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October 30, 2006

Old-school gaming

I had fun trying to get through the phone booth game and 9:05 was really surprising. I am not good at modern computer games, so this was even a challenge. I really liked how you could pick your own endings. I think that these games force more specific thinking in general.

Posted by ErinWaite at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

Only perverse people touch the velvet....

My first experience with interactive fiction was quite funny. Galatea and I got into a conversation about the black velvet around her and she said it was perverse to touch it, I was just being cheeky and I offeneded a statue. It was sort of creepy, I felt like I was in the mall talking to a mannequin or something and everyone would be giving me weird looks. It's hard to believe people would talk with the computer as if it were a therapist. At the same time, the really crappy ones on TV just paraphrase everything you say just like the computer anyway. The idea of typing your responses really makes you think about how well you articulate because one wrong phrase and bam! Game over!

Posted by ErinWaite at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2006

My Experiences with Usability Testing

I had Shannon Moskal, who struggles with computer usag (like me) to review my site so that I could see the real problem areas that make it difficult to navigate. It would be easier for someone more professional to navigate it, so I thought why not start with a newbie. Next, I had my friend’s boyfriend Sean, who is a computer whiz (and not a huge Erin fan) check it out because I knew he’d be brutally honest and give me a complete list of ways to trouble-shoot. He certainly didn’t show any partiality and I realized what I already knew: I know jack about computers!! Next, I had the more sympathetic Janese (a grad from here) check it out and she enjoyed my enthusiasm and offered helpful tips too. Without more rambling, here are the questions for my own site.

1. Is there a strong enough focus, if so name it.

2. Are the links working and appropriate?

3. Are the pictures set up well enough and not too distracting?

4. What kind of audience am I aiming for and do you think my site would appeal to them?

5. What in summary, did you learn from visiting my site and was it what you were hoping to get out of it?

6. How long were you on my site and why?

Here are my problem areas:

Two of my links don’t work
My pictures are aligned well
My chunking and bolding is a little scattered, as I’m having trouble coming up with coding.
I don’t have as much content as needed.

Strengths

I changed my idea to favorite 80’s coming-of-age movies and everyone agreed that my thoughts are well-written and funny, I just need to work on layout.
My movies appeal to the right audience (college kids and adults alike with a soft spot for the big hair days).
I do have good pix and the links are appropriate.

I reviewed Rachel’s site and it offered great advice on entertainment, appealed to college students, and was informative, yet simple. Here are the answers to your questions. Great job Rach!

1. All the links were working and they are appropriate places.
2. The homepages offer enough info.
3. I’m 22, but for those under, you could include places like Dave and Buster’s, maybe suggest attending upcoming games and concerts, etc. Also mention up-and-coming restaurants. While we like to drink, I know like two people who don’t so make sure you include other non-alcoholic outings for more conservative people.
4. I’ve been dying to try the Tiki Lounge and maybe you could recommend some of your favorite drinks and food from these places and even where you can get good deals on parking or nights to go (Ladie’s Night,) etc. I’d like to know and I think it’d be cool if you get personal with your audience that way. You got me interested, so now I’ve got many questions (which is good).
5. 9. I’m always up for fun, but not knowing my way around Pittsburgh and being on a budget, I want to know where to park and how I can get the most bang for my buck.
My only suggestions would be:
-Add drinks and food you recommend, if you want.
-Suggest good days to go
-Maybe add some more pics, but your site is really good as it is! Pittsburgh here I come!

I haven’t gotten to formally peek at Cherie’s site, but based on my own questions and what I saw of her in-class exercises.

-Cherie writes with wit and humor.
-She knows her chunking and bolding
-She includes useful links that actually work
-The colors and style is appropriate to the content.
-To fix things up, she should add more links and pictures. She also needs to elaborate more. She has such great content and ideas that like Jeremy said, there needs to be more of them!

Posted by ErinWaite at 09:11 PM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2006

Watch out for Wikipedia errors

I felt so bad for the man whose name was slandered when he was referred to as Kennedy's assassin. I can't believe that a website that allows just anyone to publish whatever they want will not have some type of policy regarding users who slander others. It took days for the man's name to be removed. I think that whoever posted such a thing should be persecuted and while it may infringe on privacy rights, I think if you're going to put something out there tha high school students are going to be gullible enough to read and spread further, you should have to pay the consequences. I think that while Wikipedia is a good source for quick summaries of a book you're reading, I wouldn't use it for a final paper. I think there should be some type of disclaimer or warning on the homepage about the fact that anyone can publish anything and it could be wrong so that other resource cites and magazines can't complain about Wikipedia further.

Posted by ErinWaite at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2006

Tog knows what he's talkin' about

I liked the format that he delivered his tips in. It was straight to the point and took two minutes for me to read and I benefited from it (maybe I can't spell, but still). I learned: The good points of someone's site should be stated first, the bulleted tips you give should be solutions, not criticisms, and to really pay attention to what kind of audience the author is aiming for. Tips are what we're looking for and Tog certainly delivered.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:10 PM | Comments (2)

Prepping the Prototype

There come's a time when everything suddenly becomes overwhelming, the due dates are approaching at break-neck speed, and your brain's so full of miscellaneous info that you can't even remember what your car looks like in the parking lot. It' Midterm time! The usability testing article became so relevant because it offers good advice not only for testing a website, but how to approach testing yourself for anything. The 5 people seem like the right number because they are able to give you a diverse enough opinion. It's important for those people to be honest about your prototype because they will help you improve through criticism. You really shouldn't go through family because like we talked about in class, they will tell you they love everything you do. The prototype itself could be an outline for a test or a paper you're writing for midterm. It will help in trouble-shooting. I am having trouble just creating the prototype, let alone the website, but I think starting the writing or at least an outline for it will allow me to get some feedback and maybe point me in a clearer direction. The reading itself was quite helpful.

Posted by ErinWaite at 07:58 PM | Comments (4)

October 20, 2006

The Conduit Congo Line

To be honest and sound like a true blonde, I had no idea what a conduit was (or a meme). That's why I didn't blog about it. I was the girl who in middle school found a square package on the ferris wheel that said "fingerbowl" and thought it was some kind of condom, so don't be surprised at my lack of common sense. I make assumptions and I definitely made the wrong one about this. Its really been apart of what we are taught not to do in this college. We are not supposed to just spit back whatever information the professor gave us and expect an "A." At the same time, with all this lack of communication and this idea that we are supposed to just learn by doing doesn't allow students to really learn if they don't know specifically how to get started.
For instance, this morning, I was talking with other students who are having some of the same troubles as I am in posting their websites and even making them to begin with. While it's great that we're blogging and reading Castro's examples, then having discussions them as we attempt to workshop, where's the part where we can actually have someone who knows what they're doing SHOW us how, instead of just throwing us a handout or telling us to bug someone outside of class to show us when we're trying to do other homework already? We get hounded to Show and not Tell in every English class we've had since elementary school, so why is it stopping now? This applies to every course I'm taking in. I apologize for turning this into a rant, but this conduit thing made me think of a congo line. There is always someone who starts it and everyone who knows how to shake their rump join in. What about the people who aren't conduit congo people and but more like paper-writing polka fanatics? Okay, I've had too much Starbucks and none of this will make sense to anyone, but at least I made up for my first late blog. Sorry if you actually read this crap and thanks very much if you understand/agree with anything I just said.

Posted by ErinWaite at 02:23 PM | Comments (2)

October 17, 2006

Discussions, Digressions, and other Delights: Blog Portfolio

Hi, my name is Erin and I'm a blog-aholic. Well, not quite, but I got into some In-depth discussions with Karissa, Katie, Cherie, and Tiffany. I learned how to link and actually blogged daily and on-time. From in-class discussions I got some tasty entries about MySpace and Hot Text so grab a fork and dig in!

Coverage: Here are some of the blogs that I learned to concise, but still cover still fill the reader up in one trip. Kind of like a drive-thru, huh?
The Bush Blog
The Newbie Article
5 conventions
Painless Reading

Depth:For the main course, here's my most in-depth entries which stemmed from pet peeves and thus, made them more passionate and lead to longer entries.
Fiskers Beware!
A long September
I know what you're thinking
Dancing with Myself
Dead fish

Timeliness:
I'm never late for dessert and neither were any of my entries this year, but here are some of the ones that came out ahead of time.
Pre-historic e-mail
How many links
Get in/Get out
Website proposal
Blurbing it up
Spell it out for me

Discussion: How about some drinks and a little discussion? I got chatty and got great tips and opinions this year. I think I got more comments then last year's blog.
Castro Help
Ride that Hobbyhorse!
Oh, Navigator!
Give it to me straight
Revised proposal
5 conventions

Bonus: Comments Primo:
I was the first to comment on these blogs (click name and you'll get specific entries)
Rachel
Paul

Comments grande:
Rachel
Cherie


Posted by ErinWaite at 02:20 PM | Comments (2)

October 12, 2006

How many links does it take to get....?

Ch. 14 Pet Peeves: Here’s my interpretation of the tips, if you please.
"Express a few pet peeves. Indulge your hobbyhorses. You'll make a more dramatic impression and therefore do a better job of reporting." (375)

Be creative and have your own opinions, don’t just be a constipated news anchor

Stick with the href="http://http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/technical/reports/reports2.htm">pyramid it allows you to get to the point with some good hooks.

Quotes and interviews show bias and capture the essence a little more. Check out Tiffany’s blog on Ch. 14-16.

The audience wants to feel like your partner in crime a little, let them.

Don't be afraid to show a little bias
Ch. 15 Webzines rock
This part was great because while it encourages you to stay within limits it allows you to get even more personal. Hale said to go for the "...gonzo, the rough-edged, the over-the-top." (406)

While you are encouraged to stay within limits, free you to get even more personal.

• Hale said it best. Go for the “…gonzo, the rough-edged, the over-the-top

• They are a great way of getting feedback and showing off your unique opinions and quirks.

• Here are some links to some webzines that you may find interesting.
http://www.webzine.ws/http://speculativevision.com/network/Webzines/
Hunter S. Thompson may not have been webzine focused, he is a great example of going gonzo.

Christine Othitis wrote an article about gonzoism that really captures what Thompson started.
Want to learn more about him or re-live some of your favorite Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Moments? Try these, kids :)
http://www.gonzo.org/
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/6562575/fear_and_loathing_campaign_2004/
http://www.freezerbox.com/archive/article.php?id=287

• Here’s where you can start your own for free.www.crimsonzine.com/


Ch.16 Resumes are a part of growing up and faster to do online
“New opening new resume.” (423)
• Don’t use the same resume for every job.
• Tailor your resume to suit what position you are applying for.
• Similar lesson in Dr. Jerz’s previous class.
Sample resumes
• Looking for positions available in your field and area? Here are some good ideas.
Conclusion:
I enjoyed practicing linking techniques and the chunking and bolding. Hot Text is extremely helpful for people who don’t quite get the technical side right off the bat. Tiffany really found a great site on the link. It also brought up some interesting discussion between Karissa, Cherie, Tiffany, Katie, and I on my previous blog entry.
My Ch. 11-13 entry also has a lot of related information and comments on Hot Text.
Here are some blog entries that relate to mine.
Karissa's blog on ch.14-16 is great. Wait, her whole blog is.
Cherie's blogs always make me laugh and are ridiculously smart.
Tiffany's Ch. 14-16 gave me alot of insights.
Rachel is great at summing things up that I would never be able to.

Posted by ErinWaite at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

Fiskers beware?

I enjoyed Dr. Jerz's explaination of fisking because there was an actual history behind it. I never knew it came from a man's name and that it was a way of looking at other people's blogs critically. I think as students, we've come a long way when it comes to critical reading, but actually posting it can still be tough.

This takes me back to days when I first learned to blog in Intro to Lit Study. We had to criticize story plots as well as interact on a sometimes critical level with our classmates. Which brings me to wonder, did we fisk eachother at all unknowingly and will fisking become something blacklisted like flaming, spamming, and all those other great destructive words? If we don't "get our fisk on" once in awhile will we lose steam?

Posted by ErinWaite at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2006

Ride that hobbyhorse!

"Express a few pet peeves. Indulge your hobbyhorses. You'll make a more dramatic impression and therefore do a better job of reporting." (375)

I like this because it allows you to be creative and have your own opinions instead of looking like some constipated news anchor. This chapter sticks with the pyramid and encourages getting to the point with good hooks. Use quotes and give your audience clues in bias. I think this is great to because I like interviews and it captures the essence a little more. This ch. also reminds you to make the audience feel like your partners.

Ch. 15 on webzines was great because while it encourages you to stay within limits it allows you to get even more personal. Hale said to go for the "...gonzo, the rough-edged, the over-the-top." (406)

Ch. 16 "New opening, new resume." (423)
Yep. I definitely use the same old resume and that's bad news. This emphasized the importance of being tailored for the company. This reminds me of a previous Jerz class when we learned how to write resumes and Hot Text took it up a notch. I'm just happy I remember this stuff.

Posted by ErinWaite at 01:18 PM | Comments (5)

October 08, 2006

Give it to me straight

Ch. 11- "Writers don't start genres, audiences do." (273) I liked this quote because it explains that all genres start from people asking eachother questions and pretty soon a bunch of anwers that involve other forms of media come up and bam, you've got a genre. This chapter basically said: talk in terms appropriate to your audience, take on whatever persona is necessary, and make sure you adapt to forums. People are seeking answers and you're website should help them in an easy-to-follow manner.
Ch. 12 "You are not 'writing about' the site--you are annotating the interface." (286)" I've gone online and become frusturated easily by websites that don't offer basic instructions and field labeling before. It is awful when you can't order something since "error" keeps popping up and you are not informed "why." I thought the labeling fields part was particularly helpful, because a simple "Please enter month and day," is alot nicer than getting instructions that are barked at you and unclear to boot. It may be extra writing for you, but the audience needs examples and wants to know just why they have to jump through hoops so they are more likely to stick it out than just give up and go to another site.
Ch. 13 "...Straightforward information sells!" (343) I like this because it puts you on a more personal level than trying to push people to buy your product through scheming. Getting rid of the mission statement allows people to see right away that you aren't trying to b.s. them People visiting want to see pictures and testimonials from the average Joe letting them know the product is helpful. This ties in with Ch. 11 because it helps to adopt the right tone with whomever you're addressing so that they feel they can trust you enough to stay on the site and perhaps buy your product.

Posted by ErinWaite at 03:16 PM | Comments (4)

Oh, Navigator!

Where-o-where do I click to get out? My finger is blistering from clicking back, and look, now the page froze because I clicked so many times. It is nice to be able to have the basic links that allow you to to your original or home site, where to find more sources on the same topic, or at least a scroll bar that doesn't tease. At first I thought it was rather annoying that people are too lazy to scroll, but as an avid reader, when I feel the thickness of the book changing I know I'm making progress. As we discussed way before, online readers like to see the scroll bar changing quickly to let them know they're progressing too. Who wants to get trapped in a maze of a site when they just wanted to read about warlocks or cheese (whatever people do online for fun, I'm not sure) and get back to their chatroom?

Posted by ErinWaite at 02:14 PM | Comments (1)

Spell it out for me

Is that specific enough? By reading these chapters and looking at the examples, I was able to understand the importance of being literal enough that the reader can decide right away whether or not they want to continue reading something. Blurbs give good, short summaries that should allow readers to pick and choose also. Doing some of the exercises were tough for me because I'm still long-winded but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Cherie's been amazing help

Posted by ErinWaite at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

Get in/Get out

I realized by reading this that you really have to mince words sometimes, which is good for me because I tend to be too wordy. When I'm out of context, it usually means I'm too wordy. In context writing allows more specificity and make it all-around easier for people to navigate your site. The reader is able to find exactly what they are looking for and if your titles and blurbs do not help they will get out faster than you can say 'poof! " This all continues to remind me of the good old pyramid.

Posted by ErinWaite at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2006

Blurbing it up

I enjoyed reading about blurbs because it wasn't as overwhelming as I thought and it was broken down nicely. It reminded me of putting what's important first, not teasing the readers, and gave easy-to-follow examples. It's all about audience. Like Rachel said, it was nice to see the pyramid again.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

Revised proposal

I love Rolling Stone magazine and the online version is quite fun and what I was going for. http://www.rollingstone.com/is what I'd like to base my ideas on, but not on such a large scale obviously. Just a few books, cds, movies, I like. www.metacritic.com was helpful too.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)

October 02, 2006

My Website proposal

I don't have the Net at home, so I really only visit websites with concert dates and reviews as well as book-related websites for pleasure. Besides that, I usually just use the web for school projects. I've actually already begun a website from last year regarding English education that might me useful. Could I enhance that and make it web-ready? If not, would it be feasible to do a website on books and music?

Posted by ErinWaite at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

More Castro and Hot Text help

Both of these texts are helpful in creating a website, but I am still trouble-shooting and no one seems to be able to acttually "show" me what to do, so I'm tired of reading. Gina's brother is going to help us thankfully, so maybe I'll actually put the reading to use then.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:57 AM | Comments (3)