So, as you can tell, I’m a little excited (and caffinated). But, this is a big deal. I’ve been blogging non-stop for four years in almost every one of my classes with Dr. Jerz and it all comes down to this final portfolio entry. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Hayles and her book, My Mother was a Computer, I kept up with the readings regularly, although they weren’t always on time.
As for the magazine and eBook, they’re looking absolutely fantastic. The magazine will be off to the printer tomorrow afternoon and the eBook will be finished on Wednesday, assuming all goes well with the layout process. The hardest part of this whole project has been my inability to delegate work. Towards the end, I managed to handle this issue better.
The print version has 17 articles, plus a year in review page and my forword. The eBook will have close to 30 articles total, depending on how ambitious I become tomorrow. Even so, it appears that *every* article will have some sort of graphic or photo paired with it! Mission accomplished!
I’d like to apologize to the whole class that I won’t be able to make it in on Thursday, but I’m hoping to make an appearance on campus later that afternoon to say my goodbyes…
Depth: I wrote extra long and detailed passages for the following entries…In actuality, none of my entries for this period were extremely lengthy, although I did have one where I quoted a couple passages rather than the standard 1 required for an assignment…
Hayles 4a: Join me for an adventure in the world of the Sms—Hayles style
Aside from that entry, Avatar, anyone? was semi-lengthy, but more because I was able to relate our reading to the hit blockbuster film directed and written by James Cameron.
Interaction: I referenced my classmates blogs…
I linked back to an earlier entry on the book in Hayles 4b | Epilogue…Ahh, finally In this entry, I also link to both Jalen and Katy, referencing the fact that they shared my confusions with this text as well.
I mention one of Aja’s topics in Hayles 3a…possession vs. access but it seems like the link is broken on my page or perhaps I never created it in the first place…my bad.
Discussion: As usual, discussion kind of falls away towards the end of a semester. With final projects and other concerns, I always seem to forget about the necessity for commenting…
My best day for commenting was April 12…not sure why, but I commented on both Kiley and Beth Anne’s entries. In fact, I was the first to comment on Beth Anne’s entry and managed to extend the conversation between her and Ashley for several responses before the discussion finally fizzled out. I have it marked down in my log that I commented on Kiley’s blog but it’s not showing on her blog, so I’m not sure what happened there… Aja and I also shared a conversation with each other and with Ashley on the April 12 assignments.
Timeliness: For four years, I’ve been sucky with timeliness. Alas, somethings never change. I still wasn’t very successful here either…in most cases this time around I blogged really early in the morning on the day of the deadlines for submissions. For example, my entry on Hayles 4a was completed around 6 a.m. on the day of the deadline…
I was the first to blog about my term paper idea, mostly because Dr. Jerz and I had already discussed what I’d need to include for my participation in this class as a semi-independent study.
via Portfolio 4
The crucial question with which this book has been concerned is how the ‘new kind of science’ that underwrites the Regime of Computation can serve to deepen our understanding of what it means to be in the world rather than apart form it, comaker rather than dominator, participants in the complex dynamics that connect ‘what we make’ and ‘what (we think) we are.’
So, we’ve come full circle. I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve enjoyed this book; I’m happy to see it go. There were plenty of moments where it made sense, but a lot of times when I had to put forth a lot of effort to make the most out of the readings.
Overall, I feel like the book definitely made more sense as we moved along, and like Aja, I was able to make connections about ownership—a theme that we’ve been handling for the length of this semester. However, at the same time, there were instances where the relationship to coding went a little over my head. It seemed like Jalen and Katy were able to make sense of it though.
Jalen wrote a concise entry on the relationship of manipulation within coding. I wrote about the same section in my blog but when I read his, I immediately thought of the way in which writers, especially journalists, manipulate words. I know Jalen was writing this in reference to one of the stories we read about in the book, but it still helped me to come up with new comparisons.
Katy talked about viewing code in a “feminine” way and also touched on gender roles associated with “The Patchwork.” I found her entry to be most enlightening as I noted some of the same things while I was reading the chapter.
For the most part, this text book wasn’t too bad, aside from all of the confusion and issues I had understanding the text. I noticed it was easier if you took the time to analyze the text, something I don’t always have time to do since my schedule is so busy all of the time. Even so, I don’t think this book would go over too well with a group of freshmen quite like Cognitive Surplus would.
via Hayles 4b.
As Aja pointed out, Chapter 8 was practically written for me as it chronicles the ideas surrounding playing virtual games involving simulated sprites. While I’m not about to jump so far as to say Hayles was referring to The Sims entirely, I can see some difinitive similarities between these virtual creatures and the Sims I know and love.
On page 198, Hayles writes….
…we use an evolved behavior to understand the evolved behaviors acted out in the simulation. It is no accident that in this scenario a feedback loop appears hoes recursive structure resemle the recursive structure of the programs generating Sim’s virtual creatures.
To me, this is just a fancy way of saying we understand the behaviors of our Sims because we often model them after people we know or ideas we have about people. In that respect, our behaviors evolve because we are reacting to other behaviors. It all links back to the themes mentioned in Chapter 7 concerning the ability to manufacture consciousness for artificial intelligence. Rather than actually doing so, we model our characters to act in a fashion we expect them to. Moreover, this means we
may think we have desires and intentions (just as we think the creatures do), but our behaviors can be explained materialy and operationally in terms of similar Sims’s programs…
All this means is that my previous ideas are supported in that we create behaviors based on an outcome we’re hoping to create. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve created Sims with behaviors prone to cheating on spouses just to watch the train wreck. It’s a perfect example of manufacturing a behavior. I can put my “Romance” Sim on “free will” and predict that he will still flirt with women other than his wife, but I doubt he’s going to go the whole way without a little nudge by me. We can make personalities in the Sims that will impact behavior, but without the user manning the controls, we will never simulate real life with these avatars.
via Hayles 4a.
On page 191, Hayles writes:
Whether consciousness can ever emerge from a coded mechanism remains a matter of intense debate. Robotocists…are confident that the equivalent of conscious mind can arise from a coded program, whether evolved through intelligent robots or originating as human consciousness uploaded into a computer.
This chapter was hard for me. While reading about the robot narrator’s thirst for a conscious, I found myself looking back to movies from my childhood that reflected a similar theme.
I seem to remember a Disney Channel Original Movie featuring a robot-girl who was created to be a star in the music business. Although she had all the talent and ability programmed to be efficient in this area, she lacked the ability to create original songs. Rather than writing her own songs, she resorted to taking phrases and lines of poetry from existing hits and synthesizing them together into one long medley. I can remember this causing a lot of conflict for her programmer, who wanted so desperately to make her human.
On the flip side, I thought about the Terminator movies, where Arnold’s character first arrived to destroy Sarah Connor. By the close of the second movie, however, it’s clear that his new objective is to protect Connor and her son. Even so, this objective does not evolve from his conscious but rather from recoding.
From my understanding, scientists believe it’s possibly to create a consciousness based on existing examples but this isn’t the same as creating a legitimate human consciousness. It’s not something that can be created and then manipulated like humans manage to do during their everyday lives. It is interesting, however to read of a robot who finds herself with conflicting emotions.
via Hayles 3b.
Okay, I admit it. I’m struggling a little bit with my current workload. Combine the work for this class with compiling my portfolio, writing the introduction and working on the magazine and I can honestly say I don’t know how I’m still operating. That’s not a good enough excuse for turning these blogs in late, but it’s the only one I’ve got; I do apologize for my falling behind.
While reading chapters 5 and 6, I was drawn to answer the first question Dr. Jerz posted about Cryptonomicon concerning ownership. This is a theme we’ve covered in the past; however, chapter 5 made me revisit it with new insight. On page 138, Hayles writes,
Without possession, access has no meaning.
In one of her earlier blogs, Aja posed a question about the the idea that we have access to an infinite amount of information but have no means to understand it because we lack sufficient translation tools. This chapter kind of covers the exact opposite. Without the ability to own material, it means nothing to be able to access it, meaning that we must be able to take ownership of our thoughts, ideas and interpretations in order to make the most of material out there.
Having access simply is not enough. This lends itself perfectly to what Aja said earlier, that it means nothing to react with a text if we cannot understand it. I’m using the term “possession” loosely in this entry simply because we have a lot to gain from understanding that something does not need to be material in order for us to take ownership. Like Aja said, we could have access to every piece of knowledge in the world, but that won’t make us any smarter unless we find a way to use this information. Perhaps Hayles should’ve said something like “without interpretation and analysis, access has no meaning.” I think the biggest issue I’ve had with this textbook is that I take everything too literally. I’m stuck in a material world when I need to look at things on a cloud level in that we need to take ownership of thoughts and ideas as well as physical objects.
When I think of the relationship between possession and accessibility, I tend to think of libraries. We do not own the books within this space, yet we are permitted to access every volume and read as much as we’d like. Imagine a world where libraries were more like museums. Books on display but not used. What would be the point if we could not open the books to inject our brains with fresh knowledge?
via Hayles 3a.
Because I wrote the 15-page research paper back in 2010, Dr. Jerz has granted me the opportunity to write about my findings and observations while developing the Setonian Magazine.
Per our discussion, I’ll be writing 10 pages on the process, what we hoped to accomplish and what actually happened. The remaining few pages will be devoted to thoughts and tips for what future editors should do. Although I won’t be using a whole lot of scholarly research for my essay, I’ll be able to reflect on some of the research I conducted in 2010 concerning eBooks and the future of the book industry in general.
At this point, I can already tell that the biggest issue with creating the magazine has been developing a working layout for the magazine. Also, advertising has been an issue. Although we worked with the Department of Development to get some advertising, I’m thinking it would’ve been very beneficial if we’d gone out to recruit businesses as well.
I hope to use this paper as an overall guide and tool to help future editors to make an even better version of the magazine. I’ll also be writing a detailed explanation for the practices of using iBooks Author to develop the first-ever full length eBook for the Setonian.
As for the “digital artifact,” I’m pretty sure I have that area covered seeing as I’ll be creating not one but two full magazine layouts for the publication.
via Term Paper Ideas.
Tiptree’s fiction constructs a sharp contrast between an informational realm and a “real” world of severe constraints that operates according to the laws of conservation. On the one hand, Delphi lives in a world of seemingly endless possibility, expansive in its glittering displays of wealth and privilege; on the other hand, P. Burke lives in a severely controlled Spartan existence in an underground cavern where her every move, including her physiological responses, are closely monitored.
Is it me, or does this plot described by Hayles in chapter 3 remind us of James Cameron’s Avatar? It’s the same principle really. We live in a world with some possibilities, but in the case of the main character Jake Sulley, who parallels P. Burke, is not only monitored physiologically and physically but is also constrained to a wheelchair. His time spent inside his avatar on Pandora are a great luxury for him as he has opportunity after opportunity to learn, develop and progress through the ranks of the Na’vi.
Okay, enough of my comparison. Let me just say that I was very quick to judge Hayles and My Mother was a Computer. Reading this section was like a complete transformation from the beginning chapters. I’m not sure if she just explained it better or if it is due to her summarizing of the other novels in chapter 3 that did it, but I can totally make connections now.
Another key passage that stuck out for me and registered the “light bulb” effect in my mind was on page 62: …information does not operate on the same constraints that govern matter and energy.
I never really thought of information in that light before. As she suggests a few pages later, information is not about the amount available but rather about thoe amount of access granted to use it. All the information in the world would be useless if it were all locked away in some mainframe computer in a distant location. But, as technology develops, first with oral communication to written, then from written to print, and now from print to digital, we are seeing a jump in the amount of information that is accessed daily. I can still remember a time before wikipedia and other online referencing tools. Doing research back then was hard. But now, we can find information on virtually any material with the click of a mouse.
If nothing else, the connections I’m really drawing here is that we’ve come full-circle in this class—at least I have, because these themes greatly resemble the ones covered in the spring 2010 section of this course.
via Halyes 2.
We’re in the home stretch! This is my third portfolio for EL 336. We’ve spent the majority of this period studying Clay Shirkey’s Cognitive Surplus, along with a few additional readings.
Depth | These were the entries I took extra time to produce. They have deeper analysis and often feature multiple references to quotes.
Motivation leads to greatness was my response to chapters 3 and 4 of Cogntive Surplus. In this entry, I analyzed a total of three quotes and discussed just how important motivation is for accomplishing our goals.
Spreading knowledge clearly is the key to the future was an entry for chapter of Cognitive Surplus. I touched on two topics in this entry: the importance of sharing knowledge in the form of documentation and I also discussed the Facebook lawsuit explained in the chapter.
Why do you make things? “Because it’s fun” was an richly linked blog entry where I reflected back on the importance of motivation as well as reward. I linked not only to peers on the web but also to one of my classmates in this entry.
Fin—Shirkey, Cogntive Surplus was my reflection for finishing the textbook. I talk about my need for writing things down and my failure to convert completely to digital. I also discuss my desire and struggle to use eBooks for class.
Ex 4: Annotated List of Links is pretty self-explanatory. It chronicles my search for layout designs and templates for the Setonian Magazine. I wrote detailed explanations for 10 of the websites I visited.
Interaction: I referenced a few of my classmates’ blogs this time around
I link to Katy’s blog in Why do you make things? “Because it’s fun”
I link to Kiley’s blog in Time, forking paths and saved games
Discussion: This wasn’t my strongest area this time around. I’ll admit that I slacked a little when it came to commenting on my peers’ blogs, but I did manage to fit a few in. It doesn’t look like I had any comments on my blog this time around, save a couple from Dr. Jerz. From looking at some of my peers’ portfolios, it looks like this was a lack of group effort…I definitely need to be better about my blogging and commenting for the last stretch.
I commented on Kiley’s entry on Grobanites—I wouldn’t call it a waste of time…
I commented on Ashely’s entry on the Hypertext—Hypertext Novels
Timeliness: These were articles that were published either early or by the deadline
I published Ex 4 a couple of days early, but took some extra time before the deadline to spruce up the entry and flesh it out better.
Fin—Cognitive Surplus was also posted a few hours early.
Other coverage: These are entries that are still noteworthy but aren’t overly impressive.
Term Project Proposal & Status Report-ish
We are the product of “frozen sharing”
Via Portfolio 3
Looking for the mouse
Hayles 1a: The struggle between Mother Nature and the Universal Computer
Recognizing entangled causalities and multiple feedback loops enables us to understand how media can converge into digitality and simultaneously diverge into a robust media ecology in which new media represent and are represented in old media, in a process that Jay Bolter and Richard Grusin have called ‘remediation’
I am completely lost. The above quote is just one example of a string of words that completely go over my head. This is the first time in a very long time that I did not understand a reading—in fact, I’m pretty sure the last time this happened, I was reading Cybertext for this class back in 2012. All I could get out of this was that there is a conversion of new and old media to form a new type of understanding? I’m lost. I’m going to try to reread parts of this and post a better blog later today, but I’m not convinced that I’ll figure this out…
via Hayles 1b.
In A New Kind of Science, Stephen Wolfram extends the claim to include biological systems and, indeed, complex behaviors of every kind, including social and cultural systems. In this context, “My mother was a computer” can be understood as alluding to the displacement of Mother Nature by the Universal Computer. Just as Mother Nature was seen in past centures as the source of both human behavior and physical reality, so now the Universal Computer is envisioned as the Motherboard of us all.
The thought that Mother Nature is slowly—or quickly, depending on how you look at it—being replaced by the Universal Computer frightens me. Most kids in my generation have a hard time remembering a time when there weren’t computers or video games. Some of my earliest memories involve playing Duck Hunt on my parents’ Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).
I don’t think I would go so far as to say that technology and computers raised me, but they definitely helped shape me as a person. For years, I’ve been an advocate for using video games as an educational asset. I learned and developed while playing the majority of the Jump Start series, and once I was older, I also developed important problem-solving skills by playing more realistic action/adventure and strategy games.
I do agree though, as Hayles pointed out, that the Universal Computer can skew our perceptions of reality as well. Kids who play M-rated games when they’re under the legal age are at risk for developing some cognitive issues when concerned with right and wrong. For many kids whose parents work insane hours to make ends meet, video games become a replacement for parental units. We “entertain” ourselves and parents are happy they don’t have to deal with whining kids all of the time, but at what cost? Is it worth it if video games—or even some youtube videos—are teaching future generations that it’s okay to be violent towards their neighbors?
I’m excited to read this book because the impact of technology on society has always been a theme that interestes me as I sometimes worry that too much exposure to all of this “stuff” will do more harm than good.
via Hayles 1a.