September 2008 Archives

Lost in Translation

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Teddy Clapp   middle aged chick with big knockers    suit  J.C. Penney   the bank manager  heard anything  Your friend  looking at you funny  ridiculous looking over-alls  walked away

Hyperlinks on first page: 10

Wow. So, from the start, I was very confused by this hypertext tale. Maybe that's because I didn't find the link that actually said The Heist Starts Here until after I'd already read a portion of the tale.

I started reading at Start the Heist. But, after I'd finished the reading, I had no clue as to where to click next, so I just started clicking on random links, and reading the information on each individual sections. Sorrells doesn't seem to have any sense for order in his tale either, considering that he has multiple hyperlinks on each page. I was lost from the first link. How do I choose between two equally enticing hyperlinks (middle aged chick with big knockers VS ridiculous looking overalls). Wow, way to give me a clue as to where to go next.

If he'd been smart, maybe Sorrells would have considered numbering the links in parentheses to help his readers navagate throughout the site. Or, maybe he should have took a hint from Kilian, and gave a table of contents on his intro page, rather than a long dissertation concerning the background of his tale.

Bottom line? Organization here sucks. Period.

 

So what does everyone else think?

I See the Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Chapter 7...

So I've finally gotten to a section in this book that I've found interesting. Yep, that's right. Kilian's biggest critic at SHU actually found the end of the book to be useful. (and not just because it's the end of the book either...) His explanation of the different types of blogs allowed me to see just how broad the spectrum of online writing really can be. I always thought MySpacers who kept daily blogs were a bit self-absorbed, so I was happy to see that there are a lot of other uses besides academics and leisure. Who knew a news or advocacy blog could make so much of an impact on society?

He even breaks down just how to organize a blog to better suit readers.I like that he basically tells us to KISS (keep it simple stupid) instead of making everything long and elaborate. And, Kilian does an excellent job at telling us what information is appropriate. Each post...is like a chunk: a mini essay. I think it's great that he found a way to tie in this chapter with his earlier chapters. Maybe I was too harsh when I said they were a waste of time...

Well, for me, I felt like I didn't learn a lot from those chapters, but I guess if I hadn't read them, I wouldn't understand Chunking, and therefore, I might have missed his point.

Chapter 8...

I loved the Semantics section of this chapter. Last year, in psychology, we learned all about semantics, and how people interpret differently. I always knew word choice was important in conveying the right emotions in an article, but I guess it's more important than I realized before. See, Kilian isn't a total waste of time...I guess I'm kinda talking to myself here...

The elements of persuasion--any journalist knows that persuasion is very important in an article. If you don't get the reader to agree with you, they'll probably stop reading by the second paragraph, which may well just be the second sentence... Kilian did a great job breaking down the best ways to persuade readers. Sure, he starts with the obvious--logical argument, but then Kilian expands onto a bigger front--emotional appeal. From previous experience with features in high school, we always tried to invoke emotions in our audiences to persuade them to go out into the world and make a difference, whether it was Pay It Forward or Voting.

All in all, this book wasn't an utter waste of time--only half of it was, for me at least. I know I expressed very strong emotions about the book earlier, but I'm glad Kilian finally explained writing for the web in the final three chapters of the book. Took him long enough. Still, he provided an amazing amount of examples for first-time bloggers. With the help of his book, anyone could write a decent blog.

What does everyone else have to say?

Egos...a writer's worst nightmare Kilian. Ch. 6

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So in the interactive medium of the Web, writers must keep their own egos offstage and engage the reader on terms of equality and shared interests. The webwriter expects to learn as well as teach, to move and be moved. Such writing avoids fulsome, manipulative flattery. It sends a nonverbal message of respect and interest. A site that's slow to load and hard to navigate is an ego site. A quick-loading site with good navigation reflects a self-art site, considerate of readers. Webtext that's precious or bombastic may say a lot about the writer's big vocabulary, but it speaks much more loudly of the writer's big ego.

 

So finally, I've read something in this book that doesn't make me want to stab my eyes out. It actually proves a valid point--again a point I learned back in high school. We have to keep our readers in mind when writing any form of text, whether it be an article or column, or text for an html Corporate website.

Kilian's right in saying that our tone in text conveys a nonverbal message. Just from reading an article, I can tell if the reader is a pompous a**.

As for the quick/slow loading sites, I'm not sure if I agree with Kilian or not. I may get impatient, but I like websites that have tons of graphics. I guess that's just the part of me that loves graphic design and layout, but can you blame me? I'm more likely to research information on a fun-looking website than I am from one that's just basic hypertext.

In short, I get what Kilian's saying in this chapter, but I feel like I don't completely fit into his audience. He's supposed to be writing to people who are experienced with paper text. I know I'm only 18 and I'm not as experienced as people who have been writing for the New York Times for a few decades, but I'm not an idiot. I know what works and what doesn't to get a reader's attention. Maybe I'm just getting too defensive.

I have a headache...Kilian. CH.5

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"...many styleguides should prescribe everything from abbreviations to precise word usages." --Kilian, Writing for the Web 3.0

 

The more I read, the more I hate this book. I can honestly say that it's an insult to my intelligence. "Don't Trust Your Spell Checker" "Abbreviations" "Avoid gender bias" "Be careful about sexual orientation" Seriously? Look at these headings...I feel like I'm in 11th grade all over again...I know, I know, not everyone took journalism in high school either and learned these rules, but I did. And not only did I learn most of these rules in my J-1 class, but I also learned it in my AP 11 English class. So basically, this book really is an insult to my intelligence. It's just a review, and I feel like I'm wasting my time (no offense Dr. Jerz or Kilian), but I can't stand this book. Kilian talks about political correctness. Anyone who's attending a reputable college should know what is and isn't politically correct.

 

Okay, I admit I'm probably being a bit harsh here, but I really do hate this book. I dread reading a new chapter. The only part in this chapter that really helped me (it didn't even teach me something I didn't know) was the section about styleguides. When I was copy editor last year, my styleguide was my best friend. Anytime I needed to look up a rule, I knew better than to ask our advisor; she would just yell at me and tell me to figure it out by myself. How else would I learn? So, I do appreciate Kilian's insert on which websites provide appropriate and accurate styleguides.

 

As for everything else. Come on. If I really needed a review concerning what is appropriate and not appropriate to put on a web page this in depth, I wouldn't be majoring in Journalism...or be attending SHU right now...

Are you active or are you passive?

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Unless you've done very little writing for print, you're going to bring all kinds of habits from the print medium. That's fine; much of what goes on your site will end up on paper anyway, and the basics of good writing are the same in any medium.

 

So, Kilian spends the majority of chapter 4 giving his readers a grammar and usage lesson. I'm not going to pretend to be interested in this chapter, because I really wasn't. He made me feel like I was back in my junior year of high school all over again, slaving over active voice.

I hate passive voice just as much as Kilian does. After being a copy editor and writing assistant for a year, passive voice seems to jump out at me on a page, and I hate it (my old teacher hated the words "it" and "thing" too....I still cringe when I use them). Passive voice bores readers, so no wonder Kilian ridicules the use of PV so much. I would too.

However, as much as I dislike passive voice, I won't claim that all passive voice is avoidable as most English teachers enforce. Sometimes, active voice makes a sentence seem awkward. What a dilemma. Passive voice or awkwardness? I opt for the former. Readers will still follow passive voice, but they might get confused if sentences seem to awkward.

Along with passive voice, Kilian reminds his readers to avoid quite a few other bad writing habits, including cliches and lack of sentence variety. As I said before, I feel like he's just trying to teach a brief lesson in English writing, but I guess these notations are important for those who didn't have such an intense AP English teacher as I did back in the day. Anyway, I agree with all of his points; I just feel like since I'm reading about writing for the web, I should be learning new material, rather than material that I've been studying since my freshman year of high school if not earlier than that.

 

So what do my classmates think?

Hook Line and Sinker...Kilian Ch.3

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A link on a front page should have two parts--a hook and a blurb--though both may appear as a single word or phrase. The hook--a term borrowed from magazine writing--is introductory words that grab reader attention.  --Kilian, Ch.3

 

As soon as I read this section of the book, I immediately thought back to my journalism days in high school. My advisor could never stress the importance of creating a solid lead to grab the readers attention. In his book, Kilian offers multiple examples for proper use of "hooks." However, I don't agree with all of his methods...

Quotation Marks:   I never was a big fan of starting an article with a quote. Maybe I was just stubborn, but I always felt like if I was going to start a story with a quote, it'd better be one phenomenal quote.

Question:   I'm not so into the rhetorical questions either. What happens if a person reads the rhetorical question to themselves, answers it, and never bothers to read your page? Opps. Your bad. Now you're out of luck. I guess if the question is really thought-provoking, it might be okay, but I don't understand why anyone would ever ask a simple yes or no question to start a paper or article or even web page.

Unusual statement:   I LOVE starting my work with one of these. What better way to grab a reader's attention than to force them to think intently about a statement you've posed. If I had to choose between a question and a statement, I'd always opt for the statement.

Comparisons/contrasts:    There's nothing really wrong with starting with one of these, but I still don't think it's the best option. It's better to start by introducing the topics at hand, rather than criticizing and comparing them before readers really have the opportunity to dive into your page. Save this for later.

News peg:    I'm all about the news pegs. It's always good to provide alternate sources for your opinions, so what better way to do that than to quote another site's comments on a current event? (oops, that's a rhetorical question isn't it....)

Promise of conflict:    This could go either way. On one hand, the reader might agree with your statement against a specific cause or ideal and become eager to read more. On the other hand, if the reader disagrees with your rebuke, you might be saying goodbye to yet another possible reader.

Direct address:   This depends on just how formal your page is. The type of page also comes into play here. Remember tha the "you" attitude depends on you not being selfish and gabbing soley about yourself...

Rebuttal:    Just like the promise of conflict, this could be a good or bad hook. The bottomo line here is that we need to acknowledge that not everyone in our audience will necessarly agree with our own opinions.

 

So I've basically criticized every suggestion Kilian has offered now, so maybe I should state which one I prefer. When faced with writing a strong lead for a paper (or for a page in the future), I plan to stick to either news pegs or unusual statements, because readers love the element of surprise.

A Picture isn't always worth 1000 words...--Kilian Ch.2

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...when advertisers conducted follow-up interviews and market research, they learned that consumers rarely connected the fantastic images on the screen with the products that the images were supposed to help sell. The images were actually making people tune out the message.  --Writing for the Web 3.0

 

I never really thought about how much pictures detach us from our reading. Look at children's books. While the words are important, the pictures tend to tell the stories for the kids, because they are more visual learners than audio learners. Take Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Suess accurately portrays the story with words and pictures, so children of all ages can appreciate it.

The same principle can be applied to online writing. When I look for information on the web for a paper or just because I'm curious, I always start with images. They give me the visual representation that I need to later connect the dots with linear text. When I'm researching for a paper, however, I try to avoid sites that are loaded with graphics and extra links because I know I'll be destracted by them.

Kilian is on to something here. Look at any commercial these days. Let's use a Three Muskateers Bar. The commercial talks on and on about how creamy and fluffy the candy bar is while viewers are more overwhelmed by the visual representation of the candy. The word "Muskateer" floats across the screen in an eerie way, but for whatever reason, thousands of people now have grumbling tummies, hungry for that candy bar.

Oh, and I admit, I just got that inspiration from seeing a commercial on tv...I'm guilty...and hungry...see...pictures are and aren't worth a thoushand words...

Journalism writing=web writing? Who knew--Kilian Ch.1

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You may choose to display your text in a column that reaches only halfway across the screen, leaving wide margins on either side or areas of blank space that provide respite for your readers' eyes. While this display may mean that readers will have to scroll down the page to read the full article, shortening the length of the lines makes text more readable. This is why newspapers display text in narrow columns. --Writing for the Web 3.0

 

During my two years in journalism class while in high school, I learned to adapt my writing style in and out of the newsroom. Before I knew it, all of my writing had more than three body paragraphs. I hate that system. While I acknowledge that it's a good basis for beginner writers, I don't think it's appropriate for every paper, especially in ones that are more in depth.

Take a research paper for example. Who wants to read a research paper anyway? Add two full pages of never-ending text running along a page, and anyone would want to pull their hair out. That's why I always broke up those body paragraphs. Instead of dedicating a single paragraph to a bunch of examples for a general idea, I break up that paragraph so I can dig deeper into those examples and back up my thesis.

Aside from my journalism teacher always encouraging us to break up our paragraphs to add length and make the column look more interesting, my AP English 11 teacher told us the same thing. He reenforced the notion that a full-page paragraph is a turn off for any reader.

So the point I'm trying to make is that I guess I've been writing for web for the past two years and I didn't even realize it. I don't see this as being a huge transition for me. The only part that really concerns me is learning to address all readers.

Vote Vote Vote!

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So in light of Senator Kukovich's visit, I only have one thing in mind--my 18th birthday. Most kids want to spend the whole day (and night) out with their friends, partying and expressing to the world that they are finally free. I did that too...eventually...minus the out all night part. But, more importantly, I went to the court house and registered to vote. I still remember sitting in that oh-so-uncomfy chair, filling out my information so that I could vote in the upcoming primaries. How lucky I was that my birthday was the last day to register to vote before the Primaries.

Flash forward to the day of PA's primaries. I remember...being confused. I'd gone into the polls with my parents before to watch them vote, but now everything's computerized. I think I was just as confused as my 86-year-old grandma voting in the station next to me. But, that's not important. What is important is the fact that I voted. I can't express how much anger I have when I hear students whine, "Why should I vote? My opinion doesn't even matter or make a difference..."

With that kind of attitude...no wonder your opinion doesn't matter. Four years ago, I remember being so angry that I couldn't voice my opinion through voting. So many people complain and whine about the sucky state of living they're in, but really, call me a b*tch when I say that maybe if you'd voted for someone who wasn't a complete moron you wouldn't be in this mess in the first place...but that's just my dislike of our current leader leaking onto this page.

The point of Kukovich's meeting wasn't to make us vote, but more to encourage us to. We're the upcoming generation. In ten years, we'll be the ones making decisions about the future of our country, so why shouldn't we care about what's going on right now?

For my EL236 Writing for the Internet class, our main objective is to effectively write for the internet. So far this semester, we've concentrated on using html (my website) and we've also posted multiple blog entries concerning various topics from the birthday of the smiley :-) to Web Trolls.The most important and relevent thing that I've learned thus far is that our blogs are actuallly read by other people, and we need to be aware of how our audiences will react to our writings. So far this sememster, I've improved writing responses to online articles and I've learned to comment on what other bloggers posted about similar subjects. Communication is everything in the world of Journalism and the Internet. In this blog entry, I intend to share my portfolio of my best entries, which span from proper coverage, timelessness, interaction and depth.

Most of my blog entries include a direct quote at the start of them from our assigned readings.As an example of Coverage, these blog entries offer a little background for my readers if they don't have time to read the original article in its entirety. Some of my especially thoughtful ones include:

 "You're a retard, but I love you? Say what?"
"Somebody save me from the Creepers in their momma's basement!"

 

Next on the list for my portfolio is papers that have timelessness--that is, I've posted my blog entries prior to class.

Smile! :-D,   Golf vs. Html, and OMG LOL TTYL were all posted the night before our class met again.

 

As for Interaction, my best example is You're a retard, but I love you? Say what?. ALthough our conversation was cut short, we at least agreed on my opinions in the blog.

For my more indepth blog entries, look to Never go against a Sicilian when Death is on the line!, Honest to Blog, Somebody save me from the Creepers in their momma's basements and You're a retard but I love you? Say what?

 

Finally, my portfolio will come to a close with my discussions on my classmates' blogs. On Alex Hull's blog entry, Not a Witty Title with Web Shorthand, I posted a comment about web shortand. I also posted on Denamarie's blog concerning Trolls. A Vicious Mockery responds to our reading about web trolls, and how they prey on those who fail to are too gullable to realize they're being trolled.

 

If you want to see the rest of my blog entries, feel free to return to my main blog page

Who ever said the internet was private...or safe...

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         Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, running-mate for Senator John McCain in the upcoming 2008 presidential election, has proven to the world that no one is safe on the internet--or at least, no one's privacy is completely safe. According to Trevor Aaronson, author of the news article on knoxnews.com "Kernell mum on allegations son hacked into Palin's e-mail", Palin's private yahoo email account was breeched, and its contents were shared with bloggers all over the world-wide web. The article continues by suggesting that a democratic state representative's son is responsible for the hack, although State Rep. Mike Kernell told the media that, "My son's the one in question, and I can't comment on him."

    BBC News offers more information about the email account, including the actual address(es). That's right, Palin had not one, but two private email accounts on Yahoo: gov.palin@yahoo.com and gov.sarah@yahoo.com.

    The article featured on BBC also mentions that the hacker group Anonymous, who has openly taken credit for the email hack also is responsible for "several online assaults against the Church of Scientology."

     But, is David Kernell, or "Anonymous" really all that guilty? I don't think so, and neither does a large sum of the blogging community, or at least those who left comments on metafilter.com. One blogger, by the username of Optimus Chyme, acknowledged Palin's ignorance: "...any state or federal employee doing government business over a commercial public webmail service deserves to have their email released to the public, because the only reason to use a service like Yahoo is to hide evidence of wrongdoing."

     Another blogger, rzklkng,  "find[s] it difficult that a person who just became the VP nominee - the first Republican woman nominee, no less - has so few congratulatory emails, or that 'anonymous' wouldn't have hit her 'trash' or 'sent' folders.... At best, this is not a complete picture (she has at least one other address) and at worst a smokescreen to either garner sympathy or prove that there's no treachery afoot in her email abuse."

     Despite Palin's efforts to "destroy the evidence," as many bloggers accuse, by deleting her private yahoo email account, a few websites were actually smart, and saved the screenshots posted earlier on Wikileaks. On one of these websites, we can confirm that Palin really wasn't hiding much---unless you include a few family snapshots and a very large contact list.

     Whether Palin, Kernell, Anonymous, or someone else is responsible for the email leak, we can all learn a valuable lesson from this. Do not put anything on the internet or in an email that you don't want the rest of the world to find out about. Even if Palin did delete her account, Yahoo could easily bring up the records of Palin's email account if it wanted to. Whether the hacker admits it or not, he was wrong in attacking Palin as he did, and if it was a democrat state representative's son, shame on him for giving all democrats a bad name. Personal attacks are not the appropriate way to prevent someone from being elected into office.

Long live smileys!!!

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It would be comforting to think that the smiley will be eradicated from online culture, just as the genuine smiley face has, for the most part, been vacuumed from popular culture. I am not optimistic, though. Most people, I suspect, go on the Net because it's the only ticket to cyberspace.   Smiley's people

 

I doubt that the smiley will ever die out. As today's culture becomes more and more technology and internet reliant, children are learning how to use cell phones and computers before they can correctly ride a two-wheeled bicycle. Although the genuine smiley has partially disappeared from our sight (I only discovered how to make a smiley without clicking on the pre-made ones, about two years ago), I doubt they will disappear completely. For one, not all cell phones offer pre-designed emoticons. Thus, if a person wants to send his friend a smiley, he'll have to do it from scratch. In order to do that, he would need to know what they look like (  :-)   in case you've forgotten!) 

 

Anyway, I understand where Stephenson is coming from when he says that emoticons are corrupting today's population. Just look at how many students actually spell "you" as "u" and use "lol" in their term papers. I'll admit that sometimes, using text shortcuts and smileys can get out of hand, but as long as people remember that there is an appropriate time for all uses of language, the world can continue to live as it did prior to the birth of the smiley.

Smile! :-D

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Within a few months, we started seeing the lists with dozens of "smilies": open-mouthed surprise, person wearing glasses, Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, the pope, and so on. Producing such clever compilations has become a serious hobby for some people. But only my two original smilies, plus the "winky" ;-) and the "noseless" variants seem to be in common use for actual communication. It's interesting to note 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.   --Happy Birthday Smiley

 

From the first time I used an instant message service, I've always used smileys. I remember searching AOL's expressions menu for hours just to pick out the perfect smiley set that would identify me as me. I do get what the author is saying when he says that special smileys "destroy{s} the whimsical element of the original."

I rarely use some of the intricate smileys, such as :-0 or 8-) or :-$...some of them don't even make sense to me... I tend to stick with the traditional smiley and frowny-- :-) and :-(

 

As for some of my peers online, I feel like they can't even send me a simple "hey, how are you" without attatching a smiley or a sticking-out-tongue-face. I wonder if the article is right in saying that someday, even novels will have :-) attached to the end of sentences. I sure hope not :-(

Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!

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E-mail readers were very primitive back when they were used mostly by geeks who didn't need no steenkin' icons or menus. Newsgroup postings were plain text -- no icons, no graphics, no navigation buttons. This wasn't some odd retro choice -- it was the command-line interface. You typed something to the computer, and it typed back to you. That was how computer interfaces worked (and it was a great improvement over paper tape and punch cards).   --Clueless Usenet Newbie: ''Re: Jesus' Birthday''

I guess sometimes I forget that we haven't had the internet around for that long. Because my generation grew up playing around with computers and the internet, I guess we kind of take advantage of technology. I personally can't imagine sending my best friend an email without a smiley at the end...and imagine a world without icons or widgets (apple rules ;-] ). I get what Dr. Jerz is saying when he mentions the whole flowerbed metaphor. The internet is a scary place, and just one mess-up can be catastrophic.

I remember the first time I used made a forum comment on imdb.com (internet movie database). It was something involving Michael Moore or some other political thing, and I thought I was so intelligent and proving a valid point...that was until another person decided to cyber-slam me with insults about my intelligence. He called me naive, idiotic, and a few other demeaning terms. Needless to say, I was scarred because of it, and I haven't left many posts since. It's not that I didn't want to; I just think part of me would rather read safely behind my computer screen than offer my opinions just to be harrassed from someone out in cyberspace.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that everyone is going to have some goof-ups in the beginning. Even if we're extra careful, we'll still find a way to mess up, so why be so careful? Isn't the whole point to making mistakes to learn from them? I'm gonna go with that...

 

ps...the title of this blog is a line from The Princess Bride...just in case anyone was wondering about its randomness.

 

Happy blogging!

Outlined pictures?

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After reading up to pg. 92, I worked ahead a little bit, and didn't come across many problems. The only thing I noticed about my webpage that seemed wrong is the outline around the photos. All of the photos except for the last one are fine with their borders, but the first one seems to have a thinner border than the rest. I followed the code in the book perfectly. Any thoughts?

 

Trackback

Castro...take 2

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Okay, so I've read up to page 64 of Castro's Creating a Web Page with HTML, and I still think this stuff is pretty easy. I didn't work too far ahead, only because I want to make sure I'm doing everything right, but I'm sure that as long as I follow directions, I should be fine. The only problems I've been having are finding the pictures and editing them. I'm not sure I understand how to change the pixel size of the jpegs before saving them. Otherwise, I think I'm good to go.

 

Trackback

Golf vs. Html

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Since I had to play golf on Monday instead of being in class, I had to do the entire assignment without any help from anyone. Surprisingly, though, I didn't have very much difficulty creating the webpage. My only problem was human error: I kept forgetting end <> or periods and such. Otherwise, I had no problem creating my webpage. Castro did an excellent job guiding me through the steps required to make a site using html. I think I'm actually looking forward to a more challenging portion of the assignment!

 

Ps...I would rather be in class forever than ever walk 36 holes of golf again. Html wins the battle...

Exam--html file

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Here's my exam!

exam1.htm

 

 

Exam--text file

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Here's my text file!

exam.txt

Green eggs...and html?

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Now I know how to create a basic html site with bold and italics! I can even edit my work! Woot Woot!

Here's my edited text...Dr. Suess was the first thing that came to mind...haha!

test.htm

Back

Why inflict anguish on a helpless stranger? It's tempting to blame technology, which increases the range of our communications while dehumanizing the recipients. Cases like An Hero and Megan Meier presumably wouldn't happen if the perpetrators had to deliver their messages in person. But while technology reduces the social barriers that keep us from bedeviling strangers, it does not explain the initial trolling impulse. This seems to spring from something ugly -- a destructive human urge that many feel but few act upon, the ambient misanthropy that's a frequent ingredient of art, politics and, most of all, jokes. There's a lot of hate out there, and a lot to hate as well.

--Malweblolence

 

After reading this article, I've begun to wonder just how safe the web really is. During my early years of high school and even part of middle school, my parents forbade me from visiting online chatrooms, fearng that I would become the victim of an online predator. I used to laugh at them until I realized how serious they were. I stopped going into chatrooms, never had a MySpace and I didn't get a Facebook account until after I turned 18. So, I guess I've always been pretty careful online, but this article just strengthened my fears. I highly doubt I'll ever put myself in a situation where I get abducted (thank you karate class!), but then again, there are some pretty creepy people out there hiding behind computer screens in their moms' basements.

I don't understand how anyone could create websites to harrass or insult the dead and/or their families. How low can you really stoop to do such a thing? Obviously these people have some very serious issues that they need to suit out and should speak with some psychologists. Maybe the law enforcement should create some more strict laws against cyberharrassment. I know that mods are the "cyberpolice" on forums and message boards, but something tells me that we need something more to protect us from those cynical people out there.

 

Time to go home...

"You're a retard but I love you? Say what?

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"I know that employers will look at that page, and I need to be more careful," said Webster, adding that other Prince William teachers have warned her about her page. "At the same time, my work and social lives are completely separate. I just feel they shouldn't take it seriously. I am young. I just turned 22."

--When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web

 

This article, especially this specific paragraph, raised some interesting points. Although the internet, and all of its resources are free for all to see, is it really fair to judge people by what they choose to do and say for fun? I'm kinda on the edge for this topic.

On one hand, I think that it's every person's right to state their opinions and even have fun on the web. Websites like Facebook and MySpace were created for people to stay in contact with long lost friends, and have fun while doing so. It's a tool used to help us be creative and individuals. Why should we change who we are or put on a face just to please our employers?

On the other hand, I think that specific jobs should require specific behaviors. For example, if my boss at Staples told me that he didn't agree with something I'd put on my Facebook, I don't think there is much that he can do about it. As long as I'm not offending anyone in my workplace or directly insulting any specific person, what harm is being done? Unfortunately, some jobs do require specific guidelines to follow. Although even young teachers deserve to have fun every now and again, they need to keep in mind that they are the role models for hundreds of children yearly. What kind of example do you set when you put a bumpersticker on your Facebook that reads "You're a retard, but I love you?"

Don't get me wrong. I'm a full-fledged freedom of speech, but I think we all need to keep in mind that what we say online isn't always as private as we think it is. Maybe we could all learn a lesson from those Washington D.C. teachers.

 

Return to sender ;-)

OMG LOL TTYL

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Unlike most of my peers, I'm not a huge fan of text/instant messaging shortcuts. I can't stand it when people put "u" instead of "you."

In light of reading Informal Style of Electronic Messages Is Showing Up in Schoolwork, Study Finds by Tamar Lewin, I can only imagine how some teachers must feel, especially the ones who have to teach the next generation of students. I can almost guarentee that most of those kids will know how to text message before they know how to write.

Now isn't that kind of sad? What kind of world do we live in where I see a five year old using a cell phone to call mommy or daddy when the other parent is standing right next to them?

Anyway, I personally have never used internet slang in a paper for school, but I've read papers that included "lol" in them...and it wasn't a pretty sight. In a way, I almost pitty the students more than the teachers. The teachers are just doing their jobs when they correct students, but what about the kids? There will probably come a day sometime in the near future where these terms will be accepted as regualar speech, but until that day, most kids will have trouble learning at a young age that there is a difference between texting a friend and writing a report on Mount Saint Helens.

 

Oh well, guess that's it for now...ttyl

Big mouth....

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Freedom of speech redefined by blogs

 

When author Bill Schackner said in his article, "...she didn't just blurt out those words in her journalism class. She blogged them," I realized just how large the world wide web really is. We pretend like we're all safe behind our computer screens, but are we really? Why assume that what we write anywhere is really private. We already know that the FBI can unlock even the toughest of firewalls to uncover a baddie's dark secrets, so what's to stop some computer geek from hacking mine or yours? Furthermore, we sometimes forget that when we're blogging, we aren't just ranting to our friends; we are broadcasting our feelings across the world. Think about the six degrees of separation on a larger scale. If a poorly worded message came across the wrong person and was then passed on to someone worse...such as the author of a book that you were criticizing (great example...yes, I'm aware that I'm not always the most original person...), what would be the concequences?

I guess the bottom line here is that we all need to be careful about what we say...online or in person. The last thing anyone needs is to offend the wrong person...

 

CLICK ME!

Honest to Blog!!

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When you are writing to a friend or a close colleague, it is OK to use "smilies" :-) , abbreviations (IIRC for "if I recall correctly", LOL for "laughing out loud," etc.) and nonstandard punctuation and spelling (like that found in instant messaging or chat rooms). These linguistic shortcuts are generally signs of friendly intimacy, like sharing cold pizza with a family friend. If you tried to share that same cold pizza with a first date, or a visiting dignitary, you would give off the impression that you did not really care about the meeting. By the same token, don't use informal language when your reader expects a more formal approach. Always know the situation, and write accordingly.

--Writing Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips

 

     In the popular teen movie Juno, the pregnant main character, Juno McGuff exhibits a number of examples improper use of informal speech, which ironically enforces the quote above. I found this relation quite interesting, considering the context between the two. Juno, a pregnant 16-year-old doesn't know when to be formal and when to just play it cool. She seems to share this unfortunate trait with many of my peers. When she finds out she's pregnant, she exhibits proper informal speech when addressing her best friend and says "Honest to Blog!" At the moment, Juno was doing nothing wrong; however, had she said the same words to her baby's adoptive parents, (she says plenty of other unformal things later in the movie) she might give off the impression of a dimwitted teenager.

     So where am I going with this random anecdote? Juno, in a way, symbolizes every teen who has ever sent an email or personnally talked to a superior person without showing the proper amout of respect. We forget that even though we're just sending a quick email or text, the person reading the message at the other end of cyberspace might not be impressed with our amazing codenames for almost every word in the dictionary.

      In a world where it is becoming increasingly more popular to send a quick text rather than dialing a number and waiting for a person's obnoxious ringback to cycle through before contacting a fellow human being, we are beginning to lose our grasp with verbal communication, and with that loss of verbal communication, we are also losing some of our respect for others. Look at Juno for instance: she feels no shame in some of the things she says to the baby's future parents--possibly because she doesn't know any better, but more likely because she doesn't care either way.

The point of the quote above is that we need to differentiate between when is appropriate for slang terms and internet shortcuts and when is not. If we lose grasp of this concept, we could quite possibly be looking at a very disrespectful and unintelligent world.

 

To see what everyone else thinks....click me!

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