April 2010 Archives

April 29, 2010

Lost and Found in Cyberspace

I really got a lot out of Darnton's 4th chapter in The Case for Books. This chapter was particularly interesting because Darton talks about how he like to stay old-fashioned in some areas and doesn't see himself embracing the technological advances that could be used and usually prefers to keep things how they once were, especially for learning purposes. We'll go quote by quote on this one.

On page 60 - "Much as I admire my younger colleagues, who splice computerized music and images into their lectures, I find it best to talk right at my students armed with nothing more than chalk and a blackboard." Alright, let's break this one down. First, I hate that he says "talk at my students." I don't really feel like students learn by being talked at...so poor choice of words there Darnton. Unless you really do talk at your students, in which case, you might want to reconsider your teaching style and not worry so much about how much technology in you have in your lectures. On the other hand, I like that he limits his tech use in class, because although in some cases I would say that it is very useful, in my experience, I've seen more professors mis-use technology then actually incorporate in effectively, which then just makes it a distraction and not a teaching tool. I like that in this case he seems "lost" and sides with the ability to simply teach and talk to students, inside of hiding behind different techy things to try to catch students' attention and then try to teach them something. In this case, I like it old school.

Another great quote was on page 60 too. - "Such a notion (that we can look up and know anything through the internet) of cyberspace has a strange resemblance to Saint Augustine’s conception of the mind of God - omniscient and infinite, because His knowledge extends everywhere, even beyond time and space. Knowledge could also be infinite in a communication system where hyperlinks extended to everything - except, of course, that no such system could possibly exist. We produce far more information than we can digitize, and information isn’t knowledge, anyhow." I feel like this goes along with the recent information that we've dealt with, talking about the Memex. I like that Darnton says that a system so omniscient could never exist, because what I have been arguing with the Memex text is that, that statement is true, that no system that is all knowing and still able to function properly, that is man-made would ever actually work. I like that Darnton also relates this to the mind of God because I also feel that we are always trying to learn more and more and more and we can never seem to be satisfied with what we do know and people seem to be at arms about that when in reality, it would probably drive us all insane if we were all, all-knowing. I'm glad that only one person has to know everything and he's got a pretty good grasp on all of that if you ask me. I really enjoy this quote because it shows us that we are human, never will we ever be able to link all of the information in the world together perfectly, in any form, Memex or internet and we should really not be trying to do so in my opinion. Link what we can and do the best job at that and let the rest go. We're never going to be all-knowing, gasp that concept and move on. I'm sure you wouldn't want to deal with that pressure anyway.

Along with that quote, this one is on page 61. - "Most human beings have vanished into the past without leaving a trace of their existence."  Although I feel like this quote is a little depressing, it's true. And it goes along very well with the quote above because it proves that we will not know everything and it is impossible for us to ever know everything because there are so many people that have come into the world and left without ever writing down their ideas or sharing what their opinions were on certain subjects for all sorts of various reasons. Our knowledge of the world will always be incomplete without those ideas and without knowing of those people...I feel like this goes without saying, but God knows about those people and we may never know them...our information is always going to be incomplete. Stop thinking otherwise. Learn what you can and move on. Grasp the concept that you will never know everything and live with it. As a side note, I hope I don't become one of the people that doesn't leave any kind of mark on the world.

Final quote, from page 64. - "I am convinced that the Internet will transform the world of learning. The transformation has already begun. Our task, I think, is to take charge of it so that we maintain the highest standards from the past while developing new ones for the future." I agree. I think the internet is transforming the world of learning and I am excited to see where this knowledge takes us, but at the same time, cautious of what it will take us away from. If ebooks means the end of real books or podcasts mean the end of newspapers or if social networks means the end of real relationships, I'm not having it. But if we can coexist with all of those things and just expand our ability to learn with both kinds of tools, I'm cool with that. Actually, I'd prefer to always have both just to be able to compare and contrast and learn in different forms. I know it's not going to help me learn everything possible...but I'm also not trying to learn everything. I'd rather not have that burden and live life knowing that it's okay to not be all-knowing and that someone much more capable than I will ever be has got that part under control.    

April 25, 2010

Good intentions don't go far enough.

After reading the article, “Emanuel Goldberg, Electronic Document Retrieval, And Vannevar Bush's Memex” by Michael Buckland and watching the video that gave a basic view of how the Memex would work (if it was ever created) I feel like I can say with confidence that it is a good thing no one ever took the time, energy and money to actually make this thing.

The quote that I feel proves this argument is “Vannevar Bush’s famous paper “As We May Think” (1945) described an imaginary information retrieval machine, the Memex.” This quote, along with a few others say “imaginary machine,” which puts in to mind, that it is a good thing that this machine was never made, since I don't think it would have done very well after the imaginary phase. Especially after watching the video and then again after reading larger parts of this article, I was left thinking Me-what? Like why waste the resources on making this thing that probably wouldn’t work. That is a lot going to waste on this thing.

Which, I obviously feel wouldn’t work, although throughout the article it says this invention would have created “associative trails” for information to connect to other information that relates to other information that relates to this thing that relates to these notes that relate to this other thing over here. Excuse me, I know this was thought of before hypertext but I’m really glad people held off on making this thing. Such a waste of space. I love that through the internet and the ability to easily link to different things we have this kind of idea, but it takes up how much space? Basically none. This machine thing (which actually looks like the kind of machine I use to imagine was in each of our brains to file information) would take up so much space and there is no way all of the information that related to each other would ever be able to be connected properly, we can’t even do that with links, let alone something that takes up physical space.

Good riddance, Memex idea. Hello, links. (Or at least trying to link everything.)

I like converstations.

With this Portfolio we covered a lot of material relating to the changing of the printed book culture to online literature and eBooks. These entries are my examples from throughout this section, which during this portfolio I really tried to focus on commenting back to every comment I got and to comments I left on other classmates blogs, so here’s my work, I think I’ve done well.

Coverage - I did miss a couple assigned entries this time around, but here is a list of all the ones I did do, which is complete for all of them except for two.

Depth - Without really trying or realizing it I have to say that the depth category was pretty good this time around for not really focusing on actually trying to go in to too much depth, so I’m pretty proud of the fact that I could find some extra interesting things to add for these ones.

Interactions - For this section I wanted to focus on how I could link to other sources, whether that source was another classmate, something unrelated to class or even an older entry I wrote myself. I did pretty well at being able to link to different sources this time around.

Discussions - I made two lists for this one, the first is a list of entries of my own that had a lot of conversation on them and the second is where I was involved in the conversations on classmates entries. This time I really tried to focus on commenting back to every comment that I got just to try to keep the conversations going. In some cases it worked, others not so much. But either way, I think I did well with this category overall.

My Entries

Classmates Entries

Timeliness - This will have to be the section I focus on more next time, because while all of my entries got done before class time, not all of them were up with enough time for people to comment on them but below is a list of a few that were.

Xenoblogging - I think I mentioned all of these things in the Interactions section. I really tried to comment back on comments I got and gave out to other classmates. Although I didn’t get to for everything I did do well with that this time and I think my Interactions section (especially the part about other classmates blogs) shows how I did this well.

Wildcard - I’ve been using my blog more for outside things and have been putting more pictures up in entries as well so here are some examples of that.

April 20, 2010

13 years later & still true

So I actually agree with Aarseth in this chapter. I took the section found on page 171 into consideration when I was reading especially where it says, "The most interesting case in point at present is the fast growing World Wide Web, where anyone with an Internet account, access to a WWW server and sufficient technical knowledge of the system may become a publisher..."

This part reminded me of a blog I wrote last year, that commented on an article that Dr. Jerz was quoted in. The article was about these blogs coming to Seton Hill and how they would change student learning and so on and I commented on a quote that Jerz said about students becoming "co-creators" of the internet and how I liked that idea.

Well, Aarseth probably didn't realize what a large statement he was making back in 1997 when he wrote this book, but it is still powerful stuff and we are still co-creators of the internet.

Google me....everything.

"Who could not be moved by the prospect of bringing virtually all the books from America's greatest research libraries within the reach of all Americans, and perhaps eventually to everyone in the world with access to the Internet?" (Darton, page 15)

Well, Darton, I don't know. I feel like this would be a great idea, why haven't we done this yet? Oh right, because it would be a lot to upload and copyright issues....blah, blah, blah. Well, I think this would be a good idea. I like how Darton continues this point too by saying...

"Not only will Google's technological wizardry bring books to readers, it will also open up extraordinary opportunities for research, a whole gamut of possibilities from straightforward word searches to complex text mining."

While I think it would be a good idea for all of this information to be open and free online for everyone, I don't think it will ever happen and it would be very hard to maintain and keep track of so that everyone would always have up-to-date and correct information.

Right now, while there is already a vast amount of information found online, not all of it is great and it is already hard to keep track of it all. If Google was able to get on all this information online it would be wonderful to everyone that got to use it, but it would be horrible for whoever had to run it all. So while I would not mind having the information there, do not sign me up to help keep it there.

April 13, 2010

Give me something new, Espen.

While reading Espen Aarseth's Cybertext, I have been pretty bored a few times. 1) Because some of the time I have to admit the text is going over my head with his fancy words but 2) I start to think of other things when I'm reading because I have heard of his ideas so many times before in other courses.

I know that when Aarseth came out with this book, it was all a new way of thinking, but now, when I am living in a more technology-based state of mind, this information is too redundant to make me think that some personally new ideas will come of it.

The part of the reading that I could focus on was the nonlinear reading argument. Like Tiffany did in her blog, I thought about our time with Calvino and how we didn't seem to like his style of writing very much because of his breaking of the linear form of reading mold for us. (Or at least me.) But I don't think that I didn't like Calvino because of his writing style, it was for other reasons. I know that we always bring up the "choose your own adventure novels" when we talk about linear reading, but really that is as far as a book can go. Books have structure they have endings, they HAVE to have endings. Cybertext does not need an ending. If someone wanted to, they could technically link every website to every other website through a form of nonlinear reading. But that would be a waste of time and would be never ending work.

The ideas brought up by Aarseth in this section I have to say has got me a little bored. I know books are linear, there's not much we can do about that. Give me something new, please.   

April 8, 2010

The Proposal: Will this affect the future?

Brainstorming:

For the final paper I would like to look into the changes of technology that we are starting to see pick up the pace of how people communicate now will affect future generations in a drastic sense of how they will interact with other people at all when they are face-to-face, since our current society relies so heavily on technology, can we even see the problems that may be occurring?  

My paper would discuss how the growing amount of technology will affect the social abilities of future generations. Because of the use of iPads, being able to get books without going to libraries or bookstores, iPods, by people blocking out others to listen to music, instead of sharing a radio, through online communication devices (Instant Messenger, Facebook, chats and email) instead of face-to-face communication and how cyber schools are even available now where students never have to walk into a classroom to learn and how will future generations be able to function and will they be able to do so efficiently when they are not in front of a computer screen, since that screen can act as a mask for people already…what will it become when everything moves from real life to a screen? 

 

Research:

So far I have not done too much research since we are just in the beginning stages but through browsing on EBSCO I have found mainly articles on how growing technologies will cause problems on the family structure, which will help with this paper because in a super long term, I could see how there could be a time when a family structure (as we know it) would not even exist, so these articles will be helpful in that sense. 

I have also found many articles, some that agree and some that do not about bringing more technologies into the classroom, or as cyber schools become more popular, if they should be kept. Overall, I think there is enough information just from this short search to argue the point, on both sides, saying technology is going to have a large affect on the future. Personally, I will be arguing in this paper that the affect will be negative, but the final research paper will tell whether or not I’ll keep that opinion.

April 7, 2010

I want to play a game.

Although the text of Cybertext is a bit confusing I think I like Espen Aarseth's ideas so far. In chapter one, Aaresth mentions (on page 4) how readers used to be "safe" and be able to read texts without any problems in a simple way.

He compares a text reader to a spectator at a soccer game..."not a player," not a factor to the outcome of the game, although a spectator can scream and yell for their team, they don't have much of a direct outcome in the game.

However, Aaresth brings up the idea that once text moved to the internet, it became something completely different, it made it a game. A game where the reader could now be an active part in the outcome of the text. A game where the reader doesn't even need to finish one text if a link to another seems more interesting to them. I think that's fun. It makes me feel like I'm in control again.

With books, the most control a reader has is by putting the book down and not finishing it, but with the ability to interact with text on the internet, the reader can move from text to video to more text to music to another text, very easily. I like it.

Don't commonplace my Bible.

In Robert Darnton's The Case for Books, he brings in a little mystery with chapter ten, The Mysteries of Reading. Why is this chapter bringing in the mystery? No, it's not just the title. This chapter talks about commonplace books. Which the point of a commonplace book....still remains a mystery to me.

Yes, I understand the idea, but I don't like looking at pieces of things without the rest of the context, which I think the commonplace book does, since they are just snippets of different works put into a journal-like book.

I'm glad this chapter included Thomas Jefferson because this all reminded me of a class I took last semester called Religion in America. In that class we read a book (that of course I cannot think of the title) that talked about how Jefferson literally made his own Bible by cutting out of the pieces that talked about supernatural activity (ex: Jesus turning water into wine.) It was later called The Jefferson Bible...clever. But it makes me think of the commonplace book because it was taking pieces of a greater work and only saving the parts they actually liked. I don't like that.

I feel like though this was going on during the Enlightenment period, they weren't being very enlightened by cutting out the texts they didn't agree with.