September 2008 Archives

Wow, that was annoying.

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"The Heist" by Walter Sorrells was a sight for sore eyes.

Not knowing to expect from this novel, I opened the site and saw links. I clicked on one of those links that brought me to a page with more links, and those links brought me to another page of even more links. Ughh... never again will I read a hypertext novel in my life.

Like Jackie said in her blog, "the very nature of hyper-text seems to lend itself to this exploratory way of story telling."

I didn't know where to begin. Should I read the first page first then go back to the links? Should I read it and click on the links as I get to them and so on and so on with the other pages filled with links?

Well, I read the first page in its entirety and I felt bombarded with links. This hypertext novel reminded me of my elementary school days when the class went to the library and I ran over to the section that had the choose-your-own-ending story.

On every page, there was another story waiting to be read by me. By following some of the links, it made my concentration of the novel as a whole incredibly hard. All I want to know is what happened at the end of the overall story. While I was taking in the information from the other links, I forgot what I just read earlier. I feel like there were too many different sub-plots in this novel.


Conclusion: This hypertext novel is a complete overload of information and sub-plots. I felt like I was trying to catch a frog but he kept jumping to different locations.

My feelings: I hated it.


Can I Persuade You?

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"Yet manipulating readers by appealing to their fears and insecurities is deeply disrespectful. If you're attempting to persuade your readers, it should be on the basis of appeals to their intelligence and maturity."
-Writing for the Web 3.0

Three Elements of Persuasion:
1- Logical Argument
    Stating a proposition of some kind with supporting reasons.
2- Emotional Appeal
    Invoking ideas and images that stir our readers' feelings, we can gain attention that logical argument alone may not achieve. You may find that facts, not loaded language, can inspired emotions in the readers.
3- Credibility
    Using the readers' language and registers they are comfortable with can strongly enhance your credibility. Make sure to demonstrate a shared interest between you and your readers and convey sincerity through your tone and evident desire to help readers view your site.

Kilian says to make sure you write in the language your readers will understand; however, I sometimes visit a site that I don't really understand what they are saying. It is hard to make sure that anyone that comes to your site will understand you completely. The vistiors that will come the most will either know about you or your ideas and will repeatedly come back for more. But for those visitors that came to the site on a whim, they may become lost in the language that is normal to the regulars of the site.

A Little Bit of Everything.

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It's all about the blog. So basically there are 5 different types of blogs: personal, job, specialist, news, and advocacy. Well, our Seton Hill blog can fit under any of these categories. We can blog about personal ideas, we do it for a job (college counts as a full-time job), we have become specialist in the field of writing for the internet (well, we are getting there), we have blogged about news events such as the smiley or Palin's e-mail hacker, and we do advocate ideas through our words (whether or not teachers should have Facebook).

In section 6.3, Kilian explained that "bloggers usually welcome comments, but this function has hazards. Some comments may be abusive or even defamatory. Others can be 'comment spam,' planted to attract your visitors to pornography or gambling sites." Well I haven't had anyone direct to porn or gambling sites that I know of, but this semester I had "MS", a teacher, write an comment on my blog arguing my idea of this new text language. Dr. Jerz then stepped in and replied back to "MS" on my blog and later created a whole new blog about this topic going in depth. I later wrote an essay type blog on this topic, again.

So as for comments, they can be good or bad, but all in all, they are a form of expression.

The section on Personal Sites for Self-Marketing wasn't new to me. I have actually gone to internship interviews where they searched my name on Google and found my blog. During the interview, they asked me about it. I was blown away that they actually read my entries. My point is, that come later in life, when you're looking for a job, some employers might look at your blog and read your writing that could land you a great writing job either for them in print or on their website.

No More Than 2

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"Most of the problem with corporate websites is poor structure: visitors receive inadequate orientation, so they can't navigate to the information they want."
-Writing for the Web 3.0

Like Kilian explained earlier in this book, its all about the structure of the site and the text. If I go to a website and I'm confused as to where to go, I will leave the site and will most likely never return. Then again, "even when the site design is good, the quality of the writing may make the information unusable and the desired action unappealing to most readers." So basically, if the site is impossible to navigate and the writing is poor, the corporation may suffer from a decrease of customers.

In Kevin's blog, he wrote that "the corporate heads, the web writers, and even the readers all have a part to promote a product or service. As web writers Killian states that we must keep our ego offstage and engage the reader on terms of equality. If the reading thinks that he/she is being jived, then that company will undoubtedly lose a customer." If there are more than two people working on a corporate website, the competition to be the best writer on the site will probably allow for this "ego writing" to come through even when the site isn't their own personal site, but one that is trying to sell a product or service.

A Gladitorial Fight with Rubber Crutches

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"In ancient Rome, the title of the person who sponsored a gladiatorial fight to the death was Editor."

- Writing for the Web 3.0

It's not surprising the the noun editor was used for fights because nowadays, as writers, we are all suspicious of editors. Kilian said that we can be our own editors which is hard for me to do because what looks right to me because it's my writing style is wrong to someone else reading my work for the first time.

For me, I can only edit my work on paper. Kilian stated that "you simply cannot trust your own proofreading abilities unless you proofread from paper. Not only is computer-screen text hard to read, it's hard to proofread as well." The longer I try to catch errors in my writing on a computer screen, the less accurate my editing will be because the monitor makes my eyes tired.

Kilian explained to us that "a writer lives inside your head, and so does an editor. They don't always get along. Your inner writer is having a great time being creative and showing off his vocabulary; your inner editor is watching over the writer's shoulder and tearing her hair out."

That is exactly how I feel. As I'm writing I think that my writing is flawless and perfect, but as I edit my own work, I sometimes take a step back and ask myself did I really just write a fragment and then a run-on sentence. It is very aggravating reviewing your own work because you never want to think you can write well and sometimes editing your own creative pieces or academic essays, you question your writing ability.

The style guide within this chapter is incredibly helpful and I know that I will be referring to it throughout my writing on the web. Most of these style rules were in one of my News Writing style guides from freshman year and it was nice to have a little refresher.

When in doubt, just ask Kilian... or Andy Lonigro

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Okay, so Andy basically has it down to a science with his 10 webtext-ments. Thank you, Andy, for your very descriptive and helpful blog. 

Not only are these rules that we should use when writing on the internet, but most of them could be used for other academic writing too. These rules aren't anything we haven't heard before, but the way Kilian uses examples and defending her rules really allows for us to soak in all this information. Daniella felt like she just "read a high school/basic composition grammar review."

I think we all are always a little worried with using passive and active verbs. But when we are writing on the internet, we always want to make sure that we are putting all the attention on the action, not the actors because that is what readers want. We should use active sentences when we are writing on our personal blogs, etc because then the reader always knows who is doing what.

So here is what else I learned:

Cliches are bad. Don't use them because they are so ordinary and lazy.

Use strong verbs. You want your readers to be blown away with your clear and concise writing skills.

Use proper grammar. Well duh, that is obvious.

Make sure you use clear antecedents, otherwise your reader won't know who he or she is. 


That's pretty much what I got out of this reading.



Follow the pattern

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Jacob Nielson found that readers of websites use "an F-shaped reading pattern: visitors would start at the top left, scan straight across, return to the left, drop down, and scan to the right again. Then they'd return to the left side of the page, going straight down."
- Writing for the Web 3.0

I never realized how I read a website until I read this idea that Jacob Nielsen researched. Try it. Go to a new website and see how you react to it, how do you read the page? I definitely read the page in an F-shape. Interesting. 

What else is interesting that Eyetrack III observed was that 

larger type encouraged scanning;

smaller type encouraged careful reading.

Readers also paid attention to blurbs, which later Kilian explained was defined as a sexy cover art, if they were on the same line as the headline. Blurbs were only read if they were short and the first two words grabbed the attention of the reader. You know when you log on to Facebook, the news feed, well, I think of them as blurbs and I only really look at the "blurbs" that either sound funny or interesting or if they look intriguing. Don't you?

In section 2.2, they took a look at hook, links, and blurbs. While reading this section I thought to myself, "Don't we do this when we compile our blogging portfolios?"

We do. We compile our blogs into an entry, write a hook for a reader to actually open the blogging portfolio, we include many links to our blogs and comments on other blogs and at the same time, we write blurbs about the blog entries that will catch the eye of the readers.

So, in a way, I thought the information in this chapter wasn't anything new, it just reiterated what we have already been doing and what we already know.

Is it an election or an auction?

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"Is it an election or an auction," said former State Senator Allen Kukovich today at lecture.

With all the mudslinging going on between the democratic and republican parties, it seems that the concern is more about negative campaign ads against the opposing party rather than the issues on hand. The Senator explained the only way to combat with the election at hand, especially with the name-calling, is for individuals to fully participate, that means voting, in the election. "Whenever you don't participate, you give even more power to those who already have it," Kukovich said. We all need to vote this year especially when our economy is in jeopardy.

Kukovich stated that many don't even pay attention to the election until 3 weeks before voting begins. They then become engaged, involved and enthusiastic about the election when they hardly know anything about the candidates.

Senator Kukovich stated that since May, 100,000 new voters have registered. I am registered to vote and since early June, I have been paying close attention, or at least I'm trying, to the election. (GO OBAMA!)

An issue Allen went in depth about was our economy which is in jeopardy due to the lack of regulation by the government with lending and CEOs of huge corporations. He explained that we have to rely on manufacturing, where our people are make the items and supplies, instead of sending them overseas. This related a little to my Senior Seminar class where my group and I are working on a critical issue that is part of the election: USA Intervention and Priorities. We are arguing that as a country, we need to worry about our problems first before we go help out other countries. It may sound selfish, but it's true.

Conquering HTML- Blogging Portfolio 1

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So it's that time again to compile our blogging portfolio. It's amazing that we completed the first third of the semester and it's only been four weeks.

Within these four short weeks, I have learned, as well as my classmates how to correctly write professional e-mails, how to create a website with the help of HTML, and we also reviewed articles about social networks and professionalism.

As a class, we have expressed our opinions about social networks, formal and informal e-mails, web shorthand, emoticons and the use of this new technical language in school work.

It's been a windy and bumpy road trying to figure out HTML, but the long was short-lived and was guided with the help of my classmates.

This blog entry is a compiled list that demonstrates my accomplishments so far in Writing for the Internet.

Welcome to the O.I.A.

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"Hit-and-run information retrieval is what most of us do when we surf the Web. We visit a site, see if anything looks interesting, click around, get our jolt (or fail to get it), and go on to another site."

When do you think we do this type of information retrieval? When we browse Facebook and see an advertisement or article on the side that we want to read more about?

I know that I do this every day especially when I'm logging into my Yahoo! e-mail account and I see an article headline that catches my attention. I read it, then become bored with it and leave it and continue on with what I previously was doing. This chunking retrieval is usually articles that have material broken up into segments of not more than 100 words visible on the monitor. I find myself doing this chunking whenever I am procrastinating from doing homework.

"Sometimes readers surf online for very detailed information...readers who want to scrutinize them can download them to their hard drives and then print them out in whatever format they prefer."

This type of retrieval I do whenever I'm researching for a paper, project or presentation. A lot of these scrolling documents needed to be downloaded as a PDF where I then will read through part of the document that I need for my work. I never read these types of files or articles on my computer; they are too long to read on the screen and it involves a lot of scrolling that becomes annoying after a while.

                             ----------------------------------------------

Whenever I come to a new site, I've always noticed that the homepage of the site gives me background information and the formating of the site, a paragraphy normally explaining the intention of the site and what the site hopes the readers gets out of it. Sometimes the background information is too detailed which then takes away from the rest of the site. 

                            ------------------------------------------------

These past two chapters have been very helpful with great ideas and information for how to write and what exactly to do with the format of our writing when putting it on the internet.


Which model are you?

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"The unspoken message in the standard model is, 'Do what I say.' In the interactive models, the unspoken message is, "Is this what you want?'"

Let's see if you are standard or interactive.

Take the quiz.

1) Do you want to know the right answers?
2) Do you want to know the right questions?

If you answered yes to 1, you are standard. If you answered yes to 2, you are interactive.

1) Do you learn more from failures and mistakes?
2) Do you learn more from success?

If you answered yes to 1, you are interactive. If you answered yes to 2, you are standard.

1)Do you look towards the future?
2) Do you demand immediate results?

If you answered yes to 1, you are standard. If you answered yes to 2, you are interactive.

So did you answer yes more to the standard culture or the interactive culture?

I was mixture.
I want to know what the right answers are because I probably already have the questions. STANDARD

I learn more from failures and mistakes.
INTERACTIVE

And I look to the future a lot. I mean, I am a dreamer.
STANDARD

Who are you more like? Do you agree with the results? Why or why not?

-------------------------------------

"Standard culture adherents wait for someone to give order; interactives decide what to do and then do it."
I thought that I was one that decided what to do, when to do it and how to do it. But then again, I do wait sometimes for an order to be given before I start anything. When writing a website, we should be write in between both the standard culture and the interactive culture so that the website will attract both audiences.


Online Lingua Franca?

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You're probably wondering what online lingua franca is and you're probably wondering why I'm referring to it. Well, online lingua franca is English adapted for the spitfire conversational style of Internet instant messaging. This spitfire style is taking over the academic world.

In Jennifer Lee's article, "I Think, Therefore IM," she interviewed Jesse Shedidlower, the North American editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, who explained that "there is no official English language. Language is spread not because not anyone dictates any one thing to happen. The decisions are made by the language and the people who use the language.'' The teenage society today has pushed the boundaries of spoken language, introducing words that adults find hard to adapt to. I find it bewildering that this sort of text language is being implemented into actual school work. It is with the help of the new emerging technology that gives rise to the tweens' new social lingo

For many teachers and professors, they believe the real issue is carelessness as explained in the article, "IM Shortcuts Popping Up in the Real World". As I wrote in my blog about how the informal style of electronic messages are showing up in school work, I explained  that I personally have never used emoticons, text shortcuts or omitted proper grammar and punctuation in my schoolwork, but outside of essays and other schoolwork, I find myself using this new form of communication frequently.

Within that blog, I received a comment from MS arguing "that as an English teacher, all that I have to say is that these IM's and text messages are destroying the English language faster than anything else... This abomination of our language is not cute, hip or expressive; it is dangerous." that sparked an idea in my Professor's, Dr. Jerz, mind to elaborate more about this topic on his own blog. Dr. Jerz clarified that he knows "many student writers who can text with winged thumbs, and also turn out well-written research papers on literary theory." 

He has yet meet a student who can't expand this online lingua franca into complete sentence. "For every accidental "ur" (a popular IM abbreviation for "your"), I see at least as many examples of "per say" (a mondegreen for "per se") and "should of" (a similar mishearing of "should have"), and all manner of similar mistakes ("That story was bias" for "That story was biased") that have nothing to do with text messaging, and a lot to do with the fact that tweens and teens live in a largely oral culture,"Jerz said.

A senior classmate, Andrew Lonigro, explained in his blog that in his experience and his understanding of the evolution and history of language, generation by generation there are changes that take place. Andrew used the example that "when looking at the transition from Old English to Middle English to Early Modern English and so on, there are constantly new rules and new jargin that change and evolve the language."

This phenomenon that is taking place with new online language is a result of the search for the quickest and most convenient way to communicate to others. The English language is changing once again in correspondence with society's changes, especially with technology.

In Tamar Lewin's "Informal Style of Electronic Messages is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds," she
finds that "as e-mail messages, text messages and social network postings become nearly ubiquitous in the lives of teenagers, the informality of electronic communications is seeping into their schoolwork." Nearly 300 students that were surveyed said their e-communication style sometimes bled into school assignments.

Karissa Kilgore and Jay Pugh, SHU graduates, did a presentation in my Literary Criticism class two years ago where they argued that IM chat and text messaging wasa new form of writing and language. Karissa wrote on her blog, "With its pervasiveness, IM language is becoming a genre all its own. It has conventions like any other, and develops as the technology does. Although many find IM language to be a lack of form, the reality of the language is that the lack of 'form' creates the newer version of form."

I couldn't agree with her more. Any type of writing is real writing even if it is improper. They are still expressing their views, ideas and thoughts just with using shortcuts and other forms of the new English language to express it in a quicker manner. They just need to learn how to revise the shortcuts before handing in an academic paper.

Check It Out

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So I created my own homepage by myself with HTML. It's amazing seeing all these codes and style sheets merging together and making a page.


It's not to elaborate but it's my first time creating my own website.

So, just check it out.

Tell me how you really feel, Neal.

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"...the way to write well is to produce a bad first draft and then toil through many revisions, editing it and refining it to bring it ever closer to supposed Platonic ideal. If you believe in this (as I used to) and if you apply it to the topic of smileys, you arrive at the conclusion that smiley users are lazy writers who could get along just fine without smileys if only they took the trouble to revise and edit their work a little bit, to make the meaning clearer."
- Smiley's People

Okay, Neal, tell me how you really feel.

WOW! He was really ranting in this piece and mocking every one who has ever used the smiley emoticon. I understand that he retracts what he said, but his original piece really was cruel. He truly believed that "the online world has its own cliches and truisms, none so haggard as the belief that reliable written communication is impossible without frequent use of emotions." I don't remember seeing in Scott's article him saying that without the use of emoticons, the written form of communication will deteriorate. 

Also in his original piece he explained that "the internet is, therefore, still very much a college town and shares much the same ambience as Cambridge, Iowa City or Berkeley: a dysfunctional blend of liquored-up freshmen and polymorphously perverse deconstructionists." Okay, so then he was tearing apart college students, especially freshmen. Really, what the hell was wrong with him when he wrote this. I don't see any harm of the use of the smiley.

He denounced smileys and the people who use them on the internet. From my viewpoint, the only time I ever use a smiley or see one use is when someone is INFORMALLY talking to someone through text messages, e-mail, AIM, Facebook, MySpace, etc. When people are communicating online to one another, they aren't going to write a novel to them. They want to convey their ideas, thoughts, and feelings as quickly as possible.

I think Neal was beginning to think that smileys were going to be used in essays, articles, newspapers, TV, etc. The use of the smiley, well at least for me, is to help express a certain emotion quickly.

I appreciate that Neal finally understands the concept of the smiley. =)


People aren't perfect until they smile =)

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"After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various 'joke-markers' were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence :-) would be an elegant solution..."
- Smiley: 25 Years Old and Never Looked Happier!

First of all I would just like to thank Scott Fahlman personally for creating the smiley because I use it ALL the time. It really does help with text conversation.

It seems like Scott and his colleagues had a hard time expressing their tone or body language through text as do we. But now we have the help of the smiley to use for text conversation. I have come across conversations online with someone who I assumed was telling a real-life story and believed them. I replied to the story saying he should send in a video tape in to Funniest Videos. The person was all sorts of confused as they wrote back, "Dena, what are you talking about? IT WAS A JOKE. My goldfish didn't really jump out of the tank and back in." I think if the person would have used LOL or HAHA, or a smiley then I would have understood it was a joke.

For example, if someone was to write you in a text or e-mail, etc.

you're so dumb

you would take them seriously and think they really did just call you dumb,

but if someone wrote this

you're so dumb :)

you wouldn't take it so seriously and you would understand they are joking kidding (JK).


I would also agree with Scott in the matter that "Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures. Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original." I agree with him 100%. I think the way the smiley is used with just the symbols is a lot better than a picture. 

It is crazy to think that "many people have denounced the very idea of the smiley face, pointing out that good writers should have no need to explicitly label their humorous comments." I disagree with the point that the smiley isn't being used into true literary forms or journals, but that it is used informally between friends and family.

Plus, every one could use a little smile in their day. :-)


Oil prices + M.B.A grad student = One Pissed Off Man

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So before class started today, I was browsing around the internet and stumbled across an article that made me infuriated.
For the first time in six months, oil prices closed below $100.
- Yahoo! Finance

"They used a natural disaster as an excuse to make money," said a current M.B.A grad student here at Seton Hill who asked to remain anonymous.

So my question is, if oil prices closed in at less than a hundred dollars, why are we still paying $3.69 a gallon. And just for your information, the damage done by Hurricane Ike was less than many expected so I think we all should be refunded the 20 cents more we paid before Ike came to land.

"Oil companies change prices two to three times through the course of the day which is illegal but they get away with it because there is such a high demand for it," he exclaimed.

Internet etiquette? WTF?

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At the beginning of every academic year, as a new crop of college students started playing around with their network accounts, Usenet old-timers complained that the communities they had nurtured and maintained according to the rules of netiquette were invaded by clueless newbies who (like me) trampled the flowerbeds, tracked mud into the front parlor, didn't clear our plates when we were finished eating, laughed at all the wrong times, and didn't laugh at the right times. We didn't know when to post a smiley, when to attribute a quotation, and when to STFU.
-Clueless Usenet Newbie

I thoroughly enjoyed this blog by this mysterious character whom I still can't seem to figure out...NOT!

Like Kevin says on his blog, "When one introduces something that has been private for a while people tend to enter it is mass numbers. In those mass numbers, it is hard to weed out the psychos from the sane, the intellectuals from the conspiracy theorist."

I completely understand why the old-timers would have become upset when a younger generation came to the understanding of Usenet and completely blew it out of proportion. It is shocking to think that a one time in Dr. Jerz's life he was once clueless to the internet but more so with Usenet. He broke into the well-maintained and proper Usenet community and went against all rules of netiquette because he was a clueless newbie. I think it is hilarious that there a type of etiquette one must have on the internet. I mean there are boundaries one must be aware of and make sure they voice their opinions in a certain manner, but netiquette? For real?

But isn't this true for all of us even if it isn't related to the internet or computers? We were all once clueless newbies to something and made mistakes that the old-timers would ridicule us and hate us.

As I was saying about newcomers, its like Facebook when it first started at as a college social network then when the high school students were allowed to join, the whole thing went down the toilet. Now Facebook, to me, sucks. 

Well I guess that's just life. Everyone is a newcomer at points in their lives then everyone becomes an old-timer bitching at all the stupid kids. HAHAHAHA.



I just don't understand why you won't work

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Okay, so I was finally getting the hang of this whole website thing. I got up to page like 33, viewed the website and it was all messed up. But 3 pages before that i viewed it and it was fine. I looked over ALL the codes and they looked fine, so I tried it again, and it was still messed up. So I viewed the codes again, looked fine and still no good.
UGH.

During class, Dr. Jerz pointed out to me that I forgot a closing quotation and that I added an extra line space that would allow the computer to get confused and mess up (even though I'm the one who messed up).

Now, I'm off to finish this postcard site.

YAY for me.

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Finally finished the website.

What a load of my shoulders. As I look back on this whole process, it wasn't impossible or even hard, just frustrating at times when things weren't showing up correctly or if I missed a closing quotation mark.

I feel very proud of myself for completing this. I like to think of myself as a user of the internet and websites rather than a website developer. Now I can say I created a website from scratch with the help of the lovely HTML.

I'm excited to start creating my own website which I know will be hard trying to figure out how I want the layout to look like and actually knowing what codes and commands to use.

completely frustrated

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Okay, so I begin reading Castro and I am able to understand and do the instructions given with the first six pages then it goes all down hill.

I read through the thirty pages understanding what and how HE is doing it, but for me to do it is another thing.


I am having difficulty finishing this assignment. Maybe in class tomorrow, Dr. Jerz and throughly go through each step so when we have other assignments within this book, myself, along with the rest of the class will understand.

UGH. I hate HTML's.

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This is my text file
quiz.txt

My HTML file
quiz.htm

These teachers are educating the young minds of the USA?

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"Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don't see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials?"
-When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web

I do believe that you must keep your professional life and work life separate. Like Chelsea said in her blog, "I know that if my name is on something I'm making sure that if anyone that wouldn't normally stop by my site doesn't think that I'm just another 'stupid teenager'." I think that if you are a teacher, you should grow up and not have a Facebook or MySpace account. At this time of your life, you should be past that stage, you're a professional educating the young minds of America.

I know realize that many of the teachers they interviewed were in their 20s but they are behaving, for the most part, like young adults like nothing they post on the internet will hurt them in the future. Well guess what? It does. It is amazing that many are clueless to the fact that their principals and superintendents can find ways around the internet and find their pages. Hello!!!! The internet is not safe.

All teachers, no matter what their age, are and should be judged by the public officials standards immediately following their acceptance to the job.

We all need to understand that nothing on the internet is private and if you are going to have an account on a social website make sure all your "friends" on that network are your closest friends and to keep it private.


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