way. I imagine this mode of communication through pictures helped him from being to serious and scaring the boy off. Later in the conversation I see that this other boy, I am gonna call him Rob, Rob has used abbreviation. As I believe the kid likes my brother back, he texted XOXO, which if I remember correctly, is hugs and kisses. If he too was hesitant about showing his feelings, it is a good method to keep their conversation light and just innocent for the most part.

I believe that many people who use these methods to communicate either see it as a way to express themselves without fear, almost like pictures and short words can protect them and show their honest emotions at the same time. My brother showed a very true version of himself but all his text messages were thought out and had meaning between the two boys. I think Rob had been talking to my brother long enough that he was able to read the text messages and interpret what was really meant for him. I found it adorable to be honest. More than face emoticons, there are animals, objects, shapes and colors and even ones that move and show more expressions and actions than others. At some point there was someone who needed all these emoticons to show someone else how they felt without the use of words. My brother informed me that he usually uses the emoticons and abbreviations because it is faster and sometimes gets the meaning across better than words can. I guess it is true if you aren’t that good with words to begin with.

I personally feel words can be strung together elegantly to create nearly all your emotions and expressions in a simple and understandable way. Often I find that if I can not find the words I want to use, someone has already said it in the right string and I just have to find it again. There are more than words in a text message, beyond simple words there are deep meanings.

Paying Attention to Digital Media

Even as I did the reading of chapter 6 I found myself having an attention problem. While reading the digital version of the book, the things around me started to affect my ability to read and comprehend what I was reading. I heard a British accent and started to listen to him talk rather than read. Then someone had music playing from their phone(probably an alert for a phone call) and I couldn’t believe how easily I was distracted. Jones and Hafner point out that many people have the ability to multitask. I recall that specifically for me I am only able to multitask with digital media if I have the time to be relaxed and not rushed. Setting music to play, turning on the t.v. and chatting with friends online, would be impossible for me to do as I write a paper that is due soon.

Jones and Hafner discuss how multitasking is a bit of a human survival technique. An “evolutionary advantage…key to our survival”(84-85) was multitasking. Being able to hunt and look out for your tribe and so on was natural and multitasking. Today multitasking doesn’t seem as important for life or death. It is now more for efficeincy. People talking to friends online while doing homework and listening to music, that is incredibly condensed amount of things to do all at once. Do any of them need to be done at the same time? No. The multitasking done by our earlier ancestors was to survive, now, it is used to hurry or keep busy or many other reasons.

I noticed that so much technology is built with the idea of multitasking in mind. In your car you can listen to music and talk on the phone. On your t.v. you can watch multiple channels and even link your computer screen to them. Computers(do I have to go on?). We create things that allow us to multitask because we feel it is efficient to get things done or enjoys lots of things at once. It is just shocking. Imagine if you went camping one night and didn’t have any technology or anything to multitask with. To some people that would be boring and a waste of time. I think it would be relaxing to not have my brain going 200 MPH.

Jones and Hafner mention the problem of attention on digital media within schools. Although they focus on Hong Kong, it is easy to understand it even within the context of our classroom here at UNO. While in class we use the computers to repeat what Dr. Bridgeford does in the specific programs we are learning, but we also log into other things like Face Book (not me, I promise), and email. Even though our full attention should be the Professor as well as the program, we feel the need to multitask other things when we have the opportunity. In Hong Kong they did not really understand and find it easy to use the computers in class when they were already so used to doing it the old way, the usual way. It is very different for us. We know exactly how to go about using the digital media at our school and go about it fluidly even to the point of merging it into daily use in our classrooms.

This is just such a fascinating topic. My attention for writing about this has been pretty solid but I see I have jumped around a little in where my post has gone. I hope we can all discuss the is more and how this will affect our attentions in the future (Like that of the fighter cockpit I suppose (83)).

Bi-Lingual = Multi-Literacies

This reading was alot easier.

Selber writes on Multiliteracies. Just reading that word we should understand to a degree what this will be about. It is very similar to the idea of being bi-lingual. Knowing multiple languages. Multiliteracies, as I am thinking of it, is being literate, able to read and understand multiple things. Specifically being able to understand and use computers and the programs within them in a meaningful way.

Selber focuses on how computers are used in schools. Of course I remember a time without computers, when we used chalk boards, and didn’t know what email was. Only being 7 or 8 meant being focused more on school than social life if you ask me. As we got older, the technology came more often and teachers used it more often. I was enrolled into one of the mentioned classes for digital literacies in the 7th grade. At the time our teachers knew we would be using the technology in the future but it wasn’t currently being used in the school for anyone besides teachers. We were studying it for the future uses, not the current ones when we were 13-14 years old.  I think it was a great idea to teach us, even if it wasn’t relevant at the time, because it was obviously going to become relevant.

Of course as we grew up and computers were used more in school, we were taught more and more how to use it for school work and email and not much else. What ended up happening, which I am sure always will, someone doesn’t follow the rules and strays out on their own to discover things on the computer like games or IMing or even things(now) like video chatting, all while in class. That is something we learn from being curious if it hasn’t already been taught to us. From there we will use it as we see fit. Although not mentioned in the short clip of Selber, whether we use technology at school or work, we also use it for our personal lives. A lot of what we learn just being curious and wandering around on computers is what triggers ideas in people to do something different, or create something new on the web. This is something that teachers should do to become in touch with their technology side, and be able to learn and then teach what they learn. Selber mentions how many teachers suffer because being forced to learn and implement the technology into their class is not easy or enjoyable. Especially if they do not have the time or appropriate pay covering the time and effort it would take to learn all the programs that would be taught in the schools.

One last thing I want to touch on is that technology does not mean equality. Besides the fact that not all genders or races get to experience technology or computers in the same way, I strongly feel that there are people who just honestly have a harder time understanding how technology works. Some people need to know exactly how and why things go and do what they do. also people with learning disabilities may have difficulty “connecting the dots” when learning even the easiest programs on computers. Technology is new and confusing and well worth the effort if you get to know a lot about it. If technology is going to be required, the knowledge to use it will be required, the teachers will be required, and most of all, the patience to teach all of this information on how to use technology will be absolutely necessary.

I loved this reading and would love to actually hold a discussion on it, even though I don’t pose any questions, I would love to discuss this more if you post some.

Heidegger’s Questioning Concerning Technology (ART)

At this time I would like to state this was one of the hardest readings I have ever had to do. So I am gonna start my post by using the link that was provided to us by Professor Bridgeford. After reading Heidegger I felt my brain would implode but the overview was helpful in understanding the reading a bit. Therefore I will use a question from that website to direct my post.

  • Do you agree with Heidegger’s characterization of art and the artist? How does Heidegger’s conception of art’s function in society correspond to your own?

First off I am new to philosophy and find this information to be overwhelming but from what I think I understand, I do agree with Heidegger’s characterization of art and artists. I have spent a lot of time online looking at artwork and pictures of art. I have also been to plenty of museums and seen alot of student art at UNO. I have found many things out by seeing what the artist sees. Whether it is landscape, or objects, or people, whether they are real, or made up, or both, I feel like we viewers are seeing many different views of the world, of a truth that we don’t see or feel often.

Heidegger refers back to art in Greece (also referred to as Techne). He focuses saying it was single, manifold revealing(34). He continues to discuss with himself the real purpose of art back then before it came to be what it was now, aesthetic. He finds that at the time it was showing the world what it was. Copying what you saw and sharing that as it was with other people to see. I imagine someone taking a photo with a camera and showing someone else who did not get to see it in person. It is revealing something of the world that is true to another being.

I feel I could understand this better if I wasn’t tired or sick of his style of reading but the website also mentions that:

 Heidegger’s style challenges our own “instrumental” attitude about language. If in your frustration you say, for example, “what good is this dense, elliptical discussion of technology?” you show that have already succumbed to the “enframing” orientation to the world that Heidegger is criticizing. In its difficulty, Heidegger’s language offers another occasion to confront ourselves and our assumptions. And that, as we all know, is never easy

Heidegger has made it perfectly clear that only those who want to know what he is talking about will have to go through the process of changing their chain of thoughts and ideas. “The closer we come to the danger, the more brightly do the ways into the saving power begin to shine and the more questioning we become. For questioning is the piety of thought.”(35).

What’s It Worth to You?

I can not account for the number of times I have texted instead of called or emailed instead of drive over to talk to people. Jones and Hafner mention why I do this particularly, and that is transaction costs. I weigh the benefits and the costs of the call, text, email, or drive over to meet them. Many times in a day I will text my fiance, but this is mainly due to his living in Rapid City South Dakota, and we both have crazy schedules that keep us from having long conversations. Often conversations go on for hours and when it is time to say goodbye, I do not wish to go. On the other hand I can forward calls from people I do not wish to speak to. I often get phone calls from Red Cross asking for my blood. I usually donate anyways but the phone calls are crazy constant and annoying. When it comes to Face Book or other chat sites, it is as they mention in the novel, I will just ignore it. I only communicate with those I want to and in the mode I choose.

My transaction cost, the one I am most concerned with I guess, would be my availability for time to hold a conversation. If it is quicker to text or quicker to call, that is what usually guides me. I often think of how I may do this action all the time and then I think of my family. Does my sister screen my calls, does my fiance ignore texts and reply later, do people realize what they do, everyone else does in some way or time? It is fascinating to think about how we speak to people now versus before phones even. We would have had to go to people and speak with them. There was no asking where are you, or what are you doing? You would have to be there and then obviously there would be no need to ask the question.

It’s not that I prefer the more “impoverished medium” as Jones and Hafner suggest, but I need what mode of communication is best at the moment. I often use text because I don’t mind the delayed bit but also I don’t need everyone around me in the middle of the day hearing my conversations. Then it comes to the privacy of my own home and I will get on Skype and talk with my fiance. I love to see and hear all the conversations we have and know truly what is said and what is meant.

I actually really enjoy writing notes, or at least I did in high school. It felt more relevant and personal to be in contact that way. Often I would receive “love letters” in notes instead of face to face and I imagine that helps for the rejection bit that they would later receive. I do however keep the notes my fiance wrote me as important pieces of our past. That is a little difficult with text messages and phone calls. Now I will tell you why I suddenly felt that all modes of communication have their down sides in some ways. This is my personal experience.

When I studied abroad in Norway in the fall of 2013, I did not have the capability to do international phone calls but I could Skype. In any case, I slept in late one morning and kept shutting my alarm off when suddenly I realized I had hit my phone more than three times. I was getting repeat phone calls from my family back home. I finally was able to get on Skype to be informed my father had a heart attack a few hours prior and did not survive it. I was devastated because before I had gone to bed that night, I had talked to my father on Skype. When I finally returned home, discovering how, when, and why it happened, all I wanted was to hear his voice. I looked on my phone for any voice mails I may have had saved or not yet deleted, and I came up empty.  I had no recording of my fathers voice from before he died and I could never find a way to hear him again. My mother had come to me with her phone with saved voice mails from my dad from random missed calls throughout the past few months while I was gone. She clicked on the last missed call from my dad, recorded the day he died, asking mom about groceries and ending with, “I love you, See you at home”. She still has this message and his voice available to hear. When I miss it, I go to my mom and ask to listen to his messages.

I feel that the mode of text message was useless, Skype did not record his voice and face for me, my phone did not save voice mail from further back to the last missed call I had from my dad, and so in all these instances I felt technology, and all the modes of communication used to get the horrible news to me, did not do enough and seemed to point out that I was too far from home to see my family in the right way, face to face.

Information Interaction with “Modality”

I am torn between the written and visual modes. When reading with no visual to distract, I often find myself engrossed in the reading. Dissecting it as much as I can for the possible deeper meanings. When documents take on images, I find it quite distracting. Jones and Hafner use Twitter as a web example of given information and new information. In this example I noticed how the lack of words and excess of visual actually helps me to understand the page. This is probably the case for a lot of social networking sites. I like that Jones and Hafner point out that the site is set up so people will follow a line of sight to desired area on a page but also keep it in a linear and sequential design so that the reader knows what is important. With multimodal media advancing everyday, many websites attempt to pull your attention to their main purpose with moving or bright objects, maybe even enticing words. They compete(if they don’t pay to have them blocked) with the advertisements for other websites. The point is we are observing so much and its because our technology has advanced so much that multimodality is possible.

I actually find it very interesting how much we use multiomodality ourselves in power-point projects and such. This is something new as I understand it. In the past (just in general) there was a poster board with printed pictures and words written along with them. We now know how much we can observe even with out peripherals. Our brains want to know whats in front of us using the ability to connect the dots if need be.

Disney, The Best Sort of Thief

Okay, so I was going to just write about hyper-text and how I use them for school but after watching Lawrence Lessig I decided otherwise.

I actually very much enjoyed the video and found myself having a discussion with my friend about Disney. Lessig mentions, as the reading mentions (pg 46), that Disney is a big awesome example of a “Remixer Extraordinaire”. He was a man that borrowed, legally at the time because of it being a free culture, the stories of other authors and creating his own versions of the stories. (Now I should state I am super biased, I freaking love all the ‘original Disney’ movies, some of which were on the list of remix movies: Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. Those are just a few.)

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Lessig talks about how Disney is “the celebration and ideal” of the creativity that is remix and mash-up. The development of a culture, I believe, is built on ideas that other people had and decided were good ideas. When we have a tradition, it is not new, it is something, an idea, that was kept and borrowed from someone long ago in our family line or some other persons. although this is the case, it is not illegal or frowned upon to keep those traditions and pass them on. Disney takes good fables, tales, and legends and builds them into creative, morality filled, and  good-natured movies for children. Why would anyone want to stop that creative process?

Oh Right! Money, and apparently the original creators not getting respect. I can see how that would be something they would want to protect or as mentioned, copyrighted for them.  But I agree with Lessig that new work could be potentially better than the original work but you won’t know if you block the possibility with copyright and trademark. Which brings me to this awesome thing both mentioned in the video and the book: ‘Creative Commons Licensing’! This is the copyright law system where the original creators can pick and choose what criteria they have before their work can be used or manipulated. I thought this was brilliant because many people, as Lessig mentions(350,000,000 digital objects), feel that it is their duty to allow their ideas to be worked on and should be expanded by the creativity of others.

Lessig brought to my attention that there are things that are borrowed ideas but that they are still original in their own way. Because of Copyright, the people who would have created the new and more interesting music, movie, play, or book, were stopped. That is not the case with the understanding original creators that use Creative Commons as the copyright enforcement.

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For fun I am going to post a link: Tolkien as Rowling’s Patronus  This is one a teacher sent me about Harry Potter and Tolkien. If you do not want to read it, it focuses on how J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is supposedly not a great literary work compared to “the Greats” like, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien, but it’s hardly a surprise to find that Rowling has everything it takes to be considered one of “the Greats”.