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May 2008 Archives

May 5, 2008

EL 200: Term Project Presentation...

Project Portfolio

Original Group Term Project Proposal - A proposal of two potential group term projects that could benefit the long term good of the Setonian. I suggested a recruiting campaign for new staff members that included workshops, and an assessment of the coding errors of the Setonian Online.

Term Project Plan - A blog entry in which I discussed my plans for the term project. I broke the project down into three phases that included interviewing staff members, deciding on what new media element I felt the Setonian Online could use, and finally the placement of this new media component on the actual newspaper's website.

Reflective Essay - A reflective essay that refers to relevant communication from portfolios, progress reports, drafts, informal classroom discussions, or other communication with Dr. Jerz about the project.

One Page Handout - A one page handout that includes tips and advice for students in future classes of EL200. It refers to the things that went well with my project as well as reccomendations for the next time someone attempts it.

Relative Communication

Reflection On Class Discussion - The reflection basically recounts that in class we talked about a lot of ideas for long term Setonian goals and projects. I listed them in this entry as a reference for me as well as the rest of the class. Some of the ideas included photo slideshows for the Setonian Online, more photos then needed for go to moments in print version and a photo or video speak out for the online edition.

Setonian Online Editor Peer Interviews - I conducted interviews with both Evan and Kayla for the dual purpose of helping Stormy Knight out with her group term project and also to find out what they thought needed to happen with the Setonian Online. Evan was the former online editor and Kayla is currently in the position.

Project Research: New Media Elements - A detailed analysis of the online newspapers of Duquesne University, The University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia University and California University of Pennsylvania. The information presented in this particular blog entry is research that I compiled when assessing the potential new media additions that we could make to the Setonian Online.

Flash Tutorial Websites (Top 5)
- A list of the top 5 websites with flash tutorials that were effective and informative. These can be used next year if the staff attempts to implement any of the ideas I am presenting. today regarding flash.

Final Product

Final Shell

Flash Photo Show Template Version - A basic flash slideshow that I made with Flash Slideshow Maker Professional. The program is simple and really doesn't require any previous coding knowledge. It would be good for people to use on the paper that didn't necessarily know a lot about Flash.

Assignment Link

May 2, 2008

EX 5 - Response to Kindle...

The Amazon Kindle is a device that I was completely unfamiliar with until it was recently introduced to me during the class EL336: History and Future of the Book. It is truly an innovative piece of technology that I can appreciate and I feel it will be beneficial to aid the teaching of classes in the future at Seton Hill University if the students can adapt to it. It is my understanding that nothing like the Kindle has ever been incorporated into the Seton Hill University curriculum before and for that reason I have doubts about its acceptance.

I suppose I should start out with a little exposition about my previous experiences with Amazon.com as a company. I have been a loyal Amazon.com customer for about six years now. I was also previously aware that the website’s customers could download books and videos to their computers and other portable devices (PDA, Notepads etc.) for a fee. Personally I have only paid once to download anything from the website, and my other purchases have been of t physical DVDs and books. I downloaded the complete first season of the television show South of Nowhere. The reason that I purchased the right to download the episodes was because a physical copy of them is not available for sale at all. The Kindle takes the idea of being able to download content (specifically literature) from Amazon.com the next level by making it available in a physical sense that utilizes the digitalization of media.

Personally I thought the Kindle was a great portable resource, but I had a hard time using it for the sheer fact that I prefer reading text on a printed page that I can highlight and make notes on with my handwriting. As I mentioned during the final class meeting (5/1/08) I generally don’t like reading text or sources online. Although there were no ads or other distractions while reading with the Kindle I concluded that it still wasn’t for me. I would much rather have the option to download the material and then print it out rather then try to interpret it on a computer screen or in this case the Kindle’s screen. I know that the Kindle has the option of highlighting and even note taking with its built in keyboard, but when I am interpreting information I like to be able to physically cross it out as I write my own analysis. I will say that the Kindle does put the text in a physical form, but it is not the physical form that I prefer.

One issue with the Kindle was that the buttons on the keyboard and side panel were rather sensitive and the slightest touch would often send me ahead to the next page when I was not done reading the previous one. This happened a lot when I was holding the Kindle as I read. I wanted to hold it like you would read a book and for this reason my right hand often triggered the button that sent me to the next page. The scrolling option on the Kindle was also something that I had a slight issue with because it was delayed at times and slow paced. Sometimes when I selected a text to read its initial uploading was slow and this proved to be frustrating. One function of the Kindle that I did find very useful was the search option in which you could type in a specific word and the Kindle would show you every place in a given text where it could be found. While I was reading a text about video games I typed in the word ‘avatar’ in order to test the function, and it came up with many results. This function proved to be helpful in skimming the text for relative content.

As far as the user friendly element is concerned the Kindle was very easy to use. Anyone that has basic computing skills can probably figure out the Kindle, which came with no instructions when I obtained it. I think I may have not even been present in class when it was first introduced due to a conflicting event concerning my public policy internship. Overall I think the device is incredibly user friendly. Upon taking the Kindle to my friend Kaylee’s room I observed that she could work it with the same amount of efficiency that I could and her life is not at all technologically oriented. I also showed the Kindle to my RA Rebecca and she was quite amazed by it. At first she thought I was carrying a rather large palm pilot around, but I quickly explained the device and its purpose. Kaylee and Rebecca were really the only two people to experience the Kindle other than me due to time constraints and the need to pass it on to other classmates. Though each of them found the Kindle very intriguing.

The Kindle could become an influential part of the Seton Hill University curriculum in several facets. I think its capabilities would cater best to classes that involve the humanities rather then the sciences even though they use books as well. The emphasis on resources and texts is why I feel the humanities could use the Kindle best. It could also serve the economic purpose of providing students with a text that may otherwise cost them an exorbitant amount. Students could take turns with the Kindle and present on the various chapters of the books that are included on it.

The only downfall about this type of sharing involves user agreements that the university must enter into. There are a lot of technicalities involving the mass use of software and other copy written information that the Kindle may provide. The Kindle would likely serve classes on the upper level rather then introductory courses because of the implied knowledge that’s its use requires. I think we really need to do a little more beta testing regarding its actual usefulness before further investing in multiple Kindles.

Assignment Link

May 4, 2008

Flash Tutorial Websites (Top 5)...

1. Flash Perfection.com - A website full of great tutorials that teach a lot of the advanced capabilities of flash. Incredibly diverse selection of flash tutorials. Tutorials are broken into comprehensive and easy to browse categories.

2. Toxiclab.org - The website also includes photoshop, javascript, CSS, XHTML, and 3D tutorials. Each of these can be incorporated into a good flash show or site.

3. FlashVault.net - A detailed tutorial about how to create a picture slide show with effects in Flash. Make a simple picture slide show in flash with effect using some special flash tips and tricks.

4. Tutorialoutpost.com - Archived tutorials dealing with how to realistically create a "posted" item such as a note, photograph, and a piece of paper. Other tutorials on the page deal with animation, slide shows, textboxes and actionscript.

5. Entheosweb.com - Free flash tutorials that cover the basics of flash animation and flash actionscripting. Photo slide show tutorial.

EL 200: One Page Handout...

The term project that I set out to complete this semester dealt with the creation of a Macromedia Flash photo slideshow for the Setonian Online. Prior to this project I had worked briefly with Flash in the class New Media Projects and created a very basic slideshow including five photos. During the beginning of the semester various staff/class members had expressed a need for the incorporation of new media elements on the Setonian Online’s website and a Flash slideshow was the idea that everyone seemed to like the best. The slideshow was actually one of several ideas that I first pitched to the class regarding new media. There is also an evident need for color photos on the website.

I feel that this project would have been somewhat more successfully executed had it been a group activity rather then an individual one. I do have to give ample credit to Chris Ulicne for his help on this project, but we often had a hard time coordinating schedules. He worked on a drag and drop basic template for a slideshow. There is a lot of planning and coding that goes into a project like this and unfortunately I feel as though I overcommitted to produce something that I couldn’t do by myself. The project kept getting put on the back burner because it was giving me a lot of frustration. I used the book Flash Journalism by Mindy McAdams in my attempts to create a good photo slideshow, and also used online tutorials as resources.

If anyone attempts to replicate this project in the future there are a few things that I would recommend that they do differently. It is important to follow the schedule that you have set as far as deadlines for the project are concerned. I felt like I had plenty of time and wasn’t strictly sticking to my schedule. I would also recommend that one person doesn’t try and complete this project by themselves because it will only leave them pulling their hair out. I know that if I had to do this again I would set more realistic goals for myself as far as the final product is concerned. I only really ended up with the shell for a slideshow and I wanted a completely finished one with transitions, effects and more photos. If this project is ever going to be re-visited I would recommend that it be immediately after the semester when New Media Projects has been taught.

I have gone ahead and also included a link to an entry I posted about the top 5 Flash tutorial websites.

May 5, 2008

EL 200: Reflective Essay...

Note: I feel as though my one page handout is in some ways a hybrid version of the reflective essay because it provides tips to students that will attempt this project in the future while at the same time reflecting on what I did. Please see the one page handout for further recommendations. In this reflective essay I will basically recount the process of my project.

Initially in my original group term project proposal I suggested that we as a class attempt to initiate recruiting campaign for new staff members that included workshops. I also suggested that we assess the new media needs and the coding errors of the Setonian Online. After I presented this idea to the class we settled on the task of adding new media elements to the Setonian Online with a specific focus on photography.

The next step I took regarding this project was writing the term project plan. It is presented as a blog entry in which I discussed my plans for the term project. I broke the project down into three phases that included interviewing staff members, deciding on what new media element I felt the Setonian Online could use, and finally the placement of this new media component on the actual newspaper's website.

After an in class discussion I blogged a reflection. The reflection basically recounts that in class we talked about a lot of ideas for long term Setonian goals and projects. I listed them in this entry as a reference for me as well as the rest of the class. Some of the ideas included a flash photo slideshows for the Setonian Online, more photos (with color) for go to moments in print version and a photo or video speak out for the online edition.

An additionally helpful component of this project were the interviews that I conducted with both Evan and Kayla for the dual purpose of helping Stormy Knight out with her group term project and also to find out what they thought needed to happen with the Setonian Online. Evan was the former online editor and Kayla is currently in the position. I also did some research concerning new media elements that were present on other local college and university websites.

The research that I did contained a detailed analysis of the online newspapers of Duquesne University, The University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia University and California University of Pennsylvania. The information presented in this particular blog entry is research that I compiled when assessing the potential new media additions that we could make to the Setonian Online.

In conclusion I decided it was best to work on developing a way in which non-experienced members of the Setonian staff could use the slideshow tool effectively and for that reason I used a Flash template to make a slideshow for the website. The software program that I used allows you to create pre-made slideshows at the click of a button and is much simpler then some of the coding involved with Flash. For the time being it will be much easier to place this type of slideshow within the Setonian Online.

May 23, 2008

Awesome T-Shirts & Hoodies...

Ok so I was on Myspace and this ad popped up when I logged out for the day. I am not usually inclined to look at these pop-up nightmares, but this one was actually really great. The website is called Snorgtees.com. They have some hilarious t-shirts and hoodies that I would highly reccommend to anyone with a sense of humor. I am posting a few of the t-shirts that I thought were great!

t-shirts.JPG

Day of the Dead: The Need to Feed (2008)...

Why did someone ever want to re-make George A. Romero's original Day of the Dead? I am being honest when I say that even the first Day of the Dead wasn't his best work. It makes no sense as to why it would be any better this time around. Some things should just be left alone. Released in April of 2008 Day of the Dead: The Need to Feed proved disappointing to say the least.

I guess I can't blame Romero in this case though, seasoned horror director Steve Miner will have to take the heat because he is the one responsible for this atrocity. It is not like I am against remaking movies. I have stated in the past that I thoroughly enjoyed the Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead remakes. I just feel like this particular remake was an incredibly bad idea.

The first thing that I suppose should be addressed is the cast of characters present in both the original and the remade versions of the film. These characters include Sarah, Captain Rhodes, Pvt. Salazar, and Dr.Logan. The zombie character named Bub in the original is changed to Bud in the remake. Though I should note that just because these character names are the same it does not mean that the characterizations are similar. In fact they vary quite a bit from the originals.

I guess this is considered a point of departure adaptation/remake of the original film because even the plots and settings are different. Character names, the presence of the military and zombies are the only three real elements that can be considered similarities between the two films.

I have some general notations about both movies that I would like to share. Day of the Dead was a pretty cool title, but an un-original one fitting for any these zombie films. The subtle reference to the Mexican holiday was clever, but too simple in my opinion. It’s like every movie with zombies could be called Day of the Dead. Too generic!

The name Salazar is one that I have been seeing a lot lately oddly enough. I recently began playing Resident Evil 4 again on my Playstation 2 and one of the zombified bosses is named Salazar, which was a nice tie in to the zombie references in both Day movies and the video game. An odd link, but it was a link none the less. I do have to comment on Nick Cannon’s terrible acting in the new version of the film. He has no range in any of the roles I have seen him play over the past three years. If you want to know what Salazar is like in the new Day of the Dead simply put in a copy of Drumline and you will have to look no further. He is one of the most one dimensional actors I have ever watched on the silver screen.

The character of Captain Rhodes was portrayed by Ving Rhames in the new Day of the Dead. Rhames also appeared in the Dawn of the Dead remake as well. It is just a minor link. I suggest that all those Blockbuster horror renters steer clear of this film and keep their eyes peeled for Romero’s new movie Diary of the Dead. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t bomb at least.

Zombie Makeup Fun...Old But Fun...

1halo1.jpgTo the right is a picture from this past Halloween that I never had a chance to post at the time. I am living by the motto ‘better late then never’ today. And yes, I was a zombie once again. It is one of those things that really will never get old for me. Haha Halloween is just an excuse for me to get all done up in zombie makeup and it is seen as acceptable. I think that I get stuck in these costume phases. I was a vampire for like 5 years in a row when I was a kid.

Zombie Picture 2

May 26, 2008

Current Reading List...Books

I am currently spending my free time doing a little reading in between searching for permanent real world jobs and playing Playstation 2. The three selections below are currently located on my desk, floor and bed. The Chelsea Handler book reminds me a lot of something David Sedaris would write and I love it!

1. Are You There, Vodka? It's Me Chelsea By Chelsea Handler - The comedienne star of the Chelsea Handler Show describes her experiences with misbegotten boyfriends, her eccentric mixed-religion parents, and the working world, a lifetime marked by numerous inebriated misadventures.

2. Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead By Max Brooks - An illustrated, comprehensive guide to surviving an attack by hordes of the predatory undead explains zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective weaponry and defense strategies, how to outfit one's home for a long siege, and how to survive in any territory or terrain.

3. HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition: Visual QuickStart Guide By Elizabeth Castro - In particular, the book uses brand new CSS examples to illustrate modern layout design with CSS, covers using XHTML and CSS for displaying pages for mobile devices, shows how to format forms with CSS and how to process them with PHP, describes how to embed audio and video on Web sites in a standards-compliant way, and then how to syndicate that content and create a podcast by writing RSS feeds.

About May 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in May 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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